Most luxury car brands advertise heavily, buying prime media placement for billboards, TV spots, magazine spreads, and more. However, Tesla prefers to go off the beaten path—including with their marketing strategy. Read on for the reasoning behind Tesla’s advertising—or lack thereof—and our thoughts on why they might need to rethink it, soon.

Tesla has never ran a paid campaign

Instead, the brand relies on word-of-mouth (aka, free) advertising generated by their cars’ reputation as well as occasional stunts. As far as organic buzz goes, Tesla is undeniably killing the game—they have the strongest organic social media engagement among car brands, despite spending literally $0 on social campaigns. And Elon Musk himself—wacky Tweets included—is practically a walking advertisement for Tesla. Musk’s personal brand is almost inseparable from Tesla, so it definitely helps the brand to have such a prolific CEO.

Musk himself gave his 2 cents on Tesla’s advertising (or lack thereof) on Twitter… where else?

Tesla does not advertise or pay for endorsements. Instead, we use that money to make the product great. https://t.co/SsrfOq1Xyc

— Buff Mage (@elonmusk) May 19, 2019

It’s a fair argument, and one that other brands have certainly made before. However, as the brand and the marketplace has evolved it might be time for Tesla to reconsider.

Word-of-mouth just isn’t cutting it

Going against Musk’s argument against advertising—there’s no reason why Tesla can’t continue to invest in building quality machines, while also growing its own brand. Similar auto brands tend to make back the money that they invest in advertising campaigns—and then some! But without paid advertising, it’s hard to grow and maintain a brand without substantial organic buzz.

Word-of-mouth alone may have worked for Tesla in the past. But Tesla’s anti-advertising strategy hasn’t been treating them well lately—the brand saw a 31% drop in sales during the first quarter of 2019. That’s the biggest quarterly drop in sales in the history of the brand. And Tesla isn’t the only electric car company to pay attention to any more—other brands are starting to produce electric cars, with the advertising budgets to back them up.

A lot to offer

When it comes to advertising, Tesla has so much wasted potential. Among the onslaught of boring, repetitive car ads, Tesla has a chance to stand out with their unique brand voice—and unique benefits. How many other cars let you prank your friends with a “fart button”? In addition to bringing in sales, advertising could be a way for Tesla to further develop their brand voice.

A common theme among brands that don’t advertise is that they seem to view advertising as a weakness—it’s a point of pride to be a brand that “doesn’t need to advertise”. However, these brands should realize what they can gain by introducing advertising campaigns into their marketing mix. Advertising is not only a way to increase short-term revenue, it’s a way to further develop your brand and increase recognition for the long-term.

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Over the past several years, brand Twitter accounts have gone from traditional to kinda weird to way, way too weird. In an effort to stand out, brands are often in competition to see which can have the wildest Twitter persona. Many times, this goes too far and the Twitter persona ends up being detached from the brand’s core message and purpose. This February, Sunny D’s official Twitter account tweeted a sentiment that felt, well, a little off-brand to say the least:

I can’t do this anymore

— SUNNYD (@sunnydelight) February 4, 2019

Personification of brands is one thing, but at the end of the day we all know that brands aren’t actually people. And some subjects—such as Sunny D’s depression—are a little too heavy for a brand to take on, especially one so far removed from mental illness as a beverage company. In an attempt to be quirky or relatable, Sunny D was totally out of its wheelhouse and came off as being disingenuous.

Brand Twitter accounts often have to keep a delicate balance between humor that works, and going too far. Here are five brand Twitters that successfully toe the line.

Steak-umm

Steak-umm is the master of keeping it weird. The brand’s Twitter often refers to its product very literally as “frozen beef sheets”, and successfully convinced a legion of followers to adopt the catchphrase “Steak-umm bless”. The brand often gets very existentialist on Twitter and provides commentary on the food and advertising industries, which might seem a bit much for a frozen cheesesteak brand. However, Steak-umm’s Twitter persona nails the humor and manages to come off as very authentic. The key to the brand’s success is breaking the fourth wall with tweets that acknowledge there is a person behind the Twitter.

I will sell you frozen beef sheets in exchange for money and an unbreakable sacred oath between us that will last a thousand generations

— Steak-umm (@steak_umm) March 29, 2019

boss: we need a more *authentic* tagline

me: hmm how about… "buy our frozen beef sheets?"

boss:

me:

boss:

me:

boss: let's do it

— Steak-umm (@steak_umm) May 7, 2019

MoonPie

MoonPie takes Twitter weirdness in a completely different direction—adopting an innocent, goofy, solar system-obsessed persona that perfectly fits their brand. Following MoonPie on Twitter might not be the most intellectual decision you’ve ever made, but it’s almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face when you see their tweets.

Hi I’ll be happy to take all of your moon-related inquiries in the meantime https://t.co/tTRgvOOnq4

— MoonPie (@MoonPie) January 23, 2018

I will not be tweeting tonight out of respect for Santa and his generous work

— MoonPie (@MoonPie) December 24, 2018

Denny’s

No article about brand Twitter accounts is complete without mentioning Denny’s. The brand’s wisecracking Twitter is well-known for its on-the-nose one-liners about breakfast food. Denny’s Twitter never fails to hop on top of current Twitter memes and trends—and always relates the jokes back to their menu.

the secret to a really fluffy omelette is adding hopes and dreams to each one.

— Denny's (@DennysDiner) April 17, 2019

if you run out of syrup simply turn the bottle off and on again.

— Denny's (@DennysDiner) April 28, 2019

Wendy’s

Wendy’s sassy redheaded attitude is brought to life through the brand’s Twitter. While other brands are known for their hilarious original tweets, Wendy’s is known for their roasts. The brand’s Twitter never fails to provide a cutting comeback to anyone who crosses them—competing brands and individuals alike.

Your dignity

— Wendy's (@Wendys) January 4, 2017

When the tweets are as broken as the ice cream machine. https://t.co/esdndK1iFm

— Wendy's (@Wendys) November 24, 2017

Chipotle

Chipotle’s Twitter account is nothing if not smart. The brand’s tweets are rarely goofy or gimmicky—just funny, intelligent commentary on everything we love (or love to hate) about the cult-favorite burrito chain. Chipotle also isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself and its known quirks—yes, they know nobody wants to pay extra for guac.

Don't worry, we're not telling FAFSA y'all order guac.

— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) March 1, 2019

Good morning to everyone, except people who take our Tabasco bottles.

— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) May 26, 2018

These brilliant brand Twitters are guaranteed to brighten up your timeline — and inspire you to think about how far a brand’s voice can truly go. And if you’re looking for fresh commentary on the hottest advertising and marketing news, make sure to follow us too.

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The human race has reached a critical point in the timeline of climate change. The industrial revolution and, recently, popularization of cheap plastic goods, have led us to consume more resources than the planet can take. And the consequences have begun to rear their heads in the form of freak storms, shrinking ice caps, and plastic-filled oceans.

However, many people and organizations are still fighting hard against climate change. Here are three brands who’ve made it their mission to help protect the planet.

Etsy

In a time where pretty much anything imaginable can be bought online, it’s tempting to do all our shopping without even leaving the house. But the convenience of online shopping has a downside — emissions from transporting all those packages have a serious effect on our planet.

Enter Etsy: in February, the online marketplace announced that they are now offsetting 100% of their carbon emissions from shipping. Etsy is balancing out these emissions by investing in projects that work to reduce carbon emissions around the world. Now Etsy customers can shop online guilt-free — while supporting the independent artists and curators who use the website!

Beyond Meat

The meat industry has an emissions issue. Between 14.5 and 18 percent of the world’s human-induced greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock, with cows being the biggest offenders. Beyond Meat’s mission is to counter those emissions by providing incredibly realistic meat alternatives that are entirely plant-based.

Their target is not devoted vegans and vegetarians, but rather meat-eaters who want to cut down their consumption while still enjoying the meals they love. Their flagship product, the Beyond Burger, sizzles in the pan like meat and tastes like the real thing. Yet a Beyond Burger requires significantly less energy and resources to be created than a traditional beef burger. Meat eaters seeking to make a change (and vegetarians who miss the taste of hamburgers) should definitely look into this eco-friendly alternative.

Reformation

The clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world — with oil coming in first place. Reformation takes every effort to make their clothing’s impact on the planet as low as possible. They also make a point to be 100% transparent about the impact of each clothing item. Every product page on their website contains information about waste and resources saved by buying each item from Reformation, as opposed to other clothing sources.

Reformation is about more than waste management — they also use 100% wind energy, and source all materials ethically to minimize their social impact. And while many companies release earning reports, Reformation releases sustainability reports. You can read their 2017 report here.

Buying from sustainable brands isn’t always easy. Reformation and Beyond Burger are more expensive than your typical clothing and meat brands, and a cute throw pillow at Target is usually going to be cheaper than a unique, handmade one from Etsy. But at the end of the day, the love that these brands give to the planet is priceless.

If you’ve used social media in the past year, you’ve probably seen a TikTok video. The Chinese-owned media app is designed for creating and sharing short videos, many of which have gone viral. TikTok videos are often characterized by teens lip syncing to music, acting out scenes from movies and TV shows, or highly creative short videos similar to now-defunct Vine.

TikTok is polarizing to say the least — its content manages to be both cringe-inducing and enthralling at the same time. But more importantly, it’s a relatively unexplored tundra for advertisers.

On January 26th, TikTok quietly tested its first ad: a short, skippable ad for food delivery service GrubHub. The company appears to be testing ads like this on a small scale, as only a handful of users have reported seeing ads. They’ve declined to comment on when more advertising opportunities will open up, but we expect to see them soon.

Here’s four reasons why advertisers should stay ahead of the competition and start paying attention to TikTok now.

It’s wildly popular

TikTok was launched in China in September 2016, and saw a massive rise in popularity in the US after merging with media app Musical.ly in November 2017. TikTok videos seem to be everywhere, with many TikTok compilations already popping up on YouTube. And the numbers don’t lie —  according to a SensorTower report from November 2018, TikTok’s revenue more than tripled in the year following the Musical.ly merge.

It’s unlikely to suffer the same fate as Vine

Vine was an insanely popular media app known for its six-second videos. Unfortunately, the platform was shut down in October 2016 due to lack of funding — Vine didn’t support in-app purchases, and its founders were against monetization.

TikTok, however, generates a large amount of revenue via in-app purchases. Users can purchase virtual “coins”, which can be sent as virtual gifts to other users during livestream. Revenue from in-app purchases will keep TikTok alive and thriving, in addition to any ad revenue it brings in when it opens up more advertising opportunities.

It could take over for Snapchat as the best way for advertisers to reach a Gen-Z audience

Snapchat has struggled in recent years to create a design that’s friendly to both advertisers and users, and has had a steady decline in its user base. TikTok is emerging as a challenger to Snapchat’s user base, which is primarily young people. 71% of Snapchat users are younger than 34, and 78% of 18-24 year olds in the US use Snapchat. TikTok’s audience is primarily teens right now, but the company is working on attracting a slightly older, Gen Z audience — Snapchat’s core user base.

Move over, Snapchat — TikTok is on the way to becoming a go-to app for Gen Z. TikTok ads could soon be a much better investment for advertisers looking to reach a young audience.

It’s a great opportunity for creative ads on a low budget

TikTok videos are often highly creative and filmed on a low (or nonexistent) budget. There have also been many notable trends for TikTok videos — such as representing a crowd at an Adele concert with inanimate objects like gummy bears. Successful TikTok ads could maximize creative talents on a low budget to seamlessly blend into the type of content that TikTok users love to see.

We’re watching the clock until TikTok opens up advertising opportunities to all brands. Until then, advertising can take advantage of influencer marketing opportunities on the app (yes, there are TikTok influencers!). Soon, TikTok could be a vital part of many brands’ marketing mix.

If you’re reading this, you probably live in a bubble — and you might not even know it.

In this day and age, we are surrounded by algorithms any time we go online. We see countless targeted ads a day, and many of us get our news from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These services are all driven by algorithms designed to serve us the content that is most relevant to us and our interests. However, this often prevents us from being exposed to views different than our own, this creating the aptly-named “internet filter bubble.”

In a society that is already very polarized on many issues, this filter bubble only works to reinforce this divide. Read on for four ways to help reduce your own exposure to the internet filter bubble.

1. Voice marketing

Cookies are data stored by your web browser that websites can use to determine what kind of content to show you. Make a habit of clearing your cookies often so websites have access to less data, or disable cookies altogether on your preferred browser.

2. Use an ad blocker

Targeted ads are a big part of the filter bubble. Get rid of these filtered messages by using an ad blocker — there are many free ones available, like this one for Google Chrome.

3. Go incognito or anonymous

If you’re okay stepping away from a personalized web browser experience, use your favorite browser’s incognito mode or try an anonymous browser or search engine like DuckDuckGo. By sacrificing access to search history and other useful personalization tools, you’ll keep websites from using your information to create a filter bubble.

4. Make an effort to read news from differing opinions

Possibly the most effective method to fight against the filter bubble is to get out there and educate yourself. Allsides is a great resource for this; their mission is to mitigate the filter bubble by providing viewpoints from the left, right, and center on various political issues.

Just because internet content is personalized, doesn’t mean it’s actually better. By taking the time to fight against the effects of the filter bubble, you’ll emerge a more well-rounded and educated person on the issues that matter.

2019 is well underway, and with it, trends for the rest of the year have begun to emerge. Radio lives on in the form of podcasts and streaming, and AI lives everywhere — including many peoples’ homes. 2018 planted the seeds for many of 2019’s emerging marketing and advertising trends. Now, it’s time to sit back and watch them grow. Read on for Tag’s top five advertising trends to watch for the rest of this year.

1. Voice marketing

Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod are everywhere, and with them, their powerful AI-driven voice assistants. Smart speakers are on the way to being a household staple — sales grew 78% in 2018. As the industry continues to grow, expect to start seeing opportunities for voice marketing emerge. In order to stay ahead of the competition, start thinking about integrating voice into your brand’s marketing mix.

Voice marketing may be less “addy” than one would think — because of the wide use of voice search via smart speakers, the real marketing opportunities could lie in leveraging search rankings.

2. A new look at brick-and-mortar stores

Since the rise of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores have struggled to compete. It’s hard to beat the ease of shopping without even leaving your bed. However, one advantage that brick-and-mortar stores have over online shopping is the ability to create a memorable in-store experience. In 2018, the trend of in-store experiences began, as many brands realized the power of making a lasting, in-person connection with their customers.

In-store experiences are so effective that many brands that started as online-only, such as Warby Parker, have begun opening their own brick-and-mortar stores. We predict that in 2019 this trend will continue to grow, as brands start reinventing their brick-and-mortar stores to provide an experience that just isn’t available online.

3. Shift towards nano-influencers

Influencer marketing has a problem: people don’t trust influencers any more. Large-scale influencers are unrelatable at best, and untrustworthy at worst. And influencer scandals such as the Fyre Festival fiasco don’t help.

2018 saw a shift in influencer marketing away from macro-influencers and towards micro- or even nano-influencers, who have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand Instagram followers. Nano-influencers are much more relatable to their followers, and because they have a smaller reach marketers can afford to work with many nano-influencers at once.

In 2019, expect to see influencer marketing focus less on huge, macro-influencers, and more on building large networks of many smaller influencers.

4. AI as a Media Buying Tool

AI may very well be one of the largest forces in media buying in 2019. 4 out of 10 advertisers already use AI to optimize their media buys, and that number is predicted to keep growing.

AI may not be a great creative tool — just look at all the bot-generated t-shirts in your Facebook ads — but it’s a gift for media buyers. AI is great at deciphering confusing data sets and figuring out consumer patterns. By using AI, media buyers can save themselves both time and headaches.

5. Chatbots in everyday life

Chatbots have been around for a while — since 1966, in fact — but the technology really exploded in 2018. However, even though we’ve all probably used chatbots at least a few times, the technology remains a novelty. We predict that in 2019, chatbots will continue to grow, and become less of a novelty and more integrated into our everyday lives.

Brands can integrate chatbots into their websites and social pages — especially Facebook messenger — in order to help customers navigate their services more smoothly. In a year, it may be commonplace to order a pizza or even book a flight via a chatbot.  

Let’s clear something up: with the recent development of virtual and augmented reality technologies, it can be easy to use the two terms interchangeably. However, they are distinctly different concepts. Augmented reality (AR) involves augmenting the real world with digital elements—generally, as viewed through a screen on a smartphone or other device. Virtual reality (VR) immerses the user in a completely virtual setting. In order to be immersed in VR, the user must wear a headset—the most popular is Google Cardboard. While AR and VR technology can be used to accomplish similar goals, it’s important to understand the advantages and limitations of both technologies.

As AR and VR technology has become more developed and accessible, many brands have been exploring different ways to use it in their own marketing. Read on for four brands who have used AR and VR in ways that are innovative, successful, and deeply inspiring:

Ikea: Ikea Place

What is it: Ikea has been experimenting with AR since 2012 with their catalogue app, but initially struggled to make the app actually useful. In 2017 they released a new (and much improved) version—Ikea Place. The app uses your phone camera in conjunction with AR technology to show you what Ikea furniture would look like in your home, in real time. Unlike the old catalogue app, Ikea Place doesn’t require the user to spend time configuring the room’s measurements—furniture is automatically scaled with 98% accuracy and can be moved and flipped with ease.

Why it works: The app is easy to use, making it a pain-free experience for the consumer. It’s also easy to discover new pieces of furniture that they may not have originally thought of for their home—Ikea’s entire catalogue of 2000+ furniture pieces is enabled in the app. Most importantly, it tackles a very real problem: furniture shopping is a hassle. Now, consumers can figure out how furniture will look (and fit) in their home without having to step outside or even take out a tape measure.

Lowe’s: Holoroom How-To

What is it: In select Lowe’s stores, customers can experience their home remodel in virtual reality before they pull the trigger.

Why it works: Home remodels are a huge investment, and sometimes it’s hard for customers to tell how they’ll feel about the final result. Virtual reality technology gets Lowe’s customers as close as possible to experiencing the real thing, making them more comfortable in their decision.

Lowe’s also uses virtual reality to encourage DIY home improvements: since the implementation of the original Holoroom, Lowe’s has expanded into education with Holoroom How To, an interactive workshop that teaches users hands-on skills through virtual reality.

Snapchat: Lenses

What is it: Since their introduction in 2015, Snapchat’s lenses have become arguably the most popular feature of the social media app. The lenses, also called filters, use augmented reality to add effects to the user’s face or the scenery around them. Some lenses (such as the infamous “breakdancing hotdog” pictured above) are so widely used that they have become an integral part of pop culture, inspiring memes, Halloween costumes, and more.

Why it works: Simply put, the lenses are addictive. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone under the age of 30 who’s never taken a picture of themselves using the “dog” lens. But perhaps the most important aspect of the lenses is their advertising capabilities. Snapchat routinely publishes lenses sponsored by major advertisers. Often, the weirder a lens, the better—users are eager to send bizarre Snaps to their friends with the newest lens, sponsored or not.

TOMS: Virtual Giving Trip

What is it: A core element of the TOMS brand is their mission to give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. In their LA flagship store, customers can use a virtual reality headset to experience the act of giving away Tom’s shoes firsthand.

Why it works: The Virtual Giving Trip is an extremely powerful way to reinforce a brand’s mission. By immersing customers in TOMS’ core values, the brand can form a personal and emotional bond with the customer. TOMS’ is setting a new ethical standard by using virtual reality technology to promote kindness and charity.

These are just a few of the many brands that have adopted AR and VR in their marketing. The four brands—Ikea, Lowe’s, Snapchat, and TOMS—showcased successful use of AR and VR for very different purposes: letting consumers visualize a product, easing worries about a large investment, entertaining, and reinforcing a brand’s promise. Brands that are interested in using AR and VR can learn a great deal from the four brands highlighted in this article, but shouldn’t feel limited to following similar paths. If anything, the diversity of applications shown in this blog proves that the possibilities of what AR and VR technology can add to a brand are endless.

All organizations have a need for employees to create communications. They can range from proposals and PowerPoint presentations to everyday memos. No matter how small or inconsequential you may think it is, everything that bears your logo makes an impression about your brand – either negatively or positively. Realistically, one instance will not cost you a new or existing customer, but negative brand impressions over time will eat away at the integrity of your brand and undermine your organization’s investment.

It’s true that you earn your reputation doing hard things well, but it is the small things, over time that matter as well. When communications are clear and look consistent it reinforces all the positive things about your brand. Don’t let messy or unprofessional executions cause prospects or customers to subconsciously question your validity and competency. Here are some guidelines you can follow to keep your brand on track.

Take inventory

Take inventory of all of the communications your company routinely creates and make sure there is a template or guideline for each. This process is similar to what we outlined in our post on brand rollouts. Some common items include:

Accessibility

If you want your organization to use branded templates, you need to make them easily accessible. Basic brand styles like fonts, colors and logo usage, similar to what is described in this style guide post, are essential to brand consistency. Companies with established intranets should create a space where employees can download templates and assets and companies that don’t may find a cloud solution like Google Drive or Dropbox can work well.

The more editable elements you include in a template the more chances an employee has of going off brand. The design shouldn’t be boring, but remember, your ultimate goal is for people use them correctly. Apple, a company worth over $800 billion, understands this better than anyone.

Training

Consider creating video or PDF tutorials on how to properly use your templates or build it into your onboarding program.

If you see something, say something

Consider incentivizing employees for upholding your brands standards. $5 Starbucks gift cards always work well. Create an email address where inconsistencies can be reported (e.g. [email protected]).

Periodically survey

You can’t account for every possible usage scenario, but you can garner feedback and input to continually improve. Create a simple survey to send out every 12 months to learn if new templates are needed or what improvements can be made to existing templates. Google Forms is a great tool for creating simple, instant polling.

Managing branded templates is an ongoing project, but with the right planning and system in place, you can stay on top of it. Stay vigilant because every brand touchpoint matters.

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected]

While most marketers welcome a rebrand, managing its rollout can be tricky. Use this list to map out your brand rollout plan by identifying and prioritizing your needs in spreadsheets.
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The purpose of a brand style guide is to ensure consistency in order to safeguard a brand’s value. Many marketers struggle with what to include or how much detail is necessary. We created this guide to help you determine what is right for your brand.

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