Category: Branding

Our University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Corporate Social Responsibility class took a road trip last week. Where? To two of the biggest brewers in our state, Odell Brewing and New Belgium Brewing Company. Why you ask? To taste beer of course. And hear about their corporate social responsibility initiatives. What did we learn?
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  1. Marshmallows make a really easy, cost-effective sustainable holiday decoration.

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2. The bathroom is always an excellent place to tell your CSR story.
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3. That having a good culture, rooted in CSR values makes everyone smile.

Besides learning about the sustainability practices at the brewery (cans versus bottles, etc.), we also learned about HR and governance and what roles CSR plays in those departments. Best part? Seeing the cultures and brands that believe in businesses as a force for good. And oh yeah, getting a chance to taste a few of the newest brews out this winter. If sour is your thing, try the Odell Friek. I still have a soft spot for the top-seller 90 Shilling Ale.

Curious about CSR and what it involves for your business? Give me a shout (303-893-8608 ext. 202). We’d love to put our CSR education and experience to work.

Interested in going back to school for CSR? Now’s the time to enroll in the winter semester. Don’t wait too long, the application is due ASAP.

We in Denver should be very thankful to have not just one local dance company, but several here in our community. Scream Agency has had the opportunity to work with both the Colorado Ballet and Wonderbound brands over the years and we attended the opening season acts this Fall.

Scream Agency: Colorado Ballet Case Study from Scream Agency on Vimeo.

Colorado Ballet’s Swan Lake was incredibly beautiful and I’m still in awe as to how ballerina Maria Mosina was able to flutter. Her White Swan Pas de deux brought me to tears of joy. And Wonderbound’s A Gothic Folktale showed magical creative collaboration at its finest.

The magic at Wonderbound continues.

The magic at Wonderbound continues.

Let’s just say if you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, you’re missing out. It’s not too late to support these amazing athlete artists. Next up?

Colorado Ballet’s Nutcracker opens this weekend at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House Nov. 26 – Dec. 24. This large ballet will include more than 300 costumes, 30 Company dancers, 20 Studio Company dancers and 65 Academy dancers. “Colorado Ballet’s captivating presentation of The Nutcracker remains the ‘gold standard’ because it is the largest production of the holiday favorite in Colorado,” says Gil Boggs, Colorado Ballet Artistic Director.

And remember, Colorado Gives Day is Tues. Dec. 6. Our local ballet companies always need the support.

Click here to make a donation to Colorado Ballet. Or give to Wonderbound through Colorado Gives.

Ah yes, it’s that season again. You know the one. The season that only comes every four years and brings with it such a hullabaloo that no one can escape the blaring images of multi-colored rings, panoramic venue shots, and tearful athletes. Social media has been buzzing about amazing feats of human endurance for the last week and a half. These successes are so amazing you might even call them Olympic.

 

Oh wait. You can’t.

 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is extra committed to keeping their intellectual property to themselves and official sponsors this year. Essentially the IOC and the 11 sponsor companies own the rights to wishing athletes luck on social media, mentioning the city the games are held in, the year the games are held in, the year or the city the next two games will be held in, and adding “lympic” to the end of other words to make them sound like they have something to do with the games.

Despite the IOC “loosening” their restrictions on rules for advertising during many events that are happening in a certain South American country, it’s still a big challenge for many brands to get their campaigns on the podium.

For example, if your brand sponsored an athlete but not the Big Event itself, you could fill out waivers (which had to include your campaign plans) to the U.S Olympic Committee by the end of January 2016. This would have allowed your brand to use generic sports advertising without getting sued!

That being said, you still weren’t allowed to use certain trademarked images or phrases like what year the event happens, the name of a certain Brazilian city, or even the periodic element Au. Oh, your brand also can’t even retweet content created by an official sponsor. The IOC was clearly very generous with these “looser” terms.

Although these restrictions have led to some wonderfully creative ads, and some even better newscasts, some are questioning how these trademark laws restrict businesses’ speech and saying the USOC has overstepped the authority these laws give them. Many brands (especially small businesses) are simply asking to be allowed to retweet content or congratulate their local athletes.

All of this begs an important question: can the games be owned? Of course sponsorships are a huge part of any athletic event; for the longest time I thought Real Madrid was actually called Fly Emirates. However, with an international event the size of the Games, is it ethical to ban brands from joining the conversation entirely? The playing field is inherently uneven. A sponsorship can cost over $200 million—cash that a small business just doesn’t have. Businesses of all sizes though have the same pride in our country and athletes. Shouldn’t they be allowed to celebrate too? The spirit of the games is about opening borders and joining together in sport—not instituting petty barriers over who owns words.

If you haven’t heard about Pokémon Go, you’ve either been wearing blinders for the last week or you’re lying to yourself. The augmented-reality app based around the beloved Pokémon characters already has more users than the ever-infamous dating app, Tinder (it’s good to see people have their priorities straight). Even more impressive, however, is that the number of trainers looking to “catch ’em all” is about to overtake the number of daily active users on Twitter.

Trainers are going all in, too. You may have noticed that Snapchat’s newest universal geotag gives you the option to log the number of miles snappers have traveled in their quest to be the very best there ever was. True to its name, Pokémon Go has people going.

Thanks Wazee Super Club!

Thanks Wazee Super Club!

If you have had your blinders on, let me fill you in….

Players move through their real world to find one of two places: a Pokéstop to refresh on Pokéballs, potions, and other items or to gyms where they can battle Pokémon to gain control of the location for their team (go Valor!) Both of these locations are typically places of note around your respective city. Even some of our own clients have found themselves to be Pokéstops!

Already, businesses have realized something revolutionary: these gyms and Pokéstops are absurdly efficient at luring in customers. Literally.

In the game, items called lures can be purchased using in-game currency (each one costs about 99 cents) and are essentially upgrades to increase the number of Pokémon in the vicinity for a half an hour at a time. Lures are public and show up on the app’s map so everyone can see and take advantage of them. Look at it this way, for $5 anyone can instantly make hundreds of Pokémon Go users aware of their establishment. That’s minimal spending for two-and-a-half hours with hordes of trainers looking to park it somewhere and catch Pokémon. Restaurants and coffee shops especially are capitalizing on this opportunity. At the time of this writing someone has put a lure on the Pokéstop at the restaurant right across from our office.

Even just yesterday I found myself at a new happy hour place simply because they were right on a lure site. Realistically I never would have given the place a second glance had it not been for the pretty falling petals on my app’s map. Not only was it an amazing happy hour but I also caught a Pidgeot!

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Instagram @sandwichbowl_lawrenceks

If your business isn’t on or near a Pokéstop, there are still ways to capitalize on the craze. Some places are going so far as to offer a discount to trainers from their favorite team whether it’s Instinct, Mystic, or Valor.

 

Fortunately this craze, and the opportunities it presents, is just getting started. The game creates a unique hybrid of virtual and in-person chances to get creative and goofy and interact with people who could easily become lifetime customers.

 

What is your brand doing to take advantage of the Pokécraze?

Scream Agency is pleased to unveil the 2016/17 creative concept for Colorado Ballet. Where athlete meets art.

In collaboration with Colorado Ballet Artistic Director, Gil Boggs and celebrated photographer, Allen Birnbach, Scream Agency created a new campaign that highlights the collision of athleticism and artistry.

Our initial brainstorm consisted of a deep dive into the preconceived notions and ultimately blatant misconceptions of ballerinas and the ballet. We found that the majority of non-ballet patrons considered the experience to be unapproachable, artsy, and the ballerinas to be weak or fragile. We found these stigmas, though untrue, were creating a rift in these people’s desire to attend or even consider the ballet.

Fortunately, where there is tension, there is opportunity. And this tension point opened the floodgates of opportunity that inspired the 2016/2017 creative campaign, which sets out to destroy these pre-conceived notions.

We’ve removed the beautiful costumes, pulled away the intricate sets and showcased the dancers as they are, athletes.

General campaign launches August 2016.

 

Yesterday, we attended the CREJ Hotel & Resort Summit & Expo with 300+ other people in the industry. What did we learn?

CREJ's Hotel & Resort SummitThe good and the bad: the hotel and real estate industry is still growing at record-setting pace but it’s starting to level off.

With 55 hotels in the Denver pipeline (1,686 rooms in the final planning stage) and another 1,519 in construction, the hotel landscape in Denver is changing…quickly. According to STR, research shows that the number of hotel rooms in Denver will grow by 65 percent over last year making it one of the top three U.S. Markets under construction in overall room supply (behind Las Vegas and Dallas). The room demand for the Denver market is predicted to decline by -2.5 percent. That means Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) is predicted to also decline by -2.7 percent. The highest RevPAR will be in the Center Business District of Denver.

STR Report Shows Denver Hotels in Top 3.

With our Scream Agency offices in LoDo Denver and only a block from Union Station, we know the hotel landscape is changing (along with all the new breweries and restaurants) because we see it everyday.

So what does all of this mean for hotel brands and marketers? It means you better figure out a way to differentiate and market so you stand out from all the competitors.

How does marketing affect room bookings?

With the growth of the Millennials, and Gen Z following right behind them, hotel brand marketers will need to focus on the experience. Similar to the independent-seeking Gen X crowd, this cohort of people prefer unique experiences catered to their personality (and delivered in their social channels).

If you’re a hotel or resort brand, ask yourself…what is your unique experience that you provide guests? Do you offer a local craft beer tasting at check-in? Do you offer to walk their dog for free upon arrival? Will you give them information so they can “live like a local” as Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has done?

Let’s look at how top brands are performing in these social marketing channels. Technology and data company Engagement Labs, released rankings on the top U.S. hotels on social media and through word of mouth (WOM) conversations.

Engagement Labs Findings on Social Marketers

Engagement Labs Findings on Top 10 Social Marketers

As we all know, research shows that travelers are turning to social media now more than ever to discover various options, reviews and receive recommendations on where to stay during trips. It’s prime time for hotel brands to use social media to provide a story and visuals about what makes their property unique and why travelers should buy.

Hotel brands that build a two-way communication with guests build trust with the consumer, thereby making them a hotel they’d prefer to book. Provided you deliver on the experience, this in turn will then allow them to share in their channels, introducing your brand to more consumers who will eventually affect your bottom line.

Interested in knowing more about hotel marketing and branding? Scream Agency has worked with Four Seasons, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and several small independent boutique brands. Contact Lora@screamagency.com for a free 60-minute hotel marketing consult.

Several years ago, Scream Agency had the wonderful opportunity to work with Gretchen Gagel when she was the President and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado (WFCO). We watched as she fearlessly led the organization to triple its grantmaking capacity and double the endowment including an 18-month, $12 million campaign, as well as significant successes in research and public policy reform.

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As WFCO’s PR, digital and creative agency, we assisted in crafting the message, creating 6-foot-high big red purses that traveled the state for the “Fill the Purse” campaign, and collaborating on brand strategy. Our work was continually supported by Gagel as we navigated this territory for women on the path to economic self sufficiency.

We knew back then that Gretchen was unstoppable. In addition to raising two extremely talented children, she has held positions of leadership for the Women’s Funding Network, Daniels College of Business and now President of Continuum Advisory Group.

But being a successful leader and a mom wasn’t enough. She wanted other women and moms to learn from her journey. In the past few years, she’s worked with a handful of other working moms (including me) to interview them and put their stories and tips in a her first book: 8 Steps to Being a Great Working Mom. This mother’s day, we hope this book gives you a chance to laugh, learn, reflect and be inspired. Congrats Gretchen and thanks for all of your support over the years!

The book is available on Amazon and locally in Colorado at Tattered Cover Bookstores. #greatworkingmoms

This week, we at Scream Agency took the opportunity to exercise. Hold the high fives for a second. We know you’re not impressed. Everybody exercises in Colorado right?

By exercise, we’re talking mental exercise. We took our brain to the gym. Deep brain stretches. Diving into branding, creativity and thinking. Back of the brain muscles that have to develop big ideas. Now that hurts. Okay, bring it. High fives all the way around.

Thanks Art Gym for creating space for creatives!

Thanks Art Gym for creating space for creatives!

Sure, we do this for clients everyday so this shouldn’t be a challenge. But, this time it was different. We’re talking Scream Agency branding. You know, the cobbler’s children have no shoes, yadda yadda yadda. We all know that working on our own brand is much harder mental work.

To open our brain, we went to Art Gym. Over 17,000 beautiful square feet of creative workspace located in Denver. The Art Gym is a place for artist to show their art, create their work and collaborate with other members. From printmaking and sculpture, to drawing, painting and culinary arts, Art Gym has all the tools you need to get that right brain exercising to its full capacity.

What came out of our offsite exercise? Well now, you’ll just have to keep checking back to find out. Thanks again to the folks at Art Gym. We appreciate all you do for our arts and creative community!

All around the world, teams are gathering this week to prepare for one of the largest creative problem-solving competitions on the globe — Destination Imagination (DI) Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn. This four-day DI event is the world’s largest celebration of creativity. More than 8,000 of the world’s most innovative minds compete in teams to showcase their challenge solutions, celebrate creativity and have fun. From engineering and robotics, to storytelling and artistic performances, students will present solutions that they’ve created on their own (without the interference or ideas from adults).

Instant Challenge at work.

Instant Challenge at work.

Being a DI team manager for the past five years, I’ve re-learned some of the basic skills of how to put the creative mind to work. How do we let our brains run free? What makes a story sticky? How can we create a solution that is original for a brand? All valuable exercises to push our brains to explore. Whether we’re charged with writing a marketing plan or solving a digital branding challenge, we can apply the basics of DI.

At Scream Agency, we recently gave the DI thinking a whirl. The challenge: to create a kite out of the materials provided and tell a story of what the kite could see from its point of view. Both needed to be created and integrated in 5 minutes or less. We saw aliens from a foreign planet, a hand-drawn tree landscape scene, an original team-created kite made out of straws, string and paperclips and lots of laughter. And, more importantly, we saw teamwork.

 

And we're flying!

And we’re flying!

Curious to learn more? We’d be happy to share some of our creative brainstorming techniques or DI experiences. Just give us a shout.

Congrats to all of the Colorado DI teams who will be competing at Global Finals this week. Wish us luck!

Creativity to Infinity team off to 2015 DI Global Finals.

Creativity to Infinity team off to 2015 DI Global Finals.

We all have that friend: the one that can tell any story to anyone and anything that comes out of his mouth is guaranteed to be captivating. Besides feeling completely envious of his socializing capabilities, you enjoy his stories because you believe, trust and share a connection with the guy. We as marketers need to use this same principle as a way to share a brand’s tale, ultimately using storytelling as a way to connect to our audience.

Now before jumping right in, we need to go back to the basics of writing and structuring a story – enter writing 101. First, you need to figure out the tactical points in the story, also known as the story arc. The story arc is comprised of the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. It’s important to note that your brand and the resolution are synonymous. You must be able to tell how your product provides a solution for your audience. Second, you need to come up with a plot. In Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories the following are the main plots to a story:

  1. Overcoming the Monster
  2. Rags to Riches
  3. The Quest
  4. Voyage & Return
  5. Comedy
  6. Tragedy
  7. Rebirth

Now that you have options for a plot and a story arc established, you need to figure out how to fill your framework with content.

What content will resonate and evoke emotion with your audience? That’s a big question that you will need to answer. Furthermore, have you thought of your audience and what resonates with them?  There are many angles you can take with your brand storytelling. For example, you could tell how your company was established with a rags to riches plot – but only if that holds true. The key is not to over-shadow the consumer and throw them an our-company-is-wholly-than-thou message. Your goal is to look at the consumer as the main character and your brand as a sidekick role. Become the Robin to the Batman or the Chewbacca to Han Solo because your products and services are supporting the consumers’ needs.

Remember, storytelling is not just about the content but also how you bring it to life. The channels in which our stories are shared, the composition they take and the theme they present are additional elements to the story. And as Apple and Guinness brilliantly show, execution is just as important.

If your main entrée of a brand needs a side dish of storytelling, give Scream Agency a shout and we would love to unleash our brand storytelling capabilities.


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