Facebook Doesn’t Need Your Meme

Facebook Doesn’t Need Your Meme

10 Year Challenge Is Not a Conspiracy

The general public’s lack of tech understanding often takes the fun out of things for me.  The “How Hard Did Aging Hit You” or the 10-Year Challenge is one of those things. Normally, I don’t tend to participate, but as I saw how amazing, healthy and happy many of my friends have continued to look over time, I wanted to join in the fun.

This is the photo comparison that I posted to my personal Facebook account. On the left is my very first Facebook profile picture (yeah, go ahead and laugh) and on the right is my current profile picture. NOTHING I’ve shared here hasn’t already been publicly available. Most of us in the internet and tech industry are hyper aware that when we share something, it’s public. Facebook and all of social media are PUBLIC spaces, not private. So, I conduct my digital self the same way I do my public self. I participated in this photo sharing thing because it was fun and it’s a good reminder of how I’ve changed (mostly for the better) over the years.

But THEN came Kate O’Neil’s article in WIRED.

In the article, O’Neal claims that the purpose of the meme challenge is to get clean data to train the facial recognition AI.

Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you’d want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people’s pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years….

In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple, helpfully labeled set of then-and-now photos.

Kate O’Neil from wired.com 1/15/19

The argument here is that although Facebook does indeed have all of these photos in the system, people aren’t great at providing consistent data around those photos. Just because we posted a photo on a certain date doesn’t necessarily mean that it was taken on that date. Things like that. Her point is that Facebook’s system benefited from clean data that they didn’t have to sift through.

Then she goes on to discuss issues of privacy and makes the reader feel like we’ve somehow been duped into giving away even more information about ourselves.

First of all Facebook did not need our 10 Year comparisons at all.

This article, written by Sebastian Anthony back in March of 2014 is to my point. And I have to give credit to my colleague Kristine Schachinger for bringing it to my attention.

Facebook tries to impress upon us that verification (matching two images of the same face) isn’t the same as recognition (looking at a new photo and connecting it to the name of an existing user)… but that’s a lie. DeepFace could clearly be used to trawl through every photo on the internet, and link it back to your Facebook profile (assuming your profile contains photos of your face, anyway). Facebook.com already has a facial recognition algorithm in place that analyzes your uploaded photos and prompts you with tags if a match is made. I don’t know the accuracy of the current system, but in my experience it only really works with forward-facing photos, and can produce a lot of false matches. Assuming the DeepFace team can continue to improve accuracy (and there’s no reason they won’t), Facebook may find itself in the possession of some very powerful software indeed.

 for ExtremeTech 3/19/14

This was almost 5 years ago. Our willingness to post and tag people over the years has made DeepFace even more accurate. How do you think that really cool feature that asks if you want to tag your friend in that picture you’re about to post works?

Honestly, I believe there’s so much more to the system’s sophistication.

My mother and daughter gave me full permission to share these Facebook photos with you.

Not only is Facebook already capable of recognizing my face and your face with a high degree of accuracy, but it’s quite capable of predicting how we will age. My mother and daughter are both Facebook users. My familial relationship to both of them is confirmed. I have willingly identified them as my mother and daughter and they each confirmed that relationship independent of any photos of us together. Despite the family resemblance Facebook is 100% in identifying the faces in all of these photos. Facebook has all the data it needs to predict what I will look like in my mid seventies and how my daughter will look when she’s that age. Facebook didn’t need me to compare photos for that.

But there is a bigger point to make here

Facebook is a public space. EVERYTHING you do there is available for the system to use to provide you with a highly engaging and interactive experience.

I used to tell people that the first and best privacy filter is the one between your ears. If you want to keep it private, then you can’t share it. I need to adjust the way I explain this and from now on remind people that the moment it’s shared is the moment it’s no longer private.

Think of it this way:

If you went out for happy hour after work with your colleagues and decided to dance on the bar at the pub, you’re not going to expect them to keep that private and not discuss how much fun you had that evening. Nor could you expect that the incident would be forgotten and would never color their option of you thereafter. You chose to behave that way in a public space. Same goes for social media. You make a choice with every post, every comment, every reaction to do something in public. The only reasonable expectation is that it will be remembered and influence later interactions.

Facebook users actually benefit greatly from this systematic feedback loop. Facebook is able to put the people and events that matter most to you in your news feed so that you don’t have to waste time hunting for it. Facebook is able to facilitate your ability to easily share the delightful moments you’ve had with friends and family. It gives all of us a place to go to discuss news, politics, culture… life with others of all kinds of backgrounds.

If Facebook makes you uncomfortable, you are responsible to leave and not feed the system at all, or consider very carefully how you are going to train it to interact with you.

Michelle Stinson Ross is Apogee’s internal marketing strategist. She is responsible for growing our website, blog, social marketing, industry thought leadership and advertising footprints. She is also a key consultant to the internal team and the clients.

Michelle has written about digital marketing for Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, and Forbes. She is national industry conference speaker for SMX, Pubcon, Digital Summit.

To get updated information about the team at Apogee Results, please follow us on your favorite social media channels.

 

The Power of Cross-Promotion

 

Legends of Marketing Series by Gary Hoover

The Power of Cross-Promotion

 

The idea of working with other companies to build your sales has been around a long time in many situations.

Most of my life has been in retailing.  My friends and I built the first chain of giant bookstores, Bookstop, in the 1980s.  Barnes & Noble purchased the company and then expanded the giant store idea in a big way.  One of the most important parts of retail strategy has always been site selection.  In each of the 20+ stores we opened from Miami to San Diego, our first question was, “Who will be our co-tenants?  Will they appeal to the same customers who shop bookstores?”  Restaurants, movie theaters, and The Container Store were some of the co-tenants we sought.

Our first store was in a new shopping center in northwest Austin, Texas.  Two doors down was a young company’s second store, called Whole Foods Market.  I went to every store in the shopping center, maybe 15 of them, and offered to share in our grand opening campaigns.  Only Whole Foods’ management was interested.  We set it up so that if I customer bought enough at Whole Foods, they got a free book, and if they bought enough books, they got a free steak at Whole Foods.  All I clearly remember is that Whole Foods ran out of steaks in the promotion.

At the level of big companies, McDonald’s has worked with many others, including the makers of Monopoly.  But their greatest partnership is with Coca-Cola.  The inability to capture the business of fast food chains led PepsiCo to buy their own chains and create the second biggest fast food chain group.  Later, they spun those operations off as Yum Brands, which includes Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC.  Pepsi made sure they signed long-term contracts to have their products in those restaurants.

One of the most successful co-marketers is Intel, which sells nothing to end consumers, but backs the advertising of those computer makers who use Intel “inside” with their logo and sound bite.

And of course, the movie companies use co-marketing heavily, from James Bond and Aston-Martin to E.T. and Reese’s Pieces, from Burger King in Men in Black II to Mini Cooper in The Italian Job.

There is no marketing organization which can’t use cross-promotion to their advantage.  It’s just a matter of being creative.  When everyone else is just running low prices for Black Friday and special sales, surprise people with the unexpected, something different!

Starting questions include:

  • Who is our customer? (You gotta know that already!)
  • What else do they buy? (Think hard, do surveys or focus groups, look for the unusual or surprising.)
  • Which companies are best in those categories?
  • Which companies are most interested in tying-up with us, which are easiest to work with? (Especially if they already do some co-marketing.)

From a variety of sources, here are a few ideas – it’s up to you to figure out how to adapt them to your business:

Pool your marketing budgets and human resources to co-sponsor an event, from a marathon to a webinar to a museum exhibit.

Share in a contest – any contest.  Fill in the missing letters from famous quotes or movie dialogs, to spell out your company or brand name.  Find hidden codes in each other’s websites or email campaigns.

Have customers submit videos of themselves using both your products or services.

Exchange premiums – a gift of wine with cheese and vice-versa, a gift of cosmetics with clothes, a gift of consulting time with a valuable report or study.  Look for unusual combinations!

Create bundled products and packages that you both sell – a restaurant discount with a hotel stay, shoes with socks, website creation and social media marketing tools, and again cheese and wine.

Selectively combine frequent customer, loyalty programs, or points.  Buy ten things from us and get one from the other company.

Create affiliate programs where other companies earn commissions for driving traffic to your site or products and services, wherever they are sold.

Share content – if your food site has recipes tips, share them with the people who make the ingredients and vice-versa.

Share customer lists (within the rules and with the customers’ approval, of course!).

Get creative, look at every industry for more ideas.

Even without telling the other company, you may be able to promote their product without them objecting.  Tie something you sell to a popular TV show, movie, song, or book.  When our Bookstop employees tired of receiving book discounts as a perk, we added gift certificates from the largest local record store and people loved them (remember record stores?).

Any such program needs strong joint promotion and social media campaigns to work.  Tweet, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor a lot!  Review each other’s products on Amazon.

With the right partner and creative thinking, you can both accelerate your business!

Here are some links for further research, inspiration, and idea generation:

https://petersandeen.com/partnership-marketing-methods/

https://blog.rebrandly.com/co-marketing-campaigns/

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-cobranding-partnerships

https://www.bluleadz.com/blog/10-great-examples-of-co-marketing-partnerships-that-work

https://www.powerlinx.com/resources/types-marketing-partnerships/

https://econsultancy.com/a-complete-guide-to-partnership-marketing-part-one/

https://adage.com/article/agency-viewpoint/10-branded-content-partnerships-2017/311725/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254742

For small businesses:

https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/04/partnership-marketing-small-business.html

https://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing-strategy/cost-effective-marketing/marketing-partnerships-that-every-small-business-should-build

https://www.hatchbuck.com/blog/small-business-partnerships/

https://www.inc.com/magazine/201504/erin-geiger-smith/tipsheet-the-tricky-art-of-parenting.html
(The link sounds wrong, but this is about marketing, not parenting.)

For bricks-and-mortar, local:

https://townsquared.com/ts/resources/cross-promotion/

https://www.nfib.com/content/resources/marketing/10-ideas-for-cross-promoting-your-company-50506/

https://www.independentwestand.org/cross-promote-your-small-business-through-local-partnerships/

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/attract-more-customers-through-cross-promotion-2947163

https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/05/cross-promotion-small-business.html

https://www.amfam.com/resources/articles/your-business/tips-for-cross-promotion-with-other-businesses

https://www.thryv.com/blog/7-cross-promotion-ideas-small-business/

Gary Hoover is a serial entrepreneur.  He and his friends founded of the first book superstore chain Bookstop (purchased by Barnes & Noble) and the business information company that became Hoovers.com (bought by Dun & Bradstreet).  Gary served as the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business.  He has been a business enthusiast and historian since he began subscribing to Fortune Magazine at the age of 12, in 1963.  His books, posts, and videos can be found online, especially at www.hooversworld.com. He lives in Flatonia, Texas, with his 57,000-book personal library.

To get updated information about the team at Apogee Results, please follow us on your favorite social media channels.

 

2018 Award Winning Work

2018 Award Winning Work

by Michelle Stinson Ross

During the fall conference season, Apogee Results was honored with the recognition of our industry peers for a sample of the work we do all year long for our clients. In October of 2018 the fully integrated work we do on behalf of Capson Physicians Insurance was named one of a handful of finalists for both Best Integrated Campaign and Best Use of Content Marketing for the US Search Awards. We are grateful for the recognition and look forward to nominating our clients for marketing excellence again for the 2019 US Search Awards.

In mid November I had the privilege of traveling to New York City to represent the agency team and Capson for the Drum Search Awards USA. The combined work of our SEO, PPC, Content, and Social Media teams was nominated as finalists for Best Integrated Campaign and Best Content Marketing Campaign.

Attendees to the awards show and banquet were greeted outside the Edison Ballroom in the Manhattan Theater Distct by a drum line providing a smooth groove for stolling down the red carpet.

Opportunities to network with fellow nominees began with a cocktail reception followed by a lovely dinner and entertainment provided by an outstanding a capella group.

It is with great pleasure that I can inform you that Apogee Results and Capson Physicians Insurance received the award for Best Content Marketing Campaign. The award was given by a group of digital marketing industry peers based on the demonstration of excellence in clear strategic thinking, clarity and transparency, innovation, effectiveness, and tangible results.

If you would like to learn more about the strategy and methodology of this winning case study, please view – Content Marketing from Zero to 60.

If you would like to learn more about how the Apogee Results team can help your business achieve best in class results in 2019, please fill out the contact form in the sidebar of this page.

Michelle Stinson Ross is Apogee’s internal marketing strategist. She is responsible for growing our website, blog, social marketing, industry thought leadership and advertising footprints. She is also a key consultant to the internal team and the clients.

Michelle has written about digital marketing for Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, and Forbes. She is national industry conference speaker for SMX, Pubcon, Digital Summit.

To get updated information about the team at Apogee Results, please follow us on your favorite social media channels.

The Marketing Lessons of Sears, Roebuck

Legends of Marketing Series by Gary Hoover

 

The Marketing Lessons of Sears, Roebuck

For 60 years, Sears was the largest general merchandise retailer in the world, the most profitable retailer, and the most feared by competitors.  In October 2018, this once-great company declared bankruptcy, and may not be long for this world.  The rise of Sears and its downfall both contain many lessons for marketers and managements in general.

First, the rise.  Sears’ founder Richard Sears began selling cheap watches by mail in the 1880s, but he did not care about product quality.  In the late 1890s, he sold controlling interest to his supplier of menswear, Julius Rosenwald.  Rosenwald raised the quality standards by opening product testing labs.  He reorganized the company to insure quick and accurate fulfilment of the hundreds of thousands of orders that poured in via the U.S. mail. He and his team built new facilities and systems which were efficient.  He shared in the wealth by giving employees large amounts of company stock.  Sears blew past the older catalog company Montgomery Ward, and became number one.

 

In the 1920s, Rosenwald was ready to retire, and turned the company over to General Robert E. Wood.  Wood might be the greatest retailer of the 20th century, as he maintained Sears’ catalog dominance while entering the bricks-and-mortar retail business.  New stores were built from coast-to-coast, and soon Sears was bigger than any other general merchandise retailer (only grocer A&P was larger, but later Sears passed even them).  It is from Wood that we have the most to learn.

Building upon Rosenwald’s talented and highly efficient organization, Wood first put prime emphasis on finding the best products and innovating in every product category.  Whereas in the past, retailers tended to sell whatever was available or whatever they had on their shelves, Sears’ buyers worked directly with the best manufacturers they could find.  In the stores, they listened to customers to find out what they wanted.  They bought rubber in advance to help their tire suppliers save money.  They found they could make refrigerators larger with just a little more inexpensive steel.  Sears’ people learned every step of the supply chain and the manufacturing process, becoming free consultants to their suppliers.  Sears made more money, the suppliers made more money, and the customers got lower prices – a hard combination to beat.

What are your company’s relationships with suppliers like?  Are you at odds or working together?  Do you start with studying what customers need and then work backward to deliver it, as Sears did?

Robert Wood was an information addict.  He reportedly read a new page of a statistics book every day.  He became an expert on demography and trends.  His strategy was based on these facts.  Over and over, this allowed Sears to trounce the competition.  Do you know more about long-term trends than your competitors do?

Robert Wood was a believer in making mistakes, in trying experiments.  He thought failure was part of learning, and failure rarely held someone back from promotion, as long as the company learned from it.

 

Sears under Wood made enriching his customers and their communities a key priority.  When he found poverty in the south, he asked his suppliers to build plants there.  To support local communities, he kept his cash in local banks rather than in New York or Chicago where he might have made more profit.  His managers were expected to lead the local Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, and help fund schools.  Sears became the ultimate example of being a good corporate citizen, but this was always based on how it would help their customers.  Today many companies support various charities, but is it really helping your customers or broadening your audience?

General Wood said, “There are four parties to any business….the customer comes first…the employee comes next……then comes the community….last comes the stockholder…..if the other three … are properly taken care of, the stockholder will benefit in the long pull.”  Would this description fit your company?

These are among the many ways Sears rose to the top of its field.  For more on General Wood and his fascinating life, read this.

Now, the decline.  Most of Sears’ long and tragic decline started at the top, with general management issues.  Of course, these problems found their way into every aspect of the company, including marketing.

At the top, the leadership began infighting, something Rosenwald and Wood did not tolerate.  The bureaucracy at headquarters grew and grew, until the company in the 1970s built the world’s tallest building, something that did no good for customers, employees, and certainly stockholders.  Experimentation died.  The arrogance that comes with success rose.  Talented young retailers found work elsewhere, not at Sears.  Because the company was so strong, it took years for this decay to kill the company.

From a marketing standpoint, Sears failed to defend its fortresses, or “moats.”

Sears was America’s source for auto services and supplies, lawn and garden items, tools and hardware, and major appliances.  They were very strong in sporting goods and other major categories.

Since the 1970s, when Sears peaked, demand for these categories have boomed.  AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly, and tire stores have covered the nation.  Home Depot is now our most successful big retailer; Lowe’s and Menard’s are also large companies.  The home appliance business has been transformed by innovation and higher average ticket prices.  Academy and Dick’s do well in sporting goods.

Sears “let” these folks murder it, in categories where Sears’ expertise was unrivaled.

Sears also knew more about non-store selling (catalogs) and distribution than any other company on earth.  But they shut down their catalog in 1993, the year before Amazon was started.  ECommerce represents the natural evolution of the catalog, merely using the latest technology.

Strategic failure often reflects such inability or unwillingness to defend your own moats or fortresses.  It isn’t easy, but you’ve got to fight back if you are smart and want to have a future.

What are your company’s fortresses?  What is worth defending?  How far would you go to defend your position?  Yahoo, MySpace, AltaVista, and others show how fragile online leadership can be.

There is always a great deal to be learned by the successes and failure of others, and few companies have as much to teach as poor, old Sears, Roebuck.

Gary Hoover is a serial entrepreneur.  He and his friends founded of the first book superstore chain Bookstop (purchased by Barnes & Noble) and the business information company that became Hoovers.com (bought by Dun & Bradstreet).  Gary served as the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business.  He has been a business enthusiast and historian since he began subscribing to Fortune Magazine at the age of 12, in 1963.  His books, posts, and videos can be found online, especially at www.hooversworld.com. He lives in Flatonia, Texas, with his 57,000-book personal library.

To get updated information about the team at Apogee Results, please follow us on your favorite social media channels.

7 Texas Businesses That Crush Their Marketing Strategy

by Patrick Foster

 

7 Texas Businesses That Crush Their Marketing Strategies

As the old phrase goes, everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s particularly true when it comes to Texan businesses. The Lone Star State is home to some of America’s largest companies, including ExxonMobil, AT&T and Pizza Hut.

But how does a small local business grow to the point where it is known both nationally and, in some cases on our list, globally?

The answer is by developing a highly effective marketing strategy. Marketing is the vehicle that builds a brand’s image and drives customer acquisition, which is the bedrock of a successful business. Here are seven Texan businesses that have got this just right.

Image Pexels

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines are masters at emotional storytelling, a clever marketing strategy that allows them to connect with customers on a deep and authentic level. During 2017 and the first half of 2018, Southwest Airlines hosted an interactive microsite called 175 Stories, a nod to the fact that there are 175 seats on each of their new Boeing 737 planes.

Each of these seats contains a passenger with their own story to tell, a story that the brand leveraged in their marketing by exploring each passenger’s emotional journey as well as their physical one.

Southwest Airlines has also utilized empathy as part of their social media strategy. In their Dallas ‘Listening Center’, a team of 40 customer service experts monitor social media channels around the clock with one primary goal: to simply listen to customers.

Being on hand to respond to complaints, queries and comments immediately is an excellent marketing strategy because it makes customers feel like the company cares about their experience.

With 64% of customers expecting a reply on Twitter within 60 minutes, Southwest Airlines are cleverly aligning their social media efforts with customer expectations.

Dr. Pepper

A young pharmacist called Charles Alderton invented Dr. Pepper in Waco, Texas, and it has since become a staple in American culture.

Though a perennially popular brand, Dr. Pepper enjoyed a significant boost in sales by embracing both social media and online gaming. The brand launched ‘Pepperhood’, a college-style fraternity of friends and fans of the drink, which offered challenges, prizes and the chance to become Pepperhood President.

This strategy garnered huge social engagement, with more than 70,000 players registering and more than 4,000 pieces of user-generated content being uploaded to the Pepperhood site.

Most importantly, sales increased significantly during the five month campaign by an impressive 385,000 units. Dr Pepper might be 130 years old, but it’s ahead of the game when it comes to marketing.

Shiner Bock Beer

Shiner Bock is a craft beer brewed in Texas, which is beloved by its home state, but has also grown in popularity nationwide. With rapid growth in the craft beer industry, there is a constant focus on what is new.

As such, it seemed natural for Austin ad agency McGarrah Jessee to return to Shiner’s roots when creating a campaign for the beer. By focusing on the 108-year history of the brand, McGarrah Jessee marketed Shiner as authentic and part of America’s history.

Shiner’s marketing strategy was a multipronged one, and the company paid $1.2 million for a Super Bowl spot in 2018 to get their message out there. By leveraging several different marketing methods at once, Shiner is retaining the image of a local beer whilst offering it to a national audience.

This strategy is evidence of the importance of branding when it comes to marketing a product or service. A rejuvenation of a brand’s image could be enough to turn around an ailing business. Indeed, you could pick up a local Texas business that isn’t performing so well and turn it around with a careful, considered brand revamp. You could then easily flip it for a quick profit.

Dickies

Texan brand Dickies has successfully made the jump from workwear to lifestyle brand, via an unexpected foray into skatewear. This is due in part to the success of DickiesStore.co.uk, the online distributor in the UK for the global Dickies brand.

Digital marketing specialists MediaVision were asked to help Dickies grow their market share by developing new audiences. Due to their product range, Dickies had assumed that their target audience lay naturally in the building trade but research identified other lifestyle verticals including gardening, camping and agriculture.

MediaVision implemented a paid search strategy based on factors such as seasonality and geographic location, and developed bespoke landing pages for niche interest groups outside of the workwear industry, such as dog walkers.

This worked particularly well on Facebook, with focus being steered away from products and towards lifestyle, taking likes for the Dickies page from 2000 to 20000 in just one year.

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market was founded in Austin by four people who believed that the natural foods industry was ready for a supermarket format. They were right: Whole Foods Market is now a Fortune 500 company and is America’s largest retailer of organic foods.

The company was acquired by corporate behemoth Amazon for $13.7 billion earlier this year, but has retained its image as an alternative to the usual supermarket offerings in its latest marketing campaign.

Under the tagline Whatever Makes You Whole, the new campaign puts emphasis on shoppers rather than produce, and attempts to help Whole Foods shed the ‘whole paycheck’ image that had dogged it for years.

And it seems to have worked: sales at Whole Foods have soared in the past year. Whole Foods have managed to walk the tricky tightrope of offering ethically sourced organic food at lower prices, and their marketing reflects that.

Dell

University of Texas student Michael Dell founded the huge multinational computer technology company in 1984 with capital of just $1000. As of May 2014, Michael Dell’s net worth was approximately $18 billion. Such a figure is clear evidence of Dell’s impeccable marketing strategies over the last three decades.

Dell utilizes content marketing as an important part of their marketing strategy and has created a hugely popular podcast called Trailblazers. Though chiefly aimed at C-suite executives, the podcast is interesting for anyone with an interest in disruptive technologies.

Trailblazer has been nominated for a Webby award, garnering huge publicity for Dell, and their overall content marketing strategy was named in the NewsCred Top 50 Best Content Marketing Brands of 2018.

This method highlights the value of content marketing for businesses, both small and large. Take a look at local Texas business listings and you’ll find any number of brands that, regardless of their business niche, have implemented a solid content marketing strategy. Content marketing creates ongoing value for their customers, which in turn ensures they’ll return to buy from a brand again and again.

Chuck E. Cheese

Restaurant Chuck E. Cheese is an excellent example of how being prepared to be flexible and think quickly can create a hugely successful marketing strategy.

In 2017, McDonald’s hit headlines when an Arizona mom began swab testing play areas in the fast food chain and finding dangerous pathogens. In response, McDonald’s banned her from its restaurants and created a storm of negative PR.

Enter Chuck E. Cheese, who came forward and volunteered to partner with the mom to establish new sanitation standards for their family restaurants. Chuck E. Cheese were clever in playing the part of the rescuer in this story. But they also recognized that a brief switch in loyalties doesn’t necessarily mean the customer won’t return to a competitor.

They turned this into an effective marketing strategy by making a long-term commitment to their customers in the shape of their Kids Play Safe certification. The logo gives visible assurance of their care for children’s safety, something that is hugely appealing to all parents.

Through employing excellent customer service, creating amazing content, making clever use of social media and positioning their brand as authentic, credible and trustworthy, these Texan brands have got their marketing strategies just right.

Patrick Foster is an ecommerce guru who knows a thing or two about marketing. He shares his years of experience on his blog and ecommerce community, Ecommerce Tips. Find the latest posts on Twitter @myecommercetips.

To get updated information about the team at Apogee Results, please follow us on your favorite social media channels.