(W)right On Communications Launches WOC Intelligence


New survey reveals San Diego County residents strongly favor SeaWorld fireworks

SAN DIEGO, August 21, 2014 – To gauge stakeholders’ opinions – from hyperlocal through national markets – and leverage those detailed insights for data-driven decision making, San Diego public relations firm (W)right On Communications has created WOC Intelligence.

(W)right On’s new research capability is one of the first of its kind among San Diego-based PR agencies. WOC Intelligence is a market and public opinion research service that strategically helps reveal the heart of key issues through expert survey development and skilled analysis.

“It’s part of our core values to work with client partners to develop intentional and strategic campaigns that produce exceptional results,” said Grant Wright, CEO and managing partner of (W)right On Communications. “Since intelligence gathering has long been a critical part of how we develop strategic communications plans, WOC Intelligence continues (W)right On’s investment in the right tools to ensure our strategies are informed by the best information available.”

Based from (W)right On’s Vancouver, BC, office, Director of Research and Analytics Hamish Marshall is at the helm of WOC Intelligence. A former advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada, provincial premiers, city mayors and dozens of elected officials, Marshall has strong experience throughout the USA, Canada and UK in all data collection methods to provide critical insights for strategic planning, marketing and other organizational activities.

WOC Intelligence conducted a recent survey of San Diego County residents on a variety of topics coinciding with the agency’s key practice areas in hospitality and tourism, energy and water usage, and health care. Among the results, WOC Intelligence found that the majority of San Diegans think SeaWorld should continue its fireworks. 74 percent of San Diego County residents are in favor of keeping the SeaWorld fireworks. 15 percent are either moderately or strongly opposed and 11 percent said they weren’t sure. The results did not vary between City of San Diego and South or North County residents, nor 18 to 34 year olds versus other age groups.

An online survey questioned 375 San Diego County residents between July 21 and July 24, 2014. Results weighted by age, gender, income and County region, with the margin of survey error being +/- 5.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The Next Big Social Media Platform


In a recent discussion about opportunities to engage a lackadaisical customer base, a client asked, “What are the kids using these days?” Regarding social media, it’s something we hear often.

Sometimes the question is “what’s the next Facebook,” or, “are people still getting information from (insert name of platform),” but at the heart of the query is an understanding that social media is powerful and the landscape is ever-changing. It’s not 2007; businesses have caught on and understand that information isn’t consumed as it traditionally was. Chat up your friends around the water cooler and it’s likely that they’ll cite an article, meme or trend that they discovered through a “new media” channel (social networks, blogs, vlogs, etc.).

So, the question remains: what’s the next big social media platform?

To understand the next standout social media platform is to first understand basic principles of how people communicate. Second, it’s to understand the latest ways the Internet is being used.

Humans are thoughtful, emotional and social creatures. We express thoughts and feelings through speaking, touching and body gestures. When we do this with other humans, we call it socializing. While socializing, we anticipate cues to help us gauge impact, interest and agreement that will influence how/ what we communicate going forward. We prefer to socialize with others who have similar view points, or at least similar approaches to communication, although diversity keeps things interesting. We communicate to achieve outcomes, express ourselves or even just pass the time. This is human communication in a nutshell.

Figuring out how the Internet is being used is much more difficult, but to simplify, we can split the answer into two components: occupying through content and fulfilling a need. The guy who’s leaving YouTube comments that have nothing to do with the video is occupying himself by producing content. There’s no goal he’s trying to accomplish through his actions, nor is his commentary part of a larger plan. He’s commenting because it’s easy and he is entertained by others’ responses. The key here is it’s easy.

Fulfilling a need is simpler to understand. Two examples of innovative Internet applications that address needs are WebMD self-diagnoses and EBay’s new Group Gift, which allows a group of people to pitch in on a present. For businesses, it’s important to understand how customers are fulfilling their needs on the Internet. That serves as a foundation to determine what social channels to focus efforts on and what approach should guide their overall social media strategy.

In our experience, there are steadfast social media criteria to help determine what the next big social media platform will be:

  • Appeal – If the platform is too niche, it won’t get mass appeal (although hyper-targeted platforms can be incredibly effective for certain brands, but that’s for another blog)
  • Solving a new need – Providing a solution to something people didn’t realize was a problem
  • New way of solving an old need – Solving a problem better than a previous solution
  • Scalability – Ease by which new users join and connect, and degree to which connecting and growing circles improves the experience
  • Simplicity – For something to catch on, it has to be easy for the general public to do because if it can’t be figured out by a quick trial, people will move on

Based on these criteria and my diligent research, I present to you the three apps most likely to be the next big thing:

  • Circle – A mobile app that shows you what’s happening nearby right now and adapts to your location to provide useful information anywhere you go. Sound familiar? Ashton Kutcher is a key investor in the Palo Alto-based venture. The app has amassed a user base of 12 million spread across more than 1,700 U.S. cities. The app claims a million users join every month. Uniquely, Circle doesn’t try to make you build a new network for the app, but instead uses the contacts already in your phone. Sharing your plans with friends is incentivized by earning points which can be redeemed for real life value, such as an Amazon gift card or a weekend in Las Vegas.
  • Nextt –  Ever scroll your Facebook feed and think, “Who cares?” That’s because what’s shared on Facebook, and many other sites, are happenings of the past. Nextt focuses on the future and, more specifically, your circle of friends’ future. Nextt solves the main problem of online social networks, which is preventing you from interacting with friends offline. You know, like when you’re with friends at happy hour and everyone’s nose is in their phones. To solve this, Nextt gathers you and your friends in one convenient place to effortlessly organize and plan upcoming gatherings.

What’s Nextt for you? from Nextt on Vimeo.

  • Highlight –  This app is a location-based social network that makes local searches more social. Highlight draws data from friends and feeds you information about those around you. Whether someone is biking past your apartment or a pal just wrapped up at work, Highlight will tell you everything you could ever want to know about your friends. Sound a bit intrusive or creepy? Let’s be honest and agree the notion of privacy is much different than it was a decade ago, not to mention that it’s up to you what amount of data you allow the app to share with friends.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow friends to share events of the past. Twitter and Foursquare allow communication surrounding the present. Nextt will usher in the new wave for social media: the future.

As a bonus, I came across some wacky and poorly thought out social media platforms and apps while researching this post. For your entertainment, here are the Bottom 3 newest social media apps. Enjoy!

  • Yo – This app asks you to build a circle of connections so that you can merely send people a “yo” message. That’s it. Seriously. Somehow, the app secured $1 million in initial seed funding, but considering it has no revenue stream and a use that’s more novel than captivating, Yo (in its current state) is heading for the app graveyard.
  • Yik Yak – An app that allows people to anonymously share messages with people in their area without actually knowing them. This article brilliantly quipped that Yik Yak “combines comment section trolls, schoolyard bullies, a person’s random thoughts and a whole lot of f*bombs” and questioned its usefulness after causing two false school evacuations in a week.
  • WhatsApplebee’s – Ever find yourself in an Applebee’s (drawn in by a “two for $20” combo, no doubt) and felt the urge to chat it up with fellow patrons without having to stop chewing the gummy sirloin you ordered? WhatsApplebee’s (not officially affiliated with Applebee’s) allows you to chat with other patrons, but it only works when you’re in an Applebee’s. “That’s awesome,” said no sane person ever.

Don’t Delete Your Google+ Profiles Just Yet: The Network Still Provides Benefits for Brands

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Everyone seems to have an opinion on the future of Google+.  A quick Google search of “Google+ is dead” nets several articles debating the future of the social network. The headlines read:

  • “Google+ Is Walking Dead.”
  • “Is Google+ Really Walking Dead?”
  • “Google+ Isn’t Dead. It’s Just In A Coma And On Life Support.”
  • “Google+ Isn’t Dead. Long Live Google +!”

In 2011, when I got an “invite” to join the new exclusive social network, I was excited about the possibilities. Would it replace Facebook as the social network du jour? Would Google finally launch a successful social media platform (RIP Google Buzz)? I was disappointed when, within a few short months, Google+ seemed to lose its luster.

Speculators have been hemming and hawing over Google+’s longevity since just after its launch, but those questions increased last month when Vic Gundotra, head of Google+ social efforts, announced that he was leaving the company. To add to the PR firestorm, Tech Crunch published an article citing a “source” that claims that “Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform — essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.” Google denied the claims.

(W)right On’s conclusion: Don’t delete your Google+ profiles yet.  While the future of the social network isn’t clear, it still provides a number of benefits for brands:

SEO: Google is a search engine, so it makes sense that Google+ provides significant SEO advantages. Google+ content itself – meaning content you post to your page – can rank in search results in instances where your website may not. Google+ also allows for near-instant indexing, whereas simply putting up new content and waiting it out usually takes a few days.

According to Forbes, “linking your Google+ page to your content via Google Authorship markup will cause the headshot and stats from your Google+ profile to show up in Google’s search results pages next to content you have written. This includes a your profile picture displaying within search results next to your content, which has been shown to draw user’s eyes and significantly improve click-through rates.”

Further, when someone follows you on Google+, it is much more likely that your content will appear higher in their search results. And when other Google+ users give a link multiple +1s, the pages shoot up in the search rankings.

No Pay for Play: Facebook has more active users than Google+. But with the latest change to its algorithm, Facebook has recently become “pay for play,” which means it’s difficult for posts to gain traction unless the page owner pays money to “boost” them. This means that “free” Facebook marketing may no longer a viable way for businesses to reach consumers.

[RELATED: Pay for Play: Will Facebook Get In Trouble?]

Quality Visits: According to a recent report from Shareaholic, Google+ actually has the second highest social media post-click engagement. YouTube took the #1 spot and Facebook is down at #5. So although Google+ drives fewer referrals compared to its competitors, it turns out the traffic it does drive is actually quite high on the quality scale. Google+ users spend more than three minutes diving into links shared by their circles, view 2.45 pages during each visit, and bounce only 50.63 percent of the time.

For these reasons alone, we recommend that brands include Google+ as one part of a comprehensive social media strategy. What are your thoughts on Google+? Is it dead, alive or maybe just sick? Join the debate in the comments.

Top Marketing and Communications Trends for 2014: Part Two


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Curious about what new marketing and communication trends 2014 will bring? In part one of this post, we identified three key trends for the New Year: social media becoming pay-for-play, branded journalism, and wearable technology and the Internet of Things. Today, we’ll discuss three more trends.

Collaborative economy:  Crowd sourcing, crowd funding, crowd storming: Fab, AirBnB, Uber, TaskRabbit. These are all examples of the collaborative economy. Recent advances in technology like mobile, social, 3D printers and the Internet of Things are empowering people and businesses to share existing resources with each other rather than buy anew or reinvent the wheel. It’s a simple, but revolutionary concept. The collaborative economy was a huge trend in 2013, but is likely to grow in 2014 and marketers should challenge themselves to think about how they can leverage it. ‘My Starbucks Idea’ is a good example of how a brand creatively harnessed the power of crowdsourcing, not only for marketing, but to innovate their business.

Anticipatory computing – This is the act of serving up information a person wants before they even know to ask for it. Mobile users have been checking into their locations, listening to music on their phones, and updating ical events for years. Now, companies like Foursquare and Circle are using the data from these mobile interactions to tailor suggestions specific to the user, which effectively means that your smartphone could dictate your preferences and purchases.

For example, Foursquare is rolling out push notification recommendations to help users find what’s happening in their area. People who opt-in to the push notifications will get suggestions on where to eat or what to do in their neighborhoods. I predict that this idea will proliferate in 2014, and will have a significant impact on advertising and marketing.

Super fans as marketers: The idea of engaging an audience that is already passionate about your brand isn’t new, but social media makes ‘super fans’ even more valuable. It’s easier than ever before to find and reach super fans, and they have a menagerie of tools at their fingertips to evangelize their brand affinities.

A recent Mashable article stated that a Facebook friend is now worth about $174, which 28% higher than 2012, and that figure is expected to increase. Online friends are clearly valuable, but if recommendations from Facebook friends are worth almost $200, what’s the value of a recommendation from a real-live friend? Super fans can be a brand’s secret weapon, not only because of their power online, but also offline.

As we progress through the age of the ‘super fan,’ marketers will enlist these ‘assets’ to market and sell for them, both online and in-person. Here’s an example: Pepsi rewarded selected Beyoncé fans who created videos based on the singer’s latest commercial with the chance to appear in a video made with her choreographer, as well as a trip to her concert in Brooklyn. Smart.

What do you think will be the major marketing trends in 2014? Tell us in the comments.