Topics that Shaped 2016

At Midan, it is our job to pay attention to what is happening in the meat industry and beyond. Each week we comb the headlines, not only to keep up-to-date, but to identify patterns that could become trends that impact our industry. As we look back at the past year, a few prominent themes emerge that are likely to continue to require our attention in 2017.

Millennials: The challenge is different with this generation – we simply can’t lump them into a nice, neat category. After all, these “kids” have redefined individualism! One thing is certain: they are a large population force to be reckoned with and their impact has led to shifts in how businesses market to them. Millennials grew social media, heightened consumer consciousness about issues like sustainability and led the charge for clean labels, all while demanding bold flavors and convenient meal options. Complicated? Yes! Worth the effort? You bet!

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The “Secret” is Out! How to Score Big in the Social Space

Remember the scene from the 1996 classic film, Space Jam, when Michael Jordan hands his pals on the Tune Squad the “Secret Stuff?”  Along with some help from Bugs Bunny, MJ was able to pull a fast one on his teammates. He was able to convince them that his magic elixir (water) could help them defeat the evil MonStars. Lucky for him, it worked!

Where you going with this, you might ask? Well…unlike the contents of Michael Jordan’s water bottle, there really is “secret stuff” that can help lead your team to a successful social strategy.

What is this “secret?” It lies in your mindset. Unlike in a fictitious, animated basketball game where winning or losing is the only thing that matters, in the social game, capturing key learning’s and listening to your audience is the secret that will eventually lead to success.

That’s right, in order to be successful you have to take a step back and realize the importance of experimentation, testing and most importantly, listening.

Take, for instance, our work with Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., and their Star Ranch Angus® beef brand. Throughout 2014, we were tasked with increasing engagement across all of Star Ranch Angus beef’s digital platforms, with a particular focus on their Facebook page.

Our first tactic was to re-think the brand’s current approach to strategy. Instead of “doing” social media, we positioned the brand to “become” social by developing and experimenting with fun, relevant content, geared toward engaging the audience. We paid close attention to metrics, gauging the type of content that sparked reactions. We then focused on those themes to make sure we were giving our audience the content they wanted to see.  Along with testing options in our targeted advertising, we implemented a giveaway campaign that served as the primary traffic driver on the brand’s page. The campaign helped establish a dedicated following that we now refer to as “our community.”

Following the shift in strategy, we saw significant increases not only in engagement, but in following as well. The success of the Facebook page also contributed to increases in web visits and to the addition of another social platform for the brand, Pinterest.

So, when thinking about the next step in your social adventure, keep in mind that, even though you don’t have six championship rings or a team of misfit cartoon characters, you have everything you need to be successful. Take the time to experiment, test and listen, and you’ll be on your way to becoming the “Michael Jordan” of the social space.

To see more of our work with Star Ranch Angus beef, check out this case study chronicling our digital efforts.

I know our brand needs to get in on this social media thing, BUT…

“It’s confusing.” “How do you know which pages to join?” “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!”

If this is how you feel about social media, I understand. Branching out into an unfamiliar area is scary, especially if you’re unsure about taking the next step. However, if you don’t take this step, you and your brand are going to be left behind.

It’s no secret that social media is on the cusp of world domination (I’m joking, of course). The role social media plays in our daily lives is a big one and its influence is growing. Social media provides avenues in gaining the attention of your audience that traditional mediums simply can’t deliver. With this being the case, it’s extremely important for brands to develop a solid social media strategy. With new tools and platforms constantly emerging, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the entire social media process. However, with the right focus and attitude, creating your own “social space” can benefit your brand in ways you could never imagine. Here are a few things to consider when embarking on your social media journey:

1)      What is your objective? The best social media strategies have a goal in mind. For instance, do you want to drive sales, increase awareness, attract a following, etc.?

2)      Create engaging content. Think of social media as a two-way communication model. This is your opportunity to communicate directly with your audience and their opportunity to communicate with you. Post questions, surveys and other items that will elicit a response. In this moment, you have the attention of your audience; make good use of this opportunity.

3)      Respond in a timely manner. If a follower has taken the time to comment on a post, or send a private message, respond, and respond quickly! This is your chance to make a great first impression!

4)      Listen, Listen, Listen! Your audience will give you a good guide on what they want to see and learn. Ask for their feedback.

5)      Do your research. Research your options. Learn about the platforms, and decide which are most appropriate for your brand. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!

6)      Set targets and measure performance. It’s important for a brand to measure social media performance. How do I gauge success? Some key performance metrics to track include:

–          Shares of social media conversations

–          Social media following (Is your audience growing?)

–          Reach: Is your content engaging? How many people are seeing your messages?

–          Overall engagement: Are you getting likes, comments and shares on Facebook, re-tweets on Twitter, pins on Pinterest, etc.

Now that you and your brand are ready to take the social media plunge, keep this in mind – “Brands should focus more on how to BE social, and less on how to DO social media.”

Are our smartphones making us psychotic?

Let’s talk about adult ADD. I think I have it. You may think you have it. But is it real? And is instant info osmosis really good for us?

During Midan Marketing’s Breaking the Pattern trends webinar in March of this year, I talked about instant info osmosis as one of seven big consumer trends to watch this year. The whole premise of this trend is that in today’s fast-paced, easy-access world, we are able to find anything we want, anytime, anywhere. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for us anymore. We all seem to have tech-induced attention deficit disorder (ADD) that has left us impatient and unwilling to give our full, undivided attention to anything for very long. We not only want information instantly, but we want to be able to understand what we are looking at in a matter of seconds. [Read more…]

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