Stryve Group is hiring!

Are you a recent advertising & creative design grad that wants to get hands-on experience in integrated marketing? Interested in creative design and marketing strategy implementation for tech clients like Intel or retail clients like Scrubology? This is the job for you.

We are looking for a candidate with fresh, new, and exciting ideas related to a wide range of print/digital media such as email, digital brochures, direct mail, FSI, and web.  This is a 6 month contract commencing Nov 1, 2012, with the possibility of full-time employment afterwards.  This role requires someone with good organization skills along with positive energy and strong work ethic. Some important considerations:

  • 70% of the job will require graphic design skills, 30% of the job will require marketing strategy skills
  • You must be comfortable producing blogs or infographics on a variety of topics related to new marketing trends such as social media or mobile marketing.
  • You must be comfortable taking direction from Stryve Group marketing managers and coordinators in order to meet a client’s vision for marketing material.

Job Requirements:

  • College/university grad of Advertising & Graphic Design or similar program
  • Impressive portfolio of previous print and digital work
  • Excellent written communication skills (Blogging experience is an asset)
  • Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite [Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign]
  • Proficient in using PowerPoint to visually convey a message in a compelling way
  • Experienced in print media (direct mail, brochures, etc)
  • Solid understanding of the creative and print production processes (proofing and pre-flighting)
  • Understanding of and experience in corporate branding, layout, typography in both print and digital media
  • Ability to work with existing templates and pre-press production for monthly in-store artwork and original designs for advertising/promotional material and web
  • Detail-oriented
  • Excellent communication, organization, time management skills
  • Knowledge of HTML/CSS is an asset.

Please forward cover letter, resume and portfolio to cjung(at)stryvegroup.com with “Creative Advertising Specialist” in the subject line.  Deadline to apply is October 15th, 2012.

LinkedIn Endorsements: Great New Feature or Popularity Contest?

Have you ever looked at the Recommendations section of your LinkedIn profile and noticed it was looking a little sparse?  You can probably name at least 10 people off the top of your head that would be able to attest to your awesome skills.  So what has been stopping you? For me sometimes I hesitate because I know the person is busy and don’t want to add extra work to their plate, or sometimes I’m not sure if the person would be comfortable writing a public recommendation and I don’t want to put them in an awkward position. LinkedIn has just introduced LinkedIn Endorsements (expected to roll out to all users over the next few weeks), a functionality that could solve both of those problems as an alternate way to build credibility surrounding your specific skills. 

You may already be familiar with LinkedIn Skills.  In this section of LinkedIn, you can choose specific skills that you possess and have them listed on your profile.  For example, if you’re a Marketing Manager, you might list “Marketing Strategy” and “Marketing Communications” as two of your skills.  With the introduction of LinkedIn Endorsements, others that know you and have worked with you can advocate your listed skills with a simple click.  Beside each skill, you’ll see a count that expresses how many connections have endorsed that specific skill of yours.

As the easier and quicker alternative to the traditional LinkedIn Recommendation, Endorsements will probably be a more popular functionality.  But are they necessarily better?  Since the feature has yet to be rolled out to us here at Stryve Group it’s hard to form a concrete opinion, but I had one immediate concern: Since an Endorsement requires just one click of the mouse, should they really hold that much weight?

A LinkedIn Recommendation typically provides quite a bit of context—How do the two parties know each other? What kind of work was performed? What were the specific successful outcomes? How did this person specifically go above and beyond?—whereas an Endorsement leaves much to be questioned.  You simply see a count of how many “endorsers” each skill has, as well as a few thumbnails representing those endorsers.  This makes it tougher to gauge the credibility behind each endorsement.  Is this guy with 5 endorsements really a Marketing Analytics whiz or are those 5 people just friends doing him a favour?  Without doing quite a bit of digging and finding out if the endorsee and endorser actually have workplaces or activities in common, it’s hard to tell.  If you don’t envision yourself putting in this much of a time investment, my advice would be to take these endorsements with a grain of salt.

What do you think of the idea of LinkedIn endorsements? Are they a great new feature or simply a popularity contest with not much real value?  Do you think they complement or hinder LinkedIn Recommendations? We want to hear what you think.

Can thinking like a comedian help your small business?

Small businesses can learn a lot about social media marketing from comedians …. (yes, you read that right).  As an article from Mashable said “Comedians focus on the audience that cares, by entertaining, engaging and providing fresh content so that the loyal fans come back.”  So how can comedians help your small business? Read the 5 steps below to find out!

Social Gaming: Why and How to Use it

Social gaming is nothing new – sitting down and playing Monopoly with friends and family is one form of social gaming that has been around for decades. It did however start to grab the attention of marketing and advertising professionals when it ventured into the online space, especially after games publisher Zynga rocketed to the top of the list of most popular Facebook games in 2009[1]. In March of this year, the top social games (as reported by AppData) were[]:

The true appeal of social gaming comes from the high levels of engagement and interaction they have with their audience – something that is hard to come by in more traditional forms of media thanks to smartphones, tablets, and other second-screen devices. When users are playing a game they often give it their undivided attention for a short period of time and thus the impressions you can make are more meaningful. Moreover, these games are flexible as developers are able to make changes to the story or gameplay at any time. These features entice brands to spend their digital marketing dollars on what is known as integrated placement. Integrated placements are essentially the same idea as product placement in television or movies, but applied to the game. One example would be that players in CityVille could build a McDonalds location and earn a special statue reward for “mastering” that business during the promotional period. In this sense a brand can really tie themselves to the positive feeling associated with the achievement.

All of this sounds exciting, but how do you actually go about a social gaming advertising campaign? First and foremost, you need to keep in mind the overall business objectives. Interactions that consumers have with brands through social gaming tend to foster better awareness and liking, however there is little evidence yet to say it can generate high conversions to purchase[]. If your goals align with what social gaming has to offer, the next hurdle to overcome is deciding which game should be used as a channel for promotion, and of course this depends on who you”re targeting.  A game like FarmVille will attract a much different player than would, and so alignment here is key. In an overall sense though, 50% of social gamers are women with an average age of 48 which represents a very different demographic than you”d see in traditional gaming[4]. Mobile games are also a great way to reach a younger demographic, since 40% of children are engaging with them and the low development costs mean high ROI[5]. The final step is where you need to get creative and think of ways to have players interact with your brand in a way that does not interrupt gameplay. Here you”ll want to work very closely with the game”s developers who will have a deeper understanding of how to not seem like you”re in the way of the fun.

With millions of users playing these games each day, it”s easy to see how even a month-long campaign can generate huge impression numbers. Although Zynga doesn”t disclose integrated placement pricing options explicitly, the flexibility of this social media tool allows objectives to be met with moderately sized budgets.

Twitter Hashtag #BestPractices

So you’ve got the Twitter basics nailed down—a branded handle, a solid content plan, and of course, your natural quick wit.  But that’s only half the battle fun.  If you’re not using hashtags (or you’re not using hashtags effectively), you haven’t yet reaped the full benefits of the Twitterspace.  But don’t worry—we’re about to tell you how, and you’ll soon wonder how you ever tweeted without hashtags.

We’ll take a few steps back and explain the concept of the hashtag first.  It’s that little number sign/pound sign symbol (#), followed by a single word or strung-together phrase.  Strung together is key if you’re using multiple words because a space signifies that the hashtag is over, so #DoThis #Not this.  Hashtags are attached to tweets in order to categorize the tweet under a certain topic, boost exposure and search visibility, or enhance virality.

Depending on your objective, there are different ways to use hashtags effectively.

Connect with your industry

This first one is less about using hashtags yourself and more about taking advantage of other tweeters’ use of hashtags.  Using industry-specific hashtags can help you filter out a lot of Twitter “noise” and find exactly what you’re looking for.  If you’re an entrepreneur, type “#startups” into the search bar and you’ll find an entire community buzzing with the latest news and chatter around everything startup-related.  This is a great way to network, find opportunities, learn about events, discover articles, and get inspired beyond your immediate following. 

Have your industry connect with you

The next step is adding your two cents—sharing knowledge and in turn, attracting new followers.  Properly direct your tweet with an industry-specific hashtag to ensure it is publicly searchable and categorized with all other tweets across the globe with the same hashtag.  Sticking with our previous example, attaching the hashtag #startups to a tweet can help you become visible within the entrepreneurial Twitter community.  People that wouldn’t otherwise have stumbled upon your content will now see your tweet in the #startup stream and have a chance to get inspired, retweet your stuff, and connect.

Create your own buzz

If you want to have some fun with hashtags, consider using a unique custom hashtag as a marketing tactic.  There are some great examples of brands launching extremely successful hashtag campaigns. Both the viral and public nature of Twitter help this buzz spread like wildfire.  Domino’s in the UK discounted the price of their pizza for a day by one pence for each person that tweeted with the hashtag #letsdolunch—85,000 tweets later, the price was dropped from 15.99 pounds to 7.74. Uh-mazing! This doesn’t just work for products—try creating a buzz around an event with a unique hashtag.  The Waterloo Region 2012 Food & Drink expo did a great job of this last weekend by using their own #WRFoodDrink hashtag during the promotion and execution of the event.  The show, its vendors, and all the attendees were able to join in one big conversation, boosting exposure for the show.

Do you have another great way to use hashtags? We’d love to hear about it. Bonus points if you tell us the success story along with it!

Fall 2012 Smartphone Comparison

With the upcoming launch of all these new smartphones, Stryve Group decided to put together an infographic with key highlights, comparing some of the competing phones. Please take a look and let us know which phone you would buy!

Are Smartphones Addictive?

Smartphones are great in many different ways. They act as a mobile computer, a GPS, allow you to download tons of fun and useful apps….oh ya and they make phone calls! But have they become addictive? According to Gazelle.com 15 percent of iPhone owners said they’d rather give up sex for a weekend than go a weekend without their iPhone. Take a look at the infographic below, thanks to Mashable for originally posting this, and let us know your thoughts. Are you addicted to your smartphone?

Stryve Group adds another member! Meet Sarah Rosenquist, Marketing Coordinator.

Stryve Group is excited to announce a new addition to the team! Sarah Rosenquist recently joined Stryve Group as of September 2012 as a Marketing Coordinator. Sarah will be responsible for the internal marketing of Stryve Group (including the Social Media Marketing Canada community) as well as co-managing a campaign for Intel®’s AIM Suite.  A graduate of the Wilfrid Laurier School of Business & Economics, Sarah has a wide base of knowledge in her area of concentration of marketing.

Sarah has experience in the marketing of technology products, having previously worked at Microsoft (in the Server & Tools group) and InGamer (a fantasy sport start-up). These roles developed her skills in correctly identifying early adopters of a new technology and communicating its benefits to this group. In addition to this, Sarah also has spent many years in teaching roles, including instructing first year business labs as a teaching assistant at WLU and directing seminars on optimizing one’s use of various MS Office and Adobe products at PRISM (a student service at Laurier).

With Sarah’s enthusiasm for technology and marketing, Stryve Group looks forward to her contributions to the team.

About Stryve Group:

Stryve Group is a results-focused marketing firm that focuses on helping brands and companies grow.  Pragmatically ahead of the curve, you won’t find mass-marketing at Stryve Group – you’ll find the newest marketing methods that deliver impactful and measurable results.

The New LinkedIn: A layout overhaul you can be happy about

A couple of weeks ago when Facebook finished rolling out Timeline we blogged about the inevitable and typically loathed platform overhauls that get thrown at us every once in a while.  Thankfully, the recent layout changes that LinkedIn has undertaken haven’t been met with the same animosity.

When redesigning an interface, it’s important that users feel that the new interface is cleaner and easier to use than the previous.  Of course it takes time to adjust to a new layout, but if it takes longer than a handful of uses, people will be less likely to embrace the change.  This is a problem that Facebook is currently facing with many users feeling like Timeline is disorganized and cluttered.  LinkedIn has made over their interface in a way that streamlines the page, giving off a more modern and sleek look.

The use of a darker and more neutral colour scheme has made the site look much more polished while still sticking to their brand colour blue for accents.  These subtle changes have made the platform more inviting without confusing or alienating regular users.

Aesthetics aside, LinkedIn has also made some changes that make the site more useful to their users.  The “LinkedIn Today” digest is more prominently placed at the very top of the homepage.  You’ll see 3 new stories that have been recommended for you specifically, based on your industry and indicated interests.  Clicking on “LinkedIn” today will take you to a larger compilation of relevant stories where you can really delve into what is trending in your industry and what people are saying about it.

You’ll also see more updates from your network and companies you follow, directly underneath the news section.  You’ll be the first to know when one of your contacts starts a new role—a great time to engage.  Use the drop down menu to filter this stream and drill down into something specific.  For example, if you want to see the content that people have been sharing this week, choose “Shares”.  If you want ideas for a great new group to join, filter by “Groups”.

And last but certainly not least, surely LinkedIn knew they couldn’t implement a layout overhaul in 2012 and not improve the use of images.  With the shift towards more visually-oriented designs, LinkedIn has made embedded images in posts larger.  Capture your network’s attention by drawing the eye towards image, if possible and relevant, in your updates.

To stay updated on the newest changes, read our post about the new company pages here.