Why Foursquare? And What It Means for your Business.

Posted on August 31st, 2011 by Tiffany Categories communication

What does it mean to think globally and act locally? To build a space where a global community can be transposed to the street level? 
Imagine, if you will, one of your most loyal clients walking around with a Mayorship badge to your virtual location. Add to that a special reward – a gift certificate, a coupon, a free dessert with dinner – which becomes the cherry on top of bragging rights.
Client bragging rights are important – they translate to word-of-mouth advertising for your business. 
Now imagine the conversions and ROI’s resulting directly from these Foursquare check-ins. It’s a good enough pitch to venture out into the location-based app world, but in case you’re still toying with the idea, consider the facts.



Foursquare now has 10 million users, with global adoption growing every day. It’s a wide umbrella, we know. But with 10 million users, the pie is big enough for everybody to share in and find a niche market. 
Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway!), we’re big proponents of Foursquare here at The REFUGE Group. And we definitely think your business would benefit from offering your clients an incentive to check-in at your location.
If you’re going to include a GeoTagging application with your marketing campaign, or if one already exists, watch out for these potential pitfalls: – 
1. Create an easy to use special – remember, when dealing with technology, usability sometimes trumps design. People don’t to think too hard, and if a check-in isn’t intuitive, then you’re going to lose customers. 
2. Exercise “Rewards” Caution – Keep those overheads and profit margins in mind. Offer exclusive rewards instead of a reward with every check-in. 
3. Train your staff, especially the gatekeepers. The last thing you want is for the front line representatives of your company to be ill informed or completely in the dark about a social media initiative that you’ve launched. Or turn away customers.
4. Use the Foursquare dashboard to access data – it’s a built-in resource of rich information broken down by age, gender, check-in times and platforms.
Let us know if you’ve had any success, failures, or any share-worthy experiences with your GeoTagging campaigns and rewards. We’d love to hear from you!

Successful Ad Campaigns and the Human Element

Posted on August 17th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Campaigns

Creating an effective advertising campaign involves far too many variables – a well-researched understanding of target demographics, a stellar creative team, great artwork and a strong financial investment. You’d think that with all the odds stacked against merchants and business owners, a successful advertising campaign would be improbable to find.  

But they do exist. And we’ve all met them. Companies like Volkswagen, Nike, and even Maxwell House (“Good to the last drop…”) have run hugely successful advertising campaigns by offering what many of their competitors couldn’t – a connection with their audience.


After the pithy tag lines have been brainstormed, the layout has been glossed over and the art department’s packed up and gone home, the campaign needs to be strong enough to take on a life of its own. And if the human connection is missing, it’s not going to live for too long.

If you mull over the idea, it makes sense – after all, why would people want to stand in line to purchase a product that they couldn’t relate to? A human connection and a lifestyle choice are at the heart of a successful campaign. But first you’ve got to get their attention. 

How? Our top three.
1. Stay honest Whatever your demographic may be, it’s vital to understand that in the social media age, consumers are far more informed and educated than they were as early as two decades ago. Trying to pull the wool over their eyes has nothing to do but backfire. 
2. Fine tune the message Going over your ads with a fine-toothed comb means weeding out more than the typographical errors. Think about what the message conveys – is what you’re saying believable? Does it fulfill an actual or a perceived need? Does your message hold on to your audience’s attention or is it predictable and boring? 
3. Repetition – Once you’ve found a message that works – i.e. elicits a response (hopefully favorable), generates buzz and leads to purchasing of the product – staying visible is the key. 
A look at Ad Age’s Top 100 Advertising Campaigns is a good reminder of the fact that creating a memorable, long-lasting campaign is inextricably related to understanding behavior and delivering a message with widely accepted emotional appeal. 
Leave us a note – what’s the most memorable ad campaign that you’ve come across? 

Customer Service and Retention: Striking a Balance

Posted on August 10th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Uncategorized

Every once in a while, businesses need to take a step back to assess their We might not be able to completely quantify skills like listening and open body language, but they’re an essential part of marketing efforts and relationship building. From the little efforts like a firm handshake to remembering a client’s name to the bigger issues like individualized attention and timely troubleshooting, developing a dedicated customer service team with people who are cognizant of the impact their interaction with your clients has on your business is not just good business sense – it’s imperative.


Customer service can make or break the way people interact with a business. It sounds like the most obvious statement to hear, but what if you’re on the delivering end of that relationship? Imagine walking into a bank and being greeted by a teller who refuses to make eye contact, acknowledge your presence or even offer a slight smile. Or a phone call to a customer service department where you’re tossed around between departments because your issue isn’t really their problem.
Now, imagine one of your clients on the receiving end. If any of the above has been their experience, then your business has either gained a bad review or potentially lost a valuable client, or both. In either scenario, you’re in a lose-lose situation.
We came up with a few favorite pointers to have around for ready reference for your customer service needs. 
  1. Treat your employees well It’s not a difficult concept to grasp. Unhappy or disgruntled employees aren’t going to be the best mascots for your company. Good customer service begins with creating a work environment where your employees are able to work comfortably and openly.
  2. Listen If you’d like your clients to leave feeling frustrated and angry, feel free to interrupt them mid-way through their sentences, avert your eyes, not acknowledge their issues and argue through to the end. However, if building your client database and retention are your goals, take the time to listen.
  3. Accept feedback Negative feedback is just as important as positive feedback because it offers a valuable opportunity to learn from mistakes made and gain a client for life.
  4. Offer timely solutions Helping your client access expedited shipping for Christmas in January will not prove to be very helpful to her. If your company has incorporated social media into its customer service and marketing efforts, communicating with your clients and answering their queries as soon as they arise will result in greater goodwill for you. And happy clients tend to spend more. 
  5. Don’t forget your P’s and Q’s Or your apologies, if you’re in the wrong or facing an extremely disgruntled client. A quick and sincere apology for a distasteful experience goes a long way and tends to make the clients feel at ease.


Billboard Advertising

Posted on August 4th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

Billboards, also known as billing boards in some parts of the world, have evolved significantly since serving as a canvas for cigarette companies. They’ve run the gamut from cigarette and rest stop ads to high-end digital billboards in megalopolis nerve centers like Times Square and cities like Singapore and Dubai.



So, clearly, they’re not going anywhere. In fact, as marketers team up with developers to dream up cutting edge innovations in advertising, billboard advertising is gearing up to become more ubiquitous than ever.


You don’t think so? Take a moment to reflect on your drive to work every day. Chances are you’ve run into at least 3 or 4 billboard ads that have either captured your attention or lingered behind in your mind. The latest blockbuster to come out of Hollywood? Check. A reminder to head to church? Or to a museum exhibit? Or the newest watering hole in the neighborhood? Check and check.


Billboard advertising is more effective than we’d like to admit, especially because billboard advertisers have a firm grip on location. If increasing exposure to your brand is your goal, then you can’t go wrong with giant messages in high traffic areas. And they certainly work; outdoor advertising grew by 4% in 2010.


Of course, what makes a billboard ad work is more than sheer size and placement. Creativity with implementation doesn’t hurt a brand. For instance, the Calvin Klein billboard, which is really an enormous image of a QR Code; or any of these billboard advertisements that truly know how to capture the attention of a distracted audience.


Or, to step up a rung on the evolution ladder, billboards that are take-aways from science fiction movies – designed with algorithms that learns spending behaviors of people in an environment and display highly targeted (and interactive!) advertising. Creepy? Depends on the lens they’re viewed with. Have a look at this video and let us know what you think!