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The Game Changer

Consider the Game, Changed.

Fall Fashion & Empowered Strategy’s Impact 2015

Fall fashion blogWhat is more important when it comes to your outer appearance? Would you say your hair, or your makeup or eye wear? Would you say your accessories, your shoe/pump? Are could you pose the question  – is it attitude or swag? Am I confident or bold enough? Well to sum it all up “YES” it takes all of these things to properly embody the very essence and understanding of one of the oldest expressions of beauty!

I give you Fall Fashion 2015! I can honestly say one of my greatest moments of the year would rally behind the fall collection of fashion.

You have such flexibility and room for countless layers and patterns, the “true you” can be revealed once the temperature drops. When I say my sister and I live for fall, we have turned Empowered Strategy and Industrious into our very own fall line runway ( our France Fashion week, our New York Fashion week, and of course St.louis week of fashion). I have experienced the effects of pattern vs pattern for the month. Yes, to have a great mind one must have a great eye. When mixing patterns, stripes, solids, whatever your feeling, you must first be confident and bold to pull off the look. Yes, it is fall, but you do not have to stray from colors from spring or summer. It works well with mixing within the strong deep and rich colors that the fall produces. So to stand out and stand within the guidelines of fashion, I always say ‘If you have to question the look it is not for you.’

We will visit France, New York and all the rich fashion from the fashion district this season. Be on the lookout for “Building from the ground up the completed outfit”  focusing on the purpose of the perfect shoe! This will be featured in our next fashion post. And to all our readers remember to always “Dress for the occasion.” How you address, after all, is part of your brand!

Author: M. L. Hunt | COO | Brand Strategist | Empowered Strategy

Apple and Ad-Blocking – What may be in the pipeline…

Rumors circled the internet earlier this week regarding Apple’s probable announcement of its latest smartphones (iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus) allowing for the block of ads on mobile sites. For years, ad-blocking on desktop sites and applications Apple blocks adshave been around allowing for users to have an uninterrupted experience of the content they were perusing through. However, unless I missed it at the Apple event, we did not hear about this latest blocking but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

So, what does this mean?

For sites that make their living by opening up space for advertisers to use for a nominal fee, this could be a nice little blow. News sites like Buzzfeed and Forbes could see those native advertisements that help fund their business not showing up on the mobile devices of readers. Not good for these brands.

For those that leverage advertisement placement on different sites, this could impact your reach on smartphones (most notably, iPhone). If this change is made and Apple adopts ad-blocking, a new strategy for advertising on sites will be necessary.

Time for the marketing team to go into the conference room and start brainstorming. Get ahead of it, now. Don’t wait for this change to come. Having an action plan in place could make a world of difference on your marketing strategy overall. Take a look at your metrics, how much traffic and engagement are those ads getting you? If it’s not driving the traffic that you expected, then it may be time to move on from that anyway.
Good luck, advertisers! Let’s see how this plays out.

Sheena Hunt | CEO | Empowered Strategy

1 Billion – 1 Day

On Monday, August 24th 1 billion people converged on to Facebook within a 24 hour period. 1 billion people. That’s 1 in 7 people on the planet popping into Facebook for a quick peruse of their timeline, update their friends on their lives, picture change, whatever. This was a major milestone for the social network site, as it has never in its history had 1 billion people on the site in a 24 hour period.

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, took to his Facebook page to exclaim his excitement of the news:

We just passed an important milestone. For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day.

On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family.

When we talk about our financials, we use average numbers, but this is different. This was the first time we reached this milestone, and it’s just the beginning of connecting the whole world.

I’m so proud of our community for the progress we’ve made. Our community stands for giving every person a voice, for promoting understanding and for including everyone in the opportunities of our modern world.

A more open and connected world is a better world. It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values.

Thank you for being part of our community and for everything you’ve done to help us reach this milestone. I’m looking forward to seeing what we accomplish together.

Very cool news for the social networking site. Let’s see where it goes next.

Author: Sheena Hunt, CEO of Empowered Strategy

Budweiser Teams Up with 28 NFL Teams for Personalized Cans

 

Personalization is reigning in the world of marketing and advertising. From personalization via geo-targeting to names on Coke cans, we are seeing some form of it everywhere. Budweiser has been in the business of beer can personalization for a while St.-Louis-Rams-MyTeamCan-640x360now, with the most recent being personalized cans for different festivals. Now, Budweiser has teamed up with 28 out of the 32 NFL teams for the 2015-2016 NFL season to create artwork for a team can. These beautiful new designs are available for purchase now at local retailers. As an official sponsor of the NFL, this was a good move by Anheuser-Bush InBev.

These new team cans are a great way for Budweiser to continue to create a hometown feel in every city and motivate beer drinkers to purchase their beer. Beer sales as of late have been relatively flat for most large beer manufacturers as they battle the rise of the craft brew phenomenon. In order to gain sales and continue to reach the masses, the big boys of beer making have taken to acquiring craft brewers and enhanced marketing strategies.

So, before you head home in anticipation of watching your favorite NFL team play, stop at your favorite store and pick up a pack of Budweiser that features your team. It’ll pair well with your lucky team jersey.

By: Sheena Hunt, CEO | Empowered Strategy

When a brand’s attempt to be ‘cool’ goes too far…

Bud Light Lime Ritas Twitter Post
Image Courtesy of @TheRitas Twitter Post

Brands today are desperately seeking the attention of the younger generations and are taking to social media to do so. In an effort to be relevant and be seen as ‘hip’ brands are opting to use terms and phrases that are in use by the market they are seeking. More and more on Twitter we’re seeing brands attempting to fit in by adopting the phrase ‘on fleek’ and the popular term ‘bae.’

‘On fleek’ is a popularized term that stemmed from an Instagram video posted by a user in reference to her eyebrows during the summer of 2014. According to the Urban Dictionary, it basically means something is perfect or ‘on point.’ As of late fall of 2014, brands began using the term in their Twitter posts to describe their products. For example, Ihop had several posts describing their pancakes as being on fleek in an ineffective adoption of the urban vernacular.

‘Bae’ is another term that brands are adopting to make themselves more personable and to fit in with their target demographic. Brands now are directly calling some of their followers ‘bae’ in an attempt to engage consumers on social media. This is creepy, point blank. Brands definitely should not reference anyone as bae. I think some Social Media Managers need to rethink their strategy before clicking ‘Post’ on whatever platform they use to manage their feeds.

Brands have latched on to playing on popular album titles (i.e. Drake’s ‘If you’re reading this it’s too late’) to ‘YASSS’ (which by the way, I use all the time in conversations with family and friends to express my emotions on something). I wonder, sometimes, who is googling these terms, words, and phrases and saying ‘yes, that is our next word to wear out?’ Seriously. As a black owned and operated marketing agency, we are a bit appalled by what we’re seeing coming from brands in regards to their ‘embracement’ of the urban community and vernacular. We get it – using these terms make brands appear to be connected to certain communities, but please stop. It’s ineffective, in my opinion, and likened to a middle-age parents using popular terms to try to fit in with their kids. Corny. Instead I challenge brands to create true strategies that appeal to the demographic they are trying to obtain/grow. For example, Coca Cola did a great job in paying homage to Hip Hop culture by creating a campaign that involves using their Sprite packaging to showcase uplifting lyrics of some of the most legendary hip hop artists. Instead of lazy marketing, brands must find a way to draw inspiration from the urban culture in a respectful manner. Hey, we’re open to help out if necessary because we are very much so over what we’re seeing.


Sheena Office photo

Sheena Hunt, CEO of Empowered Strategy

Twitter: @SheenaD1

Twitter: @EmpwrdStrategy

From Our Heart: An Open Letter from Empowered Strategy

Calling all friends, followers, clients, and partners of Empowered Strategy!

We love branding and marketing here at Empowered Strategy. It is our heartbeat, it’s the rhythmic song that sings in our soul. We love to create and cultivate amazing strategies for clients. We love designing beautiful, thoughtful content whether they’re posts for a social media campaign or a white paper chock full of transformational information. We’re passionate about taking our clients’ dreams and ideas and bringing them into fruition. It is our greatest honor!

But as of lately, there has been a notable shift in the atmosphere here in this beautiful United States of America. A shift that can’t be ignored. It’s one that has pushed to the forefront something that has existed in our past but has been disguised since. The issue of race and overall race relations. Now we are not experts on that matter, and don’t believe it our place to say that we are. But we are African American and we know our lived experiences. We know when we see something offensive, it hurts. We know when we hear elements of appropriation, it’s disturbing. We’re passionate and protective of our the Black culture (urban culture as most know it). We don’t want to see it misrepresented or misunderstood any longer. So we are here to offer our help in helping brands migrate from appropriation into appreciation.

Brands know their targeted demographics for particular products, services, etc. They know that you have to market to each demographic in a certain manner in order to hopefully move them to a sell. But, what we have seen, especially on social media, has been lazy tactics to sell to the urban demographic. It has been akin to appropriation and sometimes blatant disrespect. Now, I don’t believe any of these brands are seeing it that way, they believe they are doing what they are supposed to do. That’s understandable, because of the lack of diversity in the room when these decisions are being made they don’t have that voice saying ‘wait…no, this is wrong.’

So, we’ve decided to be that voice. As an African American owned and operated marketing firm, we’re not only going to continue to focus our work around brand strategies and digital marketing, but we’re also going to make our core service cultural appreciation. We’re opening ourselves up to brands that are looking to attract the urban demographic for their marketing strategies. We want to protect the urban culture by ending the exploitation of it.

But not only is this for the brands that we can help, this change is also for ourselves. We’ve limited our voice in our own brand and we can’t do that any longer. We want to speak in our voice and leverage our platform for the good of our community and the country as a whole. By respecting each other, we can begin the unification process. We are a uniquely diverse country and have to ensure everyone feels included, represented, and respected. So, we’re here to lend our help and harness our authentic voice. So, over the next few weeks you’ll see some changes in our voice and focus, but just know we’re still doing our normal stuff (brand strategies and digital marketing) but we’ve added a third, and stronger element, urban culture appreciation. 🙂

Consider the game, changed.

Yours truly,

Sheena Hunt

CEO | Brand Strategist | Empowered Strategy

Entrepreneurship in the Black Community: Part 1

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Image courtesy of thesaladbowl.kinja.com

Throughout history, freed and enslaved African Americans have shown great entrepreneurial drive and instinct. From those that were ‘Free Negroes’ in the late 1700s that ran small service-based business to our millionaires and billionaires of today, African Americans have shown great resiliency in their efforts to push through the difficult times and create for themselves a space they can live in and thrive. There are a couple of greats that I would like to start off by highlighting…

PAUL CUFFE, ENTREPRENEUR

As noted above, Blacks in America excelled in developing great businesses that rivaled their white counterparts pre-Civil War. One such man in the 18th century, Paul Cuffe, the son of an Ashanti from Ghana and a Wampanoag Indian woman in Massachusetts, was a prominent sea captain whose ships and all-black crews serviced the Atlantic Coast and sailed to Europe and Africa.  (http://www.infoplease.com/biography/var/paulcuffe.html)

WILLIAM LEIDESDORF

Another Black businessman from the 1800s was William Leidesdorg, who was described as being America’s first millionaire of black descent. This Afro Cuban West Indies native, during the 1840s, found himself in the business of trade and real estate in California (at that time under Mexican rule). He also built the City Hotel, San Francisco’s first hotel, and became the city’s first treasurer.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Leidesdorff)

Entrepreneurship early in Black history can be found in the freed slaves or free Blacks that resided in America up through Reconstruction. They were Blacks that focused their businesses on services and trades that Whites felt were beneath them to do. These works included areas such as restaurant ownership, house/hotel keeping, to barbering and mechanics. Reports tell us that by 1890, something like 5000 Blacks operated a business. It’s noted that these businesses that Blacks were running were heavy in the service and retail industries, as stated before. One of the most prominent areas was barbering and beautician businesses. Both were simple trades that could learned rather quickly or self taught and was something that was highly needed and desired in the community. So those with a knack for human beautification, opted to go within these areas to enhance their finances.

Our Black communities have always thrived, and possessed structure and flow.  We can see a lot of our ancestors tenacity and drive within ourselves. Creating something from nothing is a trait that lives and resonates within our DNA. And we ask the question why aren’t we well represented within the business community? There are  lots of variables that come into play,  starting with the history of our ancestors, and the difficulties they faced in society and constraints placed on them.  I personally see a mirror effect of “what was” to now “what is”. This is a layered topic that I will have to peel away slowly but carefully. I will spend the next few weeks bringing to light a pressing issue that is “Entrepreneurship in the Black Community”


Mario Blog PhotoMario Hunt, COO of Empowered Strategy

Twitter: @empwrdstrategy

T-Mobile Shaking Up the Mobile Telecom Industry

t-mobile logo

In late June, T-Mobile made an announcement that once again has shaken up how business is done in the mobile telecommunications industry. T-Mobile announced its new “JUMP! On Demand” program that will allow its customers to trade in their phone and get a new one with no money down up to 3 times a year. For the mobile user that always desire the latest gadget, this can be a dream come true.

T-Mobile essentially has brought the auto leasing program to telecommunications and I am certain their competitors are scrambling. Since the initial announcement of the Uncarrier in 2013, T-Mobile has done away with contracts, changed the pricing model on phones, and bought new customers out of their contracts with their former carriers. All of these actions are unprecedented in the world of mobile telecommunications.

CEO John Legere has turned T-Mobile around in the 3 years he’s been overseeing the company. Making drastic changes to how mobile operates, forcing his competitors to change, and increasing the number of T-Mobile subscribers by 1.1 million in just the 1st quarter of 2015. Forecasting 3.5 million new subscribers for 2015, T-Mobile is on pace to pass Sprint this year and find its place as #3 in the mobile telecommunications U.S. industry.

With the Uncarrier bringing about so many changes in the mobile telecommunications industry, the mobile user is coming out on top. No matter which carrier a user subscribes, all are seeing benefits with T-Mobile’s industry disruptions. With every new version of the Uncarrier comes a change in the other service providers business model, so sit back and take it in, mobile user. The best may just be yet to come.


Sheena Office photoSheena Hunt, CEO | Empowered Strategy

Twitter: @SheenaD1

Twitter: @EmpwrdStrategy

Instagram focuses on real-time features breaking out on Twitter

Instagram has enhanced the explore feature on its app bringing real-time events that are rising up around us everyday. This is a mini-instagramfeature that was not available within the Instagram components. This game-changing move brings Instagram within striking distance to Twitter. This new enhancement would bring access to breaking news events as they unfold. The announcement was made last week for the upcoming Project “Lighting Feature”. It will allow users to easily follow events that are taking place, created by people with a newsroom background.

This was not an easy task to tackle for Instagram, but they made it happen. Now users can get real time events while still enjoying the selfie craze of instagram. Right now it is only available for U.S. based users. It was said by Instagram that it shouldn’t be too long before all instagrammers have the access.

Author: M.L. Hunt, COO |  Empowered Strategy

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