A Branded View

Building the Nike+ Community

Posted in Business,Social Media by chrisjschmidt on July 2, 2012
Tags: , ,

For most companies that don’t understand social media, they believe that amassing the most number of Twitter followers or “likes” for their Facebook page means that they are running a successful social media campaign. Don’t get me wrong, those numbers look nice, and having those customers connected to your brand can really help with your company’s overall promotional strategy. I would like to take it a step further though. Turn those likes and followers into a community, or develop your online strategy around a community that already exists.

Let me give you an example. For the past two months, I’ve gotten into a workout routine of walking and jogging using Nike+. I used it a little last summer, but not nearly as often as I’m using it now. I’m also becoming more involved in their online community where I can interact with other Nike+ users.

Nike wanted to build products and a community around its current line to engage with their customers and gather that all important data. After some failed prototypes, they eventually contacted Apple and the two companies saw an opportunity to help one another, and thus Nike+ was born. Apple designed the sensor to fit in the shoes, and Nike developed the software for their website and the iPod.

What ended up happening was a very successful product extension for both companies. Each company was able to use the other’s customer base to undoubtedly drive growth. Nike developed a community website where runners where able to upload, track, and analyze their runs, all while being able to compete and measure their achievements against themselves and other Nike+ users. I know for a fact, that there have been Nike sponsored runs directed at Nike+ users and campaigns run through Nike+ to drive usage of the product. In addition to the community engagement and data, Nike has been able to add product suggestions into the Nike+ platform. I’m sure this was a part of their strategy all along, but the more time they can get a customer and someone already using their products to stay on their website, the easier it is to convince them to buy something they might need.

Nike was also able to tie in social media to Nike+. As a user, you are able to upload your status to Facebook and Twitter, connect with Nike in the social space, and communicate with other users online. Before their recent website design, a community member could post questions and others users were able to respond and help them get the answer they were looking for. At this time, they have more than 9.5 million likes on the Nike+ Facebook page and a little shy of 500,000 Twitter followers.

Overall, Nike was able to develop an online community through their already existing customer base by leveraging what they know best, which is product development for those living an active lifestyle. They have been able to collect user data, product suggestions, and feedback without having to spend a lot of time and money by using the traditional methods. Nike created an extension of their athletic line, and in the process drove sales back to their main category of clothing/footwear. They were able to build a working relationship with one of the most highly regarded technology companies of my generation as well. So if you don’t have time to build a community from scratch (this is the way most companies should go about it though, it builds authenticity), find a niche or a community that you have a connection to and develop from there. You’ll find out how much people really care about your product and company, ways to improve, and drive future growth.

Thanks for reading.

Tips on “Greening” Up Your Brand and Business

Posted in Business by chrisjschmidt on April 9, 2012
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Earlier today, I read a post (link) by Aaron Corson of NJC Printing here in St. Louis about Going Green.  Aaron gives some insight into going green as a company.  I enjoyed the post, and I wanted to expand a little bit more than just paper.  He does mention a few other tidbits of information on going green as well.

When thinking about going green, many people tend to concentrate on reducing their usage of paper.  The majority of companies use paper all the time, and it is a big expense; however, there are other additional ways to make your company more green.  Below are just a few.

Your Product – Use resources that can stretch the lifecycle of your product.  Redesign your packaging.  Make sure your customers are aware of what you are trying to accomplish, and let them know that they can be a part of your success.  More and more customers are purchasing items and services from companies that share the same values as them.  I know I do.

Paper – Use technology to communicate with your customers and employees.  There are many resources available for these communications.  Set up a secure site for your clients to use to ask questions, respond to inquiries, view projects, and view/pay their bills.  Also, give your employees the option of enrolling in paperless wage statements.  They can help save time and provide easy access for employment records.  Encourage social media accounts and mobile applications for your employees.  They may not have to print that last minute email or save all those business cards they collect at conferences.

Business Environment – Make it easy on your employees.  Provide them the tools and training on how to become more sustainable and how it helps your business.  Make recycling bins accessible for paper and plastic, and designate areas for items that don’t fit into those categories.  Switch your lightbulbs.  Resell, recycle, or donate office supplies once you are done using them.  Don’t let them go directly to the landfill.  You may even be able to repurpose some of your office items to perform new functions.

Partnerships – Talk with the other companies that go into supplying and distributing your product.  Tell them what you have planned, how it is beneficial to you, how it can help them, and the success that the both of you can share from the partnership.  Find companies in your area that have the same values.  Share and learn from each other.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to recycling centers and organizations in your community as well.  They may have programs that can make it easier for you.

Products you Use – Use products in your office from companies that are trying to reach the same sustainable goals that you are.  You can save time, build your green brand, and develop new relationships you wouldn’t have before.

There are obstacles that you may have to overcome.  Getting your employees and clients to buy-in may be challenging.  Give an incentive to them, at the start and throughout the year to keep them engaged.  Once they form a habit, it will be hard for them to overlook.  Last, create a few advocates around your office.  Assign those with the same passion as you to oversee the process, and keep people focused.  This doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-time position, but depending on the size of your company and your going green strategy, it may not be a bad idea.

Going green is not just a fad anymore.  It has hit the mainstream, and there are many companies launching new products, redefining themselves, redefining their industry, and making a difference.  How are you and your company going to step up?  Is there something I missed that you think should have been included?

In case you missed the link to Aaron’s post earlier, here it is again. Changing the Color of Marketing

As always, feel free to leave a comment, hit me up on Twitter (@chrisjschmidt), or connect with me on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/chrisjschmidt).

Social Media Passwords and Your Job Search

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisjschmidt on March 27, 2012

I know one of the topics making its way around the internet this week and last has been the story about companies asking potential employees for their social media passwords before and during interviews.  For what it’s worth, it seems most of the companies referenced to in news articles are public/government related.  I may be a little late to the game, but as an active job seeker and social media user, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

I do think that the process of asking for an applicant’s login information is a little aggressive, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it shouldn’t be allowed.  By now, the majority of people using social media should know that anything you post can be seen publicly depending on your privacy settings. *Hint* You can adjust them to a level that only your friends or even specific people see what you are up to.  Watch what you post.  If you think it could have potential harm to you or your perception, take a breath and rethink or reword what you are about to post.  I try to use the “What would my grandparents/parents think if they say this?” before posting anything controversial.  Also, it is my understanding that any content published on a social media site, becomes the property of that site.  I know this is one of the problems people have with uploading videos to YouTube.

I personally wouldn’t mind all that much if an interviewer asked me for my login information.  I’m an open person, and don’t have much to hide.  I would ask what information they are hoping to gain from it though.  If I can answer that for them right there on the spot, what’s the need to go on my social profiles?  After letting them in, I would just turn around and switch my passwords anyways.  I also have links to all of my social media sites on my resume.  So anytime I apply for a job, that company has quick links to my profiles.  Another reason I believe it doesn’t bother me is that I try to link my social media accounts together, posting content and links to my other profiles across platforms.

I think it depends on the position the applicant is applying for as well.  In my situation, most of the positions I have applied to seek people who are connected through social media and would use it for the company or their clients.  I use my social media accounts to connect with employers before I apply too.  Throughout the application process, I want to be able to send them any questions that I have, learn more about the company and its process, and see the status of my application.

In summary, I don’t have a big issue with employers asking.  Is it the political correct thing?  Probably not, but does it bother me personally?  No.  A company could even avoid this issue by letting applicants know that they may be asked for this sort of information before they even apply or an interview is set.  How an applicant will respond will most likely change depending on the job applicant and their personality.

Feel free to pass this along or post comments.

Thanks for reading.



Who Doesn’t Like Servicing Their Customer?

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisjschmidt on December 6, 2011
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As some of you know, I have been working part time in retail for over a year now.  If there is one thing that I would have to say has overshadowed everything and taught me about business, it is the importance of customer service. Over the summer, I interned for my company as an Assistant Manger and had to pick a project and test it, and I ended up choosing customer service.  I can go in to more detail with you on that, but that isn’t what this post is about.

One of the main philosophies of every company is customer service.  It is so important to what we do, and having good customer service along with a great product of service will keep your customers coming back.  It’s all about their experience with you right? 

There are times when I absolutely dread dealing with customers (a little ranting follows).  I could be 5 minutes into an important project that I need to get done, and it almost never fails that I will get continuously interrupted.  I’ll be honest, I want to help you, but sometimes things are out of my control.  I don’t mind going above what is the minimum, even if that means taking a little extra time to do it.  I know you’re important.  I want to give you the time you need and deserve, but if I’m already helping someone else give me a few minutes to get to you.  I’m sure you would rather talk to someone that knows the department and the product over another employee that might have to step aside and ask that person anyways.

This is why the philosophy of customer service has made a big impact on me since working retail.  I now am able to understand what it means and why it is so important.  It affects everything else in your business, especially if your customer doesn’t need to come into physical contact with you.  If that’s the case, their customer service experience may be the only thing they base their opinion of your business on.

Back to the meat of the post now.  Customer service can be affected by numerous factors.  I’ve outlined some of the common ones below.

   1.  Acknowledge your customers.

   2.  Thank your customers.

   3.  Have a simple and easy to use website where your customers won’t get frustrated and decide to leave.

   4.  If a customer doesn’t have a good experience with you, have ways available to them so that they can let you know.  You can’t solve your problems without knowing them.  Social media has made the process easier, but also more difficult to manage.  Customer will talk regardless if you’re there or not, but if you respond to them, it goes a long way.

   5.  When a customer does reach out to you, be there to listen and respond quickly.

   6.  Make your employees happy.  If they look forward to working every day, it affects everything else they do.  They might not mind going a little above and beyond if they know they are appreciated.

   7.  Empower your employees to solve the situation as best as they can.  Trust me, the majority of them know what can be done to help out a customer with a problem, and don’t mind doing it.  Sure you might lose a little money in the short run, but chances are that customer will come back, and may tell someone else how you helped them.  This also helps with point #6.

  8.  Give your employees the tools needed to get the job done.  If your employees don’t have what is necessary, they won’t be able to do what you ask of them.

  9.  Sweat the small stuff.  Many companies only look at the big picture and measurements of what they are doing and how to make them better.  If you give some attention to detail to the small things, they will have an effect on the big picture.

I know that I’ve probably left some things out on what you can do to make your customer service better, but I really think it can be boiled down to two main points: acknowledgement and communication.  Acknowledging (greeting and thanking) your customer and knowing who they are makes a hell of an impact, but you have to have the right skills to communicate with them.  Know when it is the time for listening and talking.  When it’s your turn, be there to respond quickly with a solution.  They will appreciate it that much more.

Feel free to offer up your own thoughts or if you have any questions let me know.  I triple dog dare you to leave a comment, share this with your friends, or hit me up @chrisjschmidt.

How Do You Use Social Networks?

Posted in Business,Social Media by chrisjschmidt on May 24, 2011

When it comes to social media, most people feel like it is an all or nothing initiative, and they become overwhelmed and hesitant to enter.  I firmly believe that each social network pertains to a specific goal.  Sure there is overlap, you may be friends with someone on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and connect with them on LinkedIn but each serves its on purpose.  An individual or company needs to know what they want to gain from social media and tailor their use accordingly.

As time has increased since college graduation (Mizzou), these divides seem to be growing. I try to use a little bit of everything. I’ve dabbled in YouTube, Digg, and Reddit but don’t use them on an everyday basis or even a weekly basis.  I do however try to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and GetGlue daily or at least a few times a week.

Below is a detail of how I use each.

Facebook – Mainly used to keep in touch with people from grade school, high school, and college that I don’t see/talk to very often or developed a close friendship with. I share videos and pictures with the friends I talk to most that I think they will enjoy but 95% of the time it is posted directly to their “wall”.  I “like” a few companies as well.

Twitter – Used to share thoughts, ideas, and opinions with others both locally and in other parts of the U.S.  I’ve developed connections with people that I would have never met otherwise, and find that people are generally easier to approach and start a conversation with.  I’ve also discovered new sites to visit and have enjoyed reading what other people have had to say.  I believe it is infinitely times easier to communicate with a brand or product I enjoy through Twitter and to gain a sense of a company’s culture.

LinkedIn – Most of my connections are people that I know through school or Twitter.  I feel this social site is used a lot by spammers looking to crowd my email with their newest product trying to sell me their business (especially the Groups section).  I use LinkedIn to build my professional network and to stay current on businesses that have made my short list of dream places of employment.

Digg/Redditt – I don’t share stories and articles I’ve come across, but like to find interesting things to read that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

GetGlue – I enjoy this network immensely and honestly don’t know why more people don’t use it.  I’m able to share the media I consume, see who else has similar likes and dislikes of movies, tv shows, books, music, and video games, and get recommendations from them that I probably wouldn’t have found surfing the web.  You also earn awesome stickers.

Foursquare – I was a little iffy about joining, but have enjoyed my experience thus far.  I would have used Foursquare before, but I wasn’t able to with just my iTouch.  I’ve come across new places to visit and try thanks to check-ins and tips from friends mostly from Twitter.  I get to see how often I frequent stores and locations.  After seeing how often I go to the movies, I feel like it would be better to just open up my own theater.

YouTube – I watch videos. Plain and simple. I’ve posted to the site before but unfortunately don’t have the itch to create video to share.

How do you use your networks?  Feel free to drop me a line below or @chrisjschmidt.

Thanks for reading.

Informational Interviews: Take 1

Posted in Business,Misc. by chrisjschmidt on March 16, 2011

After graduating, I was toying with the idea of attending grad school to get my MBA.  I understood the benefits of going right then, but also had concerns on whether I should wait until I gained some real world marketing experience away from campus.  I asked friends, family, and teachers what their opinions were but decided to try something different.  I eventually settled on conducting a few informational interviews with people I had conversed with on Twitter and LinkedIn, people were selected randomly just because I didn’t really have any connections.  For those of you I converse regularly with now, I didn’t know you then and that is why you didn’t make the cut.  I plan on writing a few posts from the transcripts I wrote during the interviews as well as profiles for the interviewees.

One of my first interviews was with Megan Amberson after posting an interview request on LinkedIn in a mutual group.  Megan is currently a gaming strategist (read marketing) for Trailer Park, a company based in Hollywood focused on entertainment marketing (movies, video games, tv shows, and huge live events).  Megan also worked at David and Goliath and DDB Los Angeles before Trailer Park.

Most of our conversation centered on how she got into the industry, what types of things she was doing on an everyday basis, some of her past projects, and advice for a recent grad.  You will have to excuse the improper grammar and the switching from 1st to 3rd person.  I was typing as we talked.

The video games department is a separate entity of the company.  Her job is a video game strategist.  She started in design – research – consumer research – strategist.  I am doing the right thing by using LinkedIn informational interviews.  She researched  all the companies that she was interested in then contacted them.  She said to continue networking and to consider freelance work.

She wanted to help clients in the video game industry and wanted to understand customers better.  Worked at Nike and Wells Fargo before this.  She said that a lot of consumers in this industry go by word-of-mouth and interactive ideas.  A person will buy a game by hearing about it from a friend or another player (close group).

She has worked on Call of Duty: World at War, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Dark Knight 2, and PlayStation projects.  Had the Activision account for their 2009 releases (Modern Warfare 2) and was dropped right before.  There seems to be a change in strategy for video games.  Companies are doing more marketing after the launch of a game.  Post-strategy is important and downloadable content (DLC) is becoming very popular.  To get the job for a game, you have to pitch the strategy to the company.”

Trailer Park


The link for Megan’s LinkedIn page is http://www.linkedin.com/pub/megan-amberson/7/1b/160. She is really friendly.  Just mention how you came across her or if you would like an introduction let me know.  Megan has been great.  I am still able to contact her frequently, and she asks my opinions on games/and keeps me updated on available positions through her network.

Stay tuned.  Next week will be the conversation I had with Brian Schwartz from @creativereason.

If you have any questions or need to get something off of your chest, please feel free to give me a shout.


Should Apple Do an iTunes Buyback Program?

Posted in Business by chrisjschmidt on March 9, 2011

I don’t know about most of you, but if you looked at my iTunes library you would see about half of my songs are ones that I will listen to over and over while the others are mostly Top 40 that I’ll listen to for a few months and may not even remember they are on my iPod until I randomly come across them in shuffle.

I’m not sure what Apple will do next with iTunes, but I’m sure they have a plan with updates to the service’s software and look and to the business model behind it.  A growing trend, maybe just for my generation, is the ability to sell items we have purchased back/recycle them whether it be to the place we originally bought them or to a 3rd party.  I do this frequently buying books and movies and selling them back to Amazon for credit in their store.  Even though I feel like their prices may be lower than I really want to accept, I know that I will spend that money and more over time.

Basically, I think Apple should allow this for songs and eventually movies (I know they have video rental option that is similar). They could offer you to basically delete the song from your account giving you back a portion of what you spent depending on the length of time that you had the song.  I did the math below for the 3 price points in the iTunes store, numbers were rounded accordingly.  They could do the buy back for the first 12 months after you have downloaded a song to your library.  I know for a fact I would end up buying more songs and spending more money that I probably would not have before.


Price ($)

Month of Return and Amount Back

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12



1.08 .97 .86 .75 .65 .54 .43 .32 .22 .11




.83 .74 .66 .57 .50 .41 .33 .25 .17 .08




.58 .52 .46 .40 .35 .29 .23 .17 .12 .06



As always, feel free to comment or share your thoughts below or on Twitter.


Thanks for reading.




What Brands are You in Love With?

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisjschmidt on February 21, 2011
Tags: , ,

Over the past year, I think I’ve applied to practically every marketing agency in the St. Louis area, but this past week I came across Happy Medium (@doingfor and http://www.facebook.com/thinkhappymedium). They have an interesting philosophy in creating brand love for their clients by inspiring consumers to truly connect with the products they use.

As I’ve grown up, I didn’t think I would ever use the same products over and over again, but once again I was proven wrong. I guess everyone makes mistakes. I have found myself developing brand love for some companies that I use every day and honestly don’t think I’ll stop at least for quite some time. These companies are:

Dove – @dove
Samsung – @samsungtweets
Clif Bar – @clifbar
Columbia – unfortunately they don’t have a twitter account
Method – @methodtweet

I used to use Old Spice as my deodorant and soap, but the Dove for Men line has won me over. I started off using their soap bars and quickly adapted their deodorant after its launch. When you walk into my room, all of my electronics are made my Samsung. I just believe they have a superior product, and I have never had any problems with them since I bought my first phone 5 years ago. I have my phone, sound system, tv, and blu-ray player all made by them. I eat some sort of Clif Bar every day, whether it is the regular Clif or one of their newest products the Clif Crunch. Method has me hooked on their hand soap and laundry detergent. Basically, these two companies give me a sense of pride when I use them. One of their main goals of being in business is to be environmentally sustainable and endorsing their products fulfills this belief for them and me. Finally, I came across Columbia when my mother decided to buy me a rain-resistant jacket that turned out to be a sponge. I conducted my own research bought a jacket and have not looked back on that decision once. I know own two jackets, some shirts, socks, wallet, and sweatpants, and I am in the process of getting a backpack and some winter gear.

I have truly developed brand love (thanks Happy Medium for the term) for various reasons. I tend to contact these companies frequently through Facebook, Twitter, visiting their website, and following them on LinkedIn as well as reading articles pertaining to them and their industry. By the way, Amazon , @amazon, has finally overcome Borders as my place of choice when buying my monthly book.

What companies are you falling in love with? I would like to hear about them. I may even try them out. Thanks for reading and get back to me on twitter @chrisjschmidt with your responses. Who knows, your company might be next.

Where’s the Weekly Wednesday?

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisjschmidt on October 6, 2010

I wanted to give a quick update.  I have been super busy and have been unable to sit down and write a Weekly Wednesday to publish the past 2 weeks.  I’ll have one for this week up on Friday and the post will include some short tidbits for the past 2 weeks.

Thanks for stopping by.

Trust Me, I’m a Doctor

Posted in Business by chrisjschmidt on September 16, 2010
Tags: , ,

While trying to get inspired to write a few blog posts, I decided to start Weekly Wednesday.  In essence, I plan to write a post regarding something that caught my attention in the world of marketing from Wednesday to Wednesday.

Today, I drove the 2.5 hours to Columbia, MO to visit my roommates for the weekend and on the way here, heard a Dr. Pepper Dr. Love radio spot.  I am a big fan of Dr. Pepper, it is one of my favorite soft drinks, and I enjoy following the company online and through their marketing techniques.  Over the past few months, they have been using their “Trust Me I’m a Dr.” series of promotions both on television and radio.

The marketing campaign is centered around famous Dr.’s in today’s pop culture.  They feature Dr. Dre, Dr. J, Dr. Love, Dr. Fraiser Crane, and Doogie Howser.  For those of you that don’t know, Dr. J is Julius Erving the great NBA player, Dr. Dre is a well known rapper and producer in the hip hop industry, Dr. Love is Gene Simmons from Kiss who is also well known for his TV show and enjoyment of promoting products with his band, Dr. Fraiser Crane is from the hit TV show Fraiser starring Kelsey Grammer, and Neil Patrick Harris who played Doogie Howser.

The campaign first started with a commercial for Super Bowl XLIV celebrating Dr. Pepper’s 125th anniversary.  For me, this is one of the best marketing campaigns I have seen in a long time.  It grabs attention, the music used pulls me in (I find myself humming along), and who doesn’t like to watch a nice jump shot.  It takes some serious skill to make an ice cube in a small glass.

I could not find any specific results regarding the campaign, but the amount of articles available and postings after a quick Google search show that the campaign did garner attention and reach.  I do not know if sales of Dr. Pepper increased, but it seems at least brand awareness and recognition did.  Following this campaign, Dr. Pepper quickly grabbed a product placement spot in Marvel’s Iron Man 2 which released earlier this summer and earned just above $310 million domestically at the box office.

I look forward to what Dr. Pepper’s does next.  As always, feel free to leave comments or suggestions below.

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