Global Marketing

Viacom: Creating Content on Social Media


 Social Media is an incredible tool that can be used to market brands and products to a very wide, but also very direct audience. While we have previously discussed the ways in which social media platforms are changing due to trends and other external forces, there is no denying that social media continues to be useful when developing brand recognition. These days, a developing trend is companies creating content itself on these social media platforms.

Viacom recently announced  the launching of Viacom Digital Studios. The purpose of this is to create content on social media websites. As AdWeek reports, Viacom Digital Studios “creates short-form and long-form content for Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube”. This is important because it reflects how the landscape of social media is changing. At this stage in the game, it is not enough to simply advertise your product, brand, or in this case, television programming on a social media site. This current trend requires brands and organizations to actually create new content specifically for these social media platforms.

 Viacom Digital Studios will be creating “programming unique to each platform,” as AdWeek states, which allows a more targeted audience for each specific social media model. Yahoo Finance reports that Viacom Digital Studios “reaches 4.3 billion social video views and 4.7 billion minutes viewed domestically in the second quarter”.

In addition to the creation of this new content, Viacom has also stated that it will be expanding VidCon, which takes place in Anaheim this June to London. VidCon is a convention for Youtubers and their fans. This turns social media into a truly interactive experience, bridging the gap between entertainers (or brands) and their audiences.

The creation of content and the engagement of fans is something that all organizations throughout the world need to keep in mind when they are developing their social media presence. Eventually, simply advertising on these platforms alone will not be enough for consumers. Having this exclusive content or interactive experience will be what will set companies apart, but may eventually simply be expected. Organizations need to be prepared for this shift.


Will the Generation Born into the Age of Social Media be the End of it?

Social Media Marketing post the Cambridge Analytica scandal

Global Marketing

Luxury Brand Marketing in China

Luxury brands are popular all over the world. This is no different in China, a huge market that is particularly interested in these luxury items. As Forbes reports, “Chinese customers already make up 32 percent of the global luxury market, and that number is predicted to rise to 44 percent by 2025”. That is a huge percentage, and is continually growing. As such, these luxury brands are continuing to try to break through to that market. They are doing this through the power of social media and digital marketing.

Social media is different in China than in the United States and some other parts of the world. Although Chinese consumers do not use Facebook or other US based social media platforms, social media marketing is huge and highly effective in China. Brands frequently use the social media platform WeChat to advertise. WeChat is a Chinese social media platform that can do all that Facebook does, and more, and is how most Chinese people connect. The strategic luxury brands have invested in advertising on this platform in interesting ways. As Forbes continues, “Many luxury firms selling to Chinese consumers have found that using WeChat stores is extremely effective. All of the top leading brands have WeChat accounts in China”. This is an excellent way of making sure Chinese consumers become aware of their brands, and of building relationships between brand and consumer.

In addition to the social media marketing that these luxury brands do, there has been an increase in luxury brands using other forms of digital media to advertise in China. Luxury brands including Hermès and Dior have created mobile games to advertise their brands. As the article states, this approach is particularly effective for Chinese millennials as the marketing campaign focuses on “nostalgia marketing” and “by mimicking the look and feel of their favorite games, brands can engage millennials on an emotional level”. The use of mobile games is not something often associated with luxury goods, but these brands know their market, and are capitalizing on this knowledge. This is an interesting approach to digital marketing in China and one that other brands should be cognizant of when creating marketing campaigns.



Luxury Brands Build Mobile Games to Attract Chinese Millennials



Global Marketing

Dove: Marketing Self-Esteem

Here in the United States, consumers are very familiar with the Dove brand, and its message of body- and self-confidence. In fact, in 2004, Unilever, Dove’s parent company, launched the Dove Self-Esteem Project under the Dove brand. As a global brand, this mission has extended beyond the United States, into countries all over the world. Dove recently released a commercial with ADK Tokyo in Japan that showcases the self-esteem issues of teenage girls in Japan. According to the ad, “Only 7% of Japanese teenage girls feel confident about their looks” and “This is the lowest in the world”.

In 2017, Dove published their Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report:

This report is a data collective describing confidence in girls around the world, ranging from physical looks to assertiveness and self-esteem. The report accounts that “Over half of girls around the world do not have high body esteem”.

Dove’s stance on self-esteem is particularly important in this current time. More and more, consumers are choosing to make purchases and support brands if they are assured that those brands take stands on social issues, and are proponents of things the consumers also support.

AdWeek reports: “Consumers were noticeably more receptive to brands communicating social or political messages on social media as compared to other platforms” and states “58 percent of consumers responded that they were receptive to such messages on social media, compared to 47 percent for television or radio and just 25 percent for print advertising”. The stances companies are taking matter, and it matters where they are taking these stances if they want to be assured that consumers will see them.

But even with all of Dove’s support of girls’ confidence and self-esteem, they are not free of controversy. In 2017, Dove released an ad that was seen by racist by many. This is an example of how although a brand can be progressive, there is still so much work to do.



Building Self-esteem Among Japanese School Girls


Global Marketing

Social Media Marketing post the Cambridge Analytica scandal

Social Media advertisers have certainly taken a hit in the last few weeks. Anyone turning on their TV or opening a browser page is inundated with talking heads discussing personal data breaches across various platforms. After the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, advertisers are waiting anxiously for the impact this will have on social media marketing going forward. Between public distrust and government regulations, the recent headlines may completely reshape how advertisers are permitted to market on social media.

Facebook has been the poster child for this abuse of user privacy. But the scandal affects other tech giants besides Facebook. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google are all highly influential forms of social media, and ones that also make a lot of money in advertising. According to Daisuke Wakabayashi and Jack Nicas of the New York Times, “Like Facebook, Google collects vast amount of data on users – including their YouTube choices, internet searches and location history – to target advertisements. Facebook has more than two billion users globally, but Google has seven products, including YouTube, Gmail, and its Android software, with more than a billion users each”.

This is an absurd amount of people whose information is potentially at risk.

While Mark Zuckerberg is grilled in the United States’ Congress, countries around the world are already taking steps to protect consumers’ data. In the European Union, a new law entitled the General Data Protection Regulation, or, GDPR, goes into effect May 25. CNNMoney states that “Under the new law, companies will have to obtain an individual’s consent in order to store and process personal data. Requests must be clear and written in plain language” in addition to other regulations. The CNNMoney article also states that this new law impacts “any organization that holds or uses data on people inside the European Union…regardless of where it is based”. This is a huge shift in the social media landscape.

This leaves advertisers in a state of worry. What are the potential ramifications of all this? Will countries around the world enact legislature to prevent this kind of privacy overreach in the future? How can advertisers maintain their targets when they are subject to these new regulations? Will these social media platforms ever regain the confidence and trust of the public that it once had?

While the answers to these questions can only be answered in the future, one thing is for certain: marketers need to be vigilant in keeping their eyes on the ever-changing landscape of social media marketing.



Global Marketing

Visitors to the US Set to Face Social Media Screening

The state department has issued a new rule that requires US visa applicants to surrender their social media accounts at the time of application. The new proposal focuses on the major US platforms including; Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. In addition covers the Chinese sites; Douban, QQ, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Youku; the Russian social network VK; Twoo, created in Belgium; and, out of Latvia.

During his presidential campaign, Trump assured an increase in security in the Visa vetting process for those wishing to enter the United States.

This new requirement affects people visiting the US from Brazil, China, India, and Mexico. Countries that the US already grant visa-free travel will not be affected by this. These countries include Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and South Korea.

Is this fair? Is this a violation in our freedom of speech? Is this like, the most creepy “Big Brother” tactic ever?

Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, has argued that. “This attempt to collect a massive amount of information on the social media activity of millions of visa applicants is yet another ineffective and deeply problematic Trump administration plan. It will infringe on the rights of immigrants and U.S. citizens by chilling freedom of speech and association, particularly because people will now have to wonder if what they say online will be misconstrued or misunderstood by a government official.”

Meanwhile, Facebook who is under tremendous hot water for their public scandal with Cambridge analytics, has made clear that they do not agree with any attempt to collect social media accounts from those wishing to visit the US. But this is Facebook, the company who has earned billions of dollars on selling their customers data.

This new part of the visa vetting process comes about from so many recent leads that have been discovered that possibly could have prevented terrorist attacks. Namely the attack in San Bernardino, CA that happened in 2015. Before he committed the gruesome attack, the husband and wife had been self-radicalizing themselves online and officials according to the New York Times have admitted that they missed these signs.

While the intentions of the new rules are obvious it does leave some questions to outsiders wanting to travel into the US. To what extent is their freedom of speech still relevant? What are the guidelines of being accepted or rejected? A user on China’s largest social media platform made a claim that, “We Chinese have learned well enough the lessons to be drawn from isolation. Now it’s America’s turn.”

We’ll have to see how this plays out and for how long….



Global Marketing

Germany Takes Action Against Hate Speech Across Social Media

Users of social media platforms have really started to lose faith in social media platforms. The country of Germany is taking serious action against bullies on social media. They have implemented a new law that regulates social media platforms, ensuring that hate speech has been removed after receiving notice in a set period of time. The country already has tight regulations in place that forbid posting content related to Neo-Nazi propaganda, swastikas, and denial of the Holocaust. NetzDg is the name of the new law in reference which translates to “Enforcement on Social Networks.”

Basically, for straight forward obvious cases you will see a removal within 24 hours and for more complex situations 7 days. Go Germany!

Futhermore, the social media platforms can expect to be fined up to 50 Million Euro (57 Million Dollars) if they fail to comply within the given time period. The main platforms under watch are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, Snapchat, and Instagram however government agencies are looking to expand the law to Reddit, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Flickr, Vimeo, VK, and Gab. The law was passed in June 2017, going into action in October however legislators gave social media platforms a grace period of three months to integrate to monitoring systems and hire additional staff in addition to the contact person legislators require each platform to appoint from the country for complaints.

When the law was proposed, justice minister Heiko Maas said: “Freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins.” Seriously, this is great! Hate speech includes racial slurs and religious violence, however the executive body of the law seems to package different types of hate speeches into the same category. Critics claim that social media platforms will then create algorithms to hide these posts instead of human mediation.

According to Gizmodo, “Google has also created an online form to report content, while Twitter has added an option to its existing report function that specifies ‘comes under the NetzDG.’ Facebook has set up a more complex system, independent of its reporting options, which requires users to find a special page, take a screenshot of the offending post, and choose one of 20 offenses that the post is allegedly committing. People do not have to be registered users of the network to report content.”

Also those opposed to the law of NetzDG say it will promote social media platforms to provide censorship to controversial speech in addition to the hate speech in order to reduce their risk of being fined. Controversial content and Hate content are entirely different concepts in which controversial content, even though all may not agree, still complies with the right to freedom of speech or expression. Hopefully this is not the case because otherwise our cyber world will take a very bias stance toward content and that hardly sounds exciting.





Global Marketing

Will the Generation Born into the Age of Social Media be the End of it?

As a millennial, I often hear from older generations that the world was so much better when young people weren’t so absorbed with their phones. In addition to killing chain casual dining, napkins, and cereal (see Business Insider for a comprehensive list) millennials are also said to have killed intimate conversations and eye-contact. To Generation Z, young people who are coming of age now who have never lived in a world without the Internet, this world older generations speak of seems prehistoric. This especially at a time where people young and old document their lives down to the smallest details across all platforms of social media. Teens and pre-teens usually keep the pulse of the culture, and I have seen my younger family members switch from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter to Snapchat and back, dictating to me which social media platform is the coolest.


But now it seems that young people are moving away from these social media platforms. According to UK agency Seed, of the students surveyed 77% stated they would leave social media for an extended period. In another study by Origin (hyperlink) 34% of Generation Z have left social media while 64% have at least decide to take a break.


These statistics are certainly worrisome for businesses. Generation Z leaving social media is a challenge for global marketers, who rely on advertisements on the various platforms to reach out to people all around the world. So how can marketers and businesses combat this trend?


According to WebProNews, Generation Z believes more in the message of products rather than corporate loyalty. This means that companies need to take the risk of taking stances, whether political, social, or cultural, to connect with Generation Z. This will be a topic further discussed in a future blog post, as we look in to detail how this Generation is rallying full movements using social media. WebProNews also suggests that marketers focus on one area of social media as opposed to spreading their message across all the various versions. For this suggestion, keeping an eye out on the different trends, or ‘coolness’ of the various social media platforms is pertinent. There is no point on focusing on one social media platform when all of Generation Z is on a different one.


Keeping up with the times may be tedious, especially as trends change so quickly, but it is important for industries to be flexible and remember that their investment will be worthwhile. Although the landscape of social media continues to evolve, there is no doubt that social media is one of the best ways to market a brand’s message on a truly global scale.





Global Marketing

Instagram Shopping Available to 8 New International Markets

In 2016 Instagram, a photo, video & story sharing platform, tested a feature which allowed business accounts to upload a photo and then tag the photo so users could click to access the product. The feature didn’t officially launch to businesses in the US till 2017 and now Instagram’s Shopping feature has been made available for business profiles in eight additional international countries. The countries added to the list are Canada, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Australia.

As of now, Instagram doesn’t let you add links to captions. They say it because it disrupts the user experience when scrolling through their appealing design to the eye. Have you ever noticed how well formatted your news feed is? Yeah it’s done on purpose. This shopping feature however makes it incredibly easy for users to follow brands onto e-commerce platforms, driving sales, while keeping users in the app.

It’s honestly a brilliant way for users to target shoppers. When a business posts a Shopping post and the user taps the photos for tags that then pop up to display prices and a link to a new page within the app with a “Shop Now” option, sending users straight to the brand’s own product page. Similar to the way you tag a user and then tap to click their account to follow to their profile.

Since Instagram itself is a business, they have already thought of ways to monetize the feature and earn revenue from businesses by allowing businesses to display shopping posts to users who don’t already follow their account.

As I’ve blogged about previously, Brazil is the second-largest market for Instagram so the reach for this new country is going to create expansion opportunities for lots of brands and retailers alike. Instagram has stated that of its active users, half of them follow Shopping Business accounts.

As reported by Engadget, Lulus a clothing website can credit 1,200 orders and over 100,000 sessions to the feature. Sessions means that even if a customer didn’t make a purchase they still spent time and interest in the product. Instagram is already a key advertising platform, how much easier can it get for businesses?

Jim Squares who is the head of Instagram business said in a press statement that, “People come to Instagram every day to discover and buy products from their favorite businesses. We want to be that seamless experience. Whether it’s a local artisan, florist or clothing store, shopping directly on Instagram has never been easier.”