10 Tips for Working Smarter

Productivity TipsThough Ants are notoriously hard workers, we understand that sometimes it’s hard to keep your head in the game and make the most of your work day. Increasing your productivity is a challenge, but we’re here to help. Here are 10 tips for working smarter:

  1. Write down your daily goals

Writing tasks down helps you commit them to memory, and it’s also good to have an easily accessible reference for all the work you need to do that day. Write your list down on a Post-it or something that’s clearly visible from your desk so you can glance at it whenever you need to get back on track.

  1. Limit how much time you’re spending on tasks

Research suggests that only 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. Keep your eye on the clock and actively limit the amount of time you spend on each task. The self-imposed time pressure will keep you from lingering on a single project and neglecting the others.

  1. Take breaks

Taking regular, short breaks during long tasks has been shown to help maintain productivity. In contrast, working at a long task without breaks is likely to lead to an eventual decline in productivity. Get up, stretch, walk around the office a bit! Do some jumping jacks! Then get back to work.

  1. Follow the “two-minute rule”

Entrepreneur Steve Olenski coined this phrase to describe his strategy for making the most of small windows of time. Here’s the idea: if you have a task on your radar that you know can be done in two minutes or less, you should do it immediately. It will take longer to return that task later; plus, knocking out a bunch of small tasks will streamline your workload and provide a sense of accomplishment.

  1. Get your most dreaded task out of the way

Once you take a crack at whatever awful project you’ve been avoiding, the rest of the work day will seem like a breeze. Afterward, you can focus on prioritizing and delegating your other tasks.

  1. Get fit

Carving out time during the work day to exercise may help improve productivity, according to some studies. If possible, build in times during the week to hit the gym or even just take a quick walk.

  1. Set aside time to answer messages

It’s good to make yourself available, but don’t allow incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day. If possible, turn off notifications to eliminate distractions and set aside a chunk of time specifically for checking messages and voicemails.

  1. Personalize your space

Some research shows that working in a space with aesthetically pleasing elements can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Houseplants in particular can help create a pleasant ambiance and are said to contribute to a productive environment. Decorate your desk to your liking, and at the beginning of each day take a few moments to de-clutter your workspace.

  1. Listen to music

Listening to your favorite music can help you get in the zone, and wearing headphones can subtly indicate to your coworkers that you don’t want to be disturbed. Those who get distracted easily by listening to music might want to consider Noisli instead—it’s a great app that lets you customize and mix ambient sounds to create the optimal work environment.

  1. Leave your desk for lunch

Abandoning your desk might keep you from getting some work done during your lunch hour, but it can also give you a much-needed break and help you mentally separate your work and leisure time. This is also a great opportunity to swing by a park and get some exercise and fresh air. Give yourself some time to collect your thoughts and return from your lunch re-energized and ready to roll!

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Sources: https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/15-ways-to-increase-productivity-at-work.html
http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5658-easy-productivity-tips.html
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-ways-boost-your-productivity-the-office.html

Social Media Spotlight: Keebler

Branded Twitter accounts are a tricky business. Everything and everyone has Twitter these days, and it can be difficult for brands to get noticed amongst the sea of content and attract followers who are actually interested in seeing branded posts. Many perceive branded accounts as irrelevant, inauthentic or uninteresting.

The folks at Keebler took both these considerations into account and decided not to waste time pretending to be social media savvy. Their “Ernie Keebler” account is essentially a chronicle of the lovable old elf’s attempts to master the ins and outs of the worldwide web.

Ernie’s Twitter bio sets the tone of the page: “Was so busy baking uncommonly good cookies and crackers that I just found out about the Twitter. Now I’m working hard to get up to date. Hashtag excited!”

His tweets are sprinkled with comical misuse of internet lingo. For example, “People here say to avoid trolls. But why would I? My neighbor’s a troll, and he loves Fudge Stripes. He’s the best!”

Others feature shaky home videos of the Hollow Tree cookie factory and clumsy attempts at selfies. One post features a gif of Ernie playing Pong (a game some younger Twitter users may have never even heard of). Another asks, “Can someone put me in the picture with the Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes? I haven’t been to the Photo Shop.” It’s accompanied by a shot of the new Pumpkin Spice cookies and a hilarious, awkwardly posed photo of Ernie.

It’s a fun strategy that plays off a familiar old character, a clever interpretation of both Ernie’s status as a well-loved symbol and his physical age. People have taken notice of it on Twitter—many of Ernie’s tweets have garnered a few thousand likes and retweets—and the account has been mentioned by users on other websites like Tumblr.

There are a surprising number of customers interacting with the account. Ernie always responds with a carefully curated and lovable personality. For example, he greeted one of his new followers: “By golly @alainhanna55! I see that you started following me on the Twitter, but when I looked over my shoulder…you weren’t there!”

Twitter users—especially young people—are a little jaded by brands making shaky attempts to latch on to the latest trend. They’re much more likely to be sympathetic to the technologically inept Ernie, who seems honest and endearing.

The Ernie Keebler account plays off social media norms in a subtle way, suggesting that while Ernie may not know how social media works, the professionals at Keebler sure do. They’ve done a great job building a personality for Ernie and using their social media in a creative way that attracts Twitter users rather than alienating them.

Do you know of any branded Twitter accounts worth talking about? Tell us about your favorites in the comments.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Why Creating a Buyer Persona is Crucial

What’s a buyer persona?

Buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market data and research about your existing customers. If used to its full potential, a buyer persona can help you get right to the core of your customers’ values—attracting the most valuable leads and visitors to your business.

How can a buyer persona benefit my business?

  1. It brings your target demographic into focus.

When you go through the exercise of defining a buyer persona, you write their story. By doing so, you are uncovering their hopes, concerns, behaviors, activities and needs. When you have a full picture of your target rather than just the basic demographics, you are better able to tailor your message to those consumers and reveal unique opportunities for establishing connections.

  1. If it’s inaccurate or underdeveloped, it can alienate your target market…

“As a rheumatoid arthritis patient and as a healthcare marketer, I cringe every time I see the TV commercial for a Humira. It doesn’t connect with me and, even worse, it perpetuates the false myth that people suffering from RA can take an injection and then run off to build a playground during a rainstorm. Only 20 percent of patients achieve full remission,” said Shannon O’Connell. This is a prime example of a brand that could benefit from a more accurate buyer persona. While healthcare marketers want to communicate the message that good care will allow patients to get back to their lives and daily activities, they need to ask serious questions about patient outcomes before making that promise. Knowing your target market—and not just basing your advertising on a stereotype or caricature—can be the key to avoiding disconnects and unfulfilled brand promises like this one.

  1. …but if it’s accurate, it can help you improve your brand experience.

The process of wiping the slate clean and thinking about things from the customer’s perspective will often uncover valuable wish list items that could make all the difference in getting word-of-mouth referrals or higher ratings in online reviews.

Steps for developing a buyer persona:

  1. Research to find basic information such as gender, age range, education levels, household income and geographic areas.
  2. Survey to discover their activities, priorities, how they source information, social media usage and any other lifestyle preferences that could be relevant to your business.
  3. Define their needs and expectations as well as any struggles or issues they may have.
  4. Define how others influence their buying decisions.
  5. Survey to discover your company’s strengths and what makes you stand out from competitors.
  6. Use this information to group similar consumers together.
  7. Develop an anecdotal story about a fictitious person who represents each type of group.

Additional tips and tricks:

  • The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better!
  • You may find it helpful to search for a stock photo that fits your persona.
  • Be careful to avoid making up answers to the questions in the above steps; make sure your responses are backed up by research or customer statements. Otherwise, your buyer persona may end up being more self-serving than enlightening.
  • Once you are able to identify real customers who fit your buyer persona, you can tailor your communications to fit their needs. Be conscious of this in your business interactions.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Marketing to Generation Z

As Millennials move into adulthood, another generation is racking advertisers’ brains—one that is just as difficult to pin down.

The general consensus amongst demographers and researchers is that Generation Z (Gen Z) is composed of young people born during the late 90s and early 2000s. While Millennials witnessed the beginning of the digital age and grew up with VCR tapes and CD players, Gen Z was raised on YouTube and Twitter.

Given this inclination, one might assume that social media and other digital avenues are the key to connecting with Gen Z. That’s not necessarily the case. Much like Millennials before them, members of Gen Z are incredibly selective about their media consumption. And, surprisingly, they don’t always vibe well with digital advertising.

Advertising and branding agency Kantar Millward Brown recently conducted a study on the online marketing preferences of Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. They established online forums in the U.S., China and Germany, tested 31 ads in ten countries and interviewed a total of 24,000 participants from 39 countries.

Of all three demographics, Gen Z was the least receptive to mobile video ads—only 27 percent of respondents reacted favorably to this format. When confronted with ads they didn’t like, they began to multi-task and pay less attention.

However, this changed drastically when viewers were offered a reward—58 percent reacted favorably.

Gen Z’s are often irritated by online ads and will do their best to avoid them. 43 percent said that they prefer skippable pre-roll ads (typical of YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu) to any other form of online advertising. Additionally, these tech-savvy teens are familiar with ad blockers and they’re not afraid to use them.

Interestingly, the study found that Gen Z prefer some forms of traditional advertising due to the perceived artistic effort dedicated to producing print ads and commercials.

Gen Z also reacts well to native advertisements and celebrity endorsements—but probably not the celebrities you’re thinking of. An AdWeek study revealed that an overwhelming majority (95 percent) of Gen Z use YouTube. Today’s teens couldn’t care less what Katy Perry has to say in a CoverGirl commercial, but they pay attention when their favorite beauty YouTuber recommends a new Glossier moisturizer.

With all this in mind, how can your brand best reach this up-and-coming demographic?

Pre-roll ads are an option, but be aware that if given the opportunity to skip an ad, Gen Z will use it (on average, they’ll skip three seconds faster than Gen X).

Brands looking to catch this demographic could benefit from brand ambassador programs or partnerships with Internet celebrities. It’s a good idea to do some quick research and see not what, but who the kids are watching these days.

If you’re looking to attract Gen Z, you should keep in mind that this is a generation raised on the digital age—which means they’re a little bit jaded by it. Brands should avoid invasive ads, non-skippable mobile ads and homepage pop-ups in favor of a more organic approach: native advertising, celebrity partnerships or brand ambassadors, and carefully crafted, traditional advertising.

Don’t underestimate today’s teens. The best way to lure them is with an eye for art and a healthy respect for their uncanny ability to determine which brands are “authentic” and which ones aren’t.

 

Check out the Kantar Millward Brown study:

http://www.millwardbrown.com/adreaction/genxyz/

And click here to see AdWeek’s infographic on Gen Z’s online habits:

http://www.adweek.com/digital/infographic-50-of-gen-z-cant-live-without-youtube-and-other-stats-that-will-make-you-feel-old/

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Facebook Rolls Out Mid-Roll Ads

Facebook_Mid-roll_adFacebook has unveiled a new strategy for its advertisers—mid-roll ads.
The social media giant began testing mid-roll ads in late February.

They now offer the opportunity for advertisers to deliver these five- to 15-second video ads, called in-stream video, within live and non-live videos posted to Facebook.

In-stream video uses audience-based targeting, meaning that viewers of the same video may see different mid-roll ads depending on their interests. Advertisers can choose to exclude their ads from certain categories of videos (such as tragedy and conflict, debatable social issues, mature, etc.) in order to avoid any awkward clashes between video and ad content.

Mid-roll ads aren’t a new concept, but Facebook’s are notable in that they can begin as early as 20 seconds into a video. To qualify to display in-stream video ads, a video must be at least 90 seconds long and ads must be at least two minutes apart within a video.

Live videos have slightly different requirements—the video must be rolling for at least four minutes before an ad can begin, and the streamer must have at least 2,000 followers.

There are a lot of pros to this ad format. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has allowed publishers to make money from branded content in the past, but has always been opposed to pre-roll videos, which are more standard in the industry (think YouTube). Mid-roll ads provide a fresh strategy and an opportunity for advertisers to monetize, which was often difficult with Facebook’s old parameters. The revenue split is 55 percent to the publisher and 45 percent to Facebook. Targeted viewing allows advertisers to reach their exact intended audience. It also makes it easy to A/B test creative concepts and view detailed results using Facebook analytics.

On the other hand, the mid-roll format poses some risks. While many viewers have learned to expect pre-roll ads, mid-roll ads are rare and can be a jarring interruption. Advertisers have to somehow produce creative that doesn’t cause people to get annoyed and abandon the video entirely—a hefty challenge considering consumers’ finicky viewing habits and ever-shrinking attention spans. YouTube, one of Facebook’s biggest competitors, doesn’t even allow mid-roll ads in videos shorter than 10 minutes for this exact reason.

What do you think? Are mid-roll ads an obnoxious fad or an inventive approach to boost engagement? Let us know in the comments.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912