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Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app?

Because this app is both wildly popular yet still wildly unfamiliar to so many, we have broken this post into a two-part series; Snapchat 101: What is this wacky app? and Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app? If you haven’t already read last Thursday’s part one of the series, check it out here.


Why Snapchat?
According to Snapchat, it boasts 100 million daily active users.

To provide some perspective, the monthly active users on Instagram total 400 million and Twitter comes in at 320 million, monthly. There is a lot of buying power behind these users considering a whopping 70% of Snapchatters are women, and 60% of US 13 to 34-year old smartphone users are Snapchatting.


While almost everyone has heard of Snapchat, many marketing professionals fall outside of their core 13 to 25-year-old user range, making it one of the most intimidating social media platforms for brands. Snapchat can be a powerful force in the marketing world, but it is very different from most other social media platforms and it requires a lot of creativity. We are here to help!



Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app?

During the Super Bowl, Gatorade created a custom Snapchat filter that allowed users to have under-eye paint applied over their selfie while a virtual cooler of, you guessed it, Gatorade was poured over top of them. You can check out Serena Williams utilizing this feature in this clip she posted to Instagram. Gatorade wound up driving 160 million impressions with this filter – that is 48 million more than the 112 million who tuned in to watch the actual game! Gatorade also reported spending anywhere between $500,000 and $750,000 for this filter.


Don’t have that kind of cash? Here are some easy, creative, budget-friendly ways for your brand to tap into this platform.


1. Create a Snapchat Account

dougieWhile this may seem like a no-brainer, you don’t have to have a Snapchat account to utilize the tool for your brand. For example, while Gatorade may have created a wildly successful (and pricey) filter, they still have yet to join Snapchat. However, having an account is a free way to engage this audience.


Use your current social media following on Instagram and Facebook to let them know you have joined the Snapchat world! But remember, getting people to follow you isn’t quite that easy – to get followers, they need to know your specific Snapchat name, and to keep them there, you have to have Snap-worthy content. Which brings us to our next point…


2. Find Snap-worthy Content

Snapchat is not the place for strategically photographed, retouched and fussed-over content – it’s a place to play up your brand’s personality! This platform is all about real-time happenings, so provide a glimpse of your behind-the-scenes action. Have multiple people in your business take over the company’s Snapchat for a day. Or, take a page from one of these brand’s Snapchat success stories:


Taco Bell

Taco Bell informed all of their Twitter followers that anyone who added them to their Snapchat account would receive a personal Snap from the taco chain revealing a secret announcement. The following day, Taco Bell directly sent each follower a photo of a new burrito product with the official, never before released, launch date.


Wet Seal

Don’t know what makes teenagers tick? Get in line! Or do what Wet Seal did and don’t try – give control to an expert. Wet Seal let a 16-year-old blogger take over its Snapchat account to for two days, resulting in 9,000 new followers and 6,000 views of their Story feed.



Similar to Taco Bell, Acura took a more exclusive approach to the secret announcement technique. They offered the first 100 followers on Snapchat a chance to see the new NSX prototype, sending each individual a short video of the product.


SnapChatFilter23. Design a Geofilter

The cost of Gatorade’s nationwide primetime filter may be out of reach for most brands, but brands can get into the filter business by creating one for as little as $5. Costs range based on the size of the tagged area (20 thousand to 5 million square feet) and the length of time the filter is available.


It works like this – when a Snapchatter enters your predetermined geotagged area, the filter you created appears as a filter option in their app. A Geofilter with a fun illustration, or representation of your brand is a great way to get users to organically share your company or product.


Brands in the tourism industry can create a filter that appears when a Snapchatter enters their district, town or city. Retail brands can design a fun filter that appears when a Snapchatter walks into, or near their store. Having your brand overlaid on countless selfies is a great way to use Snapchat.


Here is an example of a Peebles Creative Group Geofilter featuring some of our PCG rock stars!


4. Get Creative

Even Snapchat is trying to figure out Snapchat. Features appear one day and are gone the next as Snapchat continues to evolve. By finding new ways to take advantage of the latest Snapchat craze, you can make your brand shine with this highly sought-after audience.


Netflix did a great job utilizing the incredibly popular face swap Snapchat filter. They took advantage of this latest craze and placed posters in various French cities inviting pedestrians to take a selfie with the poster and face swap with a popular series character. I mean, who isn’t curious to see what it’s like to swap faces with “House of Card’s,” Frank Underwood? For nothing more than a nominal printing cost and a lot of creativity, Netflix capitalized on the latest Snapchat trend without breaking the bank.


Still not sure how or if your brand fits into this platform? Let us help! From designing Geofilters to helping you create a custom social media plan, Peebles Creative Group is here to get you into this wacky app, in a Snap!






Snapchat 101 – What is this wacky app?

Because this app is both wildly popular and yet still so wildly unfamiliar to many, we have broken this post into a two-part Snapchat series; Snapchat 101: What is this wacky app? and Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app? Stay tuned next Thursday for part two!


What is this wacky app?

Whether or not you have Snapchat on your phone, there is no denying its presence in the social world. According to Snapchat, it boasts 100 million daily active users.


To provide some perspective, the monthly active users on Instagram total 400 million and Twitter comes in at about 320 million, monthly. There is a lot of buying power behind these users considering a whopping 70% of Snapchat users are women, and 60% of U.S. 13 to 34-year old smartphone users are Snapchatters.


While almost everyone has heard of Snapchat, many marketing professionals fall outside of their core 13 to 25-year-old user range, making it one of the most intimidating social media platforms for brands. Snapchat can be a powerful force in the marketing world, but it requires a basic understanding of the app and lot of creativity. We are here to help with both!


Snapchat 101

Unlike Instagram or Facebook, Snapchat makes it difficult to upload an existing photo from your phone to the app, making it a true “real-time” platform. Most photos and all videos are taken directly in-app, in the moment. Filters can be applied to the Snap, and a specific audience is selected for immediate receipt.


Take a selfie with the caption “sup”, a 10 second video of your dog zooming around the couch, Snap your gourmet dinner, swap faces with your dad and send the goofy shot to all your friends, or post it to your Story.


The content isn’t typically newsworthy in and of itself, but unlike any other social platform, it is the closest you can get to seeing exactly what your friends are seeing at the moment they are seeing it, without being right there with them.



The Snapchat Glossary

Snapchat has many unique terms and features, but here are some of the basics to help with the always intimidating, “fear of the unknown:”


  • Snap = Photo or Video.
  • Photo Snaps can be viewed anywhere from 1-10 seconds, as determined by the sender.
  • Video Snaps can be up to 10 seconds in length.
  • Captions can be overlaid on the Snap, up to about 80 characters. You can also draw on your Snap.
  • Snapchat recently added the wildly popular filter feature to its app. You can overlay an animated cartoon of a dog’s face onto yours that licks the screen when you stick out your tongue. You can stand next to your friend and the filter will detect both of your faces and swap them onto the other’s body. Filters are constantly being updated and provide endless ways to waste away hours of your day with an infinite number of giggle-inducing possibilities.
  • Users can send Snaps directly to specific friends, without posting to their public feed. These direct Snaps disappear after being viewed.
  • You can take a screenshot of a snap, but be careful, it notifies the sender that you have taken a screenshot. You can also replay Snaps one more time, but only right after they are first viewed.
  • There is a feature that lets you see whether or not your friend has opened your Snap yet.
  • Snapchat also has a chat component. Send texts back and forth with your friends, but these, too, disappear after closing the window.
  • Snapchat does have a public feed for its users, it’s called a Story. Stories contain a series of snaps for each user in chronological order, with each Snap remaining on the user’s Story for 24 hours, to be viewed by anyone who follows them, on an unlimited basis, within those 24 hours.
  • Unlike most other social media platforms, there is no “like” feature, but users can see who has viewed the Snaps posted in their Story.



Here is a sample of some riveting Snaps from my Snapchat Story this morning while writing this post – now all my friends can see what a sweet morning I’ve had, like they were sitting in the office with me!




A sneak peek at Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app?


During the Super Bowl, Gatorade created a custom Snapchat filter that allowed users to have under-eye paint applied over their selfie while a virtual cooler of, you guessed it, Gatorade was poured over their head. You can check out Serena Williams utilizing the filter in this clip she posted to Instagram as part of the promotion. Gatorade wound up garnering 160 million impressions with this filter – that is 48 million more than the 112 million who tuned in to watch the actual Super Bowl! Gatorade is also reported to have spent anywhere between $500,000 and $750,000 for this custom, nationwide filter.


Don’t have that kind of cash? Here are some easy, creative, budget-friendly ways for your brand to tap into this platform.


(Tune in next Thursday for the second part of our Snapchat series, Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app?)






Instagram and the Dreaded A-Word

On March 15, Instagram sent filter fanatics everywhere into a frenzy when they uttered the dreaded A-word…. algorithm. Taking a page from the Facebook playbook of 2009, Instagram announced that it would stop sorting its posts chronologically by date in favor of prioritizing posts by a user’s interests, relationship with the poster, and timeliness of posts.


Instagram claims that the average user only sees approximately 30% of their feed, leaving 70% of what might be interesting posts unseen. Their goal with the change is to create a more personalized experience for the user and “cut the clutter.”


In addition to sending their users into a panic about letting Instagram decide what an individual’s interests are, brands are scrambling to determine if they are the “clutter” that will be cut. Creating an organic following on Instagram is a challenging task for brands – sustaining and building upon that following to remain in the top 30% of their follower’s feeds will take strategy.


Since the announcement, Instagram has been mum on a specific launch date (My feed actually just changed TODAY!) for the new algorithm, simply stating that they have only rolled it out to a single-digit percent of core users for testing and that it will “eventually” roll out gradually to a broader audience.


Here are four things that Peebles Creative Group recommends our clients do to maximize their impact with Instagram in light of the change:



This is the one sure way to get around the algorithm. While the algorithm will impact a brand’s organic posts, it will not impact the placement of paid advertising. Instagram opened its advertising platform to all businesses last August to staggering success. For as little as two cents per view, we often recommend Instagram to our clients looking for a cost effective way to get in front of a Millennial audience. A lot can be communicated in the brief moment a post occupies a user’s entire screen. The key here is to remember that an Instagram ad appears as a post, so if you want engagement, you need to be mindful of this platform. Which brings me to our next point…


Don’t Tailor, Create

Remember that Instagram is not Facebook, nor is it Twitter. Users scroll through posts at a high speed, only occasionally stopping to read copy in a caption. So that post you created for Facebook or Twitter? It likely isn’t a good fit for your Instagram feed. We encourage clients to consider Instagram as a wordless platform. While you may be able to add text or a call to action to a caption in Instagram, the caption content is secondary to the photo or video communication. Visuals should be created specifically with Instagram in mind, not as a cut-and-paste of a social blast across platforms.


Have A GOAL in Mind

With the changes being made, brands will have less opportunity to be all things to all users. Whether it is organic or paid, having a goal driven post strategy is critical. Whether it is highlighting a product, increasing brand awareness, or adding a human element to the brand, every piece of content you publish should speak to a specific goal. Posting on occasion, a variety of content, with no goal in mind to check off the “social media” section of your marketing plan is exactly the kind of behavior that will get mild interaction and will likely push your post to the bottom of the feed.


Don’t Be the Clutter

At the end of the day, the algorithm is being put in place to cut the clutter from a feed and elevate the posts that get the most interaction. Simply put, our word of advice to our clients is to not be that clutter. You have but a moment to grab the attention of your audience – make it count! Use animation, create a cinemagraph, make videos impactful and interesting without the sound, use photography that requires a double-take.


Here are some accounts with a variety of products in a variety of industries that we think are #killinit

Adobe: @adobe

Edutopia: @edutopia

GoPro: @gopro

Mail Chimp: @mailchimp

NPR: @npr

Quest Nutrition: @questnutrition

Taco Bell: @tacobell

US National Parks: @nationalparksus


With the right strategy, Instagram can still be a powerful tool for brands. While it punishes the mundane by pushing these posts lower, the algorithm will reward creativity with increased visibility. Want to know how you can create a custom strategy to increase your visibility on Instagram? We happen to have an entire team of creative people right here to help!

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Increase Your Tradeshow Success

Tradeshows can be an extremely effective way to grow your audience, market your business and learn more about your competition. They provide the opportunity for you to meet, face-to-face, with a large number of potential clients, key decision makers and quality buyers in your industry. Your business could see really powerful results and get hundreds of qualified leads from one event! But that doesn’t just happen by showing up, there’s a lot more work and planning involved to get your desired ROI.


When you decide to add a tradeshow into your planning for the year, remember some of these key points and you’ll set yourself up for success!


Outline your goals.


What do you hope to gain from this event? Setting measurable goals early in your planning is vital. Everything you do from here on out should go back to the goals you have outlined. Stick to three or less solid goals.


Choose a tradeshow that is right for your organization and meets your outlined goals.


And think about selecting an event that you will not only be an exhibitor, but also a speaker. Is this event right for your goals? Who will be attending? Is the audience YOUR audience? One show many of our real estate clients attend each year is ICSC’s Recon. This global convention for the shopping center industry provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities. Peebles Creative Group has created custom print and digital sales presentations for Nationwide Realty Investors that quickly and easily communicate the quality of their mixed-use developments and available opportunities.


Spread the word.


Promote the event, let everyone know you are going to be there and invite them to come. Send invitations, set up appointments to meet at the tradeshow and get the word out.


Prepare for the main event!


Booth display and presence.


Select a good spot, location matters. Your graphics should look professional, be easy to read, grab attention quickly, stand out from the crowd and have your business name/logo large enough and easy to spot. Your table should be well organized and free of snacks and drinks from the staff. Overall your space should give an open and inviting vibe to all that pass by.




Select the right staff. A group of friendly, well-spoken, knowledgeable, outgoing team members. Energetic and eager people who are excited to stop people and tell them about your business. No booth desk jockeys need apply, only the pleasantly persistent wanted.




You will need to have plenty of handouts and business cards ready. The message and content of the handouts should be determined by the goals you outlined early on. They should represent your brand well and be professionally produced.


Contests and Giveaways.


Contests, promotions, giveaways and other creative methods can also be used to help your company spread brand awareness, collect contact information or achieve other desired tradeshow goals.


Capture and qualify leads.


You have a short window of time to speak to people, make it count. Get their contact information via business cards, forms, contest entries, or even just jot it down. Think of the questions you want to ask ahead of time and this will help you qualify leads. You can make note on the back of their business cards or find a way to keep record that works best for you.


Now that your event is over, the follow up needs to begin! Use your collected business cards and contact forms to generate a list of the most qualified leads and begin there. A handwritten thank you note, an email and a phone call all are great next steps for immediate follow up.


Take the final steps to debrief and evaluate the success of your event. Did you meet your goals? Did you get ROI? Ready for the next event?



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How to tell your story

A couple of days ago, I was given the assignment of answering one of the most frequently asked questions in marketing, “why do so many businesses find it so difficult to tell their story?”


My first reaction was, “the answers are endless and any answer is correct.” I’ll begin with the realization that has ended more attempts than any other…


A: It needs to be great.


Perhaps you can relate… You sit down at your computer, bang out a couple of sentences, then edit and edit and edit until you’re staring at a screen filled with two sentences expressed 25 different ways. It needs to be great, occupies your mind and applies its pressure. So, you write, edit, edit, and edit some more until you find yourself in the same place an hour or so later. The only real difference is you’re now questioning your basic ability to communicate anything at all.


A: It’s difficult.


Having expressed the difficulty in getting started, you may not want to know that getting started is actually the easy part. From the first keystroke, progress is apparent. The letters quickly become words and sentences soon begin to fill your screen. At some point the page begins to scroll so you can’t see the beginning or the ending… this is when the task becomes even more difficult.


A: Many stop too soon.


Pushing through is key to writing your business’ story. It will take longer than expected… enjoy the journey. Focus on progress until you reach the end. Take breaks, but don’t give up. Consider involving others. Shameless self-promotion alert: I just so happen to know a group of people who would love to help.


A: Those who have a good business story are often too busy running their business to tell their story.


Maybe you can relate… your passion and abilities came together in the form of a product or service that generated an unmistakable attraction, so much to do, and not enough time to do it. So, you did, did, did, and now you do, do, do. By the time you identify the need for messaging – and you will identify that need – you have a pile of successes but no idea how to craft those business success stories into a compelling story, one that will result in a response from your target audience. This is what we do. Peebles Creative Group has a proven process that serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges that appear on the way to effective messaging.


A: Those who are living a great business story may not appreciate just how good their story is.


What you do is important; it speaks to capabilities. However, if your story is limited to what you do, you’re skipping the best part.

Let me provide an example. We’re on the verge of launching new messaging for an engineering firm. Not being an engineer myself, I invested in weeks of research familiarizing myself with the field. What I found came as no surprise: the majority of their competitors spent a lot of time talking about what they do. So, we took a different approach and crafted a more compelling story – sharing how they do what they do, and why they do it that way. By focusing on the how and the why, we moved beyond capabilities and told their story of commitment, peace of mind, and satisfaction. When your messaging provides “a sense of purpose for all that we do… a reason for employees to care as much as they care,”  a deeper connection with your customers is sure to follow.


A: All of the above


Hopefully, you’ve found something of value in my answers. Maybe you just needed to know that your struggle is shared. Or, perhaps you gave up to soon. At Peebles Creative Group, we believe effective marketing requires many steps: Discovery, Strategy, Messaging, Planning, Execution, and Verification. What do I say? Where do I say it? How do I make sure it gets read once it’s there? The first thing you need to know is there’s no one answer to these questions. The answers are specific and unique to you.


We’ve provided the answers for many and would welcome the opportunity to answer these questions for you.

Just email me at



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Welcome, Libby!

Peebles Creative Group is excited to announce our newest Rock Star Team Member, Libby Montgomery. Libby has been hired as a project manager and will serve as a main client contact for a variety of our amazing clients. We already know Libby is going to handle accounts with great care, contagious enthusiasm and expert marketing smarts. Get to know Libby by reading on…we’ve highlighted her work history and some of her favorite things. Please join us in welcoming Libby Montgomery to Peebles Creative Group.


PCG Team Member pictures-Libby


Libby’s path to PCG…

In college at Ohio State, I had the privilege of being a student ambassador – speaking on behalf of the University to prospective students and their parents. While marketing and  communication wasn’t what I was initially there to study, I grew to love the art of communication and marketing strategy through that role. As a Marketing and Event Coordinator for the Refectory Restaurant & Bistro, I had the opportunity to grow my passion and their brand. I later started with the City of Dublin where, for five years, I managed projects for their Marketing, Media & Sponsorship initiatives for the Dublin Irish Festival. At the City of Dublin, I was incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful mentor who empowered me and showed me how to foster relationships with local businesses and residents. She helped me to realize that relationships are imperative to success in business – I have been in the fortunate position to learn from the best and work with a variety of clients on brand activation.


Libby’s Favs…


Word: Fiddlesticks.


Food: Donuts. Specifically, cake Donuts from Honey Dip Donuts.


Commercial: This is a tough one. I am always a fan of a commercial that can make me laugh. But, the ones that really stick for me are ones that don’t advertise a product as much as elicit an emotional response on behalf of a brand. I tend to geek out on commercials and ads, so my favorites are constantly changing, but as of late it is probably tied between this one from Google and this one from AirWick.


Movie: I really wish it was something cooler… But likely Pride & Prejudice – the Keira Knightly version. I also really enjoy law-related dramas like Erin Brockovich, and The Lincoln Lawyer. If its a super sad, or animal-dies-at-the-end movieish – I’m out.


Exercise: I prefer the be-fit-without-trying-and-eat-donuts approach… but it doesn’t seem to get the results I desire… so probably Jillian Michael’s workouts. I can “do them” in my living room, they’re only thirty minutes, and she kicks my butt….every time.


App: In all honesty, it would have to be the PBS Kids app. It provides instant distraction for my kids in a pinch and has saved me countless meltdowns. But if I had to pick an adult app, it would probably be the RetailMeNot app – all of the current coupons, online and in-store versions, right at your fingertips. I. Love. Deals.


Dessert: Do donuts count? Just kidding… Mostly. I would have to say Crème Brulee from The Refectory. I have never tasted a version that tops Chef Richard’s recipe.


Holiday: The 4th of July. It’s a low expectation holiday that always exceeds mine. It’s relaxing and involves lots of friends and family and brings people together from all around for one common celebration. Thanksgiving would be a close second, though…


Most looking forward to at PCG:


Working with great people who are passionate about their work – sounds simple enough, but that can be difficult to find. PCG’s reputation for being great proceeds them. Whenever I mentioned to anyone that I was inquiring about this position, I was amazed by how many people said, “Peebles! I know them – they’re a great group!” I could tell from their website, to their clients, to first introductions that these are talented people who want to do good work and help people grow their businesses. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that!? I feel incredibly blessed to be a new member of this special team.