Creating a social media campaign for Teavana


How would you brand a tea retailer that sells loose tea, tea accessories and cups of tea to go? I took on the challenge and created a #TeavanaFeelGood campaign.












Teavana is global tea retailer with 355 stores in major malls in the United States. It sells more than 100 varieties of loose-leaf teas, including white, green, and black teas imported from Asia and other regions, as well as hand-crafted teapots and other tea ware such as timers and teacups. While it does most of its business in the US, the company also has a presence in Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East.



Andrew Mack and his wife Nancy founded Teavana in 1997, took it public in 2011, and sold it to Starbucks in 2013 for $620 million. When Teavana launched, it relied heavily on word of mouth and drew customers in by offering tea samples to mall goers. (I drank many of those samples!) Now, with Starbucks as its owner, Teavana has the opportunity to improve upon its marketing efforts.



There are several global trends that bode well for Teavana: Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage worldwide, following only water, with a global market size of nearly $125 billion, according to Statista. Another favorable trend is a global emphasis on wellness.



According to the Starbucks annual report, one of its strategic initiatives for Teavana is delivering continued growth in its tea business through the Teavana brand and building the Teavana brand through Starbucks and Consumer Packaged Goods.



In the last 18 months, Starbucks has made two bold moves with its Teavana brand, both which will require marketing efforts:


  1. A move into China: In 2016, Starbucks streamlined the management of its Teavana division as a part of a plan to increase its tea sales to $3 billion over the next five years and grow its presence in China. In September. 2016, the company announced it will introduce the Teavana brand through more than 6,200 Starbucks stores across Asia Pacific, including 2,000 in China where a tea-drinking culture prevails.




  1. A partnership with Anheauser-Busch. In partnership with Anheuser-Busch, Starbucks is selling Teavana Craft Iced Teaat grocery stores in New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Missouri. The first line of teas come in four flavors. Later in 2017, select tea flavors will roll out to Starbucks locations nationally. The company plans to launch the line nationally at grocery and convenience stores in 2018.



Teavana is the only national tea retailer in the U.S. Its competitors are small tea shops/retailers, like David’s Tea and bottled teas, including Gold Peak, Honest Tea and Lipton.






  • Dominance in the market. Teavana is the only national loose-leaf tea retailer in the U.S.
  • Brand recognition
  • Strong parent company in Starbucks
  • High quality products





  • Pricing strategy is confusing
  • Low sales per square foot
  • Weak social media presence
  • Weak ecommerce platforms
  • Lack of meaningful in-store experience for customers
  • Slow delivery process for in-store beverages




  • Perceived health benefit of drinking tea
  • Aggressive expansion into supermarkets with ready to drink teas
  • Global expansion, particularly in China
  • Possibility to capitalize on additional cross branding with Starbucks
  • Introduce new products into retail stores, much like Starbucks did with food




  • Smaller tea retail chains pushing to expand
  • New beverages such as bubble teas
  • Currency fluctuations affecting tea prices
  • Rising costs of raw materials
  • Lack of loyalty








A social media marketing plan helps to accomplish company communications objectives through specific strategies and tactics.


A look at Teavana’s marketing objectives shows the brand wants to accomplish several important actions:


  • Raise brand awareness and reputation
  • Raise product awareness
  • Increase sales revenue
  • Create a market for its new ready to drink tea to be sold in grocery stores
  • Solidify the partnership between Starbucks and Teavana by selling more tea in Starbucks stores, particularly as Starbucks pushes into overseas markets



Teavana’s communications plan should align with those business objectives. As part of the social media planning process, it is necessary to develop strategic plans that include components of the social media mix as channels to accomplish marketing objectives. A good social media plan takes a S-M-A-R-T approach, meaning it will make objectives specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.


Specific marketing objectives


* Increase product awareness and raising awareness of tea benefits

through social media efforts by increasing followers across all platforms.


* Using social media campaign to push followers to point of sale or enrollment in subscription service, leading to a 10 percent increase in sales in 2017, excluding sales from new stores.

* Improve brand reputation management on social media platforms by reducing the negative brand mentions and increasing positive brand mentions by 20 percent.

* Increase social media engagement with customers and potential customers by 10 percent by year end through brand ambassador programs that encourage tea drinkers to engage on social media channels.

* Utilize social media channels to introduce new products such as the introduction of new tea latte flavors in its Starbucks stores and new “ready to drink” (RTD) teas to be rolled out in grocery stores.

* Boost e-commerce sales through paid social media posts.



The Brand Plan


The wellness movement has officially arrived in the United States and it presents an opportunity to use social media to achieve actionable objectives for Teavana’s social media marketing plan. Teavana’s website already has a tab titled “Wellness.” The #TeavanaFeelGood campaign will bring awareness to the benefits of tea. It will play on the notion that drinking tea can bring a result: it can make you feel good (as in healthier) or feel good (as in refreshed or relaxed). The campaign will run six months during summer and fall of 2017, both times of the year when drinking tea can make you feel good.










According to Teavana’s website, on any given day, more than 158 million Americans drink hot or iced tea. The audience for tea is changing rapidly. What was once a predominately female consumer ages 35 to 55 has evolved into a much broader target audience. Today, tea drinkers are younger.


Gary Robson, who owns a tea shop in Montana, authors a tea blog called Tea with Gary. He has pulled two articles and a chart to dig deeper into the tea demographic:


When a new study comes out, it’s interesting to see who spins it how. YouGov released a survey last month comparing American consumption of tea with coffee. Their headline was “Coffee’s millennial problem: tea increasingly popular among young Americans.” Oh, no! A coffee problem!

World Tea News, on the other hand, reported that same survey with the headline, “America’s Youth Embrace Tea.” Oh, boy! Kids are drinking tea.


This chart shows the current tea drinking demographics in the U.S.



Here are some facts from the Tea Association of the U.S.:


  • Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea.
  • Approximately four in five consumers drink tea, with Millennials being the most likely (87% of millennials drink tea).
  • On any given day, more than one half of the American population drinks tea. On a regional basis, the South and Northeast have the greatest concentration of tea drinkers.
  • Approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced.
  • Over the last ten years, Ready-To-Drink Tea has grown more than 15 fold. In 2014, Ready-To-Drink sales were conservatively estimated to be more than $5.56 billion. With the advent of the Ready-To-Drink (bottled tea) segment, tea drinkers now cross gender lines and age groups.
  • Hot Tea has been growing steadily over the past 5 years, as consumers embrace its health benefits.
  • Every day, new findings from the international scientific community lend credibility to tea’s healthy properties.


Gary Robson sums up the tea audience well: “A tea shop’s target audience is young women? This comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody in the tea business.” Gary also explains why this new demographic is emerging:  “I am much more likely to hear an older person say, “I don’t like tea,” because back in their day, tea meant either a teabag full of basic Lipton black tea or the green tea at a Chinese restaurant. Millennials are more likely to have discovered tea in a tea shop that offers dozens — or hundreds — of options.”


Tea Association President Peter Goggi in an interview with offers his thoughts on tea drinkers: “ Millennials have grown up with tea as the more common beverage in the house (RTD), and are particularly amenable to knowing more about what they are consuming.”


(Source: Who Is Drinking Tea in America,, Anix Basu, May 5, 2015.)

Quote from  Ian Cranna, VP of marketing for EMEA at Starbucks speaking on how Teavana will sell Shaken Iced Tea in its stores and open the tea category to a younger audience:


“We feel there is a massive opportunity not only to up-level that out of home tea experience but to revitalize it in a youthful way. You’ll see from the brand and the way it is represented in the bright and light, colourful imagery that this is a brand that is very much positioned at turning around what is a fantastic experience and bringing it to a younger audience.”

(Source:, Starbucks brings Teavana brand to UK, Natalie Mortimer, April 26, 2016.)

The Teavana Feel Good Campaign will target all existing tea drinkers, particularly millennials. The good news for the Teavana Feel Good Campaign is that this demographic consists of heavy users of social media, and a brand campaign that embraces social media should be well received.

Millennials are digital natives and grew up with current technology and social media. They want to interact with their favorite brands and they are influenced by peers on social media platforms. However, millennial social-media usage, commitment, and habits are changing. Millennials are using Facebook less and other platforms more and they are looking to social media for a positive experience. Teavana’s multiplatform campaign will address these changing habits.

(Source: Forbes. 4 Millennial Trends to Watch in 2017. Lauren Friedman. Dec 29 2016.)



The Teavana Feel Good Campaign will target tea drinkers on social media, luring them to buy more Teavana tea and encouraging them to engage with other tea drinkers. It also will urge followers to share their tea recipes and their positive tea experiences. The campaign will reinforce in their minds that tea leads to feeling good. The campaign emphasizes the benefits of drinking tea: feeling refreshed, feeling energized, feeling healthier, feeling good. These benefits are particularly important to Teavana’s target audience. Consumers interested in buying tea will be able to shop Teavana teas by the desired effect on their wellbeing (mood focus as opposed to flavor focused). For example, a consumer who wants to feel relaxed can search tea choices on the Teavana website by that desired outcome. This will tie in to the overall Teavana Feel Good strategy.






  • Social media is made up of a large number of networks addressing different zones. The image below illustrates the four social media zones.




The TeavanaFeelGood social media campaign (#TeavanaFeelGood) will focus on Social Community, Social Publishing and Social Commerce. The campaign will build on already existing social media presence, add new channels, and attempt to create user-generated content and brand ambassadors



The strategy for each of these zones will help to accomplish objectives with resources available.


  1. Social community zone:
  • While its parent, Starbucks, has 36 million followers on Facebook and thousands of brand ambassadors, Teavana has only 480,000 and its social media accounts are cluttered with negative comments about how its in-store tea samples are deceptive. A social campaign that increases social followers and positive comments would help Teavana accomplish its objectives.


These are the channels where Teavana has a presence:

The campaign would be an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) plan using all of its channels. An IMC plan ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together. At its most basic level, IMC means integrating all the promotional tools so that they work together in harmony rather than in isolation. Their sum is greater than their parts – providing they speak consistently with one voice all the time, every time.


Source: Integrated Marketing Communications, MMC Learning.




On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, the Teavana Feel Good Campaign would feature photos and short posts that depict the benefit of tea drinking and use consistency across platforms. The posts will include hashtags (#TeavanaFeelGood), and Teavana will tag any notable individuals (influencers, bloggers, celebrities) when applicable to generate more buzz and encourage sharing.




Teavana will team up with millennial Blake Lively, a young celebrity mom who is a tea drinker. She could post photos of herself drinking tea having a #TeavanaFeelGood moment and photos with her family having a #TeavanaFeelGood family time. Her husband is Ryan Reynolds so a family photo would appeal to the male tea drinkers. Blake also will host a Twitter chat live to have an interactive discussion about her tea drinking habits, favorite recipes and top five feel good flavors. At the end of the chat, one lucky winner will get an autographed copy of her new book.



Blake Lively: “Drinking tea= Feeling Energized” #TeavanaFeelGood


Here is an example of Taylor Swift in a tea-drinking moment:



Teavana consistently will post photos of someone drinking iced tea in a hammock, drinking hot tea on a stormy day, sharing tea/lemonade at a family picnic and drinking tea at a yoga studio… all posts will have the hashtag #TeavanaFeelGood. Teavana also will host a contest prompting followers to “Show us how Teavana makes you feel good” or “Share your favorite TeavanaFeelGood tea recipes or experiences.”  The campaign will drive home the notion that drinking tea brings a benefit.



Starting the day right! #TeavanaFeelGood



When Teavana rolls out its ready to drink teas in grocery stores, the #TeavanaFeelGood can accompany photos of people drinking them and feeling good. Popular additional hashtags to be used will be #HAPPY #PEACE #GOODTIMES #GOODFEELINGS #POSITIVEVIBES #STRESSFREE






In its 350 mall stores, Teavana can run promotions during the six months of the Teavana Feel Good Campaign, encouraging customers as they buy loose leaf tea at Teavana or a tea latte at Starbucks to post their photos or videos of how the tea helps them feel good with the hashtag #TeavanaFeelGood. Teavana will offer customers a promotional discount coupon when they post or write an online review of their tea experience, including their favorite flavors. Millennials look heavily to their peers for recommendations and reviews, which makes this campaign component important for reaching the target audience.

During the campaign, when Teavana fans check in on social media from a Teavana store and use the hashtag #TeavanaFeelGood during the campaign period, they get free sample of their rock cane sugar.




  1. Social publishing zone
  • To launch the campaign, Teavana will make its own emotion-driven Feel Good videos to post on YouTube, emphasizing the health and happiness benefits of drinking Teavana tea and reveal the top five Feel Good tea flavors.



  1. Social commerce zone
  • Teavana will run paid ads on Twitter and Facebook and include a “Buy Now” call to action that would drive traffic to its website where customers can buy the Feel Good teas featured in the ads.









Teavana’s Feel Good Campaign is an intense undertaking because of the reach of the brand. At this time, its stores are in the U.S. However, as Starbucks pushes into China and India, it will need to cater its Feel Good campaign to various cultures abroad.


First, the social media team needs to establish a “go live” date.


All materials need to be prepared in advance of the launch by Teavana’s marketing team, with input from Starbucks marketing team as an added layer of creative insight.


The social media team will have due dates for each element and identify the person’s or people responsible for creating it. Enough material needs to be created in advance to appear over the six-month period.


The social media team will create a system to monitor, learn from, and respond to online conversations and route issues to the right person.


Along with organic materials, Teavana’s marketing team will need to prepare paid social media ads. This broader reach will help build deeper content awareness.


A budget must be prepared to accomplish the objectives. The budget will include the cost of paid social ads, the cost of luring a celebrity influencer, the cost of preparing professional creative elements including a video, the cost of interpreting elements into other languages.


According to The Content Factory, creating a comprehensive strategy for social media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels (with a minimum of two social networks) costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month


The budget for this large scale campaign will be $100,000.


Team members will be assigned to monitor the success of each component of the Feel Good Campaign and make ongoing adjustments.










Teavana will use Hootsuite to oversee its entire social media landscape. Within Hootsuite, it will use the Publisher tool to assign tasks and Hootsuite Analytics to monitor engagement. With Hootsuite Analytics, Teavana can track, measure and share key social media metrics.




To track engagement, a team member will measure:


  • Retweets, Mentions and Direct Messages on Twitter
  • Comments, shares and likes on Facebook.
  • Ratings, likes, unlikes on your YouTube videos
  • Comments, shares, likes on Instagram
  • Clicks on paid ads
  • website visits and purchases
  • User generated content on all social media sites
  • Demographics of social media engagers




To track sales, a team member will measure:

-Online sales for

-Instore sales at Teavana stores

-Instore sales of teavana teas at Starbucks

-Detailed product sales by item

-Demographics of tea buyers









The Teavana Feel Good Campaign (#TeavanaFeelGood) will increase interest in tea and transform the company from selling a product to selling a positive effect on a person’s mind and body.


A marketing team will track metrics throughout the campaign, carefully measuring metrics – mentions, followers, shares, likes, website visits, clicks, purchases – with the ultimate goal of increasing brand awareness and brand loyalty among millennials and boosting overall tea sales. The campaign will run for six months and adjustments will be made to ensure the campaign’s success.









Pink and Blues Joins Content Communities

Content communities are growing in popularity and offer something different to users than the benefits of social networks. Unlike social networks in which users carry on conversations, content communities are held together by common interest. Popular content communities include YouTube, Flickr, and SlideShare. In content communities, users share content such as photos, videos, presentations and podcasts. YouTube is the most popular content community with more than 1 billion users.

My client, Pink & Blues would benefit from joining a content community. I chose to use Flickr and Pinterest for Pink & Blues, a tween and teen fashion boutique in Plantation, Florida. Both are highly embraced  by women and are conducive for photo sharing. According to its website, Flickr is a pioneer of social networking and photo-sharing, and while it may have recently been eclipsed by others in some key respects, its core functions – photo storage and sharing – can provide invaluable marketing facility for businesses looking to grow their brands. Flickr allows users to engage with each other’s photo content. The photo streams and albums can be shared on a business’ Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or other social media account.  Using Flickr will allow a business to extend its brand online, build brand awareness, generate leads, and enhance SEO. Flickr has more than 10 million “groups” to join, each based on a common interest.

My client, Pink & Blues could benefit from embracing Flickr by displaying photos of its merchandise, maybe even its customers wearing its merchandise. To get started in Flickr, I created an album for Pink & Blues under my account, the best way I could think of to highlight the store’s merchandise for this assignment. Ideally, Pink & Blues would have its own account with albums organized for each event or category.


This is the link to Pink & Blue Fashion Accessory Flickr Album:




Another great content community that Pink & Blues can embrace is Pinterest,  which connects people through shared interests—their passions, hobbies, tastes and values. Pinterest is highly used by females and seems like an ideal extension for the boutique, which has a mostly female customer base.

On Pinterest, I created a board with the store’s fashion accessories. Similar boards could be created for summer camp merchandise or back to school fashions

Here is the link to Pink & Blues’ Pinterest Fashion Accessory Board:


Once people beginning pinning items from Pink & Blues, it will raise brand awareness and drive traffic to the website, eventually leading to higher sales.

Proximity Marketing is the Future


I am a customer of Pink & Blues boutique in Davie, Florida, and I usually buy a clothing item or accessory at least once a month. I also am a coffee drinker. Occasionally, I head over to Einstein’s Brothers in the morning to grab a cup of coffee and a bagel, which is in the same shopping center as Pink & Blues. Now, let’s say I’m grabbing some coffee and an alert pops up on my phone that Pink & Blues just received a new merchandise shipment and since it’s my daughter’s birthday next week, I get a discount of 25 percent off. Chances are high, I’m going to pop in Pink & Blues real quick before I get going on my busy day. That’s powerful proximity marketing  and I’m pretty sure it’s the future of advertising.

In the article, Beacons, Bluetooth & Mobile: The Future of Content Marketing, Brandon Webber wrote: “Where and how we encounter content is equally important as the actual content — sometimes if not more.”  We are starting to see that play out more often and savvy brands are taking note.


A combination of our smartphone usage, new technology, and our online behavior has made proximity marketing a smart way for brands and businesses to use our location to communicate with us via our portable devices. As noted in the article, What Is Proximity Marketing?, uses of proximity marketing include distribution of media at concerts, information, gaming and social applications, retail check-ins, payment gateways, and local advertising. It’s a growing trend and the uses for it are huge. Already, brands see the potential:  75% of marketers say location-based marketing will play a crucial role in their business. The key will be whether proximity marketing is used to give the customer something of value, or just annoy the customer with self-promotion.

The benefits of proximity channels and proximity marketing apps are only beginning to become apparent. So far, we are seeing that they can improve the customer experience by guiding the users through a physical layout of the location they are in. For example, large retail locations like Macy’s can deliver floor maps to customers, making it easier to find products. Proximity marketing can help with hiring, or raising awareness of your business.  Another benefit is coupons. Who doesn’t love a deal and if the offer is targeted to us in real time based on our location. How awesome would it be to get a coupon for your dog’s favorite food when you walk into the door of PetSmart! There are so many possibilities for proximity marketing. I love the example of Facebook Lifetime where a local business can advertise during a nearby sports event by using the address of the venue where the game is being played,  setting ads to start running thirty minutes before the game, and stop thirty minutes after. That way, anyone at the game who meets the business’ demographics will see the ads when they check into Facebook.

I often take advantage of proximity marketing from Starbucks. I have the Starbucks app on my phone and when I get near a store, an alert pops up to notify me of the nearby location. Sometimes, I had no intention of going in but I end up inside with a Vanilla Latte in my hand when I learn I’m just minutes away from a Starbucks.



Platforms that provide check-ins are primed for proximity marketing.  Yelp check-ins are an awesome way for local businesses to promote themselves to nearby customers and would-be patrons. The same is true for Facebook, FourSquare and Swarm.


Going forward, wearables are going to play an increasingly important role in proximity marketing strategies. Already, people are spending more of their day staring at their wrists. Why? Because they’re getting their email, texts and even their phone calls on their watches. I loved the example of Starwoods Hotels letting guests check in through their wearables and using their wearable devices, rather than a key, to unlock their hotel room.


There will be some tradeoffs with proximity marketing. Mostly, we will compromise some of our privacy as our behavior and location is monitored through the beacon signals on our devices. As of today, to carry out any proximity marketing campaign, apps need to ask users for their consent to receive notifications. It will be interesting to watch how that aspect of proximity marketing plays out in the future.

Pink and Blues tells Its Story on Snapchat

Snapchat is one of the newer social media platforms but its popularity is increasing, particularly with a younger demographic. While users are posting pictures and videos about their day, brands are using snaps to create interest in their products, services or events. Brands also are using Snap Ads to target potential customers by location, age, gender, mobile network carrier, device or operating system, and type of content with which users engage.

By using the new Snapchat Memories feature, I  created a Snap Story that targets Pink & Blues shoppers by enticing them to come in and see the new merchandise. I have used Snapchat for personal use, to stay in touch with my college kids, see what they are up to and share what I am doing. While I had never considered it as a platform for a brand, I think it would be effective for achieving specific marketing goals. Brands that have seen success using Snapchat advertising  include Gatorade, Vans, ShockTop, Kraft, Sour Patch Kids, Warby Parker and bareMinerals. According to HubSpot, brands are using Snapchat to connect with their fans and customers in a way that’s low-cost, but highly personal and engaging. The content they post on Snapchat isn’t polished: it’s raw and scrappy and fun.

This is what a Pink & Blues story on Snapchat could look like:


Store owner Lisa Milgroom told me she has used Instagram Story but has not tried Snapchat. Because her shoppers are tweens and teens, I think Snapchat would be an ideal platform. A big part of Pink & Blues sales comes from repeat business. By including Snapchat in the marketing mix, this South Florida boutique could use the features of the platform to lure its target market back into the shop. Pink & Blues could create future stories with pictures and short videos  to showcase new arrivals, announce a sale, host a contest, and even build excitement for its upcoming store expansion.

Have you heard of WhoSay? Your favorite celebrity is using it


WhoSay is not a social network, but it is a fascinating social platform. I previously never knew WhoSay existed and learned it has been around since 2010 and has grown in popularity and purpose. If you are a celebrity or influencer, it’s highly likely you know about WhoSay. For celebrities, it’s an additional way to make money.

WhoSay has evolved from the time it first launched and now has three components.

1. WhoSay  offers an app (invitation only) through which it curates celebrity social media through secure software and pushes it into the celebrities’ social feeds.  High profile celebrities such as Chris Rock and Caitlyn Jenner have praised WhoSay for its ability to add content to multiple social network sites easily. It delivers back to the celebrities analytics and engagement data to better understand what content is most impactful to fans.



WhoSay tells the celebrities “consistently posting good content will organically grow your fan base over time.” WhoSay does not allow consumers to create accounts, just pre-approved entertainers, athletes and social media influencers.


Chris Rock's page on WhoSay

                          Chris Rock’s page on WhoSay


A mobile view of Caitlyn Jenner's page

Mobile view of Caitlyn Jenner’s page

2.  WhoSay hosts and manages content, which includes two types of content. The first is WhoSay produced content such as video interviews with celebrities .

WhoSay produced video interviews

The second type is  pictures or videos posted by the celebrities to their social media accounts through WhoSay. The copyright of this content belongs to the celebrity (rather than the social networks they post to like Instagram) and an individual copyright claim is stamped at the bottom of each photo put on WhoSay, which protect celebrities’ intellectual property.

CEO and Founder Steve Ellis says he formed WhoSay “to give celebrities and other influential people a set of tools to allow them to manage and control their presence in the digital world.”

3. More recently, WhoSay has evolved. Now, the third  feature of WhoSay is the most profitable. WhoSay  creates ad campaigns for brands, specifically produced for mobile. The ads starring celebrities and influencers typically are about 15 seconds and tailored specifically to be watched on social media channels.



In a recent interview on Cheddar, CEO and founder Steve Ellis called WhoSay, “the fastest growing influencer marketing company in New York, and probably in America.” In creating campaigns for brands, WhoSay casts the brand-approved talent and produces the content. It then distributes the content across platforms, optimized for all channels and customized for their target audiences. Afterward, it delivers the brand performance metrics. WhoSay guarantees impressions and engagement for every campaign and Ellis said the metrics show, “We are making the most successful ad campaigns in the history of digital.” So far, the company has run hundreds of campaigns for brands like Coke, McDonald’s, Google, AT&T, Chevrolet, Cigna, Principal and Comcast, and have featured celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Sofia Vergara, Eric Decker, Olivia Munn, Emma Roberts and Andy Cohen.

In the Cheddar interview, Ellis was asked, “How do you stay relevant with the proliferation of so many platforms? His answer reflects the new focus of the site: “We don’t depend on our editorial to make money, we make money by creating campaigns from scratch.” Ellis said WhoSay specializes in matching the objective of the brand with the right talent and delivering the ad to the right audience across multiple platforms. Clearly, he sees this direction as the future of WhoSay.

WhoSay was founded with financing from Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and is backed by notable investors including Amazon, Comcast Ventures, Greylock Partners, High Peaks Ventures and Tencent in China.

According to its site, WhoSay has over 5 million monthly visitors. It has grown and evolved and has more than 2,000 celebrities who are involved with the site.

For certain brands, WhoSay can be hugely beneficial. As an example, if I was a brand like teen clothing retailer American Eagle, I would definitely use WhoSay to create an ad campaign using a celebrity like Ariana Grande or Joe Jonas wearing or endorsing the brand’s clothing. Both those celebrities have big social media followings and can push the campaign out on their channels.

While WhoSay may not be popular with the average American, it appears to be essential for celebrities who want to stay relevant and make money off their content.


To learn more about WhoSay, take a look at my WhoSay presentation.

(Here is the link:


My favorite blogs may be your favorites, too

I am a big fan of blogs. I have two of them myself. One of my blogs is hosted on The Miami Herald website and called The Work Life Balancing Act. I have been writing it for about a decade. My second blog is RaisingTeensBlog, which I write with a friend who, like me, is raising teenagers.

I read lots of blogs, some more frequently than others. One of the blogs I most enjoy is Penelope Trunk’s Career and Life blog. Penelope has a large following and a strong voice. I would consider it a Semi-Professional blog. Penelope includes a lot of images on her blog and lots of links, both which help build SEO. Penelope is a  straight-shooter and uses a tell it like it is voice that draws readers in.  She uses catchy headlines and a well organized layout. Most significant though,  Penelope uses her blog to teach career and life lessons through her own personal experiences, and she isn’t afraid to get deeply personal. She has admitted to some pretty awful things, always using them to make a point about how the business world works.  It’s the details of her personal life that keep people following her. She has written candidly about being fired, about the difficulties of raising a child with Asperger’s syndrome, and recently about leaving her husband.

After this week’s lecture, I noticed that Penelope does what the Top 25 bloggers do. She has her Twitter displayed prominently on her landing page of her blog. As you can see, she has a really good Twitter following of more than 125,000 people.

Smart bloggers display their Twitter on their blogs

Smart bloggers display their Twitter on their blogs


Penelope updates her post weekly and has lots of subscribers, which is evident by the number of people who engage with her on her posts. But she does not have advertisers. She even has a link on her site that explains why she doesn’t have advertisers as part of her guide to blogging.

Instead of advertisers, Penelope monetizes her blog by promoting her coaching services, and her newest business — on demand career courses.

This popped up when I hovered over courses:




She includes a great archive by topics, and links to the most commented on posts.

It is a successful blog in that it includes share buttons, and multiple ways to  connect with Penelope. It has lots of original content and is updated regularly. Penelope also links related posts under each post, which is a really great way to keep eyeballs on your site. Penelope’s previous blog, Brazen Careerist, was the precursor to her new blog. Similar to her current blog, it offered appealing, counterintuitive advice, like: “Don’t be the hardest worker in your job,” and “Make sure that your own résumé is not so honest that you look like a loser and not so dishonest that you’re going to be fired. Traffic to the blog comes from the following that Penelope has built over years, lots of outbound links, and good SEO.

I noticed Penelope doesn’t have a share button for Facebook and instead has the reader directly like her Facebook.  As you can see, she has lots of comments on every post.



Another blog I enjoy reading is Lifehacker. It offers tips and download for getting things done. It’s a pretty popular blog and has been around since 2005. I like it because it offers all kinds of general life tips and tricks. For example, some recent post are  How to Survive On a High Deductible Insurance Plan, and How to Avoid Becoming a Hermit When You Work from Home and How to Quickly Cool Down a Hot Drink (all useful topics if you ask me!)

I would consider Lifehacker a group blog. It was started by a solo blogger and now is owned by Univision Communications. There are numerous bloggers and a lot of original content on Lifehacker, which drives traffic to the site. It’s highly likely that Lifehacker is profitable. There  is a lot of advertising and sponsored content, which could be the result of corporate ownership. There also is a tab that takes visitors directly to a Lifehacker merchandise store, which seems to be another method for blogs to make money.

The founder of Lifehacker has turned the blog into a brand by also authoring a Lifehacker book and at one time running a Lifehacker podcast. By most measures mentioned in this week’s lecture, the blog is successful. Staff updates it often. It has lots of images and videos, which helps drive traffic. It has good name recognition. It is easy to subscribe to and it is easy to share content.

What’s missing on the Lifehacker site are the buttons that allow readers to connect with Lifehacker on its social media. Lifehacker is on Twitter but you wouldn’t know it from visiting the blog. An advertisement occupies what I consider prime real estate for links to social media accounts.



To me, the blog has a more corporate feel now that it’s on a platform with other blogs owned by Univision. When it first started, it had a more entrepreneurial feel, both in content and design. That may be because it now has more big name advertisers like Capital One.



Lifehacker lacks that personal feel that Penelope’s blog has, which is why there are fewer comments. Still, I think Lifehacker has lots of good tips to offer its readers, and I continue to visit the blog for life hacks, including two recent favorites: The Most Diplomatic Way to Respond to an Offensive Comment at Work and Everything You Need to Know About Lipstick and How to Apply It.



How Pink And Blues Could Use Carousel Ads on Facebook




As a Facebook user, I browse my feed to stay in the know with my friends and with the brands I prefer. If I were to come across a carousel advertisement from one of those brands, it surely would catch my attention. Ads in the carousel format consistently drive great results for advertisers and many campaigns that use it see lower cost per conversion or click, according to Facebook.

For businesses like Pink & Blues,  carousel ads showcase multiple products or create a story with cohesive images. It’s an ideal ad platform for a local boutique whose main category of customers –moms — are on Facebook as their preferred social media platform. (Pink & Blues has 930 Facebook followers — pretty good for a small boutique in Plantation, Florida!) Carousel ads — pegged to a timely event — could help drive more customers into the boutique to shop. For example, Pink & Blues could use carousel ads to lure shoppers in for Valentine’s gifts, Easter gifts, summer camp merchandise or back-to-school shopping. It could even use it as a way to show various ways to wear a new trendy accessory that has just arrived. I believe these ads would be even more useful if the boutique had a built out website with different landing pages or if it had e-commerce available on its website. But in the absence of that, it must draw shoppers into its store through social media, which is why well designed carousel ads are useful.

I created a carousel ad for Pink & Blues with a Valentine’s peg. The ad tells a cohesive story about how a parent can show love for her tween/teen by shopping for her at Pink & Blues. I use tight shots of clothing and each frame has a heart in it, either on the clothing itself or as a decoration. I also use captions with an active voice that serve as a call to action. I link the “Shop Now” button at the bottom, which hypothetically links to a graphic of the store logo and its hours. If I had used the Pink & Blues Facebook page, I am pretty sure the last image would say shop Pink & Blues without my having to add the logo as I did for this assignment.






The carousel ad can be easily accessed from a mobile device, which is extremely important because 90 percent of Facebook’s daily active users access it via mobile, according to a Facebook report. Indeed, in this week’s class readings we learned that Smartphones and tablets can no longer be ignored by email marketers (or any marketers for that matter). For the purpose of this class assignment, I used my branded Facebook account, but in reality the carousel ad would be created on Pink & Blues’ Facebook account.



Facebook gives businesses the option of how much they want to spend to reach a target audience, how broad an audience they want to reach, and the amount they want to spend. For this campaign around Valentine’s Day merchandise, I would want to run the ad through Valentine’s Day, for about a week’s duration prior to the holiday. As the business owner, I would spend up to $10 a day so my total ad budget for this carousel ad would be $70. I think it would be a great way to test the water and see how effective carousel ads are for my business.

Pink and Blues and its Unique Selling Proposition





I chose to to take on Pink & Blues for my class project because the popular boutique in Plantation, Florida, stands out in a market flooded with retail stores. Whenever I compliment a young girl in my area on something she is wearing, she almost always tells me it came from Pink & Blues. When I need to buy a gift for a tween or teen girl, I am often told a gift certificate to Pink & Blues would be ideal. So what is it about this boutique that allows it to flourish among its competition? As noted in this week’s reading, Gregory Ciotti states, (Links to an external site.) “a unique selling proposition lets you to stand apart from competitors.” In this case Pink & Blues has a well defined Unique Selling Proposition.

The store, owned by Lisa and Bob Milgroom, opened its doors for business in 2010, originally as a clothing stores for boys and girls, infants to teens. But in less than a year after it opened, the store narrowed its focus to sell clothing and trendy fashion items to tween and teen girls – from age 7 to 20. The clothing is more stylish than what is sold at retail chain stores, moderately priced and unique for this market. The store sells dresses for special events, blankets and pillows, summer camp gear, jewelry and pajamas and daily wear. However, what the store really sells is customer service. The owners and staff make every customer feel good about herself when she walks in the door, as if she has her own personal shopper. The parent/teen tension around shopping is minimized and it is such a pleasant shopping experience that almost everyone walks out buying something (sometimes even the moms themselves).

In Gregory Ciotti’s article, 5 Ways to Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (Links to an external site), he describes knowing your ideal customer as key to identifying your USP. Pink & Blues knows its ideal customer and has managed to tap into word-of-mouth marketing to draw buyers from a wide geographic area. Co-owner Lisa Milgroom encourages the girls to tell their friends that new items have arrived. Customers often drive an hour from Palm Beach or Miami to shop at Pink & Blues. The store has a Facebook account but is most active on Instagram where it has 2,600 followers, most of them tween and teen girls who engage with Pink and Blues and share postings with friends.



Comparing Pink and Blues Website with its competitors

Let’s say you are a busy working mother who needs a party dress for your tween daughter  for an event just days away.  You likely will Google three keywords: your geographic area, tween and party dress. The result should lead you to Pink & Blues’ website. When you get there, the website should be easy to navigate and have images and content on it that will make you want to get in your car and drive right to the store. Part of that experience is called pull marketing. Pink & Blues’ website would have the right SEO and the right content to pull you into a shopping experience.

But when I did a website analysis for this week’s assignment, I realized that Pink & Blues’ website needs a great deal of improvement if it is going to lure anyone to the physical store. When I compare its website with competitors’ websites, I see exactly what areas the boutique can be improve and how it can more effectively use push and pull marketing. The competitors I analyzed are Turnstyle, a teen boutique in Weston, Florida (about 15 minutes away) and Denny’s Childrenswear, a small chain with 11 locations including two local stores in nearby Boca Raton and Aventura. Of the three boutiques, Denny’s is the only one that is selling products from its website.

Below is the home page of the Pink & Blues website. It is mobile friendly, but barely so. While Pink & Blues logo is consistent across all of its platforms — its website, its Facebook, its Instagram, its business cards, its shopping bags, its emails — it became apparent to me that the logo needs to be updated. It says Pink & Blues is “A Boutique for Newborn to New Teen.”


That is no longer the target customer. The boutique now targets tweens and teens and its branding and IMC should reflect that change. Also, Pink & Blues misses the opportunity that at least one of its competitors has embraced – using the website to showcase merchandise, differentiate itself from competitors, announces promotions and drives sales.

img_0244Pink & Blues uses push marketing in the form of emails to customers to notify of sales, or new shipment arrivals.  Its competitor, Turnstyle uses push marketing in the form of emails and advertisements in neighborhood coupon magazines targeted to a 10 miles radius. Denny’s Childrenswear uses email and direct mail to households with children in South Florida. Those are all more traditional marketing methods.

In class readings for  Introduction to Multimedia Communications, Davia Termin, a contributor to Forbes, asks in an article, “Where does our website fit in among all the emerging social media options?  What about mobile? Must we do it all?  And, is the effort it takes worth the investment, risk, and loss of control?”

From comparing the website for Pink & Blues boutique with two of its competitors, I can answer some of the questions Davia raised. As Davia said,  “Corporate websites can provide a still center of control, continuity and clarity of message. A website – compellingly done – can capture a brand, and encapsulate its positioning for all to see.”  So while social media sites register growing number of users, corporate websites remain an important part of IMC.  A company’s website is its hub, the place online where it can craft the face of the company and control the message. Davia explains that companies should use websites as the hub of electronic and mobile business and their reputation, and then use social media company pages as spokes, exploiting each platform for its unique benefits and audience. That’s an excellent model for Pink & Blues boutique to embrace.

As I set out to analyze Pink & Blues boutique’s website, I initially wanted to compare it with its top competitor, Teen Angel boutique in Parkland, Florida. However, I discovered that Teen Angel has a Facebook page and Instagram account, but no website. (A big opportunity missed) So, instead, I compared websites for Pink & Blues, Denny’s and Turnstyle. An effective use of a website is to pull customers in and call them to action. As an article titled 3 Ways Facebook is Killing Your Website describes: The trick with websites is the never-ending need to feed the monster, through search optimization, public relations, banner ads, skywriting, or whatever other means you’ve devised to let people know that your site is out there and worthy of attention.”

Denny’s Childrenswear

Of the three websites I analyzed, Denny’s  had the most comprehensive and compelling website and call to action. It’s website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, has current merchandise, makes it clear what is sold and who its products are aimed at. Denny’s calls itself “the store your children can grow up with” and its website reflects that message. Tabs across the top have drop down menus and those menus have sub-menus, which makes it easy to navigate and nice on the eyes. Denny’s also is the only one of the three boutiques that uses its website for e-commerce.


Denny’s also uses its website to book appointments with personal shoppers, which is clever and a good example of using a website as pull marketing to draw customers into the physical store.




Denny’s also makes good use of IMC. Like Turnstyle and Pink & Blues, it displays social media buttons on its website. When you click through, you discover its social media pages reflect the same call to action as the website, creating a clear and effective IMC.




Turnstyle’s website is not as sophisticated or comprehensive as Denny’s.  Its home page is too busy and while words convey what Turnstyle boutique is all about, the images don’t.



From Turnstyle’s home page, the site is easy to navigate with the tabs up at the top, and I like the way it lists the brands it carries on its apparel and accessories pages.



Turnstyle’s website has a page with celebrities wearing its products, which is a good marketing idea and it has a page dedicated to giving back, which also is a good marketing idea. The contact page includes a form to email the owner, which none of the other websites include. But Turnstyle does not update its website or convey a call to action. Even worse, it’s branding is not consistent across its platforms.




Clearly, Pink & Blues has the least sophisticated of the three websites and its owners have not placed enough value on the significance of a good website. If used properly, its website can be its hub. Even if the owners choose not to sell merchandise online, the website can be a vital part of its business and a key to its pull marketing efforts.

I love this quote by author Seth Godin about pull marketing over push marketing: “Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.” If someone wants to hear from you and finds a way to your website, it should be effective enough to pull the customer into buying what you are selling.” An article about inbound marketing about declares:  “Pull marketing is about answering the questions that people are asking. It’s about being remarkable, and your  website needs to have this as its ultimate goal.” In many ways, Pink & Blues is remarkable in that it sells merchandise to a target market that isn’t well represented in large chain retailers and its owners offer good customer service. So why not create a better website to aid in its pull marketing efforts and lure customers who want what Pink & Blues offers!

From my website analysis, here are my conclusions:

Pink & Blues needs to spend the time and money to build out its website to highlight its merchandise, distinguish it from competitors, draw customers in with a call to action, feature tabs that are easy to navigate and allow visitors to see the various categories of merchandise available. It should also sell customers on what makes Pink & Blues unique and reflect its expertise: It sells fashion-forward, lightweight, Florida-suited merchandise aimed at tweens and teens, and it offers personalized service. Its website should have good SEO and be mobile friendly, so if a parent or tween is searching for tween or teen clothing in the Fort Lauderdale area, Pink & Blues comes up at the top of the search. While the boutique prominently displays its social media buttons on its website, it should not rely solely on social media for pull marketing.

Currently, Pink & Blues collects email addresses at the point of purchase. That makes the boutique reliant on its existing customers for repeat business. The promotions that Pink & Blues pushes out through its emails for special sales or new holiday merchandise should also be featured on its website interest in order to attract new customers. The boutique should also capture emails through its website because these visitors  are showing an interest in its product. Denny’s does a good just with capturing emails from its website visitors.


Although Pink & Blue has a good Instagram following and a Facebook following, it needs a better IMC, and it needs to use its website more effectively as a hub, much in the way its competitor Denny’s does. All three sites could do a better job with featuring new merchandise arrivals, tracking their analytics, and keeping their websites fresh. In this particular category — boutiques  catering to tweens and teens who want unique clothing or a better shopping experience — all three websites could include more value-added content. Pink & Blues co-owner Lisa Milgroom has good fashion sense and could even add short entries on a blog on her site about what’s hot for party season or what gifts tweens have on their wish lists. Certainly, Pink & Blues is missing an opportunity to drive more customers into its store, instead of relying only on word-of-mouth and social media.

Overall, it appears as if most boutiques in this sector fail to fully develop an impactful website. It’s unfortunate that businesses are relying on social media for marketing efforts and don’t realize the importance of a website as a key piece of IMC.

Who Shops At Pink And Blues?



I discreetly walk around Pink & Blues in my neighborhood Vizcaya Square shopping center in Plantation, Florida. Like a fly on the wall, I watch who comes in the boutique, what they say and what they buy. Pink & Blues is a boutique that targets tween and teen girls (and their moms). Its clothes are trendy and fun and lightweight for South Florida weather. When the store momentarily empties, and co-owner Lisa Milgroom catches her breath, we begin to talk about what I observed. I also prod Lisa, who owns the business with husband, Bob, to give me more details on her customers. My goal is to create a Customer Profile Template for my long-term project in my graduate level Introduction to Multimedia Communications course.

Together, Lisa and I  determine her top three categories of customers and I build a customer profile for each.


Lisa Milgroom, co-owner of Pink & Blues


Customer Profile #1 – Tweens (7 to 12) This category makes up the largest segment of Pink & Blues customers.


Alana Goldberg, 12

Alana Goldberg is a 12-year-old girl who shops at Pink & Blues. She likes to hang out at the mall with her friends, but never finds clothes that fit right and are fashionable.  She is a little too old for stores like Justice and a little young for stores like American Eagle. Alana’s parents both work and have two other children so Alana is on a budget when she shops, but can often get her mom to buy her the trendy  denim shorts or fun t-shirt that just arrived in the store. She likes help from someone other than her mom with picking out clothes. If she needs a party dress, she knows there are few options other than Pink & Blues to find one in her size.

As a tween, Alana is just beginning to develop her fashion identity. She is tech savvy and continually watching her Instagram feed to see what her friends are doing and wearing.  Alana has lots of friends, goes to many birthday parties  and constantly needs to buy gifts for friends.


Customer Profile #2  Teens (13-18) This customer began shopping at Pink & Blues when it first opened seven years ago and she was a tween. She is now in high school and still wants the personalized service and unique clothing options that Pink & Blues offers.



Andie Mermelstein, 16

Andie Mermelstein is a 16-year-old high school student who has a definite fashion style. She has two older sisters and borrows their clothes as often as possible. But still wants her own clothes that her sisters and friends can admire. Andie likes hanging out with friends and posting pictures on social media. When dressed in a cool new outfit, the pic will definitely go up on Instagram. Usually it will get lots of “Likes.” It may also become part of her Snapchat story.

Sometimes, Andie can convince her mom to buy clothes for her. Other times, her mom insists she spend her own babysitting money. When mother and daugher shop together, Andie brushes aside anything mom picks out.  Andie doesn’t want her mom prying into her business, or giving her opinions. Shopping at Pink & Blues, and having store owner Lisa Milgroom chose outfits for her to try on, eases the tension between Andie and her mom.

Andie plays volleyball on her school team. She also loves music, particularly Fifth Harmony and Sean Mendes. On weekends, Andie and her friends hang out at the mall, go to the movies or go to concerts. Lately she has been going to Sweet Sixteen birthday parties and shopping for gifts at Pink & Blues, usually jewelry and accessories.


Customer Profile #3 Moms, Age 35 to 50 (This category is a growing one)



Lauren Goldberg, 45

When Pink & Blues began carrying trendy clothes in junior sizes, moms like Lauren Goldberg began shopping for themselves as well as their daughters and their daughter’s friends. Lauren works as a real estate agent, contributes more than half of the household income, and balances that with raising three children. She holds a college degree and carefully manages her family’s money to be able to spend on clothing as she pleases. Lauren does some online shopping, and researches the best deal on household items, but when it comes to clothing, she makes a lot of impulse decisions based on what she needs an outfit for at that moment in time.   She tends to buy a lot of trendy, fashion accessories as long as they are reasonably priced. In other words, price is definitely a part of her buying decisions, but she will spend more when she feels it is worth it.

Lauren is married and has lots of friends with children the same age as hers. She exercises regularly, and is influenced by other moms, some who are more fashion forward. Lauren often looks at Facebook, receives lots of email from stores where she shops, and also uses Pinterest where she has created boards with her ideally furnished rooms, easy family recipes, and cute workout outfits.

Lauren shops at Pink & Blues, partly because it’s convenient and because of the customer service. She is a busy working mom, but she can zip on and come out with a gift when she needs one for a party the next day for her daughter’s friend. If she needs a gift for her daughter, she will go there, too, because the owner knows her daughter’s taste. Lauren also cares about what other moms think so if her daughter walks into the party with a bag from Pink & Blues, she knows the girl and her mom will be impressed.



Currently, Pink & Blues is expanding to carry more merchandise for its three customer profiles. It will carry more party dresses for its tweens, more casual wear in junior sizes for its teen customers and more trendy accessories for moms.