Getting Presidential with Harry’s

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I haven’t been a fan of high dollar 5-blade razors for some time now.  As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until learning about Birchbox Man and following their blog and YouTube channel, that I started using the safety razor (About a year or so ago).  However, there was always a handful of products I have wanted to try and Harry’s was one of them. Imagine my surprise to learn that Harry’s was going to be the latest product offering from the Man Influencer program, so I was really hoping to get picked…and I did!   

 

If you are familiar with Harry’s, then you might know that one of the co-founders is part of the founders of Warby Parker, my choice for prescription eyewear.  Just like Warby Parker, Harry’s adds that flair for design, from the box that their razor comes and right down to the razor blade itself.  

20140714-135205-49925902My shaving cream was like a few other higher-end shave creams I have tried, very smooth and silky and didn’t clog up in between the blades.  Having left the shaving cream in the shower, my wife decided to try it out over her normal store bought shave cream and was also impressed with it.
20140714-135206-49926651.jpgAs you can see in the photo, the blade had a lot of give and contoured extremely well under my jaw and neck.  Usually I would have to make a few passes or across the grain to get a smooth shave, but this razor allowed me less passes and no irritation.  I know there is another big brand name commercial that talks about being able to swivel, but it doesn’t quite get the same angles that the Harry’s razor does.  How do I know that? Cause the same time I was testing out this razor, my wife had a coupon for half-off the other and went ahead and purchased it as a backup.  I figured what better time then now to test both out! 

20140714-135206-49926250The razor head itself is simple, but does the job.  Between the 5-blades, the aloe strip and the Harry’s shave cream, I was left with a silky smooth face and a perfectly trimmed beard.  

20140714-135207-49927228.jpgRight now Birchbox Man is offering Harry’s “The Truman” razor in four colors (Blue, Orange, Ivory, and Green) for $10 (pictured above).  If you want the upgraded model, then they are also offering “The Winston,” which has that stainless-steel look for $20.

I would give this razor a definite buy, if you are tired of the same old boring razor and want to try something new and at a very affordable price.  Drop me a line in the comments and let me know what kind of razor you are currently using.  If you aren’t currently a Birchbox Man user, but have considered, then I would definitely recommend trying out the 3-month option and after about two boxes and completing product reviews, the Truman razor can be yours for free!!! 

 

 

Social Media, Birchbox, And A Can Of Wax

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Normally I write about social media or some new emerging media, but tonight I want to write about something different.  I had the privilege to try a new product from Birchbox Man called, “Mr. Natty Willie Mack’s All Over Wax.” So why would I write about something that isn’t related to the blog theme? Let’s get started with how I got to try it and then go from there.  I am a subscriber to Birchbox Man, a monthly subscription for guys that is curated by the team at Birchbox from your created profile.  Birchbox Man, based off your profile, will send you new shaving creams, pre-shave oils, colognes, face lotions, hair products, and many other cool things.  Usually there is an item that is worth more than your monthly $20 subscription.  Recently Birchbox Man tweeted about a program they started called, Birchbox Man Influencers and the benefit is trying full-size products for free.  The catch is you writing an honest review on their site and on your blog, which means from time to time I will write a review about a new product.  As someone who has to meet with people occasionally for social media consulting, I find it important to present myself as best I can.  Question is does it pass the test? So let the drum roll begin, as you read my review of Mr. Natty Willie Mack’s All Over Wax! 

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Mr. Natty is quite an interesting fellow and one you can find on Birchbox Man’s YouTube channel, in some of the how-to videos.  His products garner great reviews from those who have either tried or bought any of his shaving products.  So finding out I was getting to try Mr. Natty’s newest creation had me excited.  I received the product rather quickly after initially being approved for the Influencers program and quickly opened the can of wax.  The point stressed, is that it can be used all over your body and in your hair! Say whhaaaaaat? First thought, this stuff is going to be greasy and a disappointment! So I started small on day one, I applied this across my chest and on my upper arms, after I had showered.  It seemed a tad greasy at first, but quickly soaked into my skin and left it soft.  So I hopped into bed and next was my wife, “What do you have on?” I grabbed the product and he checked it out and complimented how great I smelled, but don’t I always? Day two and I decided it would be the hair test, let’s be honest, I was quite nervous! Right after shower and I had a feeling I would have to re-wash my hair.  So I scooped out, just a little bit and rubbed it through my fingers and straight into my hair.  Once again, looked a little greasy and as I moved it through my hair, it made it feel soft and feathery (is that even a word?).

 

I am now about 2 weeks of using Mr. Natty’s Wax and I am happy with it.  So much that I am even more eager to try this summertime beard oil, which I proudly rock a thinned out beard.  At the moment, the product is getting a 3.5 out of 5 stars and some of the comments I found quite lacking.  Will you find an amazing all-in-one product that can do everything, probably not.  However, this product does a great job on your skin and solid job on short hair.  I am finding it extremely useful on my elbows, arms, upper chest and even around my eyes.  I would give the wax a 4 out of 5 stars and after two weeks, I have A LOT left! If you buy it, just go easy and don’t scoop out a ton.  

 

If the Birchbox Man Influencers program is something you are interested in, check out the form here and I will wrap the post with a video of Mr. Natty, explaining a classic British cut throat shave:

Power of the Mobile Savvy Shopper

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Smartphones have opened up a world of possibilities and placed power into the hands of the consumer. Our smartphones have allowed us, the consumer, to walk into a store and find the item we like, checking over the product’s features, and then checking the retailer’s price. We quickly pull out our smartphone to make sure we are getting a good deal or if there is a better deal online and execute that purchase instead, better known as showrooming. This has caused slumping sales in many brick-and-mortar stores, who see online and mobile shopping as a threat. However some stores, are recognizing that mobile shopping is only becoming more popular and encourage customers to come to their store with smartphone in hand, ready to shop. These stores have put strategies in place including price matching, lowest price guarantees to turn shoppers into purchasers.  

 

One of the biggest retailers hurt by showrooming, has been Best Buy, who was once seen as a large showroom for mobile shoppers. Today, Best Buy encourages shoppers to browse on their smartphone, however now will price match to encourage shoppers to pull out their wallets. If you had asked me over a year ago, I would have said that showrooming is going to destroy many brick-and-mortar stores. Today, I see it only hurting margins for those stores, but with tactics like Best Buy, still allowing them to stay competitive in this market of online shopping. If anything, I think it has pushed the brick-and-mortar stores to be more innovative and strategic in reaching the customers. I also see this as a win for the mobile industry, as retailers are finding new ways to reach their consumer through the same device that is being used against them. Showrooming will be a win for the consumer, but overall continue to push innovation in other areas of digital. If you haven’t ever seen the video for Dow-Corning, “A Day Made of Glass,” then I would strongly urge you to see this five-minute video. There is a place in the video that shows the possibilities of the not so distant future in retailing and mobile. This type of technology for retailers that is shown in the video could put the power back in the brick-and-mortar stores.

 

While a consumer may not be consistently making their purchases on their mobile phone, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a major influence on the decision-making process. While it may not be the sexiest way of reaching your audience, one of the most powerful mobile marketing channels is SMS. The great thing about SMS, is that it is permission-based marketing and allows the marketer to send out information for product announcements and/or coupons. Studies have indicated that 97% of mobile subscribers read an SMS (text) message within 15 minutes of receiving it and 84% respond within 1-hour. Let’s be honest, social media wouldn’t be even close to where it is today without the rise of the smartphone. Taking the smartphone and combining it with social media has dynamic results for marketers. Marketers have multiple channels to help encourage today’s consumer to make a purchase or if nothing else, create positive brand sentiment, if used correctly. 2014 is the year of mobile and also the year of visual media, from Instagram to Snapchat, brands can deliver ways of driving traffic back to their site and highlight new products that engage the consumer. Aside from SMS, email, and social media, another way to encourage and drive sales can come through their own branded-app. Target has their Cartwheel App, which delivers value to the in-store shopper, who is able to use a coupon at checkout. I see this type of app usage as a way of creating loyalty among customers who are using this app and ultimately a brand affinity for Target.

 

Another brand I want to highlight is Sephora, the beauty-retail giant. Sephora has taken their current app and created an Instagram-like commerce feature to retain loyalty members. The beauty retailer has rolled out an initiative called Beauty Board within its iPhone app that leverages mobile photo sharing to connect loyalty members with each other. Sephora sees mobile not only as a device to purchase on, but a device, which can assist and enrich the user’s experience with the brand. Adding a social component into the user experience is a smart move because it gives their consumer a new and more organic way to interact with the brand. Ultimately Sephora is taking their app and creating loyalty, sparking engagement, and generating more leads. In today’s noisy marketing messages, Sephora gets it and is cutting through the clutter with innovative mobile marketing strategies.

 

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Source: Retailcustomerexperience.com

 

Have any of your favorite brands started offering special deals or price-match from mobile?

 

Is Google+ REALLY a dead man walking?

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2014 has seen lots of predictions and lots of rumors for the IMC practitioners as a whole.  2012 saw the words ninja and guru thrown around, and 2013/2014 has been content marketing and storytelling. Brands as a whole realize mobile marketing needs to be a big focus for reaching customers, ranging from mobile optimized website to location-based advertising.  

 

2014 has also brought other rumors and one that had me dusting off one of my unused apps, Google+.  Google changed the algorithm and Google+ post were ranking high in Google search, only makes sense to leverage one of your services to promote the other.  Some believe that a link in a Google+ share isn’t treated like a regular web link.  While Google+ may not be the savior of SEO, it was being leveraged to help with those rankings.  Also many make fun the social network for being empty, but you will find niche groups on there and an excellent way to connect.  For example, I am on there with the HootSuite North American Ambassadors and love seeing posts daily from those in the group and the weekly reminders of #HSUChat on Twitter. 

 
Then three days ago, Vic Gundotra, head of social at Google and Google+, announced that it was time for a new journey and he’d be leaving Google.  Many people are saying Google+ has one foot in the grave or dead or in a coma.  According to TechCrunch, who is hearing from multiple sources is that Google+ will no longer be considered a product, but a platform — essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.  Meanwhile Google is denying this rumor and it will have no impact on the Google+ community and Google’s Larry Page has already named Google+ VP of engineering, Dave Bresbris to fill the top spot.
 
As IMC practitioners and students, we need to understand every social network and honestly I am shocked by those who aren’t using the Twitter still.  If nothing else, it is important to understand the use for business for the purpose of digital/ social media marketing.  Does Google+ have a place in your strategy or do you see it having a place in 2014 for content marketing and ranking?

Three Ways Brands Could Use Apple’s Unreleased iWatch

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Image Rending by Todd Hamilton

As someone who loves the idea of wearable tech and uses a Nike Fuelband, the idea of an Apple iWatch has me more than intrigued! If you haven’t seen the video rendering by Todd Hamilton, then take a moment to watch this video:

 

Then came the exclusive by CNET on April 18th, Nike had fired a majority of their Fuelband team.   According to the CNET, Nike would be dumping their wearable hardware-efforts and focus on software only.  Originally the third version of the Fuelband was to be released as early as this Fall, but since the recent news, this has been nixed completely.

Now as you may or may not know, Apple is said to “possibly” release information about their newest app called, Healthbook.  However, this sort of app and what Apple is wanting to do with it would mean some sort of wearable tracking device.  We already know that Apple and Nike are tech buddies and on April 10th, Nike announced their Nike+ Fuel Lab.

So now that I have the stage set for what “should” be announced later this Fall, let’s talk social and emerging media integration.  We have already dumped pagers, bag phones, and in some cases our laptops.  While the rumored iWatch would have iPhone integration, it would allow you to get alerts on your wrist and leave your phone in your pocket.

  1. A vibration alert for stores I have liked that uses deeper iBeacon integration – If I am close by to a Starbucks and the store could push a deal alert that would notify my iWatch.  The alert would ask for my approval and send a coupon to my iPhone to use at that particular location.  As the usage of iBeacon grows, this only makes sense with an iWatch-like-device and something I can see brands leveraging very heavily for brick-and-mortar stores.
  2. App-integration – Thinking of apps like MLB, who allow you to store your purchased tickets in the Passbook app already.  What if you could pull up passbook on your iWatch and it produced a bar code that the ticket taker could scan on your watch and let you into the ball park.
  3. iTunes and purchases – this is another possibility down the road and yes I am looking deep into the crystall ball on this one.  The largest bank in the world is Apple’s iTunes store, with largest amount of bank information stored.  Could Apple ever install NFC into the iWatch allow you to make purchases with your bank information that is stored in iTunes? I think it could be a big possibility.

So I have thrown together my top three ways I would love to see iWatch used.  What else or how else could brands utilize this un-released device to better grow their brand?  Do you see any possible uses with Instagram, Vine, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+?

Quality vs. Quantity in Social Media


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We all know at least person who is constantly posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now LinkedIn.  Hoping that by pushing that publish button over and over without thinking of how they can add value or share valuable content, they will just gain more followers.  In the early days of Facebook we saw people telling us they were getting ready to jump in the shower and then follow-up with, “I am out of the shower and the hot water ran out on me!” I actually muted a friend for doing this everyday about their showers and what they were making at that moment (pre-Instagram days).  Obviously if we are working on building a personal brand or maybe even a business brand, we all want to have a large audience to talk to and engage with.  This is why it is imperative that we understand the difference between quality and quantity.

Let’s think of this in terms of your followers: If you use Twitter and I hope you do, you ever receive a follower and their bio reads something about for $5 they will add 5,000 legitimate followers? Having 50,000 fake Twitter followers is not going to prove to your target customer that you know what you’re doing.  Now, let’s look at from the other side of the coin.  So you have been on Twitter for a while and you are following the influential people in your industry or niche market and retweeting their content while adding a bit of your own thoughts (think 80/20 rule).  This will start to gain you some quality followers that like what you are dishing out, even when it isn’t your material.  To gain results on your social media accounts whether it is followers or “quality” of posts, it is important to focus on your audience while adding a bit of your personality to the mix.

Market Maker Mag says, “Quantity and quality should be perfectly married in a way that keeps your audience highly engaged with your brand.”

Looking at the engagement side of quality and quantity is another topic that can be highly debated by some.  However, to be successful and have a rich social media engagement you must focus on quality first.  While followers do matter, it is more important to have those highly engaged followers that are motivated to re-tweet your content.

To keep quality over quantity at the forefront it is important to remember that:

  • Delivering quality content will help spread your content, if it is found worthy by your network as they spread your message to THEIR network.
  • Don’t spread yourself thin.  Don’t try to be everything to everyone, just focus on a core group of influential followers who can help get your content further.

So what is your definition of quality and quantity with respect to social media? Check out the video from Pam Moore below and leave me a comment and let’s continue the discussion.

 

Building a Personal Brand Through Emerging Media

Emerging media and other socially-connected tools is allowing for the everyday person to build their own platform or brand.  No longer do you need to be a celebrity to gain a following, just a niche area that you are passionate about and get started.  The question is, where do you start? First you need a home-base, also known as your blog.  My goal this year is to make the jump to self-hosted wordpress.org and utilize many of the key plug-ins that can help me really mold my blog and optimize it how I feel best.  

 

One of the fastest and best ways to grow your reach for your blog is through sharing.  Be sure to include network sharing for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, and other network that can help you grow.  Pinterest is definitely great option as long as you have included an image in the blog that will also draw engagement on Pinterest.  

 

Now that we have addressed blogging, lets look at Twitter.  Creating a Twitter account is the first step and being sure to choose a name that will reflect well of your brand.  This could be using your name and middle initial if that is taken or going with something around the topic you love.

 

Once you have the account setup, I would recommend downloading HootSuite onto your computer and then the app on your smartphone.  If you aren’t familiar with HootSuite, it is a social media dashboard that allows you to check Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, WordPress, and soon Google+.  Create a few tabs starting with your Twitter stream, your tweets retweeted, interactions, and scheduled tweets.  If you start feeling comfortable in the dashboard, you can also create streams for specific hashtags or keywords you want to follow and track.  This works really well around conferences who use a hashtag for corresponding tweets around the conference.  

 

If you have downloaded HootSuite or any other Twitter client to your smartphone, I would then recommend adding a read it later function to your Twitter account.  My favorite is Pocket App, which allows me to click and hold on a tweet and pocket the tweet with the link for reading later.  I pocket around 30 tweets a day and “try” to come back to these later through the Pocket app on my iPad, iPhone or my Macbook Pro (all free).

 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/40168555″>Introducing Pocket</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/getpocket”>Pocket</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

After all the tools are in place, next is following key people on Twitter.  If you follow one person you find who inspires you, then look at who they follow.  Read their tweets and see who they follow too, this can take you down a rabbit hole, but is worth it! 

 

Next be sure to retweet others and comment, sharing is caring on Twitter and can really help you grow your followers and in the end make some offline connections down the road.  Extend that over to other platforms like Instagram too! 

 

What other tools or tactics help you grow your personal brand? Leave me a comment below and let’s share!