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Exclusive: How to Unleash Your Creativity and Transform Your Marketing Strategy – TalkOfNews.com

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How to Unleash Your Creativity and Transform Your Marketing Strategy

#Unleash #Creativity #Transform #Marketing #Strategy

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A critical piece of my role at Meta is talking to small business owners about their wins and, most importantly, their challenges, so that we can take those learnings to better serve the SMB community. And while all small businesses are unique, in many cases, their challenges are the same — whether they’re in San Francisco or Sao Paulo, just starting out or have been in business for decades.

This is especially true when it comes to marketing, with new tools and trends popping up continuously. A common refrain I hear from business owners is that rather than feeling empowered by the new digital tools at their disposal, they can feel intimidated.

In fact, 40% of small businesses say a “lack of experience and understanding of digital marketing” is a top marketing challenge. Additionally, through our work with small business owners, we have learned that time and budget constraints are key blockers when it comes to creativity. Even though entrepreneurs are inherently creative — the ingenuity of small businesses throughout the course of the pandemic proving that beyond a doubt — many business owners have shared it can be difficult to translate that creativity to their online presence.

I believe it’s essential to help business owners embrace their creativity, allowing them to showcase their companies and connect with customers online and offline. I’m here to myth bust that you have to be a creative professional to build amazing creative online.

Here are three tips to help entrepreneurs tap into their creativity and effectively market their business online.

Related: 10 Small Business Marketing Strategies That Actually Work

1. Make for mobile

Despite “mobile-first” being a buzzword for years, this one is worth repeating. So what are the keys to success when building content for mobile? I recommend following a few best practices.

First, we’ve seen that vertical videos perform best, allowing you to take advantage of more real estate on people’s phone or tablet screens. Some other notable insights: Content that features people (rather than just product shots) tends to perform better. Think about how you can incorporate humans into your content, whether you’re using employees, paid models or customers who’ve given you permission to use their image. You also want to communicate clearly and succinctly. Our research has found that ads with short text overlays and captions below 300 words are optimal.

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Take subscription-based hair care brand Prose. It found that applying mobile-first best practices to its content to be extremely beneficial. After seeing a boost in results, they went a step further, building an ad specifically for Instagram Reels, employing what they had learned. This combined strategy and mobile-first mindset allowed them to increase unique audience reach by 52% and increase impression delivery specifically for the age 18-34 demographic by 20%.

2. Adding video to the mix

For Hrag Kalebjian, co-owner of Henry’s House of Coffee in San Francisco, mixing in video with static images into his digital campaigns yielded strong results — increasing his return on ad spend by 139%. We’ve seen this across our platform, too, with the majority of video-only or video + static image campaigns outperforming static-only campaigns in both increasing conversions and driving top-of-mind awareness.

When experimenting with video and video-plus-static combined content, remember that short is sweet. In general, we find about 15-second videos perform best. Given this limited amount of time, don’t try to do too much — highlight your brand and focus on a singular message. If possible, end with a clear call to action that indicates what you want your audience to do next, such as visit your website, purchase a specific product or service or contact you for more information.

Related: The Ingredients of a Marketing Plan

3. Infotain your audience

Instagram Reels already make up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram, so we know there is an appetite to explore a brand’s story in this format. When you’re building this type of content, think of it as “infotainment.” You want the content you’re presenting to be useful and engaging while inspiring your audience to get to know more about your brand.

For example, think about what are some of the most common questions you get from customers and build video content that answers your top three FAQs. If you’re launching a new offering, develop a video that previews the new product or service, showing how it benefits customers. Make sure you’re entertaining and informing for optimal results.

When the global gardening app PlantIn wanted to increase trial app subscriptions, they decided to do a standalone Reels campaign online, hoping to connect with its audience in a fun, dynamic way. According to Anastasia Karlova, head of marketing at PlantIn, this format allowed them to bring the brand to life while educating people about its offerings. Ultimately, PlantIn was able to lower the cost per app install through this campaign by nearly one-third. If you have similar goals for your brand, an infotainment campaign on Reels may just be a great way to go.

Related: 4 Ways Small Businesses Can Master Marketing

From making for mobile, educating while informing and entertaining audiences and understanding how to add video into the mix, there are a variety of ways business owners can expand their marketing horizons and tap into their creativity. Aside from implementing these tips, I also encourage small businesses to experiment and explore their creative skills to leverage new ways of marketing and consider working with Meta Business Partners like Adobe and Vimeo to get started. Starting this month, Meta is launching a new initiative to support small businesses through free in-person trainings, events and online resources, giving them the tools and inspiration needed to translate their creativity to their marketing and branding efforts online.

Finally, I want to remind all business owners: Don’t doubt yourself. You are creative and your business is unique. Now, you have the tools and skills to continue to show the world.

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Exclusive: FDA authorizes Covid booster shots that target omicron BA.5 variant – TalkOfNews.com

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FDA authorizes Covid booster shots that target omicron BA.5 variant

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A medical staff prepares a booster dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are seen at a vaccination centre in Brussels, Belgium, January 5, 2022.

Yves Herman | Reuters

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Covid booster shots Wednesday that target the omicron BA.5 subvariant as the U.S. prepares for another surge of infections this fall and winter.

It is the first time the FDA has authorized an updated vaccine formula since the original shots rolled out in Dec. 2020. Pharmacies are expected to start administering the new boosters after Labor Day weekend.

The U.S. has secured 171 million doses of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s updated shots so far, according to the Health and Human Services Department.

Pfizer’s new booster dose is authorized for people ages 12 and older, while Moderna’s new shots are authorized for adults ages 18 and older. The eligible age groups can receive the boosters two months after completing their primary series or their most recent booster with the old shots.

The U.S. will no longer use the original vaccines as booster doses for individuals ages 12 and older now that the the updated shots have been authorized, according to the FDA.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to sign off on the boosters before pharmacies can give them to patients. The CDC’s independent advisory committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday and Friday to review the data and issue its recommendations for health-care providers.

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Bivalent vaccines

Public health officials believe the redesigned boosters will provide longer lasting protection against the virus and reduce hospitalizations this fall and winter. The new boosters target both the original strain that emerged in China more than two years ago, which scientists refer to as the “wild type,” and omicron BA.4 and BA.5 which are now the dominant variants in the U.S.

Shots that target two different strains are called bivalent vaccines.

The vaccine makers developed the original shots against the strain of Covid that first emerged in Wuhan, China in 2019. But the virus has mutated dramatically since then. Omicron and its subvariants have drifted so much from the original Covid strain that the virus is able to slip past the protective antibodies induced by the vaccines.

As a consequence, the shots’ effectiveness at preventing infection and mild illness has declined substantially as the virus has evolved. Though the vaccines are still generally preventing severe disease, the protection they provide against hospitalization has slipped over time as well.

“There is declining effectiveness against hospitalization and severe illness. The problem has been persuading the American people to get boosted on a regular basis,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Hotez led a team that developed a Covid vaccine based on protein technology that is authorized in India.

Original vaccines losing effectiveness

About 76% of people ages 12 and older have received their first two vaccine doses in the U.S., according to CDC data. About 50% of those individuals have received their first booster dose.

For adults ages 18 and older, three doses of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s original vaccines were 55% effective at preventing hospitalization from the omicron BA.2 subvariant four months after the third shot, according to CDC data.

Three shots were 19% effective at preventing infection from omicron five months after the third shot, according to CDC data from Aug. 2021 through May 2022. The rapidly spreading BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants have since driven omicron BA.2 out of circulation.

Dr. Peter Marks, head of the FDA office responsible for reviewing vaccines, said the hope is that the updated boosters will restore the high level of protection against disease that vaccines demonstrated when they were first authorized in December 2020.

“We don’t know for a fact yet whether we will get to that same level, but that is the goal here. And that is what we believe the evidence that we’ve seen helps point to,” Marks told reporters during a press conference after the authorization Wednesday.

The Biden administration moved rapidly over the summer to get updated shots ready for the fall. Public health officials are worried that the U.S. is on the verge of another wave of infection as more transmissible omicron variants spread, immunity from the original vaccines wears off, and people head indoors to escape colder weather.

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Pfizer and Moderna were originally developing boosters to target omicron BA.1, the variant that caused the massive wave of infection last winter. But the FDA told the vaccine makers in late June to switch gears and target BA.4 and BA.5 instead as those variants quickly gained ground. The sudden change in plans left little time for clinical trials in humans before a fall rollout.

As a consequence, the authorization is based on human clinical trials from the BA.1 shots, which produced a better immune response than the original shots, according to FDA. But it’s unclear how the BA.5 boosters will perform in humans since the data is based on BA.1.

Marks said it will likely be at least another two months before human clinical data on the BA.5 shots is made available to the public.

The most common side effects from the human trials of the BA.1 shots was pain, redness, swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea, vomiting and fever, according to the FDA. The Covid vaccines also have a well established safety profile after administration to millions of people over the course of the pandemic, according to FDA.

Mouse data

In addition to human data from the BA.1 shots, the authorization was also based on animal studies from the BA.5 boosters, Marks said. In June, Pfizer also presented data to the FDA’s independent vaccine advisory committee that showed the bivalent omicron BA.5 shots increased antibodies in mice that protect against infection by about 2.6 fold compared with the original vaccine.

Marks said the FDA used the same process for the authorization that it relied on in the past for switching the strains in flu vaccines.

“We’re pretty confident that or what we have is very similar to the situation that we’ve done in the past with influenza changes where we don’t do clinical studies for them in the United States,” Marks said. “We know from the way the vaccine works, and from the data that we have, that we can predict how well the vaccine will be working.”

But some infectious disease and vaccine experts say the FDA should have waited for human data from the BA.5 shots before authorizing them. Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s advisory committee, said data based on mice studies is not sufficient to justify authorizing the new boosters.

“You have to show some evidence in people that the immune response that you’re getting with the bivalent vaccine is clearly better, and those data haven’t been presented,” said Offit, an infectious disease and vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Human trials

“You can’t ask millions of people to get this booster dose without showing some human data that you have a dramatic increase in neutralizing antibodies to the BA.4/BA.5 strains as compared to boosting with the ancestral type,” Offit said, referring to the currently authorized shots based on the version of Covid that emerged in China, more than two years ago.

Michael Osterholm, a leading epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, also said more data needs to be presented on how the BA.5 shots perform in humans.

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“It’s not that I don’t think it could work,” Osterholm said. “But I think we need the data first to show that the immune response to this vaccine is equivalent to or better than what we have already.”

But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a radio interview, said waiting longer for human data from the BA.5 shots could mean the boosters become outdated if a new variant emerges. Walensky said the change in the vaccine formula is small and should not affect safety.

“There’s always a question here of being too slow versus too fast,” Walensky told Conversations on Health Care in a radio interview. “One of the challenges is if we wait for those data to emerge in human data […] we will be using what I would consider to be a potentially outdated vaccine.”

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Exclusive: The 'Lipstick Effect' Exposes a Surprising Truth About Our Priorities in a Recession. Here's How Businesses Can Cash In. – TalkOfNews.com

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The 'Lipstick Effect' Exposes a Surprising Truth About Our Priorities in a Recession. Here's How Businesses Can Cash In.

#039Lipstick #Effect039 #Exposes #Surprising #Truth #Priorities #Recession #Here039s #Businesses #Cash

Brinn Garner is the current chief revenue officer of Orveon, the company that owns major beauty brands like bareMinerals, BUXOM and Laura Mercier, but 15 years ago, she was working for a different company when she took a late-night phone call that would change the trajectory of her life and career.



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Garner was talking to a man she was dating, dressed in pajamas with no makeup on, when she experienced a barrage of doubts. “I was feeling weak and vulnerable,” Garner tells Entrepreneur. “What if he doesn’t like me? I don’t know where this is going.”

So Garner decided to take action. She put on bold red lipstick — and regained control.

“Within minutes, the conversation turned,” Garner says. “I had the power. I was confident. And at that moment, the power of beauty dawned on me so much more — because that little red lip gave me power and confidence.”

Garner ended up marrying the man on the phone; the couple will celebrate their 10th anniversary next November. But that moment was a turning point for Garner, opening her eyes to what she’s since dubbed the “lipstick effect”: that powerful phenomenon of contagious positivity that so often starts with just a little bit of extra confidence.

Of course, there’s another “lipstick effect” on the brain these days, as inflation soars and a recession looms. The term refers to the resiliency of cosmetics sales amid an economic downturn, and it can be traced back to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Cosmetics sales increased from 1929 to 1933 despite U.S. industrial production being cut in half. More recently, former Estée Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder popularized the idea when he observed the same trend in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

Essentially, many people might not be able to swing big-ticket purchases like a new car or tropical vacation in times of economic decline, but they can afford to treat themselves to high-end lipsticks (or other small luxuries) — so they do.

Related: 7 Recession-Proof Industries to Protect Your Money

“It opened up the market share opportunity and increased the potential of how much makeup could be consumed.”

Garner admits that no industry is fully recession-proof, but some, including beauty, are “recession-resilient.” “I’ve been in this industry for 22 years, and it’s wild what has changed and what has yet to change,” she says. “And I talk pretty openly with my retailers and with my team about how I feel it’s evolved and will continue to evolve, even as the world experiences various economic pain points.”

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Although “July got scary for a second,” Garner has noticed a strong August bounceback, which she attributes in part to spikes in travel and back-to-school shopping. (After all, consumers might need to buy a new shade of foundation to match their tans). Despite not being worried about the beauty industry’s outlook, Garner emphasizes the need to always stay on top of new developments.

According to Garner, beauty commodities are one of a kind — capable of changing the way a person looks, feels and lives. Today, part of beauty’s success stems from just how much consumer education has changed over the decades. Thirty years ago, if a girl wanted to learn how to apply makeup, her mom would likely take her to the department store beauty counter, where a sales associate would tell her which colors to use and send her home with several products, Garner says.

In the years since, particularly the past 10, the digital revolution has completely revamped that old model, Garner explains. The rise of social media and its influencers ensure that beauty education is just a few swipes away, and the breakdown of that barrier means the possibilities are near-limitless.

“All of a sudden, it became really cool, fun, interesting and exciting to learn how to apply and further the art of makeup,” Garner says. “Then it opened up the doors for education, which meant that people were more knowledgeable, savvier. They wanted to learn more, so it opened up the market share opportunity and increased the potential of how much makeup could be consumed.”

Naturally, that removal of an educational barrier extends beyond beauty, Garner points out. People are generally more aware of the goings-on in the world, she says, including climate and economic crises.

“Now, what I anticipate in the next 10 years is even more openness in the beauty industry, as people become savvier about tech, innovation, ingredients and the importance of all of that transparency,” Garner says. “I call it the ‘sustainnovation moment.’ Because we have to be responsible for showing people how beauty and life can work together.”

Related: How UOMA Beauty’s Founder Merges Activism and Makeup

“Making education easier and more entertaining is only going to help the customer connect more with the product.”

People want to look good and live better, Garner says, and, perhaps more than ever before, they’ve learned that life is short and it’s up to them to make the most of it — that includes being intentional about purchases, especially in a time of economic uncertainty. “So small things matter more,” she explains. “If I’m going to spend $20-$30 somewhere, I’m going to educate myself so I can pick what’s right for me.”

The good news is that even for industries that fall outside the strict scope of beauty, taking a page out of the self-care sellers’ playbook can go a long way toward safeguarding sales in the face of a recession.

Not only should businesses give would-be customers as much access to product education as possible, but they should also be mindful of upping the entertainment value of those resources — an absolute must, according to Garner, who was dismayed to find out just how dry they could be when researching power drills for her father’s Christmas gift.

“Making education easier and more entertaining is only going to help the customer connect more with the product,” Garner says.

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Garner also cautions against resting on your laurels, saying, “You can never keep doing more of the same. If we’re not trying to constantly evolve and anticipate where the customer is heading, then we’re going to get stuck in the past. We have to meet the customers where they are now and where they’re going to be in the future.”

Don’t sleep on tech advancements either, Garner advises, as staying up to date on the latest and greatest will keep the customer experience exciting and innovative — “then there’s a ton of potential.”

Along with that, be on the lookout for new trends, especially those cropping up in other markets, so you can plan accordingly. For example, Garner’s noticed an uptick in live selling in Eastern markets; it’s yet to catch on in the U.S., but it’s a strong possibility, as “there’s a lot of trading between Western to Eastern market trends.”

“That’s definitely something we need to anticipate,” Garner explains. “So we’re building a lot of our strategy around being very relevant in the metaverse and finding ways to make live selling easy, digestible and fun for the customer.”

Related: 100 Things You Need to Know to Succeed in the Modern Beauty Industry

Beauty products, like most hot commodities, help consumers feel good (no doubt something everyone wants in these stressful and uncertain times). But standing out in today’s saturated market requires taking things up a notch, no matter the product or service — that starts with education, and never stops with innovation.

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Exclusive: LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman on Hiring During a Downturn – TalkOfNews.com

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LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman on Hiring During a Downturn

#LinkedIn #Founder #Reid #Hoffman #Hiring #Downturn

If you think a recession is a good time to sleep on hiring, you need to wake up. Take it from Reid Hoffman, who started LinkedIn during the dot-com bust and grew it through the 2008 crash. Reid Hoffman knows a few things about hiring. Aside from creating one of the Internet’s most powerful tools for both job creators and job seekers, the LinkedIn co-founder and former CEO has a commanding view of the job market from his current perch as a partner at the powerful venture capital firm Greylock, as well as from his many interviews with entrepreneurs for his podcast Masters of Scale. As he prepares for the inaugural Masters of Scale Summit, this October 18-20 in San Francisco and online, he took time to discuss hiring amid economic volatility, technological change, and the fast-evolving workplace. Now, as the pandemic reshapes markets and another downturn looms, Hoffman, a 2011 Inc. 5000 honoree, returns to Inc. with advice on finding and retaining top talent.

How will hiring change in the next year?

During volatile periods, many businesses mistakenly play defense instead of offense when it comes to hiring. But if you have the capital and revenue, now is the time to hire, because others aren’t doing that. That will put you in a really strong position in two to five years.

People will want to get back to the office once they realize they’re missing opportunities to be creative with one another, build social capital and trust, and be better positioned for promotions. But we’ve also been ­remote for over two years. That’s going to have a lasting effect on hiring patterns. If the best person for a project or team lives in another city, managers will compromise by having them come down to headquarters for a week every six weeks, or something like that. Successful managers will learn how to identify what types of people fit well in this hybrid structure–and get the right ongoing training to lead and retain them.

Where can entre­preneurs make an impact?

How do you foster office culture in a virtual environment? How do you create better spaces for collaboration? There’s a whole stack of hybrid work-process things that either haven’t been created for the hybrid future or are just emerging. Tools like Coda, for example, adapt to your process rather than having you adapt to theirs, but I think we’re still in the first inning of building all that. Technology doesn’t get built in one or two years. It gets built in five or 10.

What about nontech businesses?

Every company needs a digital strategy–even, say, steel manufacturing. Your smelter might look the same as it did 40 years ago, but what about the marketplace? Your supply chain? Your logistics channel? You have to hire with the goal of advancing your technological evolution.

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From the September 2022 issue of Inc. Magazine

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