If you aren’t familiar with Facebook - as of January 2009 the social networking site is 175 million members strong and growing at the rate of 5 million per week - and the site’s addictive, randomly generated newsfeed that is the site’s homepage, informing members of their friends status updates and fan groups their individual friends have joined, then perhaps you need to come out of the cave you call home. After all, it’s a Facebook nation – and as marketers, small and large, we need to harness the word-of-mouth, viral power that drives this beyond popular site.

In order to illustrate the viral aspect of Facebook, lets look at the site as a very large, but ultimately intimate, party-family-picnic-office-function-high-school-reunion-spontaneous-get-together. At this Internet soirée all the people you know, or at least 95% of the people you know, no matter how casually, are in attendance along with ALL their friends, family, and acquaintances. Your mom, that friend of yours she didn’t approve of in high school, your husband, your BFF, your golfing buddy. However, unlike an actual party, where each person doesn’t hear that you eat Tasty Cakes new low fat products when you have a craving for sweets, or that you love getting your coffee at Wawa every morning, because you are only able to talk with a few people at once, on Facebook, everyone at the party potentially hears you or knows you have joined a group.

By: Bennett Andelman, Allebach Communications

We think so. And, I am not talking about weight loss or smaller cell phones. We're talking agencies. Not Ogilvy, not Y&R...boutique agencies.

As the economy falls into what some call more uncertainty, and others call recession #2, marketers continue to look for new and innovative ways to showcase their brands without showcasing their spend. While most agencies worth their salt can develop a strategic marketing plan that offers brands, regardless of size, unique, creative, and "social" advertising programs that expose brands and drive lead flow (at a cost-effective media buy), the attached price for agency intelligence tends to rise like the rent on the floors they occupy in Manhattan.

There aren’t too many industries that have enjoyed an upswing during the past two years of the downward economy. That is, with the exception of private label food brands. Once akin to the dorky guy no one wanted to date, Wegmans, Target, even Walgreen’s Drug Stores, seeing their chance to woo shoppers with lower costs, improved quality and packaging, and raised expectations in terms of overall use, have created desirable private label products that no consumer is ashamed to take out for dinner – or breakfast, or lunch.

In fact, The Nielson Company, according to an article on Food Navigator-USA.com in December 2009, stated that sales of private label products have increased by 17 percent compared to two years ago – up 12 billion. So how do the name brand products rekindle their relationship with shoppers and compete with the sweetness of low costs and higher quality products?

by Nancy Landis, Account Coordinator

You heard the sayings, “You had to be there” and “If you only knew…”. There are the times when you wish you could be “there” or have other people understand what you are experiencing. This was my heart was this past week as my daughter, along with a team of 27, was on a missions trip in Haiti.

Within minutes of the news hitting the airwaves, there were three cell phones ringing in the room. We got on the computer and checked out the latest information. Within the next hour, a whole church community and their connections all over the world were made aware of the events. From that moment on, every time someone at home got a message from Haiti, it was immediately spread to the families and community, and from there to all the connections each of us had on Facebook, through Twitter, texting, email and cell phone. At a time as life-changing as this, the Haiti team was not alone.

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