451 Holiday Party

451 Marketing Looks Back at 2011

2011 was a crazy year. Earthquakes, Japanese Tsunamis, Royal Weddings, London Riots, and the capture of Boston’s mythical James “Whitey” Bulger. There were many things that also rocked our world here at 451. In a moment of reflection, we thought we would share some of our stand-out moments from the past year.

Things that rocked the 451 Team in 2011

  • I became a first-time Dad!
  • Laura, Max, Halley, Meredith, Taylor, Jessica, Emily, Susie, Francis, Nicole, and DeAnna joined our team
  • Jess made the “list” for Boston Common Magazine, directly under Kanye West
  • Nick got to eat at Frank McClelland’s Apple Street Farm (Frank is Nick’s hero)
  • Karyn finally met in person Courtney Cachet from the Huffington Post
  • Our office tasted the best Southern fried chicken in the world courtesy of 451’er Elizabeth Bond
  • No one drowned at our summer outing at the Beachcomber
  • Tom bought his first tux
  • Glen didn’t get crushed by a car that flipped over in the North End
  • Karyn took her first cruise ever and tried para-sailing for the first time
  • Max ate at Wai Wai for the first time (and found a lucky chicken foot!)
  • Tom and AJ got to meet Bill O’Reilly
  • Francis and AJ actually had pitch meetings in Napa
  • Nikhil went to Jamaica and got to see Manchester United play the New England Revolution
  • Alice brought us back chocolates from Belgium
  • Halley moved to Chinatown, became the mother of a Tripawd, and developed a hot pot addiction
  • Emily had another year for her un-boring list (ask her!)
  • Jess got an amazing Crayola coloring book page… And a stalker!
  • Nicole didn’t get sued this year by a former boss
  • Taylor got her parents as roomies
  • Alice started a new music Blog and has kept her desk plant alive for three months
  • DeAnna met Kenny Chesney at Jerry Remy’s Seaport

All joking aside, we couldn’t do what we love doing without our amazing clients. We are thankful to all of our new clients that rocked our world by choosing our team to help achieve their goals and honored by all of our existing clients that continue to place their faith in us.

We would love to hear from you. What rocked your world in 2011?

labs

Exploring Twitter, An Uber Cool App, and Other Facebook Messages

 

Top Story: Twitter ‘Explores’ a New Look and Feel with Redesign

Twitter has redesigned not only its interface, but some of its terminology as well. They went to a simpler overall experience by giving more definite categories and designing the site to be easier to navigate.

Twitter added two categories – ‘Connect’ and ‘Discover’. While neither adds actual features, it changes how you view your content.

Connect – this is now where you will find all interactions: who tweeted you, who added you tweet to their favorites, followed you, or retweeted you. This is somewhat similar to the Facebook activity feed, if you ask us.

Discover – this basically is a news aggregator and it accomplishes this by, putting imagery, trending topics, and hot stories in one area. By pulling in more than just the words that are hot – they have made it into more of an actual news resource.

‘Discover’ is the feature that could really change how Twitter is used. It will now be more appealing to people solely looking to stay up to date in news real time because it has a dedicated page.

 

Under the Radar: Why is Facebook hiding messages from us?

Did you know that Facebook has been filtering your private messages for over a year? If you’ve never noticed your “Other” messages, you may want to take a look and see what you’ve been missing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all know what it’s like to be bombarded with annoying messages on Facebook. From event invites for parties located across the country to band performances from “friends” we talked to once in high school, it’s easy to feel spammed by Facebook on occasion. But what you may not know is that Facebook has its own form of a spam filter set up. It’s a section of your messages called “other” and you may have never noticed it if you haven’t bothered to look. But Facebook has allegedly been implementing this system since November of 2010.

I checked my “other” folder for the first time the other day and noticed quite a few messages in there. Admittedly, most of them are messages that weren’t important and I would have immediately trashed anyway. And, I thank Facebook for sparing me the creepy “I’d like to get to know you better” messages from faceless people. However, there were a few in there, like a special discount from a company I follow and a message from a friend (who I’m not connected with on Facebook), that I would have liked to see— messages that I had no idea were being hidden from me.

Am I mad? Not necessarily. I do think Facebook’s “other” folder is incredibly useful and has saved me much annoyance. But it’s also something that we should have been aware of from the start. I thank goodness for Gmail’s spam filter on a daily basis, but I still like to take a quick look at it from time to time to make sure nothing important is getting by. I’m thrilled not to get all those annoying Facebook messages to my inbox, but at the same time, I would have liked to know that my messages were being filtered and I wasn’t necessarily receiving everything that was sent to me. Check your “other” folder and see what you’ve been missing!

 

451 Labs Tool Review: Uber’s App—Making it easy to get a cab from your phone

Waiting on the side of the road waving your hand to get a cab to stop is so yesterday. With Uber, you can request a car right from your iPhone or Android. It will come in no time and be a whole lot less sketchy than many of the cabs you’ve likely ridden in before. But what will it cost you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you live in a major city, you likely know what it’s like to be frustrated trying to catch a cab. Especially if it happens to be raining out or you stay at the bar until last call and want to get home when every other city-dweller is also trying to hitch a ride. It’s enough to make you want to spend the winter huddled in your apartment to avoid being stranded far from home at all costs. Enter Uber.

Uber is a new service that makes it easy to get a cab. A non-sketchy car that is much more comfy and classy-looking than the average cab. All you need is the iPhone or Android app and you can request a car from anywhere. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can simply text Uber your address. A sleek black car with a professional driver will come pick you up, generally in about 10-15 minutes. Which means you can stick around the bar a little longer, instead of standing on the sidewalk with your hand up waving for a cab, while simultaneously shoving people out of your way and screaming that you were waiting first. Or maybe that’s just how we do it in Boston? (Tweet This!)

Adding to Uber’s appeal is the easy pay option. Instead of making certain you have cash on you or dealing with your cab’s faulty credit card machine (if they even have one!), Uber simply charges the credit card you have on file with them. It sounds super easy, but how much does it cost? Well, Uber charges based on distance traveled and time spent in cab and varies from city to city. In Boston, the base fee is $7.00, plus a $4.00 distance fee per mile, and $0.85 per minute time fee (for when the car is traveling less than 11 miles per hour). So, taking an Uber car will cost you more than a standard cab in Boston (which generally has a $2.60 base charge, plus a $2.80 per mile distance fee, and $0.47 per minute time fee). However, when you factor in the fact that you can avoid waiting and annoyance, along with a potentially sketchy cabby who’s chatting on his cell phone and swerving in and out of traffic, it seems pretty worth it for certain occasions. We’ll likely be saving the luxury for when we’re really stuck and want to get home hassle-free.

Uber’s services are currently offered in San Francisco/Palo Alto, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Paris, and Washington D.C.

 

Around the Hub: Foursquare-Amex Partnership comes and goes in Boston

There was a lot of buzz about the Foursquare-American Express partnership when it was announced, but in Boston there hasn’t been much talk about it lately because it wasn’t really activated anywhere in the Hub.

About a week ago, Foursquare quietly rolled out specials at a number of local businesses that have a ‘Spend $10, get $10 off’ specials – provided by American Express. While we are excited to see this feature coming to Boston, it raises some concerns as well.

In Boston, they did not consult the businesses before putting this special up. While the money exchange is done on the credit card, many customers will likely ask the businesses about the specials. It makes sense that Foursquare would want to push this out to many businesses, however they should be giving merchants more information and training staff on the specials. If a local restaurant was consulted on this, they would be able to internally push the promotion to existing customers and get more reach overall.
              

UPDATE: As of this morning it appears the AMEX specials are gone in Boston

 

Will you be using the uber cool app for your next taxi? Will you be more keen to check your “other” Facebook messages, Will you be more tuned in with the new Twitter, or will you be checking in to see what new discount you can get? Join the conversation #451Labs and drop us a line.

labs

YouTube Gets Social and a Mayor Becomes a Mayor

 

Top Story: YouTube Gets Social

YouTube is getting a makeover! Yes, you heard right, YouTube is going to have a clean, simple, and more social interface than before. It’s going to feel a lot like watching TV.

YouTube Preview Image

With their new design, YouTube is trying to get us to click around, stick around, and become more social on their site. And after spending some time exploring the new design, we think they’ll be seeing success. However, they still have a long way to go in getting us to choose YouTube over television on a daily basis.

You can think of the new design as sort of like the YouTube version of DVR. With hundreds of new channels launching soon, (from celebrities and well-known personalities) YouTube wanted to give us a better way to organize our favorite channels, making it easier for us to watch. The new homepage succeeds in making it simple for us to see what channels we’re subscribed to, which ones are recommended to us, and which are popular and trending. It also gives us a quick way to share our videos with connections on Facebook and Google Plus. Admittedly, we found that the new homepage is making it much more common for us to get sucked in and fall into that endless clicking hole – which is exactly what YouTube wants.

Will the YouTube redesign have us canceling our cable and watching YouTube channels for our television fix? Definitely not. The content on YouTube’s channels is still just not as good as it is on television, though we are interested to see if channels from Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z, and the like can change that. Also, unlike television, we still can’t fall into that lazy mode, where we keep watching and watching. Even with YouTube’s redesign, we still have to actively seek out and click on videos to watch. But they’ve certainly made that a lot easier for us to do.

 

Under the Radar: A Mayor Becomes a Mayor

Take a Foursquare tour of the city with Mayor Bob Buckem of Tampa, FL. Get insider tips and earn your badges!

Foursquare is all about connecting with other people. We have seen celebrities join, but for the most part they don’t actually want people to know exactly where they are. Politicians on the other hand, always want citizens knowing where they are going and what they are doing for their respective cities. This is what Tampa Mayor, Bob Buckhorn, has been doing. He recently has taken it to the next level by creating a ‘Tour of Tampa’ within Foursquare.

There is obvious value in this for someone who is a heavy Foursquare user visiting Tampa, but what is really interesting about this is that Mayor Buckhorn has started an initiative that is really pushing Foursquare and LBS’s (location based services) into the mainstream. This proves that LBS’s can serve more of a purpose than just finding where your friends are and occasionally getting discounts. The more practical uses that can be demonstrated, the more people are likely to use them and in turn the more businesses will embrace it.

 

451 Labs Tool Review: Buffer

Never know when to publish content on your twitter feed? Buffer is a platform that is here to help you engage your Twitter followers by taking tweets and publishing them at certain times to procure the most engagement.

 

We certainly have enough experience with tweet scheduling services, using Hootsuite and TweetDeck on a daily basis. So, our main goal here was to see if Buffer could set itself apart from those other easy-to-use services. Buffer’s main draw is that it does make scheduling tweets a bit easier. Instead of being forced to choose a specific time for each tweet we’re scheduling, the service lets us pre-define the times we want our tweets to be sent out. So, all we have to do is add our text and links to the “buffer” and let the service do the rest. That is, if we want our tweets to go out at the same times every day.

We loved that there’s a Buffer Bookmarklet for easy sharing. Instead of heading to Twitter.com or our preferred application, we can simply click on the bookmark extension and schedule our tweet without leaving the website we’re on. We also love that Buffer’s analytics allow us to see sent tweets, along with their retweets, clicks and estimated reach.

At first we were excited by Buffer’s suggested tweet option. But after playing around with it on different Twitter accounts, we found that the suggested tweets were not very well-tailored to the type of content we generally tweet out. They also included many advertisements for the service. Fair enough, considering the service is free to use with 1 Twitter account and 10 tweets in a queue at a time. If you want to use Buffer with 3 Twitter accounts, schedule 50 tweets at a time, and add a team member, it will cost you $10/month.

So, does Buffer really increase clicks by 200% as many claim? We didn’t see quite that high of a click-through rate, but we’ll continue experimenting with Buffer. It does make timing tweets simpler. But as we’ve known all along, it really is about tweeting valuable content that’s the most important factor in soliciting clicks and re-tweets.

 

According to Fantana’s research, 60% of the time it works every time. (Tweet This!)

 

Around the Hub: 31 Nights of Lights

Boston’s Prudential Center features “31 Nights of Light”

Every December the Prudential Center “lights up” to support Boston’s non-profit organizations. Many of these organizations will host fundraising events at the shops to raise awareness on their cause.The Prudential Center Tower is using its colorful combination of lights (often best known for supporting the Sox, B’s, C’s and Pats) to support a different charity for all 31 days of December.

This is a brilliant use of the Prudential Tower, which is a landmark of Boston, because it makes use of existing resources (the lights) to help align itself with 31 great charity organizations. The Tower is seen by millions every day, and the constantly changing colors will grab the notice of many.

The Prudential Center itself does not do a large amount of marketing, so this is a good way to push out their brand image – which is focused on supporting Boston (charities and sports). The month of supporting these organizations is also a good way to tap into the large networks of all of the charities, many of which are large national groups. It looks like the Prudential Center tower has found an eye catching and relatively easyway to execute to build their brand image and support some great non-profits this winter.

 

 

Boston Rocks (and Rolls)!


via Hubway

 

Ok, so this post has nothing to do with social media, PR, or search marketing and everything to do with Boston pride.  I just spotted my first glimpse of the new Hubway system Beantown is rolling out.  I can’t believe this has become a reality.  Can you say…love it! For those of you not familiar with this new program, today Boston launched a bicycle share program where people will be able to rent bicycles from dozens of sidewalk stations (actual one pictured below is on Atlantic Ave by Boston Harbor Hotel).

via @AJGerritson

Think Zipcar –  but for bikes.  Boston @Hubway launched this morning with an inaugural ride in City Hall Plaza with many excited Hubway members and employees riding 200 bikes around the city.  Mayor Menino was also there to celebrate in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Eric Moskowitz, did a great job explaining the program back in April on Boston.com. Here is the full story: http://bo.st/fVDFTv


 

What do you think of this program? Will you try Hubway?

 

Red Sox Home Opener 2011: Using a Local Event to Promote a Sense of Community

 

As a rookie Bostonian, it’s safe to say that I still haven’t fully grasped the intense passion that New Englanders feel towards their teams – Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics alike.  The footprint of the home teams on the local social media scene was obvious to me on Friday when the Red Sox had their Home Opener against their arch rivals, the New York Yankees.  Businesses and organizations coordinated their tweets for the day to coincide with the event.

Many businesses simply mentioned the event and integrated it in with their normal twitter content:

@BPLBoston: It’s Flickr Friday at the Boston Public Library. In honor of Red Sox opening day, we give you these baseball images http://bit.ly/eXxM8u

 

@NewEnglandMCA: New England MCA wishes the Red Sox well on Opening Day2011! Go Sox!

 

@Simmonslibrary: Today is Red Sox Opening Day! Check out one of these great Sox books from our collection http://bit.ly/g0TTl8 (expandhttp://bit.ly/hUgZKy

 

@thelobstershack: What do the Red Sox and the Lobster Shack have in common? OPENING DAY! April 8, 2011 – 11am official start to the 2011 season.

 

@@Bar10_Boston Despite coming 0-6, there is nothing like #Redsox Home Opener! We can feel the excitement in the city, game time 2pm

 

@WestinCopleyPl With the #RedSox back in town don’t forget to refresh your senses and experience summer in #Boston with the Westin!

 

@Ettractions: Today is opening day at Fenway Park!! Check out the Boston RedSox schedule or take a tour of the stadium. http://fb.me/YKtwgYwp

 

 

Other businesses took it a step further, building deals and specials around the event:

@Finzsalem: Opening day! Join us for the game & enjoy our Fenway Special: Grilled Pearl Hotdog and an ice cold PBR, only $8!! Go Red Sox!

 

@McFaddensRI: OPENING DAY : **RED SOX / YANKEES AFTER-PARTY** TONIGHT, from 9-11pm!!! Want to snag a spot on the Guest List? Receive FREE COVER, and $3…

 

@berkleesac: Celebrate opening day at Fenway with FREE hot dogs, snacks, refreshments and FREE Red Sox gear giveaways all afternoon beginning at 1:30pm.

 

@boYOfroyo: it’s opening day and the red sox need our support. our new boYO of the week is a regular red sox raspberry froyo… http://fb.me/NvTq64sD

 

@fraskedesigns: Happy Red Sox Home Opening Day! Last day to save 15% and get free shipping at http://www.fraskedesigns.etsy.com with the code GOSOX2011!

 

@BostonHandmade: Red Sox Print Sale for Opening Dayhttp://dlvr.it/MrqBl

 

 

My favorite type of promotion during the home opener was offering a special deal to patrons wearing Red Sox gear. Bostonians are going to wear their Sox hats and jerseys on opening day (or any day the Sox are in town) no matter what, but offering special promotions to those who do makes the company a part of that fan’s Home Opener experience.

@Cardullos: It’s opening day for the Boston Red Sox. Today only, visit us in the store dressed in your Red Sox garbs and get a FREE bag of peanuts! 🙂

 

The overall impression that I get from tweet activity around this local event is that it served to promote a sense of community between businesses and those they serve.  The message: we are all in this together – we are all a part of the Red Sox Nation – embraces a sense of unity that is unique and special to New Englanders.   Go Sox or go home.

Did you come across any other tweets or facebook posts that integrated Opening Day in a unique way? We would love to see them!

-Halley Sheffield, 451 Marketing Manager