Essie “Steel-ing the Scene” on Vine

Impress me in six seconds. Go! This is the goal of Vine, the app that lets you create 6-second videos inviting you to “create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way” to share with friends and family. Vine is the strategic way for companies to tell their stories to a younger generation, ages 18-24, with attention spans shorter than goldfish. With over 40 million users, Vine is a platform that businesses should embrace.

One such company that has not yet jumped on the Vine bandwagon is nail polish giant Essie. With a vast social presence of over 1.3M followers on Facebook, 211K on Twitter, 10K+ on YouTube, 42k+ on Pinterest, and 1M on Instagram, there is clearly an opportunity for Essie to utilize some of their assets on Vine. How-to and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) videos are so popular right now and Essie is able to align with both. Topics could include hand care how-to videos or DIY nail art which are highly shareable. So, over the last 48 hours I took the liberty of exploring and creating Vine videos for the brand. Four Vine videos were originally produced on an iPhone 5 (low-quality equipment but it gets the job done) and posted once each day. Click here to view them all:



The objective behind these videos was to raise awareness that nail color is the best accessory and that Essie has the perfect shade for every style. Messaging varied to establish the product, its features as well as its function. Both stop-motion and regular video were used but there are so many different types that Essie could tap into.

With a young, female target audience that is chic and vibrant, the video topics are situations that every woman has or can picture themselves experiencing. “There are over 300 colors, how do I choose?” “I don’t need any more nail polish, but I don’t have THIS color.” “What color would match best with my outfit?” These are messages they and their friends will relate to. Even my friends chimed in on one of my Instagram posts:


In addition to simple videos with brief, colorful copy, I tagged @essiepolish in each post, added the post to the “Style” channel, and used the following hashtag strategy to ensure the content would be found in search: #essielove #essie #essienailpolish #essieaddict #nailpolish #nailart

In the short time frame of 48 hours, my 4 videos garnered 120 loops and 3 likes (and counting) and one Instagram post with 12 likes and 2 comments (note that my Instagram handle is private); but I have a small following. With the audience that Essie has, there is an increased reach potential. This content should be measured on total number of loops, likes, comments and if they post their Vines on their Twitter feed, they can garner even more favorites and retweets.

Essie is a brand known for its cleverly named bright colors proving that beauty is not just a pretty face. There is a color for every occasion from “chillato” on a hot summer day to “blushing bride” on your wedding day. Essie wants to be a part of every moment. Get your favorite colors today!


Eat Ice Cream in the “Sweetest” Community

When it comes to relationship building, Dairy Queen (DQ®) knows how to make you feel like part of the club. The Sweetest Club in the Solar System to be exact.

Since 1940, DQ, subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., has been serving great tasting food and scrumptious treats that all started with an experimental soft frozen dairy product. Since then, the company has evolved into the franchise giant that it is today with over 6,000 restaurants in the U.S., Canada and 18 other countries. Its success has revolved around pairing their products with enjoyable moments in life like a little league celebration or a birthday party. Their mission is clear: “Fan Food not Fast Food™”. Their recipe for success is simple: Satisfied customers lead to successful restaurants.

What makes DQ’s strategy so successful is that they listen and celebrate the fans. According to MarketWatch (2015), “The Cotton Candy Blizzard Treat makes its return as May’s Blizzard of the Month following a landslide vote from the DQ brand’s most loyal fans” as part of celebrating their 75th Fanniversary. They even offered a free cone day on March 16th, 2015 in honor of the Fanniversary. Barry Westrum, executive VP of marketing, states, “This is all about connecting with our fans and not just about telling them, but showing them how much we appreciate their loyalty” and DQ will continue celebrating their fans by surprising and delighting them throughout the year.


DQ’s mobile app, website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumbler pages have wisely been executed to support their current #SUMMERNOW campaign. Their #SUMMERNOW campaign is a nation-wide call-to-action to grab a Blizzard, declare your favorite, and share it with your friends encouraging them to share their favorite as well. I declared Oreo Blizzard my favorite. Share yours here.


DQ is taking advantage of their key product, the Blizzard as a competitive advantage over its competitors, Basking Robbins and Carvel. In just its first year, more than 175 billion Blizzard® treats were sold. They also capitalized on the summer season for their campaign which is when the urge for ice cream surges. It’s the right message at the right time.

Personally their Best Blizzard Menu Ever campaign is conjunction with #SUMMERNOW is genius and I would recommend that DQ take a page from Doritos playbook asking their fans to come up with new Blizzard flavors. Since a key target audience for ice cream is children, it would be great if they could tie it into a science or culinary lesson and make it part of school curriculum for a day. Another suggestion would be to develop creative that shows more family celebrations incorporating a more lifestyle approach to reach parents. Parents should see the content and think “I’m going to surprise my kids with ice cream tonight”. A final idea is to be inspired by Starbucks’ previous “Tweet-a-coffee” program and allow people to share a Blizzard via tweet. It’s social currency that is starting to trend and DQ can be at the forefront of the movement.

Ice Bucket Challenge: I Double Dog Dare You

Were you one of the thousands that dumped ice water over your head in the 2014 #ALSIceBucketChallenge? Did you know that the reason behind the trending activity was to support the ALS Association to help find a cure for the devastating Lou Gehrig’s disease? And support it did. The challenge united several thousand people from all over the nation to raise over $100 million which is 3,500% more raised during the same time period the previous year. And it all started when Pete Frates, a former Boston college baseball player was diagnosed with ALS and challenged friends, such as NFL player Tom Brady, to “strike out ALS”.


According to Smith (2014), one of the reasons the campaign was so successful was due to the idea being big, simple and selfless. He states, “Understand how to make your ideas big, selfless and simple and you will be able to control growth”. This campaign was so successful because it played on people’s egos to not only accept a challenge but to challenge someone else. It was like a game of truth or dare where everyone received a dare. And not just any dare…a “double dog dare”. And you can’t turn those down or you’ll ruin your reputation especially when celebrities were involved. Well-known celebrities made the campaign viral such as Drew Brees, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, Mark Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift, and Martha Stewart just to name a few. The campaign was clever, funny and for a good cause.

While this movement skyrocketed organically, Skarda (2014) states that “the ALS Association has made concerted effort to educate new site visitors about the disease and their work, even allowing donors to funnel their contributions directly to research”. They made it easy for people to donate and had to make sure they were very transparent about where the money was going. This will be inspirational for philanthropies looking to change up their strategies moving forward, but it won’t be able to be replicated as is. Steel (2014) states, “Social media marketing experts said that would be close to impossible because serendipity played such a large role”.

This campaign stood out amongst other philanthropic efforts because it didn’t revolve around the primary call-to-action of donating. Far too often, people get pressured to donate money and the ALS challenge was more about participation, creativity and spreading the word in the hopes that that secondary act would be to donate. In the noisy environment of charities asking for money around the clock, Smith (2014) sums it up nicely, “This is how you get heard when everyone around you is shouting”…by dumping a bucket of ice on your head.