Why I think the sharing economy has taken off

I like to watch TED talks when I can and one of the most interesting ones I’ve come across is How Airbnb designs for trust by Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb. This got me thinking back to the old days (10 or so years ago) when these trust or sharing economy companies were in their infancy. Uber and Airbnb are such huge aspects of the metropolitan lifestyle now that it’s hard to even remember the time without them.

I feel like these companies have been created by millennials for millennials (and maybe everyone else). We, as a generation, have embraced the sharing economy as a way to save or make money, while having better service experiences. That’s the key. Many people in my generation would rather pay $500 for an artisan leather purse at a craft show, where they can meet the artist and hear their story, over paying $500 for a Coach purse at a shiny strip mall store. The sharing economy has really provided us with quality services, products and experiences, which I believe is what has allowed this economic shift to occur. Here I’ll cover my own experiences with 3 sharing economy companies: Airbnb, Rover and Uber.

Airbnb: My favorite of the sharing economy companies is Airbnb because I love traveling, but really love experiencing new places. Airbnb is a platform that connects users with extra space and users that are in need of a place to stay. Honestly, Airbnb is awesome. I know there are always those people that have negative experiences, but so far, I’ve only had great experiences. When I was in Europe this summer, it was definitely eerie to be in a completely different country and essentially show up to someone’s house for a room. However, Airbnb really does take the scariness out of the whole process simply by its design, as the video mentions. It provides a much more immersive experience and unique aspect to travel. Research shows that millennials value experiences over material things. This is true in a sense. This is what explains booms in craft breweries, artisan goods, festivals, local coffee shops and the overall sharing economy. I think that a better explanation is that millennials value quality. I know that I really value quality experiences and products for my money. 

What I love most about Airbnb is that it allows you to experience staying as a local would in the city. We experienced this in multiple cities in Europe and I felt like it truly made our trip. For example, while in Venice, we had this rooftop patio view, two blocks away from the Rialto Bridge. We were in the best location possible. We could even see the gondolas lined up on the canal from our front door. We felt like this view and our location could have only been provided from an Airbnb, where we essentially “came home” to an apartment in the city with actual locals as neighbors. In Dublin, we had a view over the Ha’Penny Bridge on the River Liffey. We were in an apartment complex with young professionals from Dublin, which I thought was awesome. They get to live there and experience this every day; I was, and am, so jealous.

Uber (and Lyft): I’ve used both Uber and Lyft; they’re essentially the same, especially since Uber now offers a tipping feature. Uber and Lyft are ride sharing apps that have definitely overcome the stigma of that stranger danger/hopping into random dudes’ cars thing. The design of the app makes you feel safe by providing ratings of your driver, a picture of them and the knowledge that the app tracks you along your route. Honestly for me and my friends, Uber has become an experience in where we hope we get a fun driver with stories to share about their worst passengers, best rides, etc. We get some really eccentric people as our Uber drivers, which makes sense. You almost have to be a people person (or learn how to be one) to give random people rides all day and night. If you’re not already a user, I definitely recommend. My friends and I have saved countless dollars on parking fees and DD duties over the past few years.

Rover: I’m currently writing this post as I am house sitting for a client. This is my first experience with Rover and it’s going really well! I have friends that have made thousands of dollars through Rover in such a short time and only have good things to say about the company. I even have a friend that didn’t have to pay rent for six months IMG_1946because of a few, long term house-sitting gigs back to back. The beauty behind this company is that pet owners are no longer forced to find boarding for their pets when they are away. It allows users to find reliable people to watch their houses and pets, so that their pets can stay in a familiar environment without risk of potentially harsh kennel environments or diseases. Rover’s design focuses on reviews and qualifications. Your placement in the search results in your area are based upon your responsiveness, ratings and reviews. Your profile shows potential clients your reviews left by others, as well as that you’ve passed a background check and other safety courses provided by the company. Like many, I’m doing Rover as a side gig, as I am on my way to an entry level job salary that probably won’t cover everything I need. The only negative side I’ve seen so far from a sitter perspective is the crazy taxes you have to pay since you’re technically an independent contractor. The plus side is it’s basically like a paid mini vacation and all you have to do is watch cute dogs.

This might sound dumb or cliché, but what is really awesome about these sharing economy companies is that you are forced to meet new people. In an age where we are so “anti-strangers,” it’s fun getting to talk to new people, whether you’re getting a ride from them, watching their dog, putting together their Ikea furniture or staying in their house. I know there are several more I should try, such as ZipCar and TaskRabbit, but I haven’t had a need yet! What have been your experiences or what should I try next?

Advertisements

Why I think truth is smart

Why I think truth is smart

I have never smoked cigarettes and never will, so I’ve never needed convincing to not smoke; however, if I did, truth would certainly have convinced me to quit by now. In my opinion, this anti-smoking campaign is extremely effective from an advertising and marketing standpoint.

“truth” is a national anti-tobacco campaign by the Truth Initiative (formerly known as American Legacy Foundation), working towards ending smoking among youth. They’ve been at it since 1999 and they’ve truly adapted with the changing technology and culture over the years. truth commercials have been on air throughout much of my life and I’ve been always been impressed with them all. The most memorable for me was the “Singing Cowboy (2007),” that scarred just about every kid in America at the time. This was obviously when they were still going for the shock and awe effect; it worked.

Today, the organization has evolved to trying to connect with social issues and social trends. The Truth Initiative uses all forms of media outlets and social media platforms to reach today’s teens, Gen Z. The commercial that sparked my interest again to encourage this post is their (relatively) new campaign, #StopProfiling, from ad agency, 72andSunny. I think this ad effectively connects with current social issues in the country, connects it with their cause and connects it to today’s youth. This can be a somewhat tricky sector to break into, as we saw with the Kendall Jenner/Pepsi disaster, but in my opinion, they did it. It works because: 1) it calls out huge corporations for taking advantage of the less fortunate and 2) it’s supported by facts. According to the National Cancer Institute, from 1970 to 2005, there was a major shift in advertising spending from measured media (TV, radio, magazines and billboards) to promotional activities (price discounts). This was a shift from about 18% on promotional activities to almost 100%. This doesn’t look good for “Big Tobacco” when they have been long known for keeping prices low for the lower classes. This particular campaign is causing quite a stir; this tweet gained significantly more engagement than usual, when their average tweet has about 20 retweets and 50 favorites.

A few more campaigns that I thought were effective in connecting with social issues and social trends are:

Hitting us where it really hurts (our wallets)

Our generation’s obsession with our pets, memes and GIFs

Our love of going green

Nice job, Truth Initiative. This millennial doesn’t really need to be convinced not to smoke, but I do appreciate your marketing strategy and trying to make America a little bit healthier.

Pinterest the travel guide: Nashville edition

Pinterest the travel guide: Nashville edition

I recently went to Nashville for the weekend and I owe our successful trip all to Pinterest! Usually, I look solely to Instagram for travel recommendations. Instagram users find the coolest and often hidden gems in cities, and then are able to share the exact location for other users to find! However, for Nashville, I found that Pinterest was a great platform for bloggers to share sample itineraries for weekend trips. Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 2.00.06 AM

Even though it rained about 99% of our weekend, we were definitely able to make the most of our trip! Here are some of my favorite places we visited:

Draper James: First, I am obsessed with all things Southern and Draper James is classic Southern style. Second, Reese Witherspoon has been one of my role models ever since I can remember. She’s an amazing actress and businesswoman. And third, we actually got to meet her and she was so nice. So. Nice.

ACME Feed and Seed: ACME is a four story factory turned into a restaurant, bar and concert venue. This place was packed with both tourists and locals, and I definitely know why. You could easily spend your whole night in this one building. The rooftop bar had a great view of the river and city, while the ground floor had delicious drinks and food, as well as a live band.

IMG_9880

Murals: We hit a few of the most popular ones, but they are located literally all over the city. Murals are one of my favorite newer city trends. They’re art that everyone can relate to, while also livening up the area. I saw most of these on Instagram first, but some blogs from Pinterest helped me find their location!

Biscuit Love: I had heard so much about this brunch place online and from friends-of-friends, so we had to try it. The “bonuts” are definitely not overrated and worth every second of the wait in line. Get there early to avoid a line around the block!

The Broadway Strip: I feel like everyone should experience this at least once their life. The street is lined with huge neon signs and every bar is at least two stories high (most are three or four!). Each bar has multiple cover bands playing on each floor. We loved exploring the four floors of Honky Tonk Central, the old school car hung on the wall at Nudie’s and the party scene at The Stage.

IMG_9952.mov

Antique Archeology: I was a History minor in college, so I’m a huge fan of the American Pickers show on the History Channel. My parents and I used to watch all day marathons on the weekends when I still lived at home. I had to include their Nashville store location on my Nashville list and I wasn’t disappointed! They had some crazy items, as well as tons of show merchandise for fans of the show.

The Loveless Cafe: The Loveless was one of those things that I knew was famous, but wasn’t sure why. Every famous country music artist has been and taken a picture there. While it is actually a little bit of drive out of the city, it was definitely worth the trip. The food was amazing and it was fun to learn about it’s history in its shops during the wait. It was originally one of the few stops on Highway 100 in the 1950s and has been famous for its Southern food ever since.

IMG_9984

More of Pinterest’s Nashville highlights include:

  • The Pancake Pantry
  • The Pharmacy
  • Pedal Tavern
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • The Grand Ole Opry
  • The Parthenon
  • Pinewood Social
  • Hattie B’s

Insta the travel guide: Atlanta edition

I love doing “Insta the travel guide” posts for two reasons. 1) I get to spread the word about how one can use social media platforms to your advantage while traveling! 2) I try to convey to the marketing world and business owners the importance of the use of social media platforms to reach certain markets. For many like me, if we can’t find your business online, we can’t find your business in person.

My first blog post ever was about how I used the Instagram account, ATL Bucket List, to make the most out of my summer in the city! Now, I wanted to do a separate post about my favorite places I found through Instagram! ATL Bucket List and the Atlanta Places tag were great places to start, as well as stalking friends’ and family’s  accounts! Here are my top 9 places in Atlanta!

1. Murals: I am the most stereotypical millennial and loved the murals. They are all over the city and this Instagram account tells you where they all are! My friends from school came to visit and I dragged them all over the city to see them. This particular one is in the heart of the Edgewood neighborhood and definitely my favorite of the ones we saw!

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

2. Jackson Street Bridge: This was by far the hardest place to find because most people don’t like tagging its exact location, but I found it! This bridge has the best cityscape view in the city (that I found so far)! Hopefully this helps someone else who had seen it pictures, but couldn’t find it!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

3. High Museum of Art:  I don’t live under a rock. I had heard about the High before, but the photos in the Places tag made me want to go! I wouldn’t say I am “into” art, but I loved exploring this place!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

4. Chattahoochee Coffee Company: In the back of a gated apartment community, there is the cutest coffee place with the BEST view in Atlanta (ITP!) Pull up to the call box, say “Coffee!” and they’ll buzz you in!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

5. Atlanta History Center: While the museum itself was very interesting, the best part is the Swan House out back and its gardens! I had seen photos of this place and had to find it. It’s absolutely gorgeous and a must-see while in Atlanta! It was once owned by the (very rich) Inman family in the 1930s. Today, it’s known for that the Hunger Games was filmed there!

img_9531

6. Sweet Auburn Curb Market: Definitely one of the coolest places I’ve been! Sweet Auburn Curb Market was started in 1918 after the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917, as part of the area’s revitalization efforts. Today, you can find really affordable produce and meats, as well as shop at various food court style restaurants! I highly recommend Bell Street Burritos, a local business similar to Barberito’s and Moe’s!

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

7. Monday Night Brewing: Although one of the big three breweries in Atlanta, I initially found Monday Night through a friend’s Instagram and I had to go see the tie wall! While I wasn’t the hugest fan of their beer selection (I’m not a fan of really hoppy beer), it has a great atmosphere and hilarious tour guides. Tucked away in West Midtown, this a must try for a fun evening out!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

8. Midtown: Midtown is an obvious must-see, but a picture with the sign in Colony Square is a must-do while in Atlanta! Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

9. Georgia Aquarium: This one is cheating because I interned there this summer and I didn’t find it on Instagram, but it is definitely an Atlanta must-see and their Instagram is always on point. One of my favorite things I’ve ever done was getting to take a yoga class in front of Ocean Voyager! Processed with VSCO with se2 preset

The best thing that has ever happened to me in my life was catching this cutie’s attention and snapping this awesome picture of our staring contest! I love beluga whales.

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

These are my top 9 spots in the city! What are your favorite spots in Atlanta?

Is sponsored Snapchat Lens marketing becoming the new norm?

Is it just me or has Snapchat marketing been booming the last couple weeks? Every day that I open the app, there’s a new Sponsored Lens to use. They’ve been marketing everything from new movies to cereal lately and I love it. As a marketing student, it’s interesting to get on and see which brands are trying to reach my demographic. Snapchat marketing is a smart, effective way to reach consumers from 10 year olds to 30 years old. Many consumers in this age range are using Snapchat as a main source of communication, as well as entertainment. I wouldn’t say that all of these Lenses are going to make me go out and buy their products immediately, but it’s great for overall brand awareness.

Some critics feel as though Snapchat is not an effective marketing strategy for products, like consumer goods. I agree that Snapchat is not the place for products like consumer goods IF the company’s goal is to actually sell me the actual product. It improves my opinion of the brand, but not much else. For example, last week on National Coffee Day, I loved Starbucks’ mermaid Lens. They weren’t offering any deals like Dunkin’ Donuts was because let’s be honest, they don’t need to. However, Starbucks was still able to participate in the “holiday” through Snapchat and increase overall brand awareness.

I do think that for products such as movies, it is a very smart move to use Snapchat to try to directly sell me a movie ticket. I think Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children did a great job in their movie promotion. The various filters they created allowed me to generate interest in the product itself. Why does the one with the hat disappear? What does the creepy, razor sharp teeth/mouth for eyes mean?

My advice to brands interested in marketing with Snapchat? The key to Snapchat is making the right Lens (or filter) for your brand or product that engages the consumer. Know ahead of time what you want it to accomplish. Do you want to increase brand awareness for a specific demographic or do you want to sell them your product? Now more than ever, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t just do it because everyone else is doing it. It should contribute to your overall marketing goals and how you want to reach your consumers. It’s also important that you give it you 100% or don’t do it at all. When there are some great Lenses out there, it could reflect negatively of yours is boring. Engage the consumer so that they are inclined to continue to be engaged by looking your product up or ask their friends about it.

Here are a few filters from the past week or so that I’ve rated hot, not and room temperature. Excuse my faces. Most of these were taken on my way to class at 8am. I’m not a morning person.
Hot: 

   img_8754   
Lukewarm: 

      
Not:

Sorry, Chevy. Snapchat is not the place to sell me a car; no matter how “fun” you want the car to seem.
BONUS: This one isn’t Sponsored or anything, but I just think it’s hilarious.