Does She Really Like It?

Ever wondered if your favorite celebrity really likes that product they posted a picture with or if they’re being paid to promote it? Well the FTC wants to clear up any confusion and is cracking down on brands and influencers that are not transparent about paid promotional activity. And hashtags like #spon or #ad might not be enough. That’s why this week we’re asking our RockStars how brands can still run successful influencer marketing campaigns while playing by the rules so the consumer isn’t left asking – Does She Really Like It?

Essentials: Apps

Concept 4

Thankfully we’ve evolved from the days of carrying around the brick cellphone in a briefcase, so much that we now use our phones for everything except making a phone call. We actually only spend an average of four hours on calls and messaging a month. Smartphones can take a picture, send or receive texts, access the Internet, send or receive an email and download apps. The App Store also opens up a treasure chest of apps that gives us a thousand options at any time of the day. Using our smartphones is now habitual; we pick them up an average of 46 times a day without even realizing it and unconsciously scroll away from reality.

Let’s all admit we’ve been interrupted from an Instagram-liking session by a “Storage Almost Full” notification. It’s partly because there are too many things going on in your smartphone from apps you don’t acutally use. Too soon, you’re one download away from not being able to have space to even take a picture.

Because our RockStars have gone through this, we all pitched in our favorite apps to make the best out of your iPhone’s storage.

  1. Rock Clock: Who’s a morning person really? Waking up to the same Beep alarm can get repetitive — to the point that we can get so used to it that it no longer works as a wake up call.

‘Rock Clock’ was created by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to motivate everyone to kick off the day with an enthusiastic note. As you set your goal and tap through the app, The Rock encourages you by saying, “You can do this” and, “You got this!” The best part of having this app—he sings to you, “Good Morning Sunshine” every day.

  1. Hopper: Probably the least exciting part of taking a trip is finding a decently priced airline ticket. Let’s be honest—cheap airlines are not the most reliable, we think we’re paying half the price and then get smuggled with extra fees for luggage and seats. Hopper was created to make our lives easier and affordable by helping us figure out what are the best dates and times for your next trip. The best part of having this app—it lets you “watch” that trip and sends notifications when prices are dropping.
  1. SleepTime: Before The Rock’s lullaby wakes us up, we have to make sure we had a nice and fulfilled sleep. Since we don’t use our phones enough throughout the day, why not use it under our pillows every night? Sure, we all sleep, but are we having a good sleep? SleepTime tracks our sleeping stages from awake, light sleep and deep sleep plus REM sleep (the stage where dreaming happens). The best part of having this app—it graphs your sleeps so you can keep track of your sleeping patterns and/if they change over time.
  1. Evernote: For those who no longer use the old-school method of using a notepad and pen to keep up with the to-do list, Evernote is your go-to app. It stores your information, from your grocery list to your driver’s license scanned copy to legal documents, in one place. Making and keeping notes and files organized without having loads of paper that can get lost or mistakenly shredded seems convenient for lots of people. The best part of having this app—it’s easy to customize and flexible when it comes to setting up your folders.
  1. Mint: Keeping up with your finances may not be the easiest or most thrilling part of your day, but Mint makes the process a lot easier. It’s like having your own financial advisor but in an app. It helps with budgeting, tracking expenses and creating/monitoring financial goals for oneself. The best part of having this app—whenever there’s a change in your account, a rate changes or a late fee happens, the app sends you a notification.
  1. Glitché: To end on an artistic note, Glitché is the app for all the creative minds. What this app does is give a special twist to images in a very strange, yet amazing way. The unique effects that can be added to your masterpiece include pulses, random shakes, pixelization, transmission errors, etc. The best part of having this app—there’s a range of 26 filter options to use from, so giving your pictures an artsy twist is quick and easy!

Happy download!


What Lessons Can Brands Learn From #LochteGate?

Ryan Lochte has returned from Rio with more than just a handful of medals. #LochteGate has dwarfed all his achievements – and ended a number of lucrative sponsorships – which begs the question if his “taking full responsibility” in a nationally televised interview days after the event was enough?

You can’t help but draw comparisons with the other major sporting scandal that happened earlier this year – Maria Sharapova’s implication in a doping scandal. But while the tennis star’s forthrightness was a case study in proper reputation management and, as our managing principal wrote in an article in PR Week, should be considered a “blueprint for crisis communications” – so successful in fact that some are suggesting her ban may be lifted by the end of this year – Lochte’s continued denial and delayed public response is a case study in exactly what-not-to-do in any situation where reputation is on the line.

When it comes to reputation management the same rules apply for a brand as they do an individual which is why this week we’re asking – What lessons can brands learn from #LochteGate?

Cast Your Vote for RockOrange’s SXSW 2017 PanelPicker Ideas

panel picker blog

Are you heading to SXSW in 2017? If so, have your say in the program line up by casting a vote for RockOrange’s PanelPicker sessions.

Drone. Your. Story.
It’s just a gimmick right? Actually, drone video production has taken off (sorry!) in the past five years as equipment has become better more affordable and videographers have pushed boundaries. Brands, agencies and outlets are regular practitioners, and you should be too. Don’t succumb to the fear that stems from thousands of dollars in equipment floating hundreds of feet in the air. In this practical workshop, we’ll produce an actual drone film and walk through some of the less-considered aspects of drone video production, from budgeting to location scouting to software management. When you’re done, you’ll be ready to go out there and drone the shit out of your story.
In this session you’ll learn:
• How much you should be budgeting for drone footage.
• What makes a great location for drone footage.
• If you should do-it-yourself or bring in an expert.

And in the meantime check out the video we produced for Miami’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science using drone footage.

Don’t Just Rely On The Media–Own Your Platform
Today, communicating is an egalitarian pursuit. While the media remains a crucial component, they are no longer the sole gatekeepers. So what if we can use our own platforms to get our story out? What if messages can be delivered directly and unfiltered to the masses? Owning your own communications platform today is a necessity—from hives of active social networks to relationships with influencer advocates, clever curation to advance/rapid response crisis teams, it has never been more important for brands to grab the narrative by the throat and own the story.
Learning from the award winning campaign we ran to launch the Thalia Sodi for Macy’s fashion line, we’ll discuss:
1. How you can decide which channels you should be (and shouldn’t be) using to tell your story.
2. What role the media should play in your communications strategy.
3. How Macy’s made internet history by owning its platform.

Live Obituary for the Press Release (& Buzz Words)
“Why won’t they pick up my story?” The answer: your pitch probably sucks. Did you use words like “innovative,” “game-changing,” or “disruptive” to describe your project? Do you work in a “space” or “vertical”? Are you building a “mission critical” “platform” for “enterprise” deployment? Does you business plan call to “monetize” its “value-added” “positioning” to reach an “inflection point?” And did you share all of this information via press release, that stale, antiquated last bastion of hackneyed public relations? If so, get ready to “pivot” to a new “paradigm” where we all agree to just say what things are and what they do. Can you “ideate” that?
Our managing principal, Miguel Piedra will run this session where you’ll learn:
1. How to cut the crap from your press releases.
2. How to craft pitches that journalists will actually pay attention to.
3. What the buzzwords are that journalists hate the most and what should you use instead.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you in Austin!

RockOrange Takes It’s RockStars Back-to-School

class is in session

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Ever hear of “labeling theory”? In social psychology, it’s associated with concepts like self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping—and while these may have mostly negative applications in real-world conversations around social deviance, labeling theory has a simple premise that leads our strategic approach to employee enrichment:

If Sara sees Johnny and thinks, “Johnny’s such a great leader”, then when Sara interacts with Johnny, she’s going to treat him as such—likely admiring his accountability, decisiveness, inspiration and confidence (you know, the stuff of great leaders). Then, when Johnny picks up on how Sara treats him, he will likely react in ways that align with Sara’s expectations. And the two go back and forth, reinforcing Sara’s assumptions and Johnny’s behavior.

So, we asked ourselves, what kinds of traits do we want to label our team members with here at RockOrange so they grow to embody those characteristics and build an organic, FRESH work culture? The answer came right to us over enchiladas and Coronas at SXSW in Austin, TX earlier this year:

• We want them to be leaders and innovators.
• We want them to feel and act like owners.
• We want them to create fresh ideas and feel they are in a safe environment to share and grow those ideas.
• We want to create a system that keeps them up to speed on the latest trends, tools and resources, and updates in agency processes and capabilities.
• We want to equip them with the information they need to be the badass marketers we want them to be.

But how do we do this? We decided to take ‘em back to good ol’ university. That is, we chose to figuratively relive the classroom setting: hosting captivating public presentations built collectively using the “team project” approach (except everyone participates; if you were that person in college that ducked out of your group project and did jack, you can’t sit with us), listening and learning, asking questions, participating in meaningful conversations, and sure… enjoying the occasional (ahem, daily) celebratory libation after class.

Welcome to “RockU” — a 20-week program filled with “snackable” 30-minute and in-depth one-to-two hour courses and sessions every couple of weeks. “RockU” focuses on further developing our RockStars to help them reach their highest potential as communications professionals by tapping expert team members in multiple focus areas to educate the team. Basically, we encourage them to “share the knowledge” with the rest of us, because well… duh.

With complex project timelines, demanding clients, and varying RockStar schedules, getting everyone in a room for an hour is definitely a challenge, but where there’s a will, there’s a Grace! (Damn, I miss that show.)

We’re approaching week seven in our program and, as Dean of “RockU”, I’m happy to report overwhelming participation and positive reviews for each of the sessions so far. While there is room for improvement (there always is), I know the program is working because the guts and glory of the agency, our RockStars, lead it. From leadership members to FOOCs (fresh out of college), these guys are creating meaningful, interactive sessions around topics like Research and Data, Project Planning, and Productive Brainstorming that are setting and raising the bar for what the “RockOrange Way” is.

We collect anonymous feedback after each session and here are some of my fave:

What was your favorite part of the session?

“Understanding that our clients are constantly evolving.”
“Learning about new communications trends that affect the way we interact with our clients.”
“I enjoyed the Kim Kardashian analogies.”
“The successful, real world examples of how the proposed research method worked.”
“Learning the workflow for the department and how it affects my role here.”
“Free smores.”

Check out our “RockU” course schedule below and share your thoughts with us on session and program suggestions! Get at me here so we can challenge the team with new topics and continue to raise the bar (and have post-class cocktails). And let us know if you’re interested in becoming our next RockStar… we’re always looking for great talent.


Until then, happy learning!

Stefanie Arufe
Business Development Manager and “RockU” Dean

What Does it Take to Turn Gold into $$$?

Winning gold at the Olympics can change an athletes’ life in an instant. Global broadcast, print and social coverage can make an athlete a household name…. overnight.

But with fame doesn’t always come fortune. If an athlete wants to be the next Ussain Bolt (who has an estimated net worth of around $60 billion,) they need to understand that however hard it was to achieve, winning a gold medal isn’t the end game… it’s just step one in building what can potentially be a highly profitable personal brand.

So what do this year’s gold medal winners need to do to avoid the fleeting 15-minutes-of-fame syndrome? We asked our RockStars for their thoughts and posed the question – What does it take to turn gold into $$$?

Snapchat or Instagram?

A few weeks ago we asked our RockStars – Why Snapchat? As reports came out stating that Snapchat was sitting second only to Facebook in the amount of time users spend in social apps beating out Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger among others it seemed that the newest social network on the block was unstoppable.

But now with Instagram launching it’s (look-a-like) ‘Instagram Stories’ feature, we asked our RockStars what they think the new feature means for Snapchat’s audience. Which social network will reign supreme when it comes to instantaneous storytelling?

Watch our video to find out what they had to say.

RockOrange Playlist: Creative Pulse


Music is Power. Start off your day by switching gears in your creative thinking!

Research shows that listening to music you find pleasant can increase your productivity and boost your creative thoughts. Contrary to popular belief, listening to Mozart and Beethoven doesn’t always amount to an increased level of focus (unless, that’s your genre of preference). Instead, it’s all about finding a smooth tempo (between 60 to 80 bpm), and listening at a low to mid-level volume. The key is to listen to different genres of music to find out which one helps you increase your productivity.

We curated this playlist to help you find your creative pulse, so put on some headphones and get in your zone.

Rock on!

How Can Non-Sponsoring Brands Leverage the Olympics Using Social?

The 2016 Olympics are going to be consumed digitally with 64% of people planning to watch the Games on a mobile device, two-thirds likely to look for news on Facebook and Instagram and around 80 percent expected to check out relevant news feeds on Twitter.

 Clearly the online audience generated by the Olympics is going to be huge. And brands are going to want to leverage the Games to reach that audience. But, according to a stern warning sent out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), if you’re not an official sponsor you’re not allowed to use the official hashtags like #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA and you’re not allowed to post video of photos of the Games.

 Now while that is going to be hard to police, non-sponsoring brands wanting to stay on the good side of the IOC need to find different ways to reach those consumers.

 That’s why this week we’ve tapping our RockStars for their best backdoor marketing ideas as we ask – How can non-sponsoring brands leverage the Olympics using social?



How to Make the Most of Limited Back-to-School Marketing Budgets

Believe it or not, it’s not too late to start your Back-to-School (BTS) marketing. By August 13 last year, more than half (63 percent) of consumers had yet to complete their shopping, while in 2014 MasterCard research told us that August 29 was the heaviest shopping day of the BTS season. And you don’t need a huge budget to make your campaign a success. As long as you think digital-first, that is.

That’s what we did with online retail giant Zappos in 2015.

With a limited project budget, Zappos challenged RockOrange to build a compelling, memorable, effective back-to-school campaign that could be rolled out via digital and social media channels, showcasing the retailer’s collection of kids and young adult apparel and shoes.

The objectives of the campaign were to:

  1. Increase existing customer visits to while increasing engagement and purchases for kids products.
  2. Attract new customers by connecting the Zappos brand with key stakeholders and influencers.
  3. Generate positive media coverage for the brand.


To achieve these objectives, we identified a number of influential bloggers in the spaces of fashion, parenting and shopping including The Fashion Poet, Mom Trends, Mom Blog Society and Shopping Mama among others who would be appropriate and receptive targets to be evangelists for the Zappos brand.

Once we’d analyzed the reach and influence of each blogger, we facilitated the publishing of a series of posts, including the PS Beauty Blog titled “Top 5 Fashion Trends For Kids,” that positioned Zappos as a destination for kids apparel and back-to-school shopping. Our top influencer blog post came in the form of an apparel unboxing video, garnering some 87,671 views.

Overall, we engaged with 20 influential bloggers and experts, forging brand-to-blog relationships and gaining placement or coverage throughout the blogosphere. And it worked. We owned back-to-school in 2015, earning a robust 8,189 mentions, representing a 2.6% share of voice out of the total 2015 Zappos brand mentions of 314,016. During this timeframe, we had activated content and outreach that catered to moms looking for back-to-school trends for their kids.

August was far and away the most active month with significant blogger participation around BTS. The Mama Maven contest for BTS accounted for 58% of total mentions around “Zappos” and “Back-to-School” in a two-day period. With active blogger outreach, we were able to feature Zappos products in a relatable way that provided product recommendations and suggestions.

The top performing Facebook posts and Pinterest pins were focused around shoes, specifically trendy sneakers and fall boots. These posts featured products that spoke to those who had an intent to purchase. The three top performing Facebook posts earned approximately 500 likes. The total potential impressions in 2015 (as of October 31) were almost one million impressions higher than those in 2014. The Back to School campaign made a significant impact with 14.8% of the overall Zappos conversation.

And beyond the number, social listening tools showed that the Zappos audience had a positive sentiment towards the brand and all BTS conversation with drivers such as love, great, thank, cool, etc thanks to the relatable, relevant content mix featuring real people, inspirational type photos and product shots.

So if you’ve not yet started, or launched your BTS campaigns remember these three things:

  • You don’t need a big budget to make a big impact,
  • Make sure your content is relevant to your target audience, and
  • Leverage digital as the quickest way to get your message to your target audience.

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