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Harlem Shake videos by businesses: please die

There are times when riding the meme train is appropriate, but the Harlem Shake video has beyond jumped the shark – here is how businesses got involved and either missed the boat or nailed it, and why you shouldn’t do a Harlem Shake video of your own.

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harlem shake

harlem shake

The Harlem Shake must die

By now, you’ve probably heard about the latest Internet video craze: the Harlem Shake. This type of video is unlike the video spoofs of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me, Maybe,” and “Gangnam Style.” This craze follows a simple but specific outline: each video begins with one person wearing a helmet or mask and dancing solo to the song “Harlem Shake” by Baauer for about 15 seconds amid a group of seemingly disinterested peers. But when the bass drops, the video cuts to a scene of everyone and more people who weren’t in the first scene dancing crazily with costumes and various props.

Not to be confused with the original 1981 Harlem Shake dance, Harlem Shake video memes have been blowing up on the Internet since the first meme went viral; the very first Harlem Shake meme was posted by five teenagers from Queensland, Australia on Feb. 2.

Since then, hundreds of spin-offs have been posted on YouTube, including some from the Today ShowGroupon and even the Army.

Enter real estate teams. Of course.

So, now that it’s getting all sorts of publicity, agents are trying to get in on the trend…but should they? I ask because I wonder how much good publicity comes from this meme as an agent. All of them look silly, and they’re meant to. While I’m aware that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity,” I also don’t know if making the memes is good or bad for marketing. As with any fad or trend, once it’s out of style, anyone wearing or doing it looks… well, out of date and silly.

There’s also a bit of a generational gap in thinking – in general, younger people might be apt to hire an agent who did a Harlem Shake meme (or evena Carly Rae Jepsen parody) because it shows the agents are fun and can let loose with a good sense of humor. But older potential clients might see that more as “I didn’t hire you to film stupid videos I don’t even get and post them on the Internet. I hired you to help me and focus on me – is my house sold/have you found me a house yet?”

It is said that Whitney Pannell, an agent with Prudential A.S. de Movellan Real Estate, was the first agent to upload a Realtor version of the Harlem Shake, filmed in the Lexington, Kentucky office. But it also doesn’t really follow the format correctly – the first woman to start dancing isn’t masked, and there’s no cut to greater dramatize the split from disinterested people to crazy, dancing people (and usually, even more people appear in the room than were in the first “scene”). The meme doesn’t have the same effect when everyone just gets up and starts dancing – some basic editing needs to be involved. Nevertheless, the video is up to 2,796 at the time of this post.

However, some agents could get it right – this video from Adam Helton of The Deselms Team, a brokerage in Franklin, Tennessee, got it right AND managed to illustrate a point. The first scene where Helton is dancing, he appears to be showing a couple a home, next scene, the couple, Helton and other kids and people dance to the Harlem Shake with a “sold” sign in the front yard.

Viral memes and you:

So, in short, while taking advantage of a meme can be a fun way to connect with customers whether you’re a Realtor or any other type of professional, it can also make you look out of touch if it’s not perfect and timely. As for the Harlem Shake, it has jumped the shark so hard that if you made one over the weekend, the reception of your quirky video might be visceral and backfire on you.

Stephanie Sims is the managing editor of Agent Publishing, which currently has online publications in Chicago, Houston and Miami. With expertise in evaluating housing markets, website content and social media strategy, and reporting information agents want to know about, Stephanie can be found at her desk with coffee that got cold or not eating lunch because she’s busy planning editorial assignments and interviews for the Agent Publishing websites.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. franklyrealty

    March 2, 2013 at 8:24 am

    This is great. No jumped shark.

  2. Bruce Lemieux

    March 2, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Yes. Die please.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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