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Jan 28, 2015

Happy Data Privacy Day!

To celebrate Data Privacy Day, here are 10 tips for consumers to keep their data safe, plus bonus tips for retailers on protecting their customers.The best way to celebrate Data Privacy Day isn’t baking a cake or putting up decorations. Here are ten suggestions for honoring Data Privacy Day and keeping your own personal information more secure. Eating cake might be more fun than deleting online cookies, but even the most delicious cake won’t keep you safe from data breaches or hackers.

  • Change your passwords regularly and use strong passwords- pick something more creative than password or 123456 which both made the 2014 List of Worst Passwords (so did dragon!?).
  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
  • Check your privacy settings on social media sites like Facebook.
  • Use different passwords, user names, e-mail addresses, and credit cards on different sites or for different purposes. If you have the option of turning on two-factor verification on any of your accounts, go for it, especially if they store your credit card number or bank account information.
  • Review and delete online cookies regularly. A lot of us are guilty of this one. A recent Pew Research study revealed that while 62% of people had concerns about online privacy, half hadn’t bothered to delete their cookies in the last month.

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Jan 27, 2015

How Big Brands are Using Snapchat and Other Messaging Apps

Today’s guest blog post is by Owen Andrew. Owen is a journalist  in Southern California. He enjoys using his business experience to inform and educate other. In his free time he enjoys attending EDM concerts, and looks forward to Comic Con and E3 every year. You can follow him on twitter.


How Big Brands are Using Snapchat and Other Messaging Apps

Mobile only messaging apps like Snapchat have grown in a big manner. In the time of overwhelmingly “social” internet, they are bringing back a certain respect for privacy and intimate interactions that has seemingly been lost to corporate social media dominance. Snapchat, Jelly, Whisper… these services are even more specialized within the already specialized arena ruled by the likes of Whatsapp, LINE and WeChat. They have millions of users and are becoming a threat to bigger social networks as they are evolving themselves to become more personal and secure social networks.

So, what is there for the marketers here? How do we use these new platforms for brand building? Well, as a matter of fact it is such a new field that we will have to wait a bit for stable trends to emerge. But still, we can have a look at a few success stories and see how major brands are using them to accomplish various tasks. These are the brands that have the talent and resources at their disposal to come up with winning campaigns and surely new and small businesses can learn a thing or two from them.

Interacting Directly with Potential Consumers

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

The very idea of Snapchat and other such apps involve direct and personal interactions. McDonald’s shared images and behind the scene videos from its commercials starring NBA and NFL stars and invited fans to have one-to-one conversations. They have realized the potential of personal conversation and are looking to have more such interactions in the future as they have the potential to build more personal relationships and breed loyal customers.

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Jan 16, 2015

Where is ‘Increase Customer Loyalty’ on your Marketing To-Do List?

Think of all the initiatives your marketing team is taking on this coming year. Improve conversions, increase ROI and revenue, attract new markets…

Is increasing customer loyalty one of them? If so, you might be interested in a new video series we’re producing about how some of the SheerID clients have been using focused campaigns and exclusive protected deals to win and strengthen their customer base, as well as bring in new customers.

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Jan 16, 2015

Student Privacy Matters

privacy-policy-510731_640When we hear the words “student data” or “student privacy” being tossed around, our ears always perk up, since securely verifying university students’ enrollment is one of the things we do best. We took special notice this week when media outlets like the Washington Post, WSJ, and Re/code have been abuzz about Obama’s proposed legislation around student privacy and endorsement of the Future of Privacy Forum’s Student Privacy Pledge. While the new legislation wouldn’t directly impact what we do here at SheerID, because it only applies to K-12 students, and we only verify college students, we applaud any effort that is going to keep students’ data safe and secure.
Companies who sign the voluntary pledge are promising that they won’t sell students’ information, use the data for behaviorally targeted ads, follow strict limits on data retention, and more. Some companies aren’t signing the pledge because they have their own strict privacy policies around K-12 student data. We think it’s great that the proposed legislation and the pledge are raising awareness and starting conversations around how student data is stored and used.

One of the reasons we started SheerID was because we want students to benefit from their own data without compromising their privacy. We’re proud of the fact that we never even see the authoritative data that we use to verify students’ enrollment. We get a lot of questions about how SheerID’s verification system works. Let us explain.

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Jan 13, 2015

Don’t Let What You Can’t Do, Effect What You Can Do

This week I came across a company called Performance Vault and was inspired by the work they are doing. Here’s a little background on the company, hopefully you’re as amazed as I am!


David Vobora, a retired NFL Linebacker, and also a Eugene, OR native, opened a gym in Texas called Performance Vault that focuses on maximizing human performance for all types of athletes. Within his gym he trains all types of athletes including, professional, college, high school, youth, military, firefighter, police, wounded warriors, adaptive athletes and all tactical athletes. David customizes individual plans for each of his clients depending on their personal needs for training.

While all the work these athletes are putting in is incredible, I was especially amazed by the work put in by the wounded service men and women.

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Jan 7, 2015

Top 5 Ways to Avoid Making a Rookie Social Media Mistake


Since starting in the marketing department here at SheerID, I spend a lot of time on social media, keeping tabs on everything going and communicating with others. While I find it fascinating to watch what’s trending, I have also found it interesting to watch how most companies are trying to make a presence within the social media world in order to better understand and communicate with their customers. While most companies have figured out the ropes of social media, we can’t help but remember some of the major social media fails. Yeah, it might seem pretty obvious that you shouldn’t tweet something highly offensive, but there are many other rules to social media that can be easy to overlook and can end up needed some damage control as well.  Here are some tips on how to keep your company from making some rookie social media mistakes.

Be timely – One of the great things about social media is that we literally have access to it 24/7, there is never a dull moment. But that also means that if you have an account it needs to be maintained. Always be aware of who is communicating with you through social media and make sure to respond in a timely manner. Not responding on time gives a bad impression and could potentially resurrect a resolved issue, reminding a customer of a bad experience.

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Dec 30, 2014

Sponsored Student Section


While popularity may not be as apparent during the college years, ducksplayoffsstudent athletes definitely rule the school and have the student body watching their every movie. As a marketer, these athletes seem like the perfect people within a college or university to have sponsored so they can share the love of a product with the entire student body. But unfortunately, as most of us know, giving basically anything to a college athlete beyond their pre-accepted scholarship is a big no-no and can lead to serious consequences. Because of this, marketers are still left stumped on how to reach a student population, who have made it very clear that they have no interest in being advertised to in any way.

Well, this year Taco Bell and ESPN got creative on how to market to students through college sports, without involving the student athletes – sponsored student sections at the first ever college football playoffs. This means that for the first time ever there will be an official student section, in hopes of building an energy within the bowl games’ and a remembrance of what it’s like to be a student college football fan.

Along with building an energy within the student sections at the bowl games, Taco Bell will also be creating 1,000 person student sections at every game, awarding each school (at the two “play in” games and the National Championship game) 500 tickets for students. These tickets will be located in the lower parts of the stadium, and free of charge to students.  Distribution of the tickets was done through each school’s normal ticketing system so all students had a fair chance at receiving a ticket. Here is the commercial for Taco Bell and ESPN’s sponsored student sections that you might’ve seen on tv once or twice, it might even feature one of our favorite schools…

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Dec 22, 2014

Top 5 Holiday Ads of 2014


When we think about the best ads on TV, most of us automatically jump to the Super Bowl. While the Super Bowl will probably always take the cake on the best ads, I think that some of the holiday ads are just as good and deserve some recognition as well. So, take a break from all the craziness of holidays to come in the next few days and enjoy watching my top 5 favorite holiday commercials of 2014.

Samsung – Home for the Holidays

I have loved Dax Shepard and Kristin Bell ever since I saw Kristen on Ellen sharing a video of Dax surprising her with a sloth for her birthday. (If you haven’t seen this video, watch it here. It’s hilarious!)  So, this year I was excited to see them in a commercial for Samsung. Not only is it just a lighthearted commercial, it also displays many of the hottest Samsung products and their uses in just 2 minutes.

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Dec 17, 2014

Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay



These days at almost any store you check out at, you’re asked if you have that stores loyalty card, and if not, if you would like to open one.  I will admit that I am a sucker for all the loyalty programs especially at stores I shop at a lot because it usually means you will get a discount or free product at some point. I do get annoyed by all the emails and direct mail advertisements that I receive once I sign up but it is nice to be updated on new products and what else is going on in the store.

One of my favorite loyalty programs is from Starbucks – My Starbucks Rewards. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a basic overview of how it works. You load money onto a Starbucks gift card, use that gift card to pay for your purchases, and once you make it to 30 stars you receive the best thing of all, a Starbucks Gold Card. While it’s just kind of awesome to say you have the status of a Gold Card, it also comes with some perks. Once you have a Starbucks Gold Card, for every 12 purchases, users receive a voucher for a free drink or food item, you also hear about special promotions going on and sometimes even discounts.

My personal favorite part of the Starbucks Reward Program is that you can do everything from the Starbucks app on your phone. You can reload your Starbucks card with money and even pay for your purchases just through scanning your phone screen at the register. It makes transitions so much smoother and I get rewarded for it.

Thanks to all the sponsored tweets in my Twitter feed, the other day I noticed a new sponsored ad from Starbucks that said: “Order Ahead. Walk in. Pick up your drink. Smile hugely. #PortlandOR” I was instantly intrigued by this because:

  1. Had Starbucks somehow found a way to make the ordering process even simpler?
  2. They hashtagged Portland, OR which is only a few hours away from the SheerID in Eugene – why would the randomly hashtag Portland?

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Dec 9, 2014

Making Big Data Fun… Again!



A few months ago we wrote about how Spotify was making big data fun since they released the data on what songs were the most popular on different college campuses around the country. Not only did this make for an interesting read, but it also drew attention to their student discount on a premium prescription. Well, Spotify has now made big data fun again, and this time it doesn’t just relate to students and what they listen to.

Spotify has released the Spotify Year in Music, giving music lovers an overview of the hottest and most popular music for 2014. Not only are the graphics on the website awesome, it’s also very interactive, making for a great user experience. Here’s an overview of the statistical categories that they released:

  • Top 5 male artists
  • Top 5 female artists
  • Top 5 groups
  • Top 5 breakout artists
  • Top 5 albums
  • Top 10 songs
  • Most popular icon
  • Most dedicated fans
  • Most viral song
  • Top throwback
  • Most addictive
  • Most popular songs by season
  • Breakout genre
  • How we… trained, studied, partied, took a break
  • Tracks each country loved

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