Marketing Communications

Facebook Bans “Like-Gated” Promotions, and Restaurant and Franchise Marketers May Not “Like It”

In a significant change from its existing policy, effective November 5, 2014, Facebook will no longer permit the common social media advertising tool of “like-gated” promotions. “Like-gating” requires that consumers “like” a brand’s Facebook page to enter a contest or sweepstakes, to gain access to a deal or a coupon code, to obtain early access to merchandise, to download or view app content, or to get other savings.

In Summary: “Like-gated” Facebook promotions had their run, but their time has passed for a few compelling reasons. The Facebook policy change is another reminder that restaurant and franchise companies should know a social media platform’s terms and conditions – and should be aware of changes to those rules – before running a social media promotion.

What Will Change
Facebook’s announcement, in its Platform Policies, was quite straightforward. It stated, “Effective November 5th, 2014, you may no longer incentivize people to like your app’s Page [(the brand’s Facebook page)].” In a blog post, Facebook explained the development in somewhat more detail:

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

Facebook’s Rationale
Facebook’s personnel have indicated in interviews that incentivized likes are poor indicators of consumer engagement and bad for user experience on the platform. Given that the Facebook display algorithm has already deprioritized likes in favor of engagement, this change should not surprise marketers, and may actually lead to better return on investment (ROI) on Facebook advertising, and increases in engagement among “likers” of brands’ Facebook pages.

What the Change Means
As a practical matter, like-gated promotions that commence or extend beyond November 4th must comply with the new Facebook policy.

There is much, however, that the new policy does not change. Thus, marketers still can use:

  • Apps;
  • App logins (note that any information retrieved via an app should be relevant to the reason for using the app, and that Facebook is implementing a “login review” that verifies whether any information beyond the basic categories of public profile, friends list and email address is appropriate);
  • Check-ins (in which an advertiser informs a Facebook user that the user “checked in” at a particular place and is entitled to a particular benefit); and
  • Page contests, and can publicize promotions on a Facebook page.

Moreover, marketers can continue to request that people “like” a page – only like-gating has been barred.

The policy change is likely to accelerate the change from like-gating to “action-gating” (where users must take some specific action before entering a Facebook contest), though marketers should still be careful to comply with Facebook’s existing usage guidelines.  Nonetheless, action-gating should lead to increased consumer engagement, and marketers using the proper login techniques can gather email addresses of consumers and additional feedback via engagement. Campaigns may become more unified, with social media, email, and other efforts bringing consumers to one page where they can enter the contest or promotion.  The number of entrants may be lower than with like-gating, but the quality of the entrants may be higher.  Of course, to the extent that companies simply want more “likes,” marketers will have to rely on methods other than “like-gating” to obtain them.

Restaurant & Franchise Branding Expert Weighs in on Wendy’s: Embrace Change – But Don’t Try To Be Everything To Everyone In Hopes Of Broadening Your Customer Reach

Ellish Marketing Group introduces new marketing campaign with a focus on guest acquisition for Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants

number of new guests for the brand.  FSI’s will also be a part of the marketing effort.

Ellish Marketing Group completes brand positioning work for Mayo Clinic®

Your Restaruant As a Brand: Interview on Branding and Brand Positioning with Warren Ellish on Foodservice Radio, the new streaming 24-hour internet radio station programmed for restaurant and food service operators launched at the National Restaurant Show.

Creating a brand around your restaurant has many benefits. A clear, concise brand statement can drive marketing, development and even operational activities. In a Foodservice Radio interview, Warren Ellish, Senior Lecturer at Cornell University and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group talks about how you can turn your restaurant – large or small – into a world class brand.

To listen to the complete interview visit Food Service Radio or at iTunes.

Excerpts from the interview:

There are many misconceptions about branding among food service operators. “Most people think of a brand as mark,” says Ellish. “It is not a mark, a brand leaves a mark. What is really interesting is that restaurant customers don’t really care about a brand name, logo or tag line. What they really care about is who your brand is, what it stands for, what your brand offers, and very importantly, why your brand is different.”

“Brand positioning is the way anyone wants the consumer to think about their product or service relative to competing brands,” Ellish adds. “It is the most basic of all strategic statements. It provide the blueprint for all the marketing and development of any brand and it focuses the efforts of all those involved in brand activities. It states the reason for a brand’s existence.”

There are “three questions that will help people easily determine if their brand is strategically positioned and if their message is being clearly communicated,” says Ellish. “They are ‘What business is your brand in; what is the target market for your brand; and what is the point of difference for your brand?’”

Ellish suggests putting the answers to those questions together into a simple brand positioning statement, “To (your market target), (your brand) is the brand of (your competitive set) that offers (your point of difference).”

This exercise often points out the weaknesses in the current brand positioning. “What’s really interesting is when I do this exercise, whether it is with a small entrepreneurial group or a very large corporate environment, you find significant inconsistencies in the answers. Most members of the team list points of similarity and not points of difference,” says Ellish. “Make sure your reason for being is exclusive and unique, and make sure using your brand becomes a true experience for your guests.”

Defining your brand positioning also helps with social media. It helps your customers remember exactly what you want them to know about your brand. Those customers will in turn communicate that message to others.

When it comes to branding, “The little guy has as much opportunity as the big guy,” Ellish concludes. “All they have to do is make sure they go through and position their brand and make sure that have a preemptive, ownable and defendable point of difference. If they don’t, then there is no reason for anyone to become a loyal follower and an advocate of their brand.”

For more information or to contact Mr. Ellish, visit or call 303-762-0360.

Marketing Your Local Business: Make Sure Potential Customers Can FInd You On-line

Warren Ellish, President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group is featured as a guest blogger in Thomas Paige International’s Leadership Insights. Five great thought leadership blogs from industry experts are highlighted.  Check out all of the blogs from Joleen Goronkin, Rick Van Warner, Rob Grimes, Tom Spry and Warren Ellish.

Check out Warren’s guest blog at:

Meyer & Lydiatt Family Dentistry Chooses Ellish Marketing Group as Agency of Record

Ellish Marketing Group (EMG), a leading authority on brand positioning and marketing to a wide range of businesses including restaurants, dental practices, retailers and consumer product companies, announced that Meyer & Lydiatt Family Dentistry, Colorado Springs’ premier dental practice, has chosen Ellish Marketing Group as marketing and advertising agency of record. EMG will manage branding, marketing and advertising for the practice.

Meyer & Lydiatt Family Dentistry has been serving the dental needs of families in Colorado Springs since 1980. Doctors Roger Meyer and John Lydiatt bring fifty years of personalized professional experience in putting smiles on patients” faces. The practice is located at 6665 Delmonico Drive (Suite C) at the southeast corner of E. Rockrimmon Boulevard and Delmonico Road – just one mile west of I-25 and Woodmen Road.

“We are excited to have Ellish Marketing Group put their proven marketing approach to generating high-quality new patients for our practice while also building our brand as the premier Colorado Springs dental practice,” says Dr. Roger Meyer. Partner Dr. John Lydiatt added, “After having spent time with Warren Ellish and seeing first hand the depth of experience and the track record of successes he has had, we are pleased to have Ellish Marketing Group spearhead our efforts to grow our dental practice professionally and profitably.”

“Meyer & Lydiatt Family Dentistry is a great dental brand and an established member of the Colorado Springs community,” said President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group, Warren Ellish. “We look forward to developing a strategic marketing communication plan and to generating new high-quality patients in just a matter of weeks – and then every month for many years to come.”

Read the press release here.

Ellish Marketing Group Announces Launch of New Website; Brings a New Approach to Being Social and Showcasing Client Successes

Ellish Marketing Group (EMG), a leading authority on brand positioning and marketing to a wide range of businesses including restaurants, dental practices, retailers and consumer product companies, today announced the launch of its new website at The new website will be available on all traditional and mobile platforms.

The new EMG website contains over a dozen success stories featuring examples of positioning brands to effectively compete in today’s competitive marketplace, identifying breakthrough consumer insights, launching new concepts and products, and revitalizing turnaround businesses.

Marketing speaker Warren Ellish, a well-respected practitioner and lecturer on the topic of brand positioning (Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management faculty), who is personally responsible for developing the brand positioning for hundreds of well-known international, domestic, regional and local brands is also featured in the website. His upcoming speaking engagements at the International Franchise Association Convention, the National Restaurant Association Show and at top business schools are highlighted.

“The new Ellish Marketing Group website clearly communicates our marketing and consulting core practice areas and discusses the successes we have had with our clients using our Six-Point Approach of positioning, focusing, planning, developing, executing and evaluating,” said Warren Ellish Founder, President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group. “Our internally developed website brings a new approach to websites being social.”

Special thanks go out to EMG team members Jim, Jeff, Jason (our three J’s) and Lauren for making the new site a reality.

Read the press release here.

Ellish Marketing Group Studio Director, Jeff Witchel, releases new book The Best of Layers Magazine Tips of the Day

We’re pleased to announce that after writing thousands of tips for Layers Magazine, Jeff Witchel, Ellish Marketing Group Studio Director has compiled his favorite InDesign tips into a book!

Introducing The Best of Layers Magazine Tips of the Day. Its pages are jam-packed with the best of Jeff’s InDesign tips, tricks and workarounds as well as undocumented timesaving secrets and shortcuts. Now available as both a traditional printed book and an eBook at Amazon.

Ellish Marketing Group completes brand positioning work for Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Cantina

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