Branding

Understand What Snapchat Is Before You Start Marketing

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To get the most out of your Snapchat marketing campaign, you have to understand what it is and what it is not. Here are a few simple understandings to guide you.

This Is Not Your Ordinary Social Platform. Snapchat has intentionally distanced itself from existing social media formats. It is designed as a platform for communication and creation of content. Treating the app in this way will help you to avoid developing campaigns as though you were designing them for a social network.

Shift from Creation to Consumption. Snapchat was originally designed to create and share content with individuals one-on-one (not a great marketing tool). The focus has been shifted to mass consumption with the addition of the Discovery Channels and the Our Story feature. This makes it possible to obtain enough views for content to make marketing a feasible goal.

A Young Demographic. If you want to reach 14 to 28-year-olds, this is the place to engage them. More than 50 million users in this age range exist in the US alone. The average frequency of app use is between 14 and 22 times per day. That means there is an entire generation that is glued to this app and waiting to be marketed to by your business.

Snapchat Is Not Intended for Organic Growth. This has been an issue with social media as well. Snapchat has been very straightforward about this, however, and they recommend using special events and brand storytelling to reach new users.

Snapchat is emerging as a tool to create brand awareness and engage the younger generation. If this is your goal, then your business should be interested in using a Snapchat marketing campaign. After all, with millions of users in its primary demographic who open the app over a dozen times per day, this is an easy to leverage format.

The Art of Turning Loyal Customers into Advocates

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Thanks to social media, it is now possible to take your loyal customers and turn them into brand a advocate. However, you cannot expect an ambassador for your business to be willing to go without compensation. Here are some suggestions on how to use incentivized marketing to turn a repeat customer into your company’s personal brand agent.

First of all, it is important to understand that the younger generation does not necessarily trust branding. Yes, they may have heard of your company and seen the commercials, but most Millenials want confirmation from a friend that a product is worth purchasing. This means that turning customers into advocates is a vital part of modern marketing. Everything from brand awareness to customer acquisition is affected by reviews and social media shares/likes.

More than one-thirds of consumers in the US now shop on a mobile device. Combine that with the fact that the average smartphone owner checks their device every six minutes, and you have the recipe for where you want to have your advocate promoting your brand.

So how do you create advocates? Rewards, rewards, and more rewards! Developing different rewards levels for advocates and creating the right amount of incentive to perform various social media actions is the key. You can’t put yourself out of business by offering ridiculous deals for just tweeting about your brand, but by developing a point system that gives the customer enough of an incentive to keep taking action, the benefits will quickly outweigh the promotion. Some brands have even rewarded consumers for posting a selfie while in their store and using a particular tag. Others give points for checking in at a shop, retweeting (or reposting) the brand’s Twitter or Instagram post, and other social actions that promote the brand.

It will take a little math, but developing such a rewards program can take a regular customer and turn them into an ambassador, a brand advocate, for the company.

Tackling Your Giant Competitors

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Well-established corporations have some serious advantages over startups. For example, their brand may be well known and respected in the industry. They also have credibility with banks and can acquire funds quickly. Plus, steady income allows them to sink money back into marketing campaigns. The digital business world, however, has made it feasible for a small business to compete successfully with a giant rival. Consider some factors that are leveling the playing field in our modern business environment.

PR Nightmares

Thanks to the Internet’s ability to catch an error and spread it around the world faster than a company can respond, many corporations have been involved in scandals requiring major apologies to the public. When this happens, an opening occurs, and new businesses can sneak in to grab some disgruntled consumers. This is one way that technology has served to even the odds between corporations and small business branding.

Strategic Focus

Technology has also led to the depersonalization of customer service and marketing techniques. Many automated technologies leave consumers with a bad taste in their mouth. Whether it is a campaign aimed at quick traffic or boosting revenue with ad dollars, customer relationships are what suffer. This is another area for strategic engagement on the part of smaller businesses.

Of course, many of these technologies are an excellent way to contact new consumers in your target audience. There is a balance to be struck, however. You still need to reach the widest audience possible while maintaining personal relationships with your potential customers.

Small Business Branding Advantages

Providing solid customer service and personalized services are two ways that small companies can catch up to their larger competitors. Another benefit of the tech age is the ability of small businesses to not seem that small online. Consumers get small business service while feeling like they are shopping with a larger company. The quality of your product will keep that illusion from being shattered.

Creating Brand Loyalty

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Creating Brand Loyalty: Consumer Perception

It’s not enough to have people know your brand exists. They have to like your brand so that when it comes time for them to decide on a product, they pick yours. This is called creating brand loyalty. For consumers who have already tried your product, their experience – good or bad – will determine how they perceive your brand. For those who have never experienced your products for themselves, they may rely on the experiences, and subsequent product reviews, of others.

Clearly then, perception starts with awareness. If someone has never heard of your company, they will not even consider it when it is time to make a purchase. Perception goes beyond knowledge, however, and reaches the emotions. How does a consumer feel about your brand? What values do they associate with it? Does the thought of your brand create a positive feeling for the consumer, a negative one, or perhaps none at all?

It is important to know what perception people hold of your company. Of course, you want to know the positive perceptions, so that you have something to build on. Negative perceptions need to be known as well, though, because the only way to alter the perception of your company is to understand why people feel the way that they do.

This is a little tougher to track than brand awareness. Awareness can be seen through a bunch of figures. Perception requires communication. Read online reviews of your products. What are people saying about them? Search for your brand on social media sites like Twitter® and Facebook®. What are people saying about your company as a whole?

While social media and reviews may not tell the whole story, they give you a pretty good idea of what people are thinking and feeling. Be sure that your responses honor the feelings of the consumer, whether they speak positively or negatively about your brand. Creating brand loyalty with your customers can be as easy as letting them know that a brand cares and is willing to change. Sometimes this is all it takes to alter public perception.

Long Term Customers

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Long Term Customers: Creating Brand Awareness

Any experience that a customer is going to have with your brand begins with their learning of its existence. It’s too early to be thinking in terms of dollar amounts when you first catch a consumer’s eyes and ears. This is the time to set-up your business and to be the one that a consumer remembers when they need the product or service you provide. You have to have the long term goal of turning potential customers into loyal, long term customers.

Back in the glory days of marketing, all you needed was a catchy radio ad with a jingle, or maybe a brief TV spot, and the whole world knew about your company. Now, people are experiencing the world in so many different ways that it can be tough to guess how, when, and where you will make your first contact with a consumer. Will it be a TV ad, or perhaps a social networking post that gets re-tweeted by one of their friends?

Awareness is no longer the only secret to making a sale. Consumers are faced with an endless line of products and services that are available to them, and with a wide range of prices and qualities. How will you stand out from the rest of the crowd? Have you found a certain niche to cater to within your industry?

Today, creating awareness is about seeming ubiquitous. You expect to see a Starbucks® everywhere you turn. You don’t even ask for a tissue, you say Kleenex®. These are the goals a company looks for when creating awareness. How can you do it?

Find a target audience. Make yourself the name brand for a certain age group, location, profession, or niche. Strong awareness, coupled with good feedback, will drive sales in your targeted group.

Be sure to track figures to ensure awareness is on the rise. The ability to create long term customers means knowing how many people search for your product, how often your company is mentioned in social media or the press, keeping track of unique and organic website visits, and knowing how you stand compared to the competition.

Taking a Brand to the Next Level

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Taking a Brand to the Next Level: What You Need to Know

There is a difference between brand names you recognize and brands that make you question purchasing a product from anyone else regardless of the extra expense. So, what is it that makes the difference? Spending money actually carries an emotional reward for people; logic rarely enters into the equation. That means creating an emotional connection for people to your brand is the best way of taking a brand to the next level.

There are a few things that will result in loyal customers. One is product quality. If a consumer knows they can trust your product, they won’t mind spending a few extra dollars (or maybe more). There’s also a feeling of satisfaction after a purchase from a trusted company. You know that what you got is going to be enjoyed thoroughly or will be useful to you for a long time.

Take Apple®, for example. There’s a rewarding feeling when you buy an Apple® product because you know they produce high quality technology. There’s also a feeling of satisfaction at being part of a community of users. Most users can’t imagine switching to another company’s tablet or phone, even if it would mean saving hundreds of dollars.

Starbuck’s® is another great example. They have millions of Americans convinced that they are the only company in the nation that can provide a decent cup of joe. Meanwhile, if you ask a European who is visiting the states if they have fallen in love with Starbucks® yet, they’ll probably tell you they hate it. The fact is that Starbucks® isn’t the greatest coffee on Earth. They’ve just convinced America that they are. When you drink a Starbucks® coffee, you feel like you made a good decision.

Here’s the real secret about taking a brand to the next level and the difference between the greatest brands and everyone else. They aren’t chasing after their customers. They create an environment that makes consumers chase them. They also don’t just try to jump on the current industry bandwagon. Companies like Apple® and Starbucks® are pioneers in their fields. Finally, they create a community presence rather than just focusing on selling a specific product. Apple® doesn’t cram tablets, phones, or computers down the public’s throat. They just convince you that if you want high quality, innovative products, you will stick with them. If they switched to making toasters, people would buy those too.

Branding Values

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Branding Values: The Secret

Your target audience may take in people of various cultures, economic classes, and locations. It’s a daunting task for a brand manager to bring so many different types of people together into a community. But if we have learned one thing from Apple, it’s that a sense of community creates loyal customers of all sorts. So how do you create a brand image that resonates with all sorts of people? It’s all about developing branding values that will convey your company’s values.

You may wonder, though, what that means. Is it about charity work and showing that your brand gets behind the underprivileged? Not necessarily. While charity work does bring together all sorts of people (have you taken the ALS ice bucket challenge yet?), it’s not the only value that people come together over. So, how can you decide what values will bring together the community that you want?

The proven way is to listen and then respond appropriately. You can spam people with all sorts of content that they don’t want—and get nowhere. Or, you can simply ask the customers what they would like from you. It might sound too simple, but it’s really something everyone wants: someone to listen to them and respond in an empathetic way.

Engage your consumers on social media sites. Ask them to comment, to speak their mind. Respond appropriately. Eventually your consumers will start to shape their own community. This is, after all, how it works. Just go back in time and ask the British empire about the community they started in the new world. It didn’t go quite as planned, because it developed its own sense of values such as ‘no taxation without representation.’ Your community will do the same thing if you loosen the grip a little and allow it to form.

You can’t force consumers into the mold that you want them to fit. You should have a strong sense of branding values and be willing to appropriately bend those to the will of the people.

Branding and Staying at the Top of the Game

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What Sets Top Brands Apart

As the business world continues to grow more competitive, the best brands continue to rise to the challenge and earn the top spot in their respective industries. What makes this happen, and what relegates lesser successful companies to second place and has them settling for being the “other” guys? Here are some major branding factors that contribute.

Let’s start with what defines a company. We love to be told stories, and some of the brands indelibly marked in our minds are those that have left an impression through stories of triumph, heartache and beating the odds. Social media has capitalized on the viral pull of these emotionally charged stories, having them reach millions.

Deep-seated values are another key factor. From a company’s new logo to their latest slogan, what most people want is consistency. That’s why when companies take a chance or make major changes, you often see them go back to basics within a couple of years. We want our brands to be like pillars we can rely on.

Great brands provide great promotions. Is Apple™ on top of the tech world, brand-wise? Of course they are. But that doesn’t stop them from offering incentives to fans who buy their latest products. Is Coca-Cola®the leading corporate giant? Yes, but you still see their products go on sale every other week at the grocery store.

Another thing that top brands do is create their own natural spokespersons. These brand ambassadors may become living testimonials of the product they champion. They may end up in commercials, and may also be highly favored social media followers or friends. Great brands treat their top supporters well, thus fostering further loyalty and making them influencers among their peers as well.

A sense of community also drives fans of top brands. Again, think of Apple™ and the camaraderie and feeling of belongingness that’s evoked every time someone sees another person pull out an Apple product. Imagine friends who stop at every Starbucks® branch on a road trip to enjoy their favorite cup of coffee—these brands make people feel like they’re part of an exclusive club. This commands brand loyalty because people long to belong. Who wants to become an outsider once they’ve found themselves a part of something bigger?

These are the types of connections that make some brands rise above the rest and stay at the top.

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