Posts tagged branding

A brand word in vintage letterpress metal type against a grunge steel sheet, representing evolving your brand.

The Difficulties of Evolving Your Brand

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A brand word in vintage letterpress metal type against a grunge steel sheet, representing evolving your brand.

What challenges have you faced evolving your brand?

Every brand needs to evolve at some point. Changing times call for new directions in order to stay relevant and find success. However, taking bold new steps is not as easy as it sounds. There will always be a couple of obstacles in your way. You have to think carefully about these difficulties and how to overcome them. With that in mind, here are a few challenges you may face while evolving your brand.

The Ever-Changing World of Digital Media

Working in the digital space can be tough. No matter how big or small your company is, advertising online is always changing. You may have methods put in place that are successful but fast-forward to a year from now and they may not be as effective. So, just as digital introduce the internet, social media, and the mobile apps, marketers have to evolve their efforts to account for what’s new.

Cross-Team Collaboration

Writers write, designers design, and developers code. And if you are like many other agencies, these teams work separately. For the most part, these teams work well independently. But that needs to change. One of the biggest challenges that you’ll face is getting them to work together. Instead of simply passing off the project from one team to the next, the leads need to give input to each other’s work. The results are beneficial to you content and campaign, but it takes a lot of effort.

Evolving Your Brand, Staying Consistent

Creating new methods to stay successful in the changing digital world is hard. However, while you are adapting to using new techniques and working more collaboratively, your work still has to flow like normal. You cannot let change set you back. Otherwise, you‘ll lose your customers and audience. As marketers, your brand has to operate just like it has in the past – efficient and engaging.

Now that you know what the biggest difficulties are when it comes to evolving your brand, are you up for the challenge.

A generic checklist with a red pencil on top of it, representing advertising tips.

Advertising Tips: Remembering the Basics

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A generic checklist with a red pencil on top of it, representing advertising tips.

Our advertising tips will help you remember the basics.

As advertising evolves and we try to familiarize ourselves with the worlds of mobile and social media, it becomes hard to determine what to do. How do we reach customers more effectively? How do we make our ads work? While the world of advertising has somewhat changed, the principles have not. It’s time to use these timeless advertising tips to create effective campaigns.

3 Advertising Tips

Targeting the Right Audience – Every product is different, from its benefits to its purpose. And a lot of advertisers make the same mistake over and over again. They try to sell their products to everyone. In order to make an effective campaign, you need to visualize who you are selling to. Narrow your target audience down to a select group. Once you understand their buying habits and interest, developing a campaign becomes easier.

Be Competitive – The advertising game is one big competition, and you should never lose your competitive edge. There is a whole market of imitators out there. You need to hone in on that one detail that makes your product different from all of the others. Then show your audience why that detail is an advantage. This gives your product value in the eyes of your consumer and moves you one notch above the competition.

Give Your Brand an Identity – I’ve discussed the importance of protecting your brand before. However, you have to remember to develop it as well. You cannot just put your product’s name on a generic logo and expect it to sell. You have to establish its identity and personality. These two traits are important for people to recognize and remember who you are. Once your product’s brand is ingrain within your audience mind, they become comfortable and more willing to purchase your stuff.

Join us next week to find out some more advertising tips that you should never forget.

A logo for a brand, which plays a part in its reputation.

Protect Your Reputation or Risk Your Brand

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A logo for a brand, which plays a part in its reputation.

Are you going to let your brand’s reputation suffer?

Your brand defines you as a company. When people respect your brand’s reputation, they put their trust in you. However, the opposite of this statement is also true. If your brand’s reputation tanks, then you can be sure to expect some form of negative impact. As a business owner, you need to keep in mind the risks to your company when you don’t protect your brand’s reputation.

Losing Time and Money

A brand is like a baby. You nurture it, you feed it, and shape what it is going to be. That requires time and money. An investment that you stand to lose if you are not careful. Even worse, any negative impact on the perception of your brand will cost you more in the future. You are not going to give up on your brand, and it takes more effort to bring it back into a positive light then it does to give it life.

Your Company’s Sales

When your brand’s reputation suffers, how do you think your customers will react? If your brand gets into trouble, everyone starts to look at it differently. For your customers, some of them will start to distance themselves from you. They do this with their wallets. Customer spending on your products or services declines and the growth of your company is stunted.

Reputation Affects Expansion

Most businesses know that they can’t do it alone. They can build a company at the start, but along the way they are going to need help from competent and qualified employees. When people think ill of your company, they stay away. That includes qualified talent, who can help bring new ideas that may help expand your business. Unfortunately, public perception forces them to go elsewhere for work. After all, who would want to work for a company that no one respects?

People working at a marketing agency. Digital marketing agencies are the best bet for marketing online.

Why Digital Marketing Agencies Won’t Be Replaced

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People working at a marketing agency. Digital marketing agencies are the best bet for marketing online.

Digital marketing agencies bring more to the table when it comes to marketing.

In-house marketing teams are becoming more knowledgeable and competent related to digital marketing. Does that mean that the age of digital marketing agencies is over? Not hardly. In fact, digital marketing agencies that keep current on modern practices have a great deal of relevancy. Here are a few reasons why these digital marketing agencies will continue to be important.

Providing Fresh Ideas and Perspective

Sometimes you need someone from the outside to look at why a campaign isn’t working—without the bias of being a part of a brand. Plus, your in-house staff may be so backed up creating content that they don’t have time to experiment with every new marketing tool in the industry, so you could be missing out on some good stuff. An agency might be in a position to make some helpful recommendations.

Adding Experience and Skills

An agency likely will bring some assets to the table that you just don’t have on your team. It can be tough to staff a marketing department with people who have all of the different skills and experience that you need. It can also be especially beneficial if you are targeting international markets to have marketers who are either a part of or experienced with the culture you are marketing to.

Lightening the Load

Marketing departments are under tremendous pressure to create tons of the highest-quality content while also testing and checking the metrics to tweak campaigns on the fly. Sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle where you can never get your head above water. Things start to slip through the cracks, which could end up costing jobs. A marketing agency can pick up the slack, help keep your team on schedule, and at the very least, provide quality content. Sometimes partnering is the only way to get the work done.

Digital Marketing Agencies Aren’t Going Anywhere

No matter how companies may try to bring marketing in-house, there is always going to be room for a modern agency that keeps up with the times. It’s not a question of whether you need an agency—it’s a matter of finding the one that can fill in the gaps for your brand.

What to do When Your Customers Want to Replace Your Salesperson with Their Smartphone

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You know what I’m talking about. A customer is shopping in your brick-and-mortar store. Your sales clerk on the floor moves in to ask if he can help, but the customer waves him away or doesn’t even notice him. Why? Because the consumer is looking up product reviews and pricing on her smartphone.

The Trend of Self-Sufficiency

It’s a new world thanks to mobile devices, and one of the big challenges for companies is that consumers are becoming self-sufficient. In other words, they do not need or want someone trying to help them select a product. At least, they don’t want a live person to help. Apparently, the people posting reviews online are entirely acceptable.

According to one recent report, well over half of consumers who are using their cell phone to research products while shopping in a store said they don’t want to talk with store employees. The trend is much stronger among men than women. It is also at its highest in the 25-to-44 age group.

So how do you sell to these people when they walk into your establishment if they don’t even want your help?

One Brand’s Solution to the Smartphone

The fact is that there is no simple, across-the-board solution for every business. However, consider the group that is the prime self-shopper. We’re talking about men between 25 and 44. They are likely to frequent stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, True Value, and the like. What are these stores doing to guide consumers?

Lowe’s is focusing on their mobile app to give consumers a place to go while on their phone that will provide similar assistance to what an in-store employee would offer. The sales people are also being trained to use the app to help people.

Obviously, each company will need to take a look at their business model in the upcoming year and see how they can reach mobile-dependent users, especially as this trend becomes stronger and stronger. After all, with more people than ever buying their smartphones online rather in a store, it is clear that consumers desire self-sufficiency.

 

Social Media: How Businesses Build “Street Cred”

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Let’s face it: Social media is not a great way to make direct sales for most businesses. However, there is something that a brand can gain on social media that they would struggle to find anywhere else. It is basically the Internet’s version of “street cred.” When you engage consumers on social media, it can dramatically affect brand perception and awareness.

A Counterintuitive Form of Marketing

Let’s take the wedding industry as an example. Say you are a wedding planner. What do you post on your social media accounts? You may actually provide tips on how to save money when planning a wedding. Isn’t that counterproductive? Why encourage your potential customers to try and save money?

Your prospective customers may determine that you are the right planner for them, based solely on the fact that you know these tips and tricks—and aren’t afraid to share them. Your article may be the first contact they have with your business. Without the social post, they may never have even come into contact with your brand. And so the relationship begins.

Can Your Business Use Social Media in this Way?

That’s a simple example, but you can apply this to any type of business. For example, a food cart may provide recipes on their social sites. Does that mean no one will ever come to their food cart again because now they can make similar dishes at home? Of course not. People grab lunch on the go more often because it is convenient than because they can’t do it themselves. The recipe engages consumers, shows off expertise, and introduces the cart to those who may not have been aware of it before.

Now the world of social media suddenly starts to take on new life. Before, you may have wondered how social media fits into your marketing strategy. Now you can begin to see that social is less about selling—and more about giving consumers something to share with others. By focusing on shareability instead of profitability, your social media accounts will attract more attention, and also be a good influence for the consumer’s perception of your brand.

 

Why Your Customers Want an Experience and Not Just a Product

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People have a lot of stuff, so customer loyalty is becoming more and more difficult than ever. If you don’t believe me, check your closets, garage, and storage unit. What people don’t have a lot of is interesting and positive experiences. How many of your fond memories revolve around a possession? It is a great experience that turns into a cherished memory, and people respond more strongly to that form of engagement.

It comes down to this: to sell your product, you need to create a good experience.

Why do experiences trump things? Consider the following reasons:

  • We get used to things. When you get a new toy (or article of clothing, or piece of technology, ), it becomes your favorite… for a little while. Once something has been around for a while, it is not as exciting. We become dissatisfied with things over time.
  • We live to share. Eating the best of meals is still ultimately forgettable if a person is alone. Having a great time out to dinner with friends can produce lifelong memories even the meal itself is just okay. It turns out that humans like sharing experiences with one another (just not dessert).
  • You are the sum of your experiences. The things that you have owned throughout your life do not define you, but experiences shape who you are.
  • You can’t keep up with the Joneses. You will never be the one person on the planet who has the most stuff, so having things ultimately leads to dissatisfaction when comparing ourselves to others. No one else will ever get to have the same unique experience as you, however, and that makes it more valuable.

Okay, that’s great. How do I create an experience for my customers, so I can get them to buy my stuff?

There are many ways, and you can create great experiences for your employees too (to increase productivity).

  • Sweepstakes – Winning something is a great experience.
  • Rewards Programs – Reaching a points goal and cashing it in for something you want is a satisfying experience.
  • Employee Events – A special outing for employees builds team morale and makes workers feel like the company cares.
  • Reward Employees – Have you ever met an unhappy Starbucks employee? Perks don’t always have to be a bag of coffee (although coffee may create a great experience). Vacation time is a great way to create experiences for your employees.

Experiences, ultimately, turn into revenue. When a person has a good time with your brand, you are building customer loyalty and loyal employees.

Ad Practices That Aggravate Your Audience

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The digital age has added many points of contact to engage consumers. Unfortunately, brands often misuse these opportunities and end up upsetting consumers rather than improving brand image. Here are some practices to avoid in your digital advertising strategies.

The Repetitive Ad Spot

I don’t know about you, but when I see the same ad during every commercial break while I’m trying to watch something on Hulu, I want to lose my mind. Yes, I’m talking to you Bush’s. There are rules here, and one of them is that I don’t want to see the same commercial from you 15 times tonight.

Pointless Content

Content that isn’t relevant is a waste of everybody’s time. It shows a lack of knowledge in regards to what your audience wants to see. If you don’t know your audience well enough to provide them interesting content, why should they trust you to provide a decent product?

Lying About Your Product

People are skeptical, and if they have any reason to doubt what you say they will most certainly ask Google about I to make sure. If it turns out that you are lying, misleading, leaving out facts, or just plain wrong, your credibility as a company is shot. Here’s a simple rule to remember: Honesty is the best policy.

Driving the Hard Sell

Do you like getting a hard sell when you walk into an auto dealer? Then why would a consumer want that when they are trying to surf the Internet, connect with friends on social media, or stream their favorite show? Produce content that tells a story and engages the consumer emotionally. Then they might forgive you for interrupting what they were doing before your ad came on.

Force-Feeding Your Story

This is where all of the above tips come together. If you are constantly hitting me over the head with a plot-driven ad that has nothing to do with my interests, I’ll be more likely to try and find something wrong with it, to view it as worthless, and to be aggravated with your brand for making me watch it. You have to tell a story, but it can’t just be any story, and you can’t cram it down the throats of your viewers. These are simply some common sense digital advertising strategies when it comes to ad development.

 

More Points of Contact Mean More Opportunities to Disappoint

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Back in the day, all you had to do was produce a quality product, and you had loyal customers for life. All you needed to do was to get someone to make one purchase. Usually, you found a consumer through a newspaper ad, a billboard, or a door-to-door salesperson.

Today, customer service and brand image have multiple points of contact with a consumer throughout the customer pipeline. For example:

  • Before a Sale – A consumer may follow your sbrand on social media. They may read reviews of your product online. They may hear about your product through a friend. They could see an ad on TV, on a social site, while streaming video, or on another website.
  • When Purchasing Your Product – The customer will either be interacting with the sales team at your store, your eCommerce site, a phone system, or a catalog.
  • After Becoming a Customer – Now the customer is concerned with billing and product support. You may also contact them for email marketing campaigns, to thank them for their patronage, or to offer further service and support.

Having so many points of contact may help keep a consumer engaged and bring them back to your brand over and over again. It may even result in acquiring brand advocates. There is one downside to having so many points of contact, however.

You now also have more opportunities to provide one disappointing experience that may trump selling a quality product.

Unfortunately, that’s how things go in a world where people have so many things that the items themselves are forgettable, and the experience is what truly matters. It only takes one rude person on a customer service call to transform an advocate into someone who tells others to run screaming from your business. A mistake in billing can lose you a customer forever. An offensive tweet can turn public opinion against your brand as a whole.

More than ever, brands have to be on their toes at all times to offer a great experience during every step of the customer lifecycle. That’s the only way to ensure that a customer will come back, regardless of how good your product is.

 

When Should You Upload Social Media Content?

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The short answer is: as often as you have something to post. Before you say, “I was expecting at least several days a week and even specific hours of the day,” hear me out.

The reason you are looking for information on this topic is because there are so many conflicting opinions out there. Some say you should post to your LinkedIn on Thursdays between noon and three local time. Others say to post to your Instagram at noon EST because Europeans are getting home from work right when those on the US West Coast are just getting to work.

Here is some even more helpful advice.

Rather than trying to post one thing at the most opportune time each week, be prolific in your content creation. Then if one post falls into obscurity due to the timing of the post, it’s not the end of the world. Plus, your brand may get a better reaction from your specific audience at a different time from most companies. Posting at all different times allows you to see when you get the best response from your fans and advocates.

Plus, having a set time when you post content once per week does not allow you to market in real-time or to produce content when you feel the most inspired. Of course, if you really need to post at a certain time, you can create when inspired and then set up a scheduled post.

In short, you should upload social content when you have something to upload.

If there is a formula beyond that, it is one that you have to find yourself by creating, uploading, and then observing the response. Perhaps, lunchtime on Tuesday will work out best for your fans to comment share or click. Maybe they prefer to read your posts during commercials while watching Monday Night Football. The only way to find out is to post your personal social media content often.

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