Should You Scrap You Brand and Start Over? Some Warning Signs
Rebranding doesn’t work for everyone, but it can have some exceptional benefits. The insanely popular Miley Cyrus took a huge chance in scrapping her already-popular Hannah Montana persona and tossing it away to become a sex symbol. But Maxim voted her the most beautiful woman in the world in 2013, and she’s more popular than ever, so apparently it paid off. Gap, on the other hand, tried to change their logo and company image, only to switch back within the year. So what should you do with your brand? Here are a few things to look for that might tell you whether it’s time for a change.
Every company has to have a target audience. It’s a great dream to have a product or service that appeals strongly and equally to men and women of all cultures, ages, education levels, and economic levels. But it’s only a dream. If your brand doesn’t target a particular audience, then you may need to consider fixing the brand.
A staff that doesn’t believe in or even know what your company stands for is a good sign that you need to rebrand. If your employees don’t get it, your customers certainly won’t. Try polling the staff to see if they know the core values your business stands for or how they feel about the corporate mission statement. That will give you a good indication of whether or not the company branding is working.
Your brand needs to be clear in the message that it send to the public. You need to be consistent across the board, including social media. If consumers don’t see your brand as constant in sending the same message across all of your marketing campaigns, then it may be time to rethink the brand strategy.
It’s also possible for a brand to evolve over time. Perhaps your organization has outgrown its previous image. Don’t be afraid to reinvent the image of your business if it needs to be done.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on March 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm, and is filed under Branding. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
The Right Video Content to Make a Deep Impact on Customers
Do you want to create deeper connections by using video to reach your customers? The biggest challenge may be discovering the types of video content that users will be interested in. Here are some ideas for video content that will engage your customers.
The Tutorial. Admit it—any time you need to do something around your house and you don’t want to hire someone, you get on YouTube and search for a do-it-yourself tutorial. If you play an instrument, you may even learn to play new songs this way. It’s the future of learning. We can’t plug out brains in and download kung fu just yet, but we can watch a five minute video and get the basics. Make sure you are capitalizing on the population’s desire to learn how to do things on their own from a source that they trust.
The Webinar. You may have already produced some of these for in-house training. Why not post it online and train your users, as well? Many webinars are paid events where you can offer more specialized training than what you give away in a tutorial video.
The Review. The Internet is glutted with reviews for every product imaginable. The only thing better than reading a little about a product before you buy it is seeing it in action. Don’t underestimate the power of showing off your products in a video, or having them reviewed alongside other similar products (just make sure yours is the best). Testimonials help, too, but be sure to use real ones rather than paying for them. Consumers can often spot a fake.
The Public Service Announcement. PSAs are a great way to show that your company is involved. Just make sure the PSA fits in with the image you have created for your company so that you aren’t sending mixed signals.
The Animated Short. The whole world is fascinated with animation. Animated ads aren’t just eye catching for children. Plus, they allow you do things that you wouldn’t be able to do in a live action video. Use that to your advantage.
Likely, you have seen some video types in the list above that you haven’t tried yet and that you recognize will engage your customers. So what are you waiting for?
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on February 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm, and is filed under Marketing Strategies. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Debating Privacy in the Public Arena
Marketers rely on the information that consumers share in order to create strategies for the next calendar year. Is 2014 the year that the well runs dry? With everyone concerned about privacy and identity theft, privacy of information is poised to be a hotter topic than ever before.
In the past, marketers have had to virtually guess at what consumers might need or desire. Now, the wants and needs of individuals can be anticipated with virtual certainty thanks to the abundance of personal data available—but therein lies the rub. The marketing industry in general has no regard for how the public feels about being scrutinized in this way, and that’s partly because the average person doesn’t understand the depth of its impact on their privacy.
“Sure,” people might say. “I know they know everything about us. I don’t care.” They see the convoluted privacy policies and click “I agree,” when, in reality, they mean, “whatever, just let me use the website.” The fact that most users don’t opt out of being tracked says little about what they really understand.
Marketers use the data to wrap everything up in a neat little package. The audience sees ads in which with their friends recommend products, web searches provide tailored results, and social media dish up the most appropriate suggestions. Technically speaking, the consumer agreed to all of it. What is the value of that agreement, though, if they don’t truly understand it?
The NSA’s recent activities have brought privacy into a new spotlight. What’s more, the recent loss of data by Target, which resulted in many credit issues around the holidays, has people clamoring for security. Plug-ins abound for throwing data collectors off the scent. Microsoft and Google are now competing over methods of privacy differentiation.
So what does all of this mean for 2014? In a word: transparency. It’s time to spell out in plain English what information a consumer provides and how it is used. Marketers need to get ahead of the issues and embrace this transparency if they want to ethically continue using consumer data to their advantage.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on February 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm, and is filed under Online Privacy. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
How Most Advertisers Are Using Twitter
When it comes to marketing, social media has become a major source of expenditures in the past year for many companies, with some putting as much as ten percent of their budgets into sites like Facebook and Twitter. So what are companies using their Twitter accounts for? Let’s take a closer look.
Twitter isn’t really a place for advertising or sales, but it is a great place for branding. Budgets for this branch of social media have thus focused on having the right person manning the tweets. Facebook is being used in the same way. Only about half of companies surveyed actually advertise on Facebook, but a majority uses it to post content on a regular basis for fans. The idea is to use social media as a marketing tactic for finding new customers and building loyalty in current ones. Twitter use seems to follow this theory. So what is the focus for next year?
When asked what their main priority with Twitter will be in the future, the overwhelming majority (almost half) of surveyed businesses lists branding as its most important function. The only other major focus (about one fifth of responders) said they will be prioritizing creating website traffic from Twitter.
A limited number of businesses listed customer communication or building followers as next year’s priority (under ten percent). And hardly any companies are using Twitter to sell products or increase their sales. The fact is that Twitter is not effective at creating sales—it’s good for engaging consumers and letting them know where a brand stands. Most marketers are focusing on branding with Twitter because they have realized that this is where it’s most effective.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on February 10, 2014 at 2:02 pm, and is filed under Social Media. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
SEO Alterations to Keep Up With Google
If you have a website—and let’s face it, every business needs to have one—then you obviously care about your Google™ ranking. Have your usual tricks for staying at the top not been working as well as they used to? Google has made some adjustments to their ranking algorithm, and your search engine optimization or SEO strategies will have to adjust to keep up.
First of all, you may have been noticing that Google is weighing links and has been doing so for a while. What does this mean? Not all backlinks are created equal, and some are for the purpose of SEO. Google knows this and is hitting back. Case in point: If a website links to too many other sites, the links it provides carry less weight. Thus, sites designed to raise rank via backlinking don’t do as much good as they used to. One real link may be worth dozens of forced ones.
The other major change involves analytics. Anyone used to be able to view searches that were done anonymously, i.e. while not being logged into a Google account. Now all Google searches are encrypted, making it tough to see the analytics on which keywords you should be using.
Finally, there are the ongoing adjustments, which isn’t so much about algorithms as it is about the Google search process. People are getting more specific in their searches in an effort to pull up the right information. Google is now adjusting to provide better results for those who use long tail keywords.
What does this mean for your company? Specifically, it means that Google is trying to stop marketers from being able to force their way to the top of a search. That means you’ll have to start earning real links by providing legitimate content that users will want to share. People will have to want to organically promote your site, rather than have marketers promote fake links through bogus content stuffed in the corners of the Internet. It also means more work for researchers on learning what keywords are the right ones to use.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on February 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm, and is filed under SEO. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Breaking Out of a Creative Rut
When it comes to being creative, everyone seems to have his or her own process. The problem is that we often get stuck in a rut; we form this idea of what creativity is and how to attain it, and refuse to accept any other solutions. After a while, it’s no longer a creative process but a series of habits that lead to the same results over and over. Do you need to break free? Read on for some ideas that will get you thinking outside the box.
Let’s start with what many creative types have difficulty with: The pressure to come up with something original. Break away from the idea that you have to come up with something completely new and different from anything that has ever existed. With all of the media out there, you can drive yourself crazy searching for that one idea that no one else has thought of. Take a break from that ultimate search by finding an idea you really like and actually making it better.
Here’s another tough one: Don’t get emotionally attached to your ideas. Some ideas just won’t work, and you’ll have to either throw them out or shelve them indefinitely. Don’t be afraid to start over. Creative ideas are not actually babies; you aren’t a monster if you toss one in the trash.
When we work for big companies, we sometimes feel like we have to remove ourselves from the equation and show only the brand in our work. Don’t forget that you were hired for a reason, and don’t be afraid to let your personality reflect in your output. If your best friends see a commercial and can’t figure out if the idea came from you, then you’re selling yourself—and the brand—short. Go ahead and get personal with your work.
At the same time, you can’t always just stick to what has worked for you in the past. Sometimes, a new marketing campaign is going to be a bit of a gamble. Those, however, often have the greatest rewards when they succeed.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on January 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm, and is filed under Marketing Strategies. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Branding and the Human Brain
Developing a brand is about more than just making sure people know your company name and products. People need to perceive the company in a certain way, connect it with specific values and feel a certain emotional attachment at the mere mention of your business name or your goods and services. So what can you use to develop your brand?
First and foremost, people like consistency. You need to guarantee that each time a person encounters your company—online, via a TV commercial, on a billboard—that they have the same emotional experience with it. You can’t have different personalities spread across different media; you can’t be edgy online or eco-friendly on TV. Pick a simple idea behind your brand and work it constantly across all of your marketing platforms.
Choosing the right colors for your logo and products is a key factor, too. Colors elicit emotional responses, so you need to be sure the colors you use for your brand match with the feel you want your company to have. For example, green is a very peaceful and serene color, and there’s really only one major worldwide corporation that has used it successfully (We’ll give you a clue: For many of us, the idea of stopping for a cup of coffee is a calm and peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of life.). Red, on the other hand, is a passionate color, one that can actually raise the heart rate and stimulate desire—doesn’t that make it tough to not grab that soda from the mini fridge?
The brain makes decisions using various factors. For example, when choosing a bottled drink, we consider how thirsty we are along with how we feel about our other drink options, and ultimately how others will perceive our decision. Then we choose a drink that we believe satisfies our thirst and provides the quality we expect, inadvertently letting others see that we make good (or cool, or popular) choices. The idea is to make your brand say that it will fill your need, that you can trust it and that using that product will draw other people to you.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on January 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm, and is filed under Branding. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
What? You don’t know what DWA stands for? That could be because I just made it up. It seems like we do that a lot: create acronyms for brevity and simplification, but end up causing confusion and wasting time. Marketers are particularly guilty of this, giving us more than our fair share of acronyms we can live without.
Let’s start with CPM. So, what’s my issue with this FUA (Frequently Used Acronym)? It’s not even a true one: It stands for Cost per Thousand. It uses the Latin word for thousand (which starts with an M). I guess this would have made sense to marketers in ancient Rome… except that the first two letters would have been off. So in reality, this makes no sense in any language. The fact is, if you have to keep explaining an acronym, it’s not saving any time.
Now, I want to focus on End of Day (EOD) and its equally guilty counterpart, Close of Business (COB). The problem with these isn’t even necessarily that they are acronyms; it’s how vague they are. If someone tells you they need specs by EOD, when should you deliver? Yeah, I don’t know either. Is that by midnight? In what time zone? COB is just as bad; if you say this to a freelancer, what are they supposed to do with it? Go to your website and try to figure out where your business is located and at what time it closes? Come on, people—just say what time something is due (and include the time zone); otherwise you deserve to get it whenever it’s handed to you.
I’m going to conclude with acronyms that hardly anyone can define. Take API, for example. Google “API” and you’ll find that every result is different. If you say API and the person you’re talking to doesn’t know what it is, there’s no way for them to even look it up. Acronyms used in so many different ways are, in essence, utterly useless.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on January 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm, and is filed under Content. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Click-through Rate, or CTR, is one of many pieces of data that online marketers have to sift through in order to see how effective an ad campaign is. But in the entertainment field, this isn’t really all that valuable. When it comes to a banner with things like show times and ratings displayed right on the ad, what’s important is that a viewer looks at the ad, and not that they click on anything.
The average consumer doesn’t have an easy time dealing with complex ads that involve clicking for data in very specific areas. Thus, the number of times a link is clicked is not as important as the fact that the ad was viewed. This is especially true when an ad contains a lot of information that may satisfy all the questions a consumer may have.
Therefore, in the entertainment industry, engagement is a much better calculator of ad value than CTR. Yes, a click may show that someone is interested in a product, but depending on what is being advertised, sometimes it’s more important to keep the viewer engaged than to get them to click for more information.
In entertainment, particularly, a banner is often used as a source of valuable info for the viewer to use; when someone clicks on it, they still get more information. But for the average user, everything they need to make a decision about the event, product or service is right on the banner. (They may feel free to skip straight to the part where they go get tickets.)
Thus, while CTR remains a marketing industry standard, the rules simply don’t apply to entertainment marketing. For certain programs, social media may be a far better way to engage viewers, or sometimes the best way to promote a show is by using video advertising. In the end, staying flexible and making adjustments is the name of the game for an industry that needs to engage consumers rather than just count clicks.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on January 6, 2014 at 4:32 pm, and is filed under Marketing Strategies, Online Advertising. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Here’s something that just makes sense: If you sell a particular product, why not foster a community of individuals who will want to use that product? People love to belong; you need to associate your brand with a sense of belonging.
Let’s talk about creating a digital community. It doesn’t mean that you have to build an apartment complex around your store, however. Take Apple, for example: When you use Apple products, you are automatically associated with a certain lifestyle; you expect to see people using an iPad at Starbucks and wearing clothes they picked up at Express. Apple enthusiasts generally seek high quality even if it means paying a little more. If you don’t find a way to associate your brand with a whole lifestyle, then you are selling it short.
So how is it done? Let’s start with the basic principles surrounding your brand. What values do you want to have associated with your products? Look at Google—they started as a search engine, but now they have produced an operating system, web browser and all sorts of digital devices. They simply created an ecosystem for using their original product. Why stop at having a search engine when you can sell someone a tablet with your own OS, as well as a browser for them to use your search engine on? And once they find products they like (books, apps, music), shouldn’t they buy that from you as well?
So how do you go about creating a little world for your brand? Start by thinking about the market you are already in and then consider the markets associated with it that you could branch into. Be sure to focus on creating an engaging experience for the user, making certain to connect your consumers with each other to build a sense of community among them. Make your products easy to use but still highly functional. While you may have to get out of your comfort zone, there are many new customers out there on the other side of those walls your company has built in order to feel safe.
|No comments||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on December 30, 2013 at 7:52 pm, and is filed under Branding. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|