You are the Face of Social Media

Ok kids, time to lose the egg and the faceless profiles. The first word in social media is SOCIAL. How about we get a little personal here and start humanizing the digital experience? No matter the reason you engage in social media activity, either for personal or professional reasons you did so to meet new people, learn, share, network and build relationships.

No Face on Social Media

photo credit: Masked-Bob via photopin cc

Would you walk up to a prospect in person with your face covered up? What about wearing a logo mask over your head? That would be a bit awkward, don’t you think?

Technology is great, social media rocks. Mobile is cool and people are still people. While technology has changed the vehicles we use  the game is still the same, people want to do business with other people. Just because we use technology to help us run more efficiently, it doesn’t mean we should become completely impersonal.

It is well documented on this site the value of social media, from marketing to promotions, networking and referral traffic the list goes on and on. Social media does a lot. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. After all, this experience is all about YOU.  So go ahead and share a little about yourself.

Whether you are using social networks as an individual or as a brand, make it human. Humanize yourself and your brand by including a picture and a name. Make it clear with whom your audience is engaging with.

How do we go about doing this you ask? You can start by answering these questions about you and/or your brand?

1. Start with yourself.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What are your interests?
  • What makes you special, unique or different?
  • What is your role and relationship to your business?

2. Now for your business.

  • What business are you in?
  • How can you help?
  • Where do you operate?
  • Where can I find out more info? i.e. Include companies URL
  • Who are we engaging with (answer posts)?

Why is it important to attach a face to social media?

  1. Social Media is a great platform for networking but your goal should be to migrate the conversation and relationship into the “Real World”. In Real Life (IRL), we have names and faces that go along with our knowledge and personalities. Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation with a person’s name instead of a brand name or a logo?
  2. People want to follow and engage with real people. By not including a picture, you will affect the number of people who follow or connect with you. No one wants to follow an egg on twitter. Nor do they want to network or connect with a faceless profile on LinkedIn.
  3. Social is all about sharing and building relationships. When it comes to Social Media, you have to give in-order to receive. The easiest way to give is to share, start by sharing something about yourself. Like a picture, where you live, what you like or what interests you. The easiest part of social media should be sharing information about you. There is no right or wrong answer, no trick question. Just be personal and be yourself, you know… be social.

How do you feel about profiles that don’t include a picture? Do you think spam or being are missing the point? Please leave a comment below!

 

5 Touch Points of Engagement: Not in ‘Likeness’ But in Diversity

VISIBILITY: Part 2 – Engagement

Audience ‘engagement’ … what is the first image that comes to your mind? Is it communication, a connection, or a conversation? The actual definition is “The act of engaging or the state of being engaged.” where the word ‘engaged’ means, 1. Employed, occupied, or busy.  2. Committed, as to a cause.

Often our actual definition of a word is rather different than our perception of a word. Let’s call this a great likeness but with vast diversity in actual meaning. I find engagement in our marketing spheres very similar. We see that it is more of an interchange either by content, visual or another communication vehicle that not only connects another with the message and story but propels that individual to respond. This is the engagement I am referring to!

In my last SteamFeed post, I presented the first step [Part 1] in visibility which is developing your Web Presence [Web Presence and Visibility:  Duende “Having Soul”]. Step two of building visibility is to consider your engagement within your marketing sphere and how to effectively interact.

photo: <a href="http://engagemarketingdesign.com/">Engage Marketing Design</a>

Engagement – The 5 Touch Points:

1. Website –  Engagement on your site is creating a correspondence with your audience. Create opportunities for them by offering a two-way experience. Perhaps provide a customizing process with a product or service and allow engagement via commenting to posts or by initiating ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’ to an idea or option. The connection with ‘likeness’ is important but contemplate drawing out the diversity in your audience. We are more unique then we are similar and while your community has similar interests that lead them to this virtual location it is really important to allow some guided self-expression in this space or better yet encourage it!

a.       Add Widgets
b.      Add Functionality for “Real Time” Engagement
c.       Games
d.      Online Product Customization

2. Social Media Networks  –  Social Media is all about engagement but often we pursue the quick fix in our connections rather than working on the long haul in building valued relationships. It is an investment in others and taking time to learn about them in all aspects of their complex lives. It is more exploratory then reactionary and if you are successful in social media you know exactly what I am referring to. The time spent behind the scenes really understanding their target audience is far greater than their time in actual conversation with them. We need to understand more about the targeted individual and the diversities which they are made up of. Focus on the criteria to help you narrow down that audience and relate with more resonance.

a.       Who is Your Audience
b.      Purpose for Engaging
c.       Tone & Perspective
d.      Offering Consistent Valuable Content

3. Mobile –  Connecting with people in ‘real time’ or while on-the-go, where you happen to be at a certain moment, is effective in your engagement marketing. Instagram and other powerful visual apps downloaded to your smartphone can share your particular activity while also adding impressionable visual data for your audience. This builds a sense of personal connection with your relationships. You can include multiple texting solutions by attaching valued quick video clips (use Android’s Movie Studio App to even apply still images with your content stream) or adding a YouTube channel link as possible solutions with your texting options. The engagement is not a list of numbers (how often and how many) but purposeful understanding of building visibility and relationships within your space while consistently and frequently providing a clear branded message surrounded by fresh content.

a.       Location based ‘check-ins’
b.      Image Sharing
c.       Audio and Video Sharing
d.      Social Media and Mobile Apps

4. Email  –  Email allows you to become even more personal in your engagement and the better you are at delivering this personal message the more desirable. Gone are the days of spam and no one ever wanted it to begin with but it was so new it was somewhat tolerated. Nothing with that hint of flavor is tolerated today. Segment your lists wisely and provide valuable and acceptable content to your recipient. Consider what might be a great follow up to a product already purchased and categorize the audience within those segments. Or discover why they have not ordered in a while by giving them an opportunity with simplistic effort to reply. Gather the info and send a follow up offer with a preferred personalized message. We are always allowing for opting in and not force sales. This can also become a great way to introduce your social networks via some very individualized and compelling email campaigns.

a.       Make it personal
b.      Segment Lists to Define Response
c.       Survey & Assess
d.      Socialize Your Email

5. Print  –  Now how did this get in here? No, it belongs here and this is why. Print is a sensory piece and we need to touch things physically to completely connect with it. Virtual is all well and good but you need a bit of the tangible to complete the circle of engagement. So be specific in your selection of print. It could be that VIP card sent after being selected as a customer hero of the month or it can be a tear card with a premium promotional offer that brings that customer into your physical retail establishment. Create stories on your print pieces and add instruction on how to download custom apps that will drive your customers further down this amazing product/service journey. Print being the conduit to their smartphones. You’re only limited by your creativity here. But keep it connected to your audience with use of color, size, shape, style and even the material it is printed on. Each one of those communicates conceptual information to the mind of your audience separately.

a.       Quick Response Codes (QR code)
b.      Invitation to Download Apps
c.       Call-To-Action Incentives (bring to store to redeem)
d.      Keep Very Sensory Oriented (fuzzy, scratch, scented, etc.)

By far this is just the tip of the iceberg in engagement and I could probably just continue to contribute posts just on this subject alone for quite some time before it became exhausted.  In effect it is a very critical one in how we market today and how people have now become accustomed to purchase.

We should be wary of this one tendency to focus on our ‘likeness’ in this engagement and I find that an obstacle in this powerful tool. Since the very nature of us is our diversities and uniqueness that make those engagements so meaningful. I would focus on building your communities with their similarities so that there are unified interests but encouraging that community to express their diversities in their response and reaction since this brings us closer to what we are truly searching for. The answers outside of ourselves, the answer that more often than not someone else can offer!

… Which then directs us to VISIBILITY: Part 3 – Search

How To Avoid Price Wars With Your Competitors

Have you ever found yourself competing with the prices of your competitors? If you have, you know it sucks! Not only does it suck, but it also causes you to lose out on profits you should be making. If you are currently in this kind of situation, I want to show you the root of the problem and relieve your frustrations. The following video clip (which has lousy lighting) taken from a recent conference I spoke at, begins to explain something very important. One point is, the following statement:

“Brands that engage their consumers emotionally can command prices 20%-200% higher than competitors.” – Fast Company

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XNZ3992E_8&w=560&h=315]

 

A big mistake many business owners make is, they spend most of their time trying to be like everyone else in their industry, which results in having a cookie cutter type of brand. There ends up being nothing unique about the brand, it just looks like everyone else – which then leads to the consumer not being loyal to any brand, they simply base their buying decision on which product or service is more affordable. The good news is, while all of your competitors are battling in the price war, you don’t have to be! You can focus on the following 3 things…

price war

1. Be You.

When you humanize your brand, you are allowing YOU to shine through. Which ends up making your brand unique from everyone else. Something I say a lot is, “You will never stand out being like everyone else”. So, if you be YOU, chances are you will stand out. Now there is more to defining your brand, but if you look at some of famous brands out there, you will see they are unique in some way.

2. Focus On Creating Value.

Many of us need to come to the realization that our business really isn’t about us. We may like to think that it is, but it is really about something much bigger. Our business should be about our customers, about adding awesome value to them. I’m not saying there are not times to focus on your business, I am just saying our focus should be on our customers more. People really don’t care about the hours we spend designing our logo, they care about the experience they had with us, our products, and our services.

3. Bringing the “WOW” back.

When you combine being you and focusing on creating value, you are bringing the “Wow” factor to your audience. The “Wow” factor is something that makes them go “Wow”. This can be done in many ways, but always involves some kind of brand touch point. Yes, you can “Wow” them with your awesomeness in person, but it can also come from a “Thank You” or “Happy Birthday” card, it can come from going above and beyond what you told them you were going to do or in the time frame you were going to do it in. So take a look at the brand touch points in your business and see what you can improve to make your audience go “Wow!”.

So if you are ready to stop the price wars with competitors, it’s time to stand out and be the brand that people love.

Until next time, go “Wow” your audience!

Web Presence and Visibility: Duende “Having Soul”

VISIBILITY: Part 1 – Web Presence

“What is a website?” We can all agree that very few people are running around asking this today? It has become an essential component to our business plan but not so far back there were discussions as to what the World Wide Web was and if it was even possible to use it as an effective tool for our marketing (sound familiar?). Things seem to need to be validated through time and a process to become mainstream but some know right from the onset that certain medias are powerful and they have that insight into directing a successful strategy. Web presence is critical in your strategy but what that presence should reflect is often a mystery.

In prior SteamFeed posts I have discussed the overall different facets that comprise your marketing strategy [Shaping Your Branded Sphere], and solutions on building it out from the branding foundation, [Brand Strategy and Development: Yes You Have Homework!]. The next step is to consider your visibility within your marketing sphere and how that brand should translate effectively in that environment.

Three main aspects of this visibility encompass: Web Presence (part 1), Engagement (part 2) and Search (part 3). Let’s focus first on Web Presence, since this is really the first step that should be undertaken after you mastered your brand development and strategy.

The Web Presence Helix – 5 Effective Elements:

1. Brand Positioning on Your Site – Implementing a strong branded image, message and storyline to your website is singularly the most key part of the process you should consider. This includes placement, location and consistency of the brand within the site. Plus how all the other images, content and functionality support this development and strategy. How your audience connects and the experience they have when they interact on the site. It needs to promote your target audience’s attitude or influence with the brand. They need to become connected with the story the brand is sharing on the site. The preferred word here is ‘sharing’. If you are creating the site to push it out to your audience you can basically guarantee the same response back. Remember the old story of the battle between the sun and the wind and the man with the overcoat. The wind boasted it could get the man to remove his jacket by force and challenged the sun. The man only closed his jacket tighter with every forceful gust from the wind while the sun emitted its rays to allow the man to remove his jacket on his own. Just remember to apply this same methodology of audience partnership with your brand on your site. After all it is the customer’s experience, not yours.

2. Intuitive Over Design – I know many fantastic designers who in their effort to create phenomenal design work just completely lost the audience. Very often fantastic design choices have to be overruled because the audience would not be able to follow. You want them to follow and better yet to lead. Create the navigation the way they would intuitively use it. Don’t make your audience have to think. Don’t decide to trail blaze by being cleaver here, either. Be cleaver where it counts. Be cleaver in how you deliver the solutions to your audience’s pain by bringing awareness to product(s) or service(s). Structure should be simple and a site needs to reflect simplicity as well. Your audience whether they are saying it out loud or not wants ‘what they want, where they want it’. Please stop trying to make them jump over hurdles to get it. If they expect a tire swing don’t pretend that consistently offering them a tree house makes it better. Give them what they want in simple means. Color supports the brand development and strategy not the other way around. Images support the customer’s needs not the company’s needs. The key element in this category is “direct me” (the customer) simply where I need to go (your call-to-action) and remove the hurdles. I rather see a very simple site than one all dressed up with bells and whistles that just flat out frustrates the customer.

3. Content Where Your Audience Wants It – People don’t read! Yes I said it and I mean it. Oh sure we all say we read but what we really mean is we only read what we are interested in and at the exact moment we have the attention to read it. Keeping that in mind don’t write something ad nauseam and expect your audience has the staying power to get through it. They have to have the time, interest and focus to get through it so make it digestible. Dice it up in mini content pieces based on your target audience’s tolerances. This holds true for all industries, for example, if you are creating a site for NASA astronauts perhaps a more in-depth content scope is called for but even then be considerate of your reader. If they are researching the outer limits of a new galaxy don’t have them read the doctorial input from some other category that has little relevancy to the information they are after. You may offer parallel material as it becomes relevant but offer it as a side navigation or brief call-to-action link without impeding their journey to the material they are after.

4. Location, Location, Location – True in real estate and even the high premium real estate (layout) on your site. Where does the brand logo go? Where should I place the opt-in field (newsletter/email sign-up) and where do those social media network links belong? These all have designated areas and real estate being what it is should feature each one contained within “hotspots” on your site. Can you deviate? Sure you can but why are you? Are you affording your audience a better option based on a marketing strategy? Or do you just want a more pleasing design layout. Location trumps all aspects of the other elements listed above, believe it or not and many studies have been done to prove this. Just by reviewing search engine optimization statistics you can see how much location really does matter. So here are the big ones to consider:

    a. Brand mark in the top header portion of the site preferably but not exclusively to the left-hand side.
    b. Opt-in field preferably positioned in the top right-hand side of the site. It can also be added just above the header for differentiation.
    c. Social media network links close to and if possible under the opt-in field. This would be within the top right-hand side of the site as well.
    d. Engagement content (tagline, messaging and transition slides or static support images) below brand mark and reading from left to right. It is not effective forcing the opposite direction (right to left) just to say you made an impact. Giving a negative impact is not supportive impact.

5. Adding “Duende”- This is the part that most sites leave out. They have the technical end structured well and the simplicity of the site with carefully thought out content but they forget the “duende”! What is “duende”? Just as it was mentioned in the title, it is in essence ‘having soul’, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity. It is that element that grabs you and yet you really can’t put your finger on it but you know you just experienced something special. This is the creative piece, the one that needs to start on the landing page and be consistently threaded throughout the site. It does not need to hit you over the head. It needs to be somewhat subtle but strongly presented. It can be represented as imagery, messaging or a tagline. It usually stems from your brand strategy and development, so look to that first. This is where those design types can get crazy with their creative on the site. What is the audience looking to emotionally connect with? How do they feel when they experience it? How do they believe it values them? The bigger brands get it when executing in their other marketing channels but not always on their site. They are so focused on functionality they miss adding in that “duende” experience. Functionality is important, simplicity is effective but having soul brings it to a whole other level.

Web Presence is by far the one task item you must have on your list of marketing objectives. Let’s direct our intentions to reflect that human component and keep it part of the equation, our website DNA so to speak. Build upon each element to create a fruitful web presence that builds visibility for your brand. While remembering that soul always captures engagement and with that admission, “duende” soul connects us to each other!

… Which leads us to VISIBILITY: Part 2 – Engagement

5 Priorities Every Social Media Program Should Have

I want to start this post with a little bit of clarity by defining the term “Priority”. Webster’s say’s it is something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives. One thing I have learned in life is that no matter what comes out of your mouth, your actions will always follow your true priorities. You can say this or that are a priority, but if your actions show something else, you have a problem.

social media prioritiesOne reason that many newcomers to social media marketing lack priorities is not because of laziness or lack of desire, it is simply lack of knowledge – the understanding of what tasks actually need to have priority in their day.

Often times businesses struggle with not only understanding all the in’s and out’s of social media marketing, but more importantly where they should prioritize their time and efforts. This often results in new social media marketers over pitching what they do, or worse, giving up and abandoning their social media efforts. Let’s avoid both by listing the top five priorities your social media marketing efforts should focus on each day.

These are in no particular order of importance, however all of them should be given priority and attention daily.

1) Value – Provide value to your target audience.

Your daily focus should be to deliver selfless value to your target market. How can your social media marketing provide value to your audience? Answer that question without regard to what you do, what you sell, or the industry you are in. Answer and execute that question correctly and you will see huge results!

2) Content – Have enough content and the RIGHT content.

Think of social media as a freeway. All of the cars on the freeway are content, posts and articles. You have to have enough content on the road everyday that is relevant, valuable and interesting to your target audience. You need to make sure that whenever one of your fans, friends or followers step up to the side of the freeway throughout the day, they see one of your cars go by.

3) Be Human – People build relationships with other People.

A big mistake a lot of new social media marketers make is trying to mimic the big brands. For the most part, big brands SUCK at social media. They do not do it right and for many, they don’t have to. They have spent billions on branding and marketing well ahead of the social media boom, therefore it is just another channel. Everyone else needs to do it right if they want results!

You have to humanize your social media accounts. Most people connect and build relationships with other people. Can you really have a relationship with a logo of a company you don’t even know? Of course not. Be human and approachable.

4) Respond/Engage - Social media marketing is social.

You must make it a priority to respond to mentions, shares and comments immediately. When someone shares a post or mentions you in social media, they are available and active at that moment. You need to respond quickly in order to foster a conversation that leads to relationship. Waiting for once a day or an hour later is just too late. They have moved on, logged out or even lost interest. If you aren’t utilizing mobile apps to ensure you can consistently do this, it is not a priority to you.

You also need to have a priority of commenting, sharing and mentioning your target audience frequently. Relationships are two ways. Seek opportunity to benefit your prospects by sharing their content, engaging them in conversation or simply commenting on something they post.

5) Community – Build one.

Your social media marketing must have a priority focused on building a loyal community. That community must be large enough to be effective. Find your target audience and follow/friend them. Build it and they will come does not work in social media.

As you can see, social media is highly involved. Understanding the priorities you need to have on a daily basis is the difference between being IN social media and having an effective social media marketing program for your business.

What is your biggest priority in social media? Please leave a comment below!
 

Marketing Humility: What is Needed, Not What YOU Want

Well, this is not the post I was planning on in my editorial calendar. And yes I like to have a thematic calendar of posts I am planning ahead of time. It can be very beneficial in strategically tying into other efforts to help make all marketing streams generate the most impact and the right outcome.

The post I had on my calendar was going to follow the theme of my initial Steamfeed post [Shaping Your Branded Sphere]. The second post was featuring information on branding the foundation to your marketing facets with a little caveat of homework, [Brand Strategy and Development: Yes You Have Homework!]. Did you do your homework by the way? ;-)

In any regards this post seems to be more in the forefront of what I am currently working with and felt it could be helpful to some of you in your own efforts in pulling together marketing strategies for your clients.

Now to suggest that marketing has any humility would most likely be inaccurate, but truthfully, when crafted correctly, the best strategy is laid down with complete humility.  The humility is selecting the best channels for your client that gets them the results they need to move forward. Let’s review humility for a moment so that we really have it well defined in our minds.

[Humility (adjectival formhumble) is the quality of being modest and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.*]

When a client asks us to create a creative strategy for their product or service how do we start to formulate this plan?  Do we pick our old standbys, our tried and true methods we have used countless times because we know how they operate, function and their predicted outcome?  Or do we decide on the buzz-worthy, trendy new channels to grab that ‘wow’ factor and be able to include that into our repertoire for our other clients?  Here are three steps to keep your marketing strategy humble:

3 Steps [down] to Keep Your Strategy Humble:

  1. The best choice is the one that works – Where is your audience most likely to gain visibility or traction from the positioning of your messaging? How is the message delivered in that environment and directing that audience to what they need or want? Don’t go for the ‘big bang’ theory just because the entire entourage is on that path. Make it make sense and IT will!
  2. Bigger is not Better – So you have a new pony and it is doing some tricks! Those tricks are not necessarily giving your client what they need …. Sales!  More income and larger reach. Your client may just need a great ‘cardboard box’ … give it to them!
  3. It was never about YOU – Think and rethink what kind of strategic program you have put together for your client. Their customers’ needs and dynamic have to be considered here too.  It was never about how you felt or your grandiose scheme of being a big cheese on the block. Cut back that ego and see where you can perform better for your client in a much less pricey vehicle. Go for the low hanging fruit first!

So in general sometimes the strategy you think you are going to deliver is not actually the strategy that is needed. Clean off the fluff and trendy flashy methods that get a lot of hoo-ha-ha but hardly any real results (revenue).  In the end it is the trail of dollars that your clients find drifting into their bank accounts that puts the smile on their faces and not how razzle-dazzle YOU can be!

[Oh, so what was my original post? Web Presence and Visibility - Duende, check back here the beginning of November for that post and as always I appreciate you!]

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humility

 

What Small Businesses Can Learn from What’s Going on with Apple

The Apple marketing machine has been at the top of its game worldwide for almost three decades. However, after such a long period of phenomenal success, are they starting to fade?

I’m an admirer of the marketing machine known as Apple, but I think that they’ve started to make a few missteps. They used to have an easy life as they had built themselves up to be the must-have brand for all creative professionals. Their products were seen as truly aspirational, and the hunger for them was immense. They were one of the few luxury products that inspired an almost religious zeal amongst their owners and unparalleled envy from those that had not yet attained the goal of owning one.

They produced this effect by positioning their brand to appeal emotionally to the individual rather than to a specific marketplace. They took great care to attract people who associated themselves with concepts like liberty, freedom, passion, simplicity, innovation, creativity, sophistication and, to some extent, elitism. Their positioning was mirrored perfectly by their corporate culture, hence the seamless resonance between advertising, product and customer experience.

Then they released the iPhone, in 2007, which was a game-changer. Actually, I think that you can trace the change in emphasis back to 2002 on release of the iPod — Apple started to become a mass-market brand. They had built up such a remarkable brand personality since the 1980s that they were in the fortunate position of not having to launch their mass-market products at mass-market prices. By this time, the brand resonated emotionally with everyone the world over — you either loved them or loathed them. This personality allowed Apple to mass-market their products at premium prices. It was a gamble, but one that paid off.

The trouble is that other mass-market technology companies did not compete with Apple prior to this because the market was too small to make it profitable for them, but now that Apple has opened itself up to the mass-market, they’ve found themselves facing unprecedented competition and an entirely new ballgame.

That’s where I think they have fallen down. The rules have changed and they haven’t adapted to them — they are not a luxury or aspirational brand any more. They are selling their wares to a completely different audience who are well known for their fickleness and their willingness to jump from brand to brand as new technologies emerge — just look at Nvidia and ATI in the graphics card market or AMD and Intel in the computer processor market; there is little to no customer loyalty involved.

Apple’s response to the increased competition has been to sue everyone in sight in order to try to keep hold of their market share when what they should’ve been doing is building new outstanding and innovative products that inspire and delight us, instead of pumping out a new substandard device every 10-12 months. They have boxed themselves into an unsustainable position. Worst of all, their brand personality no longer resonates as it once did. Their corporate culture, products, advertising and customer experience no longer reflect their customer needs.

What, then, can we learn from Apple’s progress that can be applied to our businesses so that we do not make the same mistakes?

  • You can’t please everyone all of the time, but if you’re going to change markets or enter a new one, then make sure that you evolve and adapt your product and business practices to cope with the new market’s needs.
  • Make sure there’s no disjoint between your company image and the experience a customer receives. This can be highly damaging to your business reputation and levels of trust.
  • Don’t treat your customers as cash-cows – make sure that every upsell or upgrade sold adds value to your customer and not just to your bottom line.
  • Be open and generous. Welcome competition and learn to compete – this will make your product or service better for the customer in the end. Of course, you need to protect and defend your brand, but make sure that you do not do it to the detriment of your business.
  • Always be open to learning. You need to be flexible to learn and adapt as society, your market place and your customers change or risk being left behind.

No one likes to see an icon fade and disappear into oblivion and I sincerely hope that Apple turns it around. Have you had to adapt and change your business over recent years to adjust to the fast-paced market we all find ourselves within?

Shaping Your Branded Sphere

5 Facets in Your Marketing

We all see in our own lives a sphere of influence that we have in our small interpersonal relationships. Is this not the case for our brands within our marketplace sphere? The connection between different channels of communication, visual data/input and tone/messaging creates a unique shape of who we are. This differentiated shape becomes that understandable piece to those around us. Who, what and how we are. If you look at science and mathematics you will see that shapes, whether tangible or intangible, scatter that landscape. They depict outcomes, journeys and predictions. Looking at a branded company as a similar entity we can see that there are parallel patterns. The shapes have facets that require each plane to support its adjacent plane in order to exist in the space cohesively, balanced and effective. What are these facets?

Branded Sphere

Photo: Engage

5 Facets of Your Company Brand:

                        1. Branding
                        2. Web Presence
                        3. Engagement
                        4. Search
                        5. Online Marketing

Each one of these facets must be developed with equal focus and consideration within the marketplace sphere in order to maintain an order and balance. One outstepping the other will cause the outcome to falter, creating imbalance and expended energy putting out fires along that path. We don’t always see this as we start to execute within a specific media. We become stuck sometimes within one arena we are more comfortable in or would prefer to spend our time in and perhaps disregard the other facets as less important or procrastinate in attending to them. In this circumstance the shape of your marketing objective becomes off balance and off the mark. The marketing sphere (your audience) will still digest the message and the content but the result will be less than effective with marginal results.

How can we keep the shape of our marketing efforts balanced?

  1. Start with a strong brand foundation – Align your Messaging with your audience’s needs and expectations. The visuals providing that emotional connection that delivers a clear message and the cultural or lifestyle perception of the brand to be consistent with what the audience believes the product/service will offer.
  2.  Build it into your web presence – Your brand now has a voice and can tell a more detailed story of what the customer/client is going to receive with as much valuable content that is necessary without (and this is important) overwhelming them.
  3.  Engagement needs to be a two way street – Dialogue needs to happen and don’t expect to blurt your material all over your customer/client. Allow them to be first engaged in the subject (paint them ‘their’ picture) and be able to add in their own content where admissible while keeping from adding any of YOUR ‘seagulls’ into their picture. Giving your audience some say in your brand within guided parameters gives them power (and you growth)!
  4. Search and be found – If your customer/client is looking for ‘stoves’ please don’t try to sell them ‘range tops’. Not everyone understands your underground jargon or will adopt it so please be thoughtful to your audience in providing the right search criteria that suits them rather than your internal ‘tech’ department manuscript.
  5. Online never stops – So you have each facet working, now keep the plates spinning. It might be a push on your brand plate or a tap on your engagement but each facet has to maintain in continuous motion and harmony. Take that step back to review each one in unison in its entire form. The branded shape needs to allow for ongoing input to keep it fresh and have a measurement for it. Guessing is just that … guessing.

So how is your shape faring? Is your polygon (polyhedron) wobbling at the moment? Check and see which facet you are not attending to or perhaps lacking completely. Then make adjustments to keep the shape of the company brand expanding and sustainable. The best part of evaluating your brand is that you can always re-hone your branded presence to get the perfect balance for success!