Should social media be a space for branding/thought leadership or a function of your sales team?
We work with clients on this issue often and the short answer is that social media, when done correctly, should do both. On one side, organizations shouldn’t (or can’t afford to) blindly pass on an opportunity to generate sales or action through a channel where opportunity exists.
Or using it to build trust and credibility? On the other hand, social media isn’t simply “another sales channel.”
On the other hand, social media isn’t simply “another sales channel.”
We (and many others) have made the comparison often: social media should be treated like a cocktail party or networking event. If you walked up to everyone you met at an event, told them what you do, why they should work with you, hand them a business card and walk away, you wouldn’t be making a great impression on anyone. The better approach is to engage with those you’re talking with and actually build rapport and credibility.
Just because you’re not an Olympic weight lifter, doesn’t mean you can’t still pick up a five pound weight a few times and benefit from it. Similarly, brands who aren’t necessarily multinational behemoths can still learn lessons from those who are. That’s why it’s worth keeping an eye on what works and what doesn’t – RIP Yik Yak – in the digital space.
The Guardian: That Heineken ad: brewer tackles how to talk to your political opposite A Heineken UK ad has been getting a lot of attention for the way it brought people of differing social and political opinions together over a beer. This is part of a broader trend that’s likely to stay for a while – brands connecting with customers over deeper topics. Your budget might not equal Heineken’s but you can still use the basic content strategy of making your audience feel something by telling compelling stories.
The digital world is changing faster than a cheetah on Red Bull and it can feel impossible to keep up. However, careful planning and an understanding of what is driving your audience, whether it’s sources they trust, amazing photos and experiences or a particular need, can still help marketers connect people to products and brands. Even better, in the not too distant future, technology will help solve the challenges it creates. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help you reach the right people with the right product at the right time.
USA Today: People Freaking Out Over Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Starbucks hopped on the Unicorn food train with a colorful Unicorn frappuccino this week. It had the internet and the brave taste testers in our office buzzing, but the “buzz” may have been from the sugar coated sugar. Either way, they’ve seen plenty of social media conversation from the extremely limited run product. Lessons learned? There is no amount of sugar Americans won’t try. Don’t forget to think about the picture people will take when you’re coming up with ideas. If nothing else the neon Unicorn drink makes great Instagram fodder.
For me, watching the U.S. Women’s National Basketball Team destroy the competition was a highlight of the Rio Olympics, especially in comparison to their more highly touted male counterparts who occasionally struggled to squeak out wins. The women straight up dominated on their way to winning gold (for the sixth straight time), outscoring their opponents by an average of 37 points. Their superiority made me wonder: why does the WNBA settle for such terrible names and logos for their teams? These women are athletes and competitors. They deserve better than to play for the Sparks, Sky, Fever and Dream. The especially irksome names are all derived from NBA affiliates, with the women’s team being the lesser of the two. The Wizards (an awful name in its own right) have the Mystics, the Timberwolves have the Lynx, the Spurs have the Stars, and the Mavericks have the Wings. Let’s give these women the respect they deserve and come up with some team names that are cool, and logos that aren’t simply bastardizations of their NBA brothers.
A new NBA season brings with it a slew of new beginnings: fresh expectations for your favorite team, players switching rosters and, occasionally, rebranding.
Teams don’t change up their looks very often, so when they do, it’s easy to notice, and even easier to draw criticism. Fans have a tendency to get more attached to their favorite team’s look and feel than the players since the former usually sticks around for a lot longer. One of my favorite Nuggets jerseys, for example, is a rainbow skyline Carmelo Anthony jersey. Melo’s been gone for almost five years now, but I still love the jersey because of the iconic rainbow skyline. Players change, but design sticks around. Read more after the jump…
GFM has been partnering with Fourth Wall Productions on a variety of social/digital video projects since February, and in that time, we’ve seen and heard a lot of opinions about what makes a great brand video. Some of it has been good, but a lot of it has been misguided.
I recently ran across this Ad Age article titled “Best Practices: What is the Optimal Length for Video Content,” and while it does discuss best practices for varying lengths of videos, it actually goes beyond the question of “length,” and into some extremely relevant overarching points about successful video strategies.
I recently met with a new business prospect who quickly reminded me how blurred the lines have become between marketing and communications: public relations, branding, advertising, etc. Going into the meeting, I thought the prospective client was looking for a public relations partner for his growing company. As the meeting went on, he also discussed branding and advertising needs, desire to build more awareness for his company, develop a logo and signage, and the list went on. While I was intrigued about his passion, I realized that he wasn’t sure about what he needed and how to prioritize those needs.
My colleague recently blogged about How to choose (and work with) a PR firm, which is very helpful in selecting the right PR partner. But what do you do if you don’t know what type of firm your company or organization needs? First and foremost, it’s critical to understand the differences between what the various disciplines do and don’t do, where their core competencies lie and how to select the right partner. The following are some basic explanations of the three primary disciplines to get the wheels turning.
Public Relations Agency:
A public relations (PR) firm, also sometimes referred to as a marketing communications agency, will work with an organization or business to build brand awareness, thought leadership and credibility among target audiences (consumers, employees, shareholders, communities, etc.). One of the key strategies used in PR is media relations, or proactive outreach to reporters, bloggers and other influencers to secure their interest in covering a product, service, trend, industry or person. This is referred to as earned media as opposed to paid media (advertising). While I come from a PR background and am slightly jaded, there have been numerous books and articles written on the added value of third-party credibility that earned media provides (a reporter or blogger covering your company) over paid media (buying an ad to describe your company). Other strategies that fall under PR include employee communications, crisis communication and reputation management, social and digital media engagement, cause marketing and analyst relations, to name a few. PR is about engaging target audiences to develop authentic relationships across various mediums.
It was only a matter of time before “entrepreneurs” launched a pot tour of Colorado. Last Sunday’s Denver Post, had an article about a company called My 420 Tours (April 20th or 4/20 refers to a national day where people gather to smoke marijuana).
I covered the topic of Colorado’s moniker as the cannabis state in an earlier blog post. Now, five months after Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized use and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for anybody over 21 in the state — I wondered if all the work around Colorado’s “healthiest state in the nation” reputation had been replaced by another moniker. Consider some of the recent headlines I came across:
USA Today: USA’s first ‘pot tourism’ firm touts Colorado trip
Business Week: Q&A: Is Colorado the Napa Valley of Weed?
Los Angeles Times: Colorado’s new growth industry: pot
Last week, the New York Times Magazine explored the topic of inspiration, featuring articles about when, where and how well-known creative minds find their inspiration. From Chinua Achebe to Quentin Tarantino and Alicia Keyes, each individual shared insights about their own inspirations.
Achebe was drawn into children’s literature by a lack of appropriate reading options for his daughter following Nigeria’s independence from Great Britain (Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” is one of my favorite books that partly inspired my travel to West Africa during college). Tarantino recalled the spaghetti westerns (no idea what these are) of Italian director Sergio Corbucci as the seed for his pending holiday release, “Django Unchained.” And Alicia Keyes turns to an eclectic mix of Alabama Shakes and Prince for inspiration.
Mid-Season snow conditions by Thanksgiving meant one thing for me and a group of friends this past weekend: turkey in Eagle County. Taking a break between runs at the Dusty Boot (try the mac n’ cheese wedges) a couple of us were discussing all of the special events that ski resorts have planned throughout the season when someone said, “They’ll do anything to get people up here.”
Another friend argued that events like Snow Daze, The World’s Best Chocolate Cookie Competition and Ullr Fest aren’t just a reason to get people to the mountain, but more about providing an experience for the people who were already there. And while I think both opinions are correct, it’s a great argument about customer experience and how brands are truly developed.
Customer experience is really what drives any brand – the look and feel of your product and packaging, the experience customers have with employees, promotions and special events – all of these things. You can’t change it by merely updating your logo or changing your tagline. Your brand is what your customers think about you and your product or service. And while companies can create special events or other ideas to enhance the customer experience, many experiences are going to happen whether you calculated them or not.
The European alpine surroundings and “feel” in Vail (to use one example) are definitely part of its brand, but so are the amount of snow in China Bowl and the often-backed-up lift lines at Chairs 3 & 4. Some of it is controllable, some of it isn’t. That is exactly what I was impressed with over the weekend. The things I experienced that ski resorts can control – amenities, the friendliness and helpfulness of the ski lift staff, hot chocolate at the top of the gondola, the cleanliness of the village, even the crazy special events were top-notch.
My point is that customer experiences and brands can’t be fabricated. They are a result of how a company is run and its commitment to the overall brand experience, not what the company wants its customers to believe. If you want to modify or change your brand, you’ve got to know what your customers currently think about your company, and then make the fundamental changes within your organization to give customers the authentic brand experience you want them to have.
Which ski resort has the best brand? I have three or four favorites, and which one I chose all depends on what type of experience I’m looking for that particular day. It’s great to live in Colorado, isn’t it?