3 Lessons in Brand Passion from Winning Brand Builders

Brand PassionWhat separates two brands in an industry, from one being successful and another not? Brand passion! The passion that company founders have for their brands is transferred to their customers, so customers not only purchase products but they become brand advocates because they are as passionate about the brand as the brand creator.

There is no one formula for creating a successful brand, and while passion is often a key factor, it does not guarantee brand growth. To achieve phenomenal company growth and brand awareness, brand founders need to strategically focus their passion for their product into the right marketing outlets, i.e. newsletters, social media, website design, product design etc.

To better understand how brand passion, combined with strategic marketing, can lead to brand success I want to look further into three passionate company founders: Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable, and Susan Gregg Koger, founder of ModCloth.

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Social Media Command Center Infographic Section

The Anatomy of the Social Media Command Center

I have had the great opportunity to work with Matt Wesson, a very talented marketing content specialist and graphic designer, on the development of the infographic below about the rise of “Social Media Command Centers”.

In the recent months, many major brands have developed what they are calling “Social Media Command Centers.” These centers are state-of-the-art listening hubs that allow brands to monitor their presence on major social platforms and be ultra-responsive to conversations happening about their company. However, with all their glamor, are these command centers really capable of delivering results, or are they just for show?

The following infographic, looks at three of the most noteworthy examples of social media command centers: Continue reading

Social Media’s Biggest Blunders Infographic

With millions of people using social media every day and growing, it is more crucial than ever that you are prepared for any difficult situations that may arise, such as Facebook post or Tweet that was never supposed to have been published. Luckily, there are a many examples of social media screw-ups that we can learn from. Continue reading

The Challenge of Creating a Connection Between Multiple Brands

So you have been developing your online brand identity, making sure that your website is both enticing and user friendly. But, now imagine this challenge:

“There are five brands within a larger corporate brand. Each brand is required maintain their own online identity, but must also stay connected to the parent company.”

Yeah, I would define that as a very large, but very exciting challenge.

However, this is only one scenario for a company comprised of multiple brands. For one company it may be better to keep the brands separate (not creating any connection between the online identities of each brand), while for another company it may be best to completely intertwine all the brands under one umbrella. There is not a single answer for if and how a parent company should connect their various brands online, but below are a few examples of possible routes. Continue reading

Starbucks: Refreshers

Brianna Smith:

The right packaging can make or break a customer’s decision to purchase a product. If the packaging is unappealing, a customer will not give the product a second thought. Instead, they will move right on to a competitor product, and a sale, as well as a potential customer relationship is lost.

One area of packaging design that I find very interesting is the re-design of an existing packaging or the packaging design of a new product line for an existing brand. I find both of these situations interesting because of the challenge to meld the new idea or product with the branding which customers have formed a connection.

Ashley K. Edwards recently posted a very insightful analysis of the Starbucks Refreshers packaging design, a new product line for a well-established brand. Starbucks has always been known for their creative marketing ideas, and most of us business school graduates probably read many case studies about those ideas; however, this is an different perspective on their marketing tactics using one of their newest product lines. I highly recommend checking out this article to learn about how Starbucks created a new product in response to trends in drink preferences, while still maintaining their core brand image.

Originally posted on It's All In The Package:

Starbucks amazes me. The company has some majorly brilliant marketing minds, in my opinion. And they’ve long since had extremely strong branding for both their company and the products it creates (I’m not a fan of their recently updated logo, though).

One of Starbuck’s newest products enters the “energy drink” space with its Refreshers collection. And while it is, of course, trying to capitalize on this trend they’re also appealing to those consumers who are a little on the health-conscious side.

“With real fruit juice, B vitamins, ginseng, antioxidants from vitamin C and only 60 calories per can, it’s a pick-me-up you can feel good about.”

The collection consists of three types of packages:

  • Handcrafted Beverages
  • Sparkling Beverages
  • Instant Beverages

I enjoy the look and feel of each of these, but the one I recently ran across while picking up some essentials from CVS is the sparkling beverage. Specifically, the…

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How Social Media Has Changed the Sports Industry

Brianna Smith:

Sports industry social mediaAre you a social media and sports addict? Or just interested in the ways different industries use social media? Well, check out this great article on the role of social media in the sports industry. Using real-life examples, the article breaks down how social media techniques have been used to build player notoriety, create a culture around sporting events, increase ticket sales, and managing crisis situations.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Originally posted on American Sports Addiction:

As the internet continues to be a driving source of information for global society, communications and marketing specialists in addition to sports leagues are beginning to adapt accordingly. 80% of fans use social media while they are watching sporting events.

The most popular content accessed via social networks? 51% of fans who use the social web follow teams and leagues, while 46% follow individual players. 48% use social networks to access video highlights, 48% to access written articles and 35% to access news bits or interviews.

Player Notoriety

The Lin Sanity epidemic emerged as a result of Twitter and New York Knicks player, Jeremy Lin. Lin gained half a million Twitter followers in one month during his 15-minutes of fame earlier this year.

University of Florida football legend and current quarterback of the New York Jets, Tim Tebow has been a Twitter sensation since he was drafted in 2010…

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Who Has the Better Ad Network? Facebook Vs. Google

The internet has been a buzz this week with discussion of Facebook’s IPO, and rightfully so. It seems like we have all been try to guess when and if it was finally going to happen. But, the loudest rumblings about the social media giant going public have been about the value of the company. There are lots of questions about the validity of the company’s worth, especially in regards to its advertising revenue source. While many stand by Facebook’s advertising offerings, I wondered if they were truly valuable and how they compared to the global internet leader Google.

Below is a great infographic that breaks down the advantages and disadvantages of the two biggest internet giants: Facebook and Google.

Who Brings the Most Value to the Table? Facebook vs. Google

In the Battle for Best Online Display Advertising Network

To determine which company offers the most value, they were judge on five categories: advertising reach, revenues/growth, advertising performance, ad targeting options, and ad formats. The following are a few takeaways from the competition:

  • While both companies have extensive reaches, Google’s network (including YouTube and Blogger) offers advertisers the ability to reach over 90% of the entire online audience
  • Every month, Facebook gets over 1 trillion pageviews
  • On average, Google ads have a click through rate 10 times higher than that of Facebook ads (sometimes even 36 times higher!!!!!)
  • Only Facebook offers targeting options for customer interests, education, likes, and work
  • Facebook and Google both offer demographic and location-based targeting for advertising campaigns
  • Facebook does not currently offer any mobile advertising options; however, Google does offer mobile advertising
  • Google offers advertisers multiple ad types and sizes, including text, image, video, and mobile game ads
  • Facebook ad’s are a “one-size-fits-all” format with a very limited number of characters

And the winner of the title for most valuable online display advertising network is……….

Really you had to ask?

Google wins this competition by a landslide. In all actuality, after reading these facts, I can’t help but wonder if Facebook wants to be a real competitor in the online display advertising network. Because it doesn’t really seem like it.

Do you think Facebook could even be a strong competitor to Google’s ad network? Have you done a Facebook ad campaign before, and if so did you see positive results?

Facebook vs. Google Display Advertising - Comparing the value of the world's largest advertising venues. [INFOGRAPHIC]

W© 2012 WordStream, Inc., a PPC and Search Engine Marketing tools company.

Google’s Playbook for Winning at Mobile

Mobile Applications For Mobile MarketingMobile usage is on the rise as more and more consumers are purchasing smartphones and tablets. Mobile marketing, whether through advertising, a mobile site, or an app, is the best way to reach your customers at the exact point of purchase. With mobile marketing you can reach customers at the moments that matter the most.

Google understands the importance of mobile marketing and also that it can be quite intimidating to those of us that have not ventured into this media before. To help people understand and build their own mobile marketing strategies, Google has created “The Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executive’s Guide to Winning with Mobile“.

The playbook is broken down into 5 easy sections – the 5 most importance mobile questions a executive should be asking:

  • How does mobile change our value propositions?
  • How does mobile impact our digital destinations?
  • Is our organization adapting to mobile?
  • How should marketing adapt to mobile?
  • How can we connect with our tablet audience?

This playbook offers great tips and resources for serving the mobile customer, creating mobile-optimized websites, building branded mobile apps, developing a mobile search strategy, understanding mobile brand building, integrating on-line and off-line marketing channels, and adding tablet to your strategy.

In each section Google includes great examples and case studies on how other companies have successfully reached their mobile customer, including:

  • Chase
  • Walgreens
  • Delta
  • Starbucks
  • Walmart
  • 1-800-Flowers
  • Dominos
  • Coke

For a concise to-do list for implementing what you learn in the playbook, check out the conclusion section for a checklist of the top 10 things to remember when diving into mobile marketing.

  1. Define your value proposition by determining what your consumer wants to do with your business in mobile. Benchmark against others in your industry for ideas.
  2. Build a mobile website. Once you have a mobile website, check the stats and optimize based on consumer usage.
  3. Build an app for a subset of your audience after your mobile site strategy is in place. Don’t forget to promote your app.
  4. Assign a Mobile Champion in your company and empower them with a cross-functional task force.
  5. Set up a meeting with your agencies about what’s working and what’s not for your brand on mobile and tablets.
  6. Search for your brand in mobile, as a consumer would. Take 5 minutes and do this today. What’s working? What’s not?
  7. Separate mobile-specific search campaigns from desktop search campaigns so you can test, measure and develop messaging specific for mobile.
  8. Run rich media HTML5 ads to extend your branding message to reach the mobile audience.
  9. Assign everyone in your marketing org the action item of reviewing their programs through a mobile lens.
  10. Check out your tablet consumer’s experience with your brand. Take 5 minutes today and search for your brand on a tablet as a consumer would. What’s working? What’s not? Maximize the tablet environment with rich media creative.

Does your company have a mobile website? How do you plan on using mobile marketing in the future?

Image: suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Companies Rocking Social Media

Social media has become one of the greatest tools for companies to build relationships with their customers. While some companies are hesitant to use social media because of the inability to control negative comments, others realize that the benefits extremely outweigh the risks.

The infographic below breaks down how 5 companies were able to leverage the best features in social media and are rocking it!

Check out the social media strategies for:

  • Dell – focused on using social media to listen to what their customer’s wanted
  • Morton’s Steakhouse – used social media to surprise their customers
  • Unisys – focused on the resource sharing benefits of social media
  • KLM – used social media to provide 24/7 customer care
  • ABC – used social media to promote new shows & enhance the entertainment experience

Check out more about social media strategy creation and the future of social media.

5 Companies Rocking Social Media

4 Social Media Platforms to Watch in 2012

When the Pinterest phenomenon began, I was personally caught off guard. Even with all the marketing blogs I follow, I did not hear of the new popular social media platform. After reading and writing about the new addicting platform, I became curious about what else could be on the horizon.

Everyday new social media platforms are created, and the creators believe it will be the next “Big Thing”. However, not every idea can be the next Facebook or Pinterest. I do not think I will be able to predict the next craze, but there are four social media platforms that I think look promising and very interesting.

Get Glue

GetGlue is a social network that allows users to check-in to and share what they are watching, listening to, and reading. By checking into TV shows or movies, users GetGue Logocan receive recommendations, exclusive stickers, discounts, and other rewards. There are already over two million users signed-up for this new platform.

While I understand the check-ins, recommendations, and discounts, I do not understand the stickers. Users who earn stickers can have them mailed to them. Though, I do not know how many users actually want physical stickers. I am curious to see how this platform will grow, whether or not it will stay independent, or if it will become part of a bigger platform like Facebook.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Users all over the worldKickStarter Logo can pledge money to music, film, art, technology, design, food, and publishing projects. In order to fund a project, users must reach their goal amount by a set date. For those who pledge money, funds are not withdrawn until the project reaches its target amount by the set date. Those looking to invest in a project can search by project type and location. Therefore, you can help locals trying to get a project going. Each project includes a description and details on what donors will receive in return for pledging money.

An example of a local New Orleans project that was successfully funded through KickStarter was the New Orleans Film Society presents “Movies to Geaux” project. Those who pledged money received great things in return. If a donor pledged $20 or more, they received a New Orleans Film Festival t-shirt and a ‘thank you’ on the NOFS website. The benefit a donor receives depends on how much they pledge. For this project, if a donor pledge $55 or more they received a new Moviegoer membership and a ‘thank you’ on the NOFS website.

Storenvy

Storenvy is a social marketplace for indie sellers. I would compare this platform to the other popular online marketplace Etsy. Store Envy LogoOn the website, it state that “Storenvy is doing to e-commerce what Tumblr has done for blogging”.

Storenvy has several advantages that other free e-commerce sites, such as Etsy or EBay, do not offer. Some of the Storenvy features for sellers are:

  • An individual URL that you can use on business cards and other business items. (example –  http://mystore.storenvy.com)
  • Customizable store layouts that are easy to use and can be altered with or without CSS & HTML knowledge.
  • A store profile on the Storenvy marketplace, which displays products in search results.
  • Allows customers to follow your store.
  • Store promotions with a Facebook “Like” button and postings of new products to your Facebook wall automatically.
  • Store admin panel to track orders, inventory, and traffic statistics. As well as, the ability to set up discount codes, add up to 5 images for every product (you can add unlimited products), and manage your SSL certificate and payments.

Storenvy also gives shoppers a social experience:

  • Letting them find out who is following their favorite stores.
  • Comment on and join conversations about products.
  • Like the store on Facebook.

Tout

Tout is a video sharing platform that allows users to share 15-second video status updates in real time across many different platforms. Videos can be shared on Tout.com,Tout Logo Twitter, Facebook, SMS, and sent to email contacts. This platform is already popular with celebrities and news outlets, such as USA Today, ESPN, and CBS.

Users can also follow other users to get real time updates on new video status updates and see who else follows them. Most videos are classified by a hashtag to make searching and sharing easier. If a user likes a video, they can “ReTout” it. ReTouting is the same as retweeting a tweet to followers. To create a more social atmosphere, users can reply to (comment) on videos to join conversations with other users watching the same video.

9 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros

The Social Media Examiner recently posted a great article about the 9 best Social Media Marketing Tips:

  1. Draw attention to your custom tabs in the new Faccbook timeline – they share great applications to create custom tabs, such as: Lujure and ShortStack.
  2. Add the LinkedIn company follow button to your site
  3. Use Bufferapp to manage your social media marketing – I really like the Buffer app for managing your Twitter account because it spaces out the tweets nicely, but I did have trouble using it for Facebook because the share option did not appear in my posts.
  4. Get YouTube subscribers just by asking
  5. Create a Facebook plan you can stick with – don’t plan to post 5 times a day if you can’t keep up with it. It is better to post once every day than a bunch every 4 days.
  6. Be consistent
  7. Prepare now for tough ROI questions
  8. Focus on dollars
  9. Fix the appearance of your links on Facebook – links with pictures have a higher share rate than those without!

This is a great article with great recommendations from the pros that use these tools everyday. Check it out! 9 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros | Social Media Examiner.