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

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What Marketers Need to Know About HTML5

As marketers, it is important that we are knowledgeable about changes that could affect how customers and search engines interact with our clients’ websites. Whether you work at an agency, follow some of the popular marketing blogs, are tech geek, or are all of the above like me, you know that web development has being going through a change lately, known as HTML5.
Continue reading

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

10 Ways to Increase Search Engine Rankings

Brianna Smith:

This article on search engine optimization is great for both beginners and intermediate marketers looking to better understand search engines. This article includes 10 easy to understand tips for increasing your site’s ranking in organic searches. If you want to increase your site’s search engine traffic, your site will need to show up on the first page of search results. Only one site can be #1 in a Google search, so I recommend setting a goal to get your site to appear above the fold. This article not only has great tips, it also has includes excellent resources for understanding and implementing an SEO strategy for your website. Check it out!

Originally posted on deborahhurley:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website/webpage in search engines through the unpaid or ‘organic’ search results.

Why is SEO so important?

It is a fact that the majority of consumers use search engines such as Google to look for a product online before their purchase. If your website is not showing up on the first page of search engine results you will receive less visits to your site and less visits = less sales. With this in mind, if you cannot be found online then you need to change what you’re doing.

Research shows number one is best 

Researchers at Cornell University conducted an interesting  eye tracking experiment on how users interact with search engines. The main aim of the experiment was to see how users interact with the list of ranked results of search engines, if they read the abstracts sequentially…

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Inbound.org – The Best Source for Inbound Marketing Content

I recently discovered what might be the best source for quality articles relevant to those in the digital community and probably my new favorite website! Inbound.org is a website designed for the passionate digital community. The purpose of the site is to provide the best and most current online content on all aspects of inbound marketing, including (but definitely not limited to):

  • Advertising
  • Blogging
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Analytics
  • Mobile
  • Email
  • Entrepreneurship
  • PR
  • Web Development
  • Design
  • Content

Inbound.org was launched mid February and has been quickly growing in popularity with those passionate about all things digital. The brilliance behind this site came from its founders Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz and  Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot. It is kind of like the Reddit or Digg of inbound marketing, but with a MUCH more attractive site design. The simplicity of the site design and structure is perfect for perusing articles. Similar to other social bookmarking websites, Inbound allows users to Upvote their favorite articles. The design of the site has made it very easy for new users to determine how to “Vote” for the articles that they like.

Up voting article submissions on Inbound.org

A very intriguing feature of Inbound.org is that registration requires users to have a Twitter account. I really like this feature because if you are truly passionate about social media, web development, SEO, analytics, etc., you should are already have a Twitter account and be active in the digital community.

The 3 Ways To Use Inbound

Hot Submissions Incoming Submissions and Share Articles on Inbound org

Hot Articles

The Hot Articles page lists the most popular articles on Inbound.org at that time. Below is a screen shot of what you might see while on the Hot Articles page. I understand that the articles listed are the most popular, however I don’t quite understand the ranking method. Articles are not listed by the number of Upvotes, though it appears that their may be an algorithm that determines the hottest articles based on time of article submission and number of Upvotes.

Hot Articles Listings on Inbound org

Incoming Articles

The Incoming Articles page is similar to the Hot Articles page, but it lists the newest submissions in chronological order. Think of it as a Twitter feed of newly submitted articles and you are actually interested in all of the posts!

Share Articles

Sharing Articles on Inbound org

All the articles listed on Inbound.org are submitted by users. The image to the right is the Share Article screen that users can use to submit articles to Inbound. For the Article Title option, you can either select your own title or a title will be created from the article URL. However, it is almost always best to write your own title because the number of characters displayed in the listings is limited. As a base, I recommend following the standard for SEO best practices and keep the title shorter than 70 characters (including spaces). Keep It Short And Sweet! Since the listings do not include a summary of the article submitted, it is extremely important that the title is intriguing and does not get cut off.

Good and Bad Article Title Examples Inbound Org

When submitting an interesting article, you are also required to select one of 23 categories that the article falls into. This feature is very helping when searching through the Hot Articles or Incoming Articles lists because the article category is included in the article listing. At this time you can search for a specific topic but it pulls articles from varying categories. The one feature that I hope to see as the site grows is the ability to sort submitted articles by category, and maybe even by hottest or newest articles in a single category.

Inbound.org does a great job bringing together bloggers, marketers, and those passionate about all things digital. It may even become your main news source for industry news. Why spend extra time searching for the newest blog posts and articles that interest you when you have a haven of the best and most interesting articles already available.

WARNING! You may become addicted to this site and spend all free time reading the great article submissions! (I already have!)

Have you been on Inbound.org? Do you think you would use it as a source for industry news?

How Colors Affect Purchases

Does color affect a customers’ purchase experience? Will it increase the chances that a customer will by your product?

The answer to both of these questions is YES! Color is one of the most important factors that a customer considers when making a purchase, both consciously and unconsciously. Check out the infographic below on how colors affect purchases.

Here my 3 favorite facts:

  • 85% of customers say that color is one of the primary factors that they consider when choosing to buy a product.
  • Color can increase brand recognition by 80%.
  • Colors can even entice the right “type” of customers. Using orange in your ad will entice impulse shoppers, so use shades of orange for big sales. Budget focused shoppers respond best to navy blue and teal.

Also, check out below what emotions your brand’s colors invoke when your customers see your logo or product. The infographic also breaks down how time, overall design, and words can impact purchase decisions.

In the comments below let me know what you think of the infographic and/or if color has ever swayed your decision to make a purchase.

How do  colors affect purchases

10 Ways To Generate Trust With Your Landing Page Copy

Via Scoop.itBeing Your Brand

Demian Farnworth of The Copybot describes ten ways to generate trust with your landing page copy.

10 Steps To Creating Great Copy

  1. Match Ad Copy with Landing Page Headlines
  2. Write Seductive Headlines
  3. Create Compelling Landing Page Copy
  4. Display Impressive Numbers
  5. Supply Endorsements
  6. Highlight 3rd Party Certification – are you an accredited business? If so, flaunt it!
  7. Display Press Mentions
  8. Don’t Skimp on Design – if your design looks cheap, it doesn’t matter how great your content is because no one will stay on your site long enough to read it
  9. Tone Down Those Terms and Conditions
  10. Testimonials – Customers trust other customers more than they will trust what your company says

Check out the whole article to find out more about the 10 ways use content to build relationships with your customers.

Via blog.crazyegg.com

Hunger Games Website Strategy

Like many others, I have read and fallen in love with the Hunger Games trilogy. Upon finishing the last book, and with the knowledge of the upcoming movie, I decided to check out the movie’s website to watch the trailer. As I dug deeper, I found much more than just a website full of information about a movie. I found a multidimensional online campaign incorporating an interactive website and social media. The Hunger Games online marketing campaign has not only promoted the movie; it has created a world in which it feels like the country of Panem actually exists. In this post, I want to break down the official Hunger Games websites that serve as the core of their online marketing strategy.

Hunger Games Website Design & Strategy

As with other movies, a general Hunger Games movie website was created that features the movie trailer, photos, posts, countdown, and more.

http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com

Digging deeper into the site, I noticed that they had created an online world around the idea of a real country called Panem. A separate site connected to the main Hunger Games movie website called the Capitol.PN network was created.

http://thecapitol.pn

Hunger Games Capitol Network Site

Upon entering the Capitol Network Hunger Games website, I noticed that I did not recognize the top-level domain. My first thought was “what in the world is .pn?” After doing a quick Google search, I discovered the top-level domain.pn stands for the Pitcairn Islands. This domain is only used in a hand full of other URLs, including ESPN and Groupon.

So why was this uncommon domain picked? It actually seems like a VERY smart choice. They are creating a world in which it seems that this website is the official website of the Hunger Games (not the book but the actual games) created by the Capitol of Panem. This may seem like a very miniscule change, but this was actually a highly significant decision because the URL is on all promotional materials, both online and offline.

Upon entering the Capital.PN Network, users must register as citizens of Panem. Registration can be completed by using your Facebook or Twitter account. After registering, each “citizen” is assigned to a district (this will be pivotal to the social media strategy).

Sections within the Capitol Network site include

  • Opening Ceremonies – This section includes information on how to watch the live broadcast of the red carpet premier.
  • Reserve seats – Where you can purchase tickets to the movie.
  • District Tributes- where you can view the profile of each tribute along, which includes specific QR code for more information. This information would be beneficial in Panem for betting purposes. A live feed of Capitol updates is also located in this section.
  • Capitol TV – This section features only the official trailers for the movie, or in relation to the book, these are the Capitol sanctioned videos.

Here is the Citizen of Panem ID card I was issued during registration:

It is the small details make this online marketing strategy that make it intriguing. For Example:

  • On the Reserve Seats page, there are several mentions  “Attendance is Mandatory”
  • The Capitol Updates feed on the District Tributes page makes sure to mention “Your Trusted Source for News”
  • The Capitol TV page refers to the trailers as Official Capitol TV Productions.

Though small, each of these things helps to create a more real and concrete world.

Both the design and layout of the site do an exceptionally good job of portraying the culture and control of the Capitol. Almost the entire site is designed using shades of gray, which may represent the cold control the Capitol holds over the districts. The only other color included in the design is gold, which may represent the power and importance of the Capitol. The style of the layout is highly formal and technical; it reminds me of what I imagine a website that a secret organization used would look like. I think that the design and layout of the Capitol.PN Network site does a perfect job of portraying the control and unemotional rule of the Capitol over the fictional country of Panem.

Check out my other post just about the use of social media for the promotion of the Hunger Games movie. I breakdown how using multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) helped to drive site traffic, build a community around the movie, and sustain a conversation. Hunger Games Social Media Strategy Breakdown

What do you think of the Hunger Games website?

Check out my other  information on website strategy and design:

Maintaining Brand Consistency

Some of the first things that come to mind when thinking about brand strategy are logo design, tagline, company goals and values, messaging voice, sales platforms (physical location and/or website), and company culture.

While the above-mentioned form the basis of brand strategy, many smaller items can significantly affect the success of your brand strategy. ConsistFont Typesency is the most crucial factor when implementing your company’s brand strategy. When it comes to all creative materials, whether a commercial, print ad, in-store sign, website(s), or business cards, all should be direct extensions of the brand. This includes font type, colors, and voice.

The styling of creative pieces may change per campaign to reflect a particular message, but brand colors and voice should remain consistent. This will create an automatic connection for the customer between the creative piece and the brand. In addition, this reflects a positive and professional feel upon the company. When none of the creative pieces match, or there is inconsistency in voice across campaigns, this often portrays a lack of structure and professionalism on the brand.

Consistent font types are especially important in website design. Using different font types across a website, such as one font type on the ‘About Us’ page and an entirely different font type on the Homepage, can be confusing and difficult to read when site visitors navigate through the site. This can often also give the site an amateur look.

The best way to maintain consistency is to develop a global style sheet that can be applied across your entire site. A global style sheet will control the font types, sizes, and positioning, as well as the styles for images and tables. Using a global style sheet will ensure a universal layout and professional design for your website.

Image: Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Integrating Brand Strategy into Website Design

Now, more than ever, it is important that we stop treating a brand and a website as separate entities. Websites should be extensions of the brand, not separate.

A brand is more than a company’s logo, product, or tag line; it is the experience that customers associate with the company and the essence of the company.

A website is the online extension of a physical storefront, and there should be a seamless extension of brand identity between the physical store and the website homepage.

A bad website experience can affect sales and even permanently affect brand image the same way that a misdirected advertising message can.

Since customers are doing more and more of their shopping online, whether or not they are purchasing or researching, it is difficult to imagine separating brand strategy from your website strategy and design.

Below are examples of companies that I think are doing a great job of using their websites as direct extensions of their brand. Check out their websites to see more ways that they are extending their brand from in-store to online.


White House Black Market

white house black market website and brand strategy


Under Armour

under armour website


Michael’s

Michaels website