Why Branding is so Important

Your brand is the core of your business.

Company Branding

As I have written in some of my other posts, maintaining brand consistency extremely important to customer relationship management, marketing, product development, advertising, company relationship with employees,and basically every facet of your company.

This article by Ben Erickson is a perfect breakdown of why maintaining your brand should always be at the top of your list. He does a great job of explaining how branding is important to your customers, differs by business size, and the team you will need to maintain it all. I highly recommend checking out his post What is Business Branding?

Image: KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Banana Republic In Flight Fashion Show

Banana Republic is doing an amazing job of promoting their new Mad Men collection. Their newest promotional effort was spontaneous, innovative, and buzz worthy.

During a Virgin America flight from New York to Los Angeles, Banana Republic held a spontaneous fashion show right in the middle of the airplane. Using the aisle as the runway, they featured the new styles from their Mad Men collection for both men and women. They combined the video of the event with the tagline “Add a little glamour to your flying” and posted it YouTube, where it became a viral sensation. This event was perfect, down to the fact that they coordinated having five popular bloggers on the flight. The bloggers were under the assumption that they were attending a fashion show for the Mad Men collection in Los Angeles and were caught by surprise as well.

Customers no longer respond to traditional advertising and marketing efforts. It is more important now than ever to find a way to create buzz about your brand and shock your customers. Make Them Remember Your Brand!

Growing Offline Business Using Online Tools

Social media has several purposes:

  1. Creating Conversations
  2. Building Brand Awareness
  3. Build a Community
  4. Educate
  5. Reach New Audiences
  6. Understand Your Current Audience
  7. Create a More Personal Brand
  8. Interact Directly with Customers
  9. Display Credibility
  10. Promote Your Company

The list could go on and on, on why social media is beneficial to your brand. With any marketing attempt, there must be a goal (such as selling more of a products). Online marketing efforts are very successful at creating online “followers” into offline customers, including:

  • social media
  • online ads
  • geographic based platforms

How Online Marketing Drives Offline Success Infographic

The infographic below from KISSmetrics breaks down how influential online marketing is for increasing sales and reaching conversion rate goals. Here are a few of the facts that stood out:

  • 53% of people on Twitter suggest companies and or products in their tweets with 48% delivering on their intention to buy
  • 75% of small businesses have a company page on a social networking site
  • 20% of searches on Google are location specific (are you using the right keywords for your SEO? Check out my blog on choosing the right keywords to increase your Google rankings here)
  • On average, 1155 people purchase a group deal on Groupon DAILY
  • The best banner ad size and location are 300×250 and the top right corner

How Online Marketing Drives Offline Success


Should My Brand be on Pinterest?

Atomicdust, an agency in St. Louis, posted a great blog on how to determine if your company should be using Pinterest.  As of now, Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined (10 million monthly visitors and growing).

I really enjoyed this post because it asks three straight-to-the-point questions about Pinterest and your brand:

  • Are there compelling images associated with your brand?
  • How much time do you have?
  • How well do you know your brand’s core values?


  1. Use compelling images that link out to great content, this will not only promote your company but it will improve your website’s SEO with more inbound links.
  2. Social media is important to your company and requires time, and Pinterest is no different. Set aside time to not only find images but to also to respond to followers and repin pictures from your followers.
  3. Create a multi-dimensional brand image by creating multiple boards on varying topics.
  4. Pinterest is about expression not content, though it can drive traffic to content.

Use the link below to check out the full blog and learn more:

Should My Brand be on Pinterest? – Web Design and Marketing Blog.

Navigating the New Company Facebook Timeline Pages

The internet has been buzzing this week about company (fan) pages on Facebook switching to the timeline format.

So, you have built your company’s social media strategy based on how people find and share information using the old page format, but do you really need to change how you use Facebook just because the page looks different? Very simple answer….YES!

Whole New Layout

The first (and most obvious) note is that the whole layout of the page has changed. The top of the page is now occupied by your profile picture and a cover picture. Do not under-estimate the power of the cover photo. While you can use your company logo for your profile picture, I recommend using a unique photo that represents the company culture for the cover photo. This will help create more of a personal connection with customers.

The majority of the page is composed of two columns, which represent a passage of time for your company. My favorite feature of the timeline page layout is that you can mark posts as “Company Milestones” and create an interactive real-time timeline of your company’s history: from the day it was founded to today. The timeline of company milestones will also help your customers understand and relate to your company, by understanding where it came from and will be going in the future.

Goodbye Landing Pages

There is one feature that am not a big fan of (and it may take some getting used to), it is that you can no longer set a default landing page. Since the tab pages are gone, (the ones that used to be listed under the profile picture) you are not able to choose what content visitors see first when they go to your page. For example on McDonald’s page, (still in the old format) they could direct all visitors to the “Latest” page first.  Where a new product would be featured, instead of to the default “wall” page. See example below:McDonalds Facebook Page

In comparison, the Wendy’s new timeline page always features the top two messages. Because of this change, it will be more pertinent than ever to monitor what the top posts are, as they are the first thing visitors will see (other than the cover photo). See image below. There is a great feature that can help with this. It is the “pin”feature, which allows you to “pin” a post, or mark it is important, so that it will appear at the top of your timeline.

Wendy's Facebook Page Timeline Format

Pick Your Top Three

While you can not direct visitors to a particular landing page, the tab pages and application pages will still exist. But know that they will be more difficult access. As you can see above in the Wendy’s timeline, links to the tab pages (photos, likes, WendyThreads, Wear the beef) are now shown in between the cover photo and the timeline. But, instead of listing all the different pages, only the 4 pages can be featured at one time. Also, the photo link/feature can not be removed so you can only change out the other three items. It will be more important than ever to understand what your page visitors value most in order to promote the correct pages and apps.

Changing the Conversation

In the past, if a customer wanted to communicate with a company over Facebook they would have to leave a comment on a post (or post a message on the wall if it was allowed). But now, customers can send direct messages to a company.

I really like this feature because I don’t think everyone is always comfortable stating their opinion in a public arena (especially when their name is on it) and they often prefer more personal interactions with companies (aka one of the purposes of social media). I also like this feature because it may decrease possible negative comments from appearing on the public timeline.

What do you think?

This is a big change, which will take some navigating. It will be a learning time for marketers and companies alike. Please leave a comment below letting me know what you think about the new timeline format for company pages and what your favorite ones are so far. I personally really like the New York Times page (below). They use a great personal cover photo and their timeline goes all the way back to the 1850’s!!! New York Times Facebook Timeline Page

Creating Brand Opportunity Out Of Negativity

One of the basic rules of business is “Make the customer happy.” Companies know that a negative comment from one customer can quickly turn into ten.

The basic rules of business have not changed, but the power of the customers voice has grown exponentially. One negative comment can instantly turn into hundreds of shares and tweets, which can fuel blog posts and the need for large-scale damage control. While there is no way to guarantee that every single customer will be happy, there are many tools that can help you manage your brand’s reputation online. Whether it’s a comment about your company, or personal brand, there is a chance to turn a negative comment into a positive opportunity.Maintaining Customer Satisfaction

Monitoring Your Brand

How are you supposed to turn a negative into a positive if your never see or hear it. It is important to catch negative comments at the source before they spread out of control.

Several tools are available to track  mentions of your brand. A free and very simple tool is Google Alerts. You can set up for alerts to be sent to you each time a new search result appears regarding your brand. Each day Google will email you mentions of your brand on news sites, blogs, video platforms, discussion books, and online books. If you really want to stay on ahead of the game, you can even set up alerts for mentions of your competitors.

Monitoring mentions on social media platforms requires more effort. Check comments and posts on your company Facebook page. Do a Facebook search every few weeks for your company name to check for any new groups with a negative connotation and groups’ whose membership has increased greatly. The same can be done with Twitter searches. Twitter search should be done on more frequently, a quick daily search for any brand mentions and a more intensive search once a week.

Responding to Negative Comments

You cannot respond to all comments, and users’ response expectations vary by platform. Facebook users are more likely to expect a response than Twitter users, because the comments and posts stay visible on a company page for a longer period. Twitter is a real-time feed, so users do not expect a response to every comment. A response from a company to a customers tweet is often seen as more “special” than Facebook responses, though both are very important.

If a negative comment is found during monitoring, it should be responded to in no more than 24 hours, less is always better. Responses should be honest, strong, empathic (but not too much and not emotional), friendly, and involve an actionable item, such as “Thank you for your feedback, please email us your phone number and our team will make sure to personally call you to resolve any concerns”. Above all, do not delete negative comments or mentions; this can turn a quick fix into a full-blown tornado of negativity.

Image: 89studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How the 10 Most-Followed Brands are Leveraging Pinterest

Photo SearchPinterest is definitely catching the interest of big and influential companies, mostly fashion and media based companies. Including, one of may favorite websites, Mashable!

Magazine companies have seen the advantages of the new image based social media, including Real Simple and Better Homes & Gardens. Both of these magazines benefit from Pinterest because decorating tips are best translated through images. Kate Spade New York is leading the way for fashion brands on Pinterest, with almost 17,000 followers. Instead of waiting to see the newest ad in a magazine, customers can go on Pinterest and peruse all the newest looks.

One company that interests me greatly, it is not a media or fashion company, it is Whole Foods. While it may seem odd that a speciality grocery store has almost 15,000 followers on an image based social media platform, but it makes sense. They have figured out exactly how to portray their brand and company values through images with pictures of gardening, recipes, and food specials.
Via mashable.com

Via Scoop.itBeing Your Brand

Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

How to Harness the Power of Hashtags

Twitter is a unique platform, in which you are only able to have a conversation with the world using 140 characters. So how do you make your tweets stand out from the rest, and be found by engaged followers? One word…#HASHTAGS.

Hashtags are one of the most powerful tools you can use to increase the visibility of your tweets. Twitter is a real time feed that changes every second, so it is crucial to create tweets that stand out not only in the feed but in searches, as well. Hashtags can help to increase the number of followers, and in turn increase traffic to your website.

So here are some basic rules for using hashtags:

  • Do not use more than three hashtags in one post, more than that and you start to fall into the category of a hashtag spammer.
  • If you have two words you want to use for hashtags, you should combine them to create one hashtag (example: #Summer #vacation becomes #SummerVacation)
  • Only use hashtags that are relevant to your post, do not add the top trending hash tag to your tweet just to gain followers. (Example: You are tweeting about puppies, but the top trending hashtag is #worldseries, do not add World Series to your tweet.)

Creating a Campaign Around a Hashtag
So, using hashtags seem pretty simply, right? Well…yes and no. While they can be a tremendously powerful tool to increase followers and website traffic, preparation for creating a campaign around a hashtag is a requireHow to Use Hashtags on Twitterment, in order to advert disaster. The main reason a brand would use a hashtag is to try to start a conversation with the online community and build brand awareness. Powerful but generic hashtags tend to be more successful for brands because there is less chance that it could turn into negative publicity or a hashtag hijacking. It is not recommended that the company name is included in the hashtag.

Coming up with the best hashtag for your company can sometimes be a challenge. I know I just said that a hashtag should be powerful, yet generic, but it is also essential that it is not too generic. You do not want a hashtag to be so generic that it could be hijacked and used by another company, or for the meaning to be able to be change entirely. As with all social media campaigns, it is vital to have a crisis management plan in place. It should include details on how you plan to respond if your hashtag campaign is hijacked, or if it spins off in a negative way.

When beginning a campaign around a hashtag it is important to be ready for constant monitoring of how the hashtag travels and evolves in the “Twitter World”. Setting up a buzz feed to show all mentions of your hashtag could do the monitoring.

Hashtags can be very powerful tool and should definitely be used. But, please don’t just throw them into every tweet. Hashtags should be relevant to your brand, post topic, and your campaign.

Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social Media Marketing By the Numbers

Via Scoop.itBeing Your Brand

You can not argue with the cold hard numbers on the power of social media marketing (well you could, but it would be a losing battle). This infographic from Mashable shows the power of social media marketing in regards to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and location based services (such as FourSquare) strictly through numbers.

So what can a strong social media campaign do for your brand? Well for Old Spice, one month after they launched their “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” social media campaign they saw HUGE jumps in their followers/fans:

  • 60% increase in Facebook Fans (approx. 650,000 new fans)
  • 2700% increase in Twitter followers
  • Doubled YouTube subscribers

I would definitely classify the Old Spice campaign as more than successful!

In addition, this infographic breaks down the success of the Katy Perry Purr, EA Games Bulletstorm, Free the Children, Nie Widen Bohren, and Under Armour social media campaigns. How can you deny the power of social media when there are over 4 billion “things” shared on Facebook each day and almost 400 million Foursquare check ins during 2010 alone.
Via pinterest.com