The Brand Spiral of Death

The term branding is thrown around a lot in relation to every facet of marketing and advertising, and as such its’ true meaning has become lost in the shuffle. A company brand is not its’ logo, slogan, or website, these are a product of a brand just like the services or products that a company sells. A brand is the external, and internal, perception of a company and/or products/services it sells. In comparison, branding is a process of defining how a company wants to be perceived by their customers and internal team, as well as how they will go about achieving this goal.

I recently read a very interesting article by Jesse McGowan at Atomicdust titled The Brand Spiral of Death (and other thoughts on branding). Continue reading

16 Tip for Marketing on a Budget

For a company to thrive, it is important that they always make sure that they get the most for their money. This is especially true for small businesses who can’t afford the large advertising campaigns that larger companies can. But don’t fret, there are many things that all you small business owners can do to market your brand, find new customers, and increase sales. Check out these 16 great tips on how to market on a budget from Transition Marketing.

Do you have any tips for marketing on a budget?

What Is Branding?

This article breaks down:

  • What a brand is by definition
  • How the term ‘brand’ has evolved into something new
  • The difference between brand image and identity.

When developing your brand strategy, are you thinking about your brand from a marketers point of view or from your customers’ perspective?

Would you like to know which point of view will help you create a better strategy? Check out this great article!

Why Relationship Marketing is Important

Check out this great interview with Mari Smith, author of The New Relationship Marketing and Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.

In the interview, Mari discusses why relationships are important to businesses (regardless of size or type) and why businesses need to improve their listening skills. She explains that it doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or a B2C business, you should always think of your company as a P2P (people to people).

Relationship marketing involves using multiple medias to communicate with your customer:
– social media
– Blogs
– Email marketing
– Offline marketing

Lessons all companies should learn about relationship marketing:

– Personalize and humanize your brand. Don’t be afraid to humanize your brand even if you are a big or medium size company. Focus on using the first person “I/Me” not “Us”, and using people’s names when replying to customers through social media.
– You do not need to be a big business to do relationship marketing. It is just as important for small businesses to focus on relationship marketing.
– When using Facebook focus on posting great content and having an engagement strategy in place beforehand. Be consistent and don’t get discouraged, it will take a while to for users to become engaged.

Check out the full interview below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je9AqCmr980]

Have you focused on using social media to build relationships with your customers? Have you found other ways to create new relationships or maintain current customer relationships?

Benefits of Social Media Marketing Graph Social Media Examiner 2012

Social Media Industry Report – 2012

The Social Media Examiner recently published their 4th annual social media marketing industry report. Each year they interview marketers about how they are using social media to grow and promote their businesses.

For the 2012 report, they interviewed over 3,800 marketers to determine:

  • The top 10 social media questions marketers want answered
  • The time commitment
  • The benefits of social media marketing
  • Commonly used social media services
  • Social media sites people want to learn more out
  • How B2B vs. B2C companies use social media
  • How marketers are using other forms of marketing
  • Outsourcing of social media management

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/39233320 w=400&h=300]

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

One section of the report that I found most interesting was the benefits of social media section. The top 5 benefits of social media marketing that marketers have seen are:

  1. Increased exposure
  2. Increased traffic
  3. Provided marketplace insight
  4. Generated leads
  5. Developed loyal fans

Below is a graph from the annual report that shows the percent of marketers who have seen specific benefits from using social media marketing.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing Graph Social Media Examiner 2012

An interesting change from the 2011 to 2012 report is the percent of marketers who said social media marketing helped to improve search rankings. In 2011 62% of the marketers interviewed said that their search rankings improved, but only 55% of the marketers interviewed in this year’s report saw a benefit. I found this change very interesting since I have experienced improvements in search rankings using social media campaigns in the past. After examining the report further, it appears that those who saw improved search rankings were investing more than 10 hours a week in social media, have at least 3 years experience, or are selling to other businesses (B2B companies). There appears to be a direct correlation between the amount of time invested and experience on search ranking. However, industry is a large factor, as only 50% of businesses who sell to consumers saw a significant increase in their search rankings.

Benefits of Social Media Takeaways:

  • B2B companies are more likely to grow business partnerships using social media than B2C companies.
  • Spending 6 hours or more a week on social media shows a significant increase in lead generation.
  • Small business are more likely to see an increase in lead generation than large companies.
  • Those with 3 and more years experience managing social media see a significant increase in all the measured benefits compared to those with less experience.
  • Over a third of all mid-sized and large companies have not seen a reduction in their marketing expenses. This is very interesting, I wonder if social media is seen as an additional marketing effort not a replacement for other marketing at this time.
  • A not surprising find, social media is great for generating site traffic. 74% of marketers saw increases in site traffic when investing minimum 6 hours a week in social media.
  • B2B companies use social media for gaining marketplace insight much more than B2C companies.
  • B2C companies have a much larger increase in their loyal fan base when using social media than B2B companies.
  • There is a direct correlation between amount of time invested in social media and acquiring loyal fans. More Time Invested = Increase in Loyal Fans

Check out the full 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry report on the Social Media Examiner site.

Who Does B2B Marketing Better: Facebook vs. LinkedIn

Facebook is the go to social media platform for advertising to consumers. Whether it is an ad in the side bar or creating customer relationships through posts on company pages, Facebook reaches the final customer. The great thing about Facebook ads, is that it allows businesses to create a custom targeted campaign to reach their customers regardless of company size.

While Facebook can target a select group of people for an ad to be shown to, LinkedIn is a unique group of business. LinkedIn is a specialized network for the business world, which is composed of users who are passionate about their industry and are looking to network. For companies looking to utilize social media to reach their customers, the platform they choose to use will be based on which site their customers are already using. If a company is looking reach women looking for a great summer dress, Facebook would be the way to go. However,  interactive agency would have much better luck using LinkedIn to connect with potential clients than Facebook.

The infographic below from San Diego Web Design & Marketing Agency breakdowns the differences between the two social networking powerhouses.

B2B Marketing Facebook Vs. LinkedIn Infographic

Future of Branding – What Goes into a Branding Framework

“The future of branding is marketing with people and not at them.” This is one of the great quotes included in this new article from BrandGrowth. This post is based around the book Brand Against the Machine (which I am definitely downloading onto my Kindle when I get home).
This article does a great job explaining the 6 Steps to Building a Branding Framework from the book and how they apply to your brand:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Define your position
  3. Create a solution
  4. Content
  5. Promotion
  6. Over-deliver your value

I highly recommend checking out the full article, and I can’t wait to write about what I learn from this book as well.

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

Predicting Social Media Outcomes

There are a lot of unknowns in social media, because it is frequently changing and we are still in the learning phase. When you start using social media, it is important to have realistic expectations regarding how much time is necessary to manage it and what the outcome will be. Nick Martin wrote a great blog on “Predicting Social Media Outcomes”.

Here is little snippit, but check out the full posting to find out more about the what to consider before you start using social media, to ensure it is a success.

  • Understanding your audience
  • Understanding your brand
  • Content
  • Context
  • SEO
  • Influencer engagement
  • Resources