What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016/0 Comments/in Brand Culture, Brand Experience, Brand Personality, Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Branding, Branding Trends, Business, Customer Engagement, Global Branding, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Market Insights, Marketing, Millennial Branding, Mobile, Mobile Commerce, Online Marketing, Social Engagement, Technology, Video, YouTube /by Lorraine Carter
More than a half century ago, the customer-centric branding pioneer Walter Landor said, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.”  In 2016, the path to that consumer experience is a two-way street, and guess who’s in the driver’s seat? Brands with strong personality are the winners, because customers equate great experiences and emotive meaning with strong, distinctive brands.
While Mr. Landor had massively insightful branding vision, he couldn’t have foreseen the challenges brands face in 2016. The 21st century consumer shopping and purchasing experience has changed, and continues to change…fast. Demanding and sophisticated customers no longer simply reach for “new and improved” brands on display shelves.
Digital Developments in Branding
In 2016, any brand overlooking the following trends would do so at their own peril:
• Shift to mobile is the main message for every small, medium, or large-sized brand in 2016. According to Google, “Mobile has forever changed what we expect of brands.” 
• Understanding digital is key. For even the smallest brands, the monetization of social platforms means we’re in the “pay-to-play” era. So going forward, every big brand marketing department needs a deep understanding of digital and every small brand needs to maximize their resources.
• Interpreting data tells brand marketers what’s working and what’s not, ensuring that spending choices are made wisely.
Simply put, your customers are online and that’s where you need to be. Specifically, they’re on mobile and increasingly, they’re watching video content to make purchase decisions.
Yes, just when we thought ubiquitous online shopping had tolled a death knell for bricks-and-mortar stores, Amazon introduced its first-ever real physical bookstore in Seattle University Village.  What does this signify 20 years after Amazon went live with cut-rate books online that nearly destroyed bookstores? Amazon is connecting the dots between its troves of big data on customer preferences and the 2016 desire for a humanizing browsing and shopping experience. No one is yet pronouncing this first bookstore as a trend, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. (Remember, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post when everyone said print newspapers were dead.).
Image via www.amazon.com
Branding Studies Highlight Customers Expectations
“Speedy, seamless and sensory,” is the brand experience consumers want in 2016, according to the Landor Associates study released in November 2015. Today’s challenge for brands, says Landor’s CEO, is to continuously evolve, to be utterly relevant, while all the while staying true to the brand’s essence.
The largest group of consumers on the planet are Millennials (born between 1980 and 1995), and they’re adults now. The youngest in this cohort will turn 21 in 2016. As Edelman reveals in their latest worldwide “8095 Survey” of Millennials’ purchasing preferences, brands must surprise and delight to gain loyalty, because average is not acceptable.
Image via www.edelman.com
In PwC’s latest global survey, “Retailers and the Age of Disruption,” the overarching trend is that “…the premium in the future will be on creating unique, brand-defining experiences that keep customers coming back — whatever the channel.” 
Branding keywords for 2016 include: personalized, authentic, humanized, interactive, engaging, and mobile.
We take a closer look at some outstanding examples from brands that illustrate key 2016 on-trend pointers to successfully target today’s customers.
Brands Can Flaunt a Sense of Humour
Lowe’s Home Improvement highlights their products by inspiring successful DIY through amusing, real life storytelling videos. The series are short and sweet, showing projects that will make you feel like you can accomplish anything, from painting a room to building an outdoor deck. Anyone who has ever tried to fold a fitted sheet will empathize with this guy.
Brands Are Storytellers
“I don’t think the world is ever going to want to stop hearing stories,” is the sentiment expressed by Angela Ahrendts during her tenure as CEO of Burberry. She emphasized that anyone who is touching your brand wants to see, feel and hear its authentic story. Tell it visually, amplify it with music, create energy around it. Ahrendts obsession about doing all of the above is why she’s America’s highest-compensated female executive as Sr. VP of Apple.
Brands Should Support Good Causes
Aligning with charitable endeavours, championing social issues or running an environmentally sustainable business is good for a brand, its customers and the community at large. Choose wisely, care deeply and gain credibility in the process. Marks & Spencer produced their Oxfam donation partnership called Shwopping profiling celebrity ambassadors, Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson, Twiggy and other leading ladies.
Brands Gain Trust via Authenticity
RED Lookbook is an Estée Lauder advert for their fragrance, Modern Muse Le Rouge. It’s delivered as a feel-good video featuring a “real” person, UK social influencer Fleur DeForce, wearing lots of red and using the fragrance. “Top priorities to succeed have to be authenticity and passion,” the beauty video blogger with 1.3 million subscribers told Digiday. Followers are accustomed to seeing Fleur in intimate, authentic videos relaxing with her husband, friends, dogs and favorite products. The 27-year-old provides a disclaimer, “I only ever work with brands that I personally use and love, and only to promote products I genuinely like and believe in.”
Brands Become Approachable
The evolution of wine reveals a case in point about humanizing a brand. Today’s winemakers are portraying down-to-earth personalities. Even the glamorous bubbly Moët & Chandon, founded in 1743, is behaving in a way that’s anything but stuffy and old fashioned.
Image via www.moet.com
In California wine country, “7 Deadly Zins” from Michael David Winery just knows how to have a good time with their Zinfandel branding, paired with fresh air and a mountain hike.
Image via www.michaeldavidwinery.com
And, there’s a seriously excellent wine inside the bottle illustrated with dancing elephants on a cartoon-like circus label; this Syrah was rated #2 in the world for 2015 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. 
Image Courtesy of Lodi Winegrape Commission
Brands Relate To Consumers’ Lifestyles
In just six months, Fitbit has scored 6 million YouTube views for its 30-second rom com, “Know Your Heart.” It’s completely relatable and inexpensive to make. “The campaign plays off the duality of knowing your heart emotionally and physically in a cheeky and relatable, story–driven way that resonates with our brand,” says Fitbit global marketing VP Tim Rosa. “We wanted it to be relatable and charming, while showing that getting fit and healthy is attainable if one sets his/her heart to it.”
Top 16 Brand Trends Checklist for Engaging Customers in 2016
1. Consumers crave brand authenticity. They want personalized, engaging and humanized interaction with brands, even humour that brings a smile to the face.
2. Customers are embracing disruptors, from healthcare wearables to taxi services and non-hotel stays.
3. Consumers are making emotional decisions about brands that feature distinctive, compelling storytelling and a friendly tone of voice, not corporate-speak bravado.
4. Customers want responsibility and accountability from brands. They’re looking deeper into a company’s ethics, environmental position, supply chain, production processes, diversity hiring, mission statement and corporate giving.
5. Consumers are tuned in. They place more value on online reviews from strangers than on brand advertising.
6. Customers are listening to employees as brand champions whose opinions on the brand culture can speak volumes via social media and in person.
7. Consumers are searching and shopping online. They expect fast, seamless, quality brand experiences from super fast mobile websites to free, next day delivery.
8. Consumers are looking at FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and packaging design that goes beyond a logo, photos or serving suggestions in favour of labels that may reveal personality, tell about a product’s backstory and offer interesting “did you know” facts up front.
9. Consumers continue to relate to brands that relate to their own lifestyle preferences.
10. Consumers are consulting with children living at home in making their purchase decisions, including vacations.
11. Customers require a sense of place when they travel, not cookie-cutter, look-alike hotel and restaurant chains.
12. Customers express themselves through the brands they associate with, including artisan, hand-crafted, small production items from bricks and mortar stores or limited edition and customized products from larger brands.
13. Customers want two-way communication and co-creation with brands that are connecting with their customers and responding to feedback.
14. Consumers are tired of annoying in-your-face advertising that screams a one-way message. Native advertising and re-targeted effective messages that deliver relevance are the way to get attention in 2016.
15. Consumers expect multi-channel agility from brands. They prefer original brand video content and how-to advice to be seamlessly accessible across their multiple devices.
16. Consumers are rejecting photo-shopped, zero-sized beauty definitions in favour of natural and real, wellness and gender-neutral positioning.
Image via www.edelman.com
• It’s not your brand anymore. It belongs to your customers.
• Brand experiences matter more, not stuff. Bring shareable new ideas to the marketplace.
• Brands must be created and developed using strong well developed personas. Make it personal, emotive, relatable and real.
• Clever and amusing is the new approach. Humanize your brand.
• Brand loyalty must be earned. Sophistication and authenticity are the order of the day for a much more discerning customer.
• How many of these 16 trends can you tick off your brand must-do list as part of your brand strategy for the year ahead?
• Has your brand found the right tone of voice for 2016?
• Have you defined your brand’s personality and strategized about how it is being expressed?
• Does your brand require a refresh or a re-branding to resonate with today’s consumers?
• Have you identified your brand’s positioning and unique selling points and successfully incorporated them?
• Has your brand aligned with a charity? Has it embraced sustainability and green initiatives? Is there a corporate social responsibility message that’s making its way to customers’ ears?
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Brand Strategy: 6 Lessons Learned – Tourism Queensland’s Amazing Campaign/0 Comments/in Advertising, Ambush Marketing, Brand Strategy, Branding, Destination Branding, Global Branding, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Tourism /by Lorraine Carter
How do you get 53.9 million page views by 8 million unique visitors in six weeks while generating a 60-minute BBC documentary and 6,000 news stories worth $US165 million in free coverage?
Turn a media campaign into a job search, was the response for one of the most successful brand campaigns ever. Tourism Queensland’s 2009 “Best Job in the World” campaign provides a stunning case study — and it was all done on a relatively modest budget. We take a closer look to determine six ways the brilliant brand strategy employed here is applicable to brands outside of travel and tourism and can be scaled up or down to suit your brand and resources.
First, we’ll look at the product and its competition. Let’s say you want to go on an island adventure holiday. What springs to mind? The Caribbean, Hawaii, the Seychelles and Maldives, perhaps? Islands of the Great Barrier Reef were aiming for that kind of top-of-mind-awareness among global experience seekers in their eight key country markets.
Tourism Queensland consulted ad agency CumminsNitro in Brisbane as the recession hit new lows. They determined the only solution was to capture public interest with something that seemed too good to be true and eminently shareable. In fact, they said, don’t just visit this gorgeous place, live here. And we’ll pay you, too.
Why not promote an international search for the best job in the world?
The Challenge: Create International Brand Awareness
For Tourism Queensland officials, the islands of the Great Barrier Reef were the product. Substitute your brand here.
The Budget: Small
A budget of $US1.2 million for a global campaign was appropriate for developing the brand strategy and creating multiple print ads in seven languages, placing these as classified ads on recruitment pages of newspapers in selected markets around the world, creating a YouTube channel with compelling content together with a Facebook, Twitter and Myspace presence and a landing page for job applications.
No fixed budget is required to model this campaign, which doesn’t require international reach to be successful. Scale it to suit your brand needs. A city-wide or nation wide ‘job search’ brand campaign can be extremely effective too.
Image via www.teq.queensland.com
The Idea: Offer a prize that’s not a prize. Make it a Job
Call it “The Best Job in the World” and buy classified ads in newspapers in the key markets around the world. The position? Vacant Island Caretaker. Job responsibilities? Clean the pool, feed the fish, collect the mail, explore and report back. Salary? $AUD150K for 6 months. (Accommodation and transportation included.)
Message: Anyone can apply. And they did…
The ROI: Priceless
On day one of the launch, the landing page received 4 million hits an hour, beating out Google searches. By the end of six weeks, 1.4 million applications were received. 34,684 one-minute video job applications included one from at least one person in every country in the world, including Vatican City. Worldwide media attention supplemented the reach to an estimated 3 billion people.
Image via www.teq.queensland.com
The Top 6 Takeaways
Social media evolves quickly. When Tourism Queensland brainstormed in 2008, Twitter had only 6 million occasional users. Facebook pages for business were “nice to have,” an afterthought.
Image via www.levi.com
Mirroring Tourism Queensland, at the start of 2011, Levi’s launched a Facebook search with crowdsourced voting for the next “Levi’s Girl” selected to model and be the online voice of the brand for six months in a job based at headquarters in San Francisco. The following year, #iamlevis hit Instagram. In an article about the latter campaign, Esquire magazine wrote, “Will someone explain to us what the hell Pinterest is?” Need we mention Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat?
Lesson 1: Be Everywhere
Integrate social media to deliver real results. Tourism Queensland had fully integrated all their key brand marketing elements on and offline, including a website, print advertising and public relations. If you want to maximise your brand reach you must integrate social media across multi-device, multi-channel platforms to tap into viewers wherever they are, fostering sharing.
In 2010, Procter & Gamble introduced the Old Spice guy on TV to appeal to men’s fragrance buyers (the women), but when ad agency Wieden+Kennedy plugged into shareable channels YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, sales increased by 107 percent.
Lesson 2: Be flexible. Be bold
Hard times call for tough decisions. For a luxury brand, fewer consumer dollars directed at discretionary spending during a global recession was felt even more deeply by a long-haul destination with strong appeal to youth.
“The Best Job in the World” campaign had a built-in deadline six weeks after launch, which meant gaining agreement for pouring the lion’s share of the entire year’s budget into a single campaign conducted in January and February.
Lesson 3: Review and Repeat
Extend reach. Tourism Australia re-introduced the campaign in 2013 to involve more states in a single voice by expansion into six regions. The 2013 re-launch of “The Best Jobs in the World” acquired 60 strategic partners, including Virgin Australia, STA Travel, Citibank, DELL, IKEA, Sony Music and Monster.com.
What about the ‘losers’? Tourism Australia Director Andrew McEvoy said, “We’re now going to capitalise on the enormous interest in this campaign by working with Virgin Australia and STA Travel to sell holidays and working holidays to those who missed out on one of the six best jobs.”
Lesson 4: Be Ready and Prepared
User-generated content has its challenges. According to Chris Chambers, digital marketing lead in Queensland, they were unprepared for submissions wildly above estimates, not to mention crisis management due to the demands that mass media attention garnered.
In addition to watching nearly 35,000 videos, some 20,000 emails required responses. By creating a URL for shared content, as Tourism Queensland did with the video job applications, anything can be posted.
A brand must be ready with both policy and people to curate, post content and manage content.
Lesson 5: Surprise and Delight
The evolution of social media for brands means that the interactive aspect of brand response takes on immediacy far beyond what happened in 2009. Early campaigns such as “The Best Job in the World” and the guy from Old Spice have taught us that brands must develop marketing plans to engage with consumers, surprise and delight, drive sharing via brand evangelists and ambassadors and work with social media pros to maximize impact.
With an eye-watering 35 percent of the lingerie market, Victoria’s Secret has the world’s top models under contract and hardly needs a hand. Yet, in 2009, they launched a nationwide search for the newest runway Angel to represent the brand. The online and media presence are closely aligned to the retail stores.
Image via Cyril Attias, flickr 2.0CC
Lesson 6: Crowdsource Content
We’ve been hearing that content is king for several years and the crown remains securely in place. However, not all content is created equally. User-generated content resonates more loudly, drives distribution, creates word-of-mouth, prompts engagement, builds loyalty, gets shares that maximize tapping into free networks run by other people. As a bonus, social media activates mass media.
Here’s the million dollar question, where and how do you think you could take the learnings from these various examples discussed and integrate them into your branding strategy? Maybe your brand needs a complete overhaul and revitalisation with a strong rebranding strategy to give it a new lease of life.
Regardless of your business size there are opportunities here which even the most modest budgets could potentially leverage to great effect — with some solid strategic thinking and creativity.
You may also like:
• Destination Branding: The Key Essentials for Success
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• Branding Amazon: 3 Lessons to Learn for Your Brand Success
• Entrepreneurial Branding: 5 Top Tips for Brand Success
• World Cup Branding: What Can You Learn from the World Cup Campaigns?
So, what do you think?
• Does your brand need repositioning or revitalisation and would a ‘job search’ brand strategy work for your brand? Full-time or interim?
• What is the most desirable aspect of working for your brand?
• Does a ‘job search’ brand campaign fit with your company brand culture?
• Would user-generated content work well for your brand?
• Where can you harness the best resources to develop your brand strategy, execute the plan effectively, get the required return on your investment and ensure all your brand collateral is cohesive, both on and offline?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Brand Trends: Top 20 Branding Trends for 2015/0 Comments/in Brand Audits, Brand Health Check, Brand Profiling & Positioning, Brand Promise, Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Brand Values, Branding, Branding Trends, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Mobile Commerce, Online Marketing, Packaging, Packaging Design, Trends /by Lorraine Carter
As 2014 draws to an end, now is the time to review, revamp, and update your branding strategies for the year to come. Successful branding is the key to driving business growth and profitability – and in 2015, it will be more important than ever to have a strong, thriving brand.
In the coming year, to be successful branding will need to be even more customer-centric. Honesty, transparency, personalisation, and social responsibility will hold center stage, and the technologies that drive an effective brand strategy will be mobile, responsive, and real-time. Here’s a look at the top 20 branding trends your business can expect for 2015.
Top 20 Branding Trends for 2015
1. Authenticity Drives Success
More than ever, your customers want to feel connected to your brand. Being authentic enables this type of connection, so make this a key strategy for 2015. Use valuable content and brand collateral to engage your target market and give your customers the opportunity to participate in your brand story. You can see more about what we mean by this in our recent blog about ‘Millennial Branding’ with particular reference to how Marriott International is making its customers feel authentically connected and participatory in their brand. With authenticity, you can create an audience of powerful brand ambassadors and harness the single most effective marketing force: word of mouth.
2. Mobile Matters More
While mobile markets have been growing continually, expect 2015 to be the year they explode. More of your customers will be using mobile than ever before – and you’ll need a brand strategy that responds to their needs.
Recent research from eMarketer shows that:
- 50% of shoppers who conducted local searches on smartphones visited the store within one day
- 18% of local smartphone queries led to a purchase
When it comes to marketing brands online, mobile inclusion is headed into mobile-first. Make sure you’re prepared with responsive design and increased mobile spends for your brand campaigns.
3. Metrics Turn Toward Revenue
Technology continues its rapid advancement, and in 2015 brand analytics will be more focused on revenue. This is made possible through automated marketing tools that measure brand performance in real time, allowing brand strategies to adapt quickly to suit emerging trends and changing customer tastes. Real-time brand analytics will also be critical to gain a competitive advantage for your brand.
4. Segmentation is Key
Many brands have the capability of appealing to different market segments, but not all are taking the opportunity to segment and diversify their brand campaigns. But in 2015, increasingly savvy customers will know exactly what they’re looking for – and your brand needs to deliver. This includes diverse sets of brand messaging, brand channels, and marketing approaches customised to each of your target demographics. A brand needs a well developed brand profile, using a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ which is used to create its story, values, promise, mission, personality, positioning and so forth in order to achieve cohesive brand messaging and effective segmentation successfully.
5. Brand Targets are Ultra-Personalized
Closely related to segmentation, 2015 will be the year of the customer, with individualised brand campaigns to match. Advanced customer data capture and innovative manufacturing techniques have made it possible for brands to deliver unique customisations, shifting the brand target from the masses to the individual. For example, Holiday Inn is moving its branding strategy toward customised holiday experiences that meet the personal needs of the traveller – from families to business travellers, young couples to adventurous singles.
6. Packaging Goes 3D
Brand packaging is a crucial component of your brand’s success, and the arrival of 3D printing technology has made it possible for brands to create innovative, customised packaging designs that draw in customers and stand out on retail shelves. In 2015, consider giving your brand packaging a boost using the latest technologies.
7. Streamlined Naming Conventions
The market is incredibly crowded, and customers’ attention spans are shorter than ever. To boost brand recognition and foster brand consistency, more brands will re-engage fundamentals and use clear, relevant names for products, services, and the overall brand itself. These short and simple names pair well with quick descriptors, creating easy-to-grasp concepts – think Google Wallet, Google Glass, and Google Play or Apple Watch and Apple TV.
8. Brand Stories Take Centre Stage
A compelling brand story will be an even more vital part of heart and mind capture to drive your brand sales strategy in 2015. Powerful and authentic stories that are worked into every element of your branding strategy can lift your brand, and provide the connection your customers are looking for. A great brand story evokes an emotional response, and most importantly, reinforces the brand experience for your customers. Creating irresistible brand stories is a key part of our brand profiling service when working with clients to help them create and build the personality of their brands, using our Brand Story Selling System™.
9. The TMI Line Blurs
For branding in 2015, there will be no such thing as too much information. Today’s customers crave transparency and want to know everything they can about a brand, often before they decide to make a purchase. Much of this transparency will be provided with updated brand packaging that clearly and efficiently conveys a wealth of information, including the brand story. As an example, Stone Creek Coffee’s Lab Series prints detailed coffee bean information on each package, including the elevation the beans were grown, the harvest date, and the name of the farmer who grew them.
Image via www.stonecreekcoffee.com
10. Cross-Channel Integration is Crucial
Brand consistency has always been one of the most important factors in the success of a brand. With more brand channels and customer paths than ever before, integration across channels is a must. Your brand design, messaging, and metrics should be presented uniformly at every touch point – from website and social media platforms to packaging, retail locations, and traditional media channels.
11. Customers will Not be Sold to
The marketing noise level is reaching critical mass. Brands that continue to “pitch” their products or services in 2015 will find themselves ignored. Customers are no longer interested in the salesy, hard-sell approach, and they’re savvy enough to know when your brand message is all buy and no bargain. Look to value-added brand strategies that highlight perception, inclusion, and the customer experience to help your brand sell itself.
12. Brands as a Consolidated Experience
Once again in the vein of brand consistency, the most successful brands of 2015 will present a singular customer experience – no matter where your customers interact with your brand. Your customers’ experience should not vary from PC to mobile to social. Look for ways to streamline your brand collateral and exceed customer expectations, delivering on your brand promise through a seamless presentation on all fronts.
13. The Video Explosion
Online video will continue to expand rapidly in 2015, and video should be an integral part of any branding strategy. Video is a popular, powerful, and engaging medium that helps brands strengthen their messaging and increase profits.
Some of the most recent statistics for online video include:
- 100 million Internet users watch online video every day
- 90% of online shoppers find video helpful
- 64% of online shoppers are more likely to buy after watching a video
- 80% of Internet users recall a video ad they’ve watched online in the past 30 days – and 46% took some action after watching the video ad, from visiting the company’s website to making a purchase
- Video increases marketing email click-through rates by 200 to 300 percent
14. Brand “Smarketing”
The line between sales and marketing is becoming increasingly blurred, and 2015 will see even more integration as online selling converges with internet marketing. Both functions use many of the same techniques for promoting brands, including content creation and real-time engagement, and both have the same goal of revenue generation. Effective brands will combine marketing and sales into a fluid and cohesive set of strategies.
15. Brands Mobilise with Click-and-Collect
UK marketing research firm Mintel predicts that the popularity of click-and-collect (C&C) services will increase in 2015, and about 17% of all Internet retail sales will be collected by customers at these physical service points.
C&C services currently used across the UK include:
- Amazon lockers in London Underground railway stations
- Doddle pop-up parcel collection stores
- Asda and Tesco C&C vans
- Waitrose chilled food lockers
- Argos food lockers (coming in 2015)
In a survey by Mintel, 35% of UK shoppers have used C&C services in the past year, and 64% say they’ll shop more online because of C&C services.
16. CSR Packs a Bigger Punch
Look to corporate social responsibility (CSR) as an even bigger brand trend for 2015. Today’s customers are concerned with both human rights, consumer rights and giving back to the community, and will reward brands that engage in visible social responsibility – while punishing brands that violate those rights.
Issues that matter in particular to UK consumers, according to Mintel, are returns policies, ethical treatment of workers, environmental policies, and negative press coverage. And for millennials, many make purchasing decisions based on a company’s ethical or political stance, such as brands that support the LGBT community.
17. Green Brands
More environmentally conscious consumers mean that brands must be aware of the environmental impact they have, and take steps to mitigate damage and leave a clean footprint. Packaging plays a large role in the battle for environmental friendliness. Brands that emphasize responsibly sourced, recycled, minimized, or biodegradable packaging can expect to be welcomed in 2015. This is a key consideration in all the brand packaging design projects we’re involved in with our clients.
18. Big Data Delivers Brand Insight
As the use of big data becomes more refined and accessible, brands will use it in 2015 to generate more personalisation and segmented brand approaches. Pretargeting is an emerging market strategy that uses big data to target customers based on their behaviours and preferences by delivering relevant messaging during the buying phase, instead of after it.
This type of advanced analytics can allow brands to predict trends before they’ve actually happened. Unilever partnered with Google in 2013 to do this, using big data to predict and capitalise on a rising trend in hair care. The YouTube channel launched by Unilever in response to this trend forecast, All Things Hair UK, became the number one hair care channel in its markets.
19. Social Brand Success is Pay-to-Play
Customers may be spending more time than ever on social media, but they’re spending it being social. The effectiveness of social branding as an organic strategy has diminished but pay-to-play advertising platforms on major social networks have increased in sophistication and effectiveness. Successful social brands will invest strategically in paid social media for smart, segmented campaigns, which will trickle down to increase owned and earned media effectiveness.
20. Facebook Fades for Millennial Brand Audiences
Speaking of social, in 2015 Facebook may not be the go-to network if your brand is targeting millennials and a younger crowd. While the social network with its own major motion picture is still the dominant channel, it’s far from the only game in town. Young people in particular are drifting away from Facebook – so if your brand targets millennials, it may be in your best interests to grow your presence on up-and-coming social platforms, such as Instagram and Tumblr.
At the close of 2014, take the time to thoroughly review your brand strategy. Consider a comprehensive brand audit to gain an accurate picture of your brand performance, and incorporate the trends that will change branding in 2015 with heightened transparency, authenticity, and customer-focused experiences.
So, what do you think?
• Is your brand strategy on track for success in 2015?
• How consistent is your brand presentation across all platforms?
• What is your planned spending for mobile? Video? Social?
• Are you targeting the right channels to connect with your target audiences?
• Does your brand platform represent timeless appeal? Could it benefit from a refresh for 2015?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Halloween Branding: Hair-Raising Strategies and Tips to Promote Your Brand/0 Comments/in Brand Strategy, Branding, Business, Customer Engagement, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Social Engagement, Social Media /by Lorraine Carter
Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore. This spooky celebration marks the start of a major holiday season, and it’s grown from a great time to sell sweets and treats, to a massive multi-billion dollar industry with all types of customers getting into the Halloween spirit and looking forward to scary fun opportunities!
Your business can take advantage of this thrilling, spook-tacular holiday with Halloween strategies to promote your brand, and engage customers through the holiday season and beyond.
Why Should You Use Halloween to Feature Your Brand?
Throughout the world, Halloween is big business. Spending on Halloween for 2013 was $8 billion in the United States, and £300 million in the UK. Those numbers are expected to top $11 billion and £350 million, respectively, for the 2014 retail season.
Considering that Halloween spending in the UK was around £12 million in 2001, and the holiday now sees more retail spending than Bonfire Night, there is a definite market for Halloween-themed branding. In fact, Halloween is now the third largest retail holiday in the UK, behind Christmas and Easter.
Candy and costumes are obvious targets for Halloween spending, with Halloween candy sales topping the Easter season, but shoppers are interested in more than these traditional purchases. In the United States, there is a massive market for Halloween-related decorations, with 70% of shoppers planning to decorate for this spooky holiday – compared to 69% who plan to decorate for Christmas.
Even if you don’t sell candy or costumes, your brand can benefit by having a Halloween related promotion. Both product and service providers can benefit by tying into this spooky holiday. According to a study from the International Council of Shopping Centre, 64% of shoppers are looking for sales and promotions on Halloween, which they state as their most important factor in deciding on Halloween purchases.
An example of a non-FMCG company using Halloween for branding is auto insurance company GEICO. Known for its talking animal mascots, the insurance company recently began using a new tagline for its advertising campaigns: “It’s what you do.” This Halloween, GEICO created a commercial that ties the new tagline into popular horror movie tropes for a funny and memorable message.
Looking to cash in on this surprisingly huge holiday? Here are some tips and strategies you can use to elevate your brand on Halloween.
8 Top Tips for Halloween Themed Branding Campaigns
Everyone loves a good contest, especially one that involves holidays and creativity. In fact, 30% more people participate in Halloween-themed Facebook contests alone. Holding a Halloween contest on social media can help you boost visibility for your brand and earn you long-term benefits by growing your brand’s social fan base.
No matter what type of business you have, whether it’s product or service oriented, there are plenty of ways to tie contests or competitions in with Halloween. For example, here are some popular kinds of Halloween contests, and ideas about how you can tie them into your brand.
1. Costume Contests
Product brands might ask their entrants to dress up in costumes that incorporate their products creatively – or even dress up their products in costumes, as Dunkin Donuts is doing on Twitter this year. The brand asked customers to post pictures of coffee cups in costumes under the hashtag #dresseDD, and is giving out prizes for the most creative coffee disguises.
For service brands, it might be a good opportunity to show your lighter human or more humorous side with an idea for a costume contest such as asking your fans and followers to dress as unusual, scary, or funny representatives of your industry. Make sure the prize includes something Halloween-themed, such as a candy gift basket along with a gift card, free service, or whatever you plan to give away.
2. Pumpkin Carving
50% or more of those who celebrate Halloween are into carving pumpkins, so you can get a lot of interest with a pumpkin carving contest. Tie your contest creatively into your brand – such as asking people to carve a company logo into a pumpkin (their own, or yours).
3. Pet Costumes
Dressing up pets for Halloween is becoming a major retail event. Whether you’re a product or a service brand, you can run a pet costume contest along the same lines as a regular costume contest, and offer branded prizes that will appeal to pet owners.
You could also host a Halloween quiz, take a Halloween survey, or run an incentive program for customers to sign up to your mailing list with Halloween-themed giveaways.
Image via www.costumeexpress.com
4. Create Halloween-Themed Content
Working Halloween into your content marketing is an easy and creative way to brand for the spooky holidays. Whether you’re creating written content, images, infographics, or video, there are many ways to tie your brand to Halloween for both product and service-oriented companies.
5. Make a Halloween Bundle
Placing several different products together in a Halloween context can be an effective branding strategy. For example, retail grocery stores might offer a “vampire package” that includes varieties of garlic, meat, and red wine. Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer REI put together a clever “Zombie Survival Guide” infographic to celebrate the holiday that showcases several of their products.
Image via www.rei.com
6. Address Halloween “Pain Points”
Every situation comes with problems, and Halloween is no exception. For this holiday, one of the biggest customer worries is too much candy. Others may be Halloween on a budget, unique costume ideas, or finding Halloween-themed recipes or activities. Can your brand solve holiday problems creatively with some online content? Here’s an example of one personal trainer who tied into Halloween with a post called “The 15-Minute Yoga Routine to Beat Your Holiday Candy Binge.”
7. Consider a Halloween Video
Whether it’s a commercial, or simply posted to YouTube and your company website, holiday-themed videos are a great way to build buzz for your brand. There are endless possibilities in this medium for any brand, whether you’re FMCG, luxury, or service. Hotel reservation website Booking.com created a Halloween video that dramatized a haunted hotel to advertise its services for this holiday.
8. Dress up Your Brand for Halloween
Whether you simply change your website CSS to capture Halloween colours and images, decorate your retail location with all things spooky, or go all out with Halloween content on your brand collateral, promotions, and contests, getting into the spirit of Halloween can help you boost your brand recognition and broaden your customer base – giving you a head start on the big holiday retail season.
Have a happy Halloween!
So, what do you think?
• Have you run brand promotions for Halloween in the past or will you make them part of your branding strategy for next year? Considering the value of this holiday would it be worth reviewing it in the context of a brand audit – what strategies worked (or didn’t work) for you?
• Is your brand tied into Halloween on social media? What kind of contest could you run?
• What Halloween related problems can your brand solve?
• Can you create any Halloween-themed content for your website, business blog, or social media accounts?
• Have you wished your mailing list a Happy Halloween? What promotion can you offer with a holiday greeting?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
YouTube : The 2nd Biggest Search Source After Google, Is Your Brand On?/0 Comments/in Brand Strategy, Brand Voice, Branding, Customer Engagement, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Online Marketing, Smart Phones, Social Media, YouTube /by Lorraine Carter
In announcing its daily traffic flow back in 2010 the video channel YouTube revealed they were the second biggest online search source after Google. That put it higher than Firefox, Bing and even Yahoo. The YouTube report said it received 2 billion views a day. That’s a statistic that put YouTube in front of all the major US TV channels combined.
Three years later nothing has changed audience-wise, except the site has increased in popularity. There are now four billion visitors a day and 60 hours of video uploaded on to the site every minute.
Meanwhile Google rates it even higher in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). YouTube videos show up separately so your page gets listed for the text and the video separately, effectively like two for one! Another interesting statistic is that eCommerce stores which show their products via video have much better conversion rates (says Google owned YouTube) then those that don’t.
Brands Can Have Their Own Online Channel on YouTube
Now the online video search source (bought early on by Google) has come up with an even better opportunity for brands, with the resources to invest in video content, with their own branded video channel.
Called One Channel its part of a redesign for YouTube which involves allowing content developers to start charging subscribers for viewers. To date there are 50 paid channels on YouTube including National Geographic Kids (US) and Samsung UK. Switching to One Channel means more tools to add and curate content, better graphics/art work and the ability to produce a trailer which can be targeted at non-subscribers – all of which greatly enhances to your brand’s marketing activities.
All this of course requires some upgraded skills, not to mention resources and agencies are already offering comprehensive packages to big brands.
The Benefits of a Brand Channel
Regularly uploading content and engaging with customers makes it easier for a company to build brand loyalty through cultivating an ongoing relationship – which is exactly what YouTube is hoping for.
Earlier this year YouTube made a huge leap towards its future strategy model. No longer is it simply a site where people upload videos. Instead it’s now a true social media site in terms of providing a platform where brands can engage with consumers in a dynamic and entertaining fashion.
Video Is More Effective Than The Written Word
Even if your brand isn’t at the One Channel stage yet, videos are still more likely to get your message across than a blog post or press release in isolation. That’s because they require less effort and time to watch, tend to be more entertaining and attractive to look at and give a stronger, more personalized sense of what the brand is all about. It’s a platform that really helps ‘bring your brand to life’.
Image via Business Insider
Online US eCommerce store Zappos has a YouTube video option for 50,000 products on its site with ‘real’ people talking about and reviewing their shoes. This ‘humanizes’ the brand and provides a sense of trust for consumers when they see that the person they’re watching is ‘just like them.’
Video Can Help Educate Consumers
‘How To’ videos have always rated highly on YouTube and this is where many smaller brands selling unique products – or those involved with DIY and crafts – can really excel.
US firm Homedepot show how to customize a pathway using the QuikRete WalkMaker they sell. Potential consumers who were perhaps ambivalent about buying the product because they weren’t sure if it was for them can now see how easy is it to use.
Video Can Enhance Customer Engagement
Tip-ex demonstrated brilliantly how a YouTube video can engage consumers. Its bear/hunter video received one million views within the space of just 36 hours and 100,000 shares on Facebook.
After 100 days the video had picked up a total of 35.5 million views in 217 countries. Brand exposure was estimated to be around five minutes per person. European sales went up 30 per cent.
The reason it was such a hit was because it asked viewers to come up with an ending to the script which involved a hunter who didn’t want to shoot a bear. The company went on to film what they regarded as the best endings.
A clever aspect of this campaign was the number of viewers who returned to see the different endings played out. Meanwhile, by giving consumers the opportunity to create their own ending, it made them feel as if they ‘owned’ the video and by association, the brand.
Other Reasons Your Brand Should Be Using YouTube
- It doesn’t cost much money to produce video content now, thanks to improvements in editing software and camera equipment. In other words, a video production company with an editing suite isn’t necessary unless you are producing high value video content. Video ‘blogs’ or ‘vlogs’ can be produced and uploaded using your smartphone.
- You Tube is available on Smartphones and iPhones – just about anywhere that the internet can be accessed. Videos are easy to embed and share too.
- Just like PPC adverts on search engines or advertising on Facebook, YouTube has a means of advertising via keywords. Advertising on YouTube is just as effective as the aforementioned but with one big difference – it’s less expensive.
Engaging with customers via a two-way process is one step away from encouraging them to become brand ambassadors through building brand loyalty. Video is such a mainstream activity today that companies which aren’t on YouTube can seem rather behind the times – particularly with a younger audience.
One Channel for brands makes it easier to bring together all forms of social media, while Google is putting particular emphasis on video when it comes to SEO.
Providing your brand’s story in an entertaining fashion and quick-to-digest format is more likely to attract visitors – and therefore customers – to your products and services.
• How are you using, or planning to use, online video to promote and grow your brand and connect with your customers more effectively?
• What type of video content could your brand upload onto YouTube – educational, informative, comedy?
• Have you investigated how easy it is to film your own videos as part of your brand strategy?
Humanizing Your Brand : Why It is Key to Commercial Success/0 Comments/in Brand Experience, Brand Relevance, Brand Strategy, Brand Values, Branding, Business, Customer Engagement, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Engagement, Social Media /by Lorraine Carter
Brands that want to succeed in this increasingly ‘always on’ social media-driven world are advised to start showing more of their human side and stop hiding behind a faceless corporate entity. By that we mean you need to consider changing your marketing focus from ‘what’ your brand is to ‘who’ it is.
Customers are increasingly sceptical of ‘faceless entities’ and ‘automated response’ companies which means that brands need to work much harder to authentically interact with their target audience, actively participate in conversations, respond to their customers needs and nurture those relationships if they want to be viewed as an honest company which is sensitive to their customers needs and the world at large.
Brands that engage in charity work, social contribution or form their own fund-raising endeavours are nearly always looked on a lot more favourably too. Include a little humour in the mix, even if you’re poking fun at yourselves, and you are starting to create a more humanized brand.
Patagonia Displays Honesty
The global outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia are honest in their dealings with customers by showing the real effects that the manufacturing of their clothes and products has on the environment and communities. The environment matters to them and their target audiences. It’s at the heart of what their brand stands for.
They’d like to have a lower or neutral carbon footprint, but viable manufacturing costs or processes don’t always enable them to have as low a carbon footprint as they would like. By being honest with their customers via the Footprint Chronicles section of their website the message is: “We’re not great but we’re working on it.” This ensures they remain true to their brand promise and avoids any future negative press ‘revelations’ as the company has already publicly declared their record isn’t what it they’d like it to be – yet!
TOMS’ Kindness Builds Customer Communities
A brand which has received huge publicity and goodwill towards it due to a reputation for being ‘kind’ is the company TOMS. The trendy outfit is seen as mixing commerce with charity due to the fact that for every pair of shoes sold a second pair is given, free of charge by the company, to a child living in poverty. Not only that but the brand has now declared that for every pair of glasses they sell they will help restore eyesight to a needy child.
The fact TOMS has a massive social networking community (nearly 2 million friends on Facebook alone) and that many of these fans have become active brand ambassadors, shows that a company which is perceived as kind through carrying out charitable works (and, crucially, knowing how to promote these works) can be very profitable too.
The more good works TOMS carries out, the more their community loves them and feels inspired to help and promote them even further. An example of how they promote their good works is this very-watchable video which was recently uploaded to the company’s Facebook page.
Make Customers Laugh and They’ll Be Positively Predisposed towards Your Brand
Everyone loves an endearing joker, don’t they? Well, if the joker is funny they do. Brands such as YouTube, Honda and Proctor & Gamble certainly managed to tickle a few when they each released April Fool’s videos this year.
YouTube announcing they were closing for a break (of ten years) and running a final contest at the same time was particularly ingenious and even a bit believable.
Honda’s in car hair cutting machine HondaHAIR was witty and er, believable!
However many thought Proctor & Gamble with their bacon mouthwash (guaranteed to kill 99.9 per cent of all germs) had lost it. The one thing all three brands did have in common however, was that their spoofs were very funny and made thousands of consumers warm to the brands.
Humour works for brands because sharing a laugh is a ‘naturally human way’ for building camaraderie with customers. And it works online too! There’s so many ways to make your customers laugh online – through uploading photographs on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, sharing amusing posts, and pointing them towards comedy YouTube videos.
Reveal the Humans Behind Your Brand
Another way to humanize your brand is to show the real ‘humans’ – your staff, whether that’s congratulating them for running a half marathon by uploading their photo onto the company Facebook page or congratulating them for a significant achievement at work.
It could also include sharing a photo of them modelling or demonstrating a new product on Twitter or talking about one of your new services on YouTube, provided of course this is congruent with your brand culture! Identify your staff as ‘real’ people and customers will begin to see your brand in more human terms rather than as just a faceless entity. It also means that if something does go wrong in the future they’re far more likely to be sympathetic and forgiving when they already ‘know’ the staff, the real people behind the brand.
In summary, brands that promote human qualities tend to be far more successful because customers will warm to them, they’re more ‘likeable’. Fundamentally whether your brand is B2B or B2C, people buy from people. It also makes sense that individuals are more likely to purchase from someone who is ‘just like them’, such as sharing the same sense of humour or has similar charitable inclinations than a stranger (a faceless corporation) that they don’t know or really care about.
• What are you doing within your brand strategy to ‘humanize’ your brand and make it more attractive, referable and trustworthy for your target audience?
• Is your brand contributing to society, doing good work that you’re currently not communicating to your customers?
• If your brand were a person how would you describe their qualities? Now consider how you could amplify those qualities in your brand strategy to make it more human and attractive to your target audience.
Guerrilla Marketing : Targeting One to Reach Many With Your Brand/0 Comments/in Ambush Marketing, Brand Personality, Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Branding, Customer Engagement, Customer Service, Guerrilla Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Engagement, Social Media, Target Market /by Lorraine Carter
The concept of brands employing creative, innovative, and sometimes controversial tactics to generate buzz and demand attention is not a new one. However guerrilla marketing goes a step further.
By its very nature guerrilla marketing is about using unexpected tactics to generate maximum impact with as wide an audience as possible. Its success lies in creating a unique, engaging and thought provoking idea that connects with the target market and develops meaningful brand equity. Needless to say your guerrilla branding strategy needs to be totally congruent with your brand personality and what your brand stands for!
With guerrilla marketing it was often a case of the simple being the most effective. Despite a huge marketing spend at their disposal, Red Bull gained substantial exposure by choosing to adopt guerrilla tactic for their F1 London campaign; exploiting the impact of placing the extraordinary within the ordinary.
So too did McDonalds China with their McNuggets campaign.
Historically guerrilla marketing was typically viewed as a publicity stunt, with brands looking for maximum impact for minimal spend. The potential exposure and reach generated from online viral campaigns now however, has resulted in a new breed of guerrilla tactics being used by leading brands.
With greater understanding of digital metrics, brands are starting to accept the real impact that a virally successful guerrilla campaign can play on brand development. Viral success amounts to far more than greater brand awareness. The right campaign can tell a story and introduce the audience to an element of the brand personality sometimes lost in traditional advertising.
KLM are a brand who have a history of creating engaging guerrilla marketing campaigns.
With a strong social media presence in place, the brand has recently engaged in social heavy guerrilla campaigns that utilize social media data to executed targeted guerrilla campaigns to maximum effect.
KLM are the poster brand for social business. Their interaction with fans on twitter is a testament to how to develop brand image and build relationships using social media. Their willingness to engage with their fans has resulted in some incredible activities.
A recent guerrilla campaign by KLM took social involvement with fans to a new level. Over the Christmas period, KLM looked for passengers who checked into their flights on Foursquare and tweeted about waiting to board, did a little social media research to find out more about them, and then surprised them at their gates with personalized gifts. The campaign was filmed by KLM and soon went viral. It helped communicate the brands commitment to customer service, build positive brand associations, and spread brand awareness as well as a little holiday spirit.
In contrast, stress was the desired emotion of Nivea’s latest guerrilla efforts. While not as personally invasive as KLM’s airport gift campaign, Nivea too preyed on individuals to maximize viral attention. Using a variety of mediums the brand sought to play on customer stress and fear to create a context for their latest deodorant product. While KLM’s stunt was about developing brand equity through positive brand connotations, Nivea’s campaign was an obvious product push.
What both campaigns highlight is the impact that personalized guerrilla campaigns can have on the wider audience. While traditional guerrilla tactics get attention, it is not necessarily from the right target audience. By targeting individuals, the brands manage to involve all their target customers through social media sharing the experience of the campaign victims; smiling with KLM, squirming with Nivea! The use of actual customers draws the audience to identify with the people, the situation and evokes a genuine emotional response.
While some campaigns can be complex and costly to execute, the real success of modern guerrilla marketing, is to create great content, in the right context that sparks conversation and genuine emotional engagement.
Here’s the question, what kind of creative guerrilla marketing campaign, targeted at individuals but grabbing mass audience attention, could you leverage to increase genuine brand affinity with your target customers?
Have you even considered guerrilla marketing as part of your brand strategy?
Employee’s Online Reach: Are You Leveraging Yours To Grow Your Brand?/0 Comments/in Blogging, Brand Risk Management, Brand Risk Mitigation, Brand Strategy, Brand Voice, Business, Communication, Customer Engagement, Facebook, Google+, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Linkedin, Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Engagement, Social Media, Twitter, YouTube /by Lorraine Carter
Twitter followers, LinkedIn profiles, Personal Blogs. Employees are now spending time developing and nurturing personal and professional brands of their own. From communicating about personal interests, or professional expertise, employees are quickly establishing themselves as knowledgeable voices in the online space.
Whether encouraging the employee to promote the brand through their personal profiles, or developing a co-branded approach where the employee is promoted as representing the brand, having an employee with a significant online following can offer leverage to a brand looking to further its reach in the market.
Top 5 Reasons for Leveraging Your Employee’s Online Reach to Grow Your Brand
Does your Sales manager have more LinkedIn connections than your company profile? Does your Marketing Manager have more Twitter followers than your brand? Employees that have developed a strong public identity can offer numerous benefits to a brand if that reach is harnessed to promote the brand and its values.
An employee that has amassed a large online following instantly opens up the possibility of widening the audience reach of the brand online. They have established themselves as an influencer and if they use this power to promote the brand it can impact on brand awareness and image.
An employee that establishes themselves as an online expert in their field can give credence to a brand by tweeting as a representative of that brand. It influences customer perception of the brand, positioning it as leader in the market, and can generate new leads for the business through online conversations.
3. Brand image
Employees can make the best brand champions. If they love what they do, and they love what the brand represents, they are often eager to share their enthusiasm with the world. Employees who vocalize their love for the brand on their social media channels give the brand message a powerful and authentic voice.
4. Relationship Building
Many brands use social media as a tool to build relationships with their customers. Co-branded twitter handles like @ikeasupport_claire help develop a real human connection between the brand and their customers. This touch point connection can be critical in developing a meaningful and lasting relationship with customers.
Co-branded employees who use their personal profiles to promote their company can help attract high caliber like-minded people to the company and increase your valuable talent pool.
Top 5 The Risks To Your Business and Your Brand
Employee’s online activity can be a complement to a company’s own brand image. But there are implications of giving employees license to represent the brand in their personal or co-branded profiles.
1. Clash of Values
For every positive tweet sent by an employee about your brand, there are likely to be several other messages that represent the values of the employee. It is not up to your customer to distinguish which message reflects the brand values and which are solely belonging to the employee. Harnessing employee’s online reach for the benefit of brand must first ensure that the values of the brand and employee are closely aligned.
There is a danger that an employee who feels they are representing the brand communicates sensitive internal information that should not be for public viewing. You need to ensure you have very clear company policy with regard to your social media guidelines and a brand risk management strategy in place.
3. Time and Productivity
Updating social media is a time consuming process. Employees who feel that they are doing the brand a service by promoting work using their personal profiles might also feel entitled to update profiles during work hours, reducing valuable productivity.
4. Internal Resentment
There is a risk that resentment between employees can fester regarding social media use at work. How to you distinguish between the employees that are allowed to update personal profiles during work hours because it benefits the brand, and those who cannot because the value of doing so is not as significant to the brand?
5. Intellectual Property Rights
Possibly the biggest consideration of leveraging co-branded employee profiles is the argument over who holds the ownership rights to the profiles and their followers.
A sales Rep who works for a company for five years may amass a huge number of connections on LinkedIn; connections which are essentially a form of customer lists for the company. If that employee leaves the company who has rights to that profile’s list of contacts?
Noah Kravitz left his former employer PhoneDog in October 2010 on good terms. The company then sued him for $340,000 for the 17,000 followers he kept after he left the position, valuing each follower at $2.50 per month over a period of eight months.
Kravitz told the New York Times that PhoneDog told him he could keep his followers, as long as he continued to Tweet about the company.
A judge in the USA dismissed a lawsuit by a former employee of Edcomm who claimed that the company illegally accessed her LinkedIn account after she left the company; changing her password and preventing her from accessing critical contacts. Even though the account was created under the employee’s own name, the judge’s ruling gives leverage to the argument that social media content created at work belongs to employers.
Although these rulings give some power to companies in relation to intellectual property rights, the matter is still very much in the grey.
Companies need to have very specific social media policies relating to the social media activity of employees in the workplace.
Depending on corporate culture and risk tolerance of your company, you might want to embrace the business benefits of co-branded employees.
Opting for tight limits on work related social media might be the better bet when it comes to controlling your brand and managing risk.
• Does your company have a well developed policy regarding who owns what online?
• How do you distinguish between a personal online activity and one that represents the brand?
• Does your corporate culture support co-branded employees communication?
6 Top Customer Trends in 2013 and How To Leverage Them Effectively/0 Comments/in Brand Reputation, Brand Risk Management, Brand Risk Mitigation, Brand Strategy, Brand Values, Branding, Business, Communication, Customer Engagement, Cyber Threat, Facebook, Integrated Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Linkedin, Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Engagement, Social Media, Twitter /by Lorraine Carter
With so many emerging marketing trends impacting 2013 the opportunities are plentiful for brands to really make meaningful connections with their customers.
Never before have we had such easy access to copious amounts of data about our customer’s online behaviour. This gives brands invaluable insights from which leverage their brand strategy and capture market share together with increased profitability.
Equally, now is the time to identify challenges, which if left ignored, may leave your brand lagging behind its competitors, not to mention lost revenue. Seize your opportunities and be proactive in the year ahead!
1. Social Media Accountability
Social Media has been getting a bit of a knocking at the moment and seems to be making a regular appearance in mainstream news due to the increased prevalence of cyber bullying. This in turn has made online accountability and a heightened awareness of transparency in both engagement strategy, and quality content creation, a bigger issue for brands in the year ahead.
The need for proper social media training with clearly defined policy and procedures has never been more critical for brand custodians. Online risk management needs to be a top priority in 2013 for all brand owners.
2. Customer Power
The rise in crowd-sourcing and the increasing might of social media means that the balance of power is continuing to tip towards the customer. Brands need to really understand the difference between owned content and earned content. Brand engagement on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter is largely earned content through engagement with your customers.
The key for brands in the coming months is to leverage the collective voice of their customers and turn content and interactions into marketing opportunities. Don’t shy away from your customers voices, listen to them, value their needs and let this be the year your customer gets heard and becomes central to your brand strategy.
3. Brand Experience
Continuing the trend of recent years, 2013 will continue to be about building a truly meaningful brand experience for your customers.
Build a narrative around your brand and create content that reinforces your brand story and what it stands for. Emotive content has the greatest impact in the market. Structure your branding content so that each touch-point forms a memorable brand experience that engages your customer.
Focusing on your customers’ needs and creating a seamless customer experience between online and offline branding can significantly impact your bottom line. Develop a focused content plan with clear objectives tailored to your core target audience, make it more about them this year – be truly customer centric.
4. Brand Adaptability
Mobile device usage and m-commerce domination are set to make significant leaps in the year ahead. They will become a customer expectation rather than addition to the brand experience. Be the brand that drives change and adapt your brand strategy to embrace these changes. Don’t run the risk of struggling behind your competitors in 2014.
5. Data Convergence
The buzz words of digital marketing in 2013. With so many digital channels with which to reach your customers the need to analyze, interpret and translate the data into meaningful insights and actions has never been stronger.
The move on the web into predominately mobile and social media means that multi-channel reporting should be adopted so that your brand can identify the effectiveness of your multichannel mix. Use the data to determine the real contributors from each channel; refine your segmentation and get more specific with your targeting.
At the end of the day we are not trying to reinvent the wheel. The core values of your brand should still provide the direction and remain the driving force behind your business. Digital demands attention but it must stay true to the core essence of your brand. It’s a tool that enhances the marketing mix and expands connection opportunities.
The strongest brand experiences are those that are created when the brand is relevant to the customer in every context. To really benefit your customer you need to align your offline and online marketing campaigns.
Harness their synergy by creating a seamless brand engagement for your customer through all your touchpoints. Stop dividing your strategy into online and offline and start offering a fully integrated brand experience.
The returns will be evident with increased brand awareness, enhanced brand equity, more solid brand longevity and increased profitability.
How are you going to change, adapt or fully integrate your brand strategy to harness these trends to increase your revenue and grow your market share?
Persona Branding & Design Consultants
Contact: Lorraine Carter
T: +353 1 832 2724
Howth, Co. Dublin, Ireland
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