Blogging · Branding · Campaigns · Content Marketing · Entrepreneurs · Marketing · Public Relations · Publicity · Social Media · Strategy · Uncategorized

Thrive with Content Marketing

Ever wonder how corporations like Proctor & Gamble and Disney managed to enter into the social scene and thrive? Well, they learned to embrace the art of content marketing.

A big part of my job involves content marketing. Perhaps, I should add that to my resume, I know it will receive major brownie points on my current employment search. I’ve always been a writer, and a creative soul…so in a sense, the task came…dare I say it…naturally.

However, I am aware that everyone is not a writer. Nor is everyone a creative person…and that’s where I come in!

By the end of this post, you will have a better idea of what content marketing is, as well as what it is NOT.

So, what is content marketing?

Wikipedia defines it as the creation and sharing of content – social media, blogs, white papers, case studies etc. –  in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Simply stated, content marketing is mastering the art of connecting and communicating with current and potential consumers without selling to them.  Instead of pitching your products or services, strive instead to deliver information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if businesses deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward them with their business and loyalty.

Of course, content marketing requires a great deal of research, strategy and planning on the companies’ end. One thing that has helped me in the process was the creation of a content calendar. Not only have they helped me to keep our brand voice consistent, but it also helps me to get our messages across in a timely, entertaining yet knowledgable fashion.

The goal should be to get your audience to like you. If they like you, they are more likely to share your content (hello, brand ambassadors!) as well as become buyers of your product or service.

To effectively engage in content marketing, be sure that you are:

1. Creating relevant, quality content

2. Using the right language

3. Connecting with your target audience (as they say, everything is not for everybody)

4. Engaging in the right content platforms (blogs, facebook, twitter etc.)

Consumers are shying away from traditional advertising & marketing. However, you can still engage with your buyers by mastering the art of content marketing.

Below is an infographic that attests to the continued growth of content marketing.

What strategies do you incorporate into your content marketing strategy?

Branding · Campaigns · Entrepreneurs · Marketing · Strategy · Uncategorized

BRANDnew…The Art of Rebranding

Rebranding is something that every company has or will have to go through at some point.

Holiday Inn is one of my favorite brands that recently went through a rebranding process.  The hotel underwent a billion dollar rebranding process with the help of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). The re-launch included a new logo, remodeled bedrooms and a revamped welcome experience starting in the lobby area.

Now, Holiday Inn is a well-known hotel brand, but statistics reported that they hadn’t underwent a change since 1982! That is a long time, especially with so many competitors on the horizon, this process was necessary.

If you are thinking about rebranding your business, I recommend rebranding the whole business, not just a facelift…ie. a new logo. Think about revamping the whole customer experience.

Below are 5 crucial steps to an effective rebranding process:

1. Research. Everything, everything must begin with research. Take time to find out what went wrong by conducting focus groups, surveys or simply conversing your your regular clientele. If sales are declining, take the time to find out why. Could it be the product’s performance, formula or general reputation? A consumer poll through a marketing and research team might be in order as a way to figure out what could be wrong with your brand.

2. Keep the importance of your brand identity in mind. Don’t lose sight of what your company mission and goals are.  Holiday Inn was known as an affordable option for hotel stay. Even though they went through a rebranding process, they’ve always been able to celebrate the fact that they are trusted, well-known brand that was loved by money-conscious travelers.

3. Get all teams involved in the process. Don’t rely solely on the marketing team as they may not know what is going on the finance or operations department. Involving all teams will ensure that internal processes and procedures are appropriate given the new brand messaging, or determine that they need to be altered in some way. Additionally, this will garner a sense of excitement in the employees who are tasked with representing the brand.

4. Deliver on the new promises. Don’t let the excitement die down after a new logo or a interior design. Show customers that the process was thorough and consistenly ask for feedback to ensure that they are happy.

5. Introduce something new. Social & digital media, for example, has continued to flourish. Find out what competitors are doing online and determine if it’s worth the investment. Also, think about the new environmentally-friendly initiatives that have gained popularity lately.

5. Pace yourself. Rebranding cannot be successfully accomplished overnight.

6. Revisit your rebranding strategy every few months or years to ensure that it is consistent and truly working for the greater good.

Has your company underwent a rebranding strategy? What strategies did you implement? If not, name one of your favorite brands that went through a rebranding strategy?

Branding · Marketing · Public Relations · Publicity · Social Media · Strategy · Uncategorized

What makes a good brand?

That is the million dollar question. However, before we can answer that, we have to answer the obvious question: what is branding and how can it effectively help your product and/or service?

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

Therefore it is safe to say that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about positioning your company to prospects as the “go-to” source for providing a solution to their problem.

A strong, trusted and identifiable brand can not only help you sell your product and/or service, but it can also open the doors for future community and business partnerships. People want to work with (and buy from!) established brands that have positioned themselves as leaders in such a saturated world.

With that said, I think it’s impossible to answer the question: what makes a good brand. Rather, a strong brand can help to deliver a message clearly. That message could range from new product developments in the marketplace to the benefits of a purchasing cell phone plan from Verizon over AT&T.

A strong brand can also motivate the buyer. This is where the importance of knowing your target market comes into play. If you know the attributes, behaviors and circumstances that motivate your buyer, then you can apply these into your branding strategy.

Furthermore, a strong brand builds customer loyalty. Effective businesses view their brands as tools that allow their messaging to cut through the noise of an overcrowded marketplace. They also position themselves as trusted brands based on the fact that their product and/or service has delivered on its’ promises in the past.

“The lack of a solid foundation for a brand will ultimately undermine its future success. This foundation goes beyond the logo and brand fascia and provides the underpinnings of legitimacy and ability to deliver real value.”

– Bill Nissim

If you are new to the branding world and working on creating a branding strategy, ask yourself this one question: What is my brand value and how can I use it to keep consumers coming back? That answer can vary depending on the scope of your business.

Campaigns · Marketing · Social Media · Strategy · Uncategorized

I am currently implementing three of these marketing trends daily for both of my positions!

INSIDE A MARKETING MIND: BLOG BY GARETH CASE

Here are my top 5 marketing trends to look out for as we approach 2012.

1. Location Based Marketing (LBM)

This is all about delivering content (usually to mobile devices) to consumers based on their location. Imagine getting a push message from Starbucks as you walk past one of their stores offering you a free muffin with your coffee.  It can be achieved using a number of technologies including Mobile Phone Tracking, WiFi and RFID

2. QR Codes

2011 has seen a massive increase in the use of QR codes on everything from advertising campaigns to product packaging. Their novelty factor has not worn off as quickly as some predicted and we are now seeing them used on ATL and BTL advertising from some of the biggest brands in the wold, right down to family run businesses. Expect to see a lot more QR codes in 2012

3. Video

Video…

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Advertising · Blogging · Branding · Campaigns · Inspiration · Marketing · Public Relations · Publicity · Social Media · Strategy · Uncategorized

Writing an Effective “About” Page

My “About” Page is still in progress. I’m sure i’ll update it periodically as I continue with my research. I feel like that is the beauty of blogging…constant updates, with no backtalk!

Came across this great article today that features 10 ways to create your “about page”. I think these are great points. Feel free to check it out here.

What are some pertinent factors that you believe should be included in an effective “about” page?