“The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” William Gibson
Future proofing your brand strategy is a constantly moving target.
Visual Communications Drive Engagement like not other content, especially in today’s smartphone drenched world.
- Be discriminating with all images used across your digital footprint.
- Content in context is vital: an image has to work with your content marketing strategy.
- You get what you pay for with images: licensed or developed. Bill Gates bought Getty Images for a reason.
- Photoshop and related tools are cool but some times polishing is gilding the proverbial lilly.
- Committees kill great design, graphics, photos or web sites. No more than three stakeholders needed.
- Curate great content with these tools: Feedly, Scoop.It, Newsle (curated social content) - I don’t use or recommend HootSuite’s built in content sourcing, not enough uniqueness.
Today real world authenticity drives value and cuts through the noise.
Robert Scoble is the “poster child” for how to build and co-mingle an authentic personal and professional brand.
Robert works for Rackspace but you rarely here him mention Rackspace, he’s too busy educating his audience. His brand DNA is all about authenticity, not pitching a brand he works for!
This video below is a deep dive (just over an hour) into using Facebook filters and originally broadcast live via G+ - it’s not “canned,” it’s real time and casual. But, it works.
Relevancy is the coin of the realm for most brands. Try to share information with your buyers that are going to make a significant difference.
- A killer content marketing strategy doesn’t exist. It’s going to take time.
- Your customers want a great user experience across all platforms.
- A lot of what you read across top tier platforms like Forbes, Inc, Fortune and/or the Economist have little if any relevance in a marketing context to most businesses under $50M.
You don’t have the “woman power” or marketing budget of a big company or a VC backed start-up; so, understand your marketing model should be different.
Be provocative with your content messaging: au contrair
can be a good thing.
I got fed up reading endless blog posts about the wonders of social media marketing and conveyed what I think is a more realistic perspective on Huff Po.
Most businesses shouldn’t think about social media unless their web site is flawless, you have something to talk about via a blog and you understand good community management is an essential skill for your company.
It didn’t get me on the Huff Po front page but felt these topics should be part of the dialogue - used “snake oil” salesman to convey tonuge in cheek humor.
Be forward thinking with your messaging. Marsha Collier is a featured speaker and a successful author who has sold millions of books.
Marsha’s consistently rated a top tier social media expert by Forbes and many others, for good reason: she shares valuable information via her blog and social accounts, she’s humble, down to earth and personifies “pay it forward” in “me too world.”.
She “owns” the #custserv hashtag and each week she’s hosting one of the most popular chats on Twitter about customer service.
She picked customer service as core message, not flogging how wonderful Facebook is for brands like many of her peers. See: forward thinking.
Try to be distinctive with your brand messaging and design attributes.
Look at a the publishing brand Medium, which I have installed on my iPhone. I love the awesome “one of a kind” original content shared on this site; it even “tells” me how long I should expect to read it and the design is minimalist in every sense of the word.
Can most of you as a small business use this kind of a design? Probably not.
But, there are elements that should resonate with you: minimalist look and feel, menus don’t burden the visitor, integrated commenting (although social shares are non-existent), much of the writing “speaks” to you with a “human to human” voice, graphics are clean, sharp and attractive.
Be inspirational when you can. Journalism is getting it’s butt kicked by digital but there is a new breed of journalists emerging like Tom Foremski.
He’s competing with TechCrucch, Forbes, Re/code, The Verge; i.e. much bigger “media properties” loaded with newly minted refugees from the WSJ, Time and the NY Times seeking fame and fortune in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere.
But, he stands out, even in this crowded field.
Tom’s passionate, well written content cuts through the clutter - there is no mistaking his position and he’s well schooled in the “cut the crap and get to the story” like David Carr.
Change the conversation to fit your brand. UnderArmour is best known today for their “machoesque” ads featuring athletes best known for their brawn and possibly beefcake attractiveness for a certain demographic.
Their most recent ad features ballerina Misty Copeland with a bit of an “in your face” (subtle and in tune with her personal brand) message that changes the conversation about Under Armour’s brand.
Be independent and broaden your brand and terms of services. GQ is embracing a mashup of print ads and digital.
The Ad Spend on print ads are in a nosedive, declining 4% to $12.8 billion this year and heading south to $9.3 billion by 2018 according to PricewaterhouseCoopers report.
GQ’s parent company, Conde Nast publishing is offering access to and a joint promotion with a group of “GQ57″ readers across multiple digital footprints for advertisers spending over $100K.
Advertisers will get “reach” into influencers like Blake Scott across web sites, Instagram sites, a special print insert and personal blogs.
What’s Cool About this Strategy & Challenging
There is an elitist component to the advertising. But, moving forward, expect to see more and more campaigns like this.
It’s hot because it blends print ads across a broader digital landscape, giving advertisers incremental reach.
Conversion tracking may be a headache for advertisers and a there are a lot of moving parts; i.e. building out an ad campaign across so many properties.
Native or not? Will these “ads” via other sites be clearly labeled as ads; or, will they blur the lines between ads and content further? And, possibly dilute Cone Nast’s brand cachet?
Stand out from the herd with ads with strong visual appeal.
This ad from AliancaFrancesca for learning French cuts through the clutter.
It’s targeted visually for the right demographic; younger millennials who are traveling more frequently, with disposable income and who accept piercings as pretty commonplace.
We are now in a multi-screen world - more and more “prosumers” are consuming content across multiple screens. Stand out or get lost in the crowd.
Source shareable content with these six inite attributes to drive incremental brand engagement with your business.
- Research and curate industry pain points your customers are facing.
- Address customer questions that are problematic.
- What are trending industry topics?
- What’s the story in your industry with data? This can be used to create topical informative content.
- Identify and talk about your brand’s story. See: HP started in the garage, Michael Dell selling dorm room to dorm room, Sara Blakely spending years prototyping her product.
- What’s going on outside your industry that is relevant to it? Makes for thought-provoking content.
Scaling your brand requires a blend of marketing activities. Data is exploding at an unprecedented rate and you need to be aware of these six key marketing metrics to help you stand out.
- Strategy is implicit across all marketing channels and processes: goals, brand engagement, clickthriough revenue generation, content development creation and syndication, measurement.
- Tools and marketing platforms are one of the most important aspects of scaling a brand for sourcing content, social media sharing and posting and measuring your marketing activities.
- Content marketing is ground zero for all marketing initiatives and it’s much more important than just about any marketing activity you undertake. Your brand has to create and share great content with a target market segment and a blog is the best place to start. It may sound mundane but it’s the voice of your business.
- Interacting is one of the most misunderstood aspects of social media. Probably 75% of the brands I look at have little of any social media engagement of any meaningful type. Success with social requires more than just broadcasting content. Engage!
- Brand consistency is also an integral part of your key marketing initiatives. Your customers and social followers are constantly reviewing the content you are sharing across the social web. If your a retail manufacturer your customers want to source content from you that helps to make their lives easier, with a dash of good humor now and then. Sex, drugs, rock and roll images via an Instagram account are probably not a good idea. Images that show how/why your customers are using your products or related products are great to share.
- Measurement is the component that brings all of your activities together, it should dovetail with you strategy, encompassing basic Google Analytics Goals to real time measurement services like Crazy Egg or MixPanel (two of our favorites). Measure the right things, too many brands focus on the wrong metrics: impressions, views, clicks, likes, shares which really have minimal correlation with actual business results. Measure the incremental steps in your sales funnel that will lead to revenue generation.
Brand sustainability comes down to creating value for your customers. All the marketing strategy in the world won’t do squat if you’re not educating customers.
Write, share and be social accordingly and you’ll thrive.