attractBluehost hosting reviewsaudience doesattract best candidatesGodaddy online couponsGood web hosting sitesHosting windows servicethatcustomerconsideration

branding

Is your content a commodity? Why you need to think like a producer.

By | Branding, Content Marketing, CRM and lead generation, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

“Marketing is broken. Social media won’t save it. Online ads won’t reinvent themselves. Google’s acquiring. Public relations is changing. The music industry is reinventing itself. The movie business is struggling. Newspapers are dying. Your email inbox is full. Your mobile device is always on. Your DVR is recording. Your iPad apps are updating. I don’t need to tell you that the media business is in flux.If you’re going to survive in a world where everything’s changing, you’re going to have to think differently.” Hard to argue, right?

As Andrew Davis book Brandscaping is a very interesting take on how we should approach marketing. Rather than the current fad of creating loads of content much of which is seen as a commodity he states we should all be acting more like producers and try to find the right content for our audience. “Brandscaping is bringing like-minded brands and their audiences together to create content that increases demand or drives new revenue for the products and services you sell.” I really like this approach because it is based on supporting those who actually create the content that your audience will love and support them.

There are four  great reasons why I love this approach. 

1. Most of us aren’t brilliant writers. Let’s face it we don’t run a copywriting business. So it makes sense to focus on what we do really well which is our product or service offering.

2. I don’t think outsourcing this to a marketing team or copywriter is the answer either because often they are good writers but don’t understand our business or don’t have the passion or creativity for sustained engaging content.

3. By aligning your business with a someone or an organisation that is already providing content for the audience that you serve. Support them. A perfect example of this is Ducttape Marketing support Hubspot because they create a lot of How too documents. The opportunity to build a brandscape is to position your business with a undiscovered talent that can create content to drive demand for the products or services you sell. Think like a producers not a marketer.

4. Just because you are creating content don’t assume your audience is consuming it! In fact if you create poor quality content it could have the opposite effect to consumption. The amount of information created is created at an unbelievable pace. The key is to find the most effective channels for reaching your own particular audience and to get them to consumer on a regular basis. You want a relationship, so focus on reach and quality and relevance.

I ask myself this question: If I stopped by blog today would anyone notice?

It would be fair to draw the comparison between films like the latest Bond Movie Skyfall and their obvious product placement to sell more of a brand but the distinction Davies makes is that the alignment needs to be authentic and have the same set of values for the audience to buy into the partnership and for the association to work as a marketing tool.

So if you want to leverage content as an asset rather than an expense. Creating content relationships and sharing audiences, tapping into multiple niches, pooling your resources with other brands that value the same audience makes sense.

Davis describes three elements to a successful brandscaper:

1. Confidence to back the content of others with a belief in them and their audience no matter how small, is valuable.

2. Show humility by understanding that your customers care more about just your products and services.

3.Willingness to pool resources and share your audiences will allow your marketing budget to go further.

I will add one more

4. Choose your partners carefully. Think “what would your customers also like.” Align around values.

Some potential partnerships:

Nespresso store in Chadstone and Apple. They both have the same audience and could work together around topics like convenience, design and quality.

Dan Murphy could have a wine TV show like Gary Vaynerchuk’s.

Business Bank with Marketing Critique of small businesses plan as a TV channel (just putting it out there!)

Lorna Jane fitness clothing  and chef Justine Schofield

How to make a start

1. Join a LinkedIn group that your audience is participating in and contribute frequently.

2. Seek out the best tools or resources share them with your audience. (name the source and get permission always)

3. Brainstorm a good hook. It could be critiquing something, creating interviews with industry experts, 10 top tips.

4. Identify and explore content holes in your market.

5. Look for a great idea to serve your market. Someone might have built and app your audience would love. Share it, promote it. Underwrite it. A start-up looking for a partnership?

6. Who already owns our audience?

7. Where does our audience live online?

8. What sort of talent can we work with to make our brand more relevant, more often?

9. What content does our audience already have a relationship with and how can we embrace it?

10. What products/ services do our customers buy before they have a need for us?

 

Are you talking all about you, AGAIN?

By | Branding, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

When I look at your website can I tell that you get me? I mean if you really understand my needs, or is it all about you? I am not interested in all about you. The problem with the majority of websites and I dare say most marketing materials, is  that they shows a distinct lack of understanding and insight about two things:
1. The ideal customers that they are trying to attract
2. A way of positioning the value that they offer to that customer group so it is effective.

Maybe this lack of insight  that is resulting in this swell in demand around research, buyer personas, geotargeting, consumer panels, crowd sourcing, social media mapping, branded communities and more.

Larger corporates are leveraging any means possible to provide insight into product development, positioning, sales touch points and refining their brand footprint. As a small business we can take a more immediate and simple approach but it is useful to stay abreast of the technologies used to discover real-time insights.
Some examples of companies in this space are:
Panelportal.com makes it easy for companies to deep dive into what customers think about their brands in real-time using a cutting-edge, socially inspired branded member community website. In real-time you can get feedback from the community on any idea.

Usamp -With 9 million panelists. Usamp combines self-service, mobile ap on demand audience, branded panel.

Gfk.com is a retail research company that has been around for ages but has adapted its research to take in more social media and mobile tools.

So what is the take away for us. Well as a small business ask your customers for their opinions. It might be as simple as having a suggestion tab on your website or doing a yearly survey using wufoo or survey monkey. The direct approach sometimes works well. Is there anything I could be doing to serve you better. Ask for recommendations in LinkedIn and read what they have to say. Do a poll on Facebook. Great a persona of your ideal customers and check it against who you are attracting.

Look at your marketing materials from your customer’s point of you. Are they written to them or more about you? It is not just about your customers but also your employees. Do you ask them for feedback about how they feel about working with you? They often have some good insights for better ways to serve your customers.

Tools

Content Mapping. This Barbara Gago Persona Mapping pdf is a great tool for mapping out your content strategy using the buying cycle and a persona profile template to profile your ideal customer.

Identify your ideal customers: who are those people you serve best and love to work with. Focus on these. This template helps you narrow your focus and allows you to be more purposeful with your marketing strategy.

Key functions of a brand for a small business

By | Branding, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

What is a brand?

The collections of perceptions about your company.

Brand is not just a packaging, tag-line and logo. Brand is every interaction with your customers. The perceptions your customers have about your brand, influences whether they choose you over a competitor.

Brand is more than a logo.

Do you have brand recognition or awareness or just a corporate identity with a logo? Many small businesses spend a lot of time on their logo or website without considering the messaging to the target audience to see if it will resonate and any time promoting their communications. A brand is not just visual, it is behavioral. Are you listening to your customers?

I bought an Apple Mac computer this week. Until then I had a Dell and had been very happy. The support was fantastic, they were proactive with their sales calls and not pushy. Despite enjoying my Dell laptop it did get viruses and I didn’t feel as cool as I might. I even stuck on a Apple logo on my Dell saying to clients ” I want to be an Apple computer”. So you get the picture. So the time had come and I ventured into their Chadstone store.

The store the atmosphere and the branding everywhere made you feel like you were somewhere special. The uniform of the staff being hip and the furniture and layout super cool. Then  I met a salesperson called Clay. He was helpful but not energetic like I imagined a Apple person to be. I felt like I got the right technical advise but the service  left me feeling ripped off. First I asked Clay if there was anything else I needed (perfect up-sell opportunity). I thought at the end of the conversation I had everything only to discover when I got home I didn’t. I didn’t have the extra software I asked for and I didn’t have a mouse which I think is key. What’s more the 1 to 1 registration that we did for extra support in the store had locked me out on my new computer at home. All of this I could live with but then I experienced more dissatisfaction when I went back into the store for the second time in 2 hours. This time Igor told me I had to bring in my old laptop with my new laptop so they could see how long the appointment time would be for support which I then had to book! Holy cow, totally rubbish support and not only that, apparently wrong. I spoke with another salesperson when getting my wireless mouse and he (Chris) said I could book the support/ lesson on line. Come on Apple what is going on? I tell this story because Apple have nailed their physical brand. The logo, tag, store and salespeople appearance, but it all is devalued the moment you experience less than satisfactory customer service. Someone needs to start training these geeks in customer service fast!!! Interesting also is there is no where on the Apple website to make a customer compliant. Not at all promoting the right image in assisting customers.

Brand attributes: for a brand to do its job well it should have the following benefits.

  • Recognition/ awareness: Does the market know you exist? Have you heard of x company?
  • Top of mind awareness: memorised your brand
  • Brand preference: choose you over others, they need what you do.  They like you.
  • Differentiation: they believe you are different to the other choices.

Remember the famous McGraw Hill ad from about 30 years ago? The one with the grumpy, old man saying, “I don’t know you. I don’t know your company. I don’t know what you stand for. Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?”

Brand can help give you sell you service by providing a level of trust and comfort in the eyes of the customer.

What does branding do?

1.Branding – draws clients to you and gives you opportunity to meet face to face with customers.

2.Brands pulls everything together in a cohesive package which gives the your business a visual identity.

3.Brand can make price less of a consideration in the buying cycle.

4.Brands increase sales effectiveness. Brands help generate leads. It makes lead generation programs work better.

5. Brands helps you beat the competition.

6. Brands facilitate repeat purchases as customers prefer to buy from you.

7. Brands attract the best candidates.

8. Brands increase value of a company.

Brands have many long term financial benefits. So as a small business think about brand as more than the physical elements and put as much effort or more into the messaging about what you stand for and delivering the brand promise to your customers.

Insight taken from Professional Service Marketing by Mike Schultz and John Doerr

What is a brand? Key functions

By | branding | No Comments

What is a brand?

The collections of perceptions about your company.

Brand is not just a packaging, tag-line and logo. Brand is every interaction with your customers. The perceptions your customers have about your brand, influences whether they choose you over a competitor.

Brand is more than a logo

Do you have brand recognition or awareness or just a corporate identity with a logo. Many small businesses spend a lot of time on their logo or website without considering the messaging to the target audience to see if it will resonate and any time promoting their communications. A brand is not just visual, it is behavioural. Are you listening to your customers?

I bought an Apple Mac computer this week. Until then I had a Dell and had been very happy. The support was fantastic, they were proactive with their sales calls and not pushy. Despite enjoying my Dell laptop it did get viruses and I didn’t feel as cool as I might. I even stuck on a Apple logo on my Dell saying to clients ” I want to be an Apple computer”. So you get the picture. So the time had come and I ventured into their Chadstone store.

The store the atmosphere and the branding everywhere made you feel like you were somewhere special. The uniform of the staff being hip and the furniture and layout super cool. Then  I met a salesperson called Clay. He was helpful but not energetic like I imagined a Apple person to be. I felt like I got the right technical advise but the service  left me feeling ripped off. First I asked Clay if there was anything else I needed (perfect up-sell opportunity). I thought at the end of the conversation I had everything only to discover when I got home I didn’t. I didn’t have the extra software I asked for and I didn’t have a mouse which I think is key. What’s more the 1 to 1 registration that we did for extra support in the store had locked me out on my new computer at home. All of this I could live with but then I experienced more dissatisfaction when I went back into the store for the second time in 2 hours. This time Igor told me I had to bring in my old laptop with my new laptop so they could see how long the appointment time would be for support which I then had to book! Holy cow, totally rubbish support and not only that, apparently wrong. I spoke with another salesperson when getting my wireless mouse and he (Chris) said I could book the support/ lesson on line. Come on Apple what is going on. I tell this story because Apple have nailed their physical brand. The logo, tag, store and salespeople appearance, but it all is devalued the moment you experience less than satisfactory customer service. Someone needs to start training these geeks in customer service fast!!! Interesting also is there is no where on the Apple website to make a customer compliant. Not at all promoting the right image in assisting customers.

Brand attributes: for a brand to do its job well it should have the following benefits.

  • Recognition/ awareness: Does the market know you exist? Have you heard of x company?
  • Top of mind awareness: memorised your brand
  • Brand preference: choose you over others, they need what you do.  They like you.
  • Differentiation: they believe you are different to the other choices.

Remember the famous McGraw Hill ad from about 30 years ago? The one with the grumpy, old man saying, “I don’t know you. I don’t know your company. I don’t know what you stand for. Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?”

Brand can help give you sell you service by providing a level of trust and comfort in the eyes of the customer.

What does branding do?

1.Branding – draws clients to you and gives you opportunity to meet face to face with customers.

2.Brands pulls everything together in a cohesive package which gives the your business a visual identity.

3.Brand can make price less of a consideration in the buying cycle.

4.Brands increase sales effectiveness. Brands help generate leads. It makes lead generation programs work better.

5. Brands helps you beat the competition.

6. Brands facilitate repeat purchases as customers prefer to buy from you.

7. Brands attract the best candidates.

8. Brands increase value of a company.

Brands have many long term financial benefits. So as a small business think about brand as more than the physical elements and put as much effort or more into the messaging about what you stand for and delivering the brand promise to your customers.

Insight taken from Professional Service Marketing by Mike Schultz and John Doerr

Your personal brand Vs your company

By | branding | One Comment

I was speaking with a client the other day and he suggested I need to separate  me Dan the person,  from MacInnis Marketing the brand. This statement got me thinking. Is this advisable or even possible when you are a small business delivering a service?

The personality of the brand MacInnis Marketing is all tied up with who I am and my values. My value is intricately tied to that. The very reason clients choose to use me as a consultant is I would argue because of who I am? Obviously this is different if you run a  large company with a number of employees, but in a small business doesn’t the person count more? Isn’t it more relationship based? Do you choose your dentist, accountant, lawyer and doctor because something about their personal brand resonates with you?

Tom Peters from FastCompany says how important it is to nurture your personal brand “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” Tom explains in today’s world of self publishing, of social media, of 1 to many everyone has the chance to stand out as a brand.

Anyone can have a website, twitter account, Facebook page and as Tom explains, any body does, so how do you know which one is worth visiting or following? The answer Tom suggests is branding. The branding is the promise of value you receive so you go back again and again. Professional service firms are all about delivering an intangible service and so to stand out it is the individual that must distinguish him or herself. As Tom explains “if you’re really smart, you figure out what it takes to create a distinctive role for yourself — you create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.

What if you don’t want to grow beyond yourself as a entrepeneur. What if you are not looking to hire, then what? Laura  Bergell’s wrote a great article on discovering your brand and Laura would suggest the essence is knowing who you really are and how your customers see you.

Here is how my customers say they see me:(worlde)

So I believe your personal brand is all wrapped up in your company when you are a small business and particularly a sole practitioner so here are some ways you can work on your personal brand:

1) Identify the qualities that makes you distinctive from others.
2) Think about the things that can add remarkable,measurable,distinguish and distinctive value in you.
3) Increase your visibility
4) Analyze the feature and benefits you are giving to your customers.
5) Continuously evaluate your self,how you as a brand is doing.
6) Never limit your scope. (Thanks Kuldeep-Kashyap – student)

So I guess thinking about my client’s comment I am really glad that my personality, values and strengths are part of my brand and I hope to evolve and grow by the gift of feedback from my clients. I don’t think can separate myself from my brand and in fact I want to do the opposite and use forums like this to further build my profile and identity with others.

Good food for thought!

Small Business Branding Webinar series

By | small business marketing, social marketing | 2 Comments

This content from: Duct Tape Marketing. John Jantsch has come up with some great content here.

Small Business Branding Webinar Series

Over the course of the last month  John has been conducting live online panel discussions with some great guests on a range of small business marketing and branding subjects. Featuring Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan, and David Meerman Scott on the subject of online branding.

You can listen to this session and the entire series archive here.

Take our Marketing Health Check I'm marketing savvy!