As a business, there needs to be some focus on branding. What is branding? To me, it means that you want to ensure that your customers know who you are and what you stand for. But most importantly, that you know, and are clear with your internal audience about, who you are and what you stand for.
I’ve been lucky to be a part of organizations who have put a focus on this and those who have not, and have seen how those two scenarios differ. Those who put a focus on branding knew what needed to happen in order to get the correct message out to their key audience(s). Those things were:
- Internal brand guidelines to ensure that the internal audience knows what the brand stands for
- Dedicating resources to ensuring that your brand is communicating the appropriate messages, in the appropriate ways, to its key audience(s)
- Dedicating resources to ensuring a consistent brand look & how the brand is presented to its key audience(s)
- Discussing branding and marketing as part of the overall business’ success
- Allowing the marketing, or branding, department to be the holder of how the brand is presented and being the brand police
You can image how successful those efforts were. When branding and marketing was a part of all initiatives, it made the messaging consistent, it helped ensure that internally everyone was on the same page, and that the key audience(s) felt like the brand had its best interests in mind.
But what happens when marketing efforts are disjointed, or forced in to saying yes to things and not being a part of the greater picture? You end up being left without branding. Your brand might say one thing internally, but when there isn’t a key group of people in charge of being the brand police, you get a lot of different cooks in the kitchen and you put out a very disjointed message to your key audience(s).
Don’t let the second scenario happen to you. Become your brands champion. Fight for it internally first, and begin to make strides externally with a focus on your website, SEO, social, tradeshows, brochures, etc. Any and all communications efforts should be consistent.
P.S. Here is a recent article from emarketer titled: B2Bs Struggle to Integrate Digital Communications
This summer has been a huge blessing in disguise. Granted, I am still fully seeking employment and hope that it shows up on my doorstep sooner rather than later but I wouldn’t change things for anything. Just as I told one interviewer that I wouldn’t change anything about the path I’ve taken in my career I also wouldn’t change anything about how things have panned out this summer.
This summer I got to be home with our wild, crazy, curious, stubborn, and all boy toddler. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, I’ve kissed many boo boos to make them better, and we’ve gone on more than one adventure with the hopes of becoming a “super dude.”
There have also been some key lessons that I’ve learned while managing through this stage in his life. Lessons that can be applied to both life & work scenarios. So here goes:
- Strategy is everything. If you don’t have a strategy for the day, you’ll get nowhere.
- Expect to get nowhere even with a strategy.
- Be ready to switch gears at the drop of a hat.
- Naps are EVERYTHING!…for both kiddo and parent.
- Don’t cry over spilled milk. Your kiddo might, but you shouldn’t. Let the little things go.
- Don’t try to conquer a mountain, climb a mole hill instead & work up to climbing that mountain one day.
- Practice, practice, practice. Eventually you’ll get the hang of hitting a ball with a bat and be able to swing for the fences!
- Always be learning. There’s so much unknown still out there!
- Repeat things…over, and over, and over, and over, and over…people will either lose interest or just give in. But at least you tried to get your point across.
- Push boundaries and try to do things on your own.
There are so many more lessons but I love our little dude and what he’s brought our life.
I just downloaded and read the 2015 state of social marketing report from Simply Measured. As we all know, social media isn’t a fad that is going away. But, how big of a role does it “really” play in the marketing mix? How much of the budget should it take up? How much time should you invest into it? These were all great things to learn about. I even tweeted out some screen shots, so be sure to follow me on Twitter, @Linder83.
So let’s start from the top in my own words:
How large of a role should, or does, social play in the marketing mix?
- Large enough that it has its own strategy
- Large enough that if possible the “team” has more than just one person setting the strategy & executing upon it, looking at analytics, and writing the content
How much of the budget should social get?
- According to the report, the breakdown should be the following – overall marketing budget should be 10% of the company revenue (this we should all know already), digital marketing should get 25% of that 10%, and social should get roughly 10% of the 25% –>this last number is on the rise!!!
How much time should you invest into social?
- Ideally, enough time to set a strategy, execute upon it, listen & respond to your customers, analyze the metrics, write the content, and anything else. The actual “time” depends on how large your team is and how large your business is, or how large your reach is and how many platforms you are on as well as how different the content is on each platform.
- “Modern marketers don’t have to make purely qualitative decisions. The data available for any digital channel arms marketers with the ability to quantify their entire social marketing process.”
- “Social is now viewed [as] a legitimate channel in the marketing mix, which means there are three distinct needs, just as there are in other areas of digital marketing, like email or web:
- The ability to define and plan a social strategy.
- The ability to execute on that strategy.
- The ability to measure the success of the strategy and execution.”
- “2015 is the year to focus on video on Facebook. Video has made a big impact for brands, and is a major component of Facebook’s strategy to keep users engaged on the site. Make video a large focus of your Facebook marketing plan.”
- “Regular tweeting is key to brand success. 74% of brands tweeted at least three times per day (including Retweets and @replies).
- •Tweeting out links is becoming the social standard. The number of links tweeted by brands increased 72% from Q4 2013 to Q4 2014.”
- “Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks in history…Instagram has become the go-to platform for users interested in both sharing visual stories, and consuming them.
- Publish at least one post per week. Seventy-five percent (75%) of top brands publish at least once a week.
- Don’t keep your brand off Instagram just because it’s not obviously visual. Many unexpected brands have found success on the network.
- Pay more attention to caption content than length. Caption length has no correlation with engagement levels.”
- “Over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and generate billions of views each day.
- Know what your best type of content is, and maintain a regular schedule.
- Reach out to communities that are relevant to your videos. “
- “Pinterest has been raising brand eyebrows for some time now due to its ability to connect social and commerce.
- Be sure to use general, highly searchable terms in your pin description, the origin URL, and your original photo title.
- Create a foundation of evergreen content: content that is not news-, time-, or even product- based, such as how-to images. This will increase the chances that your pins get recycled through Pinterest and retain their positions on the top of search results pages.
- Varying your posting timing can expose your brand to different segments of the Pinterest population and lead to more exposure, repins, and followers.”
- “Tumblr has over 234.6 million blogs, with more than 110.1 billion posts to date, and has attracted some of the biggest brands in the world. This is largely due to the customization and creativity that Tumblr encourages. Brands on Tumblr can build a blog using one of the thousands of templates the network offers, or by designing their own in HTML. Few social networks allow this type of flexibility.
- Use the tools that Tumblr provides. Their marketing blog (marketr.tumblr.com) and brand resources provide tips and tricks that any brand can use.
- Focus on amplification. Tumblr posts last longer than other networks, but only when created with longevity in mind. “
- “Google+ may be the most powerful social network you never use. Integrated with YouTube, Gmail, and several other services, Google+ has over 2.2 billion registered users…Despite criticism about declining adoption and low engagement, Google+ has attracted 78% of top brands, and 66% actively posted in the month of April.
- By adding your circles and select individuals to your share settings, you trigger a notification for those users that you’ve shared a post directly with them.”
- “Marketing programs constantly evolve, and social media is no exception. The real challenge will be for social marketers to understand the relationships and inter-workings of other digital marketing channels, develop a common language with other teams, and continue to measure and improve programs.”
Lastly, go ahead and download this awesome report from Simply Measured!
*Updated 9/4/15: A great article about the importance of Effective POP in a Retail Environment
I’ll tell you about something that makes me, as a marketer, cringe. Allowing sales to run with a retail strategy without any involvement from marketing. The reason that I cringe isn’t because I don’t think that sales has a part in this kind of strategy, they absolutely do. However, to say that “we’re taking a different approach” tells me that only the sales and selling side is being considered.
I cringe because a mentality of “anyone can be a marketer” is being applied. A lot of business efforts need to keep marketing and branding in mind. In order for your customers to know who you are, regardless of what market you are focusing on, you need to have a consistent message. By letting everyone run their own campaigns you are going to get away from your core brand…unless of course everyone is completely in sync with everything which would be truly amazing.
Marketing has the unfortunate job of being the nay-sayer now and again, the teacher, as well as the communicator of what can’t/shouldn’t be done due to the importance of maintaining the integrity of the brand. This is even more critical when you are talking about a retail side to your business. This is where you are coming face to face with your direct customers who are seeing your brand because it is what they are looking for…and if they don’t see something they like, then see you later!
What do you think?
Yesterday I began exploring Lynda.com. It’s been a while since I visited the site and it has changed tremendously. Before going ahead with my free 10 day trial I wanted to watch some sample episodes and the one that caught my eye was the free marketing tips.
As it turns out…Facebook has decided to change its CPC definition which for all of us in the marketing world means that we’ll actually get to truly measure the effectiveness of our Facebook ads. We will no longer have to say that we’re doing a good job simply because people are clicking “like” on our ads. We will actually be able to track link clicks, which is what we’d measure for all of our other efforts. In essence, how many real conversions did we get from all ads and compare Facebook ads to other PPC ads.
Read more about it on brainpulse.com or visit Lynda.com
For me, that’s a plus, and as an aside…I love the above cartoon. I have learned a lot from all of my positions and wouldn’t change my career path for a second, not even the times that I’ve been unemployed. Those times have been very nerve racking but lessons none the less.
However, I can see why I could get a question about why have I worked in 4 companies over the course of 9 years. I have no problem answering those questions because if I hadn’t made the choices that I have made, I wouldn’t be at all able to apply to the roles I am applying now. But the question does make me wonder if the person on the other side is truly understanding that notion. I think it all comes down to how I deliver the message and how willing they are to understand it. It also depends on their background and if they come from a position of a similar background or one where they have worked in the same place for years and have been granted wonderful opportunities.
If I were them and was able to partake in the same kinds of opportunities in the same great company, of course I would be happy to call one place home. However, and having seen this first hand, being in one place for too long has its negatives. People might perceive you to only know about one particular market, which isn’t a fair assessment because as long as you took on new responsibilities who cares where you have worked, it’s all about the experience and what you took away from it.
All in all, this little ditty is about making sure you can deliver your message clearly and stand by what you say. For me, it’s that I’m quite proud of my varied background and the extra skills that I can bring to a job.
Good luck in your search!
Everybody is already working outside the office. In this day and age, for the exception of France…those lucky French, everyone is reachable 24/7. There are even those that are proud of themselves for being reachable 24/7, cue Josh Altman from Million Dollar Listing LA.
So what’s my point? My point is that flexibility is what people are seeking in this day and age. Work life balance has become a huge topic and companies are striving to recruit the best talent. But the best talent is also seeking the best fit which doesn’t always mean being tied to a cubicle for your 9-5, which isn’t a 9-5 anyway.
I’m of the mindset, these days, that as long as the work gets done I don’t care what kind of hours someone is working. I have to admit, I wasn’t always this understanding and I can absolutely understand why others may not get the flexibility factor. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think those of us who do want to work, really want to work, are willing to be the hardest workers out there but some times life will have to come first. We’re not looking for flexibility for the sake of being slackers, we’re simply looking to be the best we can be in all aspects of our life. If that means that that person needs to work from home every now and again to juggle it all, and still get all the work done, then by all means. If the work doesn’t get done, then I would hope that that person would be self aware enough to know that there might be an issue and try to fix it before it needs some kind of disciplinary action.
Work at home, work in a coffee shop, work in a university library. Whatever drives you and motivates you to be the best that you can be is what I would want out of an employee.
Balancing a career, a child and all that goes with that, as well as being a wife and homemaker can make anyone feel like there is no balance at all. The reason may be that when you are doing any of those things, you’re trying to do them at 110% each and every time.
It can be hard to explain to a potential employer that the reason you’re asking about what regular hours are like is not so you can have leniency but so you can juggle all of those other balls while contributing both at work and financially. A new employer does not know how dedicated you are, so it is up to you to prove that to them and show that during the hours that you are there you are committed to the job and making them look good.
I personally try to be the first person in, rarely take a lunch, and do as much work as humanly possible while I am at work. But when I know that it is time to leave so that I can go pick up my child, I have to go. Staying late is an absolute option but not one that I can commit to 100% of the time at this point in my life. But that does not mean that after my son has gone to bed I will not be checking my phone and answering emails.
It’s all about that balance and making sure that all the balls are constantly in the air. How are you ensureing to keep a work life balance?
Finding a job is like dating. Will he call? Why hasn’t he called? When will our next date be? Will we become exclusive? If I don’t call, will he think I’ve found someone new and come back? It’s one big mind trick and it all depends on how you persevere through it until you find “the one.” Hence why the job search is like dating.
So what do you do to get through it all? Keep going, have fun, be the best you, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You need to make sure that you are putting you first and making sure that whatever choice you make it’s not just so you can say you have a job, although sometimes you do have to make that choice, but that it’s the right fit for you and your life. I’ve had opportunities not work out where I was incredibly bummed but had to pick right back up again and found some better fits career wise. I’ve also moved on to opportunities which I should have been more cautious about and watched for the red flags in interviews.
Do what’s right for you and truly make sure it’s the right fit.