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9 Key Mistakes to Avoid in Chatbot Marketing | Social Media Today, 20 oct 2019
When Is It Time To Leave Your Digital Marketing Agency? | Franchising.com, 20 oct 2019
Influencer marketing done right: Brands need a scalpel, not a sledgehammer | The Economic Times, 19 oct 2019
Top 12 Big Data, Analytics and Data Science Influencers of 2019 | Analytics Insight, 19 oct 2019
AI And CRM: Will Customer Management Get Easier? | Forbes, 19 oct 2019
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Advertising | Customer Think, 18 oct 2019
The power of PR in a post-advertising world | PRWeek, 18 oct 2019
Is Branding Just for Large Accounting Firms? | CPAPracticeAdvisor.com, 18 oct 2019
You can't use Western digital marketing tactics for emerging markets - so adapt | The Next Web, 17 oct 2019
The 'Megatrends' Shaping Consumer Behavior | WWD, 11 oct 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2019
According to Wikipedia, 'Place branding (including place marketing and place promotion) is a new umbrella term encompassing nation branding, region branding and city branding. Place branding is the process of image communication to a target market. It is invariably related to the notion that places compete with other places for people, resources, and business...A place brand is a network of associations in the place consumers' mind based on the visual, verbal, and behavioral expression of a place and its' stakeholders. These associations differ in their influence within the network and in importance for the place consumers' attitude and behavior (Erik Braun, Sebastian Zenker; 2017). It therefore aims to affect the perceptions of a place and position it favourably in the minds of the target groups. Place branding can even be considered as a governance strategy for projecting images and managing perceptions about places (Erik Braun, Jasper Eshuis, Erik-Hans Klijn; 2014).' Bill Baker, veteran place brander and author of the recent book, 'Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions and Downtowns: The Essentials for Successful Destinations', while speeking with Bobby McGill, founder and publisher of Branding in Asia, shares insights based on his long experience in destination marketing and tourism development. Mr. Baker says, 'Tourism can play a very positive role as part of an economic development strategy. However, locations around the world are recognizing that there is the need for a tourism masterplan to balance the marketing of the destination with the need for sustainable and harmonious development to meet community values and aspirations while meeting the needs of external audiences.' Explaing some of the mistakes in place branding, he says, 'The most common mistake or weakness that we see in place branding very often relates to positioning. Defining the brand position for a city, downtown or region is, without a doubt, the most important and trickiest part of the entire process. If they don't get this part right, everything else will miss its mark, since it's the positioning and its relevance to target audiences that informs and shapes all other elements of the brand. Compounding this is the challenge of dealing with the many competing voices of stakeholders.' He also cautions, 'Place branding can be a perilous journey. Some do a great job with defining their brand identity, but soon falter or fail when it comes to deployment and brand management, and the consistency needed to follow the agreed strategy. Others are unable to sustain the leadership, funding, personnel, and partner enthusiasm required to succeed...Our experiences have shown that a lack of understanding about branding, particularly among key decision-makers can be the Waterloo or graveyard for a place branding initiative. Unless staff and committees can get beyond thinking in terms of logos and taglines, or mistaking a snappy campaign theme, then their efforts to define and deploy a genuine, unifying place brand will likely fail.' Regarding the book, he says, 'The focus of my book is on smaller cities and regions, and their focus may not be on tourism alone. Instead, their brand development may be centered on an overarching brand to embrace tourism, economic development, education, relocation and inward investment. Developing an overarching brand often brings to the table many participants who may not be familiar with branding, or in some cases, marketing.' He suggests, 'A multitude of stakeholders will be, or at least should be, involved in revealing a city or downtown brand, and this will depart from the accepted path for branding corporate products and services. One reason for this variation is the composite nature of places. They are a compilation of many independent and competing businesses, products, and experiences that are owned and managed by many different entities. There's no single custodian or owner of the brand. Community leaders who are aware of the differences in branding places and consumer goods are in a much better space to adapt to these challenges when they become evident...One of the leading determiners regarding who will lead the effort comes down to who is funding the project. Place branding frequently involves a single source of funding...Economic development organizations and DMOs (Direct Marketing Organizations) are usually the best-situated entities to plan, coordinate, and manage a place branding initiative...Determining the lead organization can involve balancing acts...Hence, the calls for DMOs to broaden their roles within communities and bring all parties together.' Read on...
Branding in Asia:
Q&A: Insights from Veteran Place Branding Guru Bill Baker
Author: Bobby McGill
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 may 2019
Graphic design enhances the value of the brands and creates their visual memory in the audience's mind. Check out the latest trends in graphic design and keep evolving - 3D design and Typography (Brings life and depth to flat designs); Mid-century Modern Elements (Give both a mid-age and modern touch to any design); Custom Illustrations (Heavily influenced by natural and botanical elements, with softer lines and less bold text); Buxom Serifs (Serifs are smarter, better, and make content stand out); Open Compositions (Make the elements appear to be floating off of the screen); Isometric Design (Creates an entire universe in the tiniest of spaces and gives depth to any design and object); Pops of Vivid Color (Provides attention grabbing graphics); Strong Typographic Focal Points (Make content visually strong and readable, a function much needed for small devices and social media feeds); Light and Dark Color Schemes (Create a visually stunning impact); Futuristic Influences into the Mainstream (Make the brand stand out and be influencer in the marketplace); Complex Gradients and Duotones (Look great on mobile devices. Add depth and create a timeless look); Colorful Minimalism (Combining design with necessary components using minimalist approach. Limited color use); Art Deco (Add glamour quotient); Bookman and Old-style Serifs (High legibility and contrast of the traditional serifs make them a great choice to highlight the brand's value); Subtle Motion (Enhances user experience and engages users with the interface. Adds seamless transformations and transitions); Abstract Geometry and Shapes (Fits in any design that demands a modern and expressive look. Makes visuals stand out); Asymmetrical Layouts (Create visual tension. Elements have a more complex pattern); Variable Fonts (Are flexible within the multidimensional space. Consume less bandwidth and load websites or web pages faster). Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 may 2019
Ad-free environment is an expected reality with subscription-based models, ad blocking tools and alternatives to traditional media already available. Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Proctor & Gamble, predicts that we're evolving into a 'world without ads' as brand engagement with customers changes with technology and consumer requirements. Gary Ellis, Co-founder and COO of Remesh, explains how branding will shift and survive in this ad-free environment. He says, 'There are infinite possibilities for filling the void left by traditional advertising. Success will depend on translating traditional advertising insight into new engagement tactics. Advertisers will need to focus on how they can fit themselves organically into their customer's experience, rather than disrupting a customer's experience as is often associated with traditional advertising.' He adds, 'Consider what is central to the brand building experience, which ranges from embedding tech in products to targeted ads. Pritchard predicts an increased desire for personalization, an interest in learning about a brand's values and more brand experiences. This means a brand's ability to connect with people on a human level plays an even more critical role in this new engagement paradigm. An emotional function will serve as the main connector, and one that can come in many forms.' He further explains, 'Targeted advertising is about two things: relevant content and demonstrating comprehension of customer needs. It stems from the desire to be 'helpful' – providing an audience with the information they need so that they can quickly and easily find what they are looking for. In an ad-free world, what were once targeting challenges can be avoided. This means not just focusing on personalization, but context.' Read on...
How Will Branding Survive In A 'World Without Ads'?
Author: Gary Ellis
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2018
Corporations have student ambassador programs in which they hire students to promote their brand on educational campuses. These campus representatives create buzz about the companies during career fairs, work with student organizations to invite company professionals for guest lectures, talk about their internship both in-class and outside, give samples, post on social media about them etc. Adam Grant, CEO of Campus Commandos (a youth marketing agency that runs student brand ambassador programs), provides essential elements that companies should consider when hiring students to talk about their brands on campuses - (1) Compensation: Think beyond monetary compensation; Enhance their learning and skills; Provide interaction and networking opportunity with company leaders and executives. (2) A Hands-On Approach: Have direct involvement in the program; Keep interacting with students during the program; Preferably, don't entirely outsource the program to another company. (3) Future Opportunity: Provide opportunity for internship and future employment for best performers; Engage students with the company's human resources. (4) Mobile: Incorporate mobile technologies in the program; Utilize documentation tools available on mobile devices that allow student ambassadors to provide pictures, videos and notes. (5) Work Schedule: Understand student's work schedule; Work out expectations of the program around the student's educational priorities. (6) Organization: Build a program that incorporate goals; What is required by students to reach these goals; Their progress reports; Recognize top performers. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2018
In today's businesses, digital is one of the critical component that defines their growth and success. With digital and related analytics, organizations can easily track and create insights to better understand consumer behavior for their benefits. Gabriel Shaoolian, founder of DesignRush, provides valuable statistics in marketing, website design and branding for efficient online strategy and subsequent online success - (1) By 2021, mobile e-commerce will account for 54% of all online sales. (2) 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive. (3) Long landing pages generate up to 220% more leads than above-the-fold calls to action. (4) Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. (5) Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%. (6) 64% of consumers say that shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand. (7) Content marketing efforts receive three times the leads per dollar spent than paid search receives. (8) 64% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a branded social video. (9) Facebook Ad revenue in the US will surpass total print ad spending by 2019. (10) Email has a median return on investment of 122%. Moreover, he suggests the following key points to be noted for digital strategy - Create an easy-to-use website that works on all platforms and devices; Design a memorable brand identity that communicates well with consumers; Maintain an honest and transparent relationship with customers; Invest in content marketing and social media advertisements; Test video marketing campaigns to engage users; Don't forget about the power of email marketing. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 oct 2018
Brands are all around and everything that is put forward for public consumption requires adequate branding. Sumarie Schreiner, founder of BrandBrew Consulting, explains the value of branding and what is essential for building great brands. She provides 5 core pillars for brand building - (1) Link The Thinking And Feeling: Great brands connect, resonate and then become acceptable. They connect thinking with feeling, and attract attention and keep interest with the promise of something extraordinary. They offer value beyond products and services and make a difference. This inturn evoke emotions and provides sense of belonging, thus creating trust. (2) Build Trust: To build trust requires consistency and time. Trust provides reassurance. Trust is inherent part of human senses. It constitutes both environment and people. Trust = Reliability + Desirability x Experiences. In the present push economy people are more empowered and demanding. Their experiences define their standards of expectations. (3) Offer Value Beyond Your Product/Service: Value builds trust and need to go beyond products and services. Value is both objective and subjective and is derived from all the interactions with a business. Value creation needs to run through the DNA of the organization. It should be the way of life. Outside-in approach offers true value. Relevant and valued experiences are build in response to customers' needs at the right time and place. (4) Differentiate To Those People You Want To Connect With: Understanding diversity of needs helps provide solutions accordingly. People want to belong and connect with other people and organizations that share their values. Differentiate but more importantly make a difference. (5) Help Those People To Connect And Belong: Shared values and belonging develops true connections with emotions. Human-centered, outside-in approach connects at an emotional level and builds long-term relationships. Storytelling helps to differentiate and creates a space in people's memory. Brand is defined by what customers and employees feel about the business. Unlock and cultivate the value offered and keep building on the trust earned. Read on...
"Trust me, I'm a brand!" - What is the value of branding?
Author: Sumarie Schreiner
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jun 2018
Logos are a brief visual representation of what the brand is all about. They help brands connect with customers and a memorable logo make it easier to do so. According to Siegel+Gale's 2015 study, 'Logos Now', memorable logos are 13% more likely to get consumer attention and 7% more likely to make them want to learn more about the brand. Ross Kimbarovsky, founder of Crowdspring, runs one of the world's leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo designs, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. Following are five things he recommends all organizations to do before hiring someone to design (or redesign) their logo for optimal results - (1) Your brand has to come before your logo: 'Your logo must derive meaning from your brand, not the other way around. Before a logo can communicate anything about your brand, you will need to better understand your brand. What values, practices, benefits, products or services set your company apart and make it unique?' (2) Assess what styles you like and don't like: 'New design trends and fads in logo design appear every year and not all designers can effectively incorporate popular trends and avoid the fads...Spend some time looking at various styles and build up a list of what you like and don't like.' (3) Decide what you are willing to pay: 'Pre-made logos is a terrible idea that will actually harm your business in the long run...it's not possible for a client to get a great logo for less than several hundred dollars. There's simply not enough incentive for a designer to spend time creating a custom design unless they get a reasonable fee for their work.' (4) Write a stronger 'project brief': 'The project brief can make or break a project...Most designers have limited time to do their work, so they will be picky when choosing which clients to work with...Help designers understand how you see your company or your products...Define the problems and define your goals: designers are problem solvers.' (5) Decide who will make the final branding decision: 'One person should own this process and be able to make the final decision...Pick a group of 2 or 3 people whose opinions you trust, whether in-house or not. In fact, people outside your company can often be better at this than insiders.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2018
Consistent communication through various channels both internally and externally is the key for successful public relations. Eileen Sheil, ED of Corporate Communications at Cleveland Clinic, shares her PR experience and suggests key elements that PR teams should be focused on. Regarding her PR strategy at Cleveland Clinic, she says, 'We are trying new communication approaches that better reach our target audiences through the media and to our key stakeholders. Sharing our stories internally and externally about patient care, innovative procedures, medical research, opinions on important healthcare issues, and breaking news will help people know more about the work we do to help patients locally, nationally, and around the globe.' Following is her advice for PR teams - (1) Be Strategic About PR: Know the organization and industry; Know the company's narrative and be consistent in your communication; Conduct reputation research and develop a PR strategy; Know your audience; Research and alter strateg as needed. (2) Go Digital: Traditional media is essential but amplify the communication through latest digital technologies. (3) Measure The Value Of PR: The Barcelona Principles (initially developed in 2010 and updated in 2015) are used to measure the real value of PR; Focus on qaulity of coverage to build better reputation; Learn to use metrics, data and analytics to drive strategy. (4) Be One Communications Team And Build One Strategy: Internal and external communications are merging; Be consistent to all shareholders. (5) Know This Is A Journey: Teams should continue to evolve, learn and make their work better together. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 apr 2018
Business-to-business world have a different set of rules and dynamics than business-to-consumer when it comes to branding and how interactions happen with prospects and customers. Ryan Gould, VP of Strategy & Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, explains how B2B world is fragmented, challenges related to inconsistency in branding and what can be done to improve, enhance and control it. He explains, 'The role of the B2B buyer has evolved along with the rest of the world, and importantly, power has gradually shifted to the hands of millennials. Despite 73% of millennials making purchasing decisions, we are still seeing the world of B2B approach these individuals as if they are the same buyer from 5, 10 and even 20 years ago.' Millennials are the new B2B buyers and B2B marketing had to evolve accordingly. Emphasis on branding and brand building becomes critical. Marketing efforts should be aligned, whether it is social media, email marketing, sales collateral, video etc, and focus on addressing the need of potential buyers and differentiate effectively from competition. Sales-driven nature of B2B sector still holds supreme with marketing becoming secondary to it. But with new buyers sales pitch is not sufficient and they seek better connect with brands they deal with. B2B marketers have to understand this dynamic to build strong business relations. B2B marketers also face challenges related to their budget and lack resources to accomplish all their tasks and had to shuffle between various roles. This gives them insufficient time to focus on brand strategy and to build an overall brand value. Fragmented nature of B2B business adds to the chaos with various departments working in silos. Branding consistency in this environment becomes a challenge and customers get confusing inputs. The brand in this scenario lacks uniformity in content, design and messaging. According to HubSpot, only 50% of B2B marketers are treating visual content as a priority. Marketers have to work on this and fully utilize the power of digital and develop creative strategies to have a better connect with millennial decision-makers. B2B organizations must prioritize branding as their target consumer market is sensitive to it. One statistics suggests that 23% of average revenue increases are attributed to brand consistency. B2B marketers should play their role accordingly - understand target audience, recognize the importance of branding, realize where brand is falling short and develop better brand consistency by using latest tools and solutions to have a connect with customers and establish trust. Read on...
Why is inconsistent branding so prevalent in B2B organizations?
Author: Ryan Gould
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 mar 2018
Corporates often fund nonprofits to fulfil their commitments and responsibilities to the communities they operate in, and also to enhance their brand value and achieve a positive public relations. But, since the funds are limited and there are number of competiting nonprofits, corporates seek best value and return on their giving and investments. Nonprofits have to find ways to differentiate themselves and give an attractive proposition as part of their corporate fundraising effort whether they are considering cause sponsorship, 'pin-up' or point-of-purchase campaigns, corporate volunteering/employee engagement or cause marketing. Chris Baylis, president and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective in Ottawa (Canada), suggests ways to consider for successful corporate fundraising - (1) Corporate partnerships are not just philanthropy. Think beyond the good cause, clearly define your audience and understand the value of your brand. Determine the interest and buying power of your audience. (2) Use your cause to attract (and define) your audience and your audience to define and attract prospects. Use the cause as a valuable link to connect your audience and prospects. (3) Make your value known to the prospects and list every single asset you have to offer. Estimate the cost of similar exposure and services that prospects can avail elsewhere. Understand the value of your audience. (4) Logo placement, although more visible to the public, is just a small component of cause partnership. Think more of real value and outcomes. (5) Share fulfillment report with your partners and how it is tied to their goals. It explains the value they got in return, satisfies internal decision makers, helps in renewal of contract and build long-term partnerships. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 feb 2018
As streaming video services on internet get popularity, advertising on television is seeing a decline. Now advertisers are shifting their dollars towards digital. In 2016, US revenues from digital advertising exceeded revenues from TV for the first time - US$ 72.5 billion (+22%) compared to US$ 71.3 billion from TV. This trend is also reflected in global markets. Some corporates are even focusing solely on digital advertising. The young (13 to 24 years age) are showing less affinity towards traditional advertising as they spend more time on Internet in comparison to TV. Only 36% of consumers noted that they cannot do without a TV screen. Meanwhile, 67% cannot imagine their lives without YouTube and 51% seem to lose meaning in life without Netflix. The same audience is watching 2.5 times more internet videos than traditional TV. Video-bloggers are the new influencers for the young population as they advocate brands and products while sharing their experiences with them in the form of effective video presentions. Video bloggers are becoming a guaranteed way for advertisers of reaching target audiences and getting predictable results. Influencer marketing is becoming more relevant. Return on investment from online videos is 77% more than from TV promos. The main trend nowadays is native advertising through opinion leaders. Traditional advertising is slowly getting outdated and a personalized Internet, along with personalized advertising, is becoming the real future. Read on...
The Next Web:
Advertising in the digital age - Why online-first is the future
Author: David Geer
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2017
Marketing continuously evolves, and there is always something new for marketers to test, experiment and validate, and bring it to mainstream, whether it be ideas or technologies. Here are expert predictions for 2018 - (1) Zoe Burns-Shore (Head of Brand & Marketing, First Direct): 'Hopefully, more companies will start to realise digital marketing and marketing are one in the same, and the joy of all of that is seeing how everything works together, not in channel-led silos.' (2) Rachel Bristow (Director of Client Partnerships & Collaboration, Sky Media): 'It's no longer enough for brands to be passive about their brand identity as consumers are expecting more from the brands they engage with. Often this means taking a political viewpoint in order to be relevant and engaging...Although having a political voice can elevate a brand's purpose, it comes with a host of reputation risks which brands need to carefully consider. CSR also helps align a brand with a purpose while mitigating some of those reputation risks of being politically vocal.' (3) Harry Lang (Marketing Director at Online Sportsbook Pinnacle.com): '...I'm going with eSports...Now it's getting organised and brands are paying over the odds to jump on the bandwagon - the trend lines suggest it's only going to get bigger.' (4) Aedamar Howlett (Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Great Britain): 'We will add more choice and breadth to our portfolio...tap into macro consumer trends like healthy living, exotic flavours and on-the-go snacking...we will evolve the ways we communicate and engage our consumers. The trend for instant, real-time conversations and connections with brands will continue...also trialling chat bots and AI, as well as investing in editorial-style content-led media partnerships that tap into the mass appeal of social influencers to consumers...(there) is an evolution in the way marketers use and present data insights...(insights) will allow a more personalised, targeted approach for 2018.' (5) Craig Greenberg (Head of Strategic Planning & Insight, William Grant & Sons UK): 'As consumers are constantly bombarded with information across various channels, we will see more brands attempting to cut through the clutter to become memorable...it is brands that have a differentiator aligned with their brand heritage in a credible way that will win in the long term...consumers will seek brands that build on their identity, meaning a bigger push towards 'local' specificity in luxury brands...in a period of uncertainty, big brands may feel detached from a sense of place and strive to get closer to communities.' (6) Ben Rhodes (Group Marketing Director, Royal Mail): '...continued growth in retail ecommerce - and the associated need for more convenience and choice in delivery and return options...consumer trust in messaging received via physical mail to continue to grow, compared with digital channels.' Read on...
What's in store for 2018? Marketers share their predictions
Author: Lucy Tesseras
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 sep 2017
Team of researchers - Anatoli Colicev of Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan), Ashwin Malshe of University of Texas at San Antonio (USA), Koen Pauwels of Northeastern University (USA) and Peter O'Connor of ESSEC Business School (France) - in their paper 'Improving Consumer Mind-Set Metrics and Shareholder Value through Social Media: The Different Roles of Owned and Earned' published in Journal of Marketing, describe the impact of social media on stock market performance via three consumer mindset metrics: brand awareness, purchase intent, and consumer satisfaction. According to the research all the social media posts are not created equal. Owned social media (OSM), i.e. company's own posts, is likely to increase brand awareness and customer satisfaction but not purchase intent. While earned social media (ESM), i.e. what consumers say about brands on social platforms, is even more valuable, potentially increasing all three consumer mindset metrics. Prof. Koen Pauwels says, 'Consumers look to their peers before making purchasing decisions, which is why earned social media is so valuable. Both investors and consumers distrust companies who boast about themselves, because it's hard to know what weaknesses they're trying to hide.' The researchers also found that consumer satisfaction and purchase intent are primary contributors to firm value. While higher consumer satisfaction was found to increase stock market returns, greater purchase intent was shown to both increase stock market returns and lower idiosyncratic risk - risk that is endemic to a particular stock and not a whole investment portfolio. The researchers used time series analysis to decipher the link between social media posts on various platforms consumer mindset metrics, and shareholder value. Prof. Pauwels suggests that research findings could assist marketers to develop more effective social media strategies. He says, '...marketers and social media managers should craft their OSM messages to target customers to improve brand awareness and customer satisfaction. Due to the value-relevance of customer satisfaction, OSM that is targeted toward helping customers post-purchase, addressing their concerns, and reinforcing their purchase decisions is much more valuable than OSM crafted to persuade customers to buy the firm's products.' The research also found that brands with high credibility (reputation) are far more likely than brands with low credibility to increase purchase intent with their own posts. Read on...
News @ Northeastern:
When it comes to social media, consumers trust each other, not big brands
Author: Jason Kornwitz
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2017
Businesses invest heavily on external communication and PR, but internal PR can sometime take a back seat and get neglected, although it is as important and keeps organizations focused and uniformly branded. Lindsay Nahmiache, Co-founder and CEO of Jive PR + Digital, explains the value of internal PR and provides three creative ways to enhance internal PR strategy. She says, 'Effective internal PR benefits brand identity, boosts employee retention and paves the way for a connected culture where teams are focused on common collaborative goals.' Moreover, digitally evolved workplaces and remote collaboration has brought in new communication dynamics that need to be addressed with robust internal PR strategy. She explains, 'In my experience, creating a forward-thinking internal strategy requires consistent and open two-way communication that is fueled by team cohesion and recognition.' (1) Openness: Promote teamwork; Place trust in your team; Attend outing with employees and do team oriented activities; Start hashtags that reflect your office culture and encourage team member participation; Once a month organize socializing events during office time. (2) Consistent Two-Way Communication: Encourage questions and open discussions on best practices and solutions; Consistency is key for collective innovation and individual responsibility; Publicize internal PR through multiple channels; Hold scheduled weekly meetings with all employees in one place to ensure lines of communication are open about current and future projects; Give higher-level insight into new employee hirings, business decisions, holiday news and more during weekly manager meetings. (3) Team Recognition: Team members respond positively to recognition of their work because it confirms their impact on the bottom line; Take time to reward your team through informal or formal awards; Hold innovation challenges by creating opposing teams; Focus on client wins as much as you do with client struggles. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2017
Personalization and customization are key for better customer relationships. According to a new research commissioned by RICOH, more than 2/3 of European consumers say the best brands are those who treat them as individuals. The survey of 3600 consumers across Europe was conducted by Censuswide. Consumers were asked to rank brands in terms of the quality of the relationships with them before (reach), during (respond) and after (retain) purchase. Chas Mahoney, director at RICOH Ireland & UK, says, 'The research we commissioned shows 57% of consumers would also spend more with brands that make them feel like valued customers. This heightens the fact that driving business growth must be intimately linked to making interactions easy and ensuring consumers feel appreciated. ...The right technology along with streamlined digital processes are the most powerful tools in the battle to satisfy and retain today's consumers.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2017
The rise of the mobile phones and mobile internet users worldwide is expected to result in growth of mobile advertising. But according to Celtra and On Device Research, mobile ads are unpopular with users - 60% of clicks on mobile banner ads being an accident, 71% saying half the ads disrupt the mobile experience and 69% saying that mobile ads obscure content. The research also finds that top-performing mobile ads (top 20%) follow some common principles, when followed (6 or more) by brands will lead to better ad performance - Logo presence on every frame; Human presence; Product shots; Placing branding at the top; Caution with dual branding; Single clear message; Video; Humour; Interactivity; Strong call to action. Alex Saric, CMO of Celtra, says, 'To effectively tell their stories, brands must ensure quality creative in their ads...By combining the guidelines from this study with a compelling story, and enabling such quality ads at scale, only then will advertisers realize the full potential of their advertising efforts.' Alistair Hill, CEO of On Device Research, says, 'These recommendations are rooted in robust quantitative analysis and as such provide a useful check list for mobile marketers to reference before embarking on a mobile brand campaign.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 apr 2017
John Murphy, founder of Interbrand, first coined the term 'branding' in 1985 in his book 'Branding: A Key Marketing Tool'. He explains the value of brands and branding and its evolution through the years. According to him, 'Our view of a brand 25 years ago was quite prosaic and utilitarian. We viewed it as a business asset whose purpose was to enhance the earnings of the brand owner. We saw a brand as a product or service, or business, which had developed a personality that was appealing to consumers. This is still mainly true today, but with the development of branding has come a great deal of over-elaboration. Much of what is being offered by branding consultants today seems to be deliberately over-complicated...A good consultant makes the complicated simple, not the simple complicated.' He adds, 'A further trend, which I dislike, is to view branding as a kind of religious or life-enhancing process...It amazes me that brands, things developed to benefit their owners, have acquired such reverence. In practice, branding's reach has expanded greatly over the last quarter century, but the fundamentals have not changed much at all; and a great deal of the increased sophistication of the brander's art is illusory.' He cautions, 'Just remember that a brand is a differentiated product or service, or company, with a distinct persona. Treat it carefully and appropriately in order to reflect and enhance this persona. Even if you develop the most wonderful brand in the world, you may still suffer business failure. On its own, a brand can never guarantee business success; conversely, without a brand, business success may prove impossible.' Read on...
Branding might be everywhere, but it's as simple as it ever was
Author: John Murphy
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2016
According to Mapp Digital's whitepaper, 'Consumer Views of Email Marketing', more than 98% of consumers, aged 18-64, check emails at least one to three times a day. The survey for whitepaper included a national panel of 1765 consumers between the ages of 18-64, 70% had a household income of over US$ 35000 and participants were evenly distributed by gender and geographic region. The findings point out the importance of age in receptiveness of email marketing. Nearly 2/3rd (64%) of respondents aged 55-64 said that they will delete email, as opposed to 38% of 18-24 year-olds. 91% aged 18-24, and 83% aged 25-34 said that they use smartphones to view emails. It suggests that for effective email marketing, optimize for smartphones. Mike Biwer, CEO of Mapp Digital, says, 'Email marketing is still very relevant to brands, specifically for the hard-to-reach 18-34 year-old audience. The survey results suggest that this group of consumers are engaging with fewer brands on a more intimate level. Millennials and Gen Y are strong audiences for email marketers, but now more than ever, the email marketing experience needs to cater to what they want and how they want it.' Read on...
Email marketing still vital for targeting young US consumers
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 sep 2016
Journalism industry faces numerous challenges and is going through a difficult phase, as comedian John Oliver recently expained in his show on HBO. But there is also a ray of hope as the demand for good content is high and there is need of editorial skills. Journalism aspirants, who aspire to be Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein, may not feel happy about it though. Kayvan Salmanpour, chief content officer at digital marketing agency iCrossing, says, '99% of brands struggle with content because they publish without an editorial mindset. So I think (editorial is) hugely important - now more than ever.' He explains what brands can learn from media companies when it comes to content and suggests the following - (1) Hire an editor in chief who can have ultimate control of the content produced and can assure it's quality. Content represents the brand. (2) Create an editorial mission statement before anything else. There is need for clarity of objectives and everyone in the organization should be aligned to it. (3) Put the audience first as compared to brand/product first. Create content that is audience focused. Find the intersection between what the audience wants to read and what the brand stands for. (4) Don't try to be everything to everyone. Good content fits seamlessly between the brand and its target audience. It may even require conducting psychographic studies of the target audience and thinking about their habits in excruciating detail. Read on...
Journalists, take heart - Content marketing needs you
Author: Lisa Lacy
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2016
Packaging is an important component of product handling, logistics, advertising, marketing and selling. There are variety of materials that are currently in use for packaging. Environmental challenges arise due to the waste generated through discarded packagings. The packaging industry is exploring better materials that can reduce environmental footprint. In spite of scientific breakthroughs in developing new packaging materials, there are issues related to their performance and price, inhibiting their mass adoption and usage. Bryan Shova, packaging designer and industrial design director at Kaleidoscope, explains sustainability aspects of packaging. He says, 'I dream of the day when material science and manufacturing can deliver on the promise of zero environmental impact, high performance, premium finish and low costs.' He explains, 'The viability of true sustainability is a complex economic challenge, and the ugly truth is that few consumers, brand owners or municipalities are willing to pay the premium price for cutting-edge sustainable packaging solutions. True solutions will come through "systems thinking" that requires the material supplier, manufacturer, retailer, consumer and the municipality to share in the premium costs and labor required to design, collect and recycle packaged materials.' He provides 10 principles for designing sustainable packaging - (1) Start with commodity materials that are commonly recycled. (2) Design the package from a single material. (3) Focus on the product-to-package ratio. (4) Design for assembly at the point of manufacture. (5) Avoid gluing and laminations. (6) Design for distribution. (7) Eliminate secondary and tertiary packaging when possible. (8) Design for disassembly. (9) Clearly mark the materials on the packaging components. (10) Use Lifecycle Assessment. Read on...
10 ways to design sustainable packaging with intent
Author: Bryan Shova
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 jun 2016
Creativity and innovativeness are some of the most sought after skills and qualities that are required in all types of industries. These abilities keep the wheel of businesses and organizations running, and stay competitive. Fast Company developed a list of 100 most creative and innovative professionals for 2016. The list includes individuals from 13 countries and has 50% representation of women. Here are selected few in MARKETING, BRANDING, ONLINE COMMUNITIES, MEDIA and ENTERTAINMENT (The numbering is retained as in the original list) - (1) Lin-Manuel Miranda (Composer, Lyricist & Performer. Rap Musical 'Hamilton'): For making history in entertainment. (2) Divya Nag (Head of ResearchKit and CareKit, Apple): For moving Apple into the doctor's office. (3) Jill Soloway (Writer, Director, Producer at Topple, Amazon Studios): For televising the revolution. (4) Jean Liu (President, Didi Chuxing): For building China's biggest ride-sharing business at breathtaking speed. (5-6) Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli (Co-Creative Directors, Valentino): For turning a storied fashion house into a US$ 1 billion juggernaut. (7) Cindy Holland (Vice President of Original Content, Netflix): For offering Netflix viewers a lot more to binge on. (10) Amit Agarwal (VP and Country Manager, Amazon India): For extending Amazon's reach, one vendor at a time. (12) Katie Nolan (Host of Sports-Comedy Show Garbage Time): For shaking up sports. (13) Mark Fields (President and CEO, Ford): For steering Ford in a more adventurous direction. (15) Carlos Mario Rodriguez (Director of Global Agronomy, Starbucks): For keeping Starbucks and farmers everywhere, full of beans. (17) Rachel Tipograph (Founder & CEO, MikMak): For making infomercials binge-worthy. (18-19-20-21) Sarah Schaaf (Community Director, Imgur), Alex Chung (Founder and CEO, Giphy), Adam Leibsohn (COO, Giphy), Nick Bell (VP of Content, Snapchat): For creating and curating the most clickable content on the Internet. (25) Kakul Srivastava (VP of Product Management, GitHub): For seeing the people behind the code. (27) Baba Ramdev (Founder, Patanjali Ayurved): For disrupting India's US$ 49 billion consumer packaged goods market. (28) Martin Lotti (VP, Global Category Creative Director, Nike): For stretching Nike in new directions. (29-30-31) Will Ruben (Product Manager, Facebook), Laura Javier (Product Designer, Facebook), Jasmine Probst (Content Strategy Manager, Facebook): For seizing the moments through Facebook Moments photo app. (35) Sara Wallander (Concept Designer, H&M): For putting a new face on H&M through eco-conscious beauty products at low cost. (37) Kathleen Kennedy (President, Lucasfilm): For restoring the Force to "Star Wars". (38) Dylan Field (Co-founder & CEO, Figma): For redrawing digital design. (39) Alex Wolf (Founder & CEO, BOSSBABE Inc): For leading a millennial girl gang. (40) Chance The Rapper (Musician, Chance The Rapper): For generating music that's priceless. (41) Jennifer Bandier (Founder, Bandier): For turning leggings into art. (42) Dani Rylan (Founder & Comissioner, National Women's Hockey League): For giving women a shot at a professional sport. (43) Jill Szuchmacher (Director, Google Fiber Expansion, Alphabet): For shaking up the hidebound business of broadband. (44) Zainab Salbi (Host of The Nida'a Show): For being a voice of change and foster frank communication in the Middle East and North Africa. (45-46) Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer (Co-founders and Co-Chief Executives, Everplans): For helping us make arrangements through a mobile-optimized consumer platform to build a digital vault of everything. (47) Chris Young (SVP & GM of Intel Security Group, Intel): For expanding Intel's arsenal through products with focus on bettering customer's security infrastructure. (50) Quincy Delight Jones III (CEO, WeMash): For fostering harmony between mashup artists and copyright holders. (51) Jeff Turnas (President, 365 by Whole Foods Market): For lowering the grocery bill. (52-53) Heben Nigatu (Social Producer, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), Tracy Clayton (Co-Host, Another Round, BuzzFeed): For mixing comedy with commentary. (55) Adam Grant (Professor of Management and Psychology, The Wharton School, U. of Pennsylvania): For pinpointing the secrets of success. Author of the book 'Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World'. (60) Ryan Coogler (Director, Marvel Studios): For being a knockout filmmaker. (63) Emily Oberman (Brand Designer & Partner, Pentagram): For giving Snoop's product line some California cool. (64) Amy McDonough (VP, FItbit Wellness, Fitbit): For bringing exercise to the enterprise. (65) Neha Narkhede (Co-founder & CTO, Confluent): For teaching businesses to read Kafka. (66) B. J. Novak (Co-founder, Li.st): For putting everything in order. Allowing people to create and share content in the form of list on Internet. (69) Ricardo Vice Santos (Co-founder and CEO, Roger): For being a fresh voice in messaging. Lets users exchange recorded sound snippets. (71) Ivan Askwith (Founder, Askwith & Co.): For knowing how to get fans more of what they want. Specializes in community building and crowdfunding projects that empower fans. (76) Susan Salgado (Managing partner, Hospitality Quotient): For spreading hospitality. (80) Asako Shimazaki (President, Muji USA): For importing the cult of Muji, Japanese housewares brand, to the United States. (81) Cassidy Blackwell (Brand Marketing Lead, Walker & Company Brands): For combining razor-sharp storytelling with product marketing. (82-83) Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson (Co-founders, ATX Television Festival): For getting television fans off the couch. (84) Nicole Van Der Tuin (Co-founder and CEO, First Access): For turning mobile phone payments into credit histories. (91) Kamasi Washington (Jazz Saxophonist, Kamasi Washington): For breathing new energy into jazz. (94) Moj Mahdara (CEO, Beautycon): For seeing beyond the cosmetic. (96) Sally-Ann Dale (Chief Creation Officer, Droga5): For energizing brands. (98) Ahmed Abdeen Hamed (Research Assistant Professor, University of Vermont): For discovering drug links in hashtags through computer program that data mines social media. (100) Lilly Singh (Entertainer, YouTube): For creating a unicorn business. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 may 2016
Companies partner with public relations firms to build and enhance value of their brands. Chuck Cohn, Founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors, suggests identifying the right PR firm that is affordable, free of conflict of interest, have a skilled staff, understands your industry, provides the appropriate level of attention and support as you grow. He explains four criteria to consider while getting a PR agency on board - (1) Timing: Assess the need for PR; Are products and services mature enough; Is website optimized for sales; Is the content PR worthy. (2) Agency Type: Search for the right fit of agency for the business goals and desired outcomes. (3) Agency Staffing: Interact with the right people in the firm who will handle the account and not just the pitch team; Seek continuity in the team for a long-term. (4) Agency Size: Depending on the budget and specific requirements choose the optimum size PR agency. Read on...
What to Consider When Evaluating Potential PR Partners
Author: Chuck Cohn
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 mar 2016
Organizations invest money, time and efforts in branding to build their credibility and reputation. In the online world with expanded global reach, social media and changing dynamics of customer relationships, there are further challenges that the organizations face to keep and sustain their brand image. Moreover there are also steps that are required before embarking upon creating and developing a brand. John Lincoln, Co-founder and CEO of Ignite Visibility and professor at University of California San Diego, explains 8 branding mistakes that should be avoided for brand value and business success - (1) Not Getting a Trademark. (2) Not Vigorously Searching Google and Doing Proper Research. (3) Not Coming Up With a Good Domain Name. (4) Picking a Name That Competes With a Well-Established Brand. (5) Picking Color Schemes and Visuals That Aren't Relevant to What You Do. (6) Not Checking Cultural References Around the Name. (7) Not Checking the Name's Translations in Other Languages. (8) Check Potential Stigmas Associated With the Name. Read on...
8 Branding Mistakes That Can Result in Major Setbacks
Author: John Lincoln
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 feb 2016
According to a study by Prof. Sachin Modi of Iowa State University (USA) and Saurabh Mishra of McGill University (Canada), a strong marketing department is crucial to helping a firm leverage its efforts to be socially responsible. Study results show the combination of marketing and CSR can provide shareholders with a 3.5 percent gain in stock returns. Researchers defined CSR as discretionary firm activities aimed at enhancing societal well-being and analyzed six different types of CSR activities - environment, products, diversity, corporate governance, employees and community - to determine whether marketing of these efforts increased long-term firm value and stock price. Firms often consider CSR as a cost and have to make an investment and may not always see the benefits. Prof. Modi says, 'What we want to show is that if a firm is good and has some complimentary capabilities, it can gain a lot from CSR activities...The return is dependent upon the type of activity. Firms benefited from five of the six types of CSR efforts studied, with the exception of charitable giving and philanthropy...We're not saying firms shouldn't give to charity, because it is a very important component, all we're saying is we don't see a financial return.' Prof. Modi further suggests, 'Our hope is that firms see it is important to be socially responsible. It's not a choice of one versus the other. Firms have to do multiple aspects of being socially responsible.' Read on...
ISU News Service:
Marketing key to return on corporate social responsibility investment, ISU study shows
Author: Angie Hunt
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 feb 2016
As digital get seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of life, it will not remain anything extraordinary. In future, advancements in digital technologies will converge to enhance physical experiences that involve our bodies, feelings, emotions, actions and reactions. Auro Trini Castelli, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at gyro, explains how the 'Physical Revolution' will be driven by the following five trends - (1) Sensors will be the new devices (Virtual Reality; Motion and Gesture Recognition Technologies; Haptic Technology). (2) Surfaces will be the new screens (Interactive digital screens on walls, floors, ceilings, walkways etc). (3) Smart cities will make us smart citizens (Interactive city systems and digital environments). (4) Only meaningful interactions will survive (Well-integrated interfaces that get activated when required; Focus on human experience). (5) The world will be printed (3D printing for mass customization; Laser cutting; Computer modeling). In this experiential world, architects, designers, engineers, technologists, marketers, advertisers etc have to increasingly think and create with focus on providing solutions that appeal to all five human senses. The success will depend on how invisibly the digital will become part of the physical and improves every aspect of human interactions and experiences. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 feb 2016
Corporations can find themselves in situations where their profit seeking goals can develop conflict with their ethical and sustainability related direction. According to Wikipedia, 'Corporate sustainability is a business approach that creates long-term consumer and employee value by creating a "green" strategy aimed toward the natural environment and taking into consideration every dimension of how a business operates in the social, cultural, and economic environment. It also formulates strategies to build a company that fosters longevity through transparency and proper employee development.' Most reputed organizations now have sustainability department that manages sustainability issues and integrates them with overall business objectives. Sustainability and marketing departments are trying to develop a converged approach to influencing customer behavior and persuading more responsible habits. But it can be a challenging task to align strategy and resources of both these departments. 73% of 1000 listeners of a webinar 'Influence customer behaviour through integrated marketing and sustainability' on website ethicalcorp.com believe that their organisation has not successfully integrated marketing and sustainability to influence customer behaviour. To do so they can utilize the following tips - (1) Start at the top: Senior managers should be made aware of all sustainable efforts in the organization to drive their support and channel effective internal and external communication through them. (2) Ensure internal integration: Continuous and consistent sharing of ideas between different departments help in integration. According to Rupert Maitland-Titterton of Kellogg Company, 'Our marketing and sustainability departments report to one and other and see each other every day. This ensures that ideas are shared and a feeling of inclusion rather than "us and them" is created.' (3) Understand your customer: Customers demand more sustainable and responsible behavior from companies. Both departments should focus on customer-centricity and develop collaborative approach to fulfil consumer expectations. (4) Keeping messaging consistent: Have long-term sustainable goals, communicate regularly and involve customers in achieving them. Dr. Kirstie McIntyre of HP says, 'Companies need to make it part of the value proposition.' David Brunt of AkzoNobel suggests seeking a 'win-win' situation. (5) Make sustainability the norm: Sustainability should be integrated seemlessly into every process and product so that the overall organization is marketed as a sustainable one. Read on...
How marketing and sustainability can drive customer behaviour change - 5 top tips
Author: Liam Dowd
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 feb 2016
Reviews and recommendations related to products and companies are an important part of consumer buying decisions. Nowadays, technology has transformed word of mouth into word of clicks and taps, bringing consumers closer to other consumers and brands. Online communities around interests, products, and brands have mushroomed. Social media has further brought quality, quantity and speed into the recommendation and review process. According to a study by McKinsey, social media recommendations induced an average of 26% of purchases in 2014, that's up from 10% in 2013. Kishore Kumar, serial entrepreneur and CEO of AllThingsMine, explains how social media networks are assisting cosumers in their buying and purchasing decisions and what companies need to do to effectively utilize these channels for their product marketing and competitive strategies. According to him three aspects of social media influence consumers, and companies have to incorporate them to expand their product sales - (1) Social Referrals: Brands have to encourage and invest in social media referrals. Adweek infographic suggests that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Recommendations from friends and trusted sources are more valuable than product advertisements. (2) Access to Reviews: Consumers research before buying products and reviews are an important source. Companies should provide product reviews and give incentives to those consumers that leave a review. (3) Social Media Accessibility: Social media is freely available to anyone with an internet connection. Consumers can now purchase products directly from their social media feeds when people in their network recommend them. Companies need to effectively tap this potential and reach out to larger public through influencers. Read on...
How Social Networks Impact Buying Decisions And The Modern Consumer Society
Author: Kishore Kumar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jan 2016
A panel of health experts from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Public Health Foundation of India and the National Institute of Nutrition, recently demanded pictorial and health warning on junk food packets in order to provide information to people on health issues caused by them. According to Prof. Vandana Jain, in-charge of Division of Pedriatrics Endocrinology at AIIMS, 'We have recommended pictorial warnings on junk foods...or health warnings saying that this product contains fat and salt in excess of what is recommended or even a picture of liver may be put on pack indicating that consuming them may lead to fatty liver in children and adults.' Consumption of products with high sugar, fat and salt have adverse health implications and World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the best way to prevent obesity among children is to put restrictions on marketing of unhealthy foods. Read on...
The Economic Times:
Health experts demand pictorial warnings on junk food packets
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jan 2016
According to the 2016 Best Countries Ranking of U.S. News, prepared in collaboration with Wharton School and BAV Consulting, India is included at top of the Movers ranking of countries with up-and-coming economies, and overall it is ranked 22nd. Prof. David J. Reibstein, who teaches marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and participated in developing the rankings, says 'Nations should pay attention to how they are seen by others, since enhancing these perceptions could create a large economic benefit. The experience of tourists is just one of the factors that colour those impressions, along with the experiences of customers, investors, followers of global news and social media, and what people hear from others.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jan 2016
Social media has provided opportunities for publishing industry and their reporters, editors, journalists and columnists, to promote and market their content. In many cases this has resulted in the elevation of individual personal brands to iconic status with huge following, immensely benefiting the individuals and their employers. In some other cases it has also created challenging situations and adversely affected their careers. There are a number of academic studies that has been done to understand the role of company branding and personal branding. But Prof. Avery E. Holton of the University of Utah and Prof. Logan Molyneux of Temple University, assert that questions about the trend's impact on journalists' personal identities were largely left unanswered. Their study, 'Identity Lost? The Personal Impact of Brand Journalism', explores this issue and is based on interviews of 41 reporters and editors from various US publications. The authors suggest that publishing groups may need to reconsider how social media is used for branding, promotion and identity creation. Journalists find it challenging to balance their jobs and personal online identities and often have to choose one over the other. According to the authors, 'This choice presents a paradox: If journalists choose to present too much of a personal identity, they risk punishment by their employers. If they present only a professional identity, they risk offending their audiences.' Read on...
Journalism branding - Impact on reporters' personal identities
Author: Denise-Marie Ordway
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 dec 2015
Public relations need to continuously evolve with the changing behavior of society, advancement in technologies, and new ways of communication and reaching out to public. The industry is undergoing shifts in business models, traditional firms are finding shrinking revenue streams and there is excessive competition along with the wave of consolidation. To navigate successfully in this environment, PR firms have to move ahead with the latest practices and technologies. John Hall, co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., explores 7 digital PR trends that firms should keep into consideration in 2016 - (1) The traditional press release is no more: Utilize social media. Develop relationships with industry leaders and influencers. Attract journalists and other outlets through quality visuals in the messages. (2) Thought leadership will become a growing PR budget priority: To position as a leader in a particular space is not an easy task. Need to build original content around the brand. For thought leadership the content has to be valuable, educational and engaging. (3) Content amplification will become (even more) critical: First focus on the quality of content. Then amplification for the targeted audience will be easier. Distribution avenues will also expand. (4) Negative brand advocates will be prevented through content: Train the PR team to handle all types of situations and experiences. Learn from the book 'Hug Your Haters' by Jay Baer where he advocates a proactive approach to handle negative people. Moreover use content to educate and engage the team. Give them knowledge to effectively tackle clients and avoid negative brand advocacy. (5) Online reputation management will be necessary: Create and publish quality content to achieve better online reputation management and getting the message to the right audience. Credible online reputation will attract publishers and journalists to use your content. (6) True influence will win over number of followers: High quality smaller network wins over ineffective large following. Focus on developing a network and building influrnce among a targeted, valuable audience and social following. (7) Use of paid promotion and social ads will continue to rise: Content Marketing Institute's 2016 content benchmark report found that more than 50 percent of B2B marketing professionals use social ads and promoted posts to distribute content. The effectiveness ratings for each of these methods have increased since last year. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 dec 2015
While peer recommendations and other customer's views have an important influence on purchasing decisions, but an experiment by Cranfield University's Prof. Hugh N. Wilson, Prof. Emma K. Macdonald and doctoral student Shane Baxendale, identified another influential touchpoint that is mostly ignored by marketers: observing what other customers actually do. They analyzed brand touchpoints of 14000 people from N. America and Europe over a week. The data was collected as text message by using research agency MESH Experiences's real-time experience tracking approach. The people were asked to report their experiences of a brand in one of four categories: mobile handsets, soft drinks, technology products, and electrical goods. The results collected from 69000 text messages found that observing other customers in influencing purchase decisions is as important as word-of-mouth recommendations for mobile handsets and soft drinks, and even more important in case of technology products and electrical goods. The experiment overall found that peer observation was equal in importance to the costly brand advertising. Similar thinking that Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and economist, termed as 'System 1 Thinking' also applies in consumer behavior: with many decisions to take, it saves effort to assume that if others are using a product, it's probably good. For marketers, the researchers have the following suggestions - (1) It's important to think about distinctive branding for the product in use not just for the purchase moment. (2) If decision-making is made by the group rather than the individual, marketers can try to win the group. (3) Expose normally invisible customer behaviors to their peers. (4) Build in peer observation to product launches. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 oct 2015
According to Pew Internet Project's research on social networking, as of January 2014, 74% of online adults use social networking sites. While as of September 2014, the usage statistics of popular social networking sites is - Facebook (71%); Twitter (23%); Instagram (26%); Pinterest (28%); LinkedIn (28%). Moreover research by Full Impact Studio found that social media has surpassed Google as Americans' 'number one daily activity'. All these stats point towards the relevance and importance of social media to reach people. Brands and businesses have to carefully carve out their marketing strategies on social media, and engage with their target audience accordingly. Social media can be utilized to gain subscribers, promote a service or sell a product, and helps build a business's social brand. Following are the five social media branding strategies for business suggested by Full Impact Studio's infographic - (1) Choose channels that best support your brand image: Facebook (For brand awareness and promotion. Biggest and most influential); Instagram (For heavily visual brands. Targets young adults); Pinterest (For Visual brands. To reach women); LinkedIn (To connect with corporate influencers and promote business-related content) (2) Provide exemplary customer service: Timely engage with customers and provide effective answers and solutions. (3) Don't forget about Google+: Still relevant considering that its part of Google ecosystem. Posted content's visibility on Google search. Connected to YouTube. Acts as free ad space for each post when searched on Google. (4) Deliver interesting and engaging content: Regularly update. Keep content fresh and relevant. Include articles, updates, audios, videos and visuals. (5) Get involved and make connections: Attract audience and build relationships through relevant engagement tactics like contests, giveaways or meaningful advocacy. Make them feel part of the community. Read on...
Business 2 Community:
Infographic - 5 Social Media Branding Strategies for Business
Author: Deanna Zaucha
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 aug 2015
Consumer psychology plays an important role in influencing their buying decisions. They buy products and services from companies that they trust and make them feel good about the purchase. As brands get more connected with their customers through technology, transparency and trust become critical factors in customer relationships. Customers intend to learn and understand more about the companies and their work culture. To keep customers closer and informed, and influence their behavior, brands can integrate the following - Treat your employees better; Invest in employee's future; Aesthetics of the workplace matter. Moreover as internet presence is a critical component of today's marketing strategy, brands need to have a robust digital strategy and in addition to providing relevant and usable information about the products and services offered, they should create a section that focuses on what the market wants to see - Being honest e.g. share customer interactions, that may not always be positive, through social media feeds; Try to share work-in-progress and engage customers in the process; Get involved with customers through effective social media strategy and share relevant content and information; Include wide array of stakeholders as the innovative ideas may come from anywhere like customers, interns etc. Companies should be careful in implementing fringe marketing tactics and should not go overboard in doing so. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 jul 2015
Companies spend substantial time and money to create their brands. It is a continuous process to keep the brand value intact. Jarad Hull, CEO of Blueroof360, elaborates on the mistakes that companies should avoid while pursuing their branding journey - (1) A lack of passion: Be passionate about your branding and create an emotional connect with customers. Passion leads to genuine enthusiasm. (2) Inconsistencies: Create a consistent brand identity and showcase it to both employees and customers. As representatives, employees should maintain this branding consistency. (3) No focus: Keep focus and have a detailed marketing plan before embarking on a branding process. Concentrate on the target audience. (4) Trying too hard: Don't use excessive humor or get too trendy as it may repel customers. Engage them with meaningful and relevant messages. (5) No branding communication: Ensure that employees understand the branding strategy. Train them as brand representatives. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 may 2015
Staying close to the customer and fulfil his needs and wants has been the mantra of successful brands and businesses. Technology has brought the customer even closer and given brands the opportunity to better understand and analyze the customer behavior and focus strategies to satisfy him/her. Considering the highly competitive and fast paced world of fashion and luxury, established luxury brands need to think like disrupters by putting customers at the center of their strategies. Disrupters focus on 'jobs to be done' in the present. Clayton Christensen's disrupter framework focuses on consumers' social, emotional or functional problem, and turns business into its solution. This framework makes innovation independent of the latest technology or the hottest new gadget and firmly relies on human behavior. Thinking about customers and their behavior patterns provide brands insights into the future. Understanding the next generation of customers and removing friction from their brand experience with a well thought out solution will hold the key for the brand's survival. Following are four ways established luxury brands can succeed by staying close to the customer - (1) Create a seamless path from inspiration to purchase. (2) Make your brand narrative attainable, intuitive and immersive. (3) Evoke in your customers the feeling of belonging and being special. (4) Serve and reward. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 feb 2015
Apart from providing excellent products and services, businesses have to ensure that their brand connects with customers with a uniform and consistent message. Small companies and startups have to be even more careful to provide the unified message all across the different media as they have limited budgets and are trying to build their reputation in a competitive business environment. As a small and emerging business make sure that you answer the following questions with diligence - (1) Are you presenting a universal message? (2) Is your theme always consistent? (3) Do you have clear brand guidelines? Read on...
Why consistency is crucial in on and offline branding
Author: Lucy Wayment
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 feb 2015
Recent research by Bell Pottinger Digital suggests 15 top digital trends that are going to change the way brands communicate in 2015. The data is obtained through searching the web (blogs, social media, comments etc) and finding out the most talked about and mentioned trends online in 2014. According to James Thomlinson, Partner and Managing Director of Bell Pottinger Digital, 'While technology will be one of the biggest drivers of marketing change in the New Year, the key focus for brands will be on delivering truly integrated strategies.' The following 15 trends are ranked in order of percentage increase throughout the year 2014 - (1) Near Field Communication (NFC): Increase- 358%, Mentions- 42530 (2) Internet of Things (IoT): 283%, 1126700 (3) Wearables: 220%, 1793574 (4) Internal Communications: 167%, 6597; (5) Storytelling: 145%, 82618 (6) Branded Content: 73%, 165898 (7) Beacons: 64%, 348468 (8) Personalization: 49%, 68443 (9) Big Data: 41%, 5032773 (10) Content Marketing: 41%, 3216165 (11) Augmented Reality: 38%, 400242 (12) 3D Printing: 35%, 1160336 (13) Real-Time Marketing: 16%, 252537 (14) Mobile: 6%, 1433582 (15) Gamification: 4%, 384938. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 jan 2015
Since small businesses have budget constraints and can't spend too much on marketing, branding & advertising, they have to try to do less with more. Moreover they have to develop a solid marketing plan to attract and retain their customers. Christine St.Vil and Julian Kiganda, authors and entrepreneurs, provide tips on branding and marketing for small business owners. On Branding - (1) Have total clarity on your WHY (2) Know who you are (3) Deliver on your promise. On Marketing - (1) Focuse on relationship building (2) Focus on creating and sharing great content that your audience wants/needs/will benefit from (3) Tell your story (4) When your business grows, make sure your head stays the same size. Read on...
7 BRANDING & MARKETING TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS JUST STARTING OUT
Author: Kara Stevens
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 sep 2014
To be a better business leader, either of a small company or a big corporation, it is essential to have a positive influence, effectively manage human relationships and get the work done through exemplary behavior. Business leaders have to be clear about who they are and want to be, what they stand for and how they emotionally connect with people. They have to develop their 'personal brand' by using the right tools and methods. According to branding expert, Glen Campbell of Brandheart, 'Personal branding is not about the external manifestation, what you wear and your style and manner. Well before that it's about the internal drivers that increase self-awareness and self-control; that enable a leader to consistently respond as their best self.' The methods that he uses to build personal brand for clients is through asking the five basic questions and finding answers to discover their best self - (1) Who is your current real self? (2) Who is your ideal self? (3) Why do you need to change? (4) How do I become my best self? (5) Who can help? Read on...
The Basics Of Personal Branding - Five Simple Questions Before You Start
Author: Brian Horn
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 aug 2014
With access to 21st century communication and sharing technologies, both brands and customers are connected the way they have never been before. Social media and mobile are transforming the way brands interact with customers. But there are certain basics that remain the same. Companies and brands should emphasise on creating and facilitating communities of interest around them and consistently share and propagate their values through both words and action. Moreover to create lasting relationships the need is also to create a platform that facilitates connections among the consumers with each other. Brands can play a leadership role within the community and must share relevant content and experience that the members can relate to. Marketers have to align themselves with the consumers and help strengthen their bonds with each other. This provides members to talk to each other and discuss and share what is valuable to them. Thus resulting in the most powerful form of marketing. Read on...
WHY BUILDING YOUR BRAND IS ALL ABOUT SHARING YOUR VALUES
Author: Dave Hawley
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