Tag Archive | "Brand"

Different ways voice search is affecting your brand

We live in a world where a large number of people like to engage with their favorite brands online, and business owners are understanding that now.

Today, a chunk of people find new products online and also place the orders online. However, a paradigm shift can be observed in how they approach this which is how we see more and more people searching for information on the web using voice-commands rather than textual queries.

1. Brand voice

AI has impacted lots of industries and the branding industry has not escaped its reach, nowadays we have machines that can create brands based on user inputs. However, while AI has made building a brand identity more accessible, it can also present a challenge, and one of these challenges is the rise of voice assistants.

The voice assistants we have today are finite in number. Some of the most popular options that we use are Google’s Assistance, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortona. However, as artificial intelligence technology is becoming stronger, we will have a wider range of these services to choose from. When this happens, then the voice of the virtual assistant may interfere with a brand’s personality. For instance, if someone is using a female virtual assistant to look up information about a masculine brand, then it can hurt the brand’s impact. To tackle this problem, brands must keep these potential situations in mind. So, in this very example, a brand could alter the content that the voice assistance finds in a way that it’s able to retain the brand’s tone (masculine and rough) even if it’s in a female voice.

2. Consistency

Consistency is the key to successful branding – there is no denying that. However, you need to keep that in mind when you work with voice searches as well. For instance, you want to ensure that the tone and language used in the results of voice searches are optimized and in line with the brand book. These affect the following results returned by voice commands – product descriptions, social media content, ad copy, chatbot dialog, and more.

3. Payments

Virtual assistants are mainly used to find information on the Internet. However, service providers are also looking into new ways of using these services. For instance, Google Assistant now allows Google Pay users to send and receive money using voice commands. In the same way, payments leader MasterCard is aiming to bring its Masterpass online payment platform into Google and Amazon’s voice systems. So, what does this mean for the brands? Well, for one thing, they need to think about making provisions like this, that is, making payments easier and simpler with voice commands so that they can enjoy first-mover advantages.

4. Optimized content

What’s meant to be read doesn’t always sound good when voiced. For instance, if you define “SEO” on your blog by starting with the words “SEO is one of the most-effective digital marketing techniques used by brands today”, then you may fail to arouse the interest of the user if and when they search for the content using an appropriate voice command. However, if you ignore the introduction and focus on the main content by optimizing the content, then you can let the virtual assistant read something like “SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization which combines different kinds of techniques…” which is far more effective and engaging.

As you can see, voice search isn’t only making the lives of people around the world easier, but it’s also interfering with the practices of old and new brands. Those who are adapting to the changing trends have nothing to fear. However, the rest of them who have decided to remain unchanged can face all kinds of problems in the future.

Remember – branding isn’t just for big businesses. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, you need to take as many branding measures as possible. Naturally, voice search must be an integral part of the plan.

This is a sponsored post from PRchitects.

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We Want To Be the World’s First Global Sleep Brand, Says Casper CEO

“We really consider ourselves the sleep company,” says Casper co-founder and CEO Philip Krim. “Everything we do is about helping our customers sleep better. It’s about getting a great mattress but it’s about everything that could help you sleep. We’re trying to take products to market that are end to end about sleep solutions. We want to be the world’s first global sleep brand and we think we’re well on our way to doing that.”

Philip Krim, Casper co-founder and CEO, discusses how Casper, a highly successful direct to consumer brand (DTC), is still in the early days of growth in an interview on CNBC:

We Want To Be the World’s First Global Sleep Brand

We actually think Casper stands alone. We really consider ourselves the sleep company. Everything we do is about helping our customers sleep better. We think end to end about sleep. It’s about getting a great mattress but it’s about everything that could help you sleep. In January we launched a technology product, a lighting product, that actually helps you wake up better and fall asleep better. We’re trying to take products to market that are end to end about sleep solutions. We want to be the world’s first global sleep brand and we think we’re well on our way to doing that.

We think we’re really one of the first of our kind. We were a digitally native business, having launched online with Casper.com, but we’re actually now scaling our business offline as well. We’ve opened up 23 retail stores and we have great partners with folks like Target. We believe that we will have a business where no matter how consumers want to shop for our products we have great products and great experiences. We actually think there’s really not a public company comp that’s done that journey.

Repeat Revenue Increases Dramatically As We Launch New Products.

Yesterday we launched our hybrid line which is actually the combination of innerspring technology and foam technology. We launched two different models around that. For us, we’re actually still able to compress those mattresses, ship them anywhere in the country, and they’re really phenomenal products that we’re in development for over a year in our Casper Labs program based in San Francisco. From a cost structure, it works just the same way as our foam mattresses. You can compress it, you can ship it anywhere, it’s super fun to open and they sleep really great.

We make great pillows, we make great sheets, and we make great lighting products. We are seeing higher and higher attachment rates as we launch new products and we’re seeing repeat revenue increase dramatically as we launch new products. We’re only a five-year-old company, actually as of this month. We launched April of 2014. As we get our customers to be a little bit more mature we’re seeing them come back time and time again not just to buy mattresses but to buy our full suite of products. That’s really exciting for us.

We’re In the Early Days of Scaling

We actually changed the way that you would return a mattress. In the industry traditionally it’s a huge pain, but with us, you call us up and we’ll pick up the mattress. You don’t even have to pack it back up, nothing. We will come to pick it and up and then we donate it locally. We appreciate that you gave us a shot. We also are changing the way that people shop for the products. We have our Casper.com website where you can learn all about these great products but we have 23 stores that we’ve opened. We’re opening up over a dozen this quarter, two this week in fact, and those stores are a great complement to the online experience.

We don’t break out profitability overall. Casper has a great product, we have a great business model, and we’re seeing that by taking it to market both online and offline that it’s actually growing our online business in a very efficient way. We think this go to market strategy is working well. We’re in the early days of scaling it and we believe we can keep building this out for years to come.

We Want To Be the World’s First Global Sleep Brand, Says Casper CEO

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It’s “Game On” for Buffalo Wild Wings New Brand Architecture, Says CMO

“When I think of brand architecture it really gets to the essence of the brand,” says Buffalo Wild Wings CMO Seth Freeman. “The essence of the brand is around this idea of camaraderie and ritual and something that we like to call “game on.” It’s our ability to make sure that when folks come in to experience Buffalo Wild Wings that we have a game on mentality and that we bring them the very best of who we are.”

Seth Freeman, Chief Marketing Officer of Buffalo Wild Wings, was recently interviewed on Adweek’s CMO Moves podcast with Nadine Dietz. Freeman discussed their new “game on” brand architecture that defines not just their new marketing strategy but really the heart of the business. “The purpose ultimately is really about inspiring legendary experiences between friends,” noted Freeman:

Turning Good Times With Friends Into Great Times With Brothers

When I think of brand architecture it really gets to the essence of the brand. There are three components to it in the way we framed it up.  They are the promise, the essence, and the purpose. We identified an insight out there that guys want to turn good times with friends into great times with brothers. More accurately, legendary experiences with brothers. That was the cultural insight that really framed our brand architecture.

When we think about our purpose we defined our promise as the great American sports bar that turned game time into stories worth telling. It wasn’t just about inviting folks to watch a game. It was about translating that into an experience worth telling. That’s what folks are really looking for. That’s the promise that we deliver on every single day. That’s why we get up. That’s why folks are going out there and doing the job that they do and delivering a great experience.

It’s “Game On” for Buffalo Wild Wings

Our purpose ultimately is really about inspiring legendary experiences between friends. The essence of the brand is around this idea of camaraderie and ritual and something that we like to call “game on.” It’s our ability to make sure that when folks come in to experience Buffalo Wild Wings that we have a game on mentality and that we bring them the very best of who we are. We have 80,000 folks out there working across Buffalo Wild Wings and they bring it every single day.

It’s Game Time at Buffalo Wild Wings!

As we were talking to consumers, one of the things we learned was that some of the most impactful experiences that they talked about was with the bartenders and servers. They are influencing whether or not those folks come back. For instance, one of the most memorable experiences they talked about was the bartender remembering them when they came back.

That is our brand architecture, but it also lends itself to things we have done in rolling out this purpose to the broader community through our Brand Champ Initiative. That really is a cultural movement that we are employing across our franchises and corporate stores. We have over 1,200 locations where folks are trained to make sure that the brand architecture is translating to a way that is meaningful to the consumers and also meaningful to the folks that are on the front lines every single day.

It’s “Game On” for Buffalo Wild Wings New Brand Architecture

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5 Ways to Promote Your Brand with IGTV

These days, brands that want to be competitive in their niche will first have to accept two indisputable truths—most people prefer videos over every other type of content and consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices than ever before. In fact, one study showed that 69 percent of internet users watch digital media on their smartphones.

Brands should take advantage of this trend by making the most of digital media. One effective way of doing this would be through applications like IGTV. Instagram’s latest feature perfectly combines consumers love of watching videos with the strong appeal of social media.

IGTV is short for Instagram TV. Instagram users can now make their own channel where they can upload vertical videos. Unlike the short video clips of Stories, IGTV videos can run for up to an hour. This gives companies a new and novel way of marketing their product and developing their brand. Videos can be viewed on Instagram, but IGTV also has its own app that can be downloaded on laptops and other mobile devices.

Why Use IGTV

There are several key reasons why your brand should be using IGTV. For one, IGTV is designed specifically for use on mobile devices—in a vertical format and full screen. It’s also very intuitive. Videos play as soon as the app is opened, so you don’t have to browse or search long for what you want. The selected clips are based on the user’s interest. However, your followers are automatically linked to your video content. This means that you’ll already have a built-in audience that you can grow.

Utilizing IGTV can also mean great things for your business. Aside from pioneering a rising format, vertical videos via IGTV will also help you connect to your target market. It will also be easier for your brands to be discovered by potential clients. IGTV’s format is optimized for mobile devices, making it convenient for Instagram users.

More importantly, IGTV is developed around Instagram. This means you will have instant access to more than 1 billions active users on the social media network. The company is also considering implementing ads on this new platform, which makes now a good time to hop on the bandwagon.

5 Ways to IGTV to Boost Your Business

1. Give New Life to Previous Content

IGTV gives businesses the chance to utilize the content they already have. You can reuse the most popular videos that you have posted on Facebook and YouTube. Another way would be to live-stream previous recordings. You can also convert listicles, tips, and how-to blog posts into IGTV videos. This approach can help you reach a new audience while followers will be given a fresh look at an old topic.

2. Offer Exclusive Content

Use your IGTV channel to share exclusive content with your followers. Providing them with special content on a regular basis will help you to build a dedicated audience. You can share a behind-the-scenes look at product development and distribution, upload interviews with experts, or stream company events like expos, speaking engagements, and social gatherings.

3. Engage Directly With Customers

One of the best ways to engage customers is to talk to them directly while providing the information they need. When you show clients that your company is open and ready for answering questions and hearing concerns, you’ll build trust. You can do this by hosting a Q&A session. Use the questions sticker in Instagram stories to gather common customer questions and answer them in a video.

4. Share Your Expertise

Tutorials have become very popular on most social media platforms. With IGTV allowing users to post longer videos, your tutorials can be more detailed. Post videos that teach users new skills or explain processes. For instance, an eCommerce store that sells cameras can teach users how to set up lighting equipment and offer tips for optimizing photo quality.

5. Turn the Spotlight on Loyal Customers

Consumers are likely to believe their fellow customers even more than a well-executed ad. Take advantage of this by featuring some of your loyal customers on IGTV. They can tell viewers in their own words why they prefer your brand. You can even take it a step further by showing how they use your product or services.

IGTV is an effective method of sharing high-quality content with your present clients and target demographic. If your brand already has an Instagram account then you’re guaranteed IGTV followers immediately. This will ease the pressure of building an audience and leaves you free to develop better content that will boost your business.

[Featured image via Instagram]

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5 User-Generated Content Campaigns Your Brand Can Learn From

These days, shoppers are less impressed with celebrities and gurus telling them what to buy and prefer content that’s generated by their fellow consumers. A Nielsen report showed that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations made by people they know while 70 percent believe the opinions consumers post online.

Some brands have been savvy enough to take advantage of this changing mindset and have successfully leveraged user-generated content (UGC) into their marketing campaigns.

User-generated content is essentially content that comes from customers. When customers have a positive experience with your brand, they are more inclined to tell others about it.

A ringing endorsement from a happy client is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to boost your customer base. And since the content comes from real people who have actually used the company’s products or services, consumers know that the information provided is authentic and reliable, thus improving a brand’s credibility.

There are several ways that smart brands can utilize UGC. Here’s a list of five companies highly-successful campaigns that show how to effectively leverage user-generated content in your marketing efforts.

1. Starbucks’ White Cup Contest

Starbucks hit a home run back in 2014 with its White Cup competition. The coffee giant asked their customers to doodle designs on their paper cups, take pictures, and post them on social media using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The best design would become the template for their limited-edition coffee cups. The contest generated around 4,000 entries in three weeks and created a lot of buzz even after it ended. When Starbucks finally unveiled the limited-edition cups, millions of customers took photos of the items and posting them on their social media accounts.

Takeaway: A contest with an interesting gift or a freebie is an effective way to interact with your target market. You can also generate revenue by turning the UGC into something you can repurpose or sell.

2. Apple #ShotOniPhone

User-generated content can solidify and expand a loyal fan base effortlessly. When Apple released the iPhone 8 and X, the company decided to take advantage of the fact that people were already using their product to take great pictures. The company’s #ShotOniPhone campaign saw Apple fans sharing the photos they took on their iPhones. Apple then showcased their favorite photos on its official Instagram account. While the campaign placed the focus on the photographers and their skill, it also emphasized their product’s features and capabilities.

Takeaway: Celebrate your loyal customers by showcasing their work in your website and social media accounts. The UGC will also drive more visitors to spend more time on your site.

3. Cast Me Marc by Marc Jacobs

Image result for cast me marc

Marc Jacobs reminded people why he’s such a trailblazer with the Cast Me Marc campaign. In 2014, the designer decided to cast models in a distinct way – by using Instagram and Twitter. People who were interested in modeling for the brand were asked to submit their photos with the #CastMeMarc hashtag. The company received 15,000 submissions within a day and 70,000 photos by the time the contest ended. The brand was also credited for starting a new movement as other fashion brands followed in its footsteps.

Takeaway: Pay attention to current trends. At the time, selfies were rapidly growing in popularity and Jacobs tapped into that phenomenon. You also shouldn’t be afraid to add your own twist to a new trend.

4. L’Oreal DermaBlend Transformations

The make-up brand placed their storyline in the hands of their loyal clients with its #DermaBlendPro campaign. L’Oreal encouraged users to share photos or videos of their makeup transformations. The company received thousands of submissions which were used in their brand story.

Takeaway: Trust your customers and include them in your campaigns. Happy customers make the best brand ambassadors.

5. Pura Vida Bracelets

UGC a good way to showcase products in real-world scenarios. Pura Vida’s colorful and unique bracelets already stand out on Facebook’s newsfeed, but when the company added photos of their customers wearing their products on their carousel ad, it provided better insight into the brand and led to a surge in conversions. It also helped that customers were taking photos of their bracelets while on the beach or traveling around the world, thereby encouraging everyone’s dream of a carefree lifestyle. The company was also started working with more artisans and small businesses around the world.

Takeaway: When your content is relatable, more shoppers will identify with your brand and hold it valuable. Transparency also attracts consumers who want to know where and how the product is made.

UGC is undoubtedly one of the best ways to show a brand’s authenticity and secure customer loyalty. So put the spotlight on your customer, and reward them to increase engagement. Shoppers are always happy to come back and talk about a brand when they feel like they’re part of the brand’s community. They’re also more willing to contribute to it and refer it to other people. 

[Featured image via Pexels.com]

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Should You Trust Influencers to Promote Your Brand? Consider These Problems First

Influencer marketing is drawing more and more suspicion from brands and advertisers alike. There is a growing concern in some business sectors that consumer trust in influencers is waning or has reached its peak. Empirical data, however, shows that influencers still have a lot of pull. They can still raise brand awareness, push customer loyalty, and boost engagement. One study by Marvrck also shows that cost per acquisition (CPA) was also far lower with influencer marketing compared to other types of advertising like Facebook ads.

cost per acquisition

While there’s no denying that influencer marketing works, it has a lot of issues that have resulted in brands having a general lack of trust for influencers.

4 Reasons Why Brands Don’t Trust Influencer Marketing

1. Hard to Measure ROI

The majority of brands find that choosing the right metrics to use and measuring return on investment are the main challenges they face when it comes to influencer marketing.

Every marketing campaign should be based on measurable objectives, like an increase in revenue, higher brand awareness, or more social media followers. You need to determine your objective first. Once that’s done, you can then identify how you will track your KPIs and evaluate how the content or an influencer has performed.

Luckily, most of the tools used in tracking conventional and digital marketing are also appropriate for influencer marketing. For instance, tools like Google Analytics, promo codes, giveaways, vanity URLs, and UTM parameters can all be used to measure the results of an influencer marketing campaign. Social media platforms like Pinterest are also taking steps in this direction by giving access to their APIs to ensure that influencers and marketers can work well together.

2. Fake Followers and Fake Accounts

Fake followers and fraudulent accounts are also behind the mistrust of influencers. According to a New York Times report, this practice is so rampant that about 15 percent of Twitter profiles are fakes and many celebrities and influencers buy followers to inflate their perceived social influence.

Image result for fake followers statistics

Too often, brands look for influencers with the largest number of followers and pay big money for access to them. So it’s not surprising that some influencers pad their numbers with fake accounts. Unfortunately, the practice messes up one crucial element of this marketing methodinfluencing another individual. After all, you can’t wield your influence over an imaginary person.

To combat this problem, brands should focus more on quality than quantity. Instead of looking at the numbers, they should concentrate on the kind of consumers that follow the influencer, and whether said influencer is suitable for the brand. Social media platforms should also put more effort into cracking down on dubious accounts. 

More importantly, the influencers should hold themselves accountable and check for fake followers, even if it means they have to scroll through their list of followers and vet each one.

3. A Million Followers Doesn’t Mean More Profit

A social media account might have tens of thousands of followers but not have much influence. There are people who are influential in one area but not in another. For instance, an account that specializes in memes might have a million followers but those followers are not there to buy anything. They just follow the account for its entertainment value.

Brands should first determine whether an influencer is considered trustworthy by their followers or just a digital performer. The former has an impact on a follower’s buying decision while the latter doesn’t. Companies can tell which is which by their posts. Consumers respond to honesty and passion, and a good influencer shows these in their posts.

4. Competition Between Influencers and Marketers

If your brand has a marketing team, they may view influencers as a direct threat. This implied threat is due to the fact that influencers work in direct competition with traditional marketing strategies. Moreover, a lot of marketers don’t totally trust social influencers with regards to content development.

To get past this problem, you’ll need to understand how influencer marketing actually works. Influencers have to be authentic and strive to show this in the tone and passion of their posts. In contrast, your marketers need to double check everything or have some say in the content creation process. You’ll need to find a good compromise between the two groups to prevent conflict.

Should Brands Still Trust Influencers?

Many consumers have relationships with influencers that are more like friendships. And according to Neilsen, 92 percent of consumers trust the recommendations of family and friends. For this reason, influencers still have the power to greatly impact a brand. However, the problems that come with influencer marketing have gone largely unresolved.

Part of the problem is that these issues have only recently come to the forefront, so best practices have not yet been established. Brands and influencers are still learning and adjusting. 

Moving foward, more influencers will need to audit their followers and check for fake accounts. Branded content should merge well with integrated content, and sponsored posts should be kept to a minimum. Meanwhile, it’s imperative for brands to thoroughly research their potential partners, making sure they only work with credible influencers and choose the right platforms to promote their products and services.

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Want Your Brand to Look More Sophisticated? Think Black!

Most people never think twice about the colors that their favorite brands use. However, businesses spend a lot of time and money deciding on which hue is best for their products. This is because colors affect people’s feelings on a subconscious level. They are also associated with certain cultural or social messages.

Colors come with so many meanings. Blue has a calming influence on people. It also gives off the impression of trustworthiness and dependability. In contrast, red is associated with passion and danger. It can also give off a refined and powerful vibe, which is why red wines are considered richer than whites.

Image result for colors and emotions

[Graphic via Medium]

As a small business owner, never underestimate the impact color has on your brand. Corporations with large marketing departments, understand this all too well. For instance, most skin care companies use white in their product packaging as it symbolizes purity and cleanliness. Banks tend to use the color blue to give off an image of dependability. But what if you want to give your product a luxurious feel and classy image?

Why Black is Considered Luxurious

No other color has such a polarizing effect as black. Some western countries associate it with death and mourning. The media has also used it to portray villainy and evilness. However, the past few decades have seen the color become the epitome of luxury and class.

Despite the negative connotations, black is also associated with power, authority, class, and sophistication. Consider how high-end events are often black tie affairs, with women wearing the requisite little black dress. The color is very formal and serious and can evoke feelings of strength and intelligence.

Interestingly, black also has a slimming effect, which is why the color is used to make a product (or a person) smaller than it really is.

Look Who’s Using Black

Related image

Numerous companies have taken advantage of the way black evokes power and sophistication. For instance, makeup brands have used the color to provide their products with a sleek and classy look. Notice how even simple makeup brushes look more expensive with the color.

Ralph Lauren has even named one of their men’s scents after the color and used it as the background of their ads. Their predominantly dark ads for Polo Black target men who consider themselves to be strong and mysterious but with a depth of personality.

Brands that cater to men and luxury items have found great success in using this particular color. Rolls Royce cars are typically black, with a sleek and shiny outline. The same goes for Don Q. The rum brand uses black with splashes of gold.

There’s no denying that black is a powerful color. However, it can also be overwhelming. Use black in your packaging, your ads, and website to give off the image of luxury. But try to pair it with colors like red or gold for a striking contrast. You’ll find that your customers will be more than willing to pay extra for something that looks expensive and luxurious even if the quality is average.

[Featured image via Rolls Royce]

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5 Ways to Establish Core Brand Values

Your brand is more than just your company or product name. It’s one of the best ways of setting yourself apart from your competitors. Unfortunately, many business owners are confused as to what “branding” really means and how it affects their company.

In a nutshell, your brand value reflects the values your company holds. It embodies your company’s history, vision, and mission. It also stands as your promise to your client with regards to what they can expect from the products and services you offer.

Consider brands like Nike and Apple. These two companies success can be attributed to how well their brands reflected their core values. Nike’s logo and “Just Do It” tagline resonates not just with athletes but people who are looking to channel their drive to succeed. Meanwhile, Apple’s “Think Different” slogan makes it clear to everyone that the company is all about developing the best and most innovative products that are within everyone’s reach.

Defining your brand and the core values it embodies is challenging as it entails time, patience and a little bit of self-discovery. Here are five ways to establish your business’ core brand values:

1. Pick Values That Resonate With Your Business

Discovering your company’s core brand values is a challenging process. One way to go about this is to make a list ofSwan, Towel, Flower, Holiday, Hotel, Bed, Djerba traits that are important to you. But this should go beyond listing down nice sounding adjectives like “trusted” or “reliable.” You have to dig deeper and look beyond your idealized vision of a perfect company.

You can utilize your own negative experiences with other brands. For example, your stay at a glamorous B&B with perfect amenities might have left you feeling disconnected by its cold and snobbish staff. So instead of focusing on “great amenities,” make your mark by offering services that will make your “customers feel welcomed” and loved. And once you’ve chosen values that truly resonate with you, start focusing your energies on that.

2. Be the Best Representative of Your Values

What do your customers say about your brand? Are they impressed with your customer service or with the low price? Find out what traits your customers already associate with your brand and build on that.

Let’s say your customers love the effort you make in answering their queries, then you can make “going the extra mile to answer your questions and meet your needs” as your core value. And since you’re already known for it, make sure you keep representing your core values through advertisements and innovations.

3. Understand Who Your Competitors and Customers Are

You should also consider what your customer needs and expects from your brand while also taking into account what solutions are already being offered by your competitors. Analyzing what your rival is offering can reveal a gap that you can fill, or it can give you ideas on how you can offer a different solution that will better reflect your values.

4. Create Ways to Showcase Your Brand

Image result for taste happiness coke

Once you have established your core values, you have to think about how you can simplify them down to a few key words that will act as a reminder for your business team. Think Coke’s “Taste Happiness” or Nike’s “Just Do It” slogans. This will also help your employees understand and live your values.

Having clearly defined core values will also make it easier for your company to showcase your brand. Aside from your logo, tagline or slogan, there are also other methods you can use to push your brand, like creating your voice or using a unique color scheme.

5. Develop Relationships That Embody Your Values

You can also strengthen your core brand values by using it when building business relationships. Refer to these values in your recruitment and marketing and sales strategies. Hire people who believe in the same values and who are willing to share and spread these ideals.

It’s essential that you establish your core brand values from the start. These will act as the building blocks of your business and will attract consumers who believe in the same values.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Brand Transparency: Why It Should Matter to Your Business

Consumers nowadays have become savvier, thanks to the easy accessibility of information via the Internet. They are not easily swayed by false advertising claims and fancy marketing spiels. Younger consumers have become especially more loyal to brands that appear to be transparent in how they do business. 

But what is brand transparency, exactly? Why is it crucial for companies, and does it really have an effect on consumer behavior and loyalty?

Brands are developed as a means to identify and differentiate one business from the other. Effective branding creates inherent value that affects purchasing behavior and consumer preferences. These days, consumers are demanding more detailed information about a product before making a purchase. They want to know all the product specifications, the materials used to make it, where those materials came from, and the actual people who make and distribute the products. For these reasons and more, brand transparency should not be considered just another marketing buzzword; it should be a top priority for businesses.

Studies have shown that transparency resulted in increased loyalty and boosted brand worth.  2016 Label Insight Study, revealed that out of 2000 respondents, 94 percent were likely to be loyal to a brand that commits to full transparency. About 56 percent would remain loyal for life if a company remained open to its disclosures. Of those surveyed, 73 percent were willing to pay more for a brand that is completely transparent. 

Some consumers will even switch to a brand and consider its entire product portfolio, all because of its openness.  

Brand transparency builds lifetime loyalty and strengthens trust from consumers. About 58 percent remain distrustful of a brand without ‘real world proof’ of its promised claims. Businesses are seen as ethical if they are truthful in informing people of what to expect from offered products and services. It is a guiding principle for companies and advertising channels alike in their marketing strategy to earn trust. 

Full transparency requires a conscious effort in disclosing information to the public. It allows companies to prevent mistrust from happening when information is only made available after the incident. There are several ways to promote brand transparency and earn consumer trust.  

1. Holding Your Brand Accountable

Any lapses in brand standards should be pointed out and serve as an example to do better. A business is responsible for delivering its brand’s promise on products and services. If possible, everyone in the company should share accountability, as behaviors in the workplace also reflect the brand’s values.

2. Focusing on What Your Brand Represents

Avoid portraying the company inaccurately. Staying true to what your brand stands will help it to maintain a positive image. Amidst the changing business landscape, companies must remain open with their consumers without losing sight of the brand’s purpose. Core values and a clear mission statement should be communicated and upheld throughout the company.

3. Connecting With Consumers

Companies should take advantage of social media in communicating their messages to target markets. With digital-savvy consumers, businesses must turn to social networking platforms and acknowledge feedbacks or queries addressed through these channels. By adjusting how they communicate, companies can establish a recognizable brand voice and encourage engagement with consumers. This builds trust in the brand and establishes a loyal relationship with its customers.  

Keep in mind that brand trust and loyalty do not happen overnight. There are several factors involved in creating a long-lasting relationship with your customer, but one that stands out is brand transparency. 

[Featured image via Pexels]

The post Brand Transparency: Why It Should Matter to Your Business appeared first on WebProNews.


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How to Use Instagram Like a Beauty Brand

Posted by zeehj

Does your brand’s activity on its social accounts impact its search rankings? Maybe. Maybe not. But does it matter anyway?

I shouldn’t have to convince you that investing in a social media for your company is worth it; even in light of Facebook’s recent data breach, we are so reliant upon our social profiles for real human interaction that leaving them is not a real option. In fact, the below statistics from Pew Research Center’s 2018 Social Media Use Survey indicate that we’re not going to give up our social media profiles any time soon.

Humans are social creatures. It makes sense that we love being on social networking sites. We crave interaction with fellow humans. We’re also highly likely to trust the recommendations of our friends and family (Nielsen) and those recommendations often influence our purchasing decisions. We ask our loved ones for advice on where to put our dollars in myriad ways, all at different price points:

  • What coffee shop do you like to go to?
  • Which mascara is that?
  • What are you reading right now?
  • Where’d you get that tie?
  • What neighborhoods are you looking to move to?
  • What schools are you looking to send Anna to?

Yes, those same searches occur online. They also frequently occur in tandem with testimonials from the people in our lives (depending on how thorough we want or need to be).

So if you have a thing that you want to sell to a group of people and you’re still not pursuing a social strategy, I don’t understand what you’re doing. Yes, it’s 2018 and I still find myself trying to persuade clients to proactively use (the right) social networks to promote their brand.

For the sake of this piece, we’re going to focus on organic usage (read: free, not paid advertising) of Instagram. Why just Instagram? 35% of US adults say they use Instagram as of 2018, up from 28% in 2016. This was the greatest growth across top social networking sites reported by Pew Research Center. Additionally, its 35% usage puts it at the third most popular social networking platform, behind only Facebook and YouTube.

Other good news? It may be easier for brands’ posts to appear in users’ Instagram feeds than on their Facebook feeds: Facebook still wants to prioritize your family, friends and groups, while The New York Times reports that Instagram is updating its algorithm to favor newer posts rather than limit the accounts in your feed.

So should every brand have an Instagram? Maybe? But notice I’ve been primarily using the word “brand,” not “company” or “business.” That’s deliberate. Companies (only) provide customers with a service or sell a product. Brands provide customers (followers) with an identity. (If you want to dive further into this, I highly recommend this presentation by former Distiller Hannah Smith.)

The best companies are brands: they’ve got identities with which consumers align themselves. We become loyal to them. We may even use the brands we purchase from and follow as self identifiers to other people (“I’m a Joe & the Juice kind of guy, but not Starbucks,” “I never use MAC, only NARS,” “Me, shop at Banana Republic?! I only go to Everlane!”). Not every company should be on Instagram — it doesn’t make much sense for B2Bs to invest time and energy into building their company’s presence on Instagram.

Instagram is not for your consulting firm. And probably not for your SaaS company, either (but prove me wrong)!

It’s for celebrities. It’s to show off your enviable trip. It’s for fashion blogs. Sneakerheads. Memes. Art. Beauty brands. It’s really great for beauty brands. Why? Instagram is obviously great for sharing pretty photos — and if you’re a beauty company, well, it’s a no-brainer that you should have an active account. And it also has incredible built-in features to organically promote your posts, engage customers, and sell products with actual links to those products on your photos.

So, if you’re going to use Instagram, do it right. If you want to do it right, do it like a beauty brand.

First things first: Why do beauty companies’ IG posts look better?

Glossier

Onomie

Milk

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: each account features beautiful models, pretty sceneries, and cosmetics in clean packaging. That said, it’s not just the subject of the IG photos that matters: each of these IG accounts’ photos have been curated and edited together, so that their photos look cohesive when you view them in IG’s grid format. How do they do that? Let’s look at three posts from these accounts.

Glossier

Onomie

Milk

It’s hard (for me) to pick apart precisely why these photos are aesthetically pleasing — and it doesn’t help that I’m neither a photographer, nor a designer. That said, here is my rudimentary, non-designer take on why these photos look great together:

#1: Their subjects are beautiful (duh)

#2: There are limited primary focal points, and tons of negative space (though the medicine cabinet and floral arrangement photos are arguably “busy”)

#3: Their hues are complementary (pinky-pearlescent-pastels, anyone?)

There’s a lot of pink. And white. And pastels. And more pink. And then, occasionally, pops of color (think: a new violet lipstick shade).

Color schemes remain consistent across Onomie’s, Milk’s, and Glossier’s photos — these beauty brands don’t suddenly change their color palettes from one photo to the next. In fact, they are most likely implementing the same Instagram filters for each photo, or at least editing the color balances so that the photos complement each other. They are deliberately catering to Instagram’s 3×3 grid photo format (or 3×4, or 3×5, depending on your screen size). While many users do see IG posts in their “feeds” when they open the app, users are still motivated to look at IG accounts’ for a number of reasons: IG profiles are the only place where you can add hyperlinks on Instagram, and is also where accounts can pin stories for users to revisit.

But how on earth do they do it? They may have professional photographers, or graphic designers they can beg to normalize their color balances across photos. However, I don’t think that most companies necessarily need this mastery in-house in order to have an Instagram profile that looks good to mere mortals.

What I can assure you is that they plan, plan, plan out their posts in advance. In order to do this effectively, of course, you need the right tools. Here’s your starter pack of IG apps:

  • VSCO
    • Freemium phone app
    • Enables you to edit photos like a master — VSCO goes way beyond a small set of filters
    • Has its own community and image feed within the app, separate from IG
    • VSCO can’t post directly to IG (yet), but you can easily download any edited photo
  • Planoly
    • Freemium desktop tool and phone app
    • Can visualize your photos in a grid format with your other IG photos
    • Built-in analytics
    • Can schedule and post directly to IG, with captions and hashtags
  • Unum
    • Free
    • Offers some photo editing tools
    • Can drag and drop photos to plan out how they will appear alongside your other uploads, in grid format
    • Can post to IG, but no scheduling features

This may sound like a lot of work, and for non-designers in particular it’s pretty challenging. That said, the fruits of your labor can be used again and again. In fact, that’s precisely what these beauty brands do on IG: if they’re featuring a product (again, hello lipstick shades), they show off that product’s different colors, on different skintones. Basically, rinse and repeat with your IG photos: this repetition is great for those with sparse content calendars, and still looks great.

Okay, but they’re not popular just because of their looks, right? Why are beauty brands on IG so damn popular?

Yes, looks matter. IG is a visual platform. Sorry not sorry. And yes, we’re talking about beauty brands that have budgets to advertise their accounts and products on IG, which also contributes to their popularity. However, that’s not the whole story.

They use hashtags and photo tags.

Hashtags

Just like on Twitter (and Facebook, to a degree), hashtags are a natural way to boost exposure and get “discovered.” That’s largely because IG users can also follow hashtags, in the same manner as following a handle. And, just like on Twitter, it matters which hashtags you use. IG also allows users to add up to 30 hashtags per post — and yes, this can look spammy, but if you’re using IG like a beauty brand, you’ll separate your caption from your hashtags with periods-used-as-line-breaks or as a separate comment after you post.

So, where should you begin hunting for hashtags? Unfortunately, the Cambridge Analytica debacle has extended to Facebook’s other properties, including Instagram. It seems like one direct response to this is to limit the number of API calls we can make of IG. This means awesome services like websta.me can’t serve up the same amount of information around hashtags as they once did.

That said, Tagboard is one option for content and social media marketers to use. I like to use it to suss out hashtag intent (in answering whether this the right hashtag to use for this post). *Readers: if you’ve got tools you love to find hashtags on IG, add them in the comments below for us, please!

Otherwise, your best bet (as far as I know) is to search for hashtags directly in Instagram’s Discover area, under Tags. There, you can see how many times those hashtags have been used (what’s popular?) and then click through to see what photos have been tagged.

Photo tags

Beauty brands also take advantage of photo tagging on their posts when they can: if they are featuring a celebrity (like the magnificent Tracee Ellis Ross), they can tag her IG directly onto this post. Not only does this let Tracee (or, more likely, her social media manager) know, but depending on her settings this photo now shows up under her tagged photos on her profile — for her fans to discover.

Similarly, if you’re a business selling products and you’ve been approved for shopping on IG, you can also tag your products in your photos so that users can click through directly to their product pages. This is a no-brainer. Just do it.

They talk to their followers.

We already know that it’s best practice to engage and respond to followers on social media (within reason), and IG is no different. Onomie, Milk and Glossier all have downright spirited conversations in their photos’ comments sections by prompt fellow ‘grammers to participate in a few ways. They:

They add stories.

IG’s “Stories” feature is another great tool that Onomie, Milk, and Glossier all use. They’re like IG posts, but ephemeral (they only last 24 hours) and do not live in your main feed: users can access these stories from the top of their IG feeds, and from the account’s main icon. In some cases — especially brands selling products — these accounts may choose to “pin” evergreen stories to their IG profiles, so that users can access them beyond the 24-hour lifespan.

Stories are an excellent way to gather additional insights from followers (outside of comments) because you can run polls (with clickable elements) to collect simple data (“Should our next product help alleviate dry or oily skin?”). What’s more is that, depending on users’ notification preferences, stories automatically push notifications to followers’ phone screens. This means that even if a user is not using the app, they will be notified of new, temporary content.

If your brand (or your client) isn’t taking advantage of IG’s great marketing tools, it’s time to stop waiting and get ‘gramming. Especially if your target audiences are using the platform, there is no reason not to test out all the ways it allows you to engage its community.

Share your favorite IG tools, tips, and accounts below, so that other Moz readers can get inspired. And if you’re passionate about marketing, come join our team, and help me convince more awesome brands to take over Instagram. (JK. Kinda.)

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