The Worst Advice you have ever heard About Brand Management

The Worst Advice you have ever heard About Brand Management

The Worst Advice you have ever heard About Brand Management

People involved in marketing will have to quickly adapt to the changes, in accordance to the market requirements. With fast digitalization, some of the marketing methods which used to work just before a couple of years have now become useless or redundant.

The consumer landscape, and the ways in which we communicate, with our clients and customers, have also changed dramatically. The ever-changing market conditions will not allow you to do what you always did, and expect better or the same results.

For business success today, it is necessary to know your consumer, and have an open-minded approach towards their changing demands. It becomes imperative for you to seek new outlooks, do media experimentation, and try out unexplored modernism.

However, the need and relevance of branding strategies still exist, and the changes are no so rapid. At the end of day, each business will want to retain their customers for life.

What is brand management?

Brand management starts with bringing about complete awareness of the term, ‘Brand’. It integrates developing, making, and maintaining of a promise. In other words, it means defining, positioning, and delivering a brand.

Brand management is about creating and sustaining your brand name. Branding keeps your customers committed to your company. It differentiates your products from that of your competitors.

You can also say that, branding is merely getting your target market to select you over your competition. Rather, it is to get your prospects perceive that, you as the sole provider who offers the perfect answer to their problem, or need.

Objectives of a good brand

  • To clearly deliver the message
  • To validate your credibility
  • To emotionally connect with your target prospects
  • To motivate the buyers
  • To amplify user’s commitment

For successful branding, it is necessary to understand the needs of the target consumers. This can be done by integrating brand strategies at every possible public contact.

What is proper brand management?

Constant maintenance and control is the vital part of brand management. Proper brand management makes sure that every promotional part, touch point, and usage of message and logo, supports your business goals. This helps to strengthen the brand’s impression on your consumers.

If the brand is not managed properly, even the best business empires can crumble. Brand management is challenging, especially when your product are sold through multiple channels including agents, resellers, or distributors. In this brand saturated world, marketers have to avoid common mistakes, while managing your brand name.

Branding mistakes to avoid:

Generic building

The major benefit of the internet is that you get access to a lot of artistic things like icons, photos, images, and other multimedia files. You get to see so many different types of branding elements being used for the visual appeal of a business.

Careful consideration of company logos and taglines is important for developing any branding strategies. Several organizations simply use phrases that are copy pasted from the net, and the stock images that fit.

Such mistakes will never allow you business image to sync with long term customer relationships, making it difficult for you to maintain the brand name in the market. Do your research, and be specific. The efforts will definitely prove to be worthy in the long run.

Ignoring analytics

In this digital age, branding can be quite complex. Digital media also allows for data tracking, and you can download the reports instantly. You can use the information for conducting analysis. It will also help you cut down on laborious marketing research or surveys.

You can use the analytics tools to get complete detailed data, ranging from user demographics to their website usage statistics. It might not sound like necessary, but it can make your business strategizing, a lot easy.

A strong brand name is priceless, as competition to attract consumers is getting intensified everyday. Therefore, you need to spend time in researching, identifying, and structuring your brand marketing strategies.

Making messaging mistakes

Messaging is the voice of your brand. An effective message is the one that captures the audience and forces them to act, whether they are shopping at the local store, or browsing on your site, or simply checking out your product. Sometimes, even the seasoned marketers struggle to develop a great message.

Many communicators overlook the simple rule while starting the message. The rule here is that, the starting point should address the core values of the customers. If you are not working towards what people actually care about, then even your most genuine message will not hit the target.

Ignoring consumer’s value

Marketers develop their messages, in accordance to their brands most vital features, instead of understanding what is crucial to the customers. Therefore, you will need to take time and understand your consumer values, and then align it in your messaging.

Core values of consumers can be attained via online surveys. For example, you could include the survey at check-out page (and offer an instant discount).

You might think that the product or service cost is what drives your customers. Surprisingly in the surveys, it was seen discovered that ‘safety’ and ‘family’ are two aspects the consumers value the most.

Here, you can shift your business messaging from ‘lower-rates’ to ‘keep your family safe, and that too within your budget’.

That subtle change will make the difference.

Depending a lot on buzzwords

The more popular the catchphrases become, the less effect they have. It does not mean you cannot use trendy phrases. Use them sparingly with words that distinguish your unique punch line. For example, a small restaurant attains an effective message by including ‘Yummy’ in a subtle and smart way, but don’t overdo it too much either.

Boring and exhausting messages

A short message is necessary to move your business word around. Simple taglines must come through loud and clear. It must give an idea to people about your product or service. Provide a catch message to fuel interests, but don’t drag it too much and bore your prospective customers.

Disregarding the excitement factor

Everyone’s life is spent in auto-pilot mode these days, and people make decisions on the basis of their emotions, habits, and instincts. It is vital to wake people up, and motivate them, through your messaging.

Use action verbs to build excitement and energy. For example, an event planning message can include, ‘Fabulously planned and remembered always’ or ‘We create and you celebrate’.

Mistakes to avoid, while managing social media platform

The worst advice would be to use same ad across all the social networking sites. Although the overall layout of your campaign message needs to be consistent, you cannot possibly use a single message in all the platforms. Social media is omnipresent for all brands, and businesses realize their potentials to attain wide exposure.

About 72% internet users are active on social media, and brands cannot overlook this opportunity to reach audiences in cost-effective way. However, engaging audiences is not very challenging if done systematically, but brands do make those mistakes.

Having dormant accounts – Many businesses follow the trend and open accounts on majority of social sites, before they are ready to devote their time on it. Consequently, the profile becomes stale and inactive. Prospective consumers may discover the inactive account and get the negative feel. To avoid this blunder, setup you profile on social media platforms, only if you are ready to spend time to maintain it.

No social media guidelines – The big mistake brands make is allow employees to handle the social media accounts. There are no such guidelines stated, so if several employees manage the company profiles, the brand messaging will be inconsistent. Establishing social media policy will help the employees who are working on networking sites. They will have guidelines on how and when to respond to consumer’s queries and concerns.

Remove negative comments – Consumer experiences differ, and sometimes they post negative feedback. Brands are desperate to remove the negative comments, because they feel that it may tarnish their reputation. The consumer, who posted the feedback, will possibly realize it missing. They may voice complains more publicly like public tweets.

Here it the rule:

No One Can Remove the Feedback except the Person, Who Posted the Original Tweet

Another issue is that if prospective consumers find only the positive feedbacks, then they may get suspicious. Brands must not hide negative testimonials, but instead, respond to them respectfully.

Apologize and be ready to resolve the issue of the unsatisfied consumers. It will other encourage prospective consumers to look at your brand name as the one, who cares.

Ignoring consumers – Businesses may not respond to negative or positive comments. Here, the customers will feel neglected. Never engaging with consumers, who seek to interact, can be detrimental to your brand. Just start with simple words like Thanks or Sorry can make them feel good.

Online reputation management

Dealing with online reputation is highly complex in this world of neutral online media. Here is a list of weaknesses that need consideration.

Wrath – Anger or rage can ruin your reputation. Many of the never-ending conflicts seen online, especially on social media, are due to wrath. Therefore if you see something that you do not like about your company, take some time before responding. Your passionate response will seem ridiculous to you as well, after you cool down.

Greed – When monitoring your brand reputation, take care to give credit, where it is due. Never try to grab all the praise. Nobody desires to work with unsatisfied fame hog.

Pride – Pride can be damaging if you are into managing your online business status. Humility allows for enhancing your reputation.

Envy – Envy prevents you to appreciate another person’s good points. It may be anything – A big client, new business venture, or professional honors. Never let envy hinder your ability to perceive other person’s good qualities.

Bottom line

By avoiding the mistakes discussed above, brands can assemble different marketing strategies to give their business a strong identity. Brand management helps to manage the tangible as well as the intangible aspects of the product or services. Let me know about your thoughts by your comments.

social - dwaipayan chakraborty

10 Social Media Myths Debunked

social - dwaipayan chakraborty
It has been long since i wrote something, and this post has been in draft stage for far too long now. At last i could complete it and here is my thoughts on some myths that surrounds social media which i have come across while talking to clients.

In addition to being the hot craze among internet users, social media websites also serve as great platforms for internet marketers and online businesses. Traditionalists shy away from developing their social media marketing (SMM) strategies, because of some common delusions that plague the reputation of social media.

Several myths have spread around regarding its effectiveness, but according to Social Time Reports – Instagram has grown by 50% in just 9 months, and SnapChat grew 56% in a year. This clearly suggests that social media marketing is the future, and it is here to stay.

If you are one of those, who are reluctant to jump the social bandwagon, because of your own apprehensions and floating myths about social media, then you might want to step back a bit and reconsider. Without social media marketing, your business will lose out badly to your competitors. Not only will it slow down your brand progress, but can also hurt your potential market share.

1st Myth – A belief that most consumers do not utilize social media

Many small businesses still continue to think that their consumers do not hang around on social sites. This is the biggest myth, which prevents majority of companies from interacting with potential consumers on social networking sites.

Even though social media sites were first developed to attract teens and youngsters, they have now rapidly transformed into powerful branding tools to engage with the users.

According to the demographics of social media, such sites attract people between 45 to 54 years old. Some brands argue that their consumer base comprises of senior users, and they are not using social networking channels. However, reports indicate that 71 % adult populations are FaceBook users.

Social networking has developed into a cultural standard, and people are signing in to their accounts everyday. If you are operating with an idea that your targeted market is not on social site means, you are missing huge potential consumer base.

Social channels have become an omnipresent form of communication, sharing, and communication, across all age groups. It is important for you to know that your competition companies will be using social media sites for targeting their clients.

2nd Myth – Objection of not having ways to measure social media effectiveness

This is another common objection given by companies for not participating in social media marketing campaigns. It is a fact that measuring social media efficiency is different, than how the how traditional marketing efficacy is analyzed. It does not mean there are no methods. Well, there are many new analytical tools, and you will need to learn about them, in order to identify what works and what doesn’t in your SMM efforts.

You can also use different tools for ongoing analytics and also to measure the campaign focused metrics.

Through ongoing analytics, the results of your overall social media activity can be tracked everyday. You can use the historical data with date range, to analyze the efficiency of your SMM strategies.

Through campaign focused metrics, you can get the clear picture of the impact created by your specific campaigns. In this category, one-time sales are also included. It may sound complicated, but you can find a number of tools that can make measuring a lot easier.

3rd Myth – No time for managing social media activities

A common delusion among many is that social media activities take a lot of time. It is the reason why many business owners, who are already overloaded with works, tend to deviate from it. The fact is that it is very easy to understand how to communicate on social media and maintain a dynamic presence on social sites.

You can make this process easy using numerous tools that are available online. The results of investing time and efforts on posting engaging and valuable content will go a long way improving your band name. You could also outsource the SMM jobs to professional service providers.

4th Myth – Social media means exposure to negative feedbacks

Businesses desire to keep away from negative comments. It is natural, but business owners experience negative feedback, even when they are not active on social media. When you receive negative comments, and if you are active on social networking platforms, then you can respond rapidly and have the issue addressed.

Ignoring social media means, you will miss the chance on opportunities to address the potentially negative feedback and comments speedily. Now, such non-responsiveness can damage your business more than just getting a few negative comments. Responding in public to consumer complaints, gives you an opportunity to display your organization’s excellent policy of timely customer service.

It is also true that brands occasionally get harassed by irate customers. If you are not doing something wrong, they will just end up looking silly.

5th Myth – Misconceptions about content

Sharing your competitor’s content is not a good idea – Contrary to that belief, experts believe that it is a good idea.

It certainly is obvious why this myth has occurred – why must you promote your competitor?

Well, sharing competitor’s content will help you in many ways.

It shows your fans your determination to give them the most excellent information, even if it comes from your rival. Another benefit is that your competitor will also start sharing your content, because you too are a professional in their niche.

In this way, you can keep a close eye on your competitor’s activities, or build a relationship by actively engaging with materials they produce.

Only post brand related or promotional content – You can communicate with followers on social media but avoid pushing your products. Fans desire to listen to your discounts and promotional deals, but avoid including sales pitch on every post.

You can connect with prospective customers and fans on personal level on social sites, so try to post contents that will keep your fans engaged, Give them something that they can share and discuss.

Generating lead is impossible with social media – Posting quality and relevant content certainly generates new followers, who can be directed to your website through sales funnel.

Blog posts including 300 to 700 words are the best –

To write interesting information, you will to create contents of least 600-800 words, but there are no hard and fast rules on this matter. Blogs are meant for providing comprehensive and helpful information, which is why the short contents or snippets might not do the trick for you. Long articles and blogs perform better on search engines, because you get to cover more keywords.

6th Myth – Social media is just a broadcast channel

Traditional marketing program included social media just as a channel to broadcast their message. If you believe that promoting your brand or inviting audience to buy from you via social media is a good way, then think again. You can end up with lesser followers every day, if you persist doing this.

In fact, social media is for two-way communication with followers and audience. Therefore identify your fans and share reviews and photos. Even post real-time useful and genuine content to keep your fans engaged. You can even communicate with the people responding to your content.

7th Myth – Social media marketing strategies are waste of time

Creating accounts on popular social channels like FaceBook, Twitter, or Tumblr, is easy, but it does not mean that they guarantee your business success.

Businesses follow the trend of creating new accounts with most social media sites, instead of a selected few. They end up using inappropriate platforms, or send wrong messages to wrong people. The results will be certainly poor, and they start believing that social media is not right for their business.

Basically, they have to think strategically of what their purpose of social media use is, what their message is, who they are talking with, and what those fans desire to hear. Using social media without strategic planning is like walking in wilderness without a map.

Certainly, you may reach your destination, but you my even end up at a lot of dead ends. This can be time consuming and frustrating process, which can make you give up ultimately.

8th Myth – No one has an idea of what works right on social media

Social media is newer concept than blogs, so not may marketers understand how to use it for business promotions – So, what is right and what is wrong?

Actually, there are experienced professionals, but they too do not give you guarantees on the effectives of their strategies within a definite timeframe. The experts are aware that the strategy has a big chance to succeed, but it also depends on the content creation and targeting of audience.

A well-formed social media strategy takes into consideration your audiences’ natures, assesses your content, and ensures that you select the appropriate social media platform that suits your business promotional needs.

9th Myth – Social media is just for teens or youngsters

Today’s youngsters understand digital technology innately, while elderly people will have to put in efforts to learn new stuff. The belief is that elders are not capable of understanding how social media works. The truth is that their technological abilities, interests, and accesses, are not same as that of young people, but they are very much active on social sites in their own way.

Young people link themselves to their technology differently, but it does not mean that they have developed deep understanding of it, than the elders. Therefore, it is vital that business marketers understand this myth, because it will also affect recruitment and marketing.

They hire inexperienced or too young people to handle their social networking communications. They forget the fact that the experienced people recognize the business, market, and consumers better. They have the communication skills necessary to perform well on social media platforms. A good balance of youthful vigor and experience make great SMM teams.

10th Myth – Some believe social media is 9 to 5 job

This is absolutely wrong. Internet is open 24/7/365, so make sure your marketing message impacts the social media world meaningfully, because there is switch-off at any given point of time. Post the right kind of content and see your consumer-base grow even, if when you are sleeping at night.

It is suggested for all businesses to register for accounts on the right social networking sites, even though they is surrounded by myths.

This is a new platform and people are still learning about different ways to leverage it. Have a strong strategy planned, before plunging on social media, in order to see great results.

Let me know by comment if i have left something or if you have a different perspective. All point of views are welcome.

Image courtesy to Luke Smith – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljesmith/

10 Valuable Pointers on How to Brand a Company

Branding-of-company

Although branding is important for long-term growth, expansion, and success of any company, very few people really understand what it means. Well, branding is basically making your business stand out in the crowd, where people will be able to relate certain products or services exclusively to your company, despite you having many competitors.

Unlike marketing, where your main focus will be to attract the customer for the first time, branding is more about making your company name memorable in their minds. You can consider your branding efforts to be successful, when people immediately picture your company logo and taglines, whenever your products or services are mentioned.

There are as many definitions of branding, yet only a handful of companies are able to create a brand that keeps attracting customers.

Why is branding important? 

If you want to create a successful brand for your company, there are many ways to look at it.

Here is a useful way to think about branding:

  • When people hear your company’s name, what will be their first thought?
  • When people see two similar products, why would they pick your brand over the other?

Instead of haggling over the exact meaning of how to brand a company, if you think about it in terms of answering the above questions, you will spend your time more wisely.

Whatever brand you create, it must evoke trust among customers. People will only buy a product that they trust. You will want people to actively gravitate towards your brand, so that you can sell more products and maximize your profits.

Take a look at some of the most successful companies in any field (preferably the ones in similar business domain to yours). You will find that their customers instantly recognize their name. You will often hear the phrase to the effect of, “you can’t go wrong with ‘xx’ company.”

Once you identify the reasons why their brand is so trusted by customers, you will find a lot of answers for branding your company successfully. Here are some key points that can help you create a lasting brand that people will trust.

  1. What do your customers want? 

Before you start your branding exercise, you will want to know about what your customers want from you. No matter how great your branding efforts are. If your products do not match their expectations, then you will have a hard time profiting in the long term.

Here are some key things you will want to learn about:

  • What kind of demographic does your product cater to (young, senior citizens, kids, middle class, etc.)?
  • What is your value proposition (better price, higher quality, reliability, etc.)?
  • How much are your potential customers willing to pay for the product?

A modest amount of market research will answer those questions for you, and give you the vital cues about where to start with branding your business. A brand for luxury products will definitely be different from that of budget ones.

  • What do you have? 

If you have the perfect product that has all the qualities without any compromises, then you can let it speak for your brand to quite and extent. However in reality, you will have to make the appeasements, because your customer needs also keep changing.

What you will want to know is:

  • What are the limitations of your products, when compared to those of your competitors
  • What are the strong points that make your product better than others
  • How does the disparity impact your product sales

The question is how to brand a company with the existing variations in what you and your competitors have to offer. To start with, you will obviously have to highlight your strong points. However, it will give you only a limited period to buffer your weaknesses. Even if your customers still choose your products, they will eventually see through your branding strategy. Therefore, companies always try to improve their products in order to plug the loopholes, and add more value to their customers.

Ideally, your brand should tell people about your priorities, and you will need to be transparent about it, so they can trust your company.

  1. Branding before marketing 

As you keep introducing new products and services, you will have to develop new marketing campaigns to give them the required exposure. Now, different products require different types of push.

Some of them will need greater presence on news media, while others will rely more on PPC campaigns, or email marketing. Even as you utilize different platforms to market your product, you want to make sure that your marketing is always in line with your branding.

For example, if you are selling a luxury product, you will not want to send emails to every address you have in your database, because that would corrupt your brand.

Know your customers well, before you sell your brand. Therefore, you must narrow down the focus of your marketing, exclusively to those who will actually buy your products.

  • Picking the right channels 

Most company branding tips today given by the so called mainstream experts involves bombarding all platforms with marketing, so that the customers will notice. However, as statistics prove, this is only a road to disaster. First of all, you should take stock of the platforms that are available to you for branding.

These include:

  • Television advertising
  • Billboards
  • Web ads
  • In app advertising on mobile devices
  • Social networks (Facebook, twitter, Google+)
  • Video platforms (YouTube, Vine, Vimeo)
  • Blogging
  • Podcasts
  • Your own website

Now, if you are a small company, taking on all the above platforms for your branding will spread you too thin. Therefore when you are starting out, pick two platforms that you believe will give your business the best exposure. This again depends on what demographic you are targeting for your brand.

  • Brand standards and guidelines 

Your brand will eventually be present on all the major platforms including Facebook, Twitter, newsletters, emails and what not. If you want your customers to recognize the brand instantly, there needs to be a consistency among various platforms. You therefore have to form some strong standards and guidelines for your brand.

For example:

  • How the logo is placed in your ads, letter heads, emails etc.
  • What color themes are used across all your web properties, including social networking pages
  • The font face and size used, relative to the size of the logo
  • Where your tagline goes in every message

These standards will be uniform on all your communication, so your customers will always know that it is from your company, whether they receive a flyer, an email, or if they visit your website. Having consistent brand guidelines is one of the most important business branding tips that you will need to adopt.

  • Propagate your brand through social media 

You were told above that you have to pick one or two platforms first to start your branding efforts. One of those has to be online social networks. That is because more than half of your potential customers are probably on Facebook or Twitter. These are the best platforms currently to spread brand awareness quickly.

Of course, you are not the only company who is going to use social media to promote the brand. What will set you apart from the others are the contents, and the ways in which you communicate with your followers. You might want to hire a social media expert to help you leverage the platform for building maximum awareness.

  • Reinforcing your brand through website 

Even though your web presence will be spread across social networks and blogs, your website will still be the anchor. It will be the central place, from where the customers will be able to buy your products. Therefore, it is important that you use the website as your primary branding exercise:

  • See to it that the design of your website strongly adheres to your branding standards
  • Make sure that your site interaction is fluid, and it reflects your website’s values

Too many small businesses ignore the importance of a professional website that works smoothly and helps customers. A great website will help increase your brand visibility, and earn you higher positions on search engine rankings.

  • Keeping it consistent 

When branding your company, it is important to remember that your brand as a whole will have to rise above any individual product.

You might have a new product that is radically different from others, for better or worse. Still, you will need to make sure that your customers get the very same feel and experience that your most successful existing products give to them.

When customers find the same reliability, feeling and trust when using multiple products from your company, your brand only gets strengthened more.

As you progress along, you will notice that even small design choices for your product will be informed by your branding strategy.

  1. A standout logo 

The most obvious way that company brands are recognized by people, is by their logo. Two companies may have the same name, but never the same logo. Your logo does not just differentiate your brand from others, but it should evoke feelings among customers.

Your logo should:

  • Reflect your core value (simplicity, energy, reliability, variety, speed etc., pick one)
  • Be distinctive (You can refer to other logos as inspiration, but never copy them even remotely)
  • Translate well to different media (billboards, emails, web properties, etc.)

Creating a good logo should be the first tangible step towards building a good brand for your company.

  • A concise and clear slogan 

Coming up with a clear slogan that will advocate your core value is more difficult than it seems. There are entire departments in marketing companies that are tasked for simply coming up with effective tag lines. Here are some of the things that make a tagline stick to your brand, and helps in gaining recognition:

  • It addresses your customer needs
  • It matches in feel with your logo
  • It conveys precisely one vision (e.g. A computer in every home, Microsoft)

Even though it is single line content, coming up with a good tagline takes time and efforts. It requires that you have clear-cut goals and values. The part about how to brand a company by using consumer expectations and your own strengths rings very true here.

All of these steps might seem like too much for a small business that is just starting out and wanting to create a compelling brand. However, when you have enough information and have a clear vision, the rest of the steps are just details of implementation, and they will get easier.

 

 

10 Proven Ways to Leverage Social Media for Small Business or Industry

Network

Until a few years ago, the online presence of your business was mostly defined by the page rankings of your website on search engines. It was about building the backlinks and leveraging the keywords. While search engines are still the most prolific platforms to get more customers to your website, social media has also emerged as a key adjunct.

Most people, who really matter to your business, are probably on social networks. Even senior citizens, who are usually averse to technology, spend more time on social networks than on other websites.

If you want your brand name to reach a wide spectrum of audiences from across the net, then you will need to give it a very strong and carefully considered social media presence.

Now, because there are so many brands and companies competing for the buyer attention, you will need to develop a way to cut through the crowd. You will want to stand out, and make sure that people take notice of what you have to offer. Please be reminded that, this is not the same as buying more followers and likes on Twitter and FaceBook.

There are many ways to leverage social media for small business. If you implement the strategies properly, your efforts will surely yield more customers, and higher conversion rates.

Here are some of the most proven ways to build a steady audience on social networks for your business. They will not guarantee success, but will increase the odds in your favor.

1) Find Your Audience 

The first step towards making a mark in social media with your potential customers is to identify the sources where they are most active. If your customers are mostly teenagers, then you will find them mostly on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. If you are running a B2B company, then you are more likely to find your niche audience on networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and more.

There are plenty of social networks out there, but if you want to gain more followers, you will need to choose the best few suiting your business, and focus totally on them.

Here is what you can do:

  • Research your demographic and use analytics and monitoring tools to find which social networks your target audiences use the most
  • Pick the top 2 or 3 and go about focus your efforts on building your presence across these social media platforms

It will be tempting to hire a social media consultancy and go all out, building your pages on every social network out there. However, this will dilute your message. You want your presence to grow organically.

2) Choose the Correct Channels 

The best recommendation for using social media for small business owners is to choose the right medium. Most people use FaceBook to keep in touch with the world, but not everybody does. The same goes for Twitter. Although you keep hearing about them dozen times a day, there are legions who have never visited Twitter at all.

  • Experiment with multiple but carefully chosen social media platforms
  • Create useful content for your potential customers, and see which platforms generate more active responses from users

Most importantly, consider email as another channel to leverage social media. Email marketing is considered to be old school, but it still drives in a lot of responses. Add social media interactions to your emails, and links to discussion threads, so that receivers can start interactions right from the emails.

3) A consistent cross media brand 

Whether you are using billboards, PPC, video sites, or social networks, your brand should be clearly defined in all your marketing efforts. Social media is a great awareness platform, but it ultimately leads your customers to your website and other places, where they can guy products.

If you check out most of the social media for small business tips they tend to ignore some key aspects. These basics will help you channel your marketing efforts in the right track.

You will need to have brand standards and guidelines for all platforms. For example, you will need to be consistent with the usage of your logos and color themes across both, your social media pages, and your website. This will help customers identify your brand clearly, whenever they see it.

There are two ways to reinforce your brand and make it more memorable.

  1. One is bombarding them with spam, ads, and emails.
  1. The other is to keep a consistent brand, and make sure it shows up at the right places.

The latter strategy will always earn you more respect from your potential and existing customers.

4) Develop a genuine content strategy 

It is not like, you create a social media page, and people will come flocking to you. Even when you create viral campaigns, there is no guarantee that people will keep coming back, and follow your posts. A viral social media strategy will bring users to your page once, but good and interesting content will keep them coming back, and eventually generate brand loyalty.

You can also take assistance for content development from professional companies that specialize in social media for small business marketing. They can help you analyze what kind of content will interest customers, and what will make your pages truly helpful.

Your content can include:

  • Useful updates regarding your products or services
  • Regular announcements, so they can keep track of your releases and learn more about your company
  • Tidbits that will give them an inside peek into your company, so that you can build a rapport with them

These are not hard and fast rules, but strategies that have proved to be successful for many small businesses, over a period of time.

5) Make your presence useful 

This follows closely on the heels of a content strategy. When you want to leverage social media, you will want to give people some genuine reason to follow you on Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, or any other platform. The details of this strategy are very specific to the type of business you run, and according to what your customer-base it.

Here are the questions that you will want to answer for your users, so that in turn, they feel that following your posts will help them.

  • Will it save my time if I follow their posts instead of other brands
  • Are their posts of any tangible help to me, in choosing or using their products
  • Do I save money if I follow their posts?

Your customers will not ask these questions directly, but these factors influence their decision making. For instance, if you are actively responding to customer questions on your Facebook, Google+ or Twitter, they have plenty of reasons to follow you.

6) Don’t repeat content 

In the interest of keeping their social media presence active, many companies resort to poor tactics like presenting the same information in different ways, by using multiple posts. However, this is a bad strategy because:

  • It does not give customers any new information
  • Followers may ultimately lose interest in your pages and stop following them
  • It falsely inflates your social media analytics numbers, and will drive you towards adopting the wrong measures in future

The best way to update social media for small business is to create posts only when new information is available. If you find yourself short of announcements, then you can create interesting videos and infographics that will help reinforce your message, and keep users engaged.

7) Share links generously 

The whole internet is built on the foundation of links. It is important that you make the best of them, in order to keep users up-to-date with your activities.

You can share links to:

  • Your blog posts
  • Other social media posts
  • Videos on YouTube or Vine
  • Product pages where people can buy or subscribe

Also share links to help pages where they make sense. The more relevance your contents are, the greater are your chances of keeping the followers interested.

8) Monitor, Measure, and Analyze 

Once you have a social media strategy in place, you don’t blindly implement it. Keep monitoring your posts constantly and see:

  • What kind of posts generate the most views, likes, and responses
  • Which ones lead directly to more sales
  • What posts generate negative responses
  • Which platforms are giving you the best conversion rates

All these metrics will tell you where you need to tweak your strategies, and make small adjustments and improvements, in an ongoing manner.

9) Keep an eye on competition 

Your social media presence does not exist in a vacuum. It is competing with other businesses in the same domain. If you want to be ahead of the curve, you will need to understand the strategies of others as well. You will find what works for them and what doesn’t.

You don’t need to copy their successful strategies blindly, but you can use them on your social media interactions smartly. You will have a better idea of how this works, once you gain more experience of using social media for small business.

10) A sustained campaign  

Social media is not a ‘set it and forget it’ platform. You cannot create a campaign, sit back, and relax, once it ends. Remember that you are competing with multiple other businesses for buyer attention. You need a social media plan that you can keep implementing throughout the year.

Alternatively, you may want to hire a specialist social media firm to make sure that you have a sustainable strategy. Many companies also hire specialized staff to work full time on just social media. This is a good idea is you have the financial resources. Your campaign will then be headed by someone who knows how valuable social media is, and how to wring the most value out of the platforms. 

Let me know what do you think or if you feel that I have left some points out…please comment.

Branding Tips - Dwaipayan.com

10 Quick Tips about Branding In Marketing Management

Branding Tips - Dwaipayan.com

If you were to look up 10 different places for what branding means, you may see 10 wildly different definitions. That is because branding is not well-understood by most businesses, which is why they don’t succeed in creating memorable products. Branding in marketing management is considered to be the primary goal of advertisements and promotions.

Branding helps you establish:

  • What comes to mind first when people see your brand logo or brand name
  • How your products are perceived (cheap, expensive, low quality, luxury, reliable etc.)

Once you get a hold of these goals, you will understand the importance of branding in marketing management. All your decisions and strategies will be determined by the above mentioned bullet points.

Here are some tips for beginners who want to establish their business and create a brand that will last the distance.

  1. Consistency

The most important thing about branding is that you need to have a consistent message across all platforms that you use to market or promote your products or services. You have multiple avenues of marketing. Some of them are:

  • Television ads
  • Website ads
  • Emails
  • Social media posts
  • Online videos
  • Twitter page, etc

Now, these are wildly different media and they play by different rules. However, even as you create a different strategy for each of them, you will need to use the same branding elements like your logo, color schemes, brand name, and tag lines.

It is only when you hit customers with the same message over a period of time across multiple channels, that you will be able to successfully establish awareness. This is how, when people see your logo on the web, they remember it from a social media post or from a billboard.

  1. Understand your competition

Everybody knows that if you want your brand to be more memorable, it needs to be different from the dozens of others out there. However, you can’t be different just for the sake of it. When you do that, it means you have very little idea about your target market. To understand how you can be different from the competition, you will first want to understand them deeply.

Here are some key pieces of insights to look into:

  • How do customers and other potential leads perceive a competing brand
  • Why do people like their brand
  • Why do people dislike their brand
  • Where do their strengths and weaknesses lie

If you are very similar to your competition, you are likely to have similar pros and cons as well. Understanding this, will help you craft a unique brand that addresses customer concerns in the long term.

  1. What are your strengths

Even if your product is the best among the competition, it doesn’t guarantee that customers will flock to buy your products and services. As always, it is the branding that draws people to certain products. This becomes even more important, when your products are similar to the competition in most ways.

Internal and market research should tell you:

  • What are the key ways in which your brand is different from others
  • What are the most important strengths that help you trump the competition
  • Which of those strengths are most relevant to your customers

If you want more insights, look at the major brand logos in other business areas, rather than just yours. You will see how the successful ones have logos and messages that make a positive impression. It would do you well to study brands, and see why they are successful.

  1. Know your customers

It is easy enough to identify who your customers are going to be, by using demographic information. However, even within the same demographic, your potential customers will each have different things they want from your product. For instance, some will want a cheap and reliable service, while others will want a premium service that gives them everything.

Your brand logo and design can convey these values to your customers, so you need to understand how. For instance, compare premium watch brand logos to more affordable ones. Do the same with airlines and hotels, or really any type of business. You will see what types of designs convey premium quality, reliability, costs. For instance, Apple never brands their products as cheap, but it is still sells more than its competition.

Once you know what your customers’ expectations are, you can hire a designer to craft a brand that reflects those, and makes people feel closer to your brand.

  1. Branding signature

Your signature brand represents the very best that you can give your customers. In a line of products or services, this is the flagship that tells your customers just how good a company you are.

If you want your brand to be memorable, you will want a brand signature that is:

  • Of the highest quality and suggests it will meet your customers’ expectations
  • Has a lively or calm feel around it, depending on what zone it is in
  • Is instantly recognizable by people when they see it

Admittedly, this is not an easy task. It does take a lot of effort. Many a times, it also requires expert counsel for brand management strategies. Even the best companies hire branding consultants to help create a signature that will outlast the latest product hype. You may want to do it too.

  1. Reputation management

In an ideal world, our brand will attract tons of customers, and they will always use our products, and will always be satisfied. In reality, there will always be corner cases, where your product will not meet the customer expectations. Given that the internet allows for expressing of views freely, it is very likely that you will receive strong negative responses.

Now, a few negative perceptions will always stick out, and become more visible among the sea of good ones. If you want to ensure that your brand name stays clean, you will want a strong reputation management strategy. Some might also call it brand management.

A good strategy in this regard will make sure that:

  • Customers concerns are addressed in the most appropriate manner
  • When somebody tries to tarnish your brand, you can make sure that your overall brand retains a positive connection with the customers
  • Your brand equity keeps growing in value over time

 7. Blogging for branding

Blogging started as a personal hobby for people who had something to say. However, it has now turned into an integral part of professional business marketing strategy. With that being the case, it is being used successfully by businesses to give their brand more visibility.

Blogging is important for branding in marketing management because:

  • It make your readers aware of the current status of your products and support
  • It keeps your brand fresh in readers’ minds
  • It gives you an opportunity for your customers to get closer to you

When your customers see that you are willing to engage with them in a two way conversation, they will naturally like you more. Regular blogs with genuinely interesting and informative content can help you build a strong brand in a thousand small ways.

  1. SEO branding

Not many companies pursuing SEO to attract traffic to their sites think of it from a branding perspective. They do not fully understand the importance of branding in marketing management. Well, it does matter to your customers. They will observe what kind of searches or search terms will pull out your website and brand name.

For instance, if a user is looking at complaints for a particular product category, and your brand name features multiple times on the search hits, her perception of your company will change for the worse.

When you are optimizing your site for search engines, you will need to target the right keywords and also check out what kind of other keywords, bring your brand to the fore in SERPs.

If you find the concept complicated, you might want to hire professional services for developing brand management strategies and integrate their advice with your SEO campaign.

  1. Measure your branding

Many businesses think that branding is an abstract concept and that it has no measurable value in currency. That is however not true. Your brand does have a monetary value, and is called as brand equity. If you do not know what that is, you will need to start learning about how to measure it.

Your branding strategy decides:

  • How many customers choose your products because of a strong brand
  • How many of them are loyal to your brand and keep coming back
  • How customers recommend your products, because they believe in your brand

It does matter to people what kind of brand they are buying into. Think about how many people will buy the same product if it had a different brand label on it. Now, you can see just how important it is to measure your brand, and keep growing its value over time.

  1. Website branding

Every company has its own website, and it should be the focal point or center of your branding. You cannot fully control how your brand is perceived on social networks because all kinds of people participate in it. The same is true of online videos. However, your website is the one online entity where you have the full control, and it should have your brand stamped all over it.

This can be achieved through clever design and color schemes. However, it is much more than just that. If you want your brand to evoke trust among people, their experiences and interactions with your website should reflect that. If you promote simplicity, your site design should reflect that.

The performance your website has a great impact on your brand name. Let me know if I have left some important points out or if you if you disagree with me on something in the comments section.