How to write a ‘Company Overview’

As a part of one of my on going projects with a leading construction company in Qatar, we are giving this 70+ year old brand a face lift. While this entire exercise will make a brilliant re-branding  case study some day, today I want to concentrate on one very crucial part of content marketing that I believe is more important that we think it is. I have to admit that it was that one intriguing question by the client that got me thinking…for good!

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Now, What is a ‘Company Overview’?

I am no batman so I googled this very question (we need a superhero with google-like powers). Surprisingly there was nothing much that would explain to me what a company overview is like I was a 5 year old (hellya! Denzel Washington). So I went for split and search and it kinda worked. So, an overview of a situation is a general understanding or description of the situation as a WHOLE.  Obviously the situation here is a company and the task is to write a page that would describe the company as a WHOLE. Again in caps because that is the keyword!

You wondering why?! remember the intriguing question that my client asked…it was, “should we call the prepared content Company Overview, Company Introduction or Company Brief?” 

The keyword helped me answer the question. A company overview is far more than an introduction or a brief. when you introduce yourself to someone it mostly is your name, where you come from, what company you work with and maybe a couple of more points if the other guy is really listening to you. There is much more information about you in store than what you give away in an introduction. I have had interviews where I was asked to “briefly” introduce myself! So a brief is strictly no dilly dally, cut to chase, say it in one breath scenario. I understand that my examples are conversation based and the case in point is about written content, but my objective is to differentiate between an overview, introduction and brief before we know to how to write one.

While writing a ‘Company Overview’…

  • List out the keywords that describe your business and its core values

Company overview is no longer confined to the pages of a business plan or a tedious report. It is one of the first things we read about when we enter a company website. With the growing acceptance and demand for SEO responsive websites, the content has to reflect the meticulous usage of keywords that will contribute in increasing the quality of your website. This is called “On-Page” SEO, a topic for my upcoming post.

Finding the right set of keywords for your business is a very crucial step and i encourage it to be a time taking one. The process includes interviewing the founders, present top management and conducting a competitor analysis and secondary research. Tools like Google Adwords Keywords Planner should be used to filter out the most relevant keywords.

Once you have listed out 10-15 keywords for your business, try and incorporate all or most of them in the company overview while maintaining the flow of information.

  • Figure out the key components that must be included 

Think of it as a 2 minute business presentation to a set of people who have never heard about your company till that very moment. What are the most important aspects of your company that they should know about?, Where can they locate you?, When did you start this company? and how are you the best in what you do? Writing a company overview is simply answering these questions in the most accurate way possible. In short, it should contain the What, Where, When and How of your company

  • Follow this basic structure

Company History  – provide the back story, including date of founding and who were the founders

Management Team – details about the top management and their key roles

Legal Structure and Ownership – how you’ve decided to structure your company

Locations and Facilities – Details on your work spaces and diversity

Mission Statement – A concise statement on the guiding principles of your company

So, get started on writing a company overview that will get you noticed.

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Big (Data) Mistake

 

It is interesting to see the transition in “intelligent marketing” norms. Big data, a few years ago, was all about collecting information wherein the efforts were directed towards identifying each of your existing and potential consumers. While it certainly sharpened the consumer segmentation and targeting, but pasting the same marketing content to all does no justice to the rich collection of data. It is now that we have started to mold the marketing contents, product offerings and communication patterns to closely align it with what they do. It is almost like a democratic form of marketing with all the right prepositions connecting “people” and what we call people based marketing. 

Came across this article on use of big data for reaching the right people at the right time, and what people based marketing does NOT mean. So here is the link to the article under good reads category:

https://www.inc.com/yuriy-boykiv/best-practices-for-utilizing-data-in-the-new-era-of-internet-openness.html

Difference between Goal, Objective, Strategy & Tactic

The purpose of my blogs is to take inspiration from my everyday chores, events, scenarios and try to relate it to those marketing lessons which were once crucial to clear college tests with flying colors. That was back in the post-grad days when tests were taken (simple) and now I am put to test everyday in real business situations (not that simple). Marketing jargon, fancy presentations topped with promising case studies can be an impressive start for your marketing career but you have got to produce results. That is usually the unwanted question or exclamation mark while evaluating your marketing campaign.

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One of my favorite dialogues from House of Cards puts it just right…”One has to be smart to know what they don’t know.” So when going gets tough ask yourself what you have been pretending to know all this while because now is the time to actually know it!

This post is about the four pillars of every marketing campaign that are often misused, overused, underused or used fr no reason at all. It’s the GOST…Goal, Objective, Strategy, Tactic.

  1. GOAL

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Or more precisely business goal. This is a very long term of view of what the business should become or should accomplish. Goals are meant to be ambitious and to some extent far fetched that can keep the work force motivated forever. for example, the goal of a cooking oil company would be to become the number 1 cooking oil of the world. Even if the brand ends up being the least used cooking oil in its geographical region, the goal will always be same.

2. OBJECTIVE

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When your boss asks the objective behind your strategy…make sure you have a number in mind. That’s right, objective is where you define the way to achieving the business goal using concrete and justified numbers. Taking the above example, when the cooking oil company comes to me with the goal…it expects me (the marketer) to figure out HOW?

So one of the objectives would be to double the sales in one year. If we are presently we are selling 100 bottles we have to increase the sales to 200 bottles. There can be multiple objectives in a campaign. Like in this case, the new cooking oil company might want to achieve considerable brand awareness as a part of this campaign.

3. STRATEGY

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This according to me is the most misused word of all! so now you know that growing your business is not a strategy and so is increasing product sales. Strategy is a critical bridge that connects you to the objectives and subsequently the goal. when i say bridge…picture one of those hanging bridge connecting two mountain cliffs and not the concrete modern day bridge just to maintain the thrill of this crucial step 😀

It is true that strategy can make or break your campaign that’s because it answers the very important WHY? Strategy should answer why you are doing what you are doing and if the answer is not aligned with your objective and goal…you know what’s wrong. For example, sampling would be a good marketing strategy for increasing the sales of cooking oil. And so would be reviews by influential cooks and food connoisseurs. Strategy constitutes multiple steps that individually and all together contribute to coming close to the goals.

4. TACTICS

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Tactics will take you to the white board and multicolored excel sheets. That’s because when you are working on your tactics you need every little detail to action the campaign. If the cooking oil company plans to use sampling as a strategy to let people try out their product for free, the tactics would include the plan of action to make this happen. For example, where to give free samples – malls, hypermarkets, mini marts ,etc. key locations to target, number of stalls and other minute details.

Hope you have got the GOST figured out now and with the basics in place the result will be… YOU ON TOP!!

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Power to customer

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A market place is a fine example of potential transactions but with asymmetric information. It simply means that the information available to buyers is different or mostly insufficient than the information available to the sellers. The general perception about this gap would be that it’ll insinuate purchase reluctance in buyers if the sellers don’t bridge this information gap. But for this to happen, the customer needs to be aware of the information deficiency which more than often never happens! However, it is interesting to see how this “unexploited value” gives buyers and sellers an incentive to capture that value. And this my friends is the genesis of Marketing Signaling and Screening…a power foreplay of buyers and sellers that had influenced product sales ones but now has changed gears.

Sellers with high quality products need ways to signal the quality of their products so that buyers can distinguish between high-quality and low-quality products. Before we consider this ideal situation, it’s important to realize that there are no fair rules in marketing. A seller would very much want to signal the high product/service qualities but what if it has none? well…the seller can still promise all the big stuff quality and features which for the time being only he knows isn’t true. Buyers must find ways to screen out erroneous information but allow in truthful information. This may not seem very relevant for products which can be easily evaluated or are low involvement like vegetables, soaps but think about the time when you bought a new refrigerator or an air conditioner.

Traditional form of marketing is highly Signaling driven. Remember the print Ads and television commercials which bragged about their product features and how they are the best in the market. They had everything in it for you to believe them and we did!

                              

It was partly because the product value proposition mirrored consumer needs but for most of the time it was because just a one way communication. There was no way the company would answer an individual’s concern before buying that product and so we felt…may be they are right. The scope of screening was very less unless the company salesmen were at your door step to demonstrate or give eye popping warranty for it.

In today’s marketing scenario, with the advent of social media marketing the play field has been leveled for both the players. Social media marketing has helped in completing the communication cycle by including the buyers in every step of the transaction (information and goods). Today the companies on social media platforms cannot just get away with false claims and product featuring. In no time the customer can track them down and inquire about what ever is in their mind out in the open. The ball now is in the seller’s court and they are bound to respond to the query or comment. If they don’t…customer has successfully screened them out and if they can survive the screening the customer gets the best bet. All in all customer has emerged as the powerful end of this marketing evolution and it is expected out of the customer to make the most out of it.

What is Influencer Marketing

Wooing your target customer has become more and more challenging in the cluttered market but there are also new ways to reach out to them.  Brands have moved on from selling products to providing solutions to their consumers, and in this ‘solve my problem’ game trust is the cornerstone. So who would you trust to fix your precious car, or reduce the peeking fine lines on your beautiful face??

Enter INFLUENCER

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Who are they? Anyone, I repeat, anyone who holds a strong opinion (positive or negative or neutral) about anything (that could be sold) and is capable of influencing your opinion about that thing!

I know it sounds complicated but trust me its not. trust me.

Let’s start with very simple examples to under the influencer concept. I was a very inquisitive child and would ask endless questions to my mom about everything possible. I had no idea then that the answers will continue to teach me things even today. Well I once asked her…why did you choose this school for me?! and she said that NEIGHBORS say it one of the best in the town. I hated drinking a glass full of milk and would ask her everyday…Why do i need to drink it? and she replied DOCTORS say it is good for your bones.

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You guessed it…our neighbors, doctors, family, friends and even a storekeeper influence our decisions (very important decisions) everyday. So for people who think influencer marketing is the “in-thing” na-ah…

But yes, influencer marketing has become rather important and relevant in this digital age. That’s a given because today everyone is all eyes and ears 24*7 on n number of platforms just to know your opinion! so why not make them share an opinion about your product/service.

sharing this good read that has all the basics covered :

http://www.gshiftlabs.com/influencer-marketing/28-frequently-asked-questions-influencer-marketing/

 

 

 

 

 

Frequently Unlearning

We always try to read about what to do, how to do it and how much more to do it!! I am talking about marketing btw.

But the evolving landscape of marketing channels, particularly social media, has challenged the cookie cutter marketing strategies that we all have learned and assume as the marketing holy grail. May be it’s time to unlearn some of them…

Here’s a very good blog that talks about: Weird Social Media Habits that’s gotta stop!

http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/03/weird-social-media-marketing-habits/

On of the points which i want to especially highlight here is as follows:

#4 – Focusing Only On YOURSELF

What do you think the purpose of social media is for brands? Is it solely to provide updates about everything happening at your company? Or, is it to help your followers solve their problems, open the door to conversations and provide helpful resources to begin building credibility?

I hope that the answer is obvious. If a brand is using social media platforms as a means to only push out content about the happenings at their company, they’re doing it wrong. Social media presents a unique and more personal opportunity to interact with your followers. Utilize this opportunity to the fullest by uncovering what your followers care about and providing them with insight on those items, and asking them enticing questions to gain their opinions as well.

Been there done that and it has to stop. If you are following your telecom service provider on twitter, I am sure it is because you think it’s a real time deal to get their support. Sure, they won the best service provider award this year…yay! but you don’t want to see another award winning post when you are stuck with a bad service. That’s like pushing the wrong buttons e.g <Enter> after a hate message.