B for Branding: terms to know

I have always explained branding as an art of articulation by the companies about their business to their consumers. And thus, branding as a subject for marketers does  not necessarily have a standard procedure or SOP to successful brand building. It is a learning game for most of us…reading about the success stories and imbibing the learning into making one of ours (someday)!

To hone my business branding skills for understanding and handling brands better, I often refer to case studies, online courses and interviews of brand managers of leading companies. The one thing that I’d have handy for understanding branding exercises better is the following glossary of branding terms:

Brand equity – the commercial value a brand provides to a firm through its effects on the attitudes and behaviours of its stakeholders.

Brand identity – a name, symbol or design that identifies a product, service or entity from others.

Brand image – a set of associations attached to a brand identity in the minds of its stakeholders.

Brand promise – the customer value proposition or benefits communicated by the brand to the customer and/or consumer.

Brand purpose – this answers the question of why a brand exists with respect to the positive difference it aims to make in people’s lives.

Brand valuation – the Net Present Value (NPV) of future cash flows stemming from the brand as an intangible (separable) asset, for example, as estimated in the avoided royalty payments through ownership of a trademark and associated intellectual property (e.g., brand guidelines).

Brand value – the incremental Net Present Value (NPV) of future cash flows stemming from a branded compared an unbranded business and product via its effect on all stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, suppliers, financiers, channel partners, etc.). In simpler terms, what deploying the brand is worth to management, the bottom line, and shareholders.

Branding – the creation of names, symbols, characters, and slogans that (1) help identify a product and (2) create unique positive associations that differentiate it from the competition by (3) creating additional meaning (value) in consumers’ minds.

Hope this helps!

How heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness – The Economist

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/05/18/how-heavy-use-of-social-media-is-linked-to-mental-illness?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/?fsrc=scn/li/te/bl/ed/howheavyuseofsocialmediaislinkedtomentalillnessdailychart

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.

Here’s my blog on step-by-step guide to keyword research

  • 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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Book Review: All Marketers Are Liars – Seth Godin

Seth Godin is my go to person on the internet when it comes to reading good stuff, especially about marketing. Because in Marketing it’s NOT always about what’s right or wrong/ good or bad/ black or white, but what really INSPIRES you! While I have been reading his blogs (since forever) that touch upon a myriad of topics, this is a first time I have read one of his books interestingly named “All Marketers Are Liars”.

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Now I guess my reflex retort to a statement like this would be “hey…you watch your tongue!” because for a marketer (this is an assumption…it could just be me) this is just below the belt. So, when you see a marketing bestseller by a marketing guru called “All Marketers Are Liars” you are bound to be intrigued and thus begins a successful story telling which BTW is what this book is all about.

Who should read this book?

  • Marketing professionals who are grappling in the dark with hackneyed marketing stunts that doesn’t interest their target customers anymore.
  • People who want to start marketing with a fresh perspective on a clean slate.
  • People seeking an explanation to why Marketers are NOT liars (like me)

Key Takeaways:

  • Marketers are a special kind of liars. Marketers lie to consumers because consumers demand it. Marketers tell the stories, and consumers believe them.
  • A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but true because it’s consistent and authentic. Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. As a result, no marketer succeeds in telling a story unless he has earned the credibility to tell that story.
  • A marketer can spend plenty on promoting a product, but unless consumers are actively engaged in believing the story, nothing happens.
  • Marketers are not liars; they are just story tellers. Consumers are liars who tell them stories they believe in. Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe.
  • There are only two things that separate success from failure in most organizations today:
    • Invent stuff worth talking about.
    • Tell stories about what you’ve invented

 

“Great stories are subtle.

Great stories happen fast.

Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses.

Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone.

Great stories don’t contradict themselves.

And most of all, great stories agree with our worldview.”

This book serves the purpose… it makes you believe in the storytelling mechanism, in telling people what they already know but want to hear from you. Surely marketing is much more than a creating a make believe concept for consumers to get on-board but at the very crux of it…yes, people will ask what’s your story!

https://www.amazon.com/All-Marketers-are-Liars-Works/dp/1591845335 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Loyalty- Retain Your Valuable Customers

Loyal customers are the biggest asset any brand can have. Yes, one needs to grow their customer base, add new markets and target groups…but that one bunch of “we love you for what you are” customers will always be special for more than one reasons;

  1. They share an emotional connection with your brand
  2. They are more than happy satisfied customers, they are your brand evangelists
  3. They are willing to spend more on your brand

Customer loyalty programs highly interest me as a marketer who is trying to woo customers for our brand. I came across this amazing read which truly is an ultimate guide for professionals.

Customer Loyalty: The Ultimate Guide

What Is Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty reflects a customer’s willingness to buy from or work with a brand again and again, and it’s the result of a positive customer experience, customer satisfaction, and the value of the products or services the customer gets from the transaction.

 

 

 

#5 Things Your New Website Should have and #5 Things It Shouldn’t

This post should begin like a horror movie….

BASED ON TRUE EVENTS

That’s all the effort i’m going to make to jazz up the post intro because i have used most of my time on the title 😛

OK, cut to chase! lately I have been directly, indirectly, passively and aggressively involved in building content for some websites. So, I can safely say that this post is based on my experience and thorough study of what a good website should and should not contain in terms of CONTENT. Now to lay the foundation correct, in this post I’m talking only about the content components which includes written, pictorial and visual form of information on your website. A website though contains many other factors like being device adaptive, SEO friendly and responsive but I will refrain from including these factors in this post. So here we go…

Your Website SHOULD Have:

#1 YOUR STORY

Now why would you say things like “to know more about us check our website www…” It’s not just a catch phrase. If you want people to know about you on your website, please tell them! I strongly feel that sections like About US, Our Story, Vision, Mission don’t get much attention (content wise) and end up being a drab part of the website that only has innovative adjectives to describe the business, company and leadership. But if you think of it, this part of your website is like a whiteboard where you can tell your story to the world in the most engaging way possible!

So don’t just use words…use keywords (all relevant ones), include real images ( not models) that prove your story and walk them through your journey using videos.

#2 CLARITY & FRESHNESS 

At times there could be a lot of things that you might want to tell your visitors like how you are different, what special offering you have, latest promotions, the new mobile app you just launched and so on… Having all details inside your world wide web identity does make sense but a clear distribution of content is a must so that your consumer is not lost in the clutter. Always include a site map that charts out the website’s contents for clear and easy navigation for the user.

Using fresh content in a variety of formats like a mix of text, infographic, image transitions and videos can cut the redundancy and monotone of content heavy websites making it an easy experience for the visitors.

#3 CALL TO ACTION

Loading your website with data and no proper call to action will end up making it an online repository of information that people can at best refer to. If you want people to use your website and use it regularly then add one click actions that they can take to get what they want! start by providing different means to contact you like phone, email, instant chat, contact form, etc. Invite them to join you social media community to be up to date with your offerings. Be proactive and lead them to the next actions by giving reminders, directions, multiple options and support services.

This obvious component of a website is not always obvious for developers who are masters of the subject. If possible, know from a sample of your target audience if the call to actions are clear, simple to understand and not misleading before going live.

#4  VISITOR’S FEEDBACK

The process of developing and finalizing a website can be overwhelming and so its completion might seem like a good riddance at first. But no! do not consider your website as a state-of-the-art creation that does not have a scope for improvement. The best part of websites with friendly content management systems is that you can change the content, images, videos, articles as seem fit even after your website is live. So why not change it basis your visitors’ feedback?! It is highly advisable to take a quick feedback from your users before they exit the website to be sure of their experience. It is also an effective way of making an otherwise static website more interactive and engaging.

#5 ORIGINALITY

This definitely does not deserve the last position here but I want this point to remain out there for us to ponder. There is no substitute to original content on your website! because you can only add value with original, authentic and helpful content that your users can rely on and look forward to. If they welcome your content…then you have arrived. Even in this context, content takes into account not only what you write but what everything that else that supports your writing like visuals. Include pictures from your life, work, pass time depending on the theme and purpose of the website to connect with people.

Refrain from using stock images with models who reside on multiple websites representing different things. Such attempts hamper the trust of your users even if the rest of your content is original. Use of videos to make your content personal and provide a gateway for users to know you better and relate.

 

Your Website SHOULD NOT Have:

#1 DEAD LINKS

This is borderline offensive you know…alluring someone successfully to take interest in your content and promising them a lot more at a click of the mouse only to show them – THE PAGE DOES NOT EXIST – really? Make sure your links exist and lead somewhere helpful. Having dead links can be frustrating for your users and can leave them with a bad experience on your website.

#2 DISTRACTIONS

There is text loaded….there is cluttered information and then there are distractions on website. Imagine sliding banners, flash screens, pop up screens, auto chats, audio offers, auto-play  videos all happening at the same time on your website. It will surely scare your user and the instant reaction will be to close the tab and move on. It is OK to have a variety of content on your website but try to emphasize on one or two at most at one time.

#3 DATED INFORMATION

Always be sure that the information being shared on your website is correct and up to date including the contact details, address, team members and news updates. Correct information is the cornerstone of authentic content on your website which the users can not only believe in but also rely on. Not updating the correct contact number or office address will not only reduce the users trust factor but can also hamper the business significantly.

#4 NO CAPTION IMAGES

Highly recommend including captions to the images that go on your website. This does not just make it easy for the visitors to related the images to the text but also believe in those images as real and conveying a message. When using pictures to tell a story with timeline always add the year and date if possible to showcase the legacy of your business or company.

#5 REPEAT CONTENT

This happens all the time and I’ve figured out why! The latest website templates and designs are more like an assembly of placeholders for your content. It definitely makes it easier for us to chose the right slot for the right information but then the situation comes when you are out of content and the slots are empty. And we commit the crime of repeating the same content to fill the empty spaces and justify it as repeat “visibility”.

2 things though – repeat content is more likely to spoil user experience and you can get rid of the extra spaces! customized templates allow enough moderation to use only what you want and remove the rest.

Hope this article is helpful. Let me know your thoughts and happy to learn more about websites 😀

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most expensive keywords google adwords – WordStream

Since the vast majority of Google’s profits come from AdWords advertisingthese high CPC keyword categories are responsible for a large part of Google’s profits. The results of our research are illustrated in an infographic of the most expensive keywords.

Where Does Google Make Its Money? [ infographic ]

Read through: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2011/07/18/most-expensive-keywords-google-adwords