Are you Getting in the way of Your Product’s Personal Brand?

If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll already know a little something about the power of personal brand. This is the thing which can boost your sales and see you to success. It’s the story you tell customers to get them onboard. And, it’s the thing which ensures they never walk away empty-handed. Though it might sound easy enough, many entrepreneurs stumble over getting their personal brands just so. When this happens, failure is often inevitable. As such, it’s something you want to avoid at all costs. And, to do that, it’s worth considering why entrepreneurs before have fallen here. A lot of the issue here is in the semantics. The phrase ‘personal brand’ suggests that your efforts here should be personal. AKA, they should be about you. Many entrepreneurs think they can secure sales by putting themselves out there. But, that’s rarely the case. Think about it; posting personal updates is unlikely to lead to increased sales. That doesn’t mean that your personality doesn’t come into this. A decent business narrative often has an intensely personal struggle behind it. Look at Apple and their humble beginning in a garage. Rather, the trick here is to strike a fine balance between how much you and your product each dictate that personal brand. Rags to riches story aside, you’ll often find that your product should take the limelight. That’s because it’s the main event. It’s the thing you want customers to notice the most. As much as you need to...

Effective Influencer Marketing

Essentially, through any influencer marketing project, your brand is hoping to piggyback on a relationship that another has already built up with your ideal target market. And much like how someone wouldn’t introduce you to their friends in a good light unless they already had some sort of good relationship with you – it makes sense that you first have to build up the connection with an influencer on a brand to person level before you can hope to be introduced authentically to their audience. So basically it’s not going to be enough to simply identify who you’d like to work with and then throw product and money at them. If you really want their opinion of your brand to be honestly positive, and not just a sponsored advert, then you need to approach this interaction for what it is – building a relationship as strong as the one between the influencer and their audience. Step 1: Identify To identify the influencers whom you wish to build a relationship with, you first need to identify your ideal target audience: Who do you want to be speaking to? How old are they? What are their interests? What are their online behaviours like – which social platforms are they on? Which part of the consumer journey would you like them to influence? Once you find your target audience, then it’s actually pretty simple to find your influencers – they will be the ones that your target market are already avidly listening to,...

An interview with Deloitte about Social Media ROI

I had the priviledge of interviewing David Graham and Andre Hugo from Deloitte in how they use social media to achieve strategic objectives. The interview revealed some fascinating insight into how social media can be used in a business to business context to promote business, reduce recruitment cost, innovate products, manage intellectual capital and build brand eminence. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. What was the catalyst that caught your attention and started your journey in marketing Deloitte with Social Media? Within Deloitte of Tomorrow (Internal Innovation Program) we identified Digital as a trend about 3 years ago. Deloitte Digital is a service line that converts Deloitte intellectual property in applications and sells these applications as software as a service. The best example of this is the Deloitte Leadership Academy http://www.deloitte.la/welcome/. As part of the market testing and commercialisation of the Deloitte Digital business case a number of our clients and executives started asking for our advice on how to deal with “Social media”, we looked at the landscape and quickly determined that we needed to have our house view before advising our clients on their approach. As a result we developed a strategy to address the 5 strategic objectives identified below: Reduce the cost of recruitment Reduce the time to develop Innovative solutions and new service offerings for DOT Increase the storage of intellectual knowledge capital within a central tool Reduce the cost of training Increase our Brand and Eminence in the market...

Content Strategy: Keeping it fresh

A while ago I posted an article on the DigitLab blog that spoke about the need to use fresh content in your online marketing strategy. I believe this is one of the most integral elements of any successful marketing campaign. Keeping this in mind I decided it would be worthwhile to share a few comments on this topic with you. Social media loves fresh content Fresh content released on a blog often ends up in the social media sphere, and is shared around by interested people until the content has become dull and boring. As this content travels around social media channels it generates a relatively large amount of initial traffic to your website. Round about now people usually ask me what makes content social media friendly. There are three tips to think about: Fresh content is relevant to the times and needs of your customers Fresh content adds value to the global online conversation on the topic you are writing about Fresh content is easy to digest and easy to share Google loves fresh content Google is looking for websites that are creating content on an ongoing basis. This is because they can see that a well managed and often updated blog/website is normally managed by someone who cares about what they put online. They care about their website and the audience. Google reward these site by ranking them well in search engines. They rank the articles quickly but over time a website that produces consistent content on a...

How valuable is your website in B2B purchasing decisions?

The invention of social media and blogging has left a big question unanswered in the online marketing realms. Just how valuable is a company website in business to business purchasing decisions? Well it seems that they are very valuable but not neccessarily influential in in the three stages of purchasing. This information comes from the Buyershpere report which I believe shows great insight into the platforms neccessary to create business to business sales leads from the internet. A Summary: How important is your company website? When looking at buying business services there are three stages of the purchase that have been identified: Identifying and defining the need Indentifying potential suppliers Final selection of the supplier In all three stages a company’s website was the primary channel used to gather information, even more than web searches. In stage one industry press, word of mouth and events were next in line as channels used to identify and define the need for the purchase. The company website in this case has the opportunity to establish brand, share product details and specifications and add value to the different purchase stages. the interesting fact that rose oot of the study though was that the company website had very little influence on the conclusion of each stage. The effect of social media on business to business purchasing decisions It’s all about influence! Every stage of the purchase cycle revealed that  social media channels and word of mouth were the primary influential channels that influenced the decisions...

Is social media changing the way we watch TV?

There are big questions about the longevity of TV alongside the competition of online media. Online video content has become so popular globally and in even in South Africa there seems to be a love for video content. Recently YouTube has broken into the top 5 most visited websites by South Africans. So the question has become – is TV on the way out? I would argue no. It seems that TV programs are actually experiencing an increase in viewership. So why is this happening if people are obviously spending more and more time online? I would like to suggest that social media is shaping a new way of watching TV and that rather than phasing out TV it has chosen a symbiotic relationship. Here are a few quick thoughts about how this works: 1) Social media helps promote TV Social media is often used as an outlet to express watt important to us. When people are excited about important TV episodes/programmes they will use social media to share their enthusiasm. The last Survivor episode, an important rugby match and the chilean miners rescue are all examples of TV being shared in excitement on social networks. Once this excitement is shared more people are exposed to the TV event taking place and the potential of more people ‘tuning in’ increases. 2) Social Media adds a new layer of engagement Once the game is on and people are sitting around the beloved box there is often a conversation that begins. It...

Email Marketing: Breaking the stigma of SPAM

Spam is everybody’s worst nightmare, yet for some strange reason email marketing is still a very effective way to connect with customers and stakeholders. It must be said though that not just any email campaign will get through to the mind of your intended audience. In email marketing there are two primary elements that will decide the success of your campaign: The strength of your database Anyone can build a database of emails. The first prize though is to build a database  of people who have chosen to receive your email. We call this “permission based marketing.” A “permission based” database is more likely to read and respond to your email while a non-permission based database is more likely to see your newsletter as spam and therefore ignore it. Interestingly enough, people generally don’t unsubscribe from newsletters but rather choose to ignore the email as it seems too hard/time-consuming to actually unsubscribe. So if no one has unsubscribed from your list – that’s not necessarily a good thing. Your newsletter could still be ignored. Our advice is to use a database creation strategy that builds a permission based database rather than simply emailing everyone you can think of. In email marketing quantity means nothing, in fact it could lead to increased ignorance from your customers. The quality of your content This is the part that people will hopefully read. Make sure that it is scannable and that your important content is placed in the “hotspots” of the email (Hotspots are...

RANT! Why you need to invest in Social Media

It has become abundantly clear over the last week that business needs to get proactive in understanding human engagement on the Internet. It is too late to simply respond to criticism or appraisal. There is a massive need to take the initiative in creating your online presence. I specifically haven’t used the word control because that would contradict the nature of web 2.0 and the future of the Internet in web 3.0. There is much that business can do to take the initiative and encourage and create a positive online experience for their customers. The shift in the way we build reputations and brands online has meant that our customers now build our reputation and brand for us. The power of word of mouth on the internet has put the power in the consumers hand/mobile/tablet. Business needs to find ways to meet their consumers online in a very real and personal way. This will mean a fundamental change in the way our organizations are run, our marketing plans are structured, our products are developed and our departments are structured. This is a part of business that I hope to guide people through by educating staff of the values of the internet, activating campaigns to learn and challenge how value is reinforced online and researching human interaction on the internet. Although the information above is not all that new, I believe that the need to evolve business and marketing strategy online is paramount because we are running out of time. As...

Great search engine ranking comes from great content

The role of a search engine is to provide the searcher the most relevant content. So naturally it makes sense that you should do well by simply providing content on the internet that is relevant to your target market. I recently read an article that was retweeted by @QuirkEducation from Daily SEO Tip that made me very happy to see that the old school tricks of the trade are slowly becoming an historical method of search engine optimisation. In this article Christopher Holland highlights “7 widely believed myths of SEO” and I wanted to take some time to comment on my experiences with 5 of these SEO techniques. 1) Submit your websites to search engines “It has been at least 5 years since this technique has been necessary and all you need to do is obtain a few backlinks and make sure your not blocking robots from crawling your website.” I recently launched a website for a non-profit organization called LIV who have started a village for orphans and widows, where the website was indexed in about one day. This was achieved because the team at LIV sent and email to their loyal database announcing the new website. Someone on that mailing list linked back to the website and ‘magically’ we were indexed with Google. In the first two weeks the website was live  it was already experiencing a substantial volume of search engine traffic. 2) Keyword Densities “So instead of spamming, I recommend that you write great content targeted...

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