What are the trends of future marketing?

Problem:

What are the trends of future marketing?

Learning objectives:

  1. What will good marketing content be made of?

  2. How will mobile marketing change from the current situation?

1. What will good marketing content be made of?

Marketing content is becoming more and more interactive. This trend will only grow in the future. A survey conducted by Demand Metric has shown that interactive content marketing helps businesses to get distinction in the market – especially among immediate competitors.

You cannot escape from the reality that online audiences has become more powerful than ever. Take an example of yours, before buying anything online, you start browsing several sites to ensure you make the best purchase.

If you own a business, what are you doing to attract customers to your product or services? Modern customers love to perform an online search before making a purchase and you need to provide them content to progress that journey.

Interactive content lays a firm foundation for generating and converting leads. Further, it makes your marketing plan livelier and engaging, so it yields magical outcomes for your business. (Source)

Snapchat

Since Snapchat has surpassed Facebook in total video views, it’s about time we started to take notice at Content Marketing World .

Snapchat is quickly becoming a powerful new tool brands can use to engage with their audiences, thanks to the more than 100 million people using Snapchat every day. They’re watching and sharing more than 7 billion video clips. This social media platform is estimated to grow more and more in the future. (Source)

7 Marketing Content Trends

  1. Organic reach is declining significantly.

For the last few years, social media platforms have been the dominant force in content popularity; they’re the most popular platforms for people to get news and information, and the floodgates that can allow torrents of followers to make a piece go viral. But lately, social media platforms—Facebook especially—have been downsizing the level of organic visibility that publishers and brands can achieve without paying money for advertising. One of Facebook’s latest updates was particularly crushing to the visibility of content in individual users’ newsfeeds. This is forcing content marketers to think about content production and distribution in new ways.

  1. Demand for interactive content is growing quickly.

Thanksto the sheer volume of companies and individuals in the content marketing game, plain vanilla content is no longer enough to stand out from the pack. Furthermore, as brands publish better, more interesting content in an effort to do so, reader expectations get higher and higher. Now, readers want more of an interactive experience, with some degree of variability and an amount of influence over the end resulting experience. Content marketers are picking up on this trend and are offering more opportunities like quizzes, calculators, flowcharts, polls, and other ways for users to get directly involved with the content they produce.

  1. The quality gap is widening.

There’s always been a “quality gap” when it comes to content, but it’s growing wider as more brands enter the content marketing game. Only a small percentage of all content produced ever gets any likes or shares, and those get the vast majority of all likes and shares on the Internet. Meanwhile, the vast majority of content doesn’t meet the threshold of “quality” necessary to see these results, and they end up generating no meaningful attention. Because competition is increasing and users’ expectations are increasing, this quality gap is growing larger, meaning it’s more difficult than ever for content to achieve the reach and visibility it needs to yield a positive ROI.

  1. Video content is skyrocketing in popularity.

There’s no question that video content is one of the biggest content marketing trends of the past few years. It’s easier than ever for users to watch videos, thanks to mobile technology and near-universal Wi-Fi, and it’s easier for publishers to produce and syndicate them. When done right, they’re highly effective ways to communicate information, and since they’re visual, they tend to stand out more than a written post (or even an image) could. The floodgates are open, and videos are pouring in to fill the void.

  1. Podcasts are rising in popularity.

In our age of video content, it seems strange to think a format like podcasts is seeing a resurgence in popularity—but it is. More people are downloading and listening to podcasts regularly, and content publishers are finding it easier to find and build a niche audience for their respective brands. Part of the appeal is the ease of getting started with podcasting, along with its relatively easy integration with other media formats.

  1. User-generated content is on the rise.

Why produce your own content when you can have your users can do it for you? It sounds a little crazy, but it can be quite effective. There are many ways to encourage your users to create content on behalf of your brand; you could open up a public forum for your users to engage with one another, sponsor a social media-based contest to facilitate user submissions meeting certain criteria, conduct a survey of your email newsletter subscribers and use the data to compile a report, or even solicit guest posts from willing contributors who have enough experience to add value to your blog. These tactics give you new content, spare you effort, and get your users involved simultaneously—no wonder why it’s one of 2016’s biggest content trends.

  1. Personalization and segmentation are becoming necessary to reach the right customers.

Due to increasing competitive pressures and rising user demand for highly specialized content, more content marketers are starting to turn toward personalization and segmentation strategies to create content that’s a better fit for their respective audiences. Rather than casting a wide net with a broad range of topics, content marketers are starting to opt for more specific niches. In cases where companies have multiple target audiences or where they can’t settle on one niche, offering     multiple forms of content—on separate blogs or through separate brands—is becoming popular. (Source)

2. How will mobile marketing change from the current situation?

Mobile Video: More Pervasive and Turning Vertical

Mobile video is already a big deal. Users love portable entertainment that doesn’t require the bulkiness of a TV screen, and mobile advertisers are catching on.

Apps: Practical Lifestyle Fit Over Novelty

When apps were first developed, there was a sense of novelty about them. They were cool, new things that let you use your  phone in ways that you’d never imagined a phone could be used.

But now that apps are so pervasive, and every company has one, that novelty is wearing off. Fast. In fact, you could say it’s already gone.

And though most companies want to expand their apps’ capacities for more novelty, they’re limited on how much their customers can actually use their apps in day-to-day moments outside of Wi-Fi zones, due to data limits and overage charges phone companies impose.

So instead of downloading one app to use for to-do lists, one for calendar scheduling, one for checking the weather, and one for planning your driving routes, users are going to opt for the one app that offers all of those things.

This approach fits a company’s desire to do more with their apps and therefore be a greater part of their customer’s lives while also fitting the customer need to not use so much data across so many apps.

In the future, the functionality of apps will shift in this direction in a very real and tangible way, and the companies that take advantage of this trend before their competitors will have a distinct advantage.

Location-Based Marketing: Push Notifications Gaining Even More Ground

From a marketing and revenue-driving standpoint, this is something that smart marketers are already taking advantage of.

But the data behind exactly how well these geo-targeting push campaigns work is so impossible to ignore, that it’s undeniable we’ll see more of it in 2016. When 84% of millennials are already acting on something, you know you can’t ignore it.

Take this example: it’s the weekend, you’re visiting a friend’s city, walking downtown, and your favorite travel app sends you a notification about all the great lunch deals going on in the area. You check your phone and see the small restaurant across the street, though tiny, has a 4.5-star rating and is offering a buy-one-get-one 50% off on all lunch plates. The photos of the food look delicious, and you are getting hungry. So who gets your lunch dollars? That tiny restaurant you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.

Notice the huge opportunity for both the small restaurant to use the large app’s reach, and for the large app to increase revenues. This type of push notification via location-based marketing is a win-win strategy all around.

As a business owner, advertising hardware like Apple’s iBeacon could help you create a more interactive experience with people walking through your neighborhood—making your marketing efforts both easier to execute and more meaningful.

Think about how often social media geo-tagging happens every single day on social media. If your business has any aspect of location built into it, 2016 is the year to start taking advantage of location-based push notifications if you haven’t already. (Source)

Mobile Apps In Google Search Results

1

Google has started widening their first page search results to include mobile apps for the first time. Where you would normally see ads or universal search results in the top spots, you can find Google Play and iTunes recommendations right on the first page.

They come with additional meta information, such as price and rating. If you are promoting any apps it is a great time to start upping your SEO game on those marketplaces. Of all of the trends on this list, this is the one that is probably going to have the most impact.

Apps already make up a huge chunk of mobile usage these days. Even if you don’t have an app yet, it is worth making one just to take advantage of their popularity, and Google’s new promo guidelines.

Instagram Ads

Traditionally mobile-only, Instagram is growing by the day, and they have been getting into the advertising game for awhile as their user base increases. Some bigger brands have been getting on board with the platform and started marketing from there, but the crowd is still pretty thin.

That makes it a great place to start setting your own ads, with great returns. Of course that means you should be putting a good amount of focus on your overall Instagram marketing strategy. If you haven’t launched one, it is a good time to start.

Snapchat and WhatsApp

Did you know younger consumers no longer use Facebook and Twitter? They have moved on, and mobile apps are the number one used platforms these days.

Snapchat and WhatsApp are growing in popularity, and could hold the potential for business use. It is time we kept an eye on both, and found ways to utilize the powerful network they provide.

Multi-Device Mobile Marketing

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You have to keep in mind that not all mobile marketing is going to be received via smartphones. There are several different devices you need to take into consideration, including smartwatches and tablets.

Then there are gaming platforms, smart TVs, and even smart home devices. We are living in an age where you can stream television through a smart fridge. Times are changing. Your marketing efforts need to reflect that.

VideoAds

Video ads are a little bit controversial right now. The data still isn’t in on how effective they are, and different sources report wildly different success rates. But there is no denying that more brands are using them, including on mobile marketing.

Platforms like YouTube are especially reliant on the advertising form. You may want to consider jumping on the bandwagon and trying it for yourself.

Ecommerceand Social Combination

With Facebook focusing more on buy now” buttons, and platforms like Instagram and Pinterest really pushing the ecommerce side, we are now seeing a socialization of online consumerism.

The line between shopping cart and social media has been blurred, and it is time to take advantage of that. Not only can you begin to use social platforms for direct sales and lead building (which works great via mobile devices), but you can make your own site more social. The early, creative birds get the worms here.

New Payment Systems

Payment systems are seriously changing. Samsung has a payment platform that can be used almost anywhere, in spite of whether they are optimized for it or not.

Services like PayPal are being accepted from big names like Walmart. Smartphones have their own wallets, such as through Apple Pay. It is no longer an option to ignore these new ways to pay, because customers would rather go with a brand that offers the choice.

Customized Lifestyle Apps

What can we learn from products like the FitBit? That apps are no longer accessories, they are lifestyles.

People use mobile devices to reflect and enhance the way that they live, such as through fitness apps (FitBit, MyFitnessPal), financial assistance (Mint, Mint Bills), and even smart homes (iSmartAlarm). You can promote your services by creating a lifestyle based app of your own. (Source)

 

How to generate revenue with SMM?

  1. What are the most interesting social media platform?

  2. How can companies utilize SMM?

  3. How to integrate SM to company’s marketing strategies and how to monitor them?

    1. What are the most interesting social media platform?

    Facebook

    This is the biggest social media network on the Internet, both in terms of total number of users and name recognition. It has more than 1.59 billion monthly active users and this automatically makes it one of the best platforms for connecting people from all over the world with your business. It is estimated that more than 1 million small and medium-sized businesses use the platform to advertise their business.

    Twitter

    You might be thinking that limiting your posts to 140 characters is no way to advertise your business, but you will be shocked to know that this social media platform has more than 320 million active monthly users who make use of the 140 character limit to pass on information. Businesses can use Twitter to interact with prospective clients, answer questions, release latest news and at the same time use the targeted ads with specific audiences.

    LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is hands-down the most popular social media site for professional networking. The website is available in 24 languages and has over 400 million registered users. LinkedIn is great for people looking to connect with people in similar industries, networking with local professionals and displaying business related information and statistics.

    YouTube

    YouTube — the largest and most popular video-based social media website. YouTube has over 1 billion website visitors per month and is the second most popular search engine behind Google.

    Pinterest

    This platform consists of digital bulletin boards where businesses can pin their content. Small businesses whose target audience is mostly made up of women should definitely invest in Pinterest as more than half of its visitors are women.

    Instagram

    Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual social media platform. Many of its users use it to post information about travel, fashion, food, art and similar subjects. The platform is also distinguished by its unique filters together with video and photo editing features. Almost 95 percent of Instagram users also use Facebook.

    Tumblr

    Tumblr is one of the most difficult to use social networking platforms, but it’s also one of the most interesting sites. The platform allows several different post formats, including quote posts, chat posts, video and photo posts as well as audio posts, so you are never limited in the type of content that you can share. Like Twitter, reblogging, which is more like retweeting, is quick and easy.

    Flickr

    Flickr, pronounced “Flicker,” is an online image and video hosting platform. It is popular with users who share and embed photograph.

    Reddit

    This is a social news and entertainment networking website where registered users can submit content such as direct links and text posts. Users are also able to organize and determine their position on the site’s pages by voting submissions up or down. Submissions with the most positive votes appear in the top category or main page.

    Snapchat

    Snapchat is an image messaging application software that is emerging now and is extremely popular among social media users nowadays.

    WhatsApp

    WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform instant messaging client for smartphones, PCs and tablets. The app relies on the Internet to send images, texts, documents, audio and video messages to other users that have the app installed on their devices.

    Vine

    With over 40 million users, Vine is a rapidly growing video sharing social media app that allows users to share 6-second video clips with their followers. While this looks like a really short time for a video, businesses of all sizes are having tremendous success using the service.

    Periscope

    Periscope is a live video streaming mobile app. In March 2015 Periscope said that it had surpassed 10 million accounts and in December the same year, Apple announced Periscope as the app of the year.

    Viber

    Viber is a Voice over IP (VoIP) and instant messaging app for mobile devices that was developed and released by Viber Media on December 2, 2010. The app also allows for the exchange of audio, video and images between users. (Source)

    2. How can companies utilize SM?

    Build your channels early

    Don’t wait for launch day to create your social media channels. Start building your social media accounts—and your presence—early.

    Build relationship with influencers  

    Just like your social media channels, you need to build relationships before you ‘need’ them. Starting out by looking for journalists and bloggers who write about your business topic. Connecting and developing relationships with influencers and experts in your field of business will help you down the road. When you approach them later, they’ll be more likely to recognize your name, or at least be receptive, because it’s obvious you know what they cover.

    Find your audience 

    If you haven’t taken the time to build your networks and develop relationships ahead of time, it is suggested figuring out which social platform is best to reach your target market. Then you should study those platforms and, when possible, take your targeted advertising to those platforms.

    Find out who’s talking about what, where they’re talking about it, and then start listening there. Figuring out where to find your target market on social media does take time, and involves searching for people who are talking about topics that are important to you.

    Join the conversation 

    You can participate in Twitter chats and Google Hangouts that relate to your business. Or you can join an ongoing conversation about a topic by using popular hashtags on any platform. You can’t just jump into the conversation with, ‘Buy my stuff!’, but if you join in the conversation, you’ll raise awareness.

    It is not always free

    Any of these efforts take time, however, and that’s where the budget issue comes in. If you have the time but not the funds, do the work yourself. But if it’s time that’s in short supply, you’ll have to consider paying someone to do it. Just because you don’t have to pay to have a social media account does not mean that it doesn’t cost you in some way. (Source)

    POST UPDATES: It’s important to have content on your social media pages before you start adding friends and followers. When you try to find friends, they’re going to look at the page to see if they want to follow you. So you need to give them a reason to follow you first. Provide valuable information about the industry. Post pictures of your business or people enjoying your business. On YouTube, post videos of your business, customer experiences, and encourage customers to make their own. You can also ‘favorite’ other YouTube users’ videos and they will end up on your page.

    STAY CURRENT: Get alerts sent to your phone when folks engage with you via your social networking sites – at least in the beginning – that way you respond quickly.(Source)

    3.How to integrate SM to company’s marketing strategies and how to monitor them?

Choose strategy over tools. Social media is still in its infancy, so change is constant and new tools are being introduced at lightning speed. Using the latest and greatest technology may benefit the company, especially when its target audience includes younger and more media-savvy customers. However, it is always important to judge the value and impact of a social media tool against the company’s marketing strategy rather than its innovativeness. Will the tool help the company design or develop a more effective marketing strategy? If not, leave the shiny object on the shelf for another day.

Drive social media actions against marketing goals. If social media actions are undertaken without a clear customer objective, integration is likely to be elusive. This means that marketers should always identify a specific customer objective when employing social media tactics. One common approach we observed was marketers using social medial to help move the customer into and through the purchase funnel.

Be forward looking. Like traditional media campaigns, social media is often used to generate brand, product, or company awareness. If awareness is the goal, marketers must have a clear understanding of what happens next in the company’s marketing strategy to convert awareness into purchase intent. Likewise, if building brand advocacy is the goal, marketers should be clear about how to use these evangelists to amplify the company’s message and increase customer loyalty.

Align social media channel to marketing strategy. While practically every brand is on Facebook and Twitter, there are many other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat. Brands typically do not have the resources to be on every social media platform, so how do marketers prioritize? They should choose the social media platforms that fit the company’s target audience and brand positioning. For instance, Facebook and Twitter tend to reach a broad demographic, while Instagram and Snapchat have a younger user base.

Create social media toolkits. Brand toolkits have become standard procedure for many companies and are effectively used to guide local markets on how to portray global brands by providing templates and guidelines for tailoring content. In a similar way, some companies are starting to create social media toolkits which include templates for Facebook and Twitter posts. These kits can ensure strategic alignment and create a more cohesive brand image across geographies and platforms while reducing the time and resources required to develop social media content.

Put social media experts on brand and customer teams. When social media operates from a separate group or from a separate location, there is a greater probability of poor integration. Instead, social media experts should be closely linked to the brand and customer teams so they are involved as soon as communication objectives have been established. This involvement pays off because social media experts are tuned in to the latest platforms and know what approaches generate interest from current and potential customers, fans, and enthusiasts. As a result, these experts can guide brand teams to the most effective results.

Balance in-house and agency expertise. With so much to learn and social media moving at such a fast pace, many companies outsource social media activities to multiple agencies. This structure threatens the integration of social media because agencies rarely understand the totality of a company’s marketing strategy. This concern leads some companies to move more social media activities in house or utilize deep partnership models with their agencies.

Convert to purchase. Social media is one of the very few places where companies can engage with their customers in an ongoing, personal, and real-time manner. As such, it can serve as a key touch point that brings the company’s marketing strategy to its raison d’être—purchase. If, for example, a follower posts she is going shopping for a particular item, companies can respond with a tweet containing helpful information or personalized discounts, and/or promotions.

Be willing to say no. Given the buzz surrounding social media, every brand or customer-facing function likely wants its own Facebook page and Twitter account. Marketing leaders need to hold the line and decide which social media platforms are ideal for a given brand from a strategic and customer point of view. Controlling social media access through a social media group ensures that someone is accountable and knowledgeable about the best ways to use it as part of a company’s or brand’s marketing strategy.

Champion integration. For integration to be valued and sought, leaders need to share success stories throughout the organization. Success stories can become part of the company’s ethos and organically influence the integration of social media in marketing activities.

Sort out attribution. If social media is part of a company’s marketing strategy, questions will be raised about its contribution to sales revenue and how it works alone and in conjunction with other tactics. These are worthy questions and steps must be taken to understand and measure the effects of social media in order to integrate it with the company’s marketing strategy in the most efficient and effective manner. Marketers shouldn’t let these attribution questions keep them from pursuing social media, but instead consider them an opportunity to demonstrate its value.

Learn from failures. Because it is much easier to experiment with social media than traditional media, companies can test and learn quickly. Also, social media execution costs tend to be much smaller than traditional media, so the losses from failures are less severe. By experimenting with social media, companies can more accurately determine which social media posts and campaigns have the greatest impact on their marketing strategies—helping to further integration efforts. (Source)

Trigger 5 (Message and communication plan/campaign)

How to create a communication plan/campaign globally?

  1. What are communication planning process?

  2. How to construct a unified global campaign?

  3. How to translate a message to a global audience?

 

So here is my research on this matter:

1. What are communication planning process?

 

  1. Communication is the process of transmitting ideas and information. For a grass roots initiative or community based organization, which means conveying the true nature of your organization, the issues it deals with, and its accomplishments to the community.
  2. Communication can take many forms, including:
    • Word of mouth
    • News storiesin both print and broadcast media
    • Press releases and press conferences
    • Posters, brochures, and fliers
    • Outreach and presentations to other health and community service providers and to community groups and organizations
    • Special events and open houses that your organization holds

    To communicate effectively, it helps to plan out what you want from your communication, and what you need to do to get it.

    HOW DO YOU DEVELOP A PLAN FOR COMMUNICATION?

    1. Identify the purpose of your communication
    2. Identify your audience
    3. Plan and design your message
    4. Consider your resources
    5. Plan for obstacles and emergencies
    6. Strategize how you’ll connect with the media and others who can help you spread your message
    7. Create an action plan
    8. Decide how you’ll evaluate your plan and adjust it, based on the results of carrying it out
    1. IDENTIFY YOUR PURPOSE.

    What you might want to say depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your communication strategy. You might be concerned with one or a combination of the following:

    • Becoming known, or better known, in the community
    • Educating the public about the issue your organization addresses
    • Announcing events
    • Celebrating honors or victories
    • Raising money to fund your work
    • Countering the arguments, mistakes etc.
    • Dealing with an organizational crisis that’s public knowledge – a staff member who
    1. IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE.

    Who are you trying to reach?

    You can group people according to a number of characteristics:

    • Demographics. Demographics are simply basic statistical information about people, such as gender, age, ethnic and racial background, income, etc.
    • Geography. You might want to focus on a whole town or region, on one or more neighborhoods, or on people who live near a particular geographic or man-made feature.
    • Employment. You may be interested in people in a particular line of work, or in people who are unemployed.
    • Health. Your concern might be with people at risk for or experiencing a particular condition – high blood pressure, perhaps, or diabetes – or you might be leveling a health promotion effort – “Eat healthy, exercise regularly” – at the whole community.
    • Behavior. You may be targeting your message to smokers, for example, or to youth engaged in violence.

    Another aspect of the audience to consider is whether you should direct your communication to those whose behavior, knowledge, or condition you hope to affect, or whether your communication needs to be indirect. Sometimes, in order to influence a population, you have to aim your message at those to whom they listen – clergy, community leaders, politicians, etc.

    For instance, in the 1970’s, advocates wanted to stop Nestle from selling baby formula and paying doctors and nurses to recommend it to parents in the developing world; since most parents couldn’t afford formula after the free samples ran out, and many didn’t have clean water to mix it with, the practice led to large numbers of unnecessary infant deaths. Rather than target Nestle or the medical professionals who were selling the formula, advocates aimed at Nestle’s customers around the world, instituting a boycott of Nestle products that lasted for over ten years. Ultimately, the company agreed to change its practices.

    1. THE MESSAGE.

    When creating your message, consider content, mood, language, and design.

    Content

    In the course of a national adult literacy campaign in the 1980’s, educators learned that TV ads that profiled proud, excited, successful adult learners attracted new learners to literacy programs. Ads that described the difficulties of adults with poor reading, writing, and math skills attracted potential volunteers. Both ads were meant to make the same points – the importance of basic skills and the need for literacy efforts – but they spoke to different groups.

    You should craft your message with your audience in mind; planning the content of your message is necessary to make it effective.

    Mood

    Consider what emotions you want to appeal to.

    The mood of your message will do a good deal to determine how people react to it. In general, if the mood is too extreme – too negative, too frightening, trying to make your audience feel too guilty – people won’t pay much attention to it. It may take some experience to learn how to strike the right balance. Keeping your tone positive will usually reach more people than evoking negative feelings such as fear or anger.

    Language

    There are two aspects to language here: one is the actual language – English, Spanish, Korean, Arabic – that your intended audience speaks; the other is the kind of language you use – formal or informal, simple or complex, referring to popular figures and ideas or to obscure ones.

    You can address the language people speak by presenting any printed material in both the official language and the language(s) of the population(s) you’re hoping to reach, and by providing translation for spoken or broadcast messages.

    The second language issue is more complicated. If your message is too informal, your audience might feel you’re talking down to them, or, worse, that you’re making an insincere attempt to get close to them by communicating in a way that’s clearly not normal for you.  If your message is too formal, your audience might feel you’re not really talking to them at all. You should use plain, straightforward language that expresses what you want to say simply and clearly.

    Channels of communication

    What does your intended audience read, listen to, watch, engage in?  You have to reach them by placing your message where they’ll see it.

    • Posters
    • Fliers and brochures – These can be more compelling in places where the issue is already in people’s minds (doctors’ offices for health issues, supermarkets for nutrition, etc.).
    • Newsletters
    • Promotional materials – Items such as caps, T-shirts, and mugs can serve as effective channels for your message.
    • Comic books or other reading material – Reading matter that is intrinsically interesting to the target audience can be used to deliver a message through a story that readers are eager to follow, or simply through the compelling nature of the medium and its design.
    • Internet sites – In addition to your organization’s website, interactive sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are effective mediums for communication
    • Presentations or presence at local events and local and national conferences, fairs, and other gatherings
    • Community or national events
    • Word of mouth
    • Music
    • Exhibits and public art
    • Movies
    • TV
    • Theater and interactive theater
    1. RESOURCES.

    Your plan should include careful determinations of how much you can spend and how much staff and volunteer time it’s reasonable to use.

    1. ANTICIPATE OBSTACLES AND EMERGENCIES.

    Any number of things can happen in the course of a communication effort. It’s important to try to anticipate all kinds of problems, and to create a plan to deal with them. Crisis planning should be part of any communication plan, so you’ll know exactly what to do when a problem or crisis occurs. Crisis plans should include who takes responsibility for what – dealing with the media, correcting errors, deciding when something has to be redone rather than fixed, etc. It should cover as many situations, and as many aspects of each situation, as possible.

    1. STRATEGIZE HOW YOU’LL CONNECT WITH THE MEDIA AND OTHERS TO SPREAD YOUR MESSAGE.

    Establishing relationships with individual media representatives and media outlets is an important part of a communication plan, as is establishing relationships with influential individuals and institutions in the community and/or the population you’re trying to reach. You have to make personal contacts, give the media and others reasons to want to help you, and follow through over time to sustain those relationships in order to keep communication channels open.

    1. CREATE AN ACTION PLAN.

    Now the task is to put it all together into a plan that you can act on. By the time you reach this point, your plan will already be essentially done. Now it’s just a matter of putting the details together – actually composing and designing your message (perhaps more than one, in order to use lots of channels), making contact with the people who can help you get your message out, and getting everything in place to start your communication effort.

    1. EVALUATION.

    If you evaluate your communication plan in terms of both how well you carry it out and how well it works, you’ll be able to make changes to improve it. It will keep getting more effective each time you implement it. (Source)

    2. How to construct a unified global campaign?

The key to a powerful global marketing campaign actually lies in personalization. It is crucial to target your messaging—headlines, copy, taglines, images, color schemes and more—to your audience’s cultural preferences.

  1. Not so much global as local and customized

    Because cultures, languages and advertising laws differ so greatly from one country to the next, applying a single global marketing campaign worldwide would never be effective. Instead, marketers must customize the campaign for each country. They should aim to make at least one facet of the campaign noticeably catered to the location.

    When media allows, such as with email marketing, the message should be catered to each individual user or to specific user groups. Personalization is often an effective strategy.

    –Simon Slade, co-founder and CEO of Doubledot Media Limited

    Target your campaign to a specific market

    Appropriate:
    Be sensitive to political, cultural and social norms for different countries and the appropriate use of images, words and scenarios. Many cultures associate certain colors with luck or with death, for example. Pay close attention to the use of genders and gender roles, especially in areas that may have strict rules on the showing of faces.

    Celebrities:
    Using celebrities or spokespeople in global marketing campaigns requires an understanding of how the individual(s) will be perceived in the local geography. Celebrities in the United States may or may not be known in other countries (or they may not be known for the same thing or perceived in the same way).

    Humor:
    Every language, culture and country has a unique take on humor. Be very careful when trying to be funny because it may backfire. Plan on involving locals and native speakers in campaign development and assessment throughout.

    Realistic:
    Ensure that images, words and scenarios are plausible for the target geography/country. Think about things like the weather, the climate, the terrain and the type of cities and towns for that area. For example, don’t talk about football in Europe or Asia when you really are referring to soccer.

    — Norman Guadagno, senior VP of marketing strategy at Wire Stone

    The right research and resources

    The research prior to a campaign launch is crucial. Even if you have laser targeting, if the message doesn’t resonate with locals in an international market, the campaign can do your brand more harm than good. Make sure to invest the necessary resources in research prior to the campaign launch.

    — Jason Parks, owner of The Media Captain

    Planning for the next step: Seeking guidance

    For professional guidance with your global marketing efforts, consider partnering with a language services company specializing in global marketing. They can help you create an overarching strategy, adapt your messaging for each target market and even help with measuring tactics to gauge your campaigns’ effectiveness in each locale. (Source)

     

    More people than ever today expect personalization. That means communicating with your audience members in a way that tells them you understand who they are and what they want, by localizing according to some very important elements:

    • Geographic location
      •Language and regional dialects
      •Expressions and slang
      •Visual layout and color schemes
      •Images, video and audio
      •Popular culture references and local events
      •Social customs, traditions and taboos
      •Platforms on which content is shared . . . etc.

    Locally adapting your global marketing campaign entails many different aspects, from the campaign content itself to how it’s ultimately shared with locals. A certain approach involving just one of the above components could delight people of one culture but seriously offend those of another.

    Global and local = “glocal”

    The importance of local flavor

    Some companies try to design a global marketing campaign to be as broadly appealing as possible, with a goal of requiring less localization. If you’re in this position, you might find that expediently pushing out content is your number one priority.

    That’s fine, but you’ll still need to consider each target country’s expectations. After all, a failed global marketing effort due to inadequate localization can color an entire country’s perception of a company brand.

    Recommendation 1: Clarify what is driven globally and what is managed locally

    A global marketing approach does not mean the absence of local, market-specific plans and initiatives. These should, in fact, be complementary.

    Some areas of marketing that lend themselves to being led at a global or central level include branding and brand guidelines, strategic marketing planning and budgeting, large-scale marketing campaigns, social media strategy and guidelines, research strategy, and global PR.

    Other areas best managed locally include local outreach initiatives and more tactical campaigns, local social media channels and PR initiatives, local partnerships and events, etc.  Markets need to have some control over the local channels that contribute to driving their success.

    Recommendation 2: Understand local market needs and develop a collaborative approach

    Too often, operating globally is seen as an excuse to avoid spending time understanding local cultures, customer needs and behaviours, as well as successful and less successful marketing approaches.

    And yet, it is obvious that a US-based customer is likely to be very different from a customer located in India or SEA. Their lives, cultures, and needs are different, so it makes sense they will interact very differently with your products or services.

    For a global model to work, global teams need to develop an understanding of local markets and establish a close relationship with local marketing teams.

    Recommendation 3: Develop and socialise a global marketing plan early (seek feedback)

    So, you have established key relationships, researched local markets, and defined global marketing plans which you think accommodate local needs where required.

    That’s a great start, but don’t wait for the campaign to begin to validate your assumptions. Socialise these plans with your international teams as soon as possible, seek their feedback and ensure that there are no legal issues to prevent your plans from working in certain markets.

    A proactive approach will give you time to adjust and revise your plans in the event of a problem. It will also allow you to get buy-in from your local colleagues.  And, after all, a huge part of the success will rest on their shoulders during execution.

    Recommendation 4: Manage campaigns like an army operation – plan ruthlessly

    As the time for your campaign to kick-off approaches, there are a few key elements to consider to help it succeed; starting with outstanding project planning.

    • Appoint a global campaign manager
    • Plan ruthlessly
    • Consider time-zones
    • Communicate

    Recommendation 5: Make sure you track and adjust in real time

    Running a campaign in multiple markets means you will have to be particularly disciplined about tracking results.  The campaign manager is a good person to coordinate this.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Define key metrics and goals
    •  Get buy-in from in-market teams
    • Keep a centralised shared template
    • Review metrics weekly with the team

    Recommendation 6: Consolidate and share insight

    Once your campaign comes to an end, make sure you consolidate the insight gained and organise a debrief.

    It is important results are both shared upward and reviewed with in-market teams. Discuss what worked, what didn’t; which markets the campaign was most successful in and why.  Learnings will be invaluable in planning future activity.

    Recommendation 7: Over-communicate

    Effective communication is important at all times, not only when running campaigns.

    A critical element that makes global marketing work is the relationship you establish with in-market teams.

    Reap the benefits of operating globally

    Yes, global marketing requires some effort to work, but it does have a number of benefits.

    Most obviously, it ensures your marketing strategy is applied consistently (but smartly) across territories and it allows you to operate more efficiently through economies of scale.

    Beyond this, one of the biggest benefits of operating globally with a local presence is the opportunity it provides to develop a deeper understanding of the markets in which your company operates and their potential. It enables you to prioritise and optimise your efforts and budgets effectively.

    And last but not least, it gives you as many territories to test and learn from. For each campaign or activity you run, you will gather feedback and suggestions from a range of markets. This is invaluable insight you can leverage by developing a repository of best practice and ideas which will help drive your long term success. (Source)

    3. How to translate a message to a global audience?

What are some of the things organizations should keep in mind when trying to communicate to a global audience via social media?

  1. Communicating globally requires more than just accurate translations into multiple languages. It’s about making sure your message is received by people who don’t share your customs and traditions, and that requires a certain level of cultural understanding beyond language proficiency.

    In fact, the terms that have become common in the language services industry to describe what we do are “translation and localization”—underscoring the fact that translation is really only half of it.

    A line that may be clever in English—”Dollars and Sense”—loses all meaning in another language where the words for “cents” and “sense” don’t sound the same.

    If you know your content is destined for a global audience—whether translated or not—avoid colloquial expressions at all costs, as well as any potential dates that represent holidays to any members of your target audience. Steer clear of references to sports figures and local folk heroes. Rhymes, jargon, poems, puns and witty sayings mean absolutely nothing when translated into other languages.

    What are some of the common mistakes organizations make when communicating to a global audience?

    Icons, cultural symbols and even colors all have different meanings for different language groups—and have just as much potential to cause miscommunication or worse, irreparable offense.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Numbers and dates 
The number 1,107.61 in the United States would be written as 1.107,61 in Latin American Spanish. Likewise, the date written as 6/3/11 is June third in the U.S., but represents the sixth of March in many countries outside the United States.
    • Color 
While red conveys a sense of danger or alarm to North American English speakers, the color represents a sense of happiness or good luck to some other cultural groups.
    • Symbols 
To North American English-speaking audiences, an owl represents wisdom. In Mexico, the owl represents stupidity. Always put symbols through a cultural review process or test them with focus groups before using them in your materials.

    Today, there are a number of free translation tools available over the Internet. What are the potential dangers of using these services? Can you provide any examples of organizations that have run into trouble?

    While there’s certainly a role for technology, true communication can’t happen without a professional, human touch. That’s especially true with content that is particularly idiomatic or that relies on context—whether witty, inspirational or simply aspirational in tone.

    For just a few reasons not to trust free online translation tools in a situation where accuracy matters, here are some examples of translations I’ve come across online:

    • The technician will drink two to three large glasses of dye into the waiting area for 45 to 90 minutes.
    • Bring a responsible adult who can stay with you until you are ready to be downloaded by the physician.
    • The day of the procedure does not eat or drink anything after midnight.

    Can you provide some tips that will help communicators ensure their messages are embraced by a global audience?

    If you’re writing something destined for translation, there are steps you can take when drafting original material to make the translation process more efficient and, therefore, successful.

    The biggest challenge in successful translation is inaccurate, confusing or sub-par writing to begin with. Typos and incorrect punctuation can alter the meaning of a sentence. When writing is ambiguous, the translator has to decipher what the writer is trying to say.

    Another common pitfall: a failure to realize that most other languages use more words than English. Translated material can be 25 to 35 percent longer, which can cause problems and delays when the text has to fit into an already-designed template.

    Also, don’t forget to examine the entire chain of communication. If a Spanish-language brochure sends someone to your English-only website, you’ll lose your audience. For example, if your brochure translates the phrase “click on the PRINT button” to “haga clic en el botón IMPRIMIR”—but the website button actually is labeled “PRINT”—you will needlessly frustrate consumers and possibly lose them as potential customers in the process. This may seem obvious, but it’s all too common for people to forget how their translations will ultimately be used.

    The bottom line is that as professional communicators we’re always working hard to make sure that we don’t get in the way of our own message. In fact, business communicators are the ones who invest the most time thinking about language and constructing messages with a deliberate purpose. Don’t let the more casual nature of social media fool you into thinking you can let your guard down. (Source)

Trigger 4 (Brand Strategy)

  1. Brand Strategy Processes behind big brands

  2. Re-positioning Processes  

 

    • Consumer engagement – People want to be involved with the brand. They want to feel like they belong. To make this happen, businesses have to work to customize the products to fit consumer needs. How can this be done? You have to get creative and figure out what people want.
    • Brand Strategy Processes

      Brand is more than a logo, name or slogan — it’s the entire experience your prospects and customers have with your company, product or service.

      Brand strategy defines what a company stands for, a promise that is made, and the personality it conveys. And while it includes the logo, color palette and slogan, those are only creative elements that convey the brand. Instead, the brand lives in every day-to-day interaction you have with the market:

      • The images you convey
      • The messages you deliver on your website, proposals and campaigns
      • The way your employees interact with customers
      • A customer’s opinion of you versus your competition

      Brand strategy brings competitive positioning to life, and works to position you as a certain “something” in the mind of your prospects and customers.

      Successful branding also creates “brand equity” – the amount of money that customers are willing to pay just because it’s that brand. In addition to generating revenue, brand equity makes a company itself more valuable over the long term.

      If you have a brand strategy, make sure it’s as effective as possible

      • Pull your customers, employees and vendors. Are their impressions consistent with your strategy? If not, work on the elements you can improve.

      Develop your brand around emotional benefits

      • List the features and benefits of your product / service. A feature is an attribute – a color, a configuration; a benefit is what that feature does for the customer.
      • Determine which benefits are most important to each of your customer segments.
      • Identify which benefits are emotional – the most powerful brand strategies tap into emotions, even among business buyers.
      • Look at the emotional benefits and boil them down to one thing that your customers should think of when they think of you. That’s what your brand should represent.

      Define your brand personality, story and positioning statements

      • Think of your brand as a person with a distinct personality. Describe him or her, then convey these traits in everything you do and create.
      • Write positioning statements and a story about your brand; use them throughout your company materials.
      • Choose colors, fonts and other visual elements that match your personality.
      • Determine how your employees will interact with prospects and customers to convey the personality and make sure your brand “lives” within your company.
        Brand Strategy

        Together with your competitive positioning strategy, your brand strategy is the essence of what you represent. A great brand strategy helps you communicate more effectively with your  market, so follow it in every interaction you have with your prospects and customers. (Source)

        6 Components to a good Brand Strategy

       

      1) Purpose

      “Every brand makes a promise. But in a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose,”explains Allen Adamson, chairman of the North America region of brand consulting and design firm Landor Associates.

      How can you define your business’ purpose? According to Business Strategy Insider, purpose can be viewed in two ways:

      • Functional: This concept focuses on the evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons — i.e. the purpose of the business isto make money
      • Intentional: This concept focuses on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world.

      IKEA’s vision isn’t just to sell furniture, but rather, to “create a better everyday life.” This approach is appealing to potential customers, as it demonstrates their commitment to providing value beyond the point of sale.

      2) Consistency

      The key to consistency is to avoid talking about things that don’t relate to or enhance your brand. Added a new photo to your business’Facebook Page? What does it mean for your company? Does it align with your message, or was it just something funny that would, quite frankly, confuse your audience?

      In an effort to give your brand a platform to stand on, you need to be sure that all of your messaging is cohesive. Ultimately, consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty.

      To see a great example of consistency, let’s look at Coca Cola. As a result of their commitment to consistency, every element of their marketing works harmoniously together. This has helped them become one of the most recognizable brands in the world.cc1cc2cc3cc4

       

      3) Emotion

      Customers aren’t always rational.

      How else do you explain the person who paid thousands of dollars more for a Harley rather than buying another cheaper, equally well-made bike? There was an emotional voice in there somewhere, whispering: “Buy a Harley.”

      But why?

      Harley Davidson uses emotional branding by creating a community around their brand. They began HOG – Harley Owners Group – to connect their customers with their brand (and each other). hog1

       

      Not to mention, belongingness — the need for love, affection, and being part of groups — falls directly in the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which aims to categorize different human needs.

      The lesson to be learned? Find a way to connect to your customers on a deeper, more emotional level. Do you give them peace of mind? Make them feel like part of the family? Do you make life easier? Use emotional triggers like these to strengthen your relationship and foster loyalty.

      4) Employee Involvement

      If your brand is playful and bubbly through Twitter engagements, then it wouldn’t make sense if a customer called in and was connected with a grumpy, monotone representative, right?

      5) Loyalty

      If you already have people that love you, your company, and your brand, don’t just sit there. Reward them for that love.

      6) Competitive Awareness

      Take the competition as a challenge to improve your own strategy and create greater value in your overall brand. You are in the same business and going after the same customers, right? So watch what they do.

      Do some of their tactics succeed? Do some fail? Tailor your brand positioning based on their experience to better your company.  (Source)

      My favourite example of a good and strong brand strategy is Toyota, which has been one of the most valuable brands in the world for many years. (More here)

      2. Re-positioning Process

      There is a constant need to innovate, reinvigorate, update, recalibrate, or just simply fend off the competition in an effort to better explain “why buy me.”

      As companies and brands today look to brand repositioning, they first have to ask what the reasons are for repositioning the brand. They can include declining sales, loss of consumer/user base, stagnant product benefits, or the competition, including such issues as increased technology and new features.

      Phase I. Determining the Current Status of the Brand

      Understanding the brand includes reviewing the complete history of the company and brand, including its current brand positioning, the original positioning, how it has evolved, and most important: what the company and brand stands for today.

      As we dive deeper into the current status of the company and brand, we also need to get a clear understanding of the company and brand, including a review of the current brand customer.

      Once we better understand the current brand customer, we can then review the company and brand sales history, including revenue, growth, and industry and category market share. It is also important to look at the specific core product and/or service offerings.

      Phase II. What Does the Brand Stand for Today?

      We now need to understand how consumers feel about your company and brand today. In consumer packaged goods (CPG), this might mean talking to kids and moms, as well as other user groups, to determine what your company and brand stand for.

      Obtaining a clear insight to the way consumers feel and relate to your company and brand will provide the starting point of the repositioning work.

      The first step on the course of brand repositioning is to hold “brand equity groups,” which will directly ask consumers and users of your brand key questions, including “Why select our brand?” and “What was the key decision making element?” Beyond these general questions, the brand equity groups will also seek to understand their reasons for purchase, determine their hierarchy of needs and what your brand currently delivers, understand usage occasions and patters, and showcase brand equity dimensions. In addition, one of the most important functions of running brand equity groups is to identify similar affinity groups, lifestyle, and behavior patterns among your consumers and loyal customers that can translate into better understanding your customer profiles.

      Phase III. Developing the Brand Positioning Platforms

      The next step is to find out how far to grow, expand, and stretch the brand.

      The purpose of Phase III is to utilize all marketing research, brand, industry, and consumer information to reposition what your brand should and can stand for. The key reasoning is that determining effective and successful brand repositioning will help retain existing customers and acquire new ones. As we look to begin brand repositioning, we need to keep in mind that it needs to capture “How we want consumers to think and feel about your brand.”

      • Who do we want our brand to be?
      • What benefits will it deliver to the consumer?
      • How will we promote the brand product purchase, collection, and user patterns?

      Phase IV. Refining the Brand Positioning and Management Presentation

      Now we have a great start, a new thinking, and (most important) the beginnings of the new brand positioning for your company, business, and brand. The purpose now is to review and refine the new brand positioning and communicate to all function departments in order to align efforts.

      The main reason is that it is important that everyone on the brand team and all function areas understand, buy in, and support the new brand positioning. Essentially, this will become the umbrella strategy for the brand group dictating marketing programs and tactics.

      As part of this final and very important phase in brand repositioning, we need to refine the positioning. This includes finalizing the brand by incorporating all feedback from consumers, customers, vendors and agencies, as well as the brand group, to ensure achievable positioning vs. aspirational positioning.

      The ultimate final stage results in building a strong team to carry the message to senior management and leaders within your company. This includes developing and presenting to the brand group and senior management the new brand positioning. (Source)

      Strategies

      To implement brand re-positioning the company must choose a strategy. Each strategy determines where the main focus of the new campaign will be. The new campaign may focus on the consumer, other businesses or the general public. Let’s review some available strategies.

    • Identity – The most important aspect of building a brand is to give the company an identity. The brand is tied together through the logo, slogan, color scheme, marketing materials, employees, etc. Everything about the company should tie together and provide a unified identity that the consumer can understand.
    • Spirit of giving – The world is starting to expect businesses to be socially responsible and embrace the spirit of giving. Social responsibility is an organization’s obligation to better the welfare of society. To utilize this strategy the company can include its partnership with charities in its advertising.

      Hyundai example 

    In the early days of the Hyundai brand, it owned the word “cheap” in consumers’ minds. In order to reposition the brand, the company redesigned its cars to be more contemporary and launched an unprecedented warranty program that competitors are still trying to copy today. Consumer perceptions were changed as the new car styling attracted their eyes and the warranty appealed to their wallets as well as to their need for a sense of trust and security when making a big ticket purchase. Today, Hyundai’s brand reputation is much better than it was over a decade ago.

    (More here and here)

 

Brand identity (Trigger 3)

How to transform a brand identity in order to maximize profits?

Learning objectives:

  1. What is branding/brand identity/brand image?

  2. Methods of branding, brand identity models.

  3. Good, bad examples.

    branding.jpg

So here are my findings:

1. What is branding/brand identity/brand image?

Branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other. Basically, brand is company’s promise to its customer. It tells them what they can expect from company’s products and services, and it differentiates company’s products from that of their competitors. The brand is derived from who you the company is, who they want to be and who people perceive them to be.

The foundation of any brand is a logo. Website,packaging and promotional materials- all of which should integrate the same logo – communicate the brand. The brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom company plans on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where company decides to advertise is part of their brand strategy. Distribution channels, what you communicate visually and verbally is part of the brand strategy, too. Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to company’s products or services that allows them to charge more for their brand than what identical, unbranded products command.  For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe. (Source)

Marketing VS Branding

Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish marketing and branding, so here I found a good article explaining the difference between these two concepts.

“Marketing is aimed to actively promote a product or service. It’s a push tactic. It’s pushing out a message to get sales results:“Buy our product because it’s better than theirs.” (Or because it’s cool, or because this celebrity likes it, or because you have this problem and this thing will fix it, etc.) This is oversimplification, but that’s it in a nutshell.”

Branding is not push, but pull. Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.

A brand will help encourage someone to buy a product, and it directly supports whatever sales or marketing activities are in play, but the brand does not explicitly say “buy me.” Instead, it says “This is what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.”

So we can say that branding is strategic concept, while marketing is tactical.

Marketing contributes to a brand, but the brand is bigger than any marketing effort. The brand is what remains after the marketing strategy changes. It’s what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization—whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.

The brand is ultimately what determines if you will become a loyal customer or not. The marketing may convince you to buy a particular Toyota, and maybe it’s the first foreign car you ever owned, but it is the brand that will determine if you will only buy Toyotas for the rest of your life.

The brand is built from many things. Very important among these things is the lived experience of the brand. Did that car deliver on its brand promise of reliability? Did the maker continue to uphold the quality standards that made them what they are? Did the sales guy or the service center mechanic know what they were talking about?

Basically, brand is the relationship between an organization and an audience. Consistency allows your audience to build a memory structure around who you are and what value you have to offer.This memory structure becomes the identity of your organization.

2. Methods of branding, brand identity models.

Here are a few simple, time-tested tips for branding:

Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.

Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.

Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.

Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand.This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off.

Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.

Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.

Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.

Be consistent. This tip involves all the above and is the most important tip on this list. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.

Brand identity models

There are many different brand identity models:

  1. The Birgkigt & Stadler model shows the relationship between organization’s self-presentation (the desired image) and its perceived identity (image). Basically, the image is the reflection of an organization’s identity. Three elements (outer circle) form the organization’s personality. Using this models, managers can get insight into the balance between the organization’s identity and the image that it creates among different target groups.
  2. Swedish Research (Gromark, Asvik & Melin – 2005) states that brand-oriented organizations are more profitable. By using 8 factors, the research makes distinction between 4 types of organizations, based on the extent to which they place the emphasis internal or external focus when developing their brand.
    1. Sceptics – brand as logo: when corporate brand in nothing more than a trade name and actually remains unused
    2. Salesmen –the brand is a sales tool: when a brand is used mainly as a tactical sales instrument
    3. Educators – the brand as internal socialisation mechanism: companies that see a strong connection between a strong corporate culture and a strong corporate brand
    4. Leaders – the brand as a central philosophy for the organization: giving priority to the corporate brand and using it as a philosophy, departure point, support etc. in the performance of all activities.
  3. Aaker views brand equity as a set of five categories of brand assets and liabilitieslinked to a brand that add to or subtract from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and/or to that firm’s customers.These categories of brand assets are:
    1. Brand loyalty
    2. Brand awareness
    3. Perceived quality
    4. Brand associations
    5. Other proprietary assets such as patents, trademarks, and channel relationships.

    As per Aaker, brand identity consists of 12 dimensions organized around 4 perspectives:

    Brand loyaltyBrand awareness

    1. Brand-as-product (product scope, product attributes, quality/value, uses, users, country of origin)
    2. Brand-as-organization (organizational attributes, local versus global)
    3. Brand-as-person (brand personality, brand-customer relationships)
    4. Brand-as-symbol (visual imagery/metaphors and brand heritage).

Good/Bad examples:

  1. Subway. There was a great year for female empowerment. Unless you were Subway, in which case you told women to eat right so they’d be sexier in their sexy Halloween costumes. The ad was pulled from YouTube.
  2. Victoria’s Secret. Leave it to Victoria’s Secret to completely ignore the advertising trend toward Dove-style “real beauty” and instead launch a campaign all about “The Perfect Body.” After widespread backlash, it changed the theme to “A Body for Every Body.”victorias-secret-perfect-body-hed-2014_0
  3. Urban Outfitters. This time, the provocative clothing store decided to sell a “vintage” Kent State University sweatshirt featuring fake blood splatters. (Four students died at Kent State during an anti-war protests in 1970.) The brand apologized, but claimed the sweatshirt was just “part of our sun-faded vintage collection” and the red marks weren’t supposed to look like blood.kent-state-sweatshirt-hed-2014

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) (Trigger 2)

So our main problem for the second trigger is:

How a company can use IMC in the most effective way?

We came up the following learning objectives:

  1. What is IMC? Why to do it?
  2. What are the elements of a successful IMC strategy?
  3. Find some examples. Why do you like/dislike them?

1. What is IMC?

Marketing Association defines Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.”

The IMC planning process has been compared to composing a musical score. In a piece of music, while every instrument has a specific task, the goal is to have them come together in a way that produces beautiful music. It’s the same in IMC, where advertising might be your violin, social media your piano, public relations your trumpet and so on. (source).

So basically, Integrated Marketing Communications is a simple concept, which ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together. IMC is all about integrating all the promotional tools, so that they work together in harmony.

Why to do it?

Different shifts in the world of advertising, marketing and media have caused an increased interest in and need for IMC. These include:

A shift From… To…
Traditional Advertising Digital/Interactive Media
Mass Media Specialized Media
Traditional Compensation Performance-Based Compensation
Limited Internet Access Widespread Internet Availability

These shifts are forcing organizations to look at the whole marketing picture, re-aligning their communications and seeing things the way the consumer sees them – as a constant flow of information from indistinguishable sources. Those who practice IMC are avoiding duplicate messages, capitalizing on the synergy among promotional tools, creating more effective marketing programs and maximizing ROI.

2. What are the elements of a successful IMC strategy?

  • Horizontal Integration occurs across the marketing mix and across business functions – for example, production, finance, distribution and communications should work together and be conscious that their decisions and actions send messages to customers.
  • While different departments such as sales, direct mail and advertising can help each other through Data Integration. This requires a marketing information system which collects and shares relevant data across different departments.
  • Vertical Integration means marketing and communications objectives must support the higher level corporate objectives and corporate missions.
  • Meanwhile Internal Integration requires internal marketing – keeping all staff informed and motivated about any new developments from new advertisements, to new corporate identities, new service standards, new strategic partners and so on.
  • External Integration, on the other hand, requires external partners such as advertising and PR agencies to work closely together to deliver a single seamless solution – a cohesive message – an integrated message. (Source)

There is a TedTalkx By Nick Scarpino, Senior Account Planner at Google, called “A Guide for Prioritizing Marketing Communications”.  A few ideas from there:

  1. Utilize your physical location. For example a store, restaurant, building etc. Put a sign there, let people know you etc.

Chinese restaurant doing a great job in utilizing physical location in tough times. A car ran into the place, so they had to cover a broken window. Next to it they put amazing sign:

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2.Build and maintain a website. Recent study by Google showed that 60% of small businesses do not have a web site. It is one of the least expensive tool of marketing communication ever, which gives 24/7 access to customers and perspective customers. It lets people know where you are, how to contact you, your services, prices etc.

3. Offer a way to speak to someone at your business. (Phone line, chat feature on the website etc). It a no brainer that nothing will ever replace an importance of human interaction.

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4.Be found by your target markets. You have to make sure that potential customers who are looking for something that you are selling, can find you. If it is online, you have to show up on Google, on Bing, Amazon, Ebay, or anywhere where it is relevant to your business.

5. Engage customers within one community. For example, a Facebook page, where people who are using one brand or product can interact with each other etc.

One more interesting point from the TedTalk mentioned above:

3 Factors for Setting Marketing Communication priorities

  1. Target Markets
  2. Shareable Experiences
  3. ROI

As an example: [redefined]: IES Abroad Wins 2011 Innovation in Marketing Award (source).

It is an organization that promotes studying abroad and sends students for exchange from the USA to all over the world. So they were thinking about integrating marketing communications to raise awareness among other students. Firstly, they came up with a motto “Your world is [redefined]” (by studying abroad. And sent it to all students who were already on exchange. They removed the first part of it and just printed “______ [redefined]” to let students come up with something new and creative and tell everyone what was redefined by their experience abroad. And for real, student started sharing their ideas online, in social media and obviously their friends (also students) saw it, so the target markets was just there. Some pictures from that campaign:

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So from this example we can see how main elements of IMC can work in harmony, and how creative you can be with that.

3.Find some examples. Why do you like/dislike them?

Federal Express. Hewlett-Packard. Target. Apple. The list is long and getting longer. One recent example is Saatchi and Saatchi’s 2010 campaign for the Toyota Sienna which debuted during the Winter Olympics.

In a quest to change the image of the minivan and those who drive it, Toyota launched its “Sienna Family” campaign. The campaign features a married Gen X couple trying to balance the reality of having two young children and a minivan with their desire to remain part of the cool crowd, emphasizing how the Sienna could make it all possible.

For the campaign, Toyota integrated social media into its traditional mix from the outset, inviting those who saw the ads on TV and in print to learn more at the company’s YouTube page. And then, on May 2, came “Swagger Wagon”—the now-famous music video in which the Sienna parents perform a hip-hop song about their minivan. The video, which was Toyota’s first viral marketing success to date, has received over 8 million YouTube hits and counting.

iMedia’s Greg Bardsley, who named “Sienna Family” one of the top IMC campaigns of 2010, had this to say: “Car manufacturers are no strangers to integrated campaigns, but few are done with such spot-on execution. Toyota manages to wow us with a family-focused, funny-yet-sweet campaign that succeeds across multiple platforms.”

Spot-on execution. Succeeding across multiple platforms. Now that’s IMC at work.

Link to the ad is here.

What is a bad IMC strategy?

One of the most common pitfalls for brands in terms of IMC is the use of too many tools for social media. Some brands have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Foursquare, Yelp, etc., when their audience only really pays attention to one or two of those channels. What ends up happening here is that although one channel looks nice and engages in meaningful conversation, the others look like a barren wasteland that ignores their audience. Not good. (Source).

More examples of good IMC strategies and campaigns in this article.

7 Ways to create a successful integrated marketing campaign:

Step 1: Have a clear understanding of who your target audience is.

Step 2: Pick your channels. Not everyone needs to be on Facebook, or in a magazine.

Step 3: Have a consistent look. “Make sure your visual identity is consistent,” says Andrew Stanten, president, Altitude Marketing. “Visual identity is far more than your logo. It entails having a common overarching design (look and feel), style of photography and graphics, consistent logo treatment [and] common colors and fonts,” he says. “Everything should look as if it came from the same [company].

Step 4: Create clear, consistent content that can easily be adapted or repurposed to suit different media or channels. “Because it can take more than five impressions for an individual to recognize a brand or specific marketing message, follow the three Cs for marketing messages,” says Justin Honaman, partner, Consumer Goods, and retail national practice leader

Step 5: Ensure that your messaging is integrated.

Step 6: Make sure your marketing teams/agencies are working in sync.

Step 7: Don’t forget to track your campaigns. (Source)

Storytelling and corporate communication (Trigger 1)

Problem of the Trigger 1: 

How can a corporation inspire or share their message most effectively by storytelling?

Learning Objectives:

  • What are the elements of good corporate stories?
  • What are the most effective corporate communication channels?
  • What is the target audience of corporations?

After an inspiring advertisement from Google, we came up with the main reason and three learning objectives that I will try to cover in this post.

What are the elements of good corporate stories?

Storytelling is older than any marketing strategies and concepts. It was the first option of how people could pass along information, long before the written word even existed. We’re still learning better if someone’s telling us a story that has a meaning or emotion, because the use of narrative helps our brain focus. According to The New Science of Smart by Annie Murphy Paul the neurons that are activated when we are listening to the story are the same as the ones that would be activated if we were actually participating in that story in reality. If you think about TED talk, it always starts with the speaker telling some first-hand experience that shaped the information that follows in their talk.

According to different sources (Businessinsider.com 2016; Corporate-eye.com 2016; Inc.com 2014) the most important elements of a good story are the following:

Simple

Good stories shouldn’t be complicated. They should be told in the language that could be understood by the target audience, so they don’t need to spend time interpreting and then absorbing. The simpler the story, the easier to remember it.

Emotional

A good story requires an emotional part. Stories need to have humour, pain, joy, strong motivational or great inspiration. If a story is just some facts stated most of us wouldn’t listen or remember any of it.

Real

Good stories are first-hand experiences the teller actually witnessed. It is always good if a story relates directly to the teller, told in the teller’s own words and from the heart.

Identifiable Character

All great stories have a primary character who the audience can relate to and identify with. The audience follows the character, supports him/her etc.

Problem / Conflict

A great story has a core conflict that the main character must face and overcome. For a brand story, the core conflict can be a problem that your product or service can solve for consumers.

Passion

Stories written around issues the audience actually cares about will be received and understood better.

Meaning

What is the issue or challenge that your company has been built to address? Maybe it is a cultural issue, a major industry problem etc.

The revelation

Tell people something they don’t know. A good story engages the reader who is awaiting some sort of reveal. Share something unexpected with the reader.

The transformation

Think about the impact of your story. What is different as a result of the story you are telling?

Although there are different elements and suggestions on this matter, in my opinion, it all comes down to evoking emotions and touching target audience. I’ve been working in a magazine as a journalist and writing essays in school, so I would say that the most important thing in storytelling is the plot. People are different and unique, but biologically we react to some things in the same way. The most touching stories have something in common: children, old people, animals, stories of success, overcoming hurdles or just something that can actually motivate people not just to buy a product but to think about their lives and maybe change them in a way. That’s what we saw in Google story, Nike ads etc. So I would say that the most important element of a corporate storytelling is a good plot that would give a meaning to company’s brand and to what they are doing.

Some examples of stories that I would personally call powerful:

The new Nike Unlimited Future 2016 Rio Olympics film featuring some great athletes. It basically tells us that champions weren’t born champions. They were born babies.

Go Pro Fireman saves a kitten. GoPro decided to define themselves not only as a brand for adventurous and extreme people. This footage was taken and made as a story that would target much wider audience – outside extreme sports world. It is an inspiring video of everyday heroism, which would definitely touch many people.

Artifact Uprising “On legacy”. A story from a company that creates a custom made photo books and albums. And in their videos they are telling stories of people like this one. Grandfather leaves for his grandchildren pictures and memories that are more valuable than money.

Dove “Choose beautiful” that inspires women to think better of themselves and be more confident. They are also creating a story that aims not only boost their sales but also to make a difference.

What are the most effective corporate communication channels?

To make sure that the brand’s story is being received, company has to think how and where they actually tell their story. It’s nice to encourage audience to share their experience, to communicate with them and win their trust.

A recent ranking of powerful marketing campaigns from the WARC 100, named the best strategies and ads. And according to the analysis the average number of channels for campaigns was 7.4, meaning that the storytelling has to be multichannel in order to be effective. The emergence of new content delivery options does not diminish the importance of established ones. Twenty-nine percent of the WARC 100 campaigns led with earned media, while use of social media and online video were also prominent in the mix. When you consider these success factors and the ever-changing sphere of audience influencers, it makes a strong case for the enduring effectiveness of brand-building earned strategies used in tandem with digital ones (Prweek.com, 2016).

According to web channel manager for CEB, Iliyana Hadjistoyanova, and her article on how to choose the right communication channel, in order to promote a brand or a story, a company should think of the following 4 steps:

  • Use different channels in order to reach different audience. Even non-traditional channels would work depending on the target customers.
  • As some channels become more popular, concentrate on them. Do the research on current stakeholder behavior in new channels, such as social media — i.e., what channels they use and which are influential. Do not stick to one channel, use the ones that are becoming more popular between your audiences.
  • Experiment with new channels to determine their effectiveness before starting to use them frequently: Measure the use of these new channels as you experiment with them.
  • Evaluate your channel options and select the channel mix that is most appropriate for your objective and target audience of the message.

What is the target audience of corporations?

Founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors, Chuck Cohn, wrote an article on Forbes.com and gave some examples on how to identify your target market. Knowing to whom to market a product can result in higher returns and give more meaning to company’s operations.

Here are some steps that can help with this according to Chuck:

  1. Determine what needs your product can fulfil.
  2. Use some criteria that will help you to narrow your audience (gender, age, income level etc).
  3. Use professional market researchers to gather data and learn more about your target audience.

In conclusion, the companies can inspire and share their message by storytelling effectively, if their story has a meaning to it, can inspire or motivate someone and make a difference. The story should be told via right corporate communication channels, that would be different for every company and for every target audience. To sum this topic, I would like to mention a quote by Henry Ford: “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”. I guess it describes my personal opinion about storytelling.