Tag Archives: branding

Lessons B2C and B2B Companies Can Learn from Smart Brands

smart brands

In February of this year, I met with 35 brand certified peers. During our time together, we shared some of our favorite brands and talked about why those brands stood out to us.

My favorite brand was Disney because of its family-oriented focus. It’s about making people happy: its stories have happy endings and its service model creates extraordinary experiences. The brand has been consistent since brothers Walt and Roy founded the company in 1929.

Some of the group’s favorite brands included Adidas, Tom’s Shoes, Nike, BMW, Sephora, Trader Joe’s, LL Bean, Marshall’s|TJ Maxx, Red Bull, Vitamix, Guinness, Always, Tesla, Google, Apple, Lyft, US Marines, and Southwest Airlines. In listening to the stories of why these smart brands stood out and why they rose to the top of our minds, some similarities began to surface. There are some lessons to be learned from these smart brands for both consumer-oriented companies and business-to-business brands.

Lesson #1 – Have a strong commitment and understanding of why your business exists and how it contributes to the betterment of your target audience and/or the world.

Lesson #2 – Altruism can be a business driver. Stand for something greater than your products or services. Pay it forward.

Lesson #3 – Create an internal environment that is inclusive and where people feel empowered. Make employees your #1 brand ambassadors.

Lesson #4 – Make sure your company’s brand strategy and business strategy are aligned.

Lesson #5 – Create a consistent customer experience at all touch points — online, on the phone, in person.

Lesson #6 – Establish standards when involving third-party resellers in representing your company’s brand.

Lesson #7 – Stand behind your target customers, enrich their world and empower them to achieve their best.

Lesson #8 – Reinvent your product and service offering to continue to deliver upon your commitment to your customers.

Lesson #9 – Provide meaningful experiences that remain in the heart of your customers for life.

Lesson #10 – Really understand who your customers are and embrace what is important to them.

Lesson # 11 – Walk the walk and live and treat others in a manner that is consistent with your brand. Empower employees to do the same.

Lesson #12 – Stand behind the products and services you offer with a guarantee, knowledgeable employees and quality service.

Think about how you can apply some of the lessons above to strengthen your company’s brand to become the preferred brand amongst your target market.

Need help with your brand development? We can help! Contact us today to develop a brand that will ignite your business — guaranteed.

 

How to Build an Online Marketing Fire

Knowing how to build a fire is just as essential for survival in the online marketing world as it is in the wilderness. A blazing campfire provides warmth, light and a way to cook food. The fire you want to build online increases awareness and generates online leads.

Fire-Starting Tools

To start a fire in the great outdoors, you typically need a match and strike board, a piece of flint and steel or a magnifying glass and the sun. In marketing, we consider having a well-defined brand and a strategic plan as the bare necessities to ignite the flame for your business.

Your audience needs to understand who you are as a company, what you stand for and why you’re in business. Without a well-thought-out brand, you run the risk of looking like and sounding like your competitors, and you will be stuck in a continuous lowest-price-wins battle. Without a strategic plan, you’re wandering through the wilderness battling the unexpected and rather than focusing on what you need to do to reach your goals.

Tinder

No matter where you are, creating a flame can be a lot of hard work — and it’s all for naught if there is no tinder to catch the flame.

In digital marketing, your “tinder” would be your website. Your website is the hub, or the core of all your online marketing efforts. For your website to attract and retain traffic — or “catch fire” — it must be optimized for search engines, easy-to-use and appealing. Without a well-optimized and user-friendly website, you will end up rubbing two sticks together all night long with no results.

However, while tinder catches fire easily, the fire quickly dies out without added support.

Kindling

When building a fire, you need materials that provide more substance than tinder provides to keep the flame burning long enough for your fuel wood to catch. This is where kindling comes in.

In marketing, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. When following best practices, SEO and online advertising can quickly and easily increase awareness and direct traffic to your website. Just as kindling must be dry to work, your website and online ads must be optimized with keywords to work.

Fuel Wood

The fuel wood might take a little longer to catch fire, but it is what ultimately keeps your fire hot and burning. And if you notice your fire is starting to die down, you can throw more fuel wood on top to keep it going. In marketing, fuel wood is a mix of owned and earned channels.

Content marketing is one owned channel that can help “fuel the flame,” and it includes pieces such as white papers, case studies, e-books or webinars. Advertising such as print, TV or radio also add to the discussion, increase awareness and even drive website traffic. Additionally, email marketing can help nurture the fire and keep it going.

Public relations is one example of an earned “fuel” or channel. When your company receives media coverage from third-party sources, it helps boost your credibility and increase “buzz”. Word of mouth — whether it’s in person or online via social media — is also earned, and it can be a very powerful tool to build a blazing fire.

Building a fire is not as easy as it first appears. It involves a lot of knowledge, preparation, tools and hard work—similar to effective online marketing campaigns. Luckily, the GREENCREST team is ready to support you! Contact us today to get started.

 

3 Remarkable Stats that Prove the Power of Video Marketing

3 remarkable stats that prove the power of video marketing

2016 has been heralded by many as “the year of video.” According to Cisco, more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be video content by 2019. Video marketing isn’t just the future, it’s now: 96% of B2B organizations use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns, and 73% report positive results to their ROI, according to a survey conducted by ReelSEO.

With so many incredible stats, it’s hard to believe some companies still have not added video to their marketing plans. If you haven’t yet added video to your strategic marketing plan, maybe these numbers will change your mind.

3 Reasons to Include Video in Your Marketing Strategy:

 

1. Branding

The best way to tell your brand story is through video. Not just telling, but showing users who you are while eliciting an emotional connection to your brand through video will turn prospects into customers and raving fans. A customer loyalty study by Mori found that emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to recommend the brand, three times more likely to re-purchase, are much less price sensitive and are less likely to shop competitors. (44% rarely or never shop around)

 

2. SEO

Websites with video will experience higher rankings in Google because video is considered rich media and valuable user content. According to older reports, video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results. In 2016, Brightcove found that video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.

 

3. Conversions

Video can improve rankings, increase traffic and quickly explain brands and products, but can it actually convert?

  • According to Eye View Digital, having a video on your landing page can increase conversions by 86%.
  • Vidyard reports that 70% of marketers using video claim video produces more conversions than any other content.
  • Another study found that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.
  • 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

 

Interested in learning what video marketing can do for your numbers? Contact GREENCREST and talk with a video marketing specialist today.

 

 

Engaging employees to live the brand

brand team

The Chief Marketing Officers Council and Executive Networks Inc. collaborated in 2015 to produce a report titled, “Making the Workplace a Brand-Defining Space.” The report explored ways in which marketing and human resource leaders could engage employees to bring a company’s values, ethics, commitments and qualities to life within the organization.

What I loved about the report is that it explored social media platforms being used by leading consumer brands to retain and recruit, build customer-centric cultures, recognize and reward innovation and output, and drive productivity, performance and motivation by “gamifying” the workplace.

Start the conversation

According to the report, areas of conversation included such questions as:

  • Does your company have a formal brand platform with shared values, ethics and collective buy-in?
  • How important is your brand persona to employee recruitment and customer gratification?
  • What value does management place on organizational branding and employee engagement?
  • Do you have a well-defined corporate culture that is universally embraced by the organization? If so, how has this been achieved? If not, what is lacking?
  • How well do your employees reinforce and deliver on brand promises and claims
  • How are you encouraging, rewarding, measuring and amplifying this?
  • To what degree is your brand personality reflected in your people and workplace?
  • In what ways are you engaging, motivating and recognizing employees to underscore brand qualities?
  • How are work styles changing and what are you doing to adjust to the millennial mindset?
  • Which platforms, methodologies, mobile applications or protocols are you using to do this?
  • Which business events, milestones or commitments require active employee participation and partner support?
  • How does your organization use social media, and how are employees and partners contributing to this?

These questions are a good starting point for assessing where your organization stands and may provide some insight to ways you could better align the company’s brand clues within your organization.

Finding the disconnect

Here are some of the report’s findings, as gleaned from the executive summary.

Nearly 70 percent of marketing and human resource leaders believe their management teams are strongly committed to their company’s image, identify, culture and collective ethos, as well as shared values and employee participation in organizational branding. Yet, just 37 percent say they have a well-defined corporate culture that is universally embraced by the organization.

Brand persona is seen by almost 90 percent as essential, very or moderately important to attracting new hires and building a lasting relationship with customers. Only 62 percent, however, reported having a formal brand platform that defines shared values, ethics and collective buy-in to a singular value proposition.

Leaders first

In order for marketing and human resources to succeed in making the workplace a brand-defining space, a company must first uncover its brand. This is a top-down, CEO-driven initiative with the company’s leadership team as the main brand ambassadors.

The leadership must first embrace the value of the brand and its impact on the company’s future growth, customer loyalty and employee satisfaction, as well as its ability to drive greater profitability and competitive advantage.

From this foundation, a brand that is enculturated into an organization is a game-changing, transformational market advantage.

From Smart Business

Brand Value Pyramid: Visualize where your brand stands

 

The Brand Value Pyramid is a tool for CEOs to visualize their company’s brand value. It illustrates some of the most common brand assets. To assess your company’s brand, start at the bottom of the pyramid and continue upward, going from lowest to highest value.

Brand Value Pyramid

Low value: brand features/attributes

Most brands offer a suitable price point. This value is in the worth a customer places on it. Product offering is essential in most cases, but not all; it depends on your competitors. You may present hundreds of SKUs or a limited number. Stellar customer service, friendly return policies and online sales make doing business with your company easy in the eye of the customer

Customers expect this from brands they do business with. These have low value when it comes to brand distinction, and ultimately business value.

High value: brand visuals

Visual elements are the first opportunity to distinguish your brand. Your logo, collateral materials, and website, among other things, are mandatory for increased value. But, don’t think for a minute that this is brand development. Until your brand’s unique distinction has been discovered, don’t start the visual identity process.

Higher value: brand esteem

To grow the value of your brand, define a sales experience that is second-to-none. What will make doing business with your company memorable? Most people will put price aside if the experience is enjoyable.

Reputation can be the vanguard of a good, highly valued brand. A valuable brand is known for doing good; treating customers, suppliers, associates and others right; as well as being honest, trustworthy and a good corporate citizen.

Every company has a culture—a personality. A grumpy old mechanic’s behavior may be acceptable because you know under that crusty facade is a good heart, but that’s not a terrific brand asset. A brand that is quirky, brash or even savoir-faire can have strength, but only if its audience is attracted to or relates with its ways.

Highest value: brand merit

What does the relationship with your brand and its customers have to do with brand value? Everything. When customers enjoy or find value in your brand, they tell others. They sometimes wear your logo as a badge of loyalty, which results in repeat and referral sales.

Almost everything a company does that is unique can be trademarked—proprietary processes, unique approaches, specialized tools and so on. When these trademarked processes and procedures (brand points) are added to other proprietary practices, you create a brand bundle—a collection of assets or portfolio of services competitors cannot provide.

Anywhere an audience encounters your brand in a place other than the point of sale is a connection. So how does your brand connect? Where are customers and prospects encountering your business beyond paid marketing efforts? There is great value in this connection.

A company’s purpose, cause and belief are as important as its brand offerings. Toms® Shoes has a lot of competitors but it’s distinguished by its purpose. Why does your company exist? How are you changing your industry, your customers’ businesses and/or the world in which we live?

 

Designing Logos for the Digital Age

Logos and Corporate Identity

A brand is not a logo, an advertising tag line or design elements. But that doesn’t negate the importance of a solid corporate identity.

It’s Cherished

Corporate identity—or a company’s logo, colors and design elements—help communicate a brand visually and make it come to life. A logo often becomes iconic. It not only lives in pop culture, but it becomes immortal in the hearts and minds of millions of people around the globe.

Think about it. Olympic athletes get tattoos of the five Olympic rings. Many celebrities’ street style includes a cup of coffee with a green and white logo on it. Hungry road trippers look for the famous golden arches alongside the highway. And every year there’s at least one M&M character walking door to door for a trick or treat.

Logos are everywhere around us. Some last; some don’t. So what’s the differentiating factor? When it comes to creating a timeless logo, good designers start by thinking strategically.

It’s Scientific

Logo design is both an art and science. Before the drawing and creative process can even begin, it’s important to thoroughly understand the organization and its target audiences. For an effective logo, start with research and ask strategic questions. This helps a designer make wise choices that represent the brand well and speak to the company’s key audiences.

It’s Simple

For a logo that can withstand the ages, it’s imperative to forgo trends. Instead, start with a simple black and white sketch. Simple is key because logos often need to be manipulated for various mediums and uses. They may be full color on a website and black and white in a newspaper ad. They may be large enough for a billboard and small enough to read on mobile phones.

In the age of social media icons and mobile apps, the idea of “simple” has never been more apparent. Many companies often make the mistake of using their full, complicated logo as their icon or “profile picture” on its social media company page. Oftentimes, the logo is too small to read, especially if there is smaller text underneath the logo. If a complete logo redesign is out of the question, it is wise to create a simpler logo or icon for social media and mobile app purposes only.

It’s Memorable

Memorable logos suit a company’s brand, resonate with its target audience and make a simple statement. They are also unique and distinctive enough to stand out among the clutter of thousands of other corporate identities. A company can do all it can to promote its logo, but the true test lies with the end-consumer. Do they accept it? Will they treasure it? If so, you may have a winner.

If you need help with your corporate identity, contact GREENCREST.