Posts Tagged ‘brands’

Consumers Matter

Monday, November 7th, 2011
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This just in – your customers matter. Sounds like a no-brainer. Sounds like a topic not really worthy of discussion. Everyone knows it. What more needs to be said? As simple as this concept sounds, it seems that some businesses aren’t heeding the advice. Consumers are angry over increased fees, changes in services, changes in the business model, changes with products… you name it. When consumers feel slighted, they immediately take to the Internet to voice their opinions. Unless businesses address these concerns, they can quickly become mired in a very sticky PR situation.

All one needs to do to see the effect of this consumer backlash is to look at Netflix, who quickly ditched their plans to spin off their DVD service into a separate company called Qwikster. Or consider the uproar that Bank of America caused when they decided to start charging customers a monthly fee for using their debit cards. According to this article from USA Today, they too have backed down in the face of public opinion and have decided not to charge a debit card fee. Conversely, consider how Domino’s Pizza responded to customer feedback in late 2009.

What does all this mean for marketers, advertisers, and PR professionals who work to build up brands?

  • Decisions must be weighed carefully. Don’t rush into any decisions regarding marketing/advertising strategies unless you have done your homework and thoroughly understand your ideal consumer; his/her opinions, buying habits, likes/dislikes, etc.
  • Don’t underestimate your consumer. With social media at their disposal, customers have a very loud voice and can stir up support for their cause quickly at the grassroots level.
  • Difficulty awaits those who find themselves trying to rebuild trust among their consumer base. There are two items to note from the USA Today article referenced earlier. One is a quote from famed PR guru Howard Rubenstein, who said, “Every company is now sitting on electronic quicksand. It may look like solid ground, but one wrong move and you’re up to your chin.” The second is a statistic released from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The study states that “some $58 billion in transactions may be at risk from Americans who had a problem with a product or service purchased in the last year.”

Businesses can’t afford to aim wildly with their marketing, advertising, or PR decisions and just throw something at the wall to see what sticks. A company’s reputation (and its bottom line) is at stake. Well-crafted, well-executed, and well-targeted messages will always work best. Be communicative. Be consistent with who you are as a company. And remember who matters the most.

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Red Fox Media – Lessons Learned From Cattle

Friday, August 6th, 2010
Cow (Swiss Braunvieh breed), below Fuorcla Ses...
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This is probably how it happened: Thousands of years ago some cattle owners were watching their cows graze in the fields when suddenly, cows from another herd wandered over and got mixed up with all the other cows. Confusion and chaos soon followed, because the cattle owners had no way of differentiating one cow from another. All the cows looked similar. No single cow stood out from the herd. In an effort to alleviate this problem, one wise individual decided that the best course of action would be to mark his cows in some distinctive way. Thus, the tradition of branding livestock was born.

Is it any wonder that we use the same word (brand) to refer to a company’s identity as well as the burn mark on the backside of a cow? If you are involved in marketing. there are some important lessons to be learned from the process of cattle branding.

  1. THE BRAND MUST BE UNIQUE. Sure, the letter “T” or “X” could be used as a mark to brand cattle, but it wouldn’t be very distinctive. It would be easy for other cattle owners to copy your brand, mark their own cattle with it, and then claim your cows as their very own. Livestock owners understand that in selecting their brand, they must find something different; something no one else has; something meaningful; something that is reflective of themselves in someway. Is your company identity something distinctive? Does your brand stand out from the others? Or is it easily copied?
  2. THE BRAND INDICATES OWNERSHIP. The reason why a rancher brands his livestock is so that others will know to whom that animal belongs. All anyone has to do in order to determine ownership is to look at that symbol. When you build up a brand, your company takes ownership. The executives, administrators, sales people, customer support staff, etc. are all part owners. When the public sees your company’s brand, do they know immediately who owns it? Are you building a brand with great visibility?
  3. THE BRAND IS PERMANENT. Once that brand is burned onto the livestock’s skin, it’s there to stay. It’s a permanent symbol defining ownership. Remember, that once the public develops a certain attitude or position toward your company, that brand may be hard to change. Your brand is your company’s identity. It defines who you are, and often, it is defined by how people perceive you. What are you doing to help increase positive perception toward your brand?
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It’s Okay to Make a Bad Video

Thursday, March 25th, 2010
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DishyMix is a podcast in which host Susan Bratton interviews well-known media, internet, and marketing executives. The goal is to provide listeners with insights on how to better market themselves and their brands by taking advantage of the philosophies and tools provided by Susan and her guests.

I was listening to episode 137 recently (follow the link to listen or to read the full transcript) and heard a comment that caught my attention. In the episode, Susan interviews Jim Kukral, a speaker, author, consultant, coach on all things business and marketing. He was on the show to promote his book, Attention, This Book Will Make You Money. Read the following segment of the transcript where Jim talks about the topic of motivation (emphasis added):

Jim Kukral: Motivation; well, you know, I’m kind of a different perspective guy. I know that there’s a lot of people who will tell you to go out and do step by step by step stuff, and I’m a big believer in you just have to go out and try and really fail. You really got to go out and fail. And it’s more important than ever in the internet business, is going out and failing as many times as you possibly can.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, fail and optimize, right?

Jim Kukral: Yeah. I mean there’s so much forgiveness out there right now, you know, in the internet marketing space. YouTube, I’ll give you YouTube for example. I mean YouTube has transformed the way that we are okay with videos now. Before YouTube came along everyone had, you thought you had to have this really nice pre-produced, you know, post production video that was very beautiful. Now it’s kind of like, you look at videos like that you’re kind of like “Ugh.”

Susan Bratton: It’s inauthentic now.

Jim Kukral: It is. And, you know, so it’s okay to make poor quality video now. It’s okay to go out and build a website or a blog or do something that’s not completely perfect, and this economy and everything that we’re, the technology that’s coming out is allowing people to be able to go out there and put stuff out there. So if you want to get motivated you got to go out there and actually just really try it.

In its full context, Jim is advocating that entrepreneurs, inventors, small business owners, etc. not be afraid to step out and take risks; that it’s important to try, even if it doesn’t come out quite right; even if it isn’t perfect. He then goes on to say that it’s acceptable to create a poor quality video in today’s market, because it translates into “authenticity.”

So, I’m going to leave this one open for discussion. I would love to hear your thoughts. Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you agree or disagree with Jim’s assessment?
  • Do you feel that it’s okay for a business to create a poor quality marketing video?
  • When you see a brand with a poor quality video, what is your immediate reaction?
  • Should companies start creating lesser quality videos because it makes them look more authentic?
  • What does this mean long-term for video producers?
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Public Parc: E-Consultancy

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Our free e-newsletter is distributed every first Monday of the month. Included in each issue is the “Public Parc,” a forum for discussing different topics pertaining to sales, marketing, advertising, and branding. Subscribers to the newsletter and readers of the blog are encouraged to get involved in the discussion by posting their comments here. You can also post your thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #PublicParc. Here is this month’s Public Parc discussion:

In this month’s issue we posted an article about E-Consultancy, a company who decided to put a live Twitter feed on their home page to see what people are saying about their brand. Comments are not filtered and may reflect positively or negatively on E-Consultancy. Do you feel that this decision was good or bad for the E-Consultancy brand?

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A Springboard For Producing Online Videos

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The number of companies using online video to enhance their brands is increasing everyday. Video is now a marketing necessity, but like any marketing tool, the decision to produce an online video series for your company requires strategy and planning. Online videos take on a variety of formats, genres, and visual styles. The decision to use one style over another will have a significant impact on the public’s perception of your business. So, where do you start?

  1. Look for what you like. Spend time watching online videos to see what other people are doing. What formats do you like? What inspiration can you draw for your own business? Make some notes. Save the links.
  2. Formulate a Goal. What’s the purpose of this series? Do you want to blast it on a number of different video hosting sites to create a viral sensation? Should it be more targeted? Should the series simply live on your own website, complimenting material already written? Your specific goal will help you narrow your focus and will aid in selecting a specific format.
  3. Think Thematically. A video series needs to have consistency and continuity throughout all episodes. This will only serve to solidify your brand and your message. Take a look at what Shredded Wheat is doing with their “Progress is Overrated” campaign. The series has a simple concept, but it goes against the grain of what’s expected. And the message is presented with a strong sense of dry humor.

Like any other venture, producing successful online videos require research, planning, and execution. And when done right, those videos will create greater public awareness for your brand.

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