It’s been a month since the New Year, just enough time for most people to forget about their resolutions. You may laugh, but it’s true.
So, how can you ensure that your brand stays relevant and remain top of mind after thrill is gone? Enter, the hashtag! Hashtags have become an immensely popular and effective way to communicate and find content on social media.
That’s right! What used to be a punctuation mark or a numeric symbol on the keyboard has now evolved into a metadata tag. The idea was proposed by Chris Messina in a tweet back in 2007 and since then, it has gained so much traction that the word hashtag was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014. Millennials, politicians and celebrities use it. Do we need another reason to capitalize on it?
A great hashtag is one of the most powerful tools you can use to market your business through social channels. Events, Twitter profiles, trending topics, marketing campaigns and more can be covered by a single hashtag, across the web. With the right hashtag, you can connect with your audience easily, get discovered by new prospects, track and curate what people are posting about your brand. Every time someone uses a hashtag tied to your brand, they spread your message to their own followers. Cool, right!
If you’re still at a loss as to where and how to use hashtags, here are 4 essential tips that will help to inexpensively increase your mindshare on socials.
Research, Research, Research!
Long and complicated hashtags are a turn-off and in a blink of an eye, you’ll lose your audience. On the other hand, even the shortest hashtag can give way to misinterpretations and the whole thing can go south, as in the case of Burger King (BK) and its obliviously launched #WTFF campaign. The fast food chain suffered a backlash in the form of mocking tweets and memes, with the launch of their lower-fat French fry, using the hashtag #WTFF (What The French Fry). Careful research prior to the launch would have warned BK that the hashtag is commonly used to express profanity, and likely to backfire, especially in terms of marketing and promotion spend.
When it comes to hashtags, you need to plan ahead – research, research, research! Before you choose a hashtag for your campaign, you need to know what’s popular with your audience – what are they interested in and why? Find out what is relevant to your brand, what social influencers are saying, and also what the trending content is in terms of adding value to your business. The hashtag you create must resonate with your audience. It must be clear enough for them to identify with quickly, and easily draw a positive reference to – from something they hear or see in their daily lives.
The Right Channel
Be mindful of the platform that you’re running your campaign on, so that you can tailor your content accordingly. Linking it across platforms is great but what works for one may not work well with another.
The #MeToo campaign, for example, worked very well on social platforms, but had greater success via Twitter. Women who were abused and harassed felt empowered to stand up and speak up about the abuse, galvanized by the hashtag. Twitter allowed the victims to share their stories virally, while at the same time, respecting their privacy. The #MeToo hashtag caught on quickly and sparked a global movement and call for change and protection from abuse, not only for women but for men too.
Meanwhile, you can say that the fashion industry has it easy when it comes to social media campaigns, and Instagram is most effective. With a series of hashtags, they can tap on social influencers and mobile-savvy customers – and reel them in with targeted hashtags, images and videos, pertaining to trends, new collections, stores nearby, as well as other interesting fashion titbits.
Call to Action
Don’t just focus on promos – focus on organic reach. Work towards engagement with your audience through a call to action, such as encouraging them to tweet or post their own pictures using the hashtag you created. A great example is Disney’s viral campaign, in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish foundation that got people to share their photos, complete with Mickey Mouse ears with the hashtag #ShareYourEars on Instagram.
Likewise, Calvin Klein encourages shoppers to post in Calvin Klein undergarments with the hashtag #MyCalvins.
Strike a Chord
The most successful hashtag campaigns do not solely focus on marketing the brands; rather, they seek to strike a chord with their audience. As in the case of Disney’s #ShareYourEars campaign, the charitable nature of donating $5 for each user post to the Make-A-Wish foundation, contributed to the campaign’s virality and ultimately Disney’s reputation as a socially responsible brand.
By incorporating a social message in your hashtag campaign, it not only helps to create a positive brand image, it also repurposes your message to a wider audience. Another example of a brand that does it right is Always, a feminine care product brand that made its entire social media marketing about empowering women, primarily through its #LikeAGirl campaign launched in 2014.
When it comes to social media marketing, your hashtags are the key to your SEO and visibility of your content, and can be an essential component to building brand awareness across platforms. If used wisely and correctly, your business is bound to see an uptake in customer engagement and sales.
Posted by Brintha Shree, CorpMedia
Hello, 2019! The smell of fresh beginnings is in the air. How will the lessons learnt (or not) in 2018 prepare you for the new year ahead?
Whatever the case may be, don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Now is the best time to plant new seeds and trim the weeds – put your best foot forward and strut into 2019 with confidence, armed with communication skills that won’t go out of style! What does the future hold for those of us in the creative communications business, and clients looking to engage with their customers to increase their brand and product visibility?
Let’s look at what’s trending.
1. Videos Rule
Videos saturated by over-the-top special effects will only lapse in users’ memory over time. Authenticity calls the shots, and unique brand content will translate into unforgettable experience for users. Albeit a product demonstration, launch, promotion (and the list goes on), videos are the best medium to elicit an emotional response.
Keep your eyes on live videos. The short-lived and spontaneous nature appeal to Facebook and Instagram users, while portraying your brand as current, relatable and fun. This video format is so popular, you receive a notification every time followers go ‘live’. For brands that are youth-centric, live videos are the best way to reel in digital-savvy prospects.
2. Instagram TV
The network reached one billion monthly active users in 2018. Its highly interactive community, visual-rich nature and tremendous following continue to put Instagram at the top. Instagram is becoming very appealing to TV viewers. Content creators are producing hour-long videos on Instagram TV (IGTV), as with IGTV, there are now more opportunities to connect with your fan base on a deeper level. The vertical video format exclusive to IGTV ensures mobile phone optimization and eliminates the hassle of tilting your screens.
Renowned brands are already on board. Nike shared a clip of megastar, Cristiano Ronaldo for the World Cup campaign while Louis Vuitton showed off the Men’s Spring Summer 2019 runway look on a 12-minute long video. Users who tune in to West Elm’s IGTV received interior design tips through the “Pillows 101” and “Living in 100 Square Feet” visual aids. While entertaining, the videos are also educational and provide real value to design enthusiasts.
Though, not all brands use IGTV for serious product placements. Netflix wittily posted a video of popular Riverdale star, Cole Sprouse chowing down a cheeseburger for a straight hour. The eccentricity isn’t lost on viewers, and the video garnered more than a million views from curious web surfers. IGTV allows brands to experiment on content creation and think outside the box for ways to present itself.
3. Chatbot Conversation
Chatbots are the express lane to real-time responses. Though chatbots were previously integrated into Facebook Messenger, Slack and Skype, users can now expect quicker and personalized solutions, even on native mobile applications. The awkward human-robot interaction won’t fool eagle-eyed consumers, but these chatbots will get more intelligent after every user interaction. Its rising prevalence in customer support, hotel bookings, and routine tasks like weather reports, show how these web crawlers are steadily gaining momentum.
In the digital age where social media never sleeps, chatbots render immediate assistance so brands can spend time on other pressing demands. The round-the-clock, two-way conversation with a chatbot is also easy to install. If you’re looking to own your own chatbot at work, check out HubSpot, Chatfuel and Botsify.
4. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is often associated with the foreboding of the robot domination. But, hear us out. AR offers the ultimate customer experience through the blending of interactive digital elements. From sensory projections, stellar visual overlays to immersive backyard action, the technology brings the digital world into ours. The mixed reality spectrum is seen in IKEA’s Virtual Reality Kitchen, designed for e-commerce shoppers to get a first-touch experience on customizable kitchens and the autonomy to alter furniture to their liking.
Cadbury, too, cooked up a storm by bringing festive celebrations to life with the Advent Heroes campaign. The company distributed exclusive Holiday Heroes calendars with an AR application. Chocolate-lovers viewed specific dates on the calendar through the application each day and took holiday-centric selfies with Cadbury chocolates and candies. The unique manner of interaction with consumers shows an alternative method to product promotion – without coming off as “oversell.”
5. Stay Audience-centric
User-generated content is the rage these days. It’s as simple as brands encouraging followers to snap a photo and tagging the brand’s chosen hashtag or releasing a campaign to highlight the common user’s experience with your product.
The action camera brand, GoPro has over 5000 videos posts daily from users sharing their cliff diving, skydiving and other wild experiences, using the #GoPro hashtag. GoPro is making a conscientious effort to inspire wanderlust as travellers tick items off their bucket list. The real-life adventures are more authentic and appealing, as compared to gimmicky attempts by brands that boast megapixels and water-resistance features.
Make the most of live videos streaming on your company’s webpage or social media sites for product demonstrations, exciting announcements or latest updates. Use the power of the web to cement the foundation between your brand and customers. At the same time, take a minute to engage with consumers and make them feel valued by responding to queries and showing appreciation for heart-warming compliments and insightful suggestions.
6. Get Personal
A search for gorgeous Moroccan lamps on Google magically transpired into sponsored posts from lighting companies on Instagram. That’s no magic – personalization integrates various social media platforms together, leaving users spoilt for choice, no matter the site they’re logged to.
Personalization allows users to connect closely with your brand, potentially translating into conversions and customer loyalty. Mailchimp’s personalization toolkit helps to disseminate content that matters, make your emails sound like an actual conversation with customers, predict users’ demographics and even send your emails based on buyers’ time zones. Your brand can also utilize Facebook Dynamic Product Ads for a bulls-eye hit on targeting users with relevant ads.
Lexus launched the Beyond Utility campaign that featured everyday items alongside their luxurious counterparts. Depending on the audience’ demographics and interests, users can watch differing variations of the video. For instance, music fans are shown an ordinary headset next to a more extravagant piece. The message is clear: Lexus desires both practicality and style for customers, and utility alone won’t cut it.
7. Social Messaging
The trendsetter in the messaging industry, WhatsApp has more than 1.5 billion users globally. Brands leverage on the WhatsApp Business platform to interact with customers on Android mobiles. The application assists with organization, segmentation of new prospects and returning customers, and facilitates the communication flow between your brand and users. The conversation-encrypted chats, two-way conversation style and instantaneous replies are great advantages of this service. While WhatsApp Business isn’t deep-rooted in every brand’s marketing campaign yet, the potential for mobile marketing bears some fruit. Like Snapchat Stories, WhatsApp may potentially run advertisements through WhatsApp Status as early as this year.
As much as you wish to be available 24/7 to interact with customers, let users know when to get in touch and don’t leave them ‘on read’. It may smear your brand’s good name and while blue-ticks don’t usually come at a price, you run the risk of being charged for slow response after a 24-hour period on WhatsApp Business.
The rest of the year will fall into place if you get the beginning right. The power is in your hands to navigate your brand in the best way forward.
From all of us at CorpMedia, here’s wishing you a fantastic year ahead!
Posted by Nur Farzana, CorpMedia
You don’t have to be cool to rule the (virtual) world. Brands are no longer hiding in cocoons, relying on heavyweight publishers for sponsored content. They’ve evolved into social butterflies on the digital sphere.
Granted, not every brand knows how to maximise Instagram to its fullest potential. Some see no wrong in whiplash colours and unrelated captions – the perfect trigger to a swipe (away). But you and your growing brand will have to do it right. We’ll help you out.
1. Find your voice
Don’t be afraid to let your feed do the talking. A picture is worth a thousand words, no? Your Instagram account is your brand’s voice. A strong identity sets you apart from the rest, but your brand can only shine when it knows itself. Think of the values your company stands by, and translate that into a visual force.
Take Starbucks for instance. Their Witch’s Brew Frappuccino is another magical concoction to join their out-of-this-world selection.
Starbucks’ recipe for success is simple. Their Instagram page shows a seamless integration around their cup of joe-from pictures of house coffees, and festive-themed caffeine to the newest additions.
2. Be consistent – it’s a strategy
This should be your brand’s middle name. Build a cohesive brand theme with colours, filters and aesthetic designs that are in sync. Ensure your photos are sized well (1080px by 1080px), so your feed won’t resemble a stock of mismatched crops. Learn from Pinkberry and their messy use of a filter, turning their berry yogurt into a chameleon instead.
From one dairy name to another, Ben & Jerry’s is making their Instagram page all about their delicious pints. Like them, be consistent with your branding, and don’t post the same picture thrice in a row. Spruce things up with creative ideas and don’t let others wonder why you’re on their timeline.
If your company is promoting a new product, make things easy on the eye by capturing shots against diverse backgrounds or adding related pictures such as a consumer trying out your item. It helps to remember to whom you’re posting for too.
3. Schedule posts in good time
There’s no hard and fast rule on the best timing, so test your posts at different intervals of the day. Our pro tip is to use Iconosquare to view posts’ statistics and keep track of the time your target market is most active. Even if you’re posting fantastic content, it’ll be water under the bridge if no one sees it.
Sporadic posting habits make your followers forget you. Over-posting will annoy them. Find a strategic balance, and a good suggestion is to have an editorial calendar to set specific schedules.
Think of your postings as a diet plan: Don’t be over-ambitious and commit more than you can chew, or take too many ‘chill pills’ and post only once a year. People will wonder if you’re still in business! The average brand posts, according to a Union Metrics study, is 1.5 times every day – a realistic goal for most.
4. Create Instagram Stories that work
Publicise giveaways, contests and timely deals on Instagram Stories, with a call-to-action for consumers to click on instantly. With their latest “swipe up” feature, it has never been this easy for brands to direct audience straight to their content.
Bringing your followers behind-the-scenes is like dangling the metaphoric carrot, holding their attention, in anticipation of the actual release. Take a page from H&M and their Conscious Collection, giving avid fans an inside scoop on the materials used in their environmental-friendly initiative, and keeping them on their toes about the upcoming release.
Travel application site Hopper, for example, uses Instagram Stories to offer massive flight discounts for your next holiday.
Whatever your motive -cheap thrills or sneak peeks- an Instagram Story is fluid and purposeful, all while aligning with your brand’s image. It’s not called a “story” for no reason!
5. Your followers matter
Not to sound superficial, but who your brand follows speak volumes. Following a charitable cause have others believe your brand is ethical, whether or not it holds true. Of course, it’s a given to check out accounts that are relevant to your brand.
That doesn’t mean you should go on a follow spree and add random pages, especially when your followers are half the size of theirs. It seems egoistic, but let followers come to you instead. Focus on building real relationships and let others share your content for you.
The ‘like for like’ favour doesn’t work here. Think of the number as a nice compliment, but genuine engagement with your supporters eventually takes precedence. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.
6. Just have fun
This seems contradictory to everything on the list. But the moment you view Instagram as a profit-making tool, you’ll lose out. While these guidelines may pivot into a powerful branding strategy, remember – when you start thinking “This seems fun”, others will too. Get inspired and start posting. Your visual diary is your brand.
Posted by Nur Farzana, CorpMedia
“Event marketing is an extension of your content marketing. That’s the backbone to a really successful event.” – Stefanie Grieser, strategic marketing professional and author.
Building a successful event requires a strong community that is connected and engaged, ready to lend its support and help your event grow. To nurture an event community, purposeful and timely communication is necessary. We share a few tips to help you prepare for your big event!
Expand Your Online Presence
When hosting an event, be sure to harness the power of social media. In this digital age, being visible online is a huge plus. Bring your event online by announcing and promoting it regularly via email blasts and on social media platforms. Having a strong online presence plays to your advantage. Use social media to share regular updates and the latest news regarding the event so as to build excitement around your event.
During the event, utilize the power of real-time marketing and post updates when you can. These updates could include pictures and videos on your social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Once the event is over, craft a post-event note (a brief on the event or thank you message) and post this on the various channels linked to your company website. If your event is an educational one (i.e. a conference, workshop or seminar), you can also think about hosting a webinar as a follow-up to the meeting.
Word of Mouth
For any event to stand out, you need to offer something compelling enough to spark and sustain conversations. This will further promote brand awareness and build a larger following behind your event. It could be anything from highlighting a reputable keynote speaker, or the announcement of special awards to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions to the industry. These can be huge draw factors that your intended audience wouldn’t want to miss out on. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool!
Make It Interactive
An event is an interactive ground that brings like-minded individuals together to share ideas and experiences. Include programs or activities to set your event apart and actively engage your audience. Customized gifts lend that personal touch but more importantly, they capture the mindshare of your audience. Rather than a generic event T-shirt or cap, how about portable battery banks imprinted with your company logo? These mementos are not only practical, but also spread awareness beyond the event.
When It Ends
Be sure to send out thank you emails and post-event surveys and feedback forms within a day of your event’s conclusion – when everyone’s memory is fresh and you’re likely to receive the most accurate feedback possible. Input from participants will help in future program planning.
Also take some time to gather all the points discussed during the conference and notable quotes from speakers and release a post-event report. You should not miss out on your major call to action, with the opportunity to get people to pre-register for upcoming events.
Stay in Touch
Do stay in touch with your community. Update them on future activities and other news of interest (but avoid spamming!). Remain visible on social media just so participants can check in and remain in the loop.
On Social Media: Post weekly industry-related news updates on Twitter to engage with your community online. One way to increase your following is to use high-volume hashtags that are relatable to your target groups. You should plan the best time slots to post your updates for maximum visibility and pick-up. Use fewer words and more visuals to capture your audience’s attention.
Monthly Blogs: This could be a more in-depth, monthly blog post summarizing the state of the industry or new developments impacting the industry. Post interviews with industry experts and publish views on your website to gain credibility and promote thought-leadership within the industry.
Last but not least, “Think Big, Think SEO”. Choose your keywords carefully and wisely and include these on all your posts, urls, etc. – any way you can, and your event will stay on top!
Posted by Chloe Tan, CorpMedia
When facing challenges presented by the current economic context, the response of the companies with a certain degree of resilience was swift. They adapted their strategic positioning and searched for opportunities abroad.
Proof of this tendency to conduct business outside in order to balance deficiencies encountered in one’s own market can be found, for example, in the values for Portuguese exports of goods and services in 2013, which surpassed national and international forecasts.
The role of marketing in this evolution plays a key role when one considers the necessity for creating a reputation that acts as an element of contact between one organization and its key audience.
It is this vital character of the concept of reputation, more than simply talking about brands, which we should focus on, with the objective of maintaining an effective positioning when facing those we consider as our target audience and partners in the implementation of a successful strategy.
As a differentiating asset in a market with goods and services sharing identical characteristics, an organization’s reputation becomes the reason for being the preferred choice among consumers, for projects being approved and for renewed notoriety. For companies searching for new opportunities, reputation becomes an assurance factor enabling them to develop a profitable commercial strategy and implement projects in an agile and effective way.
It has become imperative to develop the image we present to those outside the organization. Despite the critical factor of the solutions we offer, transforming them into a link to an idealized communication guarantees that these acquire a double role.
This shift in attention from branding, the logo and the image means relegating support role elements that do not have a direct influence in creating an objective and clear reputation. With clearly defined positioning, the next step becomes one of consolidating a certainty in the mind of the consumer: a brand is a promise. Answering adequately to market expectations in what regards this promise is a fundamental condition necessary to create an idea of reputation within our audience.
More than ever we need to think in the long run, focusing on resilience and on our link with the market. Here, the value that reputation acquires is highlighted as a crucial element in a wider communication strategy, with the objective of transforming the organization into a recognized and readily accepted brand by its targeted audience.
Guest Blog by Marta Gonçalves, Managing Partner, Say U Consulting and member of the Evoke PR Network.
1 June 2018 | Categories: Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, What is Public Relations? | Tags: Brand Authenticity, Brand Management, Brand Reputation, branding, Communications | Leave a comment
In this age of faceless interactions and digital transactions, is it any wonder that we keep yearning for something real, something genuine? In the world of marketing, when it comes to choosing brands, it’s no longer just about a service or product – it’s all about that authentic, personal experience that we seek.
Yet, authenticity is a word that is bandied about, often too casually. What does it really mean? And how can companies be convincingly genuine and transparent?
Findings in the Journal of Business Research distil this fuzzy concept into three attributes that consumers value most: heritage, sincerity and dedication to quality. While the third component is straightforward enough, businesses tend to flounder when it comes to delivering sincere messages or incorporating roots into their core values or vision.
At a time when transparency scandals seem to dominate headlines, and clarity and commitment are at a premium, successful brands stay ahead by being open and honest, displaying empathy, and fostering meaningful relationships with consumers across varied platforms.
Under the Right Influence(r)s
The prevalence of social media makes it easy for consumers to quickly obtain information and form opinions on brands. More and more partnerships also occur on these channels, with brands investing in influential individuals to promote their offerings.
While this marketing strategy isn’t new, astute brands increasingly seek authentic collaborations that maximise their credibility. Micro-influencers, in particular, have become favoured brand ambassadors on social media. Businesses find value in their smaller follower count (ranging from 500 to 10,000), and their closer relationships to their tight, niche communities of committed followers. For companies, this means better engagement with hyper-targeted audiences through a trusted individual.
When businesses successfully align themselves with influencers that are genuine fans of their brand, they benefit from authentic recommendations, increase their presence online (sans the hard selling!), and build a consumer base by conversing with the people who really matter to them.
Your Magic Affinity
Today, more than ever, consumers are inclined to put their money where their heart is, supporting brands with which they share common values. In the polarised climate we live in, remaining silent on larger social, political or cultural issues is difficult (and perhaps, even inadvisable).
Social responsibility continues to gain momentum as companies look to connect with conscious consumers on an emotional level. Taking up a meaningful cause not only sets businesses apart, it also helps to establish credibility and trust through positive associations with the brand.
But wanting to do good can sometimes go wrong – when businesses appear less than informed about the causes they support, they can come across as tone-deaf or inauthentic. To ensure legitimacy and resonance, companies have to understand the issue and their relationship to it. Ideally, consumers should be able to draw connections (almost immediately) between the issue and the company’s core beliefs or vision.
Stand for issues that make most sense to your brand. When your social causes are communicated effectively and sincerely, you nurture brand affinity, build a community around your brand, and are likely to retain loyal customers for longer.
Transparency is the New Currency
Open and honest communications are key to building trust and ultimately, brand loyalty. Consumers appreciate being given insight into the processes that take place before their purchase, and continued efforts to keep them informed. By educating consumers and being visible in their operations, companies demonstrate their genuine commitment to the customer.
One great example is Mars’ announcement to distinguish food products into “everyday” and “occasional” items on their packs and website, as part of an initiative to promote healthier food choices. While the move was deemed unusual, it nevertheless communicated Mars’ sense of responsibility to its consumers.
In times of crisis, honesty and authenticity become even more crucial as consumers want to be assured that problems are being addressed ethically and transparently. Rapid, informative responses, regular updates across all platforms, and sincere acknowledgement of mistakes (and a clear willingness to learn from them) will help alleviate fears, restore confidence, and show a commitment to upholding the trust the company has built.
Once embedded into a brand’s culture, operations, and mission, authenticity can positively influence customer experience and perception – and this will pay huge dividends in the long run.
Posted by Rahimah Amin, CorpMedia
Lead generation has become a key focal point for B2B enterprises looking to make the most out of their marketing efforts with measurable results.
While lead generation is an exercise measured with relative ease from a quantitative perspective, its ability to drive business results is largely dependent on the quality of the audience created. As such, companies are being forced to look beyond metrics to support their initiatives. For most businesses, regardless of the industry or products and services being offered, lead generation is a critical component of a successful sales and marketing strategy. But not every business understands the difference between lead generation and lead nurturing, and the importance of implementing both tactics into their overall sales process.
You can generate leads in every which way you choose but it’s no guarantee to increasing sales. You need to stay close with those leads, and nurture them until they’re ready to buy. You have to constantly remind you’re better than the competition.
Public Relations (PR) is a fundamental, nurturing element in the quest for quality leads because it offers reputational leverage and credibility that differentiate businesses from their competitors. From creating content for case studies and blogs, to testimonials and thought leadership pieces, these tactics not only serve as the key to differentiating factors in B2B decision-making but also help improve relationships – keeping you at top of mind with your clients and prospects.
By forming a strong relationship with each of your potential customers, and by nurturing that relationship through various forms of consistent communication through PR efforts, this allows you to deploy the tactics and techniques from your sales playbook to nudge them closer to a paying customer.
Build Reputation and Credibility
When it comes to generating qualified B2B leads, your company’s reputation is a huge deal for business prospects. After all, it is the face of the business. It takes time and effort to build a reputation, but if not managed properly, your company’s reputation can disintegrate quickly like a house of cards. So, take the time to analyze your current state of affairs – make it a point to read online reviews, search engine results, blogs and other websites related to your business. You also need to monitor your reputation closely. Have someone check out the different channels for information regarding your business; respond to negative reviews and complaints quickly; and always strive to improve the level of your customer service.
Be a Thought Leader
For a business to remain relevant in an ever-shifting business environment, it’s important to demonstrate expertise and foresight in the field. By regularly publishing content on platforms like blogs and through media outlets, businesses are able to critically differentiate themselves from the competition. Through social media platforms like LinkedIn, self-publishing blogs, articles and e-books, businesses can establish thought leadership within the industry, creating recognizable spokespersons with whom customers and partners can relate to. This way, you become the expert resource that everyone runs to. Yes, especially the media!
Create Compelling Content
In an over-saturated, highly competitive media market, it takes more than a press release to catch the eye of journalists. These days, some companies are doing away with press releases, opting instead to create their own content, such as informative articles on topics related to a company’s business, to engage their audiences, and hopefully create new business opportunities. These self-written pieces are uploaded to corporate websites and shared via social media channels, and can also be repurposed for sales brochures and other marketing collaterals. That is not to say press releases are obsolete – it’s just that they’ve evolved! The key to using press releases effectively is to focus them on newsworthy events that should be used where appropriate, and as part of a wider media strategy that includes extensive digital outreach.
Amplify and Glorify
Make sure that you get as much mileage from every mention as you can. Republish, link to and print news stories that include your company and post these on your website, marketing materials and on the various social media channels. Customer testimonials are a great way to fire up the grill! What can be more persuasive than customers talking about how your product or service helped their business? Talk to your best customers; ask them if they’re willing to say some nice things about your company or product. More than words, a video testimonial will make the message even more impactful!
Nurturing leads to a sale takes time. It is not done in a month or even half a year. It requires dedication, cooperation and lots of hard work. While many companies give up on customers by the second exposure, others have seen a great return on their investment through lead nurturing. It’s a simple but effective way to communicate with your customers and guide them through the purchasing cycle.
Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, CorpMedia
Imagine a world without marketing. Brands would cease to exist, and the economy would probably collapse in no time. The world would be completely different.
Businesses today all speak marketing.
It’s all about developing brand awareness and utilizing different marketing channels to disseminate information to the public. With the advent of the Internet, digital marketing has shaped the marketing world greatly.
But real-time marketing is the new game changer.
What truly sets it apart from the rest is that it is opportunistic – marketers seize the opportunity to generate content that ties the brand to the latest trending topic of relevance, ensuring that it is not only pertinent, but felicitous too.
The tastes and preferences of consumers constantly change as well. The marketing industry is obsessed with the now, and consumers these days seek instant gratification, placing pressure on brands to be more forthcoming and transparent than they have ever been.
As real-time marketing continues to grow, brands are also keeping up with the trends by engaging the public with shareable, bite-sized content.
Leveraging the love for cheese fries amongst consumers, McDonald’s stepped up their French fries game with the launch of its Cheesy Loaded Fries just last December. Featuring its all-time favourite golden and crisp fries, topped with chicken bacon bits and drenched with nacho cheese and sour cream sauce, this limited edition side had garnered much hype.
But, alas, dissatisfaction overwhelmed fry lovers who flocked to various chain outlets with great anticipation for the Cheesy Loaded Fries, and when the dish did not resemble anything as advertised, they vented their cheese-deprived anger on the fast food chain’s Facebook page.
While McDonald’s expressed sincerity and was swift in responding to the complaints regarding the disparity between the advertised Cheesy Loaded Fries and its actual presentation, their efforts were evidently not adequate to satisfy cheesed off customers!
Oops. Shots fired.
Instead of Cheesy Loaded Fries, all they got was Fully Loaded Disappointment… perhaps, with a miserable drizzle of cheese?
In light of this big hoo-ha, KFC Singapore cleverly turned the tables around as they identified this situation as a marketing opportunity and jumped on it to produce a timely and relevant piece of content, gaining both acknowledgement and commendation from the public.
KFC simultaneously introduced its new, improved cheese fries as “the real deal” using the hashtag #KFCRealCheeseFries. Indeed, what a timely post to remind Singaporeans why they love KFC’s cheese fries!
Now that’s what you call real-time marketing.
Social media real-time marketing can make or break a brand. For KFC, it evidently made the brand, but it was clearly the contrary for McDonald’s. Another case in point: Cheerios.
When music legend Prince passed away in April 2016, Cheerios responded by tweeting a purple “Rest in peace” sign, replacing the dot above the letter ‘i’ with a cheerio, and tagging the tweet with the hashtag #prince.
What started out purely as an innocent condolence message over the loss of an iconic musical legend in Minnesota on the part of Cheerios turned out to be a seemingly exploitative marketing gimmick in the eyes of the public, especially Twitter users.
Compared to McDonald’s and Cheerios’ fiasco, KFC proved how real-time marketing, when used brilliantly and appropriately, can make the brand.
Here’s why their strategy worked:
Consumers today care less for slow and disconnected experiences. Quick response time is a crucial factor they look out for in a brand. Brands should be able to respond to customers appropriately, by creating the right content that appeals to the right people, at the right time, and appropriately.
Context is equally important as content. Lacking in either one will not make the strategy work. In real-time marketing, brands often fail when they force themselves into conversations or trends that they have unfortunately little or no relevance in. What’s vital is to ensure your brand can be tied to what’s happening, with sensitivity and transparency. Failing which brands risk the wrath of the social media army!
Posted by Shermaine Sim, CorpMedia.
The end of the year marks a threshold and invites a pause for reflection. It’s a great time to take stock of the year behind and look ahead. For CorpMedia, it’s been quite a ride! New challenges, new opportunities, new clients, new friends – we feel very blessed to be able to help our clients with creative ways to communicate their brand(s) and grow their business – by simply doing what we love!
But enough about us! Now, it’s all about getting ready for a brand new year. For most of us in the business, it’s communications planning season! Before you hit the road, en route to the month-long festivities and merriment, here are some end-of-the-year tips to make sure your 2018 plan hits the mark – and we will keep this short!
Future-proof your strategies: The one thing to remember is that while your plan may not be broken, change is necessary to keep up with evolving trends. Revisit old competitors. Explore emerging channels. Consider new technologies. Evaluate your processes and performance. Even small shifts in your communications strategy can benefit your business in a big way.
Listen to social conversations: Social media offers easy access to people’s opinions and behaviour. By intently following what your ideal customers are talking about and who they are interacting with on social media, you can gather a plethora of knowledge, such as how they perceive your brand, what qualities they look for in products and services. Social listening allows you to go to the heart of the discussion to hear what people are saying and what they are thinking.
Target your audience: Knowing the audience that you intend to communicate with is important. You can communicate until you’re blue in the face, but if your message falls on deaf ears, you’re just wasting your time, energy and effort. Research your market regularly. Start with the question “Who is my company’s ideal customer?” Be realistic – your customer can’t be everyone.
The right messaging: Today’s customers are just not into “buying things.” They are buying into solutions, e.g. expert advice, knowledge, experience, guidance. Your messaging should reflect this mindset. Are you solving problems with what you’re selling? Are you satisfying your client’s needs? Focus on what differentiates your brand from the competition and you will increase engagement with prospects, strengthen relationships with existing customers, and improve market value.
Set realistic goals: Prioritise and hone in on the two to three goals that must be achieved in a year that will contribute to your business growth and success. Resist the pressure to list anything that is immaterial, cannot be realistically achieved or accomplished. Remember, reality trumps aspiration!
Once you’ve developed your “buyer personas” you can then build your communications plan with purpose and direction, knowing who your target audiences are and how to reach them. Not only will this make your plan an easy sell to your team, it will make the entirety of your year much simpler and successful. With your ideal buyer in mind, crafting content, monitoring social media, conducting media outreach and implementing other communications tactics is streamlined and results-oriented.
After all, that is the kind of value you need to deliver, right?
To sign off, the team at CorpMedia would like to thank you for your business and support. Go out and have fun and close the year with a big bang – you deserve to! And here’s wishing one and all a fantastic new year ahead!
Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, CorpMedia
Caricatures have often represented Generation Y as a cohort of contradictions – the millennial is plugged in, yet notoriously distracted; engaged, but mostly in the realm of social networks; self-involved, yet can be enthusiastic advocates of social causes.
These multiple stereotypes, while not adequate (or entirely wrong!), highlight the broad tendencies of a group that makes up over a quarter of the global population. Understanding Gen Y’s unique experiences not only allows companies to better market their brands to this powerful target group, but can also help build meaningful, long-lasting connections.
But first, who are the millennials, what fuels them and what habits do they share?
Born between 1980 and the mid-1990s, Gen Y was bred on a diet of technology and grew up in a culture dominated by change, which largely explains their adeptness at embracing everything new and exciting. Socially liberal, experimental, and incredibly tech-savvy, the millennial cohort values being engaged, staying in the loop and immersing themselves in exceptional experiences.
This group of consumers is already reshaping the economy with their purchasing power, preference and influence. So how can businesses and marketers capture the millennial imagination? Here are some tips:
The Digital Natives
With technology as the pulse, it comes as no surprise that Gen Y thrives on virtual transactions and digital communications. Comfortable with using social media to broadcast their concerns, foster connections and educate themselves on products and services, millennials see social channels as repositories of “wisdom”, connecting them to peer reviews and trusted endorsements while allowing them to share opinions before committing to any form of purchase.
To effectively reach out to millennials, brands have to meet them where they are – this means operating across a multitude of social platforms with dexterity. Businesses need to actively engage millennials by responding quickly to queries and posting feedback on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the like; regularly upload multimedia content that can be easily shared (short, captioned videos are best at hooking viewers!); and leverage user-generated content to build brand awareness and loyalty.
Given Gen Y’s affinity for technology and interactivity, a static digital presence is no longer sufficient. Marketing that optimises the word-of-mouth culture, exciting interfaces and visual languages, and mobile-friendly promotional media is key to capturing and sustaining the attention of millennials.
Provide the Ultimate Experience
While the generation that preceded them was more focused on living in preparation for the future, millennials are generally associated with living for the now. Gen Y favours spending money on experiences rather than material possessions. In their search for great experiences, millennials often forego some of the basic luxuries to get the most value out of their dollar.
Millennials’ spending habits have since given rise to the sharing economy, resulting in the growth of businesses like Airbnb, Grab and Uber. These companies, through their shared products and services, remove the burden of ownership, and simultaneously help users save on expenditures.
With information, reviews and cost comparisons at their fingertips, millennials are inclined to trawling online resources before deciding on products or services that promise incomparable experiences at the best prices. Brands can deliver special deals and product trials on social channels and apps to appeal to this consumer base. Events or offerings that seek the involvement of millennials will also make it easier for brands to resonate with this group.
Sell Your Purpose
Millennials are known to take up or advocate a plethora of social issues, and expect brands to do the same. Companies should look beyond marketing products that enhance lifestyles, but seek to connect with Gen Y on an emotional level. Millennials care about content that speaks to them, and if brands similarly promote values that they uphold. Immune to most traditional sales pitches (they’ve seen it all!), millennials are likely to use their buying power to support businesses that stand for more than their bottom line receives.
Above all, marketing messages have to be authentic. Many businesses have seen how a forced relationship with a cause or the lack of genuineness can backfire. Take a leaf out of Patagonia, TOMS and Heineken’s books – all great examples of brands that have successfully delivered impactful cause marketing campaigns.
Businesses have to first invest in understanding millennials before they can take advantage of their immense social clout. By directly addressing the millennial generation and recognising what they truly care about, brands will be able to spark a connection and effectively sustain consumer-centric conversations.
Posted by Rahimah Amin, PR Executive, CorpMedia