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Content Is King, But Brand Is Key

Content Is King, But Brand Is Key

Introduction 

As a Brand Consultant and a Brand Manager, I’d be lying if I said I don’t find the current social media landscape slightly unnerving at times.

While many brands out there are still committed to sharing their story with an authentic voice, some are caught up in what seems to be the daily grind for social exposure.
 
Some brands are showing true innovation with the new tools social media has given them while some have sidelined their story in favour of posting 10 or more reels a day and other brands are merely lost in the middle not sure what to do.
 

 

Why Brand Is Key When Creating Content 

 There are many reasons why Brand should be a key consideration when it comes to creating your content.

– A strong Brand helps you stand out in a noisy and crowed social landscape.

– A solid Brand helps keep your content consistent and gives it structure in which to follow.

– A clear Brand Strategy helps you build trust with your customers and employees.

– An engaging Brand gives your business and content a personality.

– An effective Brand gives your content an emotional spark which helps create a memorable impression with your audience.

 

5 Ways To EnSure Your Social Media Content Represents Your Brand  

There are many important things to remember in this current landscape.

Number 1 – Share Your Story

Share your Brand Story - Laura MacSweeny Brand & Marketing

The rules may have changed but the game hasn’t. Social media still presents a huge opportunity for you to share your story while building a loyal and engaged following.

 

Number 2- Don’t Loose Sight Of Your Audience 

Don't loose sight of your audience - Laura MacSweeny Brand & Marketing Next week there will be more new trends and more algorithms. It’s important to keep up to date but do not loose sight of your brand or the audience you are targeting.

 

Number 3 – Keep Your Brand Strategy In Mind 

Keep Your Brand Strategy in mind- Laura MacSweeny Brand and Marketing Don’t let the noise overwhelm you. Keep your overall brand strategy in mind. Build your content calendar around expressing things like your values and your vision and keep it focused on the things that are important to your brand.

 

Number 4- Remember Your Brand’s Personality

Remember your Brand's personality

When you are creating content, remember your brand’s tone of voice, its personality, its purpose. This will allow you to make sure your content stays consistent as well as relevant and reduce the need for content for the sake of content.

 

Number 5 – Be Innovative With Social Media Trends 

Be innovative with social media trends

Remember your brand is what makes you stand out from the crowd and what makes your business memorable. Have fun being innovative with the different social media trends to bring your brand’s unique selling points to life.

 

Conclusion

There are numerous ways to make sure your social media content represents your brand. Let me know what your thoughts and challenges are in relation to this topic and if you found this blog post helpful ?

The Benefits Of A Marketing Plan

The Benefits Of A Marketing Plan

Introduction 

The New Year is a fantastic time to set new intentions, visualise new goals and make new plans for the months ahead and as many businesses and marketers know, it’s a crucial time to devise your business’s marketing plan. 

What Is A Marketing Plan

A Marketing plan is a plan that details the strategy a business will use to market their products and services to their customers.

Benefits Of A Marketing Plan

A Marketing Plan provides a platform to grow and learn from.Provides A Platform To Grow And Learn From.

A marketing plan is an essential tool in creating and perfecting your brand’s winning marketing formula year on year. If used correctly, it’s an important process to go through to understand what works and what doesn’t.

A Marketing Plan shapes an understanding of who your business is.  Shapes An Understanding Of Who Your Business Is.

Are you the same person as you were last year? Have you changed? Have you grown by acquiring new skills or learning? Do you have new goals for the year ahead? Just as we grow so too do businesses. The Marketing plan gives us an opportunity to assess where your business is at and where it wants to go.

A Marketing Plan Help's You Understand Your Brand's USP's Helps You To Understand Your Brand’s Positioning And Discover Your USP’s (Unique Selling Points). 

A good marketing plan will always perform a situation analysis of the business which helps you understand and gain insight into how you can best position your brand and communicate your USP’s. A lot can change in a year so it’s important to look at your business and the market with a fresh pair of eyes.

A Marketing Plan Helps Identify Your Target Audience Identifies Your Target Market So You Can Effectively Communicate With Them.

Often in marketing we can get caught up in producing ‘great content’ and forget exactly who we are creating the content for. A marketing plan allows you to revisit this piece of information and profile your target market in order to gain new insights into what they want. This in turn will make sure your content is relevant and fit for purpose and can be the key to unlocking more innovative content pieces or marketing strategies. 

A Marketing Plan can help set a clear plan of action Sets A Clear Plan Of Action Keeping Everyone On The Same Page.

I think every marketer’s pet peeve is when they hear someone else (typically not a marketer), say I have a great idea for the Marketing!
I mean no disrespect and yes you can have a great idea but is this great idea going to support the business to achieve its objectives? Does it align with the brands mission? Is it a good way to spend the marketing budget? 

The Marketing plan keeps everyone on the same page driving towards the same goals and objectives. Marketing isn’t just about great ideas it’s about supporting the business to achieve its goals with relevant strategies and tactics.

 

Conclusion

As you can see there are many benefits of producing a marketing plan for your business. This month I am going to be sharing with you some of my dos and don’ts, the key ingredients of a successful marketing plan as well as a step by step process on how to complete it. So lets all do it together and aim high for 2022!

More info coming soon so stay tuned…..

Marketing For A New World

Marketing For A New World

The Role Of Technology In A New World

As I am sure many of you will agree, there has not been a more apt time to discuss this topic as the global pandemic has made the impact of technology on all our lives more relevant than ever before.

Never in a million years did I think that a series about the royal family or a Mexican drug cartel would dominate the main topic of conversation between me and my friends, that I would be forced to stare at my own reflection for hours on end during online meetings or that downward dog would replace my morning latte but here we are in 2021…. if I had 3 words to literally sum up the past year, they would have to be Netflix, Zoom and Namaste!

So while the impact that technology has made on our lives over the last year especially has been pretty dramatic, it has actually been a wave that has been rising really gradually for decades now.

 

The Evolution Of The Internet

Since the birth of the internet in 1983, the online platform has grown exponentially in the last two decades with;

  • 5,053 millions of users worldwide at the end of 2020 compared to just
  • 1, 018 in 2005.

 

The Growth Of Digital Devices

We now use devices that we never even conceived imaginable with;

  • 60% of people using what we now know as the smartphone to connect to the internet,
  • only 16% of people using laptops and portable computers,
  • and just 12 % of people using tablets.

 

The Acceleration Of Digital Channels

Did we ever think that we would be using Google to find out about the latest advancements in orthopedic mattresses for example, (yes that’s what I was bust googling last night) or that we would be using Facebook to look for a local Plumber but these are the tools we use when we want information on buying a product or service with;

  • 89% of consumers begin the buying process with search engines such as google or yahoo and
  • 75% of consumers say they use social media as part of the buying process

 

The Inflation Of Digital Necessity

Did we ever imagine that we would be using the internet to buy simple things like our children’s socks, or to deliver a cooked meal…

Well in Britain last year;

  • over 50% of online goods purchased included shoes, clothing and accessories
  • and over 30% included deliveries for restaurants,fast food or catering.
 

The Rise Of Video

 All this research suggests that buying goods and services online supports the lifestyle of a modern day consumer but what it also suggests is that the modern consumer is now more comfortable and confident in buying online than ever before.

The Impact of Video On The Consumer

This leads me on to one of the biggest impact’s technology has had on our lives as consumers and that is the rising trend of video content!

  • Video is now the number 1 source of information for 66% of people
  • More than 75% of Video comes from mobile devices
  • More video content gets uploaded within 30 days than the major US Television networks have broadcast in 30 years.

 

The Impact Of Video On Businesses

There is also some huge opportunities for businesses in there with

  • 93% of businesses gaining new customers as a direct result of posting branded video content to social media platforms.

 

How Consumer Behavior Has Impacted Technology

I think while it’s important to recognise that technological advancements have been a driver in our lives as consumers, there’s also been a big aspect of consumer behavior driving technology.

In 2018, some of the top consumer trends included the call out culture online spurning the need for brands to be more accountable to their audiences. Similarly, the rise of adaptive entrepreneurs and millennials seeking alternative ways to earn a living has undoubtedly led to an abundance of new and inspirational online goods and services across the globe.

And most recently in 2021, we have the growth of the stay at home economy which has driven the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and the shift towards e-commence platforms such as Amazon. Similarly the sudden stress of the pandemic on all our lives, unarguably made the ‘minding myself mentality’ more relevant than ever before with an increase of online meditation platforms like the App, Calm as well as other wellbeing programmes and lifestyle accessories.

This brings me to the close of my discussion as I summarise the main impact that technology has made on our lives as consumers.

 

The Real Impact Of Technology On The Life Of The Consumer

Technology has given us more ways of researching the information we need through the use of social media and video marketing. It has given us more choice of goods and services, more convenient ways of purchasing and more accessibility to those goods and services we desire.

Technology has created the modern-day consumer, an assertive, empowered and savy shopper in all of us. For businesses, there is increasing challenges to adapt to this new consumer, new technology, new trends, new ways of marketing and selling but if they do it effectively, evidence has proved that there are perhaps more opportunities than ever before. While technology has certainly impacted our lives as consumers, our lives continue to impact on technology as the two feed of each other and create a cycle of new innovations and online consumer experiences as we have seen from the new trends which have emerged in the last number of years.

If there is one thing for sure, the impact of technology will keep advancing our consumers habits however we as human beings and the world we live in today will continue to shape the technology of tomorrow.

 

Bibliography

Internet World Statistics, (2021) ‘Internet Growth Statistics, Today’s Road To E-Commerce and Global Trade

Internet Technology Reports’ Internet World Stats [online]. Available at : https://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm [accessed 31 Mar 2021]

Statista (2020) ‘Which is the most important device you use to connect to the internet at home or elsewhere’ Statista [online]. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/387447/consumer-electronic-devices-by-internet-access-in-the-uk/ [accessed 1 Apr 2021]

Vividfish (2017) ’89% Of Customers Begin Their Buying Process With A Search Engine’ Vividfish [online]. Available at: https://www.vividfish.co.uk/blog/89-of-customers-begin-their-buying-process-with-a-search-engine-source-fleishman-hillard [accessed 6 Apr 2021]

Stancheva, T (2021) ’24 Noteworthy Video Consumption Statistics [2020 Edition]’ Techjury [online]. Available at: https://techjury.net/blog/video-consumption-statistics/ [accessed 7 Apr 2021]

Coppola, D (2020) ‘Goods and services ranked by share of individuals who purchased online in Great Britain in 2020’ Statista [online]. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/275973/types-of-goods-purchased-online-in-great-britain/ [accessed 7 Apr 2021]

Brumley, J (2020) ‘Here are the 4 Biggest Consumer Trends to look out for in 2021’ The Motley Fool [online]. Available at: https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/12/13/here-are-the-4-biggest-consumer-trends-to-look-for/#:~:text=%20Here%20Are%20the%204%20Biggest%20Consumer%20Trends,Finally%2C%20most%20major%20brick-and-mortar%20retailersalso%20offer…%20More%20 [accessed 7 Apr 2021]

Bosler, M (2020) ‘Top Ten Global Consumer Trends in 2020 Revealed by Euromonitor’ Euromonitor [online]. Available at: https://blog.euromonitor.com/top-10-global-consumer-trends-in-2020-revealed-by-euromonitor/ [accessed 7Apr 2021]

Deshpande, S (2020) ’10 Consumer Trends that will spark innovation in 2020’ Forbes [online]. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/saradeshpande/2020/01/16/10-consumer-trends-that-will-spark-innovation-in-2020/?sh=4b94efc31011 [accessed 7 Apr 2021]

Sun, L (2020) ‘These were the 7 biggest Consumer Trends in 2020’ The Motley Fool [online]. Available at : https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/12/20/these-were-the-7-biggest-consumer-trends-in-2020/ [accessed 7 Apr 2021]

Angus, A (2018) ‘Top 10 Global Consumer Trends For 2018’ Euromonitor International [online]. Available at : https://tourismaccommodation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Top10-Global-consumer-trends-for2018.pdf [accessed 14 Apr 2021]

How Today’s Beauty Industry Utilises Inbound Marketing

How Today’s Beauty Industry Utilises Inbound Marketing

For the purpose of this report, I have studied the websites of leading beauty brands Dove and Loreal respectively to assess their approach to inbound marketing and compare their different strategies to gain an insight into the type of inbound marketing techniques utilised by some of the world’s most successful beauty brands.

 

Each Organisations Approach To Inbound Marketing

Dove introduces many high-quality content topics positioning itself as an authority on each agenda whilst weaving these amongst their more commercial campaigns. Their content is designed to engage their audience as well as help them stay connected with their customers with plenty of strong cta’s, (call to action) to convert their visitors.

Loreal have adopted a more commercial approach to their content through interactive and augmented reality tools. They also utilise textual content such as tips and trends articles as well as emotive video content using a mix of big personalities in the media to promote their brand mission and ethos.

 

Strengths And Weakness Of The Inbound Marketing Approach Used By Each Organisation

Each of the content topics raised by Dove are highly relevant to today’s media agenda with links to black lives matter, self-care, climate change and the spread of covid 19. They have used these content pieces masterfully in a way to talk about their own brand and drive customer loyalty. The content is driven to be shared across social platforms and uses a variety of photography, graphics and info-graphics as well as interactive tools such as tests and quizzes to attract and delight the customer. Their content works hard to capture the details of their customers by providing gated content pieces as well as regular calls to sign up/ register/ download, login and explore more as well as using relevant hashtags to keep their topics of conversations going after the visitor leaves the site.

Among its many strengths, one of the strategy’s biggest weaknesses is its lack of video content. Considering that much of their content is textual, supported by a degree of visuals, it can make their content quite cumbersome for today’s audience who heavily rely on visual aids and video to tell a story.

Loreal skillfully promote their products by using a variety of complimentary interactive tools such as their augmented reality try on hair customizer as well as match my shade make-up tool. They target a cross section of markets, young and old, from a variety of ethnic backgrounds through a mix of models and celebrities throughout their photography and imagery. Their strengths lie in the digestible focus of their content and their use of video to bring their brand to life.

I believe Loreal’s main inbound marketing weakness lies in their lack of drive to stay connected with their customer. They do not promote sharing of their content to users and there are limited ways to stay connected with the brand through newsletters, blogs or socials channels.

Their main cta’s are try on/ buy which drive short term results with little emphasis on signing up/ registering or downloading which are designed to drive customer loyalty in the long-term.   

 

Which Organisation Was Best At Inbound Marketing And Why?

Whilst both brands seek to engage delight and convert their consumers through their use of inbound marketing, undoubtedly Dove was better at providing a more strategic inbound marketing approach. They have invested time and research into building their audience personas and are dedicated to creating and delivering tailored content directly to each of these in an aim to convert them to loyal customers.

They provide content that hits a variety of topics widening their market reach by providing more opportunities for various markets to engage with their content. They then create a range of ways for these personas to stay in touch with them through newsletters as well as other social media hashtags to keep in touch with the brand.  They have created a tiered segmented content strategy with different newsletters aimed towards different target markets as well as further entry points at which niche markets can engage with them through their various campaigns.

This approach will undoubtedly allow them to funnel their audiences and keep delighting them with relevant news, products and content as well as providing Dove with a way in which to measure and monitor their efforts.

 

Examples Of How Each Organisation Could Improve Their Inbound Marketing

Dove may improve their inbound marketing strategy with the addition of more video to maximise the high-quality content topics they have created and make their content more digestible and shareable.

Loreal could improve their inbound marketing efforts by aiming to promote their message across their social channels and provide more strategic cta’s and hashtags to keep the conversations going. They may also improve the visibility of their articles to support the sale of some of their products (as well as invest in more original content) thus improving the customer journey, creating brand credibility and balancing their use of promotional and non-promotional tactics.

What Is Brand?

What Is Brand?

What Is Brand?

My first blog will discuss getting back to basics in an aim to uncover the true understanding of what a brand is.

This blog is useful for anyone who is looking to kick-start a new business or build a personal brand, an existing business looking to realign or improve their brand or indeed, if you are a marketer within a business and maybe brand is something that now falls under your role.

Before I start, I want to quickly touch on what a brand is not…

 

What A Brand is Not

Thankfully these days, people do recognise that a brand is more than just a logo but still some businesses fall into the trap of putting their shiny new brand suite into a metaphorical box, or most appropriately for this day and age, a folder on their desktop labelled BRAND.

They keep it there for appropriate occasions, such as special marketing events, advertising or updating their Facebook profile before closing the symbolic lid again until further notice.

This isn’t what building a brand is about, there is a big difference between having branding and having a brand.

 

 

Why Do We Love Brands?

It’s important to get in the right frame of mind when embarking on a brand journey because when you’re not, it’s kind of like going on a hike with bad footwear, not being too sure of the directions or even having a proper understanding of your final destination, not to mention all the milestones along the way.

To start, I want us to think about some of the brands we love and why we love them?

So, if I think about me personally and the brands that I love, Nike is up there for me and has been for a long time.

Of course, it goes without saying that I love their product, their style and the way in which they keep innovating their designs. I also perceive their products to be good quality, however this doesn’t really cover all the reasons why I love them.

Their brand slogan, ‘just do it’ is very motivational but I think it’s how they have brought it to life through some of their advertising and brand campaigns that has transcended it from motivational to inspirational.

Their 2019 ‘Dream Crazier’ campaign narrated by Serena Williams, depicted many memorable sporting achievements by women in decades gone by, along with the criticism of these moments and women in the media. The result is an inspirational and emotive 60 seconds of what it means to be a woman. It is and will remain one of my favourite brand campaigns of all time.

(Campaigns of the World, 2020)

So as a brand, Nike doesn’t just speak to me as a consumer about its products, it speaks to be as a woman, it speaks to the emotional side of my personality, the side that is bound up with femininity, as well as its motivational side, the side that is driven to do, create and succeed. It’s really a cheerleader shouting at me and all women from the side lines, just do it, you can do it.

I could list a number of other brands that I love and the reasons why, however I think if you write down your own, it will become apparent that the reasons why we are so attached to certain brands and why our recall for these certain brands is so strong is because we have an emotional connection or attachment to them and that some part of their brand personality speaks to our own personality.

Nike are a good quality product with innovative design and a catchy brand slogan that it brings to life through motivational and inspirational brand and advertising campaigns… so is this what a brand is?

The Definition Of Brand

The truth is there is really no set definition for what a brand is, even out there in the branding world.

The oxford dictionary describes brand as; A type of product or service etc. offered by a particular company under a particular name. (Oxford Learners Dictionary, 2021)

Philip Kotler, the famous marketing guru says a brand is; a name, term, sign, symbol, or design or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of the competition. (Gersch, 2020)

The American Marketing Association describes brand as; A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name. (Cohen, 2011)

But these definitions don’t really work for me because they don’t take into consideration all the reasons why, for example, Nike is one of my favourite brands.

Here are some other definitions which further explain the realms of brand;

Brand is the proprietary visual, emotional, rational, and cultural image that one associates with a company or a product. (Bhasin, 2019)

Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organisation. Branding is about shaping that perception. Ashley Friedlein- Econsultancy (Cohen, 2011)

Brand is an experience and advertising is the temptation (Airey, 2011)

Branding is the representation of your organization as a personality. Branding is who you are that differentiates you. Dave Kerpen- Author of Likeable Social Media. (Cohen, 2011)

A brand is a reason to choose. Cheryl Burgee- Blue Focus Marketing. (Cohen, 2011)

So as you will see there are a lot of people out there who have their own special definition of what a brand is, this is mine….

 

Brand, A Guiding Principle 

A brand is a business’s story, a book made up of its past, present and future and how it brings these pages to life in an authentic, aspirational and meaningful way so that these stories live on in the minds of its audiences.

A business’s past represents the roots and foundation of a business, and is often what makes the business unique, helping to inspire brand values, personality and tone of voice. These are the things that are going to give your brand authenticity and shape brand entities such as logo, design, slogans and more.

Defining the story of a brand’s present, its here and now and who and what your business is, should bring to life brand experiences for the consumer to give them an insight into what type of memorable experiences they can expect from your business. It should further develop things like brand personality, values and ethos and weave these into how you approach things like your brand promise, your brand experience, your brand environment, your brand culture and community in an aspirational way.

Telling the story of the future of your business should help the consumer understand how you plan to grow your brand and how they can grow with you. It should bring to life your overall brand purpose, your vision and mission, your place in the world and how you use that place for good.

Brands are at all different stages of this journey of brand.

Some brands out there have only just begun telling their story and bringing to life the things that make them unique and authentic.

Other brands are continuing their journey of brand exploration, experimenting, and innovating new ways in which to connect with their audiences in a more meaningful way to create long-term value.

And brands that have been on this journey for a while, are out their telling other stories, stories about their future, why they exist and through their existence how they want to make a difference and even connecting with other businesses and personal brands to help them do it.

I hope that you have found this guiding principle helpful in thinking about brand and what it means to be a brand.  If you would like to further explore any of these topics for your own business, please get in touch and in the meantime thank you for listening.

 

Sources

Bhasin, H (2019) ‘What is brand’ Marketing 91 [online]. ‘Available at: https://www.marketing91.com/what-is-a-brand/ [Accessed 11 May 2021]

Marion (2015) ‘What is branding’ The Branding Journal [online]. Available at:https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2015/10/what-is-branding-definition/ [Accessed on 11 May 2021]

Cohen, H (2011) ’A Brand is’ Hedi Cohen.com [online]. Available at https://heidicohen.com/30-branding-definitions/ [Accessed 11 May 2021]

Campaigns of the world (2011) ‘Nike, Dream Crazier, Just Do It’ YOUTUBE [online]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWfX5jeF6k4 [Accessed 14 May 2021]

Oxford Learners Dictionary, (2021) ‘Brand noun’ Oxford Learners Dictionary [online]. Available at: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/brand_1 [Accessed 14 May 2021]

Gersch, M (2020) ‘What is brand according to Philip Kotler’ Find any answer [online]. Available at: https://findanyanswer.com/what-is-brand-according-to-philip-kotler#:~:text=In%20the%20book%20Principles%20of%20Marketing%20%28Philip%20Kotler%2FGary,and%20will%20regularly%20purchase%20products%20from%20that%20brand. [Accessed 14 May 2021]

Airey, D (2011) ‘Brand thinking and other nobel pursuits’ David Airey.com [online]. Available at: https://www.davidairey.com/brand-thinking [Accessed 14 May 2021]