January, 2016

post image

Importance of Branding only Increasing for Companies in 2016

A Brand could be your company, your team, or even simply just you. It is essentially identification in a certain light. The importance of branding, for a commercial entity, can never be understated it is important not only to create a perception in the mind of the end users or customers, it is crucial for building a positive image among the people involved as well. The importance of branding has only gone up in recent years. The growing connectivity among people thanks to the internet and social media platforms has made communicating with your customers and peers with ease. This has in turn given companies the additional fillip required to boost their branding using a variety of techniques that can be effectively used to reach millions of people.

Be it in the form of viral content, or simple on ground execution, branding your company gives it a certain voice and a vibe that can help you connect with your customer. This is a fact which holds true for both B2C and B2B companies. Branding is something that transcends the construct of mere organizations and enters the realm of perception. It is how your organization, company or business is perceived. This perception, however, needs to be built. There are a number of different building blocks to creating the perfect brand image. But thanks to the changing times, there is a great deal of opportunity available for companies of all sizes to establish a strong brand identity.

Here are some things you should focus on in 2016 to strengthen your brand further:

Ensure that your voice is unique

One of the most concerning things about young start-ups and even established veterans of the industry is the lack of consistency in the brand’s voice. There needs to be great attention paid to the developing the tagline, content type and design guidelines that are absolutely unique to the organization. With the target audience being so easily demarcated, it is essential to speak to them in a way that is previously unheard. The language and design plays a huge role in making this happen.

Focus on brand authenticity

One of the most important things that brands need to focus on is that your work speaks far more than words ever could. As the buying power increases among people there is a conscious shift towards quality, and with it a growing disillusionment of all things advertising. It is important here that brands focus on generating as much validation from satisfied customers and get more traction. It would be wise to use the internet and its many reviewing tools to help you get a leg-up in the process. Nothing works for brand authenticity better than user generated reviews. Get as many as you can, organically of course, and see the difference it makes to your branding efforts in 2016.

Connect emotionally

There is a greater emphasis now on connecting with your consumer in a more direct and emotional manner. It is all about creating a relationship between the brand and the consumer. The recent Maggi ads celebrating its return after the ban was lifted were an absolute hit among the people because of simply this reason. Connecting with your customers emotionally on any subject, be it a festival or cause in the right spirit, can lead to great dividends for a brand.

Creates loyalty

The biggest advantage of quality branding is the amount of consumer loyalty it generates. There is a strong sense of kinship among the brand users and when the branding is done right, they are your best friends forever. Use branding exercises to build upon these relationships and take it a step forward like how Coke did it with their ‘happiness machine’ campaign where they put a coke vending machine in a campus which kept giving unwitting students coke bottles, among other things.

post image

Digital Marketing Could Make or Break Your Business in 2016

There is a brave new world for marketers out there, and it is ringing the death knell for those refusing to heed the chime of changing times. For those that are listening it promises marketing’s ultimate prize – hardcore results! Marketing depends upon the audience, and the audience today considers the TV a second screen to the lure of Youtube and an ever-increasing list of video hosting websites. People today are too engrossed in the 4-odd inches of their smartphone screen so as to notice a hoarding they are passing under. Things were rapidly changing in the world of marketing and the promise of it was announced with the advent of social media, the smartphone culture only added to the swift coup that digital marketing has achieved.

As Jeff Bullas puts it, for many traditional marketers and business people there is a lot of unlearning to do. Erasing bad old habits is essential. There had been a pronounced shift in digital marketing over 2014-15 which has essentially changed the how digital marketing was perceived. A thrust of having vanity metrics tripping along at the cost of data driven marketing is no longer going to get a brand anywhere. Content marketing is becoming crucial, with an Adweek.com survey saying that almost 50% of companies had a content marketing plan.

Social media marketing has emerged aspossibly the best bet for a brand to achieve positive long-term branding and promotion. While it is essential to provide the return on investment required, the nature of this return is what has essentially changed. For example, a social media page for a B2B brand may not be directing more traffic on the website, but could still be providing essential engagement and increasing the brand’s reach.

The Gauntlet is Thrown

It is important to note that digital marketing has now become essentially driven by the consumers. It is your customers that are going to give you traction required so as to make the most of your digital presence. But herein lies the challenge. Simple as it sounds in mere words, the deed itself is something that poses more than a few obstacles. From finding people who can best use the technology available for the brand’s benefit, to generating content, both relevant and original, it is a task requiring a unique list of skills.

The challenge for brand’s today is manifold.

  1. Break away from similar brands and establish a voice of their own in the digital space.
  2. Utilize the digital space as a repository for the brand’s message.
  3. Establish a consistent and positive engagement with customers and stakeholders.
  4. Increase sales and brand recognition.

Meeting these challenges requires an objective viewing of the brand’s current digital state of affairs. Having said that, there are a number of companies out there that have understood the language of the internet today. It is no longer a free digital space, pay-to-play is a truth out there and it is best accepted. Be it Facebook advertising or even influencer marketing, freebies are a thing of the past, the reality of marketing has finally caught up with the digital space.

Digital marketing, however, provides unprecedented opportunities for the classic combination of quality content and smart marketing. There are some digital marketing trends that will continue to stay strong through 2016, while some will die a quiet death. Read on below for some digital marketing trends for the year to come.

Revising the Understanding of ROI

The 2015 State of Inbound poll by Hubspot stated that measuring the return on investments is the most difficult thing for an agency. Digital marketing is no longer immune to the question of ‘show me the sales’, in fact it is a question that is most often thrown by companies looking to cut down digital marketing budgets. It is important to understand that social media channels have become more about reaching out to your target audience and maintaining a positive brand engagement is crucial to your overall digital presence. There are simple ways to measure and show a return on investment:

  • Update the brand’s website and landing pages so as to provide the users a more interactive experience.
  • Use content and content hosting channels to your benefit.
  • Do not skimp out on online advertising, be it Facebook or Google pay per click.
  • Using a marketing software along with a CRM software in a closed loop can definitely help understand the leads generated and customers created.

Advertising

Social media ad spend has increased manifold over the last few years. According to a report by Interpublic Group’s Magna Global, digital ad spend will blow past television by 2017. Already at $ 160 billion digital advertising is something every brand should be considering. Be it the highly targeted nature of marketing it can achieve or the sheer scale of captive audience, digital advertising never looked more promising. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding ad spend for digital marketing.

  • Understand what platforms are essential for your client and most frequented by your target group.
  • Target specific keywords based on well-researched data and invest in Google Ads accordingly.
  • Engage. Engage. An ad that does not engage your customers will simply be closed, making them interesting, driven by data is essential to getting conversions.

Make the Most of Your Digital Assets

Be it a video you have created or even a social media page for an event you once did, they become your digital assets. Understand these assets and utilize them to make the most of your digital presence. Use the internet and its myriad content hosting and video hosting websites as your brand’s repository for information, be it of itself or the industry it belongs to. All information on the internet is searchable and content being produced today will still be here for a long time, making the most of this only makes sense. Keep in mind the following things when you are working on managing your digital assets:

  • Treat your digital content as an asset, it is indexed by Google and can be shared by social media websites. Having original, interesting content can be a game changer for the brand.
  • Push for organic search rankings, be it in terms of improving your content quality or simply publishing it more often.
  • Give your social media pages due attention, they are your most direct link to your customer base. Invest in your social media pages and keep the page regularly interactive.
  • Think about what content the readers are looking for and give them that, brand’s like Red Bull and Coca Cola have done just that and reaped amazing results.

Have Your Customers Build Your Content

A brand’s customers are its best promoters. Having them share their stories, conversations and perspectives about the brand can go a long way in helping the brand not only create engaging content but also gain goodwill. Minecraft, a popular game, encourages users to make videos of their games and upload it on Youtube, something as simple as this has catapulted this game to the top of the charts. The sheer interactivity and credibility of crowd-sourced content is unparalleled.

Email is Still a Brilliant Idea

While the world might be swearing by Whatsapp and Viber, the good old email continues to stay strong. Having a very targeted list of customers to send information to, and simply having sharing buttons at the bottom makes them about 158% more effective according to a research by Adweek.com. Emails continue to be one of the most widely underused marketing tools in the business and need to be optimized better for results. Be it in terms of more informative content or simply making it more concise to fit smartphone screens.

Go Mobile

The smartphone screen is now the first screen for the people. Over 75% of Facebook’s revenue comes from mobile advertising, if this wasn’t proof enough, the use of smartphones has gone up radically over the last year. Having an application for your brand, if required, or simply focusing on mobile ad-spend could make a world of difference to your digital presence.