Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"7 Golden Rules for Corporate Bloggers"

Read this great post by Dynamic Search the other day, really liked it, and hope you do too.

Based largely on a study done at the University of Twente (the Netherlands), the findings and recommendations are excellent, timeless and worth reading.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#TipTuesday -- 6 Ways to Find Your Business' Pot O' Gold on St. Patrick's Day

[No Leprechauns Required]

We love Saint Patrick's Day.  And not just for the green beer and Irish Whiskey (like we need an excuse). We love it because it's tailor-made for marketing.

Every element associated with St. Patty's Day reminds us of "Best Practices." Here are our top eight:

6 - It's so Social. Friendship, camaraderie, shared good times -- how can we not think of social media on a day like today?

The first requirement for a effective Social Media Strategy is a carefully developed content calendar and execution plan. As we near the end of Q1, this would be an excellent time to revisit your calendar and examine how your social media outlets are performing for you, tweak as necessary, and continue on course.

5 - The Inclusive Spirit. "Everyone's Irish on Saint Patrick's Day!"

Every time I hear that phrase, believe it or not, it reminds me of Market Expansion. One day in mid-March a short time ago, we were looking at new geographic markets for a client in IT consulting. Not only was it a good idea for their business, but it was a great experience. International market research and due diligence across macro-environmental factors was fascinating, informative and ultimately very lucrative for our client. Few companies can say "Everyone" is a good customer for their business, but most companies can benefit from a careful analysis of new markets

4 - A Great Excuse to Entertain. When was the last time you demonstrated your appreciation for your customers with a genuine gesture or event?

Whether live, virtual, or [ideally] both, customer's take notice when they are recognized and rewarded for their business. Whether it's as elaborate as a conference or as simple as a one-to-one lunch, your customers will remember your gestures and respond.

3 - Those Iconic Visuals.  Shamrocks, rainbows, leprechauns and that gloriously green color pallet create instant recognition and emotional appeal.

Is there ever any doubt about the occasion when we see the familiar visual elements associated with St. Patrick's Day? Can you say the same about the visual elements of your brand identity? It's as good a time as any to find out. Take some time to survey your stakeholders, consult an expert and compare your brand identity against other enterprises in your sector to ensure you stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.

2 - Four-Leaf Clovers.  Any old clover leaf can have three leaves, but only the rarest and most valued have four.

That's differentiation. And differentiation helps turn lack luster brands into pots o' gold. Perhaps when your first wrote and designed the key components of your brand identity they were one-of-a-kind. But, like so many other enterprises, that may have been over two years ago. Time to revisit! Begin with your visuals (because that's where recognition and recall begin). Then, read your own content -- carefully. Is it unmistakably yours, or could it apply to anybody in your sector? Does it still describe your unique value prop?  If the answer is "no," you know what to do.

1 - The Pot O' Gold 
Saint Patrick's Day is grand a day to celebrate Irish heritage and the contributions of generations of immigrants to society.

It's also a standout reminder to begin looking at the brand marketing of your organization at regular intervals throughout the year, beginning in Q1. You'll find that (A) it's easier to tweak quarterly, than to fully restrategize at the end of the year; and (B) positive results will begin building sooner, steadier and faster if you make iterative course adjustments as the fiscal year progresses.

The result? Marketing will become a "Pot O' Gold" for your business. No leprechauns required.

When does your company begin assessing its brand marketing efforts each year? Three months? Six months? Weekly? Daily? We'd love to hear from you

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#TipTuesday - Baking Resilience into the Brand

(Photo: Florian Blumm/

If you occasionally feel like your brand is under siege, you're not alone -- and you're not being paranoid.

Data breaches, social media gaffs and criticism, evolving technologies, email hacking, regulatory compliance, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are capable of generating confusion, disruption, uncertainty and brand impact at rates that are faster than ever before.

Under market conditions like these, how can today's brands retain their integrity and standing in the eyes of their customers? By building brands on more than jargon, messages, and tweets.

The fundamental qualities of value, trust, and relevance are necessary to resilient branding. Surprisingly, by harnessing disruptive factors we can also achieve resilience. 

Here are some ways that today's most resilient brands are doing just that:

Building Brand Ecosystems: Largely enabled by IoT, major brands are integrating and inter-operating to create added value for customers. App-based Uber's recent partnerships with Disney and Spotify are examples -- as well as a clear case of the sum being greater than its parts.

The Other 50%: By acknowledging and empowering women in branding, we not only stand for something bigger than simply selling product, we become humanized and relevant to the largest and most powerful segment of decision makers. (That's women, by the way).

Curated Connection: Brands can use social media apps and platforms to bring people together through common interests and/or by invitation. Just being customers of the same brand does not create a strong connection between people on its own. Brands who recognize that and create dialogues based on what is more meaningful to their consumers will develop more and better touch points, while achieving genuine relevance and connections. When thoughtfully tended, the outcomes include more authentic dialogue and high levels of trust. Take it beyond the Facebook and Twitter free-for-all. Create your own online community and make it worth joining.

360 Degree Product Lifecycle Management: When brands plan beyond product obsolescence, everyone wins -- and it isn't lost on the customers. By planning and managing how products will reused, re-purposed and recycled, brands not only build in an additional touch point with their customers at a time when those customers may be thinking "replacement," but associate their brand with a greater purpose.

In "Resilient Brands," Jonathan Copulsky talks about the power of the "ubiquitous brand," a brand whose worth and standing extend far beyond the products or services it sells. Once resilience is achieved, the resilient [and ubiquitous] brand is able to generate value and customers on the basis of its earned respect.

The resilient brand is:
  • Humanized
  • Communicates authenticity
  • Stand for more than products and service

It forms deeper connections with its market and, above all, it is well-positioned for long term success.

Are you baking resilience into your brand strategy? Any advice to share? Challenges?

How Social Media Enables Brand Resilience, by Walter Adamson
Brand Resilience and the New Art of Playing Defense, by Herb Shaffner
Surviving the Toxic Tweet:  Deloitte's Strategies for Protecting a Brand, by Tim Parker