According to Forbes1, the most valuable brands in the world are:
Are there any that you don’t recognize? I doubt it. What makes these brands so valuable? There are a number of variables that go into strong brands.
- Consistency – No matter whether you are looking at a product package, their social media account or a television ad, these brands will have a similar look and feel across platforms. That is why you recognize the logos above – you have seen them over and over again.
- Purpose – Every good brand has a purpose. And that purpose often evokes emotion. This is often manifested through their mission and vision. It is the reason they exist (other than to make money). For example, Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”2
- Loyalty – Every one of the brands above has loyal customers. Customers that would not buy from a competitor. Just look at the loyalists that choose Android over Apple or vice versa. And increasingly, companies (particularly tech companies) are finding ways to make their products even more a part of your lives (think cars powered by Apple or Android).
How what does your brand say?
Social media has been on an almost vertical trajectory for the past 5 years…booming faster than most people can keep up with it. But many social media sites are experiencing slowing or flat user growth. And companies can no longer rely on ‘organic’ social media engagement. Paid posts are almost always required when attempting to reach customers via these channels.
Does that mean that you should not utilize social media as part of your marketing strategy?
For small businesses that have a very targeted customer base or have a retail location that they are looking to promote, social media is still a good option. The caveat is that you need to be dedicated to keeping up with it. If you have a strong, loyal following that is willing to help share your content, it is even better. After all, it is social media!
However, social media should not be your only channel for communicating with your current and potential customers. It should be part of an integrated marketing approach that fits your business’s needs.
And you also need to keep up with social media trends. What are the latest features on Facebook Pages? Is there a social media site that caters to your typical customer? If you need help figuring it all out, contact me.
If you pay any attention to social media, you have heard of Pinterest. It is the hottest new site for sharing with your friends. The concept is fairly simple. You can create ‘boards’ that are akin to physical bulletin boards. On each board, you can post ‘pins’ which can consist of photos or links to websites.
Great! But does your small business need to have a presence on this hot website? That depends. There are a number of reasons that you should consider this:
- Your business relies heavily on ecommerce. Research has shown that referrals from Pinterest lead to larger checkout orders than other social media sites. If you are trying to drive people to your website to sell products, make sure that you have nice, clear photos for your pins.
- Your business customers fit the Pinterest user profile. 67% of users are under the age of 40. 54% of women aged 34-55 are on Pinterest—35% of them have a household income over $100K. Male monthly users have grown 120% this year.
- You want to know what your customers are looking for. Pinterest can help inform you of emerging trends as users tend to pin items that they are thinking about purchasing.
There are a lot of benefits to marketing on Pinterest, but only if it is a fit for your business.
As 2015 comes to a close, there are several lessons that can be learned from large companies who stumbled in their marketing.
- Don’t market your restaurant as being healthy, then ignore food safety. Chipotle learned this lesson the hard way. After claiming early in the year that they were going ‘all natural’ and eliminating GMOs, they suffered from many outbreaks of E coli which sickened over 200 people. Oh, and try not to make your main food items a whopping 1,000 calories. Does not sound very healthy.
- Vet your social media campaign before execution. The internet has an uncanny ability to take any mundane attempt at promotion and turn it against a company. There were many cases of this happening in 2015, including Bud Light’s ‘Up for Whatever’ and #AskSeaWorld.
- Don’t use war to glorify your widget. UnderArmour, in a case of what can only be explained as ‘our Marketing Director was on vacation’, used an icon image from World War II and inserted a basketball theme. Just don’t. Please.
- Manage your promotional links. This includes QR codes and short URLs. When you are done with a campaign, you can’t let these lapse, as Heinz Ketchup learned when a QR code on one of their bottles directed users to a porn site.
- Don’t direct customers to commit a crime. This should be self explanatory. But apparently nobody told Bloomingdale’s. They created an ad that told people to spike their date’s drink when they were not looking.
When all else fails, hire an expert to help. And have a successful 2016!