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All posts tagged marketing

PR and Social Media: The Blurred Line Between the Two Mediums

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If you’re new to the world of marketing you’ll soon learn that buzzwords are king. The industry specific jargon you’ve seen referenced time and time again will inevitably become standard issue within a couple of weeks of working “in the industry”. Unfortunately, buzzwords are not entirely progressive forms of communication– and eventually certain terms lose their relevancy and are replaced by newer concepts that often times mean the same thing as the term it replaced with a few more facets/implications attached to the definition. A prime example of this is ‘earned media’ and ‘owned media’. Before continuing, let’s make sure the definition and differences between ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media are clear.

 

‘Earned media’ can mostly be attributed to Public Relations, or simply ‘PR’. If you’re working in the field of PR you probably spend quite a bit of time focused specifically on marketing the brand. The breakthroughs come when stories or advertisements are placed in a major publication or news outlet on national television. This is the type of accomplishment that prompts people into checking out your website because they spotted your brand name on something that is accessed by millions of people on a daily basis. When this occurs, you can consider the work you’ve done a success. This is the truest definition of earned media.

 

‘Owned media’ is the area of focus where social media reigns supreme. Owned media places a focus on content that you control such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The benefit of owned media is that you have complete control over the themes and messages that the brand you represent gives off to the general public. Though more risk is associated with owned media in comparison to earned media due to the owner taking full responsibility for what is being published about the brand he or she is trying to promote, the payoff can be valued at a much higher rate because it was self-generated and holds no obligations to other forms of media/outlets for its’ exposure. If owned media goes viral. The accomplishment is celebrated by only those within the company/brand. There is no need to thank or pay tribute to anyone outside of the immediate circle/union of developers/marketing team.

 

Though the differences between earned and owned media are apparent– the dividing line that separates these two forms of marketing has slowly begun to dissolve. The way in which the field of marketing has been developing so far in 2015 shows that no aspiring brand can reach the pinnacle of publicity without both earned and owned media. On top of that, good strategists must be able to differentiate what is working for their brand and what is not in a much more efficient manner than ever before. If even two hours a day are spent cultivating a network through a medium that has yet to produce any sustainable/profitable results, that medium must be severed from the brand’s overall marketing strategy so the time spent on that approach can be delegated to something that is proven to be more useful/efficient. While the overall goal of a marketing team is fairly cut and dry, the approach in which they take in order to achieve success is one with many twists and turns. The bottom line: adaptability is one of the most crucial traits in developing a successful team that can adequately market a budding idea. Otherwise, publicity will always be an uphill battle.

 

Digital Content: How to Develop a Successful Strategy

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Digital content strategy– despite being nearly halfway through 2015 this remains a difficult term to define and confine to one specific or universal description. Best case scenario you can characterize digital content strategy as a collection of ventures directly associated with every single one of your digital channels. It is the only surefire approach to making sure that audiences are engaging and interacting with the content you provide on your website to the point where the viewer of the content feels compelled to share it with other people in his or her network to see.

There are a number of routes you can take in creating a digital content strategy. As a disclaimer, this is a challenging task, but one that will pay off in dividends if properly executed. Based off the collective knowledge gathered from a number of prominent PR specialists, here is a step by step guide on how to get this particular venture moving in the right direction as soon as you begin:

-Who are you trying to communicate with? The answer to this is simple: everyone. The larger a network you have through your marketing campaign the easier it will be to raise the rate in which your content is shared.

-What is the approach you are taking to engage with potential customers/clients? If a customer or client has an issue with the product or concept you are responsible for developing how fast will it take you to rectify the issue? Will you add more value to compensate for the problem at hand? This is where customer/client feedback is key. Without your target audience providing you with recommendations on how to better present your overall package it is very difficult to evolve past the first initial stage of your overall vision.

-What outcomes can you measure/keep track of? Where are you looking to do the most amount of development as a website? Audience size? Brand recognition? Focus on your primary goal and dedicate the majority of your time to tracking the initial measurements of growth in that one particular area.

-What content on your site performs the best?

Establish which articles or sub-categories on your site have gotten the most hits. Is there a trend in a particular topic you cover that gets more views than any other area? If so focus your attack on the most popular subjects and grow the rest of the site from there. It only takes one article, video or image to go viral for a site to become a hit overnight. Keep this in mind when trying to bring all areas of the site up to speed at once. Doing this will only slow down the progress on your most successful venture that’s currently receiving a lot of attention. Feed that source. The rest will follow

 

Branding: Consistency in Name, Image, Message, and Marketing

Branding is something that small businesses and startups often wait to do. This is a major mistake, because branding, in essence, is how people readily identify your company, what you do, and how well you do it. Although setting up your business, raising funds, and making sure you’ve got all systems in place are important, that doesn’t mean that branding should take a backseat. It needs to be addressed prior to your offering your products or services to the public. If that is not the case and you are up and running without any branding, then get to it now.

What is Branding?

Branding is the method by which you define your business or company through three basic elements: your company name, image or logo, and written communications, with the briefest such written communication being your catchphrase.

As an example, consider Apple. The name itself has implications of knowledge, innovation, and health. An Apple is the fruit of knowledge, is supposedly what hit Sir Isaac Newton on the head, giving him the idea for gravity, and it is instrumental in the famous phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” These are all great connections for a company that was groundbreaking in that it’s initial focus was on making computers so easy to use that anyone could utilize their great power and potential.

Its image, the apple, has changed over the years, but overall it has remained consistent. There has always been an apple in the company’s logo, and for much of the time, it’s had a bite taken out of it. That bite tells us to feed on the knowledge, information, and tools that are associated with Apple’s products. By the way, the first Apple logo featured Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree reading with a highlighted apple above him, ready to hit him on the noggin.

As a company develops, catch phrases change and evolve, as do images. Some of Apple’s most successful phrases include, “Think Different,” “There’s an App for That,” “Byte into an Apple,” and “The Computer for the rest of us.”

Defining Great Branding

Great branding is, first and foremost simple. The McDonald’s Golden Arches and name, the definitive Coca-Cola cursive lettering and use of red and white, and the Google name displayed in alternating colors of blue, red, yellow, blue, green and red are all uncomplicated and, yet, definitive.

According to Interbrand, a brand consulting company owned by the Omnicom Group, in 2013, the most recognized brand, which used to be Coca-Cola, is now Apple. Coke dropped to third, while Google came in second and McDonald’s fourth.

How to Brand

Successful branding is based on two basic elements, defining what your enterprise does that makes it stand out, and, then, ably capturing the essence of your company in name, image, and text.  It’s not necessarily easy, and that’s why many people turn to advertising and branding professionals to take them through a process where they can discover exactly what their brand should be.

Adjusting Your Brand

It’s rare that a brand will remain static. The best brands do seem to offer stability in their name, and look, adjusting and refining as the company develops and evolving throughout the years. So, once you’ve found your brand and defined it, you’ll want to recognize when and how it should change, and what aspects to transfer from its last look to its next incarnation.

Making Your Company Yours

Do not relegate branding to an afterthought. It is the primary way in which you can build public recognition and trust. Great branding gives you instant recognition and evokes a positive reaction from the public. If you are falling short in your efforts to brand, consider a collaborative approach or utilizing the services of those who are professionals. Once you decide on your brand, use it everywhere, including on your website, products, brochures, business cards, and anything else associated with your company.

Remember with branding you’ll have to “think different” in order to come up with “the real thing” and “have it your way.” (Interesting, some of those phrases sound familiar, don’t they?) Brand successfully!