Archive for the ‘target’ tag
Do you use Facebook ads? Are you wondering how paid Facebook marketing can work for your business? To learn about Facebook EdgeRank and paid Facebook marketing, I interview Jon Loomer for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner. [...]
While I was recently on shopalongs spanning different CPG
categories with female shoppers, there was one universal finding: value was
associated with the retailer more than with the actual product. In marketing,
value is defined as what you get for what you pay. However, when shopping
certain categories, such as diapers or laundry detergent, many shoppers didn’t
want to sacrifice performance to pay less. In those instances, it was all about
where they chose to shop. They shopped at Target to feel good about receiving a
free $5 Gift Card, or went to Walmart believing they’d find good prices on the
brands they love, or bought their diapers from www.diapers.com to receive free
shipping and five percent back. Value for these women was a product of the
store and, therefore, factored less into their brand decision. It’s important
for us to understand how different shoppers define value so we can overcome
purchase barriers and effectively close the sale.
Photo Source: www.allthingstarget.com
You have a right to opt out of anything and everything.
As a marketing professional, there is nothing I hate more than receiving any form of communication (email, Web experience, social media, mobile, whatever) and not see an obvious place where I can either opt out of the communication or protect how much information is being captured. As a consumer, I probably hate it more. There is plenty of psychology in that statement. As a marketer, I (think) I understand the business. I’m hopeful that the vast majority of marketing organizations are using my personal information to create a more personalized experience for me. From that perspective, I have no issue with behavioral targeting so long as the social contract is fair and equitable. Namely: I get a great experience as a consumer and you, the marketer, make a lot more money because you’re able to charge advertisers a premium for having such a keen understanding of your consumer. As a consumer, I simply don’t trust marketers. They have crossed the line too many times (now, the government must be involved in terms of privacy and governance). There are spammers, dialers and nefarious online "marketers" doing some none-to-nice things that give consumers little choice but to trust marketers less than used car salesmen and ambulance chasing attorneys. There are advertisers making claims on products that simply don’t live up to the hype and, ultimately, the entire industry suffers.
Let’s not mess this up any more.
If you look to a brand like Amazon, you will see something very different. All of their data capturing is used to create a more personalized user experience. There are few online revolts about Amazon’s data capturing and, their consumer satisfaction levels are staggeringly high. In fact, one could argue that Amazon knows more about most of us than we would care to admit (they know where you live, where you ship to, what you have bought, looked at, reviewed, wishlisted, oh… and all of your credit card information too). Now, they are getting that much more aggressive on the media side. What was once a quiet and growing giant is about to be ready for their close-up. After six years of building the advertising platform – which includes powerful retargeting technology (see the Advertising Age article, Amazon: The Quietest Big Ad Business In Tech Would Like Your Brand Ads, Too, from last week) – it is becoming abundantly clear that for brands to win the new media game, they have to understand their consumer like never before.
It’s hard to understand anyone if they opt out.
On April 11th, 2013, MediaPost ran a news item titled, New App Lets Mobile Users Opt Out Of Behavioral Targeting, that featured a free iTunes app by Evidon (a privacy compliance company), which enables consumers to opt out of behavioral targeting by mobile advertising networks. From the article: "Evidon isn’t the only company that is offering ways for people to opt out of mobile targeting. TRUSTe – which also is powering some icons – has a privacy tool that allows people to avoid receiving ads targeted based on their mobile activity." This is where things get even more complicated. From the consumer’s perspective, we need to allow them to control (or, at least, understand) who has their information and what they are doing with it. From a marketer’s perspective, this is very worrisome. Over the history of time, consumers will always say that they hate advertising. If you dig beneath the surface, what they truly hate is useless, bad and non-relevant advertising. Digital media, social media and mobile marketing is finally able to deliver relevant, targeted and useful advertising to consumers, but in the worry about privacy (which is valid if you look at many of the recent hacking issues that big brands have faced), we’re confusing privacy with personalization.
A Target on our backs.
Whenever the issue of behavioral targeting (or retargeting or remarketing) is brought up, everyone points to the story about the pregnant girl whose online usage led Target to send her messaging about being pregnant (and her father was none to happy about finding out this way). It’s an extreme case, but it points to the lines that can be crossed when companies try to mix big data and behavioral targeted advertising without truly understanding their power. The marketing concern should always be sensitive to issues like this, but we must also be vigilant in better educating the mass population about what all of this opt out truly means. In the end, it spells the decline or homogenization of advertising. Without knowing what consumers are doing, it means that we have to practice the old "spray and pray" model. It means that none of the ads that consumers see will be all that interesting. It means that the deepest targeting that can be accomplished is to place ads on specific sites (Web or mobile) that are relevant to the brand’s target audience. We have seen how non-effective this can be by simply looking at the advertising we get on network and specialty television. The point is this: unless marketers become more transparent about how tracking is being down (and what, exactly, is being tracked), consumers are not going to trust us. They are going to opt out because they are confusing privacy with personalization, and they are going to have a less than stellar advertising experience. This is going to hurt the ad business. It is going to drive relevancy and revenue down. This is a very unique moment in time, where marketers can (if they have the intestinal fortitude) create a movement around ethics to better educate and demonstrate just how relevant, personalized and powerful a great advertising campaign can be to compliment the content it surrounds, without breaching anyone’s privacy. In the end, if marketers can’t demonstrate the chasm between privacy and personalization, all could be lost.
I’m hopeful consumers will ultimately understand the difference and opt out of opting out. What’s your take?
The above posting is my twice-monthly column for The Huffington Post. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original version online here:
Nobody said it was easy.
As the years wane on and you gather perspectives and insights from your business, your industry and your peers, what you quickly realize is this: nothing is easy… nothing is simple. Even quick scores (like Instagram grabbing close to one billion dollars from Facebook) was not a cake walk. All companies (and the people that work for them) understand the difficulty that is business. There is a small part of me that wishes we could simply close our eyes, click our heels three times fast and make a wish that business should be as much fun and as easy to do as taking the kids to the park… but alas, money complicates things.
The news of JC Penney dismissing their CEO, Ron Johnson, after just 17 months broke my heart in many different ways. Primarily, I’m a big fan of retail and an enthusiast of the industry. As digital as my existence may be, I’m a complete urbanist and revel at the opportunity to walk through a big shopping mall. I love the smell of commerce in the morning (to quote the movie, Mallrats). I am fascinated with the changing landscape of retail and even more enthralled with the place of shopping malls in our culture (more on that here: Do Shopping Centers Have A Future?). When Johnson (who was previously heading up the retail division of Apple and was responsible for some of Target‘s success prior to that) was picked to help reinvent the beleaguered department store chain, I held high hopes that his actions might reinvigorate the entire department store model.
This is where things get selfish.
On a selfish level, I spend a few paragraphs of energy talking about Ron Johnson and JC Penney in my upcoming business book, CTRL ALT Delete (out on May 21st). As soon as the news broke, I got an email from Joseph Jaffe asking me if there was time for me to edit, update or change the part of my book that speaks to Johnson’s work. My gut reaction was to call my literary agent and editor to seek their guidance. I reviewed that, specific, part of the book and it reminded me of something very important. The story that is being told isn’t really about JC Penney or Ron Johnson or how successful they could be. The true story was about that fact that Johnson was trying to bring a lot of simplicity to a business that had become increasingly complex, bloated and somewhat uninteresting to today’s shopper. The story of JC Penney is just as applicable today as it was when I first wrote about it. Maybe even moreso now that Johnson has been shown the door. Trying to untangle a business and make the offering as simple and delightful as possible is very, very hard work. It gets much harder as you get bigger, and it gets much harder the longer the company has been in business. We’ve all heard the Einstein line about simplicity being the ultimate in complexity, and the news of Johnson’s departure simply reinforces that.
How simple are things?
If you polled employees at Apple (and if they were willing to tell you the truth in candid fashion), you would probably uncover that Apple is not a simple company at all. That with all of the secrecy, layers and more, every individual is not working in an open and collaborative environment, but rather a complex place where pieces and bits are being mastered and optimized without a full understanding of how the pieces and components shore up to a bigger product or service. Often, the excuse given is that this decreases the likelihood of something being leaked, but if you peel the layers of that onion away, what you find – at the core – is a very complex model that results is products that are simple for people to use. Still, the business is not simple.
Business is not simple.
The over-simplification of business may be a misnomer. Ultimately, all of us (whether we’re B2C or B2B businesses) are trying to create products and services that are simple and intuitive to use. That journey is one that requires many complex things to happen. When the news broke of Johnson’s departure, something fascinating happened. According to article in Time, JC Penney Ousts CEO Ron Johnson, Ullman Returns: "Penney’s stock price Monday evening showed investors’ frustration with Johnson and it’s uncertainty about Penney’s future. When news began to leak after the market closed that Penney was ousting Johnson, the stock, which had closed at $15.87 in the regular session, climbed nearly 13 percent to $17.88 in after-hours trading. But as pleased as investors were about getting rid of Johnson, they didn’t appear impressed with his replacement. After Penney announced Ullman would take over, the stock reversed course falling as far as 11 percent from its regular closing price, to $14.10. That’s 21 percent from its after-hours high."
Here’s the other thing…
Perhaps Johnson wasn’t the right fit. Perhaps his strategy was met with friction from the existing customer base, maybe his marketing strategy was off, but here’s the thing: JC Penney was in need of Johnson (or, at least, a reinvention). Ditching him doesn’t change that. It merely reinforces it. Where this will ultimately net out is anyone’s guess, but rest assured that whomever takes the reigns at JC Penney will be focused on creating an in-store experience that is in-line with the consumer of today. And, rest assured, the consumers that become the heavy users and brand evangelists are the ones who are getting products and services that are brilliantly simple. No, I’m not going to go back and change the contents of CTRL ALT Delete. In fact, I think the story glorifies this moment of purgatory that business finds itself in (and that’s the core message of the book). Could you turn around an organization of that magnitude in 17 months or less? It’s not an easy task, and it’s the new reality of the speed and transitions that we see in business today. I start the book out by saying that people need to look to their left and then to their right at the people around them, because the odds are that one of you won’t be around in the same vocation in the next five years. Maybe the real editing of the book should be around the timeframe. I hope 17 months doesn’t become the norm.
JC Penney still needs a reboot. My guess is that there are parts of your business or your own career that need one too.
Before you go spouting off the answer to this question…
Please read this article from The New York Times titled, E-Commerce Companies Bypass the Middlemen. If you think that branding and retail have become complicated because of stuff like showrooming and attribution, you need to take a pause and try to figure out the myriad of complexities that e-commerce has created in the retail chain when laid out in this article. We tend to look at brands like Warby Parker and wonder how they had such a stellar ascent. We also look to traditional retailers and wonder how they will keep pace against Amazon. For many, the argument is that the lowest price wins. That retailers have no chance against e-commerce plays when they’re not dealing with the traditional supply chain and logistic problems. We praise companies like Walmart (#client) for their perfection of this channel and how that efficiency drives towards savings for the consumer. We see these big box stores as a way for the vast majority to access adequate products at reasonable prices. In short, e-commerce beats retail because of lowest price and efficiency, and big box/massive retailer beats out the smaller/local players because they have inventory at better prices.
What if that isn’t always the case?
What if – along with price – that branding has a major impact on success or failure, no matter how much cheaper your products are to a competitor? There are many startups like Warby Parker who are providing consumers with competitive pricing by going directly to the manufacturer and cutting out several layers of middlemen to create both efficiencies of scale and significantly reduced pricing (while still managing to eek out a hefty profit). It’s not that big of an innovation as the bigger retailers have been doing something similar for decades in the world of private labels. From the article: "Start-ups have traditionally struggled to match those efforts. They do not have as much brand recognition as big retailers, and persuading consumers to take a chance on, say, Warby Parker eyeglasses instead of Prada‘s can be difficult. ‘The challenge is, if you’ve never heard of the brand, you wonder, ‘Should I buy it when it’s 20 percent cheaper?’ ‘ said Raj Kumar, a supply chain consultant at A. T. Kearney. ‘Or should I buy a brand I trust?’ What is empowering the upstarts now is the Web’s ability to reach lots of consumers without the costs of operating physical stores as well as a change in manufacturers’ willingness to work with small brands. The founders of Deal Décor, whose model was to sell furniture directly to customers, worked at Target and Home Depot Direct before starting their company. They said they saw an opening after the recession hit."
At what price trust?
The obvious answer to the question is that when given the option, consumers will always choose the cheaper product. By the sounds of this article, these new startups – who are coming out with products that are often produced in the exact same factory as their big-brand competitors – they are having trouble getting sales because they lack a trusted brand. Non-marketing professionals tend to diminish the economic value of branding. It’s sad. This article re-illuminates, something that marketers have to constantly reinforce to our peers: the brand matters.
The trusted Warby Parker.
Whether Warby Parker is a trusted brand as some of the iconic ones that are listed on Interbrand’s Best Global Brands is not the point. What is most interesting is how all of these smaller e-commerce startups quickly realized how important a compelling brand narrative is… even if your product is the cheapest and people are talking about it. Scale of business happens only when the brand kicks in. We see this all of the time. Consumers can be a very finicky bunch. Over time, even the cheaper price will fail if a new competitor creates a more compelling brand story. True, the prices can’t be night and day, but slight premiums do creep in when there is a strong brand play and definitive value exchange that consumers feel. It seems like cheap pricing and great branding is a killer combination.
In the end, it still seems like the brand does win.
Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?
My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".
Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:
- How I became a password cracker – Ars Technica. "It’s no secret that people have bad password hygiene, or that companies like Google are racing to replace single-factor passwords with something better (like, say, having your mobile phone near the place you’re logging in from.) But I didn’t realize just how easy it was to break into something. Fortunately, Ars Technica invested a day doing things a reasonably geeky home user might, and fairly quickly cracked an abundance of passwords. Here’s their journal." (Alistair for Hugh).
- SXSW, bikes, and the Zen of finding things out – Lean Analytics. "When we started this link thing, I told myself I wouldn’t forward stuff I’ve written. It’s the height of narcissism. But the original premise for this link-sharing stuff was to give one another the things we’d be furiously sharing over lunch. If we had lunch today, all I’d be talking about is my adventures with bikes, and what they taught me about life. So here’s a somewhat lengthy, and hopefully funny, story about my first SXSW." (Alistair for Mitch).
- Pingbacks, another federated web technology, dying – Andraz Tori Blog. "The Web I ‘grew up on’ unlocked such power and promise: everyone could be a publisher of their own content, on their own platforms. This new possibility was driven by a few powerful technologies: easy free/open source blogging technology (mainly WordPress), RSS – which enabled readers of blogs to get alerts when there was a new post, and outgoing links (from one blog to another), and ‘pingbacks.’ Pingbacks alerted bloggers when another blogger linked to them – allowing bloggers to find each other and build networks of interest, upon which a new attention economy emerged. The world has shifted since those wooly days of the past. While many still run their own blogs, mostly this is being replaced with networks managed by big companies: Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. Consumer use of the RSS protocol – as the recent announced closure of Google Reader indicates – is no longer a growing phenomenon, replaced with the more organic discovery mechanisms of activity streams (again: Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook), and the links posted there within our social networks. This article talks about yet another fading technology: pingbacks – again replaced by the activity in closed social networks, Retweets and Likes in Facebook. Are the days of the independent, but federated Web coming to a close? I hope not, but that certainly looks to be the case." (Hugh for Alistair).
- Smartphone link most important feature for U.S. car buyers, industry figure says – The Globe & Mail. "The future imagined 20 or 30 years ago involved virtual reality, time travel, jetpacks and teleportation. It turns out that what we have delivered to ourselves instead is… information. Lots and lots of information. And we cannot get enough of it. Instead of having visual virtual reality, we now informational virtual reality: we have access to just about all the (public) information in the universe, along with all of the private conversations we might want to have, all the time, and everywhere – through our smartphones. And this, it turns out, is the thing people want more than anything. According to this article, people are starting to buy cars not based on price or quality, but rather, on how well a car integrates with their smartphones." (Hugh for Mitch).
- 7 Lessons From the World’s Most Captivating Presenters – HubSpot. "Giving presentations is not easy. Many try. Many claim to be professional speakers. TED showed the world that there are both ideas worth spreading in public speaking and that it is increasingly harder to make your mark. The reason it’s harder to make that mark is because we all have online access to almost every speaker – at any given moment. We used to talk about death by PowerPoint, but it has become much more serious. With TED Talks and more everywhere, it’s increasingly difficult to give a presentation and not be compared to some of the greats. I’ve written about my escapades as a public speakers and I’ve offered my share of advice. People like Nick Morgan, Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds are the types of people that probably forget more about the topic than I know. Still, this extensive piece is a great primer for anyone who is expected to get on stage and keep an audience interested." (Mitch for Alistair).
- Amazon’s Head of Mobile Interfaces – MIT Technology Review. "Amazon is a dangerous company. Just this week they announced the acquisition of Goodreads. And, that’s the thing. Most people still think of Amazon as a book seller. Nothing could be further from reality. This article, provides additional depth into one of the most fascinating (and, somewhat, secretive) companies in the world. Amazon is a hardware company, an analytics company, a technology company, a retail company, a tablet company, a software company, a media company and much, much more. When people think of tech, they think of Google and Twitter and Facebook. When people think of retail, they think of Walmart and Target and more. While the world pays a lot of attention to Amazon, this piece makes me realize that we still need to pay more attention to them." (Mitch for Hugh).
Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.
In the mid-’90s I was a teenager just entering high school. I loved computers, and the emergence of the Internet simply astounded me. I would spend hours on Prodigy, then AOL, chatting away and browsing every corner of the emerging web.
My big prediction was that there would come a day when we’d go to the mall online. We’d walk a character through the mall, entering shops where we could buy real items. Turns out it wasn’t that bold a prediction, as I wasn’t far off.
Today e-commerce has become a formidable challenger to brick-and-mortar stores, which rely on customers getting dressed (it’s harder than you think), leaving their houses, driving to the store, finding parking and dealing with store employees who are too eager or absent to be of any assistance, only to realize the item is out of stock. But in the early days of the web, it wasn’t clear that anyone would ever buy anything online. Who would you be buying from? How would you pay, and would it be safe? Did you need that item now, or could you wait six to 10 days for shipping? Why buy online when you could get everything at the mall (or so you thought) in one day? What if the items didn’t fit? What if they never arrived?
Just take a look at this report from a show called TV.com where they cover the growth and dangers of e-commerce and feature a very correct and forward-thinking Jeff Bezos. Wasn’t it great when we used phrases like “the Net” and “Cyberspace?”
Those doubts weren’t enough to stop a new industry. Companies did achieve economies of scale online, and e-commerce continues to grow year after year as access to the Internet increases. Smartphones are more ubiquitous every day, so a customer doesn’t even have to be near the computer to snag that pair of shoes they’ve been eyeing since they saw them on Pinterest.
But the final bell in the fight for retail supremacy hasn’t rung. The brick-and-mortar stores that are still in there swinging are those that have evolved into e-commerce innovators, finding ways not only to keep up with Amazon (Target recently vowed to match Amazon.com prices) but also to offer experiences that simply can’t be duplicated by pure e-commerce; and it all starts with your phone.
Mobile + In-Store = Experience
Don’t blink, because if you do you’ll miss yet another evolution in mobile technology. The limits of mobile experiences seem to be limited only by our imagination. Apple wasn’t kidding. Whatever it is, there’s an app for that.
Mobile has the potential to enhance in-store experiences by delivering special offers at the shelf, generating a shopping list and guiding you through the store by using the phone’s GPS, enabling comparison shopping from anywhere, taking and making payments, providing product reviews with the scanning of a barcode, and so on. In other words, mobile technology can allow customers access to the necessary information and let them take command of physical stores the way they do online.
Your Customers are Ready
It’s one thing to develop innovative technology; it is another to get your customer base to adopt and actually use it. Mobile shoppers are expecting more from retailers when it comes to mobile technology, a recent study by Latitude found. Some of the highlights are:
- 79% of participants were interested in having digital content delivered to their mobile phones while shopping in the store
- shoppers of all ages are looking for a more comprehensive mobile-payment platform
- 80% are interested in a “mobile wallet”
- 60% of smartphone owners have used a mobile device while shopping in a store
- 79% want the ability to virtually try on clothes while shopping in a store
- 86% want their mobile deice to alert them when they’re near a store that sells recommended or sought-after items.
The barriers between e-commerce and in-store retail are coming down. Just as social media will eventually become just “media,” e-commerce will eventually be just “commerce.” Now it’s up to the retailers to see who will innovate the fastest and smartest.
Have you seen any brands enhancing the in-store experience with mobile technology? Let us know!
I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail—a complete rip-off of Sleepless in Seattle, even using the same lead actors (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan). Ryan’s character runs a small independent bookshop in Manhattan, while Hanks’s character is opening a large retail bookstore with low prices (if only he’d known how technology would change the way we read) just down the block.
In the late 1990s, when the movie was made, this was a common story line. What were small businesses going to do when Borders, Walmart, Kmart and Target moved into town? How could they compete with rock-bottom prices and one-stop shopping?
To be honest, I thought the movie would end with Ryan’s Shop Around the Corner somehow spared by Hanks’s Fox Books store because of their anonymous online romance, which (spoiler alert!) materializes at the end of the movie. It doesn’t. Her shop still goes out of business. Even in the movies, the big-box store wins.
It seemed as though the growth of these massive retailers would only continue, leaving in its wake a trail of broken entrepreneurial dreams and century-old businesses too small to compete. In an economy like ours, in which the dollar is weak and so many are unemployed, such an outcome was almost a sure bet.
In 2012, that’s hardly the case. Just ask Kmart.
The growth of digital (namely social) media—its early forms chronicled in You’ve Got Mail—has provided a marketing weapon for small brands. The antithesis of big-box stores, artisanal brands are sprouting and flourishing in the post-advertising age.
These small brands are built with a focus on craftsmanship, hometown pride, storytelling, a clear purpose and spot-on branding. They’ve made their businesses unique and provide consumers much of what big-box stores can never offer.
Artisanal brands can teach us a lot about effective content marketing. Here are 10 lessons:
1. Endear audiences to the brand through a worthwhile mission
You can buy a pair of jeans 80 percent cheaper at Target, but Hiut Denim’s commitment to its mission, to go back to making jeans in Cardigan in the UK—where for three decades a factory, now closed, made 35,000 pairs a week—helps keep the Welsh town afloat. Knowing that your purchase is keeping craftsmen employed in a town that depends on manufacturing may very well make it worth it.
We mentioned Hiut Denim in a recent post about brands doing post-advertising right. When they heard they made our list, they sent a direct message via Twitter that said, “Thanks for help. The town is grateful ” How cool is that?
What’s your mission and how are you furthering it?
2. Get your audience involved in the conversation, even if they’re just listening
One of the keys to building a brand from the ground up is to ensure that the talkable products and content you’re creating have an audience that can share them. A number of brands, including Best Made Company and Herschel Supply Co., have well-designed pop-ups on their websites that greet you with the option of opting into their mailing lists. Even their pop-ups, like their products, are custom made.
Are you giving your audience ways to opt-in to receive your content?
3. Practice What You Preach
With artisanal brand’s higher price point and lower consumer penetration (compared with nationwide brands), it’s imperative that staff members showcase themselves using the same products that they champion. The staff of Huckberry recently posted on the active-lifestyle company’s blog an article chronicling a recent camping trip they took, a trip on which they used and reviewed a number of products Huckberry sells.
Does your audience know you believe in your product or service?
4. Turn the purchase into a story about a long-term relationship
A focus on craftsmanship often means that the product will last a long time. While your run-of-the-mill CPG brand will try to sell you a cheap product that rarely makes it past one use, an artisanal brand helps customers understand why its price points are appropriate. Whether it’s a made-to-order ax from Best Made Company or a backpack from Herschel Supply Co., its higher price point makes sense because the brand has conveyed a transparent story that helps customers see the value, literally.
What story is the craftsmanship of your product or execution of your service telling?
5. Use a consistent and relatable tone of voice
One of the best aspects of artisanal brands I’ve found while researching is that they convey a consistent tone of voice across all channels. Rarely do you find typical corporate brand jargon. You won’t hear that their products are industry leading, on demand or turnkey. Instead, the voice is friendly and down-to-earth and offers glimpses behind the scenes that help humanize the brand.
Are you speaking the same language as your audience?
6. Offer a steady diet of content
Particularly because these brands are so small, and you won’t find Warby Parker frames at Sunglass Hut or Hiut Denim jeans at Macy’s, it’s imperative that artisanal brands constantly create content for their audiences to keep the brands top of mind. Many brands create extensive Pinterest and Tumblr pages, blogs, films, social content and more to keep a constant connection with their audience.
Are you creating enough content to remain on your customer’s mind?
7. Design matters
Artisanal brands take pride in the way everything about their brands looks, not just the products themselves. If you want your audience to believe that your product is good, your branding had better reflect it.
Have you paid enough attention to design, particularly on your digital channels?
8. Embrace local
Now that big-box stores are in nearly every town in the United States, it’s difficult for them to “represent” their “homes.” But an artisanal brand often depends on its hometown—the place that defines the brand and its employees. Warby Parker’s site proudly links to the Made in NYC site which lists the “internet companies made with ?” in New York City. The staff of Huckberry often writes about San Francisco–related topics, such as the city’s being a “bastion of the bean.”
What’s unique about your brand’s home? Does your audience know?
9. Encourage user-generated content
Warby Parker and Herschel Supply urge customers to submit photos of themselves with the product. Warby Parker puts the pictures on its Facebook Wall and encourages users to vote for their favorite pair, while Herschel Supply includes the photos on its Tumblr page.
Are you tapping your audience for content?
10. Empower your customers to create stories of their own
I bought a pre-owned Ford Escape (which I love) from a dealership back in January. In a fairly hidden compartment, I found a CD of hymns and some other items that led me to believe the car might previously have been owned by a member of the clergy. Hopefully that means he didn’t speed much. But in reality, I’ll never know.
Hiut Denim puts a unique history tag on all its jeans that when entered on the brand’s HistoryTag website allows a customer to craft a story about the purchased product by uploading pictures of where he went in the jeans, what he did and whom he did it with. If ever someone else were to receive the jeans as a hand-me-down or buy them secondhand at a consignment shop, that person would know where they’d been (for better or for worse, I suppose).
How is your audience telling stories about your product/service?
These small, passionate brands are carving out niches and taking risks in the content-marketing space that many larger, inflexible brands only wish they could take. Even if you’re not in the market for an ax, an outdoor frying pan or a wallet, make sure you follow them. There’s a lot to learn.
Which artisanal brands are you a fan of? Let us know!
A handful of Apple’s authorized iPhone resellers have joined the company’s brick-and-mortar retail stores in offering discounts on existing iPhone models ahead of a media event next month that’s expected to serve as a launchpad for the so-called iPhone 5.
This guest post is by Christian Arno of Lingo24.
With just 140 characters you can reach a global audience. Hardly a newsflash, I know, but think about it. Followers around the world can give your blog the kind of exposure you could only have dreamed about in the past, everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires. People eagerly await your posts on every continent. Tell me that doesn’t sound good!
Of course, going global on Twitter means embracing other languages. The English language only stretches so far. But building a multilingual presence on Twitter doesn’t have to be difficult.
When it comes down to it, whether you are representing a company or going solo, Twitter is a great way to attract a global audience to your blog. Get it right by following a few guidelines.
Target, aim, tweet
Like most things in life, it helps to have a strategy. Don’t be misled by how easy it is to fire off tweets. Sure, you could machine-translate your next message into umpteen languages and hit the Tweet button. If you want to destroy your reputation, that is.
Instead, think back to your overall marketing plan and where the non-English speaking countries fit your blogging strategy. Which markets are key for you? Your stats for other online content can be revealing here. Where do you need to build a presence, and where should you be improving your reach?
After all, why waste time tweeting in Russian if you are aiming to build your blog readership in South America? When you stop aiming for the whole world, it becomes a whole lot easier to be relevant to the people who matter.
Do your Twitter research
Not all countries and languages are represented equally on Twitter. The impact of your multilingual tweets will in part depend on how actively each language is used. For example, Arabic is the fastest-growing Twitter language, according to a Semiocast study. The same statistics show the rapid rise of Spanish and Dutch. When it comes to the most used languages, Japanese and Portuguese lead the pack. Malay and Korean speakers are also sending their share of the millions of tweets sent each day.
Reach out to these markets and your exposure can skyrocket.
Take care with translations
Unless you are tweeting about what you ate for lunch, resist the lure of instant translation tools. Producing accurate foreign language content can be tricky. You need to strike the right tone (not too stuffy, but avoiding offending anyone) as well as choosing just the right words. Add in the restriction of 140 characters (which gives you even less to play with in some languages than in English) and it becomes an art. Native speaker input is invaluable here.
Follow the right people
Your focus shouldn’t only be on who your followers are, but on who you are following. Stay tuned to the tweets of the big influencers in your overseas markets. These can range from celebrities to the leaders and popular bloggers in your own particular field. Re-tweeting the right people can build your own reputation for having your finger on the pulse.
Finally, keep your tweets relevant. That means different accounts for each language, so that your followers don’t have to sift through unfamiliar languages. (They will probably just unfollow you instead.) And stay culturally aware. Some topics will offend in particular countries, others will simply be of no interest.
What you stand to gain
Fact: Twitter is a big player on the global social media scene. For over a year now, 70% of Twitter traffic has come from outside the US. If you can tap into the non-English speaking sectors of this international traffic, your exposure will increase dramatically.
Those fast-growing languages mentioned earlier give you a chance to get in early on up and coming markets. On the other hand, countries such as Japan lead the field in terms of posting activity, with more accounts actively posting messages than either the US or the UK.
Actively involved users mean a better chance of re-tweets. If you write something people want to share, you can end up with them doing local marketing for you. For free. It doesn’t get much better than that.
You also have a chance to tap into multiple consumer pools around the globe without leaving your seat. Being part of their conversations lets you monitor what they are saying: about your blog as a whole or your latest post, about other bloggers, about wants, desires and frustrations. Think how valuable that can be.
Twitter brings that information and that potential army of followers to you. But you can’t close the deal without being willing to send those 140 character tweets in other languages. Make the effort, and you’ll probably wonder what took you so long.
Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a top translation service in the USA. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 170 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV, World Bank and American Express. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.
Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger