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How to build a brand with words

June 23, 2014 by Marketing Donut contributor

Copywriting{{}}Most of us are pretty clear about the importance of design when brand building, but we are often less sure about which words to choose to bring our brands to life.

But every time you put pen to paper you either engage or disengage your customers. Words matter and brands that tell their stories as well as showing them win hands down. Successful brands like Apple and Volkswagen match the words to the visuals to create a strong voice.

Content marketing and social media

Twitter, instant messaging, texts, online chat — they’re all proof of the power of words. How many times have we heard about people forming long distance relationships online, with only words at their disposal?

And think of how much information we find on the web before purchasing just about anything nowadays. Reviews, descriptions, listings and websites all contribute to our decisions to buy.

So how do you build a brand with words?

  • One way to establish the right tone of voice it to think of your brand as a person — what sort of conversations are they having?
  • Capture your audience’s attention immediately — you have about three seconds for online content and not much longer for offline, so assess your content as if it’s the first time you’ve seen it.
  • Don’t overcomplicate your message — differentiate between things you find interesting and your genuine USPs that will convince customers to buy.
  • Focus on benefits not features. Features have their place but nobody was ever driven to buy a widget because it was only 1cm wide. They were driven to buy it because its slim width is a key advantage.
  • Edit, edit and edit. Revisit and edit again — get the picture? There will be times when your message is muffled by excess wordage. So lose the waffle. Less is more.

Finally, assess your writing capabilities honestly and if writing isn’t your thing, get help. You can keep costs down by doing as much groundwork as possible, putting all the content together in one document. Most copywriters charge by the hour.

Sara Ruber is the director of creative agency Become.

The content conundrum infographic

June 19, 2014 by Marketing Donut contributor


Infographic created by JBH Marketing. Sources - Content Marketing Institute.

Can you incorporate the football into your marketing?

June 18, 2014 by Marketing Donut contributor

Can you incorporate the football into your marketing?/Footballer foot kicking the ball{{}}Unless you’ve been living the life of a hermit for the past few months, you’re bound to be aware of the major international football tournament that began in Brazil this week. Like any other worldwide occasion, this year’s Brazilian sporting event has the attention of everyone on the planet — and with that in mind, provides the perfect marketing opportunity for businesses.

What you may not have realised, however, is the number of pitfalls that companies will have to dodge in order to run a successful marketing campaign that takes full advantage of the world’s attention on Brazil.

Are you wondering why this article is skirting the issue of saying exactly what the event is that we’re talking about? That omission is with good reason. What small businesses may not be aware of is that the football governing body in charge of the tournament has a list of protected terms that are trademarked and therefore should not be used unless you are an official sponsor. While the biggest sporting event of the year is the perfect opportunity to tailor your marketing campaign, you’ll also have to be extremely careful about how exactly you go about it.

Here are the terms that you shouldn’t be using:

  • 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup
  • FIFA World Cup
  • FIFA
  • World Cup
  • 2014 World Cup
  • World Cup 2014
  • Brazil 2014
  • 2014 Brazil
  • Football World Cup
  • Soccer World Cup
  • Copa 2014
  • Copa do Mundo
  • Mundial 2014
  • Mundial de Futebol Brasil 2014
  • Copa do Mundo 2014
  • Host city names + 2014 (such as Rio 2014)

You may well have had a glance over these terms and instantly thought that there is no chance of setting up a successful campaign without being penalised by the governing body.

A tale of two brands

This is far from the case, as two rival brands demonstrate. On one side, you have Adidas — one of the official sponsors for the tournament. The well-known sports clothing brand has recently launched a global advertising campaign, under the name The Dream. It sees football icons like Lionel Messi, Mesut Özil, Robin van Persie and Luis Suárez in the spotlight, with Kanye West providing the beats with a new rap.

On the other side is fellow sports clothing brand Nike. While the company is not an official sponsor of the event, it has managed to avoid all of the governing body’s advertising rules and regulations to create The Last Game. During the animated, five-and-a-half minute clip set in Brazil, fans are sure to recognise such familiar faces as Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrés Iniesta and Brazil’s own Neymar in the commercial.

The only thing that differentiates the commercials is the use of the official terms. And that only becomes apparent when you’re looking for them. And, at the time of writing, it looks as though Nike has already stolen a march on official sponsors Adidas.

It just shows you don’t necessarily need to be endorsed in order to be successful and that the use of the terms isn’t vital to jumping on the football bandwagon.

To further highlight the points made in this article, this entire piece was produced while avoiding all of the protected terms, except for when they were listed in the interest of the reader. Not the easiest of tasks — but definitely possible. And you still knew what we were talking about.

This article was submitted by marketing agency Kommando

How to choose the right exhibition

June 16, 2014 by Richard Edwards

How to choose the right exhibition/ Exhibition sign{{}}Exhibiting at an industry trade show can do wonders for your business — but it can also cost a lot. So how do you choose the right trade show?

1. Assess your objectives

The first step is to list all the reasons for wanting to exhibit. Be specific. “To increase sales” is too vague.

 How exactly will exhibiting help you to boost sales? Here are some common objectives for exhibitors: 

  • Launch a new product
  • Make new contacts
  • Learn about industry developments
  • Interact with your current customers
  • Test out a new product
  • Gather sales leads

 2. Compare the trade shows to your key objectives

 Next you can start to compare the USPs of each show with your business objectives to find the best matches.

 Look at each trade show and try to find out key information from previous years:

  • Size: both footfall and exhibition space.
  • Industry segment. Which area of the industry will the trade show target?
  • Number of exhibitors. How many attended previous events?
  • Competition. Are your competitors likely to attend? If so, how many and which ones?
  • Publicity. Where will the trade show be publicised online and in the media?
  • Respect. How is the trade show rated by customers and your industry peers?

With this information you should be able to score each potential trade show based on how well they meet your key objectives. This will be a bit of a balancing act between cost, likely outcomes and the resources you have available.

3. Balancing the budget

A fundamental question you need to answer is: Can we afford this trade show?

You should have a good idea of your budget, so the best way to get started is to create a list of all possible trade shows and their cost and cross off all those you cannot afford.

In order to meet defined objectives, it is important to make sure you have factored in appropriate costs for each exhibition including: 

  • Exhibition stand and build
  • Marketing materials
  • Staffing
  • Travel

You will also need to think about the costs of other activities like demonstrations, competitions, branding/graphics, advertising and so on.

Once you have factored all of these costs in for each opportunity, plus the ticket cost, you should have a list of affordable trade shows that match your objectives and target market. 

Richard Edwards is the director of exhibition and event specialist Quatreus.

The SME guide to social customer service

June 12, 2014 by Marc Duke

The SME guide to social customer service/ Unlike red stamp with thumb down{{}}I recently went to the Social Customer Service Summit run by Our Social Times. The event was attended by major brands and technology providers in the social customer service space and looked at all aspects of social customer service in relation to larger organisations.

But if you are a small business or an entrepreneur is this relevant to you?

Let’s assume you have a social media strategy in place. No doubt you have read plenty of hints and tips about social media etiquette; how Facebook and Twitter differ from LinkedIn; how Pinterest, Instagram and Vine will transform your business; and you are up to speed with what you need put on YouTube.

But you may still be wondering if social customer service really is relevant to you and your business. Here are some facts to consider:

  • Radio 4 recently devoted 30 minutes discussing the issue of complaining on Twitter;
  • 53% of people who engage with a brand on Twitter expect a response within one hour or less (Social Media Today);
  • By 2020, 90% of customer service will be done via social media (Gartner);
  • 82% of customers stop doing business with a brand after bad service (Harris Interactive).

So what needs to be done to make social customer service in your business a reality?

Well, it depends on who your customers are and how they behave. As a small business, the chances are you know exactly who they are, whether they are active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and you also know how they like to interact with you. Some will prefer email, others will prefer to use the phone or they may — lucky them — get the chance to talk to you face-to-face.

Controlling the customer experience

As a small business you can control exactly what sort of customer experience your employees give your customers, and the fact that you treat your customers in such a personalised way is something they value as much as you.

The challenge comes when your business starts to grow. At present you probably use Twitter and Facebook to get the message out and hope that people hear what you have to say. The question of how to deal with customers who complain on Facebook or Twitter probably isn’t front of mind at the moment.

But as your business grows it has to be.

So think ahead to avoid disappointment and consider the following:

  • People. Make sure your employees know your code of conduct on Twitter, Facebook and other social media as soon as they join. You might have to provide training before letting people loose online as you would on the phones or when responding to email.
  • Process. Make sure you have a series of steps in place to deal with a complaint logged on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t ignore it — a person with 3000 Twitter followers who posts something negative equals 3000 complaints.
  • Place. Social media is a public domain. Any good business owner that has a disgruntled customer in their shop will look to deal with the situation in a private and discreet manner. The rules are exactly the same online.
  • Personality. Ultimately, social is an amazing platform that lets you and your business show its personality to the world. Don’t go all corporate — people are expressing their views and feelings, so respond in kind.
  • Plan. Try to plan for a crisis. As the saying goes, we don’t plan to fail but we will if we fail to plan.

Marc Duke is a marketing consultant.

Five tips on selling during the upturn

June 10, 2014 by Andy Preston

Five tips on selling during the upturn/ The road to recovery signpost{{}}It’s funny how coming out of the recession hasn’t got nearly as much media coverage as when we went into it. Right now, savvy salespeople and companies are taking advantage of the upturn. But are you fully prepared?

1. Write a sales plan

If you’re a salesperson, you need to have a written sales plan of how you’re going to exceed your sales target. If you’re a sales manager, you need to have a written sales plan. If you’re a sales director, you need to have a written sales plan. If you’re a business owner, you need to have a written sales plan. There is no excuse for not having a written sales plan.

2. Focus, focus, focus

The next step is to make sure you’re focused. Most firms have had to be more focused than ever during the recession as they have faced a drop-off in enquiries and sales leads. This forced their sales team to concentrate harder on new opportunities and focus on how they were going to get it to convert into business.

If the market is starting to pick up, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of taking those enquiries for granted — as some companies had done before the recession really hit them. If you’re starting to get lots more enquiries, your sales plan will help you focus on the best opportunities, and the ones you and your team are most likely to convert.

3. Work to your strengths

This is an important point and one that’s often missed. The important thing is to be aware of your energy levels. Back when I was a sales manager, I had one rep that truly was a morning person — jumping around at 8.30 in the morning, yet when 3pm came he was almost asleep!

We decided to play to his strengths and arranged his diary to take advantage of his energy levels. We made his new business activity (cold calls, new business appointments) in the morning, and existing client calls and paperwork in the afternoon. Month on month his sales went up 50%. Amazing.

Are you playing to the strengths of your team? Think about how to best use your resources right now and play to the strengths of your staff.

4. Block out time for prospecting

I’ve lost count of the times people have said to me, “We don’t have time for prospecting/cold calling” or “I know I should have made some calls today, but things just got in the way”.

There is no excuse for not prospecting. Sales managers continually get frustrated with salespeople who “ride the sales rollercoaster” — a good month, followed by a bad month, followed by a good month, followed by a bad month.

This is usually because the salesperson has become so busy dealing with their leads that they haven’t had time for prospecting, which means less leads the following month — and that leads to a lack of sales.

Everyone should make time for prospecting. It should be the most important thing in your day. Too many salespeople don’t prospect because it’s easier to deal with existing customers but then they complain when they miss targets the following month.

5. Get motivated

Already this year, lots of companies have asked me to come in and help motivate their sales team. Companies that want to steal a march on their competitors are looking to get better results from their teams.

Motivation is vital to your success. Many firms make the mistake of assuming that their salespeople are already motivated. Yet in my experience, most salespeople generally work between 30-50% of their potential.

If you’re a manager or a director, what steps are you taking right now to work on the motivation of your team? If you’re the salesperson, what would it take for you to feel more motivated right now? And don’t say “more money”. That’s known as commission!

Andy Preston is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and a leading expert on sales. His website is at www.andypreston.com.

Posted in Sales | Tagged upturn, sales, recovery | 0 comments

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