Tag Archives: brand

Seven Faux Pas to Avoid When with Working Designers

Design is a crucial element to any marketing campaigns success. Creative is an element that is often thought of as something easy to produce.  We, as consumers, know when we like a design and when we don’t. While designers are artists, they also need specific elements to build their works of art.  Over the years, I have played part therapist and design champion for my internal design shops. As a creative and marketer, I listed my seven-faux pas for why designers lose patience when it comes to developing creative deliverables in-house.

  1. Piecemeal information.

Designers are artists who want to spend time creating, not chasing information. Many designers are chasing details because either the client didn’t have all the information together or simply didn’t think it was an “important detail.” Hello, creative brief. When it comes to creating assets for campaigns, designers need all the information at once to understand what they are creating. Piecemeal information inhibits designers for optimizing their time. Optimization is crucial to meeting projects on-time and on-budget. Unless you have unlimited resources, get your details in order.

  1. No clear direction.

29Leading to my second point, many marketers start building campaigns without a clear direction of what they want to achieve. As the adage goes, “lack of planning is planning to fail.” Simple answers to the questions, “who is the audience?” and “how the creative will be consumed?” are immensely helpful to designers. However, marketers sometimes focus on the endgame of getting the campaign complete and out the door. Or worse yet, the marketer is thinking of something completely different creatively which causes challenges for the designer.  Don’t waste the designers time by not drafting a creative brief. Marketers that don’t spend time on the creative brief will inevitably not be on the same page with the designer causing issues with the direction and overall approach. This is maddening considering it is very easy to avoid.

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Is It Time for You To Go Native?

Metscher's Musing Native Advertising

Visual Source: Pardot

Earlier this year, I wrote an article for my friends at Brand Quarterly titled, “To Native or Not to Native, That is the Question.” The impetus for the article is based on my research over the last year on how native content (or branded content, whichever term you like to use) has exploded into media and marketing trades. There has been a lot of conversation around how ethical native is or is not. My goal of my article was not to answer whether native is the right choice for your company, but rather present that facts and let you, the audience, decide.

Stats Highlights:

  • According to a 2014 eMarketer report, spending on native ads on social sites alone is expected to increase from $3.1 billion to $5 billion by 2017.  As a percentage of total social ad spending, it projected that native would rise from 38.8 percent in 2014 to 42.4 percent in 2017.
  • HubShout, a online marketing firm, conducted a surveylast year that found 72.8 percent of internet users who have read sponsored content believe it has equal or greater value as non-sponsored content on the same website. (For those interested in the full report on native advertising full impact from HubShout, you can download now. Note: This is gated information so you will need to share your dets.)

Here is the link to Brand Quarterly titled, “To Native or Not to Native, That is the Question.” 

Happy Reading!

Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review.  She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

Six Reasons Why Your Sales Folks Don’t Use Social Media

Last Friday, I conducted a social media training class for some of our sales folks. There was a room with many folks on a Friday, which was surprising considering it was optional and before lunch.

First, I love teaching about social media because I like to explain the real power behind the posts and tweets. I go through my deck and then ask if there are any questions. Things are looking good until the end. Then, there were crickets. No response, which from my teaching days I can tell you that’s bad. Asking again, one of the more seasoned sales guys and let’s say outwardly outspoken said this, “Rachel, I attend this session before. I think I can summarize that most of use don’t know where to spend our time if we have any.”

Now, for some of you are reading this and saying “typical sales guy.” I heard opportunity in his response. I addressed his answer, but I think there is a lot to that statement that got me thinking about the lack of adoption for most organization. Why is getting social media adopted a hard sell?

From my perspective, adoption is worth you spending time on. It is why me and our other marketing folks focus on sales and professional service. Why? Sales people are the front line to your business. They talk with your current and prospective clients. Good sales and professional services people generally have their ear to the ground and hear things before I do. I think it would a huge mistake not involving them because employees are your brand ambassadors.

So, why do sales folks not want to participate?

1)   Don’t see it as apart of their job.

While prospecting seems to go hand-and –hand with social, some sales folks stick with the traditional tried and true methods. Tip: Show Don’t Tell. I shared with the group how I research reporters and editors and then follow them on Twitter. Share their content. Send a note when I think a piece is awesome. It is a two-way conversation that doesn’t always have to be about my company.

Image from GetUWired.Us

Image from GetUWired.Us

2)   Don’t know how

No one wants to admit they don’t know how to use Twitter or Linkedin publically. So, we created an intranet group to teach folks. Remind people of the resources they have. If you don’t have any create them. I always have to remind myself that as an early adopter, I am ahead of the curve and not everyone is there yet.

Tip: Teach and Teach some more. I honor every request from our internal folks on how to use social media tools like Twitter or LinkedIn. While it not my role, I do believe you have to be a teacher to help folks adopt social media.

3)   Can figure out how to incorporate social media into their routine.

This is similar to point two, but I want to highlight that these folks have tried to incorporate social in the beginning of their excitement, then fall off the wagon. As Aristotle once said,“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

4)   Say their target market isn’t on social media

This is one of my favorites. So, the way I answer it is this: While true your senior stakeholder may not use Twitter or LinkedIn, I bet one of his/her influencers does. Someone you don’t have to go straight the top of an organization if you know who influences decisions. While the boss may sign the checks, someone is usually advising the boss on what to do.

5)   Not interested in learning

Not everyone wants to learn. Here my take on how to plan for it.

6)   Their boss doesn’t use social media and therefore they don’t.

This is a pretty common problem with any social media adoption. Training for senior leaders to not only encourage, but to participate.

Ultimately, I think most adoption problems are issues with use (utility if you will). If I don’t use something, I don’t see the value and cannot maximize the return on using it. So, in order to get more folks to adopt social media, you have to get them to jump in with both feet. Show them how to listen. Teach them how to share. And pack your patience. It is going to be a long road to adoption.

Fun Fact Fridays: 8 Tips to Humanize Your Brand through Social Media

I had the chance to catch up with a former client about the success of his business. While he has double his business over the last few years, he is always looking for marketing advice. And I am always happy to give my two cents on how to use social media to drive awareness and traffic to your website. Over lunch, the conversation went from marketing to the benefits of social media and how it could humanize his brand.

We started chatting about how to get people to his site.  The usual tactics were employed: we have a blog; we work with our affinity partners, etc.

Then I started peppering him with questions like:

“Great, you have blog. How often are you updating it, are you consistently publishing relevant and informative content, have you optimized the blog for keywords, do your employees share the information with others, are your employees contributing to the blog?”

Then I ask my favorite question, “ Are you using social coupled with your blog to personalized the people in your company?”

His answer: Well…We should do more.

Our conversation got me thinking about how to humanize brands. While I am not a proponent of tactics driving strategy for social media, I think you first need to consider why your company should be social.  You need to have

People. Objective. Strategy. Technology

People. Objective. Strategy. Technology

purpose in your company’s social media efforts, it is all about P.O.S.T.

If you need a reason, here is one: social media is creating a two-way dialogue with people. Social media also produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC according to a recent study by Hubspot this year.

And let’s be clear, people are searching for your product or company way before they pick up the phone or send an email of interest. While the sales process is not necessarily longer, however, prospects have more resources to research your product online. Why not give them information to support each stage of the buying cycle.

So here are some tactics to consider;

1)   If you don’t have folks outside marketing contributing to your blog. Start today. You need employees to share industry news and trends. 

2)   Anyone working for your company should be positively promoting your organization through sharing industry news or company articles not always about you, but topics your current and potential customers care about.

3)   Worried that folks don’t get social media? Give them a playbook to help them understand how to use it professionally.

4)   People need guidelines, consider creating a social media policy.

5)   Don’t expect people to jump in and understand what you want them to do socially, train them.

6)   Have employees contribute to your blog on their interest.

7)   Encourage your folks to follow your social media channels and reshare to their followers.

8)   Be the influence and guide by your example.

Bonus. You need content to share right? Start using your employees to generate content for your blog

1)   The number on rule for your blog should be S.F.T.C (Solve for the Customer).

2)   Interview both employees and clients for the blog using a Q and A format.

3)   Have clients share best practices.

4)   Blogs are not exclusively for executives. Everyone should contribute.

5)   If you don’t make the blog a priority, no one else will.

4 Reasons Why a Blog Helps Your Personal Brand

I recently attended an event in which someone discussed the important of personal brand. Personal brand, she said, is important as you continue to climb the corporate ladder.  But, what if you’re not where you want to be? Blogs are a great way to increase your visibility and build your personal brand empire.

Blogs are not something new. According to Wikipedia, blogs began in the late nineties. Folks for the last ten years have been sharing their experience, knowledge, and general random thoughts, but it wasn’t until the last few years (2004 ish) that blogs really took off.

There are many benefits to writing a blog:  brand awareness, build authority,  content creation, and search engine optimization.

Brand Awareness

Brand Awareness isn’t only for large companies. What do you want folks to think about you? Your blog can be a great way to build your personal brand. Use your skills, interests, and experiences to build your blog, ultimately build your brand. Your personal brand isn’t just for your blog, but your digital presence.  Susan Payton wrote this article regarding how to be the “It” expert in your industry that is worth a read.

Authority

Blogs are a great way to express your knowledge on a topic and build trust with your audience. Hubspot wrote a post on 11 ways to use content to build authority. Passionate about social media? Cool, then write about that. The key to building expertise is to share your stories. Everyone has something to share. Start writing down your ideas in a notebook or use Evernote. Personally, I keep a small notebook to write down my ideas. Lots of posts have come those scribbles. Most of the ideas I jot down come from conversations at work or something I read. No matter how random the idea is write it down. Start using those ideas for posts and turn your ideas into opportunities. This is how you build authority by sharing your experience.

Your BrandContent Creation

You can’t build your empire without some content. You heard content is king, but what does that mean? I like Anna Famery’s summary on topic, “If there is no content worth reading or seeing on the site, than people won’t go.” How do you fuel the content machine? Jot down different topics to discuss on your blog. Here is a list to get you started:

  • Industry trends
  • Best practices
  • Tips
  • Pitfalls
  • Top Ten lists
  • Case Studies
  • Personal Observations
  • How To’s
  • Work Funny Ha Has

Need more? Here is another post to read on how to write great content from Jeff Bullas.

Search Engine Optimization

Trying to rank for certain key words? You should think about how to incorporate those into your blog. Amy Portfield writes a great post on how to make your blog rank well. Don’t know where to start? Think about how folks find you on the interwebs. If folks are looking for the ultimate basket weaver, how do they find you? You can check your website analytics, if you are using Google Analytics under traffic sources.

Your Number One Asset in Branding

Communication folks  often evaluate who is their best audience/channel for  projects. Who’s the target? Primary? Secondary? But more times than not, we forget to add the biggest audience we have in our corner: our employees.

I recently chatted with AMA’s Marketing News reporter, Christine Birkner about the importance of using employees in rebranding.

AMA Marketing News

AMA Marketing News

Leverage employees is key to winning the messaging battle.It is your ace in your hand because employees are vested in telling their story. Financially anyhow.

If your frontline folks don’t know what the key messages are, you are losing the game. Period.

Brand Advocacy is the Missing Link in Your Brand Strategy

Brand advocacy is often overlooked when it comes to brand and communications in general. The goal of your communication’s team should be “how can we get people excited about this new change?” Because, let’s be honest, it will mean a lot of work for many departments: updating their documents, changing how they represent the company, changing your habits. Anyone will tell you that rebranding is a HUGE endeavor. There is a lot to do: new website, new collateral, new messaging. This involves a lot of people in your organization. Without getting folks excited about your rebranding effort, it will be a lot of work for folks who have “other daytime jobs.”

If you begin with “ we are going to need you to do x,w,z”, no one will be excited. When was the last time you raised your hand and said, “ I like to do more work if possible, please?” I can tell you never. #hashtag #saidnoone

PRSA had featured an article about the importance of brand and I think it is important to note it here because it summarizes why your organization’s employees are not only important to marketing efforts, but vital:

“Our employees are our brand — the champions of the goods or services that our organization puts out to the world. They have knowledge of the organization and can speak about us in a genuine and authentic way.

Empowering employees to act as brand advocates will give them the confidence to reach their potential; likewise, their actions will contribute to the organization’s ability to deliver on its mission and brand promise.”

It’s about getting employees connected and that cannot be done with telling them that the rebrand is going to be great. It about getting them involved so that they see how great it is/ will be. Do not tell me, but show me.

There are many big brands doing this well, which we all can name off the top of our heads. But even mid to small organization have a unique and competitive advantage to actually involving their folks in it. Why? You have fewer folks to wrangle, therefore, have a unique opportunity to engage very personally with them.

Get your employees involved and involved early. This way they feel connected and will be willing to participate more than just sending them an e-mail about “brand updates.” Who cares about that? That does not sound one bit interesting to me. But, if you change the conversation about how you want them involved that changes the perception and ultimately outcome.