GOOD THINGS TO DO FOR BETTER CONTENT

By , February 6, 2014 10:39 am

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Sometimes we need a checklist to remind us of what is important. In the new world of all things “Content,” let’s review:

➢ Emphasize what your products and services do to satisfy your customers’ wants and needs

➢ Don’t market based on YOUR own preferences and behaviors. Think / Be Consumer Centric! Develop and use the number one communications skill of –“I’m Listening,” which indicates that you care if you act on what you are hearing.

➢ Explore customer behaviors and lifestyles and shopper personas. How do customers self-define their personas?

➢ Have customer data that is not influenced by your mindset. This is the customer era – bottom up not top down.

➢ Rely on onsite research to deliver insights into content useful to customers. What will initiate their discovery that you/your brand can help them solve their wants and needs problems?

➢ Good marketing content begins in imitation and develops innovation. The innovation doesn’t have to benefit those who are not your target market. Create specific strategies to focus mainly on loyal customers.

➢ Create your ideas for interactions by engaged-with potential customers

➢ Plan to answer customer questions in Real-Time (or Close-time). Remember – “I’m Listening – hearing – and acting upon your requests.”

➢ Develop intriguing, fascinating, compelling content that draws consumers into your brand’s world. The sense of discovery will bring attention, interest, desire and action (AIDA still applies).

➢ Trust and transparency in content and actions are critical to maintaining a sustainable relationship with today’s customers

brand content Drawing by Art Winters

Drawing by Art Winters

What do we understand and what can we put to use from this review of some of the key elements of Content Marketing Communications?

Let us know what you think…

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

RELEASE the PRESS RELEASE? To Deliver SEO or Not to Deliver SEO? That is the Question…

By , December 26, 2013 9:44 am

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Up to this moment in “cyber news”, the press release has worked as a significant contributor to what we used to call journalism.  The press release was able to give reporters and editors at newspapers and magazines – print, and TV, radio — broadcast media an essential story.  Relevant information was the currency between news makers and news reporters.

Now, there are so many omni-media ways for the PR practitioners to reach their audiences:  blogs, tweets, social media, e-mail newsletters, webinars, et al.  And, in this cyber world, search engines provide another major tool for omni-information seekers.   The press release remains useful as always, if it is relevant in this new environment of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  P.R. managers and marketing directors may possibly add “journalist” to their job descriptions, since at this time they manage many more operations and produce publishable content, which can directly reach their key audiences.

If there was a period when the preponderance of media might have been a problem for a public relations operation to continue using the press release, it’s no longer the case.  One of the reasons the release gained publishing power, is because it helps to deliver the coveted SEO.  As such, these optimized links have brought companies their most useful keywords, helping them to obtain more acceptance on the Internet.  This is now a successful strategy to aid brands and companies with their online presence and recognition.

However, these optimized links are being questioned.  Some industry voices have described these as “link devices,” warning that the anchor text in the news release will no longer build a company’s SEO and creating more links may even damage SEO.  Thus, brand content groups that produce readers to build “unnatural” links will be seriously stymied.

Point — Counter Point!!

by Art Winters Dec2013

 

As always, if the press agent dished out bad information, the media rejected it.  If they provided valid news of relevance to the media’s audience, the media appreciated the helpful, newsworthy information.  There are fewer gatekeepers to filter the news, aka content.  Then as now, high content stories provided in today’s press releases could still service market education and offer online discoveries through the omni-channels.

Therefore, we believe the press release is still a valid marketing strategy and tool, even if it is different from the past.  It needs to strive to be an effective communicator of authentic and timely content.

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

EDITORIAL AND PRESS RELEASE – P.R. influence through $$

By , October 31, 2013 10:06 am

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PRESS RELEASES BY PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEES lead to content that functions like press releases but are paid-for in so-called NATIVE ADVERTISING. Here are some vital questions to consider:
Is a brand’s PR’s use of mobile media a sign of authenticity?
Will media have explicit editorial surveillance for a press release content that is paid for?
Will editorial content now be dominated by press releases in omni-media and omnicon?

Also, if Native Advertising consists of paid-for deals made between PR committees and a variety of media, how will reward advertising affect authenticity? Will the significant audience care – as long as they are rewarded? (see our July 2013 blog on Native Advertising.) (reward-based advertising rewards consumers for interacting with branded-content in their favorite mobile apps.)

Considering these new forms of PR content, what will editorial content become? Will it lead to an erosion of inconvenient factual positioning found in Brand Marketing Communications?
Will the PR factions of Brand Management actually create “contracts” between Brands and Media? Will the media be receptive to this idea as it changes the role of gatekeeper — to what exactly?

drawing by Art Winters

drawing by Art Winters

Now that we have omni-tweets and facebook updates and e-mail blasts, what will the consumer believe is the real story of the brand’s positioning, its image and meaning? A significant answer to this question is in the changes in marketing communications. We now have so many more methods of messaging and outlets for those messages: e-books, infographics; blogs, social media, email newsletters, webinars, … , not to mention, the traditional media that still exist.

These can be effective especially when they are a creative part of a brand’s PR and marketing campaign strategy. News outlets still need connections with the people and stories behind the brand.

The press release that was, is still useful. However, it is so much changed. What is needed now is relevant content that truly involves the receiver. The receivers of press releases used to be the media gatekeepers – reporters and editors… but this has changed due to the advent of social and mobile media, company websites and blogs. And a serious reality in this new age of PR is that the receivers of press releases are now almost any audience … and the harsh reality that content providers must face is that their press release content might never be read!

The evolution in information exchanges now requires a whole new
Brand Think!!

What do you think???

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

SHOPPERSONA … CUSTOMER BEHAVIORAL CONDITIONING through DIGITAL MARKETING CONTENT

By , August 29, 2013 9:33 am

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Knowing your key customers’ lifestyles and work behaviors can help create content to align your brand shoppersona with your target customer’s shoppersona. In this digital era, to communicate real value, it is necessary to provide meaningful experiences through content that is based on your carefully researched key customer persona. With exploding competition for the customer’s time and attention, brands must become the “go to,” “top-of-mind” brand name for acquiring that special “persona” humans seek. To ring that bell, as Ivan Pavlov’s studies in behavioral conditioning explored, brands must create web content experiences based on knowledge of what will activate the customer‘s want/need to shop and buy. Brands have always sought to learn how they shop and why they buy; now they must go deeper.

Ivan Pavlov by Art Winters

Ivan Pavlov by Art Winters

So what do digital marketers need in order to create their behavioral conditioning strategies? Starting with lifestyle and life work, learning your customers’ online habits: Do they spend a lot of time online? When: While at work? Only when at home? Any time on the go? For What: Are there categories of products they are more or less likely to shop for online? Where do they get relevant brand information; which blogs do they value; how much do they rely on friends and associates for referrals; what media and devices are they using …?

To gain and keep customers, a brand must align its “positioning conditioning,” to establish why the customer should consider changing their brand preference behaviors. Again we ask: How is your brand different and better in terms of what it offers the customer in their managements of life? How do you lead the customer to your touch points and get them to engage with your brand?

If you haven’t been thinking about how digital marketing is changing the behavioral conditioning in customer behavior, it may be time to update your knowledge. Specifically why and how potential customers are now shopping and buying. These insights can be used to create content for the new Native Advertising (see our July 2013 blog) that takes a new approach to how media and brands are communicating what products and services a brand can promise and deliver. Digital marketing strategies should concentrate on interactions rather than transactions. The primary goal is to develop new ways to approach your key customers with content that contains sincere concerns for helping them and developing experiences to build a relationship that is based on knowledge of their new behavioral shoppersona.

For more on Online Shopping Habits of Technology Consumers, go to these very interesting and current survey results: http://www.logicbuy.com/features/survey-online-shopping-habits-of-technology-consumers-infographic

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

NATIVE ADVERTISING… a new definition, or will it lead to consumer deafinition?

By , July 25, 2013 11:14 am

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It may be the time to ask whether this new definition is helpful — NATIVE ADVERTISING is a method of communication that is “native” to the experience offered within a website’s content, valuable content integrated within the editorial feed — not an ad-in-a-box alongside the search page.

Actually, we have already used descriptions of Native Advertising such as advertorial, brand reference, and sponsored content, among others.  Thus, Native could be defined as any ad that is blended within content.  Also from a consumer’s view, it may be an opt-in interactive choice in which she or he is aware of the advertiser’s message intent, and still opts-in.  Different age groups react to marketing online in more or less accepting/receptive ways.  Therefore, a Native Advertiser needs to communicate how its offer has personal appeal and feels native to the site, overcoming the consumer’s wish not to hear or see advertising messages.

Up to this era of constant change and 24/7 communications, the advertiser and the media had agreed that the blending of advertising and editorial was not allowed. There was a wall between the two because it was considered confusing to the consumer.  It might be suggested that the media’s main interest was in making money through advertising, even more than in providing useful information and entertaining experiences.  However, many of the media are in a new world of needing to find new revenue streams.

At this time, an argument is occurring about what the term Native Advertising really describes.  And if it also means advertising that will not be received as advertising.  On the other hand, it may prove to be perceived as better than the newer omni-channel forms of advertising that surely are on the way.

Some practitioners will contend that in this new “social media world,” many consumers don’t perceive any difference between editorial and advertising.  They regard it all as content in their communication.com lives.  Behind the strategist’s attempt to create appeals by linking content to a consumer’s wants and/or needs is still the positive positioning of a brand.  Whatever method used, increased brand relationship + loyalty = improved brand equity, which is the goal.

It is important to note that consumers are now more informed, aware, and selective.  So we ask: Is it wise to use “Native” in our advertising and communications?  Will it be a strategy to increase trust or mistrust?  Will it be constructive or obstructive?  Will marketers get better results, publishers get a premium revenue stream, and audiences get a better experience?

Will Native Advertising be the new strategic direction or just one more arrow in our ad quiver?

Native Advertising Mad Avenue

“I feel that Native Advertising may turn out to be the Mad Avenue to be on…” Drapered by Art Winters

 

For more on Native Advertising:

Adyoulike.com; Nativo.net; AdsNative.com

sharethrough.com

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

From MADMEN to MADMOBILE The Next Era of Advertising and Promotion

By , June 27, 2013 9:58 am

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Advertising and Promotion (AdPromo) is now developing a new I.D. for marketing communications, which we could call MADMOBILE. This is recognition of the blending of Social Media, Global Technologies, and 2-way mobile communications. Much has been discussed about what advertising and promotion will get to be. Mobile advertiser/customer engagement and exchange in social media is the big think in AdPromo’s quickly changing present and exciting future.

The thinking behind some new innovations is to provide “glocal–(Global Localities) –with—mobile” opportunities for local AdPromo. Those on the forefront for developing these new services are employing their knowledge of changes in consumer behavior, which is being caused by, and satisfied by, the ever-expanding presence of Smartphones and social media.

These give the advertiser and promoter the opportunity for the delivery of local marketing communications. In the past, and still in the present, big business with its big money has used AdPromo to knock out small business. Many small-businesses can now make the most of the opportunity to advertise and promote to specific local targets through mobile “MadPhones” with a smaller, more effective and efficient budget.

In addition, there are recent connectivity innovations that enable customers to learn of a promotion without being in or even near a store, along with advances in Near Field Communications (NFC), receiving contact when they are passing near the brick and mortar store. More and more, retailers are encouraging word-of-mouth referrals by loyal customers, which is helping to build their loyalty through interesting engagements and an active relationship.

For now, customers are able to find advertising and promotions on their phones and tablets. Most importantly, a store can launch its advertising for a promotion in a few minutes, designing the message for today’s deals and targeting a specifically valued customer. The opportunity for retailers to present promotions in real time is a salient feature of the New World of MADMOBILE.

MadMobile drawing by Art Winters

drawing by Art Winters

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Neuro-Marketing through FMRI and NAcc

By , May 30, 2013 10:47 am

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It’s a brave new world we are seeing and must work within. As an evolving story, we have to consider how online advertising will be affecting the consumer’s brain? Neuro-marketing research is already investigating the effect online neuro-marketing will have on our brains in the current and evolving Internet/PDA world.

As we have recently discussed in a previous blog, researchers have learned that when the consumer first receives a message, it hits a section of the brain called the Nucleus Accumbens (NAcc). This is the reward/punishment, pleasure/pain “headquarters” of the brain. By evaluating the amount of activity in such demarcated brain areas, the prefrontal cortex and the insula, neuro-marketing’s use of FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is working on a process to foresee how a consumer makes shopping decisions. For example, if the NAcc indicates a positive desire response from a brand message over a more negative doubt response –“Should I be spending money?” then the pre-frontal cortex could believe that it is getting a great deal and making a wise choice (such as better prices, bonuses, and other personal satisfactions).

NeuroMarketing

Drawing by Art Winters

Neuro-marketers are seeing the possibilities of using FMRI to examine and better understand the workings of consumers’ brains.
With this new knowledge they hope to develop new ways to initiate and stimulate consumer wants and needs. Don’t forget that it has always been marketing’s purpose to stimulate the consumer’s cravings and increase AIDA: attention, interest, desire and action.

If this concept makes you feel queasy, what kind of debate might occur if companies/brands have more invasive ways to communicate to and influence consumers in how to respond to a brand’s image, its brand story, and its brand positioning for superiority???

What kind of society will develop if this becomes the normal practice rather than a seemingly science fiction prediction?

OMG – What’s Next??? We may not be LOL’ing for long…….

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

TIME TO THINK visCOMual

By , March 28, 2013 11:05 am

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Fashion advertising has always been more visual than verbal, which may play into its favor in the current, highly visCOMual marketing environment. We are seeing a trend in this mega-media environment for marketers to be involved in a heightened sense and use of visual literacy, visual thinking, visual perception and visual communications.

It has been our practice in our teaching and in our marketing and brand consulting to stimulate thinking by refashioning some of the terminology. It is our way of encouraging our own team and other participants to stop, think and apply the concept being presented through a new and different term such as visCOMual.

As in this case with visCOMual, we have noticed the need for more arresting visual communications in our digital, instant messaging world. To emphasize the importance of applying this to our clients’ branding messages, we created our own word for these innovative communications. Stop, think and recognize what is going on around you – what are you noticing about the visual communications you are encountering in your life? Even though the visualization of fashion has long left still-form, “proper” posing, as in the Levi’s ads of the 1950’s (seen here), to keep up with our own human evolution, there is certainly a need for the creation of effective matrices for this newly defined visCOMual process.

2 Levi's 1950's ads

1950’s Levi’s version of visual communications is “proper posing”

The visual literacy process can present fashion modeling with language as unique as the product design. There are advertising/brand managers and catwalk directors who are working on nonverbal languages of their own. Their intent is to grab attention with this new imaging language and visual meaning newly applied to their brands. They may now create a mind’s eye matrix for visCOMual that correlates visually with elements that are: emotional, rational, imaging, associative, symbolic and/or cultural, as in the Levi’s ad of today. The goals are to engage the customer’s seeing eye, the cultural eye that perceives the inner-mind or “my-style” eye, and/or creates a video-eye that records in the must-have, shopping mind.

2 current Levi ads

2013 Levi’s visCOMual – new-world posing and connecting with the Levi’s customer of today…

The positioning of visual communications for designers, brands and retailers is to encourage additional purposes for our ever growing and changing technologies. We are all working to create new areas of communication that can provide: product information—knowledge, self-design aspiration, increased meanings, and unique expression in our new visCOMual languages…

Think VISCOMUAL by Art Winters

Drawing by Art Winters

What strikes your mind’s eye?

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

GOOGLE MAKES MAD MEN, SAD MEN

By , February 28, 2013 9:54 am

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Print Media Commissions are not in Mad Men Visions

GOOGLE MAKES MAD MEN, SAD MEN

drawing by Art Winters

In 2012, Google billed over 20 billion in advertising dollars.  This was more than the total of all U.S. print media.  What a contrast to what magazines and newspapers sold just five years ago!  In 2006, print media sold 60 billion dollars more in advertising than did Google!  How will this change brand marketing?  This isn’t your Mad Men’s day of advertising. (“Mad Men” is AMC’s TV show based on Madison Avenue’s advertising business and people in the early 60’s.)

So what does this mean for brand management performed by many of today’s advertising agencies?  Well, they had better get their act together.  They need to deliver branding power that can compete or at least do co-branding with the Googles, E-Bays, Amazon.coms, and many others, which will keep coming down the Internet superhighway.

The big question is how much of a threat is online advertising?  Is it delivering the ROI experienced through print media advertising?  It’s vital to realize that Google, just 14 years old, is now taking in more ad revenue than print media, which has been here for over 100 years!

However, it must be accounted that Google has a global operation, so this can’t be simply analyzed.  It must also be analytically figured that Google has seen a 15% decrease in ad Cost-Per-Click, CPC (the average fee that advertisers are charged for each clicked on ad) in 2012.  But now, Google’s CPC drop has slowed and perhaps turned the corner in January, as their CPC share increased due to click share on tablet devices. As more people are watching content across a variety of their mobile devices, Google has decided to pull out of its 5-year effort to build its TV Ads product.  Since 2009, they have shut down similar services for print and radio advertising.

Google is concentrating on beating Facebook in the sale of online display ads.  (Online display ads feature the advertiser’s content message on a destination website, usually in a box on the top or side of the page.)  The company is planning to lead web-search ads and online display ads that feature graphics, interactive communications and videos.

Google’s significant increase in display ads that concentrate on brand content is evidence that they have ambitious brand marketing goals.  Now Google is building and developing plans for their advertisers to more efficiently buy across a multitude of sites.

This is not only an important story for the online aspects of our businesses; it is also a good brand invention and reinvention story to watch in real time. 

Where has Google been and where is it going – stay tuned… the next generation of Mad Men is in the digital works….

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Brand MarkETing… No More Brand Marking!

By , January 31, 2013 12:06 pm

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Brand MarkETing

Are we seeing Trans-Planetary Brand MarkETing in our digitized mobile economy? Drawing by Arthur Winters

So what is the difference between brand marking and markETing?

In the past, branding was initially a way of marking or identifying a brand as in marking a rancher’s cattle with a branding iron. As time went on, logos were developed to mark and establish an identity for companies, products and services. More recently in our digitized world, brand managers must bring an ET — Extra-Terrestrial or more likely, an Essential Technology element to their branding. Bringing a more advanced brand marking to their brand markETing.

In the past few years, many customers have felt more of a divide between what they want and what brands offer. Brands that have a vision of what the customer really wants make the most of what their customers value and enjoy. In addition, the customer is increasingly aware of their involvement in product development in their role as “prosumer.”  We see an increase in the desire for personalization from and customization of products, services and experiences.

To satisfy their new brand expectations, customers are moving rapidly to shopping with online retailers. Retailer brands will have to explore more UC, Unified Communications, that include retail pop-up stores and departments similar to Amazon.com and kiosks for brand offers similar to Groupon.com. UC strategies will be created that involve real voice (as opposed to electronic menus) responses to customers’ demands for personal attention and customization.

Strong brands that fulfilled customer expectations in the past may diminish, as many consumers are no longer loyal to brands they perceive as category leaders. As always, Brand Managers have to create strategies that convert consumers into customers. The hard work is now in creating an innovative presentation of relevant and much desired brand attributes for the most effective brand positioning. Some brands are creating differences that are being told through their brand story. A compelling brand story and the brand’s history can be delivered to better sell the brand’s positioning assets, differences, and superiority.

So we find content and technology merging in new ways. Consumers may now depend on apps that provide applications to personally bring to mind brand differences and values. These can be inspired by knowledge of their singular profiles and their current desires. And right up there in ET brand positioning is the brand manager’s awareness of their customers who are not really engaged. Previous paradigms for customer-engagement may no longer be effective and customer experiences, CX, that are no longer current in today’s retail marketing, will need to adjust and innovate like never before!

Next, brands will rely more and more on VOC (Voice of customer), innovative interactions with customers and encourage buying recommended by their friends via social media. Successful brands will acquire more knowledge about operations involved in a consumer-run world. As we have mentioned previously, PDA’s/mobiles employed by consumers will dramatically increase. Consumers will be scanning their own screens to connect with a brand, and perhaps, influence their buying. A brand will need to unify all of its messaging and specifically its advertising that is designed for the mobile customer. This may include new screen-oriented techniques for these new retail venues. Google made over $20 billion in ad revenues this year, more than all U.S. print media combined!

We suggest the oft-quoted phrase: “The Future is NOW” — might apply.
What do you think?

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

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