I am working on a video tutorial today on how to research and test before you build your business. It will also be useful if you are looking for ways to make it grow. I will be sure to share it on this blog once it’s posted. Market research is really important, yet most brands keep on fumbling along without it.
So many companies that I work with tend to build in a bubble. They forget to find out more about their customers, investigate the competition or look for trends on the horizon.
You need to know the lay of the land. You can’t promote just because everyone says “oh this really works”. You need a marketing map people. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your business and you can’t build anything big in a bubble.
Image from SunCityCamp.com – recreating the Martian experience.
During a time when the tech landscape masks and molds everything in its path, it’s baffling to imagine that PR is much recently experiencing a laggard affect in its evolution towards a tech-embedded model. As ‘Ad Tech’ took the advertising industry’s helm several years ago, Public Relations is realizing a movement towards a new frontier contingent upon technology’s ability to calculate facts and figures. Therefore, PR budgets can be visibly measured as well as their results, further backed with tangible hard-facts. PR has become something like a science. In order to stay relevant with today’s tech climate change, PR must do what it does best; centralize its methods in successfully communicating magnetic and captivating messages with an authentic, endearing and ambitious voice. Ultimately, think as marketing pioneer and investor Geoffrey Moore does, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” With today’s tech tools, measuring PR costs will allow companies to see the need for word-of-mouth, reliable exposure during an age of overwhelming advertising presence. An environment coded with hyper-exposure to advertising will inevitability, exhaust its members, having them subconsciously veer for something more real and less forced. Amidst the chaos of visual ad overload of 2,000+ daily advertisements, tailored emails and the like, the need for authenticity and depth will certainly outcast itself. As Eloquently stated by Jeff Pyatt, the head of PR at Outbrain featured in Mashable’s recent article, “Will PR Tech Be the Next Marketing Frontier?”
“PR has always produced powerfully persuasive content experiences — especially earned media. But what’s changed in the content landscape is that we now need scalable distribution, engagement, and ultimately attribution.”
Winning Brand Strategies
If you are about to jump on the roller coaster ride of starting a new company, here are a few best practices for building your new brand.
1. Continually know what’s trending in your competitive space. Services and sites like Trendhunter Pro, WGSN and StyleSite can give you insight into what’s hot and what might just be on its way down. Stay fresh.
2. Actively focus on your customer, each day and every day. Who are they? What do they do with their time? How do they find you? Tweet at them. Engage on Facebook. Incorporate what they like and change-up what they don’t about your product or service. Listen carefully, always actively listen. And then change for the better. Same goes for journalists, reporters, editors in your industry. Listen to their constructive criticism. Ask them to be candid. This will only help you become a stronger competitor.
3. Analyze all possible areas of distribution. Is it a mix of e-commerce and/or retail stores? A pop-up strategy perhaps? Maybe a collaborative store within a store? Just make sure you are where you need to be. Where new customers can easily find your products and services. Oh, and are you prepared for mobile? See what Forbes calls the most important trends in retail for 2013 here.
4. Tweak your product concept. If you’re not first to market, than what really makes your hot thing super unique? Is it a key ingredient? Special benefit? Stand out and stand apart to attract your target market.
5. Think about your brand voice. Is it friendly? Super luxurious? Clinical and effective? Have you positioned your brand as a “voice of authority” or are you the best friend sharing great advice?
6. Does the design of your product, packaging, website convey what you really want to say? Is it consistent? A brand map will keep you on track. Designing for your market is one of the key factors for success and probably the biggest challenge for most new businesses.
7. Promote your brand by sharing the key messages and benefits of your product and or service. Write down all of the key components that make your brand ultra special.
Want more tips? Branding and PR advice? Leave a message, we are here to help.
Social Content Management . . .it isn’t easy, but it’s positively necessary for most new businesses.
From what we hear around our office workspace, this is what many small and medium size business owners are currently plotting as they attempt to set sail into the sea of social everything.
- Concern about the quality and integrity of the content they are publishing and whether they are reaching their customers during critical moments along their buying path.
- Worry over the role of the “social content manager” – and high expectations to deliver value, day in and day out.
- Curiosity about companies like ThisMoment.com and their “Distributed Engagement Channel.” Is it necessary? Is it expensive?
- The real challenges involved in positioning their company(s) as “thought leaders“. Tip . . .write/film/tweet and share like a journalist, not a sales representative.
- Locating the best source of content (educational/inspirational/operational) for “micro entrepreneurs“. Some of our favorites -everything from @Fastcompany, You’re The Boss blog @nytimes, @entmagazine blog(s)
- And finally, their ever-changing technology roadmap when technology is emerging at the speed of light.
Attempt to take a look at your brand through the eyes of your customers.
Does it continually excel at delivering the best benefits?
Success = a sharp focus on meeting and succeeding your customer’s expectations.
Stay relevant. Are you keeping up with trends and tweaking to customer tastes? Check out JWT Intelligence and McKinsey Quarterly for trends in international business and marketing.
The secret to branding success lies in continually improving for a better experience.
From a PR/press liaison viewpoint we’re hyped about Next Issue, an app that makes reading magazines affordable, convenient and environmentally intelligent. Next Issue launches with a flat fee subscription to magazines like Elle, Esquire, The New Yorker, GQ and Glamour. The ideal app for news junkies brought to you through a collaboration by leading publishers like Meredith, Condé Nast, News Corp, Time, Inc. and Hearst.
Unlimited plans, similar to Netflix, start at $9.99 per month. http://www.nextissue.com/storefront/
Here we list five difference ways your brand can boost it’s social media scorecard.
1. Maintaining a creative and engaging social media presence, like Uniqlo, the Japanese fashion brand on virtual scrap booking site Pinterest. Announcing contests like 100 Wonderqubes, a unique fashion recycling program, innovative and functional fabrics and their latest collections. Get inspired by widening your brand’s presence by sharing across multiple channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Youtube.
2. Entertaining your consumer with storytelling through short films like “The Tale of a Fairy” by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Cruise 2012.
3. Studying your consumer by using social media monitoring for market research. Listen, measure, understand and engage by working with companies like Sysomos.
4. Building your presence with your best enthusiasts and influentials while collaborating with savvy customers and letting those that are closest to your brand identity help attract new customers. Cherry picking and then featuring your favorite customers to share your brand values, like J. Crew’s HelloWorld Take a lesson from Dos Equis as they share knowledge you never knew you needed at The Most Interesting Academy.
5. Using smart phones and tablets to help revolutionize the way your customer’s shop with you. Shopkick, is a free location-based shopping app which works with Androids and iPhones. It currently has more than three million users.