I’ve been thinking about names, and how significantly a good name contributes to a good brand. What got me thinking about this is that my friend Court Crandall was just made a partner in his agency, Wong Doody. Now Wong Doody is a weird combo to begin with, but was named after partners Tracy Wong and Pat Doody.
This week’s topic is branding in the year 2010 – how the economy and advances in social media have changed the way brands and consumers interact.
I was in a new business meeting last week, and the prospect asked about social media (big surprise). We suggested that the first social media strategy to put in place would be to include a blog in their new website. “No,” they cried, “We’re not talking about our website. We want to know about social media!”
To the uninitiated B2B client, “social media” means Facebook and Twitter, and they can’t figure out what to do with it. But in fact, blogging IS social media, and may in fact be the most effective lead generation tool your company can deploy.
Today is one of those days when many millions of folks (in the United States and the UK) will shared a common experience. Not that most of us will remember this day 10 years from now. But most of us will waste at least a few precious moments participating in a collective productivity downer. Today Google launched its fourth front-page interactive logo design. Crazy dots that bolt away from the cursor whenever it is passed over them. What’s not to like?
If your job has anything to do with your company’s web performance – from the click-thru rate of a banner ad to the conversion rate of a landing page to the proliferation of a press release to the fulfillment accuracy of an e-commerce order, you better be interested in Analytics. In fact, if your company is using Google Analytics and you are a manager, you should absolutely request ‘View reports only’ access. Here’s why:
While chockfull of granular traffic statistics and myriad ways to slice and dice them, trends that surface in Google Analytics can help to inform many decisions – both online and offline, and inside and outside of Sales and Marketing. Below is a breakdown of key Analytics reports that reveal both buyer behavior and the voice of the customer – stuff that every manager should understand, from HR to Product Development to Support.
2010 could be a make-it-or-break-it year for social media – at least as it relates to B2B participation and ultimately monetization. There is not only ubiquitous hype around must-have presence across these media but also pressure from competitors to exploit every profile imaginable, e.g. Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Yelp. Note unlike 2000, when the gold rush mentality and market saturation reached an inflection point, “social media” – now more or less 5 years old* – still largely stands to prove itself of use to B2B companies.
Fortunately, and perhaps to the slower-movers’ advantage, the overwhelming lack of strategy around corporate social media planning is already revealing what works and what doesn’t. The trick is to go back to basics. Where’s your audience participating? And how can you engage them there? In many cases, emails, newsletters, and blogs will be your answer. Meanwhile, here is VOX’s short list of five major social media platforms and the best usage of them for B2B companies (in alphabetical order):
Recently VOX chose 4 focus areas, based on our category experience, to highlight on our website. One of those focus areas is Cloud Software. I’m surprised at the number of people who ask me what that is, or, among those who are familiar with the term, the variety of definitions. Cloud Software, or Cloud Computing, is a hot topic right now. Everyone is talking about “the cloud” but they all seem to have their own interpretation of what it is. To set the record straight, here’s how VOX interprets it.
Cloud computing, or cloud software, is the next generation of computer applications. The concept is that, rather than purchasing a CD that you install in your computer, the software or application is “in the cloud” and available for delivery over the internet. Cloud computing represents a paradigm shift from hardware-based delivery to internet-based delivery.
We’ve been serving community bank clients in Massachusetts for the better part of this decade. Along the way I’ve observed a fabulous side effect of utilizing real customers and bankers in our advertising: implementing “real people” campaign strategies always energizes our client’s work force.
Customers choose community banks over big national banks in large part because they hope to experience a certain kind of gratification. The kind that comes from interacting with bankers who are trained to place their highest priority on fostering customer relationships, not just on executing smooth transactions. For customers who choose community banks, relationship trumps number of ATMs. And leveraging that relationship in brand advertising truly energizes both the customers and the bank personnel.
When I worked at Hill Holliday, about a hundred years ago, I reviewed the portfolio of a copywriter who was applying for a job there. It was all spec work, back in the day when creative people comped up work by hand and put it in an actual portfolio case that they carried around to all the agencies in town. It may have been the best creative I’ve ever seen. I turned to the Creative Director, who was showing me the portfolio, and said, “His stuff is amazing. Where is he working now?” The answer? “He’s making sandwiches at the deli across the street.” The guy had never worked at an agency before and we hired him on the spot.
Why am I telling this story? The point is that great creative ideas can be found everywhere, in great creative minds – not just the minds who happen to reside in creative departments at big agencies. The digital age has enabled agencies and clients to tap into these great creative ideas without regard for geographic boundaries, something we leverage in a virtual agency like VOX. Another way to solicit great creative ideas – along with plenty of not-so-great creative ideas – is through crowdsourcing.