CEOs, get blogging!

With the recent rise in popularity of blogging, it is no wonder that some companies have decided to make themselves available to consumers through this new channel. It has become more crucial for companies, more specifically CEO’s to blog about their brand.

In the article, Some pros and cons of corporate blogging, Mary Jo Finchum, the public relations administrator for Stanley Consultants, talks about why companies should blog and why companies would want to stay away from blogging.

Finchum mentions that some companies are hesitant to blog because of the amount of time and effort it can take up. The element of time to devote to blogging is something that most CEO’s in particular do not have an abundance of. There is also a looming fear of negative comments or less than desirable feedback.

Although these two cons to corporate blogging seem substantial, Finchum lists more than four times as many reasons why CEO’s should participate in blogging. She starts by saying that coporate blogging increases a companies credibility because consumers see their willingness to share inside information and that the company cares enough to inform them. Blogging also adds to the transparency of the company because it is so informal.

While pushing out company messages, CEO’s can also raise brand awareness through making the corporate image more accessible. Finchum talks about the level of reach potential that blogging has, making it seem like companies would be foolish not to blog. She talks about how a company can gain extra exposure through search engine optimization and she points out that within the “blogging community” blogs tend to link to other blogs, raising exposure even more.

One of the most important aspects of a corporate blog that is discussed is the amount of interaction with the target market on a personal level. Finchum talks about how CEO blogging can “humanize” a company by providing an opportunity for casual communication that does not exist on more official traditional channels. Blogging allows for more interaction with potential consumers as well as, feedback from consumers on what your company is doing good or what could use improvement. With this many pros to corporate blogging it is easy to see why so many companies have created blogs. CEOs, start blogging!

Corporate Blogging can be a daunting task, here are a few tips that were highlighted in the article, Five ‘no regrets’ moves for superior customer engagement

  1. Create a environment for customer engagement
  2. Appoint employees to monitor and encourage customer engagement
  3. Make someone the “chief content officer” (CCO)
  4. Listen
  5. Constantly look for ways to improve engagement

Devon Warwick, an analyst for OpenView Labs, talks about the importance of creating engagement through corporate blogging. Start watching at 0:34 to hear about how consumers can learn more about your company through blogging. Her biggest piece of advice is to post relevant content in a timely manner.

By: Gina Mogavero

Better Homes and Gardens Visually Engages with Consumers through Pinterest

The value of Pinterest as a resource for companies to use as marketing tools was highlighted in the previous blogpost entitled, Making Your Brand Visual Through Pinterest. This post talked about how Pinterest is a useful tool for companies to establish a visual relationship with consumers to market their brand. However, it can sometimes be hard to efficiently use Pinterest to raise brand awareness and engage with consumers.

Better Homes and Gardens has done an exemplary job of using Pinterest to promote themselves. In the article The Pinterest Payoff, Stephanie Botelho and Bill Mickey describe Better Homes and Garden’s efforts and show why companies should partake in similar pinning activities.

In March of 2012, Better Homes and Gardens launched a Pinterest contest called “Pin and Win”. For this cash-prize contest, users were asked to create a “My Better Homes and Gardens Dream Home” board for them to re-pin images from the Better Homes and Gardens page. By creating this contest, they not only drew more users to their page but they had their consumers doing the advertising for them. Today, our peers are the greatest influencers when it comes to disseminating information about products and therefore, things that we see our friends re-pin or like, are things we pay more attention to.

Gayle Butcher, the editor in chief for Better Homes and Gardens says in the article that they recognized the power of Pinterest through the visual aspect and the sharing potential and decided that it was something they needed to take advantage of. Better Homes and Gardens not only launched a successful contest, but they also have over sixty boards in which consumers can look to for inspiration or decorating tips. Some examples of these boards are “Livable Living Rooms” and “Fun Front Doors”.

Butcher explains that their goal is to use Pinterest to drive engagement with consumers. It is pretty clear that Better Homes and Gardens is doing a sufficient job of this engagement when you look at their amount of followers. They have over 2 million total board followers, which speaks volumes to their engagement efforts. The smart thing that Better Homes and Gardens is doing is getting feedback and gathering information from their consumers through looking at other things their target market is pinning or interested in. By looking at styles and visuals that their consumers like, they can design new favorable gardens and home décor that will better appeal to the people they are trying to reach. If that’s not engagement, what is?

Learn more here about how to create sharable Pinterest pictures for your business!

By: Gina Mogavero

Delta Airlines Educates: Using YouTube to Stop Rude Passengers

When it comes to hospitality and travel, it is often hard to pinpoint one certain kind of etiquette that should be used when traveling. When it comes to how to act at weddings or a dinner party, there are plenty of books to read and “rules” to keep in mind. However, when it comes to traveling, there is not as much guidance as to how to properly conduct yourself as a passenger.

Delta Airlines began to see a trend that some passengers were not bring considerate of others and they wanted to do something about it. They created short 50 second animated clips to try to raise awareness of behavior in these delicate social situations. These clips are called Planeguage and illustrate different types of ill mannered passengers.

In the article, Delta Wants Us to Mind our Manners; Airline has Created Humorous Videos to Help Curb Passengers’ Rude and Unruly Behavior,   the Hamilton Spectator explains the motives behind the Planeguage videos and how they are benefiting the airline.

There are several small clips, such as “Middleman” about a middle-seat bully, “Kidtastrophe” about young unruly toddlers, and “Shady Lady” about a woman who is inconsiderate of other passengers when opening or closing her shades. There are plenty of other clips but these are the three prominent ones.

The video below is a montage of seven Planeguage clips, however, watch 0:57 for “Kidtastrophe”, tune into 2:25 for “Middleman” and watch 3:08 for “Shady Lady”. These three best illustrate rude behavior in a comical, relatible way.

Tim Mapes, Delta Airline’s Vice President of Marketing, said that Delta has been trying to understand what people go through as travelers and that these videos are an attempt to remind passengers to have manners when flying Delta. The hope is that these videos will make the experience of flying with Delta Airlines a better experience.

By using sending the message through animated videos, Delta is cutting a lot of production costs and through using YouTube as the main distribution method, they are ensuring they will have a large reach of people that will potentially see the video. The humor in the videos is also likely to be remembered and resonate with travelers who will think back to the short clips when they are traveling.

Delta Airlines has been receiving a lot of praise for their efforts. Chris Mainz, a spokesman for Southwest Airlines, said that after being criticized for telling a woman that her outfit was too revealing, hope to follow Delta’s lead in educating people on etiquette when traveling.

Andrew R. Thomas, an assistant professor at the University of Akron, and author of several travel books says that the problem is that airlines assume that travel behavior is common sense when in fact it is not for everyone. Thomas praises Delta for educating passengers.

This article shows Delta as an excellent example of how companies (travel related or not) can use YouTube to address issues, but also, educate and raise awareness about anything the company might wish for consumers to know.

By: Gina Mogavero

Take the Leap: Make a “Brand Promise”

With social media becoming such a popular platform, it is no wonder so many companies are starting to push their brands through them. However, it is not just about pushing material out to consumers through these platforms. It is about branding effectively. In the article, The One Thing You Must Get Right When Branding, Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan, two business school professors,  talk about how to push a brand in the most effective way.

The authors first highlight the need for branding correctly by pointing out that the rise in social media popularity has created a dramatic shift of power to the consumers. Due to this social media has made it urgent for companies to convey a compelling brand promise. This “brand promise” is something that Barwise and Meehan mention a lot throughout their article. They comment that companies who constantly deliver whatever it is that they have promised, benefit greatly in the end.

Social media is a useful tool for engagement and collaboration with consumers. This is why it is important to take advantage of all the facets of social media, however, the authors advise to never lose sight of the brands promise. They proceed to tell readers and brands how they can make sure they deliver their brand promise.

They talk about how it is beneficial to first do ethnographic research to see how the brand or the product will fit into people’s lives in a specific area. Social networks like Facebook can provide great ways to investigate consumers lives and see how they feel about different things. They advise that it is important to constantly revise the marketing playbook to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media. It is also important to deliver the promise, not to just communicate it.

Branding is not just about using social media as a selling tool, Barwise and Meehan say that social media should be used for gaining customer insights instead. This can be done through capitalizing on social media’s speed to push the brand out there and gain awareness. It is important to watch what is being said, however, to always protect the brand’s reputation since these forms typically house very unstructured conversations about the brand.

The authors briefly talk about Virgin Atlantic Airlines and how they do a great job of branding through social media. Adam Okimatsu talks about Virgin Airlines and their effective branding in his post Corporate Branding in the Eyes of Virgin America. Another airline that is branding effectively is Delta Airlines. They make each aspect of their social media a glorified press release and essentially brag about their brand without being too in-your-face about it. Delta also offers booking a trip through Facebook which is not only convenient for the consumer but also extends the brand across different platforms.

The biggest piece of advice that the authors repeatedly give throughout their article is to stay true to the brand promise no matter what. They tell readers to strive to go viral but protect that brand and ultimately never lose sight of the brand. Follow their advice and you will be effectively branding through social media in no time!

To get a better sense of what branding in general is, watch the video below.

 

The entire video is pretty great starting with a history of branding throughout the years, however, at 1:19, the video gets more specific into what exactly branding is today and what you as a business can do with branding.

By: Gina Mogavero

Making Twitter and Facebook an even more Interactive Experience

When using social media, it is often difficult for companies to make sure that they are reaching the audience they wish to target. Companies are constantly forced with the struggle of making their interaction with consumers one that is memorable and effective.

The article titled, Southwest Airlines Offers Treats for Tweets, highlights how Southwest Airlines is rising to this challenge through their Twitter and Facebook interactions with customers. The article explains that Southwest Airlines launched a Twitter promotion in which they would give giftpacks out to customers. Theses giftpacks not only got consumers and Twitter followers talking about the company but it also raised awareness because all of the merchandise in the giftpack was branded with the Southwest Air logo.

Christie Day, a representative for Southwest Airlines said that the company was looking for a “fun and energetic way to reach customers.” Taking their interactive efforts to new heights, the company expanded their social media promotions to include Facebook. They gave prizes to consumers who answered Facebook trivia questions correctly. This not only increased the customer interaction aspect that the company was striving for, but it also taught people more about Southwest Airlines through the trivia questions that were asked.

Most companies may shy away from promotional giveaways because purchasing all of the merchandise can sometimes be expensive. Day mentions that Southwest Airlines didn’t need to purchase much for their promotion. She laughingly recalled “raiding the closets” and picking out their favorite promotional products for the gift-packs. Not only did this save money for the company, but most of the products tied in to the theme of the company. For example, the gift-packs included branded baggage tags and other items a person might need when traveling.

By using travel related items, they are further reinforcing their brand, as well as appealing to people who typically travel. Most of the people answering the trivia questions or “retweeting” something for  a Twitter gift-pack, are probably aware that the promotional products are travel related and probably want to win them to use when they travel.

Overall, Christie Day said that the promotional giveaways gave Southwest Airlines a lot of publicity and raised awareness among social media consumers. She even said that since they launched the promotion, Southwest Airlines has received more followers than they could imagine, most of which had no idea that Southwest Airlines had a Twitter before the giveaway promotions. They are clearly doing something right when it comes to reaching a travel related audience and  when it comes to staging meaningful interactions and promotions.

In this interview video with Christie Day herself, she talks about how Southwest Airlines started integrating the different platforms of social media into their corporate strategy. Start watching at 1:03 to hear about this integration. If you watch further on, Day gives advice to companies that aspire to use social media in a similar way that Southwest Air has.


By: Gina Mogavero

Making your brand visual through Pinterest

Pinterest is the one of the more recent additions to the social media family. It is essentially a virtual cork board that allows people to share and view images of products, ideas and just about anything you can take a picture of. A “pin” is a video or image attached to a pinboard. A “pinboard” is a set of pins based on a theme. With over 12 million users, there is no surprise that brands and consumers alike are using this new platform without hesitation.

Pinterest can be very beneficial to companies and brands trying to raise awareness about a product or idea. For example, brands can link “pins” to the company website where the information was found originally, ultimately redirecting consumers right where they want them to be, exploring the brand’s website. Also, through “repining”, or sharing “pins”, Pinterest creates “virtual marketing” in a clear and organized manner.

Once your brand has been convinced that Pinterest is great tool for marketing to consumers, it is important to know how to use Pinterest in the most effective way. In the article, Pinterest for business: How to make it work, Caroline Veldman illustrates pointers so that brands can implement an effective strategy.

First, Veldman highlights that Pinterest is extremely visual, therefore, creativity is key. Using creativity to make “pins” that people will want to share is important when trying to reach a large audience.

It is also important to humanize your brand to make your pins something that your consumers can relate to. While showcasing products and ideas on Pinterest, you should always make sure that you are showcasing your business’s personality. This will help you to gain credibility and customer loyalty.In order to help the “reach” aspect of this social media platform, you should build a community of supporters who will share the brands ideas for you.

Finally, and the absolute most vital thing to do is start relationships and create conversations with customers. The main reason social media outlets have become such a popular tool for brands is because of their ability to spark conversations about their products and to gain feedback from consumers. This new social media platform is no different.

If you keep these tips in mind when crafting your brand’s Pinterest, you should have no trouble raising brand awareness effectively. Happy “pinning”!

You can find more information on the importance of incorporating Pinterest and visual marketing into your social media strategy within this video. The video focuses specifically on Pinterest and its benefits at 2:25.

By: Gina Mogavero