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August 2018

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Brand Aid: 10 Reasons You Need a Strong Brand Identity

It’s an old concept but marketers still rely on the Rule of Seven. The idea is simple. A prospective client must see your brand at least seven times before they will remember you. While people may argue about the exact number, the message is clear. To be recognized by consumers or other businesses, you need to present a consistent image.

Imagine if you walked into a building with a Starbucks sign, and they sold light bulbs. You would be more than a little confused, especially since you were obviously after a jolt of caffeine.

When we think of the Coca-Cola or Facebook logos, the colours red and blue immediately come to mind. In fact, colours play a big role in brand identity and companies purposefully use distinct colours.

All of these factors comprise brand identity and they determine not only how we view a brand but also, what we expect from them. Read on to learn about why you need a strong brand identity.

5 Reasons Your Brand Identity is Important

When you’re rushing to constantly create content for your brand, it’s easy for brand consistency to get lost along the way. It’s important to take steps to ensure that you are projecting a consistent brand identity to your customers every time they interact with you. This builds awareness in your customers’ minds and creates trust between a brand and its customers.

1. It Determines the Recognizability of Your Brand

There’s a reason Coca-Cola has used the same script since the early 1900s. Even when they changed their branding from black to red, the brand was easily recognizable. If they were to suddenly change brand identity, not only would customers struggle to recognize their products, it would also create distrust about the brand.

Another part of brand identity is slogans and jingles. Brands use these memorable phrases or melodies to get embedded in consumers’ minds.

You can’t help but chuckle at Canadian Tire’s, “Give Like Santa. Save Like Scrooge.”. The phrase “Roll Up the Rim” immediately brings Tim Horton’s to mind, in the same way “Just Do It” reminds people of Nike.

Brand identity is not just about the appearance of your brand. It’s tied to your brand values as well. Customers expect accountability from brands now more than ever, and part of brand identity means showing that your brand values align with your customers’ values.

2. A Strong Brand Identity Leads to Increased Sales

Having a consistent brand identity is crucial for building customer recognition. Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, customer recognition is what leads to sales. The majority of consumers conduct significant online research prior to making a purchase.

For example, consider a parent purchasing hockey equipment for their son or daughter for the first time. When they arrive at Canadian Tire, they are faced with a myriad of options for each thing they need.

When presented with a half dozen different brands of skates, helmets and hockey bags, how do they choose which brand to purchase? Assuming prices and product quality are consistent, they’ll purchase based on brand recognition.

3. Your Brand Identity Separates You From Your Competitors

McDonald’s and Wendy’s are essentially selling the same thing, but consumers are die-hard loyal fans of one and hate the other. The same goes for competitors like Pepsi and Coca-Cola or makeup companies Revlon and Maybelline. In a saturated market where products are similar, brand identity is the only thing that separates you from your competitors.

Your preference between Coca-Cola probably comes down to whichever one you grew up drinking. But what about when you need to buy a product that isn’t marketed to you? Suddenly, you see the impact that brand identity has on your purchases.

Brand identity also helps distinguish you from companies with a bad reputation. For example, after United Airlines’ recent spate of customer service debacles, Delta Airlines and American Airlines are relying on their brand identity to distance themselves from United.

4. Your Brand Identity is Synonymous With Your Company Identity

The brands with the strongest brand identity gather an almost cult-like following from their loyal fans. One of the best examples of that is the tech companies where employees identities are defined by their employment. At Microsoft, the employees are Softies. Over at Amazon, they’re known as Amazonians.

These brands are revered for the empires they’ve built and that has become part of their brand identity. These companies have projected a consistent brand identity for years which is now ingrained in consumers’ minds.

For example, consider luggage brands Louis Vuitton and Samsonite. Even if you aren’t in the market for a new suitcase and not particularly familiar with the industry, you will associate one of these brands with luxury and the other with durability.

These associations are due to each company’s brand identity. These brand identities have been reinforced by marketing campaigns or, in the case of Louis Vuitton, celebrity endorsements.

5. Your Brand Identity Is A Guide For Your Employees

A brand identity is created and built by a company’s employees. Once a brand identity has been established, it’s up to a company’s marketing team to use that brand identity as a guideline when designing marketing campaigns.

Brand identity is not just upheld by the marketing team, but by your customer service representatives as well. Amazon, for example, is known not just for being the world’s largest marketplace, it has also gained a reputation for having impeccable customer service.

They’ve been able to build this into their brand identity by empowering their customer service team to be themselves and have fun while helping their customers.

Building a Brand Identity is Crucial For Successful Companies

Just like your personal identity is how others see you, your brand identity determines how clients and competitors see you. A strong brand identity places you firmly in the minds of both parties and is essential for successful companies.

Not sure how to build your brand identity? Get in touch with us today and we can help you get started!

Post Production: 10 Reasons Your Business Needs a Corporate Social Media Policy

Did you know that Facebook recently reported over 2.2 billion monthly users throughout the world?

With that kind of exposure, it’s no wonder that businesses are turning to social media to market their products and services.

But how can you make sure that your use of social media doesn’t hurt your company?

It’s simple! Implementing a corporate social media policy can help you make sure that business booms because of your company’s posts.

Read on for 10 reasons your business needs a corporate social media policy and what it should include.

Why You Need a Corporate Social Media Policy

In a world where the emerging working generation has been on social media platforms for 10+ years, it might seem unnecessary to create and enforce corporate social media policies.

Let’s get one thing straight. It is absolutely necessary!

If you’re struggling to understand why your business should have a social media policy, read on.

1. It Reinforces Brand Identity

By establishing a social media policy you’re making it possible for posts across all platforms to reinforce your brand identity.

The goal is to make it sound like there’s only one person behind all the accounts and posts.

Including guidelines about the type of content, the voice, the personality behind social media posts can help you accomplish the kind of continuity that makes a business successful on social media.

2. A Policy Protects Your Company’s Reputation

If you look it won’t take long for you to find an instance when an employee posted inappropriate content to a corporate social media account — or even to their personal account.

Be clear about the kind of content that is appropriate.

Some content may vary depending on the type of business or industry or even the brand. But some topics are universally inappropriate and should always be identified as such in your policy, such as;

  • discriminatory posts directed at any race, gender, religious preference, sexuality, or political affiliation
  • derogatory posts directed at any race, gender, religious preference, sexuality, or political affiliation

Consider whether any other subjects should be included in the list of topics that are banned from your businesses social media posts, or can result in discipline even if posted to personal accounts.

3. Social Media Policies Can Protect Your Business From Liability

Regulating your employees’ “after-hours” activities can be a tricky and legally vague business.

And while you can’t legally prevent your employees from complaining about work on social media, you can implement policies that prevent them from implicating your company in posts that would drive away customers or prevent business.

Be explicit about your expectations for your ebehaviours behaviors on their own personal social media accounts that could affect your business.

4. It Enables Business Growth

Social media policies aren’t just a list of “don’ts.” They can include direction on how to make your business grow through the appropriate use of social media platforms.

If you need a little guidance, don’t be afraid to use a professional to manage your social media accounts, or advise you on best practices. Many professionals offer a boatload of services:

  • Total social media management: They do all the posting, replying, liking, etc. for you so you can focus on your business.
  • Campaigns and promotions: They can create email campaigns, social media promotions, etc. to increase your following and drive sales.
  • Account setup: They’ll create and manage accounts in a variety of social media platforms and post appropriate content for the demographic that uses each one.
  • Strategy: They can help you create an effective and realistic social media strategy that will serve you!

Reach out to us if you want a little help using social media to grow your business.

What Every Corporate Social Media Policy Should Include

Here are a few things that every corporate social media policy should include and why!

5. It Should Include Education

Make sure that the employees responsible for social media have a thorough understanding of each platform that is used to advertise.

Consider having an educational crash course on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and any other platforms that your business has a profile on.

Make sure employees understand the terms and conditions, purposes, tools, and demographics for each social media outlet. That way they’ll be able to optimize the usage of each platform.

6. Every Corporate Social Media Policy Should Have a Style Guide

Publish a company-wide style guide that helps employees keep social media posts and graphics cohesive.

Your style guide should include (but not be limited to):

  • Company colors
  • Approved fonts
  • Graphics, logos, and vectors
  • Taglines and other verbiage

Your marketing team can be responsible for your style guide.

7. Personal Vs. Professional Social Media Use

Make a clear distinction between the types of words and subjects that are appropriate for corporate posts.

Whether or not employees choose to abide by those regulations on their personal social media accounts is their own choice.

But you can and should create guidelines about the content and words that are used in your company’s name.

8. Guidelines On Intellectual Property

Be sure to educate employees on what is considered intellectual property (IP).

Whatever you define as such should be considered off limits to social media posts on both personal and professional accounts.

Make it clear that legal repercussions are a natural consequence of the violation of your business’s policies on IP.

9. Clarify Who Is Being Represented

Remind employees that at all times they serve as representatives of the company. The content posted to corporate accounts should reflect that.

The voice used on social media profiles should reflect that of the company, not the employee.

10. Disaster Response Plans

Despite your best efforts, there may be a situation where company policies are violated or an error occurs. It’s always a good idea to have a plan for when disaster strikes.

Disaster plans should include things like:

  • How and when to delete posts
  • How to apologize for the inappropriate content
  • How you will discipline violators
  • How you will reassure employees and customers that the same mistake won’t be repeated

Don’t assume that you’re safe from social media fails. Have a disaster response plan in place for when (not if) you need it.

Remember This!

The purpose of a corporate social media policy is to protect your business, protect your employees, and increase growth.

And contact us if you need help developing your policy or using social media to grow your business!

Hitting the Tweet Spot: 10 Great Tips for Social Media Data Analysis

What good is a marketing campaign without social media data analysis?

It’s not the 1950’s anymore, and marketing has gone beyond pen, paper, and television. Big data is already valued at $42 billion worldwide and expected to climb beyond $100 billion by 2027.

A portion of this growth can be directly attributed to the marketing industry’s adoption of Big Data. 84% of social media marketers surveyed use data analytics to help set goals and objectives. And 69% believe that most of their marketing decisions will be primarily driven by data in 2018 and beyond.

Believe it or not, you don’t have to the scientist to understand analytics. Don’t miss these 10 tips for leveraging social media data analysis in your marketing.

1. What Do Those Impressions Really Mean?

Social media engagement is more than just comments, shares, and likes. impressions play a significant, but more hidden role, in engagement analysis. Unlike a comment, impressions are vague. One tweet, for example, is likely to receive more impressions than anything else, so it’s important to understand what’s behind them.

A single user viewing a piece of content the first time around counts as one ‘reach.’ But each set of eyeballs on a post counts towards impressions — even if the same person saw it three times, that’s three impressions. Analytics separates the two, so you can get a more accurate picture of how your audience is experiencing the content.

2. What Are People Saying About You on Social Media?

Now, it’s time to eavesdrop on your audience. Social listening yields valuable insights on what your target audience is staying across all social media platforms.

Social listening involves tracking the following activity:

  • Twitter lists
  • Trending hashtags
  • Testimonials
  • Complaints
  • Conversations
  • Reaction videos
  • Live streaming
  • Twitter mentions
  • Social media feuds

Yes, you read that right – feuds. In fact, social media feuds are one of the fastest rising strategies in user-generated content marketing. So grab some popcorn and a front row seat.

3. How to Consolidate Your Social Listening

Social listening itself isn’t difficult, but it produces a lot of data. So what do you do when you have multiple social media accounts?

This is where your social media management tools come in. Most, if not all of them, provide a way to view multiple accounts in real time through one dashboard. You can also respond to multiple posts at once and download data reports for your social media activity.

4. How to Analyze Social Media Data

Social media data is useless if you don’t know what to do with it. That’s why it’s critical to define goals for your marketing strategy. This way, you can visually and logically understand your performance metrics from start to finish.

One of the most reliable goal-setting models is the SMART goal method. This will help you define goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, results-based, and time-sensitive.

Most importantly, it provides a clear model to measure your data against.

5. Analyze Your Follower Count

Are people clicking on your content but not subscribing? Are they watching your videos but not commenting? Your follower count is a critical piece of your social media data analysis.

Like social listening, you can track your follower counts with analytics. Taking YouTube as an example, follower analysis can help you understand your subscriber-to-view ratios and make changes where needed. You may need to include a visual call-to-action at the end of your videos to boost your subscriber count, or, produce shorter videos that are easier to digest.

6. Follow Behavioral Trends

When does your audience engage the most with your content? When’s their favourite time to share your posts? When are they least likely to engage with your content? These are just a few of many questions to consider in your social media analysis.

An easy introduction to social media behaviour analysis is Twitter Analytics. Twitter analytics uses data visualizations to reveal peak points in activity, irregularities, your most popular tweets, and weekly engagement patterns.

When you break down the data, you get a clearer picture of what to tweet and when to tweet in.

7. The Power of Polling

Polling isn’t just for politics. Social media polls are a fantastic way to gather valuable data from your audience.

There are several tools you can use to generate and embed polls on your social media pages. Twitter and Facebook also have option for tweeting polls directly to your follows. You can ask your audience simple yes or no questions to gauge excitement for an upcoming movie, event, or product.

Another smart trick is to create poll questions based on your social listening data.

8. Gather Feedback for Your Social Media Data Analysis

Feedback doesn’t begin and end with polling. There are several ways to gather valuable social media data from user feedback.

For example, you can post a survey that rewards users in exchange for their opinion. Other feedback methods include free trials, email surveys, social media contests, Twitter chats, and Facebook Messenger.

9. Does Your Social Media Translate into Dollars?

Your social media posts may look fantastic, but are they converting into real sales? Shares, comments, and likes are just a fraction part of the full conversion picture. If you’re worried about your lack of product sales, turn to the data. as

Your social media data analysis will reveal your click-to-convert ratio. Increasing your conversions could be as simple as speeding up your website or including more enticing calls-to-action.

Remember, when in doubt, look at the data.

10. Know How to Organize Your Social Media Data

Last but not least is organization. You don’t want any of that valuable data falling through the cracks. That’s why it’s critical to run CSV reports from your social media management tools. Simply upload your CSV data into Excel, or Google Sheets, to create easy-to-navigate spreadsheets.

Each social media channel should have their own spreadsheet complete with data columns. If you don’t keep accurate data reports, you have nothing to measure against the following fiscal year.

Now it’s your turn to analyze the data.

Remember, social media data analysis is all about the details, so leave no stone unturned. Get your social media management tools up and running as soon as possible and keep accurate data records throughout the process.

To assist your analysis every step of the way, check back often for tips on managing your social media marketing.

8 Creative Marketing Strategy Examples That Will Inspire You

For marketers, creating a campaign can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. How do you stand out when a single individual sees up to 5,000 ads a day?

Across the world, this concern has led to some innovative and creative marketing strategy examples.

Feeling lost? A bit underwhelmed about your campaign? Take a look at these eight creative marketing strategies for inspiration.

Creative Marketing Strategy Examples

Whether it’s in Canada or across the pond, marketing agencies have created some unusual and unique ideas to gain attention.

1. Google’s Pop-Up Donut Shops

Last year across the US, citizens began noticing some strange shops popping up in their cities.

With the creation of the Google Home Mini, a smart speaker about the size of a donut, Google created donut shops around the US. Visitors entered, rang a bell, asked the Google Home Mini a question, and received a box from a conveyor belt.

Inside the box, they would be given either a free donut or a Google Home Mini. The action caught worldwide attention and was splashed across the international news.

2. Anthon Berg’s Generous Store

In a similar manner, another pop-up store gained national attention back in 2012. In Copenhagen, Anthon Berg’s Generous Store opened for a single day. During that day, customers could purchase chocolate for good deeds.

Users would select a good deed for their chocolate, then post the deed on social media as “payment” at a later date.

The campaign reiterated core company values and reconnected their brand with the idea of generosity.

3. Verizon’s Augmented Reality Treasure Hunt

Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt?

Although technology has been used many times in the past to bolster a campaign, Verizon took marketing a step further with this promotion.

Utilizing the same method that made Pokemon Go so popular, Verizon reached out to thousands of customers through cells. Customers in participating cities in America could scan a code that would provide a series of clues. The clues would lead to the ultimate “treasure”: an iPhone 8.

Or at least the sweepstakes for one…

4. Coca-Cola’s Small World Machines

Across the globe, Coca-Cola impressed us again with its marketing prowess, this time in a new use of vending machines.

Relations between India and Pakistan have never been overly positive, but in keeping with one of its core messages, Coca-Cola managed to bring citizens from these two nations together to share in small bits of happiness. Vending machines equipped with state of the art webcams were integrated into malls in each nation.

In order to get a free drink, users had to connect with participants from the other country. A Pakistani citizen would approach the machine and see whoever was on the “other side” in India. The machine would ask them to join hands, trace together or complete other tasks.

The reward was a fresh drink.

For years, Coca-Cola has been famous for its efforts at joining communities, which sometimes resulted in campaigns that reached across nations and ethnicities. In holding true to that company value — and their brand of happiness — they continue to gain attention through their marketing endeavours.

5. Game of Thrones’ Dragon Shadow

Consistency is the key to successful branding and marketing. It fosters brand recognition and illustrates stability, a promise that the company is maintaining its efforts on what it has demonstrated before. Humans learn to associate images with specific emotions, and you want yours to be positive.

Utilizing this idea to their advantage, the marketing specialists for Game of Thrones decided to spread their image in a place where many would see it: The New York Times newspaper. When readers opened up their typical morning paper in February of 2013, they were met with a sprawling dragon shadow that tinted parts of their articles a light grey.

A few days later, the silhouette appeared again, this time on the side of a building. Within days, you could find images of the silhouette all across the internet.

Not only did the marketing team maintain a consistent image throughout this campaign, but they also utilized integrated marketing communications to its fullest extent, reaching large audiences across different channels and letting them spread the word further.

6. Octopus Creative Inc.’s Co-Op

How do you persuade owners in two Co-ops to vote for an amalgamation with the other? By creating a slamming slogan that’s simple, effective and–as the folks at Octopus Creative put it–sexy. The campaign slogan was dubbed “Better Together.”

Using simplicity and positive connotations, the slogan was effective. And with interactive advertising that reached a trading area of more than 280 kilometres, it was ultimately successful. Both Co-ops had over 90% of voting owners agreeing to the amalgamation.

Talk about success!

7. Poo Pourri

It’s exactly what it sounds like, and the Poo Pourri marketing campaign is an excellent example of video and humour used correctly. Without the restrictions of television-based advertising, this marketing campaign was free to run wild on YouTube and social media, and the crass, all-too-true humour it utilized about feces and its associated smell went viral.

This promotion also had a specific target audience (young women who “don’t poop”), but it appealed to a cultural norm known throughout the world. Further, it offered a solution for an issue everyone experiences. As a result, people were all too happy to share the videos and product with others.

Talk about bringing something refreshingly new to the table – or, perhaps, the toilet.

8. Half.com, Oregon

In one of the most unique twists on marketing we’ve ever seen, Half.com put itself on the map – literally. In 1999, Halfway, Oregon announced it would be changing its town name to Half.com, Oregon.

In an effort to make itself heard, the startup company offered a package deal to the town to foster its economy. In return, Half.com became the first ever dot.com city in US history.

Bringing Creativity to the Forefront

From viral videos about poop to pop-up stores everywhere, creative marketing strategy examples that work aren’t difficult to find.

Are you inspired yet? You should be. After all, each one of these campaigns began with someone who was ready to be bold and innovative, someone just like you.

If you’re ready to take a dip into otherworldy marketing, read our article about interactive content. You’ve gotten the inspiration; now, it’s time to spark your ambition to create a marketing campaign the world will never forget.