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Having A Dream: 8 Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Martin Luther King Jr.

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There is more to Martin Luther King Jr. Day than a day of rest. Here are 8 lessons marketers can learn from this famous man who gave one of the most famous speeches in world history. (more…)

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What Your Blog Says About You

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With more and more customers buying online these days, it’s important that your online presence supports your brand’s image. You want consumers, employees, and competitors to all have the same image of your brand in order for it to be successful.

One of the most important platforms for communication is your company blog, and it is especially key when building a cohesive brand identity. In order to be consistent, pay attention to these six important factors when building your blog.

(more…)

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Effective Story Telling: It’s The Story That Makes The Difference

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Effective Story Telling: It's The Story That Makes The DifferenceIf you have ever watched Shark Tank, you know how hard it is to create a product that will entice investors. A seasoned shark is unlikely to throw money at something that lacks mass appeal–unless the entrepreneur has a really good story.

Enter the Shackleton Banjo. Now banjos aren’t exactly a “must have” item for most people. But the Shackleton Banjo has a great story–one that may even pique the interest of the ogre-ish Kevin O’Leary. And this great story has made its creators, The Great British Banjo Company, one of Kickstarter’s biggest success stories ever.

(more…)

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Social Media Coaching On A Budget – Learn To Do It Right

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Do you try hard to be successful on social media but things are just not happening? You are not alone. Navigating social media sounds like an easy process, but it’s really hard work. In fact, it is such hard work that a whole industry has formed around it, with experts in every area and aspect. Social media is no longer a thing kids do to be entertained. It has evolved into hard business, generating millions in sales revenue every year, branding names among an audience that’s not easily reached through any other medium.

Avoid The Bad

When business growth and revenue crucially depend on your online and social media presence, you shouldn’t go this way alone, and you shouldn’t make mistakes. Mistakes are easily made, they are live immediately, and within one second, have reached an audience of possibly millions. Have someone take a screenshot of a tweet gone bad and your name might be tarnished for a long time.

Take this recent example. When the Los Angeles International Airport was recently in the news for an ongoing shooting, the City of Newport Beach’s Twitter account tweeted this:

Social Media Business Plan

Even though it was taken down very soon after it was tweeted, the immediate impact was devastating. The backlash was huge, people were quite upset about using a tragedy like that to market a destination (or any product for that matter). The backlash was, in fact, so big that the PR director who tweeted it, got fired. In today’s social media landscape, one must be extremely sensitive and aware of pitfalls and former faux-pas to know what not to do.

Grow Your Business Instead

Let’s forget about crisis for a minute and talk about sales and community growth. When you are on social media and you are not generating the results you want to see, you are wasting your time and money that you could have spent more wisely. How many hours have you spent last month on social media that you could have spent somewhere else more effectively? How much extra revenue, name recognition, and media mentions has it brought you? If you can’t answer these questions satisfactorily, it’s time to make a game plan change.

Here’s a great example of one of our clients. In February 2013, we started working with Goodwill of Orange County. Their social media numbers were dismal, their community was non-existent. Their goal was to go from 700 likes to 20,000 by the end of 2013. Our goal at Branding Personality was to get to those 20,000 likes and also to make those likes meaningful. This meant we wanted to create a community that would actively engage with the Facebook page, share posts and leave comments. When this happens and you get a new audience excited, you convert Facebook likes into new customers.

how to do social media right

We exceeded our goal. We hit the 20,000 likes in the end of October, two months before deadline, and our audience is actively engaged with an approximate 15% audience engagement rate at all times (that’s outstanding!). Sales have reflected the community growth accordingly.

Exceed Your Goals

Not only did we reach our goal, however; we actually brought Goodwill of Orange County from the bottom of about 200 Goodwill organizations nationally, to be the number 1 Goodwill! This is the kind of result everyone wants to see – so how did we do it?

Learn How

Branding Personality has created a membership-only coaching program to teach you just that. This program is designed for small to medium-sized businesses who do not have the budget to let us take over completely. This program is designed to teach an in-house person the basics of social media and walks members through strategic approaches and how to achieve goals, on a month by month basis.

This is a social media coaching program for businesses on a budget. With this program, you’ll learn how to do it right and receive the following:

  • Monthly webinars + Q&A (recordings archived and accessible through membership area)
  • Monthly meetups
  • Platform-specific recorded Social Media 101 webinars
  • Receive recordings of each webinar
  • Social Media Lead Tracking System with video tutorial
  • Social Media Lead Follow Up System with video tutorial
  • Receive instant social media leads by email
  • Analytics of all phone call leads that are generated through social media
  • Receive advice from Branding Personality’s social media experts
  • Daily social media checklist
  • Content calendar template
  • Receive weekly email updates
  • Special offers
  • Access to members’ community for questions, feedback, and support

You can read more about the program and how to become a member of the Social Media Success Training System here. Please feel free to leave a comment with your questions or suggestions.

 

 

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How To Craft Your Brand’s Value Proposition

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connectinspire
Let’s play a game shall we…

Assume you live in San Diego, California and you’re in need of a marketing company.  You log on to Google, type in the magic search terms and click the first link you see.  And you’re presented with this home page on the right.

Would you have any idea what they do exactly or who they serve?  If you said no, join the rest of customers who struggle to figure out why they should pick one company over another.

In a world where the average attention span of an adult in 2012 according to StatisticBrain.com was eight seconds.

Yes…eight seconds!  That’s all the time your website has to tell a customer why they should stay and learn about your company.

If a prospective customer has to make sense of what “Connect Inspire” means… they’ll leave.  It’s that cruel of an online world we do business in.

Anything less than a clear, concise statement that says what you do and why it’s better than the competitor will, frankly, not grab the attention of a prospective customer.

Unfortunately most customers will never ask us what we do and why it’s better because they don’t have the time or patience to do so.  Many websites dazzle us with flash displays, brilliant pictures and colors, but never actually tell us what they do or why we should buy from them.

A Real Live Case Study:  Domino’s Pizza

What you have is a completely wasted effort by the marketer, and all the while the customer endures yet another search to his or her questions that remain unanswered.  To give you an understanding of what kind of impact developing a value proposition can be to your company, let’s look at an example—see if this one sounds familiar:

“Hot, fresh pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less… guaranteed.”

If you guessed Domino’s Pizza, you nailed it!  But how, and why, was this simple statement effective?  Robert Passikof of the New York based Brand Keys has this explanation:

“They rank No. 1 because of the value proposition, because of locations, because of service, because of the ability to deliver the promotional extras.”

Domino’s value proposition offered customers something that had strong appeal and exclusivity.  Customers knew they could get a pizza (despite the quality) that was hot and delivered to their door in an agreeable amount of time.  Like McDonald’s, people value the speed and service over the quality of the product.

So how can your company develop a value proposition that is clear, easy to understand, and easily engageable?  One company in Florida created a formula that systematically allows you to discover and express the value of your business in a clear and concise way.

A System For Finding Your Company’s Value Proposition

MECLabs, a company that invests $20 million in marketing experiments, developed a systematic way to find your company’s value proposition.  Dr. Flint McLaughlin, director at MECLabs says your value proposition must answer this critical question:

“If I’m your ideal customer why should I buy from you versus one of your competitors?”

Yes, the same one mentioned earlier.  The value proposition must make the argument that your specific product or service is special from everyone else’s.  Now it’s time to show you how to communicate that very message with your customers.

Value propositions have four fundamental elements:

  •  Appeal – I want this
  • Exclusivity – I can only get this from you
  • Clarity – I understand this
  • Credibility – I believe you

The first step in determining your value proposition is to list five pieces of value that your company offers to its customers.  As you write this list, try to avoid filtering your answers–even if you think they’re dumb.  For this example, we’re going to pretend we run a gym that conducts group fitness classes in a busy downtown city district.

Here are my five pieces of value:

  • High intensity workouts that help you lose weight done in 30 minutes
  • Located in downtown within a 10 minute walking distance from your office
  • Training classes with fellow executives, just like yourself, offers a perfect opportunity for networking
  • Classes scheduled before you start work, during lunch and after you leave the office
  • Learn over 20 different fat burning exercises to help you find your optimum fitness level

Once we have these pieces of value jotted down, it’s time to see which illustrations truly stand out.  The way we’ll make this determination is to rate each one on a scale of one to five, with five being highest.

You’ll want to use your market intuition here, but be conservative; if something isn’t truly exclusive and you know other competitors do the same thing, then use a lower score.  Also, it’s perfectly fine to rate something with a .5, which helps to create more separation between scores.  Our goal is to narrow the list down to your top two pieces of value.

Have a look (App = appeal / Exc = exclusivity):

  •  High intensity workouts, and losing weight in 30 minutes: App = 4.0 / Exc = 4.0
  • Location within 10 minutes of office: App = 4.5 / Exc = 4.0
  • Train with fellow executives: App = 4.5 / Exc = 5.0
  • Flexible class schedule: App = 3.5 / Exc = 4.0
  • 20 fat burning exercises: App = 3.5 / Exc = 3.5

Knowing your customers the way you do, we’re confident they are short on time, and don’t want to travel far to get in shape.  But one thing we also understand is that busy executives like to be around people just like themselves.  They love sharing stories and exchanging ideas, and you can communicate this with the value proposition statement.

But can we believe these claims?  Here’s where we add evidence to make them more credible, and, thus, gain the trust of our potential customers.  So our top two statements are the location and networking aspects.  Great, so now we’ll make this look believable by adding evidential statements behind the value pieces.

Location

Evidence #1 – We are located on 123 Broadway in downtown just minutes from these corporate buildings (put specific buildings in).

Evidence #2 – You can take the subway or bus and reach our gym in approximately eight minutes or in five minutes by car.

Networking

Evidence #1 – Executives from these companies (fill in companies) come to our training sessions regularly

Evidence #2 – Connect with fellow executives by putting your business card on our networking board

Now why does this work?  Because if you really wanted to test these claims out they would be easy to measure.  Hop on a bus and get there in less than 10 minutes?  OK done we can believe that.  You could walk into the gym and see the classes or check out the networking board with your own two eyes.

Here’s the clarity part where we put the value proposition statement together.  Here’s a statement we could use:

 “Fitness Classes That Connect You With Fellow Executives Within 10 Minutes Of Your Office”

 Do we know what’s being offered?  Yes we know this business offers fitness classes that are close to my office where I can meet other executives.

Can we craft a better value proposition?  Of course, but having a clear statement of value helps your potential customers draw conclusions about what’s being offered to them much faster. What this means for your business is the opportunity to stand out, be understood and close more sales.

Here’s your action step for today, tell us your company’s top two pieces of value you offer customers and put it in the comments section below.

Sources:

The Ann Arbor News, Domino’s hopes new pizza recipe reshapes image on quality

http://www.annarbor.com/business-review/dominos-pizza-hopes-new-pizza-recipe-reshapes-image-on-quality/

MECLabs, MarketingExperiments.com – Value Proposition

http://www.marketingexperiments.com/blog/?s=value+proposition

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Blogging Concentrated: Learn How To Monetize Your Blog Right

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Blogging ConcentratedCoWork+Play is hosting a Blogging Concentrated workshop on Saturday, November 2, 2013. This is great news because that’s where bloggers learn how to really monetize their blogs. If you’re a blogger with an already established audience, you already know how to blog, and you’re ready to make some serious money, then this workshop is a great option for you. It’s a full-day workshop, so be prepared to learn a lot! (more…)

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Is Your Cloud-based App Competitive?

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Phon_Vecul_Sale_2_3_[Converted]_copySince Cloud-based applications are plentiful pertaining to nearly every aspect of business, does your online app have what it takes to be competitive? Are you in direct competition with apps that offer similar services for free? It can be a difficult market to focus on in order to turn a profit for your development. With so many alternatives out there in the wild, you need to be somewhat inventive in order to make it worth your time and money to provide online services. How can you increase your reputation as a developer to cut a larger slice of this pie that is the Internet? (more…)

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Is Your Business Pulling a ‘Miley Cyrus’?

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Miley CyrusWhen you started your company up it had all the energy and fun and cuteness of an eleven-year-old girl. It had those sweet brown eyes and that adorable country twang. But now it seems like everyone cringes when you open your mouth. We’re all just waiting for your next bizarre move. It’s hard to decide where exactly you went wrong. But there were some signs your business may have ignored on the way to success and now you’re paying the price. Your company has become a Miley Cyrus and you want to know how to do some serious PR and get back to an image that you like. Luckily, we’re here to assist you in your transition. Miley, if you’re reading this, some of these tips might help you out, too. (more…)

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How To Amplify Your Brand’s Reach Online

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How To Amplify Your Brand's Reach OnlineWhen you plan a meeting, you would not want your audience to look like this image, right? Well, when you plan a virtual audience, you wouldn’t want your audience to look like this either. So when you think of building your audience and amplifying your brand, you need to think of a good marketing plan to fill those real or virtual seats. In order to achieve this goal,  it is important to set attainable goals. It is equally important to have a strategic plan in place that will help you reach this goal. Seeing progress and results in a marketing campaign are the best signs of success. At Branding Personality, we work hard to keep track of our progress and are proud to see great outcomes throughout any campaign. (more…)

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Top 5 Ways To Maximize Your Integrated Marketing Campaign

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Working togetherTo have the strongest possible marketing action plan, your brand should portray a united front to the public. That means ideally that all the departments of your organization and agencies involved should work together and use the same tactics to arrive at a common goal. This is certainly easier said than done, so how do you do this? (more…)

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