Old Spice – Great Branding Ideas

In 2010, Old Spice began a cross-platform marketing campaign that revolutionized the use of social media in advertising. Old Spice had a product that was more than 70 years old, with plenty of brand recognition in exactly the wrong market: old men. How did Old Spice manage to launch a new product, Red Zone After Hours body wash, into an extremely competitive market while appealing to a younger, hipper demographic? The answer: “Smell Like a Man, Man.” This remarkable campaign started with ex-football player Isaiah Mustafa standing in the shower and culminated more than a year later with the over-the-top “Mano a Mano in el Bano” battle between Mustafa and Fabio. “Smell Like a Man” ads were truly funny and self-referential, but always stuck with the Old Spice maritime theme and their already-manly credibility. The company also went for a marketing marathon, posting 186 video responses to Facebook and Twitter fans’ comments in just two days. Yes, this was big-time, blitzkrieg marketing. But there are still lessons for the small business owner to take away: • Engage your fans -Not every business can produce video responses to fan comments in real time. But every business can produce short videos, punchy …

Branding Lessons from Vanderpump Rules

Believe it or not, small business owners could learn a lot from the popular reality television program Vanderpump Rules on Bravo. I recently had the opportunity to dine there, and hadn’t realized the degree of care that the co-owner, Lisa Vanderpump, put into the maintenance and care of her own personal brand at the restaurant Sur. Here are a few take-aways that entrepreneurs should keep in mind about managing their own personal brand: • Be Congruent – I had not yet seen the television program when I dined at Sur; afterwards I realized how much effort was put into making sure that every single aspect of service was congruent with the others. All of the staff were extremely attractive, the surroundings were absolutely impeccable, the cuisine itself was the varietals and current specials hot in New York and Paris. In other words, every aspect of the presentation of Sur screams high-end, and this lets them charge a premium. • Be Consistent – Another thing Lisa takes extreme care to do is to present herself consistently. This means that whenever you visit Sur, you are always going to get the same style and experience. This means that when people discuss your …

Dos Equis – Great Branding Ideas

During the next several weeks, we are going to take a look at some extremely successful marketing campaigns. Most of the examples we selected are going to be from large, successful brands, so that most readers will be able to easily identify with them. However, we will specifically take a look at strategies that can be employed by smaller business to realize many of the same gains that larger businesses do. So what are some of the marketing and branding lessons we can learn from this particular campaign? • Stand Out From the Crowd – If you think about it, most beer commercials tend to involve sporting events, women in bikinis, good times with your buddies, and things like that. If Dos Equis employed the same strategy as all their competitors, making yourself stand out and establishing brand loyalty would have been an immense challenge. Instead, they went in a different direction, and almost effortlessly captured their niche (and the minds of many customers). • Market Experiences Rather Than Only a Product – The Dos Equis campaign focuses on selling the ideas of experiences to their consumers, rather than focusing too heavily on the product itself. Through the brand persona …

Establishing Your Small Business’ Online Personality: The First Step

Now that you’ve made the wise decision to boost your small business with social media, it’s time to start building your online presence and personality. Many of the choices you make at this initial juncture will be crucial to your success later, so it will be important to proceed thoughtfully. Begin with the most essential component: an attractive and engaging website. A basic website will consist of a homepage, an “about us” page, a blog and a contact page. Your website will set the tone for all your online interactions. Make it welcoming and informative with these building blocks: • Photos. Good pictures of you, your employees and your product will invite people to get to know you and your business better. The more professional-looking and attractive these photos are, the more interested your audence will be in you and your product. • Appropriate design. Choose a design theme that will be compatible with your business and the product you offer. Consider the impact that your design will have on the customer. Do you want to inspire excitement, or quiet confidence? Are you looking to create an edgy, contemporary feel or a comfortable, folksy one? Use color, white space, graphics …

Why Social Media Campaigns Make Sense for Small Businesses

Why should your small business engage in social media campaigns? The reason is simple. Social media can offer your business a wealth of marketing opportunities. Intelligent use of social media will improve the small business’ bottom line in some of the most inexpensive ways possible. Using Facebook, Twitter and another outlet like Pinterest or Foursquare, you can create an online business personality that showcases your business and its offerings to a massive audience. Here’s what you can expect from a well-planned social media campaign: • No-cost advertising. Facebook fans and Twitter followers will lead friends to you – in effect, doing your advertising for you. This virtual word of mouth advertising is incredibly valuable to the small business. Recommendations from a trusted friend or family member will dramatically increase the chance that new customers will make purchases. • Improved customer relations. Positive online conversations result in better customer service, better and longer client relationships and repeat business. Patrons can easily provide feedback; you can customize their purchasing experiences based on this feedback. • Easier cross-selling. The ongoing conversations inherent in social media will allow you to anticipate your customers’ needs and offer related services. Your business will become a trusted …

Four Ways to Use Facebook to Improve your Customer Service

Everyone knows that the adroit use of social media can really help you take your customer service to the next level.  We are going to take a look at four specific things you can do using your company Facebook page to deliver excellent customer service to your clients: Don’t Delete Negative Posts – Many companies, at least when they are new to social media, often make the mistake of deleting posts critical of the company, or highlighting a problem with their product or service.  However, this is often counterproductive, as it will often further frustrate the irate client, which can then balloon into an even bigger dispute.  Plus, that person’s family and friends are given a front-row ticket to watch your behavior. Use Private Messages – In the same update timelines went live, Facebook also implemented private messaging features.  This means that customers are directly able to message your Facebook page itself, and engage you in private dialogue.  Take the opportunity to educate your customers about this functionality, and hopefully if they ever do have an issue with you, they will address it with you privately rather than publicly. Work on your Response Rate – With social media more than …

Let Your Customers Create Your Content

One thing businesses rarely take advantage of is the creativity and inspiration of their own customers.  In many cases, if you’re able to get the people most excited about your product or service involved with your campaigns, you can end up getting a ton of great content without needing to invest a dime into hiring people to produce it for you. For example, let’s say you’re in need of a new logo; perhaps you could announce a contest, open to the public, on your Facebook page, and award a prize to the best design.  You’ll get your logo produced, they will get a prize (likely something that doesn’t cost you much at all, such as your own inventory), and everyone is happy.  You even will get a bit of a promotional bump as well, since everyone loves a contest. There are other possibilities to involve customers as well.  You can implement polls or quizzes that enable them to share preferences with you.  Do you run seasonal sales?  Consider a poll asking your client base what they would like to see go on sale this Spring. If your business could take advantage of a discussion forum, consider drawing the moderators from …

Five New Social Media Trends

2013 is shaping up to be an incredible year for those who work in social media.  The web is continuing to evolve and mature, and change continues to remain omnipresent in the marketplace, but trends are definitely starting to emerge for those keen enough to pay attention to them.  Among big moves, such as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, the explosion of Pinterest onto the scene, Google+’s continued rise and more, this will definitely be an exciting year: Social Content Becomes King – Now that Google has officially begun integrating the +1 system of its Google+ platform with the ways that businesses and services are actually displayed in search results, it is imperative that businesses focus on creating content good enough to spur user engagement. Deploying Social Campaigns at the Enterprise Level – While most businesses have at least a rudimentary grasp of how they can use social media to make sales and grow their revenue stream, there is still a decided lack of both tools and instruction on how to properly scale this to the enterprise level.  Look for this to change. Twitter will Continue to Step Up – As Facebook and some content platforms decide to embrace censorship, Twitter …

Leveraging the Power of Customer Reviews

For many businesses, local perception and goodwill (or lack thereof) can be one of the prime factors in defining whether or not an organization will be able to succeed in the long term.  While this is immediately apparent for businesses such as restaurants, clubs, taverns and the like, who literally thrive on repeat customer business, it is increasingly important for businesses of all types.  Since social media is now literally being integrated into search results (hello, Google+), reputation is now one of the first things prospective clients will see about you when they search for you on the web. This means that people have the power to affect you even if you aren’t in the service industry.  A paper supply company with a Google+ profile can be rated just as easily as a bar or nightclub can.  It only takes a few motivated and dissatisfied customers to create a huge public relations issue for your business, so paying attention to problems and preventing customers from becoming dissatisfied in the first place is an excellent strategy. However, it is only half the equation. Businesses definitely need to stay on top of public relations issues, and ensure that their general level of …