Archive for February, 2014

Branding: It’s Deeper Than You Think

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

When it comes to branding, many business leaders think only of the visibly tangible – how the logo, website, and collateral pieces look.  Branding, however, is far more broad and goes much deeper.  It is a combination of internal and external reputation management, purpose and expectations.

Reputation Management
Along with all the visuals that make a company recognizable, there are deeper internal pieces that are often overlooked while the focus remains external.  It is everything from how a company handles consumer feedback (positive and negative) and how they talk about their business to the ambiance of the office and whether employees dress up or dress down.  So much of this comes from simple reputation management.  Consider yourself your personal brand.  Do you show up everyday in a suit and tie or are you laid back?  What kind of voice do you take when using social media?  When in person?  Are there things others expect or assume of you because you have set those expectations?

Just as we manage how we look, speak and act, the same goes for a company’s brand.  No brand wants to receive poor customer feedback, or have a negative article written and the same should go for all aspects of the brand.  Consumers leave negative comments when they have a negative experience, so don’t let that happen.  If a consumer engages with you about their experience, it is a good idea to engage back.  Better yet, engage first.  By managing the brand both internally, externally, and keeping it consistent throughout, the entire dynamic of the organization can improve.

So how do you begin managing your brand reputation?  Make sure you know your purpose.

Why does your brand exist?  Who do you as a brand aspire to be?
These should not be difficult questions if your brand is living it’s purpose everyday.  If they are hard, it may be time to refocus on your purpose.  In the era of having almost all the information you could want at your fingertips, 80% of consumers are making purchase decisions before ever contacting a company.  People’s internal motivations have changed and it is important your purpose goes beyond the what of the business or product, instead delivering on the ‘why.’

Understanding who your customer is, what channels they are using, and what ‘why’ they are trying to fill is crucial.  Your purpose is what gives your brand focus, so make sure that is aligned with what your target audience is expecting or looking for.  In many ways your brand is what sets consumer expectations, so make sure you follow through on that promise.

Take Nordstrom for example.  The company is all about delivering exceptional customer service.  That is their purpose and that is what the department store strives to do.  They do not pretend to have lower prices because they don’t have to.  Shoppers are not looking for lower prices, they are however looking to return that perfume they bought, opened and already used 3 times but decided they didn’t like it.  That is the expectation that has been set and the ‘why’ they fill for their customers.

FedEx is another good example of filling the ‘why.’  The founders saw a need to fill,  promising “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”  That promise has shifted to “The World on Time” but the ‘why’ mains the same, as does their purpose as they continue to life up to expectations.

While these are just a few instances of how branding goes far beyond just the look and feel of a company’s logo, website, etcetera, it is clear there is much more to branding, and successful branding at that, than most can see.  Think about your favorite brands and why you choose them.  You may be able to notice how much deeper they’re brand goes than you could before.


Does your company’s purpose?  Does it fill a ‘why’ for your customers and is it consistent throughout your organization both internally and externally?  Leave a comment or contact us if you’d like to discuss!



Visa Olympic Paid Search Campaign May Be On To Something

Monday, February 17th, 2014

In the world of search, content is of high importance.  Along with traditional keyword optimized websites, YouTube and Facebook have been the favored social accounts promoted by brands using paid search, both of which make it easy to produce sharable content.  Visa, however, may be the first example of another way to promote.

As part of their Olympic sponsorship, Visa has created a Tumblr page which is functioning as the main content hub for all things Olympics.  The page links to all other social accounts and is the place Visa is driving traffic to with all of their paid search, both in Google and the Yahoo Bing Network.

Tumblr, a micro-blogging site, was purchased last spring by Yahoo to fill the gap of a social networking and communications hub which the company previously lacked.  It is another easy platform for users to create content and has more young adults and mobile users to contrast with Yahoo’s older user base.

So what, you ask?  Well, we will have to stay tuned, but Visa’s use of Tumblr as a content hub could be an opening for others to explore this as an option.  Tumblr could end up as Yahoo’s Google+, where creating more content within the platform would give more weight in Yahoo search, much like having a Google+ page has become important for Google search.  We are largely speculating here, but with all the changes and updates Yahoo is working on we’ll be interested to see if this takes hold with other brands.  There has also been mention of integrating ads into the Tumblr dashboard which could be an added benefit to brands if user growth continues.

So is Visa onto something?  Maybe, maybe not, but the Tumblr page sure looks good and is an easy way to link all their accounts and content to one place.

What do you think about Visa’s paid search tactic?  Do you think the use of Tumblr could affect Yahoo search?

Ad of the Month – Super Bowl Ad Breakdown

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

What a painful Super Bowl game that was… Thankfully we were provided a bit of entertainment during the commercial breaks with everything from the good, the bad, and the “they really spent money on that?”  With costs this year as high as $4.5 million for 30 seconds and spots selling out months in advance, our hopes were high, and there were a few brands we felt saved the day.

Coca-Cola – It’s Beautiful
Probably didn’t think this one was going to cause such an online/social media meltdown, did you Coca-Cola?  Well, me either.  Watching the game at a local establishment, this ad came on and the crowd, literally, went wild (and soon followed with a U.S.A. chant).  This was one of my favorites, capturing the diversity of America beautifully, because we are supposed to be a melting pot aren’t we?  Whether intending to or not, they also perfectly play into the American spirit that come along with the Olympics beginning in just a few short days.

Budweiser – Puppy Love
We’re suckers for Budweiser ads and this year was no different.  A puppy, a horse and a well chosen song makes for yet another classic.  Keep them coming Budweiser…

Hyundai Genesis – Dad’s Sixth Sense
Subtle, but I think Hyundai nailed it.  A little humor, incredibly relatable, and only 30 seconds, it was sweet and to the point.  Nicely done.

T-Mobile – No Contract
We couldn’t help but like this one.  Great play on former Bronco, Tim Tebow’s lack of contract – why would he want a contract when he can do so many things without one?  Very entertaining.

Chevy – Romance
Sticking with their “a man and his truck” theme, this one was certainly good for a chuckle during an otherwise not very funny game. (We also liked their second spot supporting World Cancer Day)


Which were your favorites, or least favorites?  Share in the comments below,  we’d love to hear from you!