How Our Brains Work

How Our Brains Work

My Morning Coffee Routine

I want to take some time to explain how marketing, directly and indirectly, impacts consumer behaviour, attitudes, and purchases.

This is quite powerful if done right.

To help explain this better, I am going to walk through my morning coffee routine to work.

Who doesn’t like stories?

I wake up in the morning and I am already struggling out of bed.

My brain is still in sleep mode and wants me to keep sleeping.

It is taking all that time and energy to fight off sleep and bring the conscious engine to start warming up again.

I know from habit and experience, I need a kick-start.

Coffee comes to mind.

Because I live in the GTA (in Canada) and near my house, there are literally 5 Tim Hortons within 5 km –Tim’s cursive logo comes to mind.

At this time, it is like a beacon in my mental haze that is guiding my limited motor skills and half-functioning brain towards it.

A person looking at another person

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(This is not me – but I am a zombie most mornings)

I roll into the shower, put on my clothes and drive on over.

I get in the drive-through, I get my coffee without thinking and I am on my way.

I did this for most mornings to work before my kids added a few extra steps.

It was like an auto-pilot.

How did I do this? Why did I form this habit?

My coffee search experience has key benefits where brands have played a key role in forming this habit.

But before connecting my coffee experience with marketing, let’s go back to why I had behaved this way for so many years.

How our brains work

We need our memories to store past experiences.

It also is constantly fighting and creating filters from all the crazy sensory data it is receiving from its five senses and only letting the important ones come to the forefront and become part of our memory system.

This exercise and efficiency come at the expense of the energy required by the brain. We manage this overload by only storing pertinent and useful details to keep ourselves alive and happy.

We store memories for these reasons.

I remember and cherish my kids’ birthdays. My social security number. My important passwords and phone numbers.

I remember the nice salad I had at an Italian restaurant last week.

The impactful experiences we remember. Whether it is getting sick or getting hurt. Or it’s enjoying a meal. My first job. My first best friend.

I memorize some things that are connected with my well-being. I plant to memory some things and other things I remember inadvertently.

Our brain protects these memories to keep us stable.

Other memories go into autopilot and routine.

Routine helps with preserving energy and cognitive overload.

Anything that can be used to make it easier to connect and meet our needs in auto-pilot, the better it is.

Our brain’s broader memory network takes advantage of the knowledge that we have built up and uses it each time we meet a problem. The solution is recalled automatically depending on the problem (i.e., getting coffee) or possible new scenarios are played out with higher alert levels depending on the degree of danger to ourselves and the urgency of the problem.

How can brands take advantage of how our brains work?

Why did I remember Timmy’s in the morning say instead of Starbucks (even though I actually enjoy Starbucks’ dry cappuccino more)?

It’s because the brand gurus at Tim Horton’s helped me with developing these conditions where the routine could be formed, and we could go into auto-pilot mode.

To achieve this is no easy task.

You would need to invest in physical availability – i.e., 5 Tim Horton’s in 5 km of my house.

You would need to make it a pain-free and quick experience given my sleepy brain refusing to wake up – i.e., 30 seconds through a drive-through since the order and I am out with my morning addiction.

You would need to deliver on a decent experience for me to keep coming back. The product taste (meh), the super quick drive-thru, the low price, the consistent packaging, branding, and sufficient variety to make it easy for my brain to remember.

All of these are crucial.

All of these are major investments that the marketing and leadership team invested in consistently over decades to achieve this auto-pilot story I shared with you today.

This company has reached a very high brand salience in Canada.

Here is an image from the World Coffee Portal that talks about the different coffee brand’s market share. Tim Horton dominates at 54% in Canada.

A screenshot of a computer

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Image Source: Snippet from a news article on World Coffee Portal.com

It did so by investing in:

  • Physical availability (network of stores easily accessible)
  • Mental availability (easy to remember and consistent branding throughout the years)
  • Keeping freshness factors high for recall (I see them everywhere, in skating arenas, ads, gas stations, events and you name it)

All of these are marketing activities that build the brand.

It’s only getting harder to stay fresh

If brands are not investing in physical availability, freshness factors, and mentor availability – they will have a hard time growing.

This is especially true for B2C brands. But it is increasingly true with B2B brands.

Brands need to invest in creatives, assets, and processes to always make it easy for their customers or clients to do business with them.

If you are a B2B business, how can you make your processes easier so that even complex deals can be broken down into sub-tasks and activities so you can have your customers buy online initially as the first step to a bigger contract?

If you are a B2C brand manager – how can you keep your freshness factors high where your brand is top of mind consistently so when the consumer is hungry, looking for shoes or general merchandise – your brand is the one they consider?

As shown in the story above – it is by investing in building your assets that are creative, speak directly to your customers so they can form memories for brand recall.

To form memories where your brain is always looking to filter out noise, your creative assets and marketing have to be far above the ads, social and other messaging than most other brands in.

We see thousands of ads in a day. The last study done was back in 2007 and it showed we did on average 5000 ads a day at that time. There has been no recent study after that (and I checked).

I cannot recall more than five of them if I try.

Image Source: Web Archive From NY Times Article in 2007

The five ads I did remember are the ones that made an impact.

Taking shortcuts in building brand assets is going to make it harder for your brand to be found.

Growing becomes harder.

That’s why most businesses fail. They are not able to appeal to enough new customers before they run out of cash to cover their expenses.

The cause of not getting found is because their marketing strategies are focusing on short-term wins instead of long-term brand plays.

For brands to sustain and gain a level of salience required that big brands have achieved will require investments.

If you are looking to gain customers and you are in the short-term to get quick wins and that is taking 70% of your marketing expenses, your business will likely suffer over the long term.

Invest in assets, messages, and brand experiences that will help with forming habits and memories.

(Oh, and Tim Horton’s marketing team – you are welcome for the free exposure in my blog).

In Your Branding Strategy…

In Your Branding Strategy…

In Your Branding Strategy…

Start with What & How – Not Why

With this blog, we are looking to help businesses understand how to come up with the right sequence for a powerful branding strategy.  

Are you a business leader, marketer, or brand owner?  Are you looking to revamp your brand, launch a new product, launch a new business? If you answered yes to these questions, then we hope the analysis we share in this blog update is useful to you.

So let’s get into it.

Opening Thoughts…

The information age is here to stay and nearly everyone is an internet user.

As a result, internet marketing is now bread and butter for a huge percentage of marketers.

On the flip side, internet users are grappling with the confusion created by businesses with a lot of noise and no walnuts. “Who can we trust” these users constantly ask.

Trustworthy brands have a higher competitive edge and take the share.  We have talked about this many times before and shared research.

Related: How to establish trust online today?

Your brand is the face and identity of your business, shaping the perception of your target customers, your current and future employees.

As an employer, it is worth noting that a great brand can help you slash down your hiring and training expenses by up to 50%. 

In addition,  77% of consumers consider brand names when purchasing products and 59% of shoppers have a tendency of buying new products from the brands they know. 

So, with these stats in mind, the issue of having a strong brand is not a matter of why (why do I have to build a strong brand), but rather you should be focused on what and how (what do I need to achieve with the brand and how do I achieve it).

The stats on this post, our previous blog on creating trustworthy brands online, and even common sense tell you that in order to have a good business, you need to create great brands!

The Purpose of Existence – the why?

So why do most businesses start?  Why do brands do what they do? 

To help people. 

To create value. 

To receive value in return.

Hopefully, the value created is less in costs than the value received over the long-term and there you have a for-profit business model.

In 2009, Simon Sinek wrote a book called “Start With Why” – and since then, he has become world-renowned after this book and as he eloquently articulates his claims the powerful TED Talk – that brands must start with the why.

I have to say when I read his book and watched his talk – I became a believer.

I drank the kool-aid.

Well, I can now safely say that over the years, experience has taught me otherwise.

As a marketer and a business leader – I cannot disagree more with the notion that brands must start with the “why”.

He uses examples (a lot of Apple – but many leaders including the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King and Bill Gates to name a few) as a great way they tell their product stories. 

Issues & Assumptions with the “Why First” Approach

According to him, he says that Apple has been successful because they share their “why” first approach.

There is an inherent fallacy and assumption in this argument.  He is assuming that Apple always started with the “why” and then the “what” came.

A lot of the times when Sinek is referencing the “why” – he really means the “what” – but labels it as the “what”.  I find that this is more to do with fitting events into this “Golden Circle” than actually calling out reality for what it is.

Apple initially did not necessarily start in creating the belief system on values in their marketing or brand development.

They wanted beautiful design and a closed system of a product that rivals its competitors in everything before they were willing to market it.

Their advertising and marketing campaigns initially were not around the “why” – it was about the “what”.

You cannot have a good “why” if you do not have a solid “what” first.

I will even go as far as saying that he says that in some ways.

There is a chapter called in his “Start With the Why, but Know The What First”…see below:

Image Source: Audiobook Chapters Page

I think he knows that you have to have the “what” first – but the way it is labelled to fit this theory of Golden Circle is where it goes off.

Now everyone thinks of their powerful commercial that has taken over the “hearts and minds” of the general society at large.  If you have been in marketing long, you know the one – if not here is the link to it:

Image Source: Robert Cole YouTube

However, before having this amazing commercial, they had to have the “what” and “how” fully secured and humming so they can then build on the why.

Imagine having a what after you have sold the why?  You can sell someone the dream, but if you do not have a product that backs it up, your brand is not going to last long in the market.

History is forgiving to the winners

The 1984 commercial we shared above is showing the iconic ad that was used to get in front of large audiences (a super bowl ad – so big budgets even for 1984 standards) after Apple had been working on the Macintosh for almost a decade.

That’s right, a decade. Eight years.

For eight years Apple was fine-tuning the engineering with a ton of investment (the what and how) before this ad came into play.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak did not sell the why until way later. They had to have what and how well developed, understood vs the competitors and positioned from a branding perspective before they really tapped into the “why” narrative.

Related: 7 Steps To A Powerful Brand Positioning Statement

Here is Apple fine-tuning its “what” and “how” over the years (when Steve Jobs was at the helm) before it really went after the “why”:

branding strartegy of apple in the early days with a Point.Click Ad from the 1980s

Image Source: Arseluna.org

The above ad is the “how” that Apple used with Steve Jobs at the helm in 1983. “Point. Click” is selling the “what” and features not a belief system, values or the “why”.

A lot of folks favourably recall the 1984 iconic super bowl commercial and think that is where Apple started or even took off.

That is selective memory and crafting a narrative using some facts while omitting others to tell a great story.

Apple had engineers that built products and computers before they had started dabbling deeper in the why to position themselves differently vs. their competitors. 

Apple did not market saying initially when they were figuring out what they will sell that – “hello potential customer, your belief and our belief are the same – so buy a mac”.  It was “hey – our technology is awesome, easy to use and you should buy it”

They still have a lot of these messages in their campaigns even today.

Image Source: Apple Website

They had to have a great product first (which is the “what” and “how”) before the storytelling on the why could be formed.

This is also true for – Tesla, Google & Amazon. 

Did you think Facebook had the “why” before the “what”? Facebook’s branding strategy was simple enough in its initial stages before they got into the deeper development of “what”.

Has Facebook been successful in gaining brand awareness, capturing the market without the “why”?

Let’s take a step back.  These are giants that are used to showcase examples and illustrate a point. 

Let’s bring it close to home…what about our own experience?

Branding Strategy: Our Experience

As an avid reader and student of business and branding books, an instructor of business at local colleges and postgraduate programs, a content writer on business topics, a business leader running a digital marketing agency who has helped brands large and small – I can tell you that we do not start our support with the why when we help brands.

I know I am not as famous as Simon here.  I also know we have not reached the level of success that Simon has with his book and business – yet.

(what – a guy can dream!)

However, I also know I would side with a fool over a great storyteller when that fool is technically correct.

At Web Worx Labs, our questionnaire and discovery process begins by asking our prospects and potential partners what they are selling and where they need to go.

We then come up with strategies to help them get there.

If the brands do not have a product, an offering and simply just a belief system, then we humbly ask them to come back to us at a different stage in their business journey.

Ideas and beliefs without solutions cannot sell alone.

We tell our prospects who are initial stages of ideation or brand development to get back to us with a product, a service or a solution that can be marketed before we fine-tune their brand. 

We fine-tune with embellishing their brand stories (origin stories, product or customer success stories).

We help them with branding collateral in general with compelling photography, design, video and build other brand assets.

We help them design their online and offline presence, document and align on their target buyer avatars or buyer personas.

We help craft messaging and research the right placements of their messages that can be shown online with ads or organic discovery. 

We agree and recommend on where they should be hanging out – the networks they should have a presence in.

All this can only be achieved when we know what we are selling as part of the branding strategy we align on with our partners.  The why comes in after as part of the messaging and marketing.

The brand starts with the what, how they will deliver their promise to the customers day-in-day-out, and then that’s where we come in as an outside agency representing their brand to help them with the why and their messaging.

Starting With The Way Approach Is To Really Take Off

Focusing on “why” helps brands (and business leaders) who have established a revenue stream, have the “what” and “how” figured out – to really take off.

Even in his TED Talks – he references this with the Early Majority table:

Image Source: Emcrit.org

The above is Geoffery Moore’s Technology adaption lifecycle

Closing Thoughts…

Simon Sinek is a great mind and I have a ton of respect for him and the brands he has helped.  He has done good work. I am not taking away any of that.

I also get that he is trying to fit a narrative in a theoretical concept so it is easy to explain.  I also get that he is trying to ignite the passion that leaders have when running their brands to help get to that “tipping point” from early adopters to the early majority.  That is all clear.

However, I believe his name to fame has more to do with his presentation style, his ability to tell great stories and oration skills than actual practical advice that business leaders should take verbatim from the book.

Hopefully, I have been at least successful in creating some doubt in your belief that it starts with the “why” if you are a huge Simon Sinek fan. From my perspective, given our background in branding strategy, it starts with the “what” and “know-how” before the “why”.

In one of my upcoming blogs, I will get into the “how” and “what” a brand needs to get started with or must have when looking to revitalize before the “why”.

Do you agree with my assessment and analysis above?

Reach out if you have any questions and or thoughts on our contact-us page. Or simply comment below.  We check our blogs and emails regularly 😊. Good luck on your brand development journey!

How to Show Empathy to Your Team and Customers

How to Show Empathy to Your Team and Customers

How to Show Empathy to Your Team and Customers

A good business leader, a marketer (especially a marketer), or an entrepreneur knows how important their team and customers are to the success of their business.

One of the most effective ways to show your team and customers the love they deserve is by showing them empathy on a daily basis. Not only that but having empathy is just a good skill to have as a leader and business owner. So, how do you show it?

So what is Empathy?

Here is a good description as any:

Show Empathy - Description of Empathy from Greater Good Magazine snippet.
Image source: Greater Good Magazine

Ever hear the old saying: Before you judge a manwalk a mile in his shoes? This saying that has been around since 1895 by a poet named Mary T. Latharp that really tries to signify the above definition in a better metaphor.

So why we should care as leaders or marketers to walk in someone else’s shoes exactly? How can use this soft skill to help our team and customers and grow our business?

Let’s get into it and answer some of these questions in greater detail!

Show Empathy To Gain Alignment & Grow in Business

Doing good business is about keeping good lines of communication open with your peers, leaders, team members, stakeholders, and customers. The better the communication line, the better your chances of succeeding. Chances of success are further amplified when people take the extra step by showing empathy in their daily interactions. If you take a moment to understand the concerns or point of view of others, the easier it will be to find a compromise that works for all parties engaged.

Why is Empathy Important For Digital Marketing?

To market, is to attract. To attract is to understand. To understand is to be empathetic. (I am feeling philisophical today)

Wow. See what we did there. We just used logic to back into the main reason why digital marketing is tied to being empathetic.

Without being empathetic, we can safely say, you cannot be a good marketer, let alone a digital one. How can get in a customer’s shoes and talk about their pain points so they get attracted to your solution offering? How can you create value?

Lets break it down further and get into some of the tactics within digital marketing.

Do we need empathy in web design? Believe it! A good designer cannot design or and a good copywriter cannot write any meaningful copy if they are understanding and empathetic towards your customer.

How about SEO? Absolutely! Writing content that only speaks to bots and not your target audience has stopped working on Google since the AltaVista days!

Social Media? Email Marketing? Advertising? Well, we hopefully do not need to elaborate more here.

You get the point. Being empathic = being good = good for business.

So what can we do as leaders to be more empathic to our team members and customers?

Providing ample days off of work – team

At Web Worx Labs – our number internal rule is – “Family Comes First”.

We live by this rule. Anyone who needs time off for family, vacation, and just deal with personal or health-related errands – gets one.

So a significant and obvious way of showing empathy is by allowing your team to take days off of work without penalty or punishment. You would be surprised how many businesses do not allow this for their team members. And they wonder why their team members don’t stick around!

This simple act shows that you understand that sometimes, your team is going to need to take a break, or they may get sick, may have a family emergency, etc.

This culture and providing this privelage shows that you have empathy!

Show Gratitude

Empathy comes in a wide variety of forms, sometimes it’s not just about sharing pain, it’s about letting your team or customers know that what they are voicing to you is appreciated.

This shows that you care about them as people and not just workers or clients. Let them know that you appreciate that they came to you to discuss the matter at hand and that you want to help however you can.

Listening to your team and customers

When a customer or team member comes to you with a concern, be sure that you are actively listening. Shut off your headphones, tell that person on the other line that you’ll call them back, close the door to your office, and listen.

Devote the time that they need to speak with you to them instead of trying to multitask through it.

Or better yet, actually listen instead of just hearing and looking for a counter. Listening properly takes work.

Be understanding

Everybody goes through hard times throughout their life. If a customer who bought your product tells you they need to return it for whatever-reason, be empathetic.

Listen to them and understand where they are coming from even if you have never been in their shoes. Oftentimes, showing that kind of empathy will actually keep that customer coming back even if they do return your product, solely because of how you treated them!

Be relatable

When you listen to your customers or team, don’t forget to also relate to them. Let them know that they are not the only one’s who have experienced what it is they are feeling or dealing with. This is classic empathy; it shows people that you too are human and have ended up in similar situations. You don’t have to lie but be relatable. Let them know they aren’t alone!

There is no script

Lastly, we want to say that there is no script for showing empathy. There is no right thing to say or correct way to word something. Empathy is about actively listening to someone, understanding, or relating to where they are coming from, expressing that feeling, and encouraging them through it. Just be kind, honest, and open, that’s all there is to it.

Empathy At Web Worx Labs

At Web Worx Labs, being a customer centric organization that understands the need for respect for every individual.  We look to treat our customers, staff members and each other with care. 

It is this care that is the cornerstone for our success over the years and has helped us get repeat and referral business.

Learn more about our values and our team in our About Us page.

Got Questions?  Thoughts to share?  We would love to hear them. 

Reach out or comment below.

3 Proven Methods SEO And Social Media Integrate To Drive Brand Visibility (With Succesful Examples)

3 Proven Methods SEO And Social Media Integrate To Drive Brand Visibility (With Succesful Examples)

3 Proven Methods SEO And Social Media Integrate To Drive Brand Visibility (With Succesful Examples)

Opening Thoughts On SEO And Social Media

The two of the most in-demand digital marketing tactics are Social Media & SEO:

Source: Google Trends

SEO generates a lot more search volume and interest on Google than even terms like “digital marketing”

Search Engine Optimization & Social Media are hands down two of the most popular and sought after solutions when it comes to digital marketing. The demand for them even is higher than email marketing, digital marketing in general, pay per click and other tactics within online marketing.

Rightfully so, because unlike paid traffic, you really do not pay per click for every time someone discovers your brand online. (Google makes money and bulk of their revenue with pay per click advertising – and it seems people are more interested in getting clicks without having to pay for each of them).

Well, we also know that people are using social media now more than ever with the world in the new normal.

However, did you know that there is SEO involved in Social Media as well?

People are in search of a product or service on social media sites all the time.

In 2021, with Facebook Marketplace and Shopping becoming mainstream, SEO within social media will become more of a necessity than ever before.

As social media marketers tend to skew towards content creation for the social media platforms they specialize in and go after goals such as brand awareness, customer and follower growth, or building a community – SEO has not been sought after skillset required when managing social channels for brands.

However, as SEO and social converge, how can social managers and marketing managers adapt to this new requirement of bringing SEO elements to their daily tasks and deliver great content that gets discovered on social channels as well?

Well, the two are more closely linked to each other than it would seem at first pass.

Content That Drives Both SEO & Social Discovery

Social media contributes a lot to the search engine. It creates tons of new content every day.

Websites tend to upload reviews, blogs, news, and discussions daily, where do you think most of the relevant information is coming from?

Search engines get much content from social media sites, and that is why when you search for something, the reference/source can sometimes be derived from a social media platform.

For example, when we type in “Starbucks” in Google – the 3rd to 5th results I get is their Instagram feed which is appealing with beautiful photographs and immediately stick out. This allows people to discover the brand in the way they want and use social channels and media optimization as a powerful way to put their best foot forward right within the search results.

So social profiles optimized with a ton of relevant content get discovered right on the first page of Google when someone is exploring your brand.

Create Content For SEO & Make It Easy To Share

Running with the same example earlier, if we search for a specific solution on the market for a search term such as “iced latte” – here are the results we get:

The first result is the featured listing of Starbucks with detailed step by step instructions on how to create a recipe for home. So obviously, their pages are optimized for discoverability and search engine there. Good job Starbucks!

(no surprise here – Starbucks knows how to market 😉).

However, unless someone does click on their site and go to their recipe page for the details, they have focused their user experience on driving the buyers’ journey towards the online transaction.

Where they missed the mark in our opinion is that they did not make the recipe on their page that is optimized for search engines easily sharable on social media.

See the snippet below – no social ribbons right at the top (missed opportunity).

Source: Starbucks Ice Latte Recipe Page

On the other hand, the listing right below with a structured snippet 5-star rating has not only optimized for search but is using search discoverability to give a boost to their social engagement. See social buttons right at the top with Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest.

Source: Snack And Sips Iced Latte Recipe Page

Snacks And Sips are not only doing good SEO but leveraging SEO to boost their social engagement and integrating the two digital tactics for maximum exposure online.

(Beating Starbucks on marketing is no easy feat, but at least they have one point on them 😊).

Integrating social media deeply and optimally into your site is critical for having a one-two powerful combination to help get discovered and social.

Optimize Social Media For Search

If for whatever reason, your site is not optimized, but you have a good social presence, your brand can still get discovered on search engines.

When we have worked with many small clients that have virtually no SEO on their site (or some times, they may not even have a site), but they have a Facebook presence or a LinkedIn presence (this has been true for some of the budding authors we have helped market their brands online) – they still get discovered.

Example 1: Optimizing Search Profiles

You have key factors to optimize on social including

  • Your profile titles,
  • Descriptions
  • Your Posts & content
  • Your use of hashtags

Keywords Play A Role In Social & Search

Your profile should contain the keywords in the descriptions, the titles, and the names of the profile if possible.

You want your brand to be discovered both on search engines and social media when people search for a keyword you want your brand to be associated with.

Here is an example of an author who has the right keywords in their profile, in the title they have given themselves to rank when people search for a keyword “Strategy Author”

Image Source: Searching Strategy Author in LinkedIn Search – profiles optimized in LinkedIn Search Engine.

In this case, the author and expert Tricia McKinnon understands the importance of having the right keywords that you want to be discovered for.

Example 2: Your Brand’s Social Profile Showing Up On Search

Another example we can share with you is showing your brand on search engines when people want to find out about you through social media. When people type in “Web Worx Labs” – the results not only show our website ranking right on the top but also shows our LinkedIn Profile, Our Facebook profile, and other directories that we want to be associated with:

This helps build the right impression to others who are searching for your brand. They get to see that not only are you active and accessible on your website, but you have an active profile on social media networks where you can be contacted through.

You also get to showcase your values, expertise, and behind the scenes with social media.

To rank on search engines, your profile has to be optimized with the targeted keyword.

The Indirect Affect Of Social Media On SEO

Ultimately, the traffic coming from the website comes from many sources.

If your brand is active on social regularly, then it is getting discovered when people engaged with your brand on your social media profiles.

The goal is to get your traffic to your site where conversions can happen.

A conversion can be a sale, a sign-up a contact-us, or any event you describe as behaviour that your visitor does.

When people come from social sites, this is considered “Referral” traffic in Search Engine Optimization Terms (particularly in Google Analytics – which is a website analytics tracking application freely provided by Google and widely adapted and used across most digital marketers).

The more engagement you have on social media, the more people visit your site. Given they visit your site and spend time there, and share your content from your site to others, the better it is for SEO.

Google and other search engines take into account behavioural factors that show how the users are behaving when visiting your site. The positive user behaviour is tracked & accounted for when comparing your site vs. your competitor’s site. If your site has better content and better engagement, it is optimized and it gets a boost from social, then your site will rank better on SEO over time as well.

See how your referral traffic had an indirect impact on your site’s rankings?

Your positive on-site behaviour from users that were directed from social had a positive impact on your search rankings.

So in essence, user satisfaction plays a huge role.

Your website can drop in search rankings based on the user satisfaction metrics which include such things as:

  • Dwell time (Dwell Time is the amount of time that a Google searcher spends on a page from the search results before returning to the SERPs)
  • Bounce rate (people coming to your site and exiting without performing another action on your site – clicking, leaving, etc).
  • Pogo-sticking (going back & forth on search results until they find what they are looking for)

So if people come to your site from social media & add to the user experience metrics positively, it will be factored into your ability to rank.

To find out more about how the on-site behaviour impacts your ability to rank – you can read up in detail in the great guide produced by Brian Dean and the team at Backlinko.com here.

Image source: Baclinko.com/google-rankbrain-seo

Leverage Traffic From Social Until You Rank On Search Engines

SEO takes time to get on the first page where you get the visibility and traffic your brand needs.

However, if you have a good social strategy and have frequent content updates, your referral traffic from social will give your brand the visibility it needs right away.

In this case, we are referring to a blog, a news update, a new product release that you have done on your website and can now promote on Social Media to direct traffic from Social to your website.

Given the social platforms algorithm updates that are now all moving towards the “pay to play” model for brands, we recommend that you put some ad dollars behind your website content updates that you post and share on social media.

A simple boost with relevant targeting can give your website the immediate clicks it needs to get exposure top to the middle of the funnel audiences.

Better on-site behaviour when people have been directed from paid traffic sources can act as a positive signal to search engines that track user activity when helping it rank – as mentioned in our previous section.

Conclusion

Now you know how social media marketing and search engines are related.

You also have a good idea of how social media marketing affects discoverability when combined with SEO.

Leveraging social and SEO together will require multiple disciplines in digital marketing to come together. You can develop and execute the strategies outlined in-house or hire an agency to get.

The beauty about hiring an agency is that it will help you get the expertise in these functions at a fraction of the costs if you were to hire this team internally.

There are a ton of great agencies that can help integrate your social & SEO campaigns seamlessly. Some of these Search Engine Marketing Agencies are worth checking out.

Our customers know we make the top list among the best at Web Worx Labs as we leverage social and SEO for most of our campaigns to generate the greatest visibility and returns for our partners.

Want to know more about social media marketing and how it can be optimized also for search discoverability?

Find out what social media marketing can do for you or your business – learn more on our blog for more interesting insights and research.

We would love to hear from you – feel free to contact us, or comment below!

What Should Businesses Do Today To Establish Trust Online?

What Should Businesses Do Today To Establish Trust Online?

What Should Businesses Do Today To Establish Trust Online?

Establishing Trust Online

With easy access to the internet, businesses have to work harder to establish trust online today more than ever. 

While most of the companies all around the world have been trying to gain consumers’ online trust, the truth is that the constant news of online security breaches, identity theft, and major scandals like Facebook-Cambridge Analytica gives this trust a shake, to say the least.

While your business may have nothing to do with Facebook, the reality is that you can still get affected by it. Especially in terms of the trust that consumers have in the brands you lead or represent.

So, what can you do to maintain customer’s trust online?

Establishing Trust Online Takes Time & Commitment

Why is trust so important?

The reality is that people, end consumers, and other brands will only do business with those they know, like, and trust. When a consumer has the perception (or the trust) that a particular company sells good products, they will be more willing to buy from them even if their most direct competitor is selling the same product at an inferior price.

And this is only because they trust this specific business.

Trust makes brands. The level of trust creates the differentiation that allows companies to sell the same product solution or service at different prices. It’s your commitment to establishing trust for your existing or new customers that will allow your brand to become more profitable over-time.

A survey was done by Super Office – CRM service provider of 1,920 business professionals in 2020 showing that customer experience was the most important factor business leaders over the next 5 years:

Image Source: SuperOffice.com. Customer Experience Statistics. Published December 11, 2020

So if you are not making customer experience a priority over the next five years, you may be missing out on an opportunity to build trust with your customers (while your competitors are doing just that).

Another report published by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) indicated that customers are willing to pay upwards of 16% more for a better customer experience and become loyal (that means repeat business, referral business, and upsell opportunities).

To top it off, bad customer experience works just the other way; bad customer experience drives customers away – fast!

1 in 3 respondents mentioned in the same PwC study that they will walk away from the brand after only one bad customer experience.

Source: Consumer Intelligence Series Customer Experience Report. Published in 2018. The survey conducted in 2017/2018. Pg. 5.

Your Customer Experience Should Have Trust Built-In

Establishing trust online is not an easy task. And we didn’t even need to experience the Facebook scandal that still hurts us today to see what immediate impact it will have. Most companies that experience a scandal at that scale may not be able to recover from it.

When a consumer goes to your web presence (whether that is a website, a social page, or an eCommerce store), they can gather information, even unconsciously. Consumers can directly evaluate if the brand is friendly, whether there are any personal touches and care given to the customer to enhance the customer experience.

Every customer touchpoint online, whether it is the design that has to be in-line with today’s standards, the copy, the promise, and ‘feel’ must speak to the customers with their values and norms of today is critical to the buyer’s journey.

So, how can your business maintain customer trust online?

#1: Be Accessible:

No matter if a customer contacts you through your website, email, social media, or any other way, make sure that you are available for them.

While some customers can have real questions about the products you are selling, others may just want to know if there is a real person behind the business, someone they can talk to, engage with.

With customer experience and collecting feedback or gathering, data should not be left to a handful of employees in IT. According to research by Harvard Business Review – touchpoints with the customer should take an “All Hands On Board” approach. This cross-functional approach allows the company to become front and center to the business and focus on addressing customer pain points in a quicker time frame.

More than 50% of Websites Are Accessed Online via Mobile

Being accessible also means that your web presence is accessible to all audiences across all devices and people with all types of disabilities.

When websites are not rendering properly on mobile or other devices outside of desktops, then the brand has lost a serious opportunity to build trust. According to Statista.com – approx. half of the web traffic is accessed via mobile devices worldwide.

Source: Statista.com. Percentage of mobile device website traffic worldwide from 1st quarter 2015 to 3rd quarter 2020

Making the web accessible benefits individuals, brands, and society at large

When your brand showcases that it is committed to improving customer experience by making it accessible to people with disabilities – it shows the world it cares about inclusion and values that are important for consumers today more than ever. This then allows for increased brand awareness, increased website usage, better search engine optimization, and visibility.

All of the above impacts your brand’s perception and increases the positive image. An increased positive image helps builds trust and loyalty.

You can learn about other benefits from W3.org – Website Accessibility Initiative and the business case for developing web accessibility for your organization.

Having a website that is accessible comes together factoring in such things as additional functional enhancements (or plugins), factoring in web browser capabilities, and among other tools. It is usually a good idea to capture website accessibility when doing a redesign to avoid re-doing work after the website is launched.

#2: Focus On Reliablilty & Consistency:

Consumers are led by emotions, not logic. Ensuring that the product or solution that you sell is not only reliable but also has quality, places you one step ahead of your competitors. After all, when your customers receive the product, experience or service they buy from you, you want to make sure that they are not overwhelmed but at the same time can see the value in the exchange.

It is a delicate balance.

Unless you are not qualifying your products upfront and stating that this is an innovation, selling sub-par products in the market will only negatively impact your brand.

If you are new then showcase it, be proud of it, and solicit feedback to improve.

However, there should be elements in the online experience that meet the standards of good user experience today.

Source: Consumer Intelligence Series Customer Experience Report. Published in 2018. The survey was conducted in 2017/2018. Pg. 13.

Having a web presence that looks like it belongs in the 90s will not fly in the 2020s. However, if you run out of inventory temporarily, it may be acceptable to experience if and when just starting. However, have regular stock-outs or delivering an inconsistent customer experience is not a sustainable solution for your brand.

The above chart showcases that consistency in brand experience and unfriendly or bad service harms the brand way more than not being known or having celebrities back your brand.

Don’t get me wrong, celebrity or influencer endorsements can and do work, but not as much as providing a friendly and intuitive online user experience, consistency in branding, and a great service-oriented attitude in helping your customer!

Want To Learn How We Integrate Great User Experience in Our Web Design Process?

Learn About Our Website Design Process

WEBSITE DESIGN SERVICES

#3: Be Honest:

When you know that your product won’t suit someone’s needs, just tell the consumer directly.

Your products won’t please everyone and they are usually not tailored for everyone.

While this means losing a sale today, it will bring you a lot more sales in the future.

Honesty is always a good policy and consumers love to deal with businesses that they can trust.

Tools To Help You Build Customer Trust Online

At Web Worx Labs, we have some resources for marketers and business leaders to get a quick idea on where they stand when it comes to User Experience, Accessibility, Mobile Friendliness & Search Discoverability

You can take a peek and test your online touch-points on all your pages for your brand here:

FREE WEBSITE AUDIT

We are committed to helping brands improve their customer experience online and grow with the power of digital. If you need help with any of the easy-to-use tools above or have questions on what some of the insights shared, reach out and we will be happy to help.

Closing Thoughts:

As the above shows, building trust isn’t something that you do overnight. It takes time for your business to be trusted by consumers.

Nonetheless, it is all up to you.

It depends on how you show your business to your customers, how you deal with them, the commitment to providing quality of your products, among other factors.

So, take a moment to do a thorough review of your current offerings and document objectively of where your quality stacks up vs. the market.  Our tools above help with that.

Understanding first is key to building trust online over time.  After all, you already know that consumers will only buy from businesses they know, like, and trust.

Do you have any questions on the insights and analysis shared in this blog? Do you feel that customer experience is important now more than ever? Or other factors more important for businesses than establishing trust.

You can respond in the comments section and we would love your feedback and thoughts.  Or reach out and we will walk you through the FREE audit.

Happy trust building!

Types of Advertising

Types of Advertising

Types of Advertising – Detailed & Comprehensive Guide

Advertising? The most significant form of marketing communication done to promote or sell a solution through a non-personal message and openly sponsored format.

Arguably the most popular discipline within the marketing function.

Introduction

There are several types of advertisings. However, not many people are fully aware of them.

Although now the current generation knows what exactly advertisements do but still to sound a bit academic, let us give you a more detailed overview and begin by looking at the very definition of advertising.

“The businesses are trying to persuade people to buy products or services.”

It’s the act or practice of swaying towards a purchase.

Several ways have been introduced from traditional/legacy media to new/modern media?

The history of advertising can be traced to ancient civilization when Egyptians used papyrus (thick paper) to make wall posters and write sales messages.

Advertisers have a vast array of choices, and in this blog, we’ll lay out many of the types of advertising.

Advertising is communicated through various media formats; it can be either through traditional media or digital media.

Today, we breakdown the different media that are available for businesses and brands to consider when looking to advertise.

Traditional Media 

This form of media communicates with one-way technologies, involve print media.

We can further classify media into direct mail, newspaper, magazines, outdoor advertising, radio broadcasting, and television.

New Media or Digital Advertising 

This form of media enables people to telecommunicate with each other through search engine results, websites, articles, blogs, social media platforms, and text messages.

You can even call new/modern media digital media because of the use of electronic devices.

Both types of advertising are still in use, but with the advent of new media, traditional media has faced many challenges.

Which doesn’t mean that it has lost its worth.

With the advancements in digital media, it is said that advertisers had spent $40 billion more on internet ads than on TV ads last year.

You can also check the full stats of global advertising spending here from 2014 to 2021.

spending in billions chart from statista- types of advertising blog

Image source; Statista – Worldwide spending in Advertising in billions

Today, businesses want to promote their brands and services by capturing the minds of people through new methods.

Worldwide the estimated spending on advertising is undoubtedly going to increase in the upcoming years, as businesses want to promote their brands and services by capturing the minds of people through new methods.

A good marketing strategy for brands includes a good dose of offline or traditional marketing and digital marketing.

Are you curious to know about the tactics used in advertising to reach consumers?

The following list is our approach to provide a detailed and comprehensive overview of the types of advertising options available to a brand large or small.  By now means is this list complete, but a good guide with lots of options depending on your unique needs and your marketing mix.

The following list will help your business to grab the attention of your targeted audience to generate higher exposure, visibility and overtime growth for your business.

We begin our breakout with traditional media and then get into digital advertising to round out a complete picture.

Direct Mail

Image Source: Aviaro

In advertising, direct mail is one of the oldest types in which prospective buyers receive a message by post or mail service.

Direct mail is used by businesses in which they send letters, brochures, catalogues, postcards, and promotional material to their potential clients and customers.

The most significant advantage of this type of advertising is it allows you to communicate with your targeted audience one-on-one. This method is beneficial as it provides direct and detailed information about the product sent to the buyers and attempts to establish direct contact with the consumer.

In contrast, in other types of advertising, you’re never 100% sure who is receiving your message.

There are disadvantages to this form of advertising as it suffers from certain flaws because it is sent directly to the clients. It has limited reach, and response rates are often low as many consumers throw direct mail pieces away without giving it a read.

This can get costly if the advertiser is not getting the desired result.

Be mindful of the fact that if you’re going to choose direct mail, you have to do it right.

For a particular demographic and buyer personas, this advertising type may still be useful. Know your customer, and if you feel that the communities and customers you are targeting open direct mail, this may be a great tried, true, and tested way to advertise.

Newspapers and Magazines

Image Source: MyImaginaryFriendGraphics

One of the most used formats in the 20th century to advertise to your target audience is by using print media. This format usually comes in two mediums of communication, i.e., newspapers and magazines.

As you may already know, print journalism has been in decline as such this medium is reaching far fewer people than it did in the past.

However, many still get printed newspapers on their doorstep. Besides, doctors, dentists, and lawyers’ offices are usually filled with magazines to help their patients or clients pass the time.

Newspapers are still essential 

Even though the reach is shrinking, the right message can resonate with the target audience if done right.

Several benefits of newspaper advertising cannot be found elsewhere, including television, radio, or even the internet.

The cost of advertising is more affordable than many of the mediums and offers better targeting. Newspaper adverting allows brands to target a specific audience that is often difficult to reach through other mediums.

Newspapers effectively reach more customers because of the ability to be an engaging and trustworthy source.

However, given its declining reach, this channel for advertising should not be solely relied upon to get your word out.

Using Magazine Advertisement To Increase Your Ads Shelflife

You might be thinking, “it may seem pointless to advertise in magazines?”

The reason being that other mediums have reached millions of consumers and “who reads print magazines in this day & age?”

Well, it is not pointless. Hear us out on this one.

magazine - types of advertising

Because ads in magazines have a more extended staying power or shelf life than other digital ads that come and go.

You have the power to stay in the minds of the consumer much longer in comparison to other mediums by advertising in a magazine.

Advertisements in magazines are very creative vs. perhaps other simpler formats because of being colourful and “prestigious,” which appeals to the readers.

However, the cost of advertising in magazines is higher and has much less flexibility compared to newspapers.

A fun fact about magazine advertisements is that those published on the right-hand page are more expensive than the left-hand page.

Still, newspapers and magazines both can have a more significant impact and exposure because millions of people are still reading this in this day and age (in the post-COVID19 world).

In 2020, newspaper circulation still stood at 19.6 million copies (yes million) in the heart of the pandemic year within Canada alone.  So people do get exposure to print.  

If your target audience demographic leans older, in remote areas or has less access to the internet, then this medium of advertising should be a strong contender to get the message out.  

Radio Advertising

Image Source: Adweek

When you’re thinking about methods of advertising to promote your business, radio might not be the first thing that comes to your mind.  

Podcasts are on the rise.  With over 18.5 million episodes and 525,000 active podcast shows, no wonder the transition to this form of audio info/entertainment is happening.

However, radio is still holding a good share of the market. Even in the post-pandemic world, the numbers have stayed steady if not increased in the 2020 year:

Source: Statista

Especially in the era of social media, radio might seem “dated” to the younger generation (those that are 37 years and younger today).

But radio can be something important when it comes to market your advertising depending on your target audience.

Radio advertising, as compared to other media, offers more affordability.

It also offers broad reach to the targeted audience and can be beneficial for your enterprise by delivering a timely message.

If you want to go with radio advertising, a few things you must keep in mind.

Among other broadcast mediums, which have visual appeal, radio can only impact your target audience through sound.

But it covers all types of listeners, whether literate or not, to advertise your product.

Don’t forget that people listening to your advertisement on the radio are probably doing something else at the same time, like doing household chores or driving.

They are likely multitasking (driving or working for example) and listening to your advertisement at the same time.

So, try to make your key information more prominent about the product you’re selling.

As with any other form of advertising, given the steady share in the market, it is a good medium to get your brand out there.  

Television Advertising

back of head of a guy looking at a television - types of advertising

Image Source: EuroBusinessInfo

Watching tv is one of the most common and modern leisure activities, and advertising on television is one of the fastest-growing mediums of marketing.

This type of advertising has gained substantial popularity among the masses these days.

TV advertising is the most dominant way to reach a large number of consumers.  For baby boomers particularly – this is still the number one source of media consumption (in the post-COVID-19 era).

A great research study done by Global Web Index details the breakout by demographic here.

Because this medium includes sound and sight to convey the message to your audience.

Advertising on television allows you to show and tell a wide range of audiences by grabbing their attention.

Engaging television ads are not just walking and talking messages.

They foster emotions, empathy, and leave an ever-lasting impression on the viewer’s mind.

These elements make television ads costly compared to other mediums but also more effective and impressive.

Cinema Advertising

Image Source: Pinterest

Ever thought of advertising right before a movie starts at a movie theatre?

The ads broadcast in cinemas are just as same on television but have one privilege over their smaller screen counterparts. And that is the captive environment of the cinema in which the audience has no chance or option to change the channel, ignore it, not even easily walk away because they are at a movie theatre.

Also, did you know that cinemagoers are four times more likely to be emotionally involved in your ad than a television audience?

When they remember the movie – they also remember the advertisement displayed in between.

That is pretty powerful!

So, this option is one of the most creative and smart techniques to promote your brand and make sure your message is heard.

Undoubtedly, it can be – but with COVID19 and the future of the theatre industry in peril, this can have an impact on the viability of this option.  Nonetheless, when and if it does get back to its usual audience sizes, this is a good option for marketers to use as an advertising medium.

When going for this advertising option, choose the timings and movie when you want your ad to appear on the big screen.

Options now exist to have your ad seen before the movie begins or during intermission.

In my opinion, it is always better to promote your brand before the film starts – because, in an intermission, many people leave for a break (and many North American movies do not offer the intermissions).

This type of advertising is much more expensive than other options discussed so far but does provide more contract and targeting and because of this has a higher value as it serves hundreds of people at once.

This can be effective and part of your marketing mix, if you have larger budgets and can afford expensive mediums to build lasting impressions.

Outdoor Advertising

OOH – stands for Out-Of-Home advertising.

Why this is out of home when radio can be out of home or cinema or other formats are definitely out of home is beyond me at this point.  Nonetheless, it is a term that stuck.

As the name suggests, this type of advertising is created to reach consumers who are in a public place, or outdoors.

This advertising falls into four main categories:

  • Billboards.
  • Street furniture.
  • Transits.
  • Digital outdoor advertising.

Billboard advertising

Billboard advertising - webworxlabs mockup of billboards at work when showing types of advertising

Image Source: FreeMockUp

We all are aware of what billboards are and can easily find them either on highly visible, heavy traffic areas or less-travelled roads in rural areas.

Drivers and travellers see them almost everywhere, as they are a cost-effective advertising method.

The stunning visuals on billboards leave an impression on the viewer and help you get the best bang for your buck.

Street Furniture

Image Source: Cityam

The use of street furniture for advertising is one of the efficient and cost-effective approaches.

Let us tell you what certain displays fall into the general category of street furniture such as benches in parks, busses and bus stop shelters, pole and telephone kiosks, news racks, etc.

Transit Advertising

Transit Advertising

Image Source: Local Advertising Journal

The most popular form of transit advertising is ads on the sides of the busses.

This is also common in subways, taxis, along airport walkways to highlight their products.

Digital Outdoor Advertising

Example of a type of advertising showing outdoor ads

Image Source: ReadytoQuote

This type of advertising is also known as digital signage.

Electrical technology is used to change what is displayed on a screen.

This specific type of advertising has gained much popularity within modern times because of the advent of digital billboards, which easily attract consumers.

Ultimately advertising follows the consumers wherever they go, and all the categories mentioned above, offer ways to reach a broader audience in a local or regional market.

Great for general brand awareness and consideration of top-of-funnel advertising.

Digital Advertising

Unlike traditional advertising, digital advertising provides much more precision and control in reaching the target audiences.

The control in digital advertising comes from “cookies” or tags that are installed on a user’s machine when they visit a platform or a website.

This visit by the user gives the website owner pertinent intelligence that it can use in understanding, storing, defining the characteristics of demographic and preferences, taste, location, and historical buying and browsing patterns. These cookies assign a unique identifier for each visitor and allow the website owner to keep track of the same user when they revisit the site.

All different types of users visit this website or platform, and this massive amount of data is collected (big data) and synthesized. In essence, it gives the publishers, website owners or platforms a high level of precision to have advertisers place ads in front of a very targeted audience.

The platform or site can then sell this space to advertisers much the same way a newspaper does.

As an advertiser looking to advertise on the platform or website, you use the data to really segment and specify when, where, and how frequently you want your ad to appear.

Various types of publishers are available online, and these include search engines, social media platforms, video streaming services, and market places.

Pay Per Click Advertising

The most common form of online advertising is pay-per-click.

This form gives the advertiser to place ads in front of the target audience on the publisher’s platform.

The advertiser only pays when the user clicks on the ad.

Impressions are usually free (depending on the type of campaign you configure).

Is that not amazing in digital? That your brand can get exposure without having to ever pay for advertising when you configure most campaign types on Google.

This is a significant difference from traditional media formats where they charge for every time it is printed or distributed.

Here distribution is usually free, and only when the customer’s curiosity is intrigued, and he or she has shown interest, the publisher track and collects.

Related: Learn About Our Pay Per Click Advertising Services

Related: Learn About Digital Marketing Lead Generation With Advertising In Our Training Page

There are various forms of Pay-Per-Click advertising, including social media, search engine results pages, and video viewership.

Social Media Advertising

LinkedIn Social Media Advertising Example - For Types of Advertising

Image Source: Hootsuite

Most social media channels and platforms exist to monetize ways to provide advertising capabilities to the brands and companies for the users or traffic on their platforms.  So they all offer pay-per-click advertising services.

While there are other advertising approaches, social media advertising has taken over the market by storm.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, this strategy can help achieve your business objectives.

This type of advertising is used to grab the attention of the social media platform users to bring in consistent sales, awareness, leads, consideration or build trust and loyalty. 

Social Media allows you to promote your brand in several ways; some of them are:

  • In-stream ads
  • Text-based ads
  • Photo and video-based ads

Also, these help in increasing your fanbase/follower-base and or sales as well – depending on the type of campaign you configure in the social media platform.

From people engaging with your page (likes and engagement), to people booking appointments or giving their phone number to follow up are all options in this wide world of social media advertising.

Now the question is, which type of social media platform will help your business grow?

Here, we have compiled the list of influential social media advertising platforms you should be familiar with in 2021 (if not present and active in all of them):

  • Facebook.
  • Instagram.
  • Twitter.
  • Pinterest.
  • LinkedIn.
  • Snapchat.
  • TikTok
  • WhatsApp

You can take a look at all of these social media platforms and quickly find out which ads are worth your budget.

We understand there are many advertising options out there.

It might make it challenging to decide which ad platform you could get the best ROI from.

If you need help deciding whether social advertising is right for your business, you can ask us.

We’ll help you select the right ones or ones we believe may be the best fit for your brand given the business model you have.  You will need to narrow down what your short and long-term goals are as well.  If you are looking for immediate sales then certain types of ad campaigns on specific platforms may yield better results on social media vs. other options.  

On the other hand, if the goal is long-term brand building and you already have a good presence on one social media channel (or ought to have given your audience hangs out there) – then, it is a good idea to advertise and stay on top of mind with longer-term campaigns for brand awareness and consideration.

Related: Our Social Media Marketing & Management Services

YouTube Advertising

With the increase of viewership on YouTube, no blog on advertising will be complete if there is no mention of YouTube.

More than 3/4 of the adults in the US use YouTube according to research shared on Hootsuite’s blog.

That is a huge number of users and they are only increasing!

We covered television and social advertising earlier, but this medium has so much content that is consumed and uploaded on a daily basis that it is becoming the go-to spot for an increasing number of brands to get the word out about their brand via ads, original content creation and influencer collaborations.

It is like a mix of TV, social and influencer forms of advertising all rolled up into one.

Really recommended for most brands who want to get a good message out and build brand impressions over time.  Not so much as a lead generation mechanism, but a good tool to showcase thought expertise, build trust and create awareness. 

Amazon Advertising

Do you sell on Amazon?  Or are you an e-commerce brand that is considering amazon?

If you are an e-commerce brand and want to market on this crazy online retail shop, you first need to have a presence.

With Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) – vendors and sellers can now advertise on this powerful and very active online store to get in front of their target audience very quickly.  This is because it offers a lot of the same ad formats like social media networks and Google in how to reach target audiences.  These formats include:

  1. Native Ads
  2. Product Display ads
  3. Headline search ads
  4. Sponsored Ads
  5. Video Ads

You can learn about Amazon advertising formats here.

Final Words

We have walked you through a ton of options for the major types of advertising options available to you today (whether online or offline).

Now it’s your turn to choose the right platform to research, deliberate, analyze and narrow which mediums and platforms are your best options to run your campaigns on.

Most businesses do not have infinite resources, so there will likely be a prioritization of some over others.  We hope you find the above insights, analysis and recommendations useful in finalizing the right media mix for your brand (as every brand is different).

If you’re still not sure about where to allocate your budget or your ad campaign isn’t performing well, let us know in the comments below we’ll be happy to help you.  We may not be the right fit for offline advertising, but we may be able to help you with graphics creation, photography, advertising or general marketing and branding support if you need it.

Remember, a single mistake in advertising can be costly.

To keep an eye on your mistakes, you can hire an expert here to handle your online ad campaigns and start promoting the brand.

Questions? Don’t be afraid to reach out.  You can reach us at info@webworxlabs.comm for any advertising queries you may have!

7 Steps to Developing a Powerful Brand Positioning Statement

7 Steps to Developing a Powerful Brand Positioning Statement

7 Steps to Developing a Powerful Brand Positioning Statement

 

Image - 2

Image Source: Marketing91

‘Nobody buys a product or service because it can do everything, but rather because it can do something’ – Tim Williams’ Positioning for Professionals’

Why no one will ever say ‘Yahoo it’ or ‘Bing it,’ but always ‘Google it’?

Why don’t kids want to go to a ‘fast food restaurant,’ but to a McDonald’s?

Does no one care about Pepsi despite hundreds of taste-tests proving that it tastes better than Cola?

You can read more about these taste tests from Pepsi here.

How did these brands, often not delivering the best quality in their segment, become a synonym of the product or service they provide?

In this post, we talk about how businesses use brand positioning to define their place in the marketplace.

This goes back to a core marketing concept of brand positioning.

Image Source: Outside-The-Box

Brand Positioning

Initially, and at first glance, people consider brand positioning as a form of product differentiation.

However, there are two key positioning concepts that businesses must consider; company positioning (image) and positioning within a consumers’ mind.

This blog is more specifically about the latter strategy for brands to employ when developing their marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy that suggests finding something that differentiates your product/service.

It especially differentiates from your competitors and uses that something to embed your brand in a particular place of your costumer’s mind.

So, where your product sits in terms of value offered vs. the competitors in the market.

As easy as that sounds, unfortunately, mind control has not yet been invented.

Even if it was, it would probably be illegal (we certainly hope so).

You can control your brand’s place in the market, but not in your customer’s mind.

Thus, brand positioning can only aim to fill in a certain spot, to occupy a unique, clear, and beneficial position in the costumer’s minds.

In our digital age, where the internet is in everyone’s pocket, brand positions are established very early on.

We talk about first impressions and why a need to take advantage of having a robust web presence in our earlier blog Reasons for a Website in Today’s World.

One of the most influential marketing thinkers, David Ogilvy, said that:

While many people argue on the definition of brand positioning, it can be summarized as to what a product does and who it is for.

Brand Positioning is not only different from your brand’s tagline or mission statement; this determines them.

It begins the moment someone is introduced to your brand.

This is an ongoing relationship that develops with every touchpoint, such as advertising, customer interactions, and product/service usage.

That is why it is critical that your business spends a sufficient amount of time in creating a positioning strategy and the most important part of it – a brand positioning statement.

In Crossing the Chasm (a must-read book for small business or early start-ups), Geoffrey outlined the essential elements of creating a brand positioning statement.

He proposes to outline the target customer and their need.

How and why your product/service will benefit the said customer and need, then to put your advantage against a competitive alternative.

To better understand how to define your target customer – go to our earlier blog post on the fundamentals of marketing.

It is questionable, whether opposing a competitor is necessary for creating your positioning statement as it is better to grow the market, rather than concentrate on competition.

Winners win, and competitors battle for the second place.

Image Source: Ts-Advertising

7 Step to Developing a Brand Position Statement

Source: Feedough

The below steps are after that your brand has been or out in the marketplace.

If you are an existing brand, you understand that marketing strategy is the way to serve your customer’s needs effectively.

Thus, researching and reassessing your brand positioning is essential for commercial success.

This is how we recommend you go about doing it:

Identify your current category.

For example, to separate your energy drink from other soft drinks, start with the customer.

Who are they, why they like your product, what do they do with it, and why do they buy it?

Determine your current positioning in the market

Even if positioning has not been purposefully established, or done incorrectly, customers will still have perceptions of your brand.

To understand current positioning, talk to the customers, read the reviews, or monitor social media.

Select and narrow down your key competitors to compare your brand against

Think about not only your direct competition but indirect competition.

If customers are not going to buy your product or service, what else could they buy, which will fulfill their needs?

Going back to the soft-drink example, If they do not buy your soft-drink, could they get the same utility out of bottled water?

Try your best to assess your key competitor’s positioning in the market.

What is special about your competition’s brand, and how can they win your clients over?

What are they offering that you are not?

Note here that you shouldn’t aim to replicate them, just be aware of what they are doing.

Now do the analysis and review (your brand vs. your competitors)

Compare your and your competitor’s positioning.

To do this, think about Points of parity (POPs) and points of differentiation (PODs).

POPs are how what you are offering is similar to the competitor’s offerings, with PODs being the opposite, how your product is different.

You can read more about a great summary put together by the Segmentation Study Guide.

In your review, take time also to identify your uniqueness and strengths.

Coming from the previous point.

Your PODs will be the ones written below;

  • Identifying your strengths.
  • Taking advantage of strength in your messaging.
  • Copywriting.
  • Brand communication.
  • Develop a new positioning statement and strategy.

Building on everything you learned from your research, develop a positioning statement that will reflect your desired brand positioning.

Reflecting on your marketing plan, create a new brand strategy that will bring you to your goal market positioning.

Does Not Matter When the Brand Enters the Market

Although the previous points are relevant to you, if you are just entering the market with a new brand/product, you have the opportunity to create a new category in the customers’ minds.

You can enter an existing market and take it by storm, avoiding the mistakes of your predecessors.

Although finding a market gap and creating a new category is not easy, first-mover advantage gives you a lot of benefits.

Some of them are having few opponents, low cost for customer acquisition, you are hard to catch up with, and whatever comes next is compared with you.

And even competitors that enter the market broaden and maturing it, bringing more customers and higher revenue.

Remember that a new market category is not the same as creating a solely new product.

Let’s take an example of Red Bull – many soft drink companies (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Lucozade (UK)) marketed themselves as awakening or energy-boosting.

Still, none of them created ‘energy drinks’ for American and European markets.

Creating a new category, Red Bull had the first movers advantage, used it well, and now owns more than 40% of the world’s energy drink market as published on Time.com.

Although a sufficient amount of marketing research insists that the first movers’ advantage is the only way to securing a place in the customer’s mind, this statement is far from being true.

Think of giants like Target, Google, and South-West Airlines, none of them came first.

As John Birger’s former Fortunes senior writer effectively shows in the article Second-Mover Advantage by observing first movers in the market.

The brands that follow and enter the market as second or even third movers can still capitalize on the market by learning from the mistakes of the first movers.

There are too many success cases of brands entering the market later, but still achieving tremendous success.

Some notable examples that come to mind are Google, Nike & even Apple.

The challenge here is to, although diving into a new category, to become a Facebook to someone’s Myspace, rather than a red fidget spinner to a blue one.

Choose a thriving category, find the big demand that is not yet fulfilled, and show your customer that you are outstanding, rather than a duplicate.

By being a market follower, you learn from other’s mistakes, enter a mature market (points of parity are accepted and established within the market).

The incumbent becomes complacent and seeing where innovation is needed.

You can go in the right direction and be more flexible.

Some companies are both FMA or MF.

Head to our comment section and discuss whether you think Netflix is more FMA of MF and which benefits they gained entering the market.

Brand Positioning Statement is for Internal Use Only

Positioning exists to guide marketing strategy and to mediate decision-making.

It is important to remember that brand positioning arises regardless of whether your brand is consciously working on a positioning strategy or not.

Effective brand positioning and branding, in general, takes a long time to establish in the marketplace.

Taglines may change from time to time, but your key message will remain the same after you develop this statement.

A key thing here is that this positioning statement is a very internal guidefor your business to leverage.

This statement and analysis will help you when you are lost in your brand placement and need to make decisions.

The points below will act as a guide for your team when developing any campaign for your brands:

  • Doing the analysis.
  • Understanding your place in the market.
  • Coming up with a statement.

In doing this research, you are deriving and coming up with competitive intelligence that is unique to your brand and company.

It should be confidential and closely guarded to ensure you maintain your competitive edge.

You should develop your brand strategy with respect to the following considerations.

The considerations are points of differentiation, points of parity, strengths, and uniqueness.

This way, you will use this statement as an internal guide to map out your other marketing efforts.

Over To You…

With brand positioning, it is a happy medium between internal capaiblity and the customer needs and wants.  Focus on the customer. Define those pain points in detail!

By points, we mean the points of differentiation in your brand positioning, and then over-deliver at every touchpoint.

With this approach, becoming the market leader in your target category becomes a lot easier.

Becoming a market leader does not happen over time.  You have to deliver and over deliver on those pain points that your customers are frustrated from.  There are rarely any overnight sensations.  Do you think Netflix was an overnight sensation?  How about Amazon?  They all struggled initially but were committed to sticking it out and delivering on their brand promise.

To recap, brand positioning is not vital to selling your stuff to a random customer.

If you come to the market intending to be the best in your client’s mind and to maximize your profitability – your chances of success increase.

You would need to invest in creating a solid, professionally thought through brand positioning strategy.

A great positioning strategy requires sufficient research and analysis performed by qualified marketing professionals.

Spending time in assessing your brand, leveraging analytics, we will work with you to derive a custom brand positioning statement.

Head over to the Digital Branding section of our website to learn more about how and where can help.

Here at Web Worx Labs, we will put together a new, evidence-based, rock-hard brand positioning strategy that will work for you.

Wherever you are in the process of establishing your positioning strategy, turn to Web Worx Labs to have a professional dialogue on the ways you can improve your brand and grow your competitive edge.

 

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