LIKEing Facebook’s (FB) IPO

In the midst of the what is considered a scandal, and an uproar, and the main event of financial news surrounding Facebook’s IPO and first week of trading- what else has taken place? Zuckerberg obtained Instagram, the very best photo-sharing community for people who want their hi-tec digital pictures to look like lo-tec 35mm processed in a closet darkroom. Stock symbol FB went public last friday, as a bachelor party for Zuckerberg, who got married the next day, congrats.

What does this mean for all of the companies which use facebook as their cheap, or free, means of web hosting, marketing, blogging, and networking? The IPO ruckus and resulting lawsuits and Uber-coverage will only drive more traffic. The audit which brought FB’s value from 104 bil, to 97 bil, may mean something to high volume investors. For private businesses of all sizes, it is just more news fodder.It does not devalue what we have been trying to do on the world’s largest social network. We are trying to connect.

What social networking does for small business is allow us to reach our small niche markets in much the same way that a mass producer can reach the mass market. The factory model of cheap labor and fast machines is over, neither exists in the same place. The footrace of commercials and billboards is waning. We have a tangible and cost-effective outlet. The network of like minded individuals can meet and link, and become “friends.” The IPO news and resulting hysteria has made this outlet more popular than ever. It takes leadership and creativity, arguably one in the same.

Acquiring apps like Instagram may provide businesses with a way to throw ads onto pages, and onto followers and subscribers and likers (?) pages via a photograph, even when the mobile versions of FB don’t support advertisement and game apps yet. It also means that businesses better start getting their ads, brand management, and content (yes, they can be different entities) strategies together. When FB mobile start supporting game apps and advertisements, who will be the first in your market to pop up?

Now that both honeymoons are over, the FB IPO and the Zuckerbergs, let’s see how long it takes for the small business and marketing agencies to begin demanding that their favorite social platform become profitable for them in mobile. Given the profit FB makes on game apps alone, it won’t be long.

Save the Hangover for the Movies

It may be inevitable, but try not to let your company, website, or marketing campaign get trashed. If you have spent money and time and other resources – there are others- on a marketing campaign to create an image for your company, don’t let it get trashed. JPMOrgan and other big firms can withstand a backlash. Most small businesses can’t. An aspirin, a nap, or even a cocktail may cure your short term pain, but what about the website’s, and the entire company’s? Don’t let your start-up wake up after the party with a tooth missing and some of your friends missing.

Let’s start with the Avoidance. Keeping your website and company’s (even a blog’s) name in good graces at the very start- and maintaining it- will always trump a bad review or two. Proper SEO strategy will keep you in the top of the result list, creating a perception of quality. Try to dominate other platforms as well, at least in your market. Your positive campaign will outshine in weight and in number the negativity. The perception of positivity needs to be legit. Posting the one shining review from a person no has ever heard of, is no-name name-dropping. Don’t be that guy at the party. Don’t fake it either.The allure of anonymity helps trash talkers. An email link, an unmoderated comment or feedback field invites a trasher to say things without having to provide evidence and usually empowers them to use harsher and more extravagant language than they might if their real name and return email address were known. It is the equivelant of talking behind someone’s back, or prank-calling. Require moderation and approval for comments, and name and return email fields for contacts.

Inviting feedback-and responding to it actively-dissuades trashers from throwing consequence-free allegations on line. It holds them, and you,accountable for issues. It rewards those that post the positive feedback as well, hopefully generating more as people relate. Isn’t that what we do online, relate to one another? Invite complaints as well. Give them their own special field. How many people want to search for negativity? Not nearly as many as are looking to have their needs fulfilled. It also shows honesty and integrity. The most extreme and childish examples of negativity should be on display anyway, that’s entertainment for free.

Don’t engage in trash-talking your competition. Don’t. Create better value, run a tighter branding campaign. A solid honest business will receive all the praise it needs to resist and bounce back from a trashing.

SEO secondary Value

SEO Secondary ValueSEO (search engine optimization) tactics are a very popular and effective way of driving traffic. More accurately, they are a very effective way of making sure you are listed in search results higher than your competitor. Remember when businesses started adding the prefix A-AAA to their names, as to be listed first in the yellow pages. You see, we used to have phone books….nevermind. Our business website cookies will tell us many things about the effectiveness of this optimization.

What we lack is a sense of what key terms have the most effectiveness after the initial click. We can run on instinct -and maybe even research-what key terms and phrases, germain to our business topic, will produce hits and results in a search. What then? If the goal of our SEO author and budget is to produce traffic, we can certainly measure that. Isn’t the goal of a company to generate revenue once that site is visited? What content is therefore needed to bring the consumer to the next level in the action funnel. What metrics are available to gauge that next-level activity, past the simple click and view initiation?

The CTR (click-through-rate) and cost percentage analysis is not useless or out-dated, it is incomplete. Certain keywords will prove very helpful with these two strategies. What is needed are keywords which will produce the initial action, and then bring a more specific result. Once on the page, we want the viewer/consumer to complete a new action. We want them to hit a banner ad to generate revenue from another site or to lead them to a new page after the landing page. We want them to start engaging in product research and filling their cart. Pehaps we want them to read and contact us, two seperate actions. The secondary objective must first be made clear. Give these objectives a scorecard of their own. If there are seven major actions a viewer/consumer can take, let’s say the scorecard has a 70 for aggregate points. Choosing CONTACT US and VIEW PRODUCTS are the objective, they ought to be given a greater value. These types of metrics can create more value, rather than just cost, in a keyword/keyphrase SEO campaign.

UPS Vs. USPS: One Letter Makes a Difference

“We revised our network consolidation timeline to provide a longer planning schedule for our customers, employees and other stakeholders, and to enable a more methodical and measured implementation. We simply do not have the mail volumes to justify the size and capacity of our current mail processing network. To return to long-term profitability and financial stability while keeping mail affordable, we must match our network to the anticipated workload. This plan meets our cost reduction goals, ensures seamless and excellent service performance throughout the implementation period, and provides adequate time for our customers to adapt to our network changes.” -Patrick R. Donahoe, PG and CEO of the USPS
Whaaaat? You’ve failed to make a profit again and are dragging out the inevitable? Just say so. Maybe superfluity, redundancy, and inefficiency is a problem in your workplace. Do you think you are the only company in America to lose employees and business? Or do you continue to keep the band playing as the ship sinks, bailing out with money from people who didn’t even buy a ticket, and still sink? Dismiss the band, get everyone to a lifeboat. Other passing ships are happy to take on the passengers and crew.�
Despite the television campaign, presenting mail carriers as competent and qualified business consultants, saving small businesses at seminars with the $5 (footloooong?) if it fits, it ships proposal, The USPS will be closing approximately 140 sites across the country. Seems that five dollar bill technique wasn’t quite as catchy. The USPS continued to focus on price (simultaneously raising stamp prices) without creating any value.
In the meantime UPS, without bragging about price, or creating any permanent coupons, asked, What can Brown do for you? Not even UPS, just Brown. There are no limits to that question. Nothing has to fit within a preconceived shape or size. Customer service is the proposed product. With the exception of the immensely-talented yet short-lived whiteboard artist with the self-important hair, the slogan and campaign showed much more succes. Need numbers? How about: ZERO. They aren’t in the news reporting mass closings and layoffs.UPS continues to thrive as a result.
Politics of GSE’s aside, if that is even possible, the two entities marketed differently. One promoted a limited product as a catch-all solution for business, a gossamer attempt at best to appeal and relate to small business who have to maintain a bottom line while USPS can claim the dubious luxury of being “revenue-neutral” as a semi-private agency; the other asked the customer to come forward with an answer to an open-ended question, not even promising a solution, just showing some examples of their succes.�
I’m not sure a synopsis and poignant lesson statement is needed here, unless you are the PG and CEO of USPS.

 

Keep It Simple, Somebody

Keep It Simple, Somebody.

I like sitting in my little office at home. I feel blessed that I can work in such a simple way. I have no traffic with which to contend. I have a large window to let in the sun and air, or keep them out. I have a record player. My 7 11 is very close and offers great coffee for just a buck when I bring my own cup. That’s where the simplicity ends. I have 200 vinyl record albums. I have equally as many books, carefully arranged in no particular order. The books are at least on shelves. The records are in boxes and milk crates. Just a note, milk crates used to fit records perfectly. They don’t anymore. I could expound on the conspiracy of the dairy industry to resize their crates so audiophiles stop stealing them from 7 11’s. Let’s stick with: they have to be kept at an angle. My desk gets a little cluttered with bills and rejection notices ( I display the ones which are hand signed by the editors).

No description or slogans needed, right?

I crave simplicity and loathe chaos. I exist somewhere in between. Creativity and order don’t always co-exist either, but they seldom live exclusively. I find that a lot of the successful blogging and marketing copy trends toward the simple, and easy to use. I realize the cynic and pessimist’s rule that things ought to be simple so the increasingly illiterate world may make better use of it. I prefer not to condescend, and also to, well, simplify. Direct and to the point is more efficient. Show quality in your work. Let worrying about selling the drama be the dubious luxury of the snake oil salesmen.

I need not be constantly on the make. If the creative content and industry articles are true, sound human, and contain very few pitch lines, than I may sell myself, not some big company. Simpler: me or the machine. Who are you trusting? Businesses are also, after all, run by people. My ends are sure. I would like to write the copy and content for your company, and possibly manage your social networking as well. Aside from using it as an example, I don’t need to re-iterate it all the time. Business people understand that I am in business as well.

The office calamity bothers me a little. I need to find the proper shelving to keep the vinyl in order. That is the main culprit. There are some arts and crafts stuff that needs a home too. However the record player works fine, the computer works fine and the chair is comfortable. While I chip away at solving the clutter, I am still addressing what matters. The writing and the focus on learning each specific small business’s need in that writing is what matters. Keeping it simple comes in many forms. One of them is staying focused on what does work, and keeping it that way.

Brandz Strategy 1- Enriching your Brand – Google Docs

We probably spend more time deciding just what photo is right for our social content, then we do on our brands. What does your brand and slogan evoke? Is it just catchy and clever? Consider the following:

Brandz Strategy 1- Enriching your Brand

 

There is a tired model of branding that says each brand, or ad campaign for the brand, should evoke a single thought. Your soup is Mmm-Mmm Good, your chicken is finger-lickin, your candy won’t melt in your hands. The brands have survived but the single-pillar association had been abandoned. That is not to say that these timeless associations have been cast aside. The notion that a brand has but one relevant identifier has been discarded. Your effective branding strategy ought to be tiered, not tired.

It is important to decide ahead of time, with the help of your branding agency, what associations are to be evoked every time your brand is prompted. The new market is determining six to twelve responses for a strong brand. Two to four will be the most important and will resonate with a wide sample of the market. They will be the dominant associations with your brand and ought to be able to be driven easily with a marketing program. These are your core identities.

Creating the elements, or pillars of your brand’s identity may sound like a daunting task. Can’t we just make some cute logo and put a smiley face on it? In some cases, absolutely. In others it may take a leaner straightforward approach. Either way it ought to go beyond a catch-phrase at the developmental stage. When a strong brand is created the values and associations of the company are listed, along with their goals and aspirations. These keywords are arranged into identifying groups and a phrase is created for each group. This will help to put the words, the ideas and associations you want to represent and to which you aspire into complete deliverable thoughts. It’s okay if the phrases share points. That means they are important.

Let a professional Content Author help you write your successful slogan.

We must also take into account the user, the customer who will be accessing your brand. What social benefits will they attain? What are the functional benefits? Are there emotional cues evoked by the brand? Does the brand self-express? There are many more that have been falsely corralled into the label of “catchy”. Sure, catchy is good, but what about long term. Pop songs are catchy. Anthems last forever and are often rebuked when covered.

Let’s take a look at what your company is, what it believes, who you are trying to reach, and what that market believes. A strong brand rests on sturdy pillars.

 

 

Brandz Effect 2- Strategic Payoff

Brandz Effect 2- Strategic Payoff

Building a brand takes time. There is no brand which has become a success overnight. The very nature of some markets demanded that the product be a patient one. Today, we have an increasingly saturated consumer crop, with decreasingly interested attention spans. It can be argued that even the most recognizable brands, which are assets to their respective company, still have to be managed and updated. This takes more time. Your brand is a long term strategic pay-off. All excellent brands pay a dividend. Most adequate brandz drive revenue. Even the least managed brands with little to no market visibility still label a product for sale by a company. On the average brands will pay-off in the long run.

To what extent the the brand pays off is an important factor to determine as it is being managed. We’ve discussed that a brand should be treated as an asset (as opposed to like an asset). Tactical marketing pays off in short term returns, and still need to be managed to be effective. A company’s brand will pay-off a bit further down the road, but in spades-possibly diamonds. It may be just a dot on the horizon when first deciding how much to invest on brand building. Keep in mind that the approach is just that, building, not build. It is a constant process. An effective agency will continue to build that brand and update it. Aunt Jemima doesn’t wear a bandana anymore. She is just as recognizable.

To put it bluntly, there is a strong relationship, better than a trend, between earnings and stock prices. A company that makes more, is worth more, simply. A well-managed brand, has a similar effect. A study by independent strategists in partnership with the University of Washington showed that a strong brand effected the stock price of a company up to 70% as much. This is not a coupon or a flyer in the mail. This is a long term investment that brings solid long term returns.

Brandz Agency will manage your brand and bring strategic payoffs to your business.

Kunz Copy & Content © 2012