Tag Archives: social media

The CEO in 2016: Five things you can do for your brand

Agility and customer centricity are primary themes today. Mapping the customer journey. Launching products and features quickly to adjust them — or pivot — just as quickly. All kinds of new technologies for analyzing reach.

Yet companies must still satisfy the classic marketing requirements of producing good stories and inspiring the loyal purchase.

CEOs, pressed for time and focus, often relegate marketing to a lower level of attention. It’s a habit left over from the days of slower message cycles, broadcasting and a lot of assumption about buyer values. Plus CEOs have to think about everything by the quarter. So with an at-best preoccupied and at-worst absent chief ambassador, the marketing investment — even when powered by the most powerful tools and visionary messages — suffers from not reaching its full potential. Because the CEO is the leader for a reason. She provides the direction and the inspiration. He keeps every stakeholder front-and-center.

The purpose of a business
Peter Drucker on the purpose of a business

Here are five ideas for CEOs who want to manage distraction and be on the ground while breaking new ground for their brands in 2016.

Demonstrate your devotion to the customer. If you must, think of it as taking a coffee break from the typical responsibilities of running a company. Not only does this pull you into the marketing effort, it sets a company standard for looking outward.
Quarterly: Call a customer. Or better yet, visit one.
Monthly: Share a customer story — good, bad, ugly — with your employees. Cover the key learning points the company should absorb and address.
Weekly: Ask a manager to communicate one key customer or competitor insight to the entire organization.
Daily: Pick one item from your daily non-company reading [you’re doing that, right?] to share with the company. Make it about the market, buying trends, innovation — anything that will align your brand with the marketplace and maybe equip people to amplify the brand’s values.

Test your own assumptions. About your people, your competitors and your customers.
Quarterly: Ask your marketing team to give you a short briefing on what is being said about your brand.
Monthly: Visit competitors’ websites and social media accounts to see if you want to add any insights to what your teams tell you about competitors’ products, services and customers.
Weekly: Check what industry influencers are saying about trends and shifts in your marketplace.
Daily: Ensure that what customer says — good, bad, ugly — gets addressed by marketing messages and literally turned into marketing copy.

Tell an elegant story. Uncomplicated, drama-free, yet compelling. Invite customers and influencers to align with you, not just to buy your products.
Quarterly: Write something to share with customers and employees — something that demonstrates your company’s connection with the marketplace. Use an editor.
Monthly: For employees, share an anecdote about an employee who has done something to exemplify the brand’s reach and impact on customers.
Weekly: Schedule five minutes to talk with an employee about what is working on the street — and what is not.
Daily: Look at your marketing outreach, particularly social media, to offer guidance and to make sure the team is on message.

Surround your brand with leaders who have talents you do not. Whether it’s your marketing team or an event you are sponsoring, spare no time or expense in bringing the fresh air of new perspectives to your company. At the same time, vet attitudes as well as capabilities. For example, make sure every speaker your team invites to your company events is someone you can respect. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but let’s say the team finds someone who is billed as an expert in diversity. And it turns out they attack people on Twitter. Your invitations to people like this — as advisors, speakers or employees — say volumes about the brand. And no amount of clever marketing will correct the mistake of people who wound your brand through a thousand little cuts.
Quarterly: Ask for an audit of the content and experts your team is using to burnish or represent your brand. The marketing team should be doing independent research, not just looking at the experts’ or agencies’ marketing material.
Monthly: Go to a professional event that’s featuring a speaker or a panel. Remember what you liked and pass it on to your marketing team.
Weekly: Keep and update a file of quotations or essays you like. Having this on hand when you’re approving an event agenda will help you ensure content relevant to your brand.
Daily: Check the editorial page of a publication you like.

Reward actors, not bystanders. One of the great consumer frustrations today is the inability of customer service reps to go off-script — to actually come up with a solution on one’s own to a customer’s problem. The advent of social media has had a positive effect on the robo-response tendency — but we have a long way to go. Rote answers to customers’ concerns are the province of the bystander employee. As Cate Huston wrote in this excellent essay on the problem with corporate bystanders who don’t nip sexism in the bud, “it starts with refusing to be a bystander by calling things out”. Same phenomenon at work in branding: all the beautiful design and expensive messaging in the world won’t compensate for front-line employees asked to divert customers from what bothers them.
Quarterly: Listen to or read how a customer rep handled a problem. See if it resonates with your brand strategy.
Monthly: Ask direct reports to give an example of a problem solved that improved on customer service practice.
Weekly: Ask for a memo on the top five customer comments on social media.
Daily: Show your internal teams that you are confident enough to go off-script, too.

Build digital relationships using these ten elements

A social media presence should be about relating to people.  Whether the goal is more visibility for a brand, more personal influence over the public conversation, or just plain socializing, companies and individuals must emphasize relationships.

Lots of people have lots of good ideas for how to begin.  There are wonderful resources that are shared openly.  People and companies of any size can learn, pretty quickly how to begin, improve and excel on the variety of social networks available today.

I believe the best approach to social media begins with the same thing we should all be learning as children:  how to initiate and participate in a conversation.  From there it comes down to ten basic elements that enrich an online conversation — and make relationships possible.

1       Converse – don’t broadcast 6       Stakeholders:  Customers, influencers, suppliers, regulators
2       Follow – find people and companies to watch, benchmark and engage in conversation  7       Location: Where your product or service can create/stoke the best social experience
3       Curate – collect the social content of companies and individuals you admire 8       Story:  Your product or service and its role in your stakeholders’ lives
4       Link – link your content to influencers and make it easy for them to link to yours 9       Content:  The substance that tells your story and connects your company to stakeholders
5       Share – circulate your content 10    Community:  Extend or build one

For more detail on how to go social in 2014, and for some of those free resources I mentioned, visit this deck on SlideShare.   [ From a workshop presentation in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, hosted by the Town of Big Stone Gap and the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park.]

slide-1-638

Five things to read to shape your leadership strategy now

These five articles reach beyond short-term business trends to point us in a new direction — one that takes leaders to game-changing practices for managing growth, culture and image.

Sharing value:  how to reinvent capitalism, co-authored by the great Michael Porter; HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Worthless Wall Street:  by John Cassidy, this is the best explanation yet of Wall Street's culture — read it to avoid the traps; THE NEW YORKER

Personalizing social media:  you can influence what is said about you simply by using networks; HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Understanding brand and marketing now:  learn how to deploy the benefits of new tools in the context of tried-and-true marketing; BRANDING STRATEGY INSIDER

Communicating about performance in real time:  it's now possible to do away with the annual performance review and improve employee relations; MASHABLE [disclaimer:  Rypple is a client]

 

Social media tips from Kodak: February 23 2010

Today's Social Media Hour, a really useful weekly radio program about social media created and moderated by Cathy Brooks, included an interview with Jeff Hayzlett, Kodak's chief marketing officer.  Click here to download the company's excellent, and complimentary, guide to social media use.

Social media and business strategy: Integrating around a dynamic website

Part 3 of 3.  The KickApps
seminar I attended last month yielded a wealth of information, from
both advisors and corporate marketing people, about what to do with
social media if you're a company.  For the next three posts, I'm
sharing what I took away from the afternoon.  [To become a member of
KickApps own social network, click here.  You'll be able to watch the videos of the seminar presentations.]

These brief points are compiled from the excellent presentations made by Alex Blum of KickApps, Dylan Boyd of eROI, James Mastan of Blue Rain Marketing, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester, and Sandy Carter of IBM.

Integrate social media into every campaign

  • Always integrate — never segregate — social media, and always think of it as an element of your overall marketing effort.
  • Make listening to the user — consulting the user — a key activity during product development.  And do a lot of betas.
  • Identify the folks who seem to influence the rest of the community and converse with them.

Identify the elements appropriate for your marketing strategy

  • Figure out which tools are used by the majority of your stakeholders — users, customers, influencers.
  • Learn the language — the words — your customers use to talk about your product
  • View downloads as a metric; they are a measure of interest.
  • Add widgets and an RSS feed.
  • Put your own people on the website.
  • Choose metrics carefully.  Be particular about the metrics that tell you the most about what you
    want to know.  There's no one formula.  You have to play with this a
    bit.  Start by building a profile of the qualities and credentials that
    define a credible response from a customer or stakeholder.  In other
    words, for metrics, build a credibility engine that gathers the most
    important comments.

Identify the tactics appropriate for your marketing execution

  • Put tips and tricks in headlines around the site, including related sites such as blogs and networks.
  • If you have a boxed product, do an unboxing video — they're big right now.
  • When you create a community, start small.  Identify the alpha users
    — they will be the influencers over time.  Give existing members the
    ability to extend beta invitations.  Use pin-coded invitations and even
    handwritten notes. 
  • As the community grows, find community managers from within it.  
  • Pilot changes to your website in a contained environment — and
    remember that looking home grown is appropriate if not advantageous.
  • Avatars have five times the click through rate than regular ad-style features.
  • Twitter is food for announcements, Facebook is food for the persona.
  • When you're doing gift certificates, start small and ratchet up the value — it creates anticipation and demand.

The bottom line:  Understand the new basics of marketing as rendered by social media

No one is an expert — some of this is by instinct.

Be transparent about your features.  For example, if a character is a persona or fictional, say so; just make sure it has a unique voice.

Make sure your tone is pitch perfect for the stakeholders with whom you share ideas and information.

If you're a sales person from way back, just remember that this is a long sales cycle — but it's potentially just as rich.

Communicate personally to help each person in your community feels special.

Think
lifestyle — understand intimately the people that are interested in
your brand, products and services and build a set of experiences around
their expectations and behavior.

Listen
to the voice of the user/stakeholder/customer and incorporate their
wishes in your strategy.  One way is to create an advisory council
whose conclusions will speak volumes to the company folks who don't
necessarily want to take the next step forward with building a more
social website or building social media into a marketing strategy.

Always keep people at the center of this equation — and make sure the technology you use serves them.

When
adding talent to your team, look at case studies of what they've done
in the past and consider them in the context of what you want to
accomplish.  The magic of social media comes not from the tools but
from what you do with them — how you tailor their use to your specific
situation.  This magic needs no slight-of-hand.

Social media and business strategy: The dynamic website

Part 2 of 3.  The KickApps
seminar I attended last month yielded a wealth of information, from
both advisors and corporate marketing people, about what to do with
social media if you're a company.  For the next three posts, I'm
sharing what I took away from the afternoon.  [To become a member of
KickApps own social network, click here.  You'll be able to watch the videos of the seminar presentations.]

These brief points are compiled from the excellent presentations made by Alex Blum of KickApps, Dylan Boyd of eROI, James Mastan of Blue Rain Marketing, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester, and Sandy Carter of IBM.

Make your website more open to viral discovery

  • Customize it — not just the design but its searchability and usability

  • Focus on content that is yours — differentiate

  • Enable syndication via widgets

Integrate your website planning into your overall marketing strategy

  • Use tools that enable you to graph your user data

  • Let your branding approach give your website its context

  • Make it easy for visitors to interact with you and your brand —
    build a community or better yet, give users the ability to grow one
    organically

  • Make sure your strategy accommodates the fact that your
    communities will define your products — so don't try to control the
    communities, just be part of them and help to seed the networks within
    them

  • Craft  your website in such a way that it helps your community
    experience not just your products but the Web itself more vibrantly

  • Remember that community members trust each other more than they trust marketers

Consider three important social tools for the website

  • A wiki — a great way for customers to contribute their ideas

  • BOTs — to increase clickthrough — but use them sparingly because that's their power

  • An independent social network around your product

Social media and business strategy: The website

Part 1 of 3.  The KickApps seminar I attended last month yielded a wealth of information, from both advisors and corporate marketing people, about what to do with social media if you're a company.  For the next three posts, I'm sharing what I took away from the afternoon.  [To become a member of KickApps own social network, click here.  You'll be able to watch the videos of the seminar presentations.]

These brief points are compiled from the excellent presentations made by Alex Blum of KickApps, Dylan Boyd of eROI, James Mastan of Blue Rain Marketing, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester, and Sandy Carter of IBM. 

Three reasons to incorporate social media into your market and website plans

  • It enables deeper engagement with your community.

  • It automatically makes your digital footprint more dynamic.

  • It's cost effective.  In many cases, existing staff can easily participate, and many of the networks are free.  And the money you budget will buy a lot more than traditional media buys.

Understand what social media is doing to the website and cyber communications

  • Registration pages are going away, to be replaced by social
    features that capture information in a way that is useful for the
    visitor as well as the company.  Any contract-esque feature will become
    informal and behavior based, not statement based.

  • Email will begin to merge with a social inbox

  • Branding will become more contextual — in the context of the user's point of view, mindset and purpose

  • Your product and brand will achieve relevance based mostly on its
    usefulness to the customer — and much of that will be gauged not in
    terms of the information you gather via interrupting the experience,
    but in the information you share through the experience of using your
    website
  • Be ready to go where the most customers are — to the most popular
    areas of the website — not necessary where you think customers should
    be
  • Aggregate conversations and behavior to make the user experience more valuable to them and to the company

Manage your risks

  • Privacy

  • Noise

  • Insularity around narrow interests