Blog : Branding Strategies

The Best Social Media Platforms to Create Brand Awareness for Your Business

The Best Social Media Platforms to Create Brand Awareness for Your Business

Congratulations. You have a business and know your brand strategy. Great. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back.

Now that your self-esteem is raised, let’s lower it. Since only you and your great grandma know of your brand, you’re in need of some brand awareness. There is no better way to reach out to your target audience than through social media. However, between all the blogging, tweeting, pinning a kale recipe that we know we’ll never try and “Instagraming” your outfit of the day (or #ootd), which one do you use? Several? All? Or none and just cry yourself to sleep?

Yes, you should have 3-4 different platforms, but which ones will help you determine the focus of your brand. To help you, below is a list of the most popular social media platforms (in alphabetical order to practice your ABCs) and what/when they’re best used for.

 

Blogs

This is one of the best ways to generate organic traffic through search engine optimizations (in case you forgot what SEO meant), as 77 percent Internet users read blogs. Also, 61 percent of U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on blog post, which is quite influential. The key is to give advice, insight and note coming-of-age trends.

River Pools and Spas does a great job of showing off their knowledge of pools and spas through informing the reader about topics such as an earthquake’s impact on a flexible fiberglass pool.

River-Pools-Spas-stance-branding-agency-las-vegas
River Pools and Spas’ blog is a great example of a company showing off their intelligence in their field, but also informing the reader with interesting content.

 

Facebook

With 1.28 billion monthly active users, Facebook is still the leader in the social media platforms, but their user demographics is significantly changing. Originally intended for college students, 72 percent of adults are now visiting Facebook monthly. Now It’s important for almost all businesses to have a Facebook page, however the most common reason determined to unlike a page is uninteresting content. So be sure you’re active and engaging, especially since 75 percent of of the engagements occurs in the first five hours of a post.

The owner of bareMinerals, Bare Escentuals, does a great a job of engagement as their fans are driving conversations with posts, likes, shares and comments.

bareminerals-stance-branding-agency-las-vegas
Bare Escentual’s BareMinerals Facebook page is run by its customers with their constant wall posts and engagement with the brand.

 

Google+

A site based on showing your circles posts you share, information about you and bringing together all your Google product accounts, 540 million active users dominate Google+. More than half of the interactions between a Google+ user and a brand is positive. This is probably one of the more underestimated platforms, but definitely something to be considered with its possibilities. Especially since there’s the possibility to do a live chat, which automatically adds to your connection with your audience.

Global communications and technology company, Alcatel-Lucent, does a great job of utilizing all of Google+’s products. They have live chats, videos from recent conferences and constant updates of posts relating to their brand.

Alcatel-Lucent-stance-branding-agency-las-vegas
The communications and technology company, Alcatel-Lucent, uses the best of Google+’s products with live chats, conference videos and a continuous update of posts relating back to their brand.

Instagram

With over 200 million active users, Instagram is all about connecting a community visually. With their addition of video, this allows businesses to create 15-second engaging videos for their audience to connect. 23 percent of teens alone consider Instagram to be their favorite social media platform, which can help boost your engagement incredibly if that’s your target audience.

The high-end designer Burberry incorporates video and images seamlessly from their runway shows to their behind-the-scenes design. The video below features a dance number in the windows of their Shanghai building.

 

LinkedIn

Known as the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn’s 187 million active users are a force to be reckoned with. This is a great place to not only post your job applications (44,000 job applications are filled out daily), but to also create groups among colleagues that you may not see everyday.

Adobe is a great example of creating community and availability on LinkedIn. They provide different pages according to their audience – whether it be their Creative Cloud or Marketing Cloud, Adobe continues to have a two-way conversation with their determined audience.

Adobe-Creative-Marketing-stance-branding-agency-las-vegas
Adobe’s Marketing Cloud utilizes LinkedIn’s showcase pages toe engage their specific audience.

Pinterest

A platform dedicated to admiring fashion, food, do-it-yourself tutorials and dorm room designs, Pinterest is predominantly used by women (80 percent to be exact).

Oreck (yes, the vacuum), does surprisingly well. Not because they post interestingly angled pins of their vacuums sucking up the world, but rather an adorable kitten sitting on a recently vacuumed carpet. There’s the best of both worlds: proof their vacuums work and a cute kitten for the Pinterest ladies to “aw” and “ooh” over.

Oreck Vacuums Pinterest
Oreck, the vacuum company, exemplifies good use of engagement with their Pinterest audience through cute animals.

Snapchat

Dedicated to sharing your point of view, Snapchat has 30 million active users sending 1-10 second videos and seflies to their friends constantly. As 400 million Snapchats are sent daily, you might want to consider creating an account, but how would you do it? The World Wildlife Fund #LastSelfie Snapchat campaign raises awareness about endangered species. It’s extremely simple, but ridiculously powerful and effective.

 

Tumblr

A quirky and predominantly young micro-blogging platform (67 percent of users are under 35), Tumblr is not for the faint-hearted. A big user on gifs (an endless looping image), Fiat recently did an advertisement playing on that idea called, “Endless Fun.” If your target audience is young (a teenager to be exact) then this would be a good platform to consider.

 

Twitter

Dedicated to sharing ideas and information, Twitter is dominated by 255 million active users. Although you can tweet images and videos, Twitter is still content-based. Also, keep in mind that 77 percent of accounts are outside the U.S.

This is a great platform for a two-way conversation among followers.

For example, several of the car brands (Chevrolet, Ford, GM and Honda) are tweeting at people who post pictures of their new Camaro, answer customer questions or clarify misconceptions.

 

YouTube

More than 1 billion users are visiting YouTube where originally-created videos are uploaded and viewed. YouTube is the #2 search engine following in the giant footsteps of Google. With 80 percent of traffic outside of the U.S., this distribution platform can help your channel reach a large audience.

Several companies and talented individuals create series to keep a consistent audience coming back. Comedian Jenna Marbles gives brash advice and makes fun of herself and celebrities to her 13 million (and counting) subscribers. One of her most infamous series is “What Girls and Guys Do.”

Vine

Owned by Twitter, Vine has over 40 million users. Known to be the “best way to share life in motion,” these looping six-second long videos can be some of the funniest six-second moments of your day. 60 percent of Musicians’ Vines are retweeted while the weekends are most popular for sharing Vines.

The U.K.-based animation studio, Animate & Create, did an effortless and effective job of creating an old-fashioned flip book. It showcases their talents, but also adds some delight to your Vine feed.

 

At STANCE, one of the ways we achieve our purpose of elevating meaningful brands is by leveraging technology to create brand awareness. One of our popular service offerings is Social Media Management which takes away the pain and mystery of managing your own social media accounts. We do all the above for you.

Backed by research, we create a powerful social media marketing strategy that will ensure your brand reaches the audience it’s meant to serve. Find more information about how Social Media Management can benefit your business.

So the key is to never forget your target audience. Hang out where they hang out. If you don’t have customers on Vine, then don’t get one just to get one. It’s a waste of your precious time.

Also, to prove the point of having more than one social media platform, each of these profiting companies listed as examples have at least two other active accounts. So [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]expand your brand awareness from just you and your grandma, to everyone and their grandma.[/inlinetweet]

The Power of Colors in Branding

The Power of Colors in Branding

Colors are vital to the success of your brand.

color wheel, branding

Often times the importance of colors are overlooked when branding. The color palette for your brand should be determined only after research of your target audience and once the personality of your brand is defined. How easy would it be for a new business owner to simply pick their favorite colors for their brand? Super easy, but it shouldn’t work that way!

Step One:

The colors chosen for your brand should tie along with the purpose and the personality you want to convey to your customers.

Let’s imagine a few scenarios really quick:
Imagine if the whole world was blue. Trees were blue, grass was blue, your skin was blue, everything blue.
How would you feel? Which emotions would you feel most?
Again, imagine if the whole world was red? How about black?

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@amd5555″ suffix=””]Our emotions change with the colors we see. Every color has a purpose and a personality attached to it.[/inlinetweet]

Allow me  to help you get an idea of the type of colors best for your brand. You probably have an idea, but it’s usually not as apparent as it may seem.
You have a baby clothing brand, your colors should reflect pastels and should be gender neutral-yellow, green.
You have a Hawaiian restaurant. Your colors should reflect the Hawaiian community. Bright pinks, bright greens.

In regards to making your colors reflect your purpose, here at STANCE, our colors are red and tangaroa. Red is a bold, strong color associated with motivation and a desire to take action. Tangaroa (sample here) is a deep blue color. Dark blues instill trust and authority while still maintaining stability. We are trustworthy, highly motivated and action oriented, yet still stable and strong. Our colors reflect how we have positioned ourselves and our promise to our customers.

Choose the colors that will reflect your brand’s personality best-how you want the customer’s to perceive your brand. We are visual people. We get an idea of a person by what they’re wearing and the colors they use when presenting themselves. Your brand colors should do the same.

Color creates, enhances, changes, reveals, and establishes the mood of the painting. –Kiff Holland

Step Two:

These colors should relate to the brand’s target audience and still be visually appealing. During research, it should be determined the demographic of your primary audience and the colors that most influence them.

menvswomen colors when branding

 

Step Three:

A brand’s colors will also create consistency.  These colors will be everywhere in your business-logo design, collateral, websites, social media, packaging, etc. If it turns out the colors are not depicting what you had in mind, you’ll have to start over and that can be costly.

color branding collateral

 

Once step three is accomplished, the colors chosen for the brand should relate all of the personality the brand has to its target audience. The colors should also be used in all forms of business material to create consistency throughout the brand. Let your colors prove to the world your purpose.

Always is Elevating the Confidence of Girls Worldwide with #LikeAGirl Campaign

Always is Elevating the Confidence of Girls Worldwide with #LikeAGirl Campaign

Procter & Gamble’s Always brand just released a video from their new #LikeAGirl campaign. The campaign, from ad agency Leo Burnett hopes to forever change the negative connotation underlying the “like a girl” phrase that is meant as an insult.

When did the phrase ‘like a girl’ become so negative?

Regardless of gender, watching the video does makes you take a step back and reflect on the times you might have used the phrase as an insult. Always did a great job at connecting with their core audience with an issue that is not only important but meaningful as well.

Through this campaign, Always elevates the confidence of young  girls who will in turn develop an emotional connection with the brand every time they encounter the “like a girl” situation. This is a win-win situation for girls worldwide and the brand as well.

Campaign Q & A from the Ad Agency’s website

How did you discover this unique tension point in the perception of doing something #LikeAGirl?
JJ: ‘Half of girls lose their confidence during puberty’ is such a powerful fact. In our efforts to bring Rewrite the Rules, our new platform for Always to life, we wanted our first act to address the things that contribute to the drop of confidence in girls. Amongst all the work from the Chicago, London and Toronto team, there was one that simply said, ‘Let’s change the meaning of Like A Girl’. We all felt it in the room. That was it.

BS: The phrase has become so ubiquitous, you have to stop and say “Hey, wait – was that an insult?” And then in true Baader-Meinhof form, you start hearing it everywhere. People say it without thinking and that’s what we’re trying change. It’s not always a pointed insult – but an unthinking pattern of behavior that people don’t even realize is destructive to girls.

How did you go about capturing this tension on film?
JJ: It starts with getting a great director and then asking meaningful questions. Like all social experiments, you go in with a hypothesis of the responses you’ll get, but the responses we got were so much more personal and revealing than we had imagined.

BS: That’s the genius of Lauren Greenfield—her ability to make people so comfortable that they reveal their deepest thoughts and beliefs. She pulled it right out of them.

Why did you choose documentarian Lauren Greenfield to help tell this story?
JJ: We looked at a lot of directors but in the end, we all felt there was only one director who was perfect, Lauren. Her previous work showed her deep understanding of girls and women, and also how she could find the honesty on each issue.

BS: She’s been on our radar forever; we have all these female brands and understanding teen girls is her life work. We first worked with Lauren ten years ago – on a series of print ads for P&G’s Being Girl – and won a Gold Lion at Cannes. There was no second choice.

Can you describe a defining #LikeAGirl moment that you experienced while growing up?
JJ: I can’t think of one defining moment. It’s really been a series of moments where you say I’m going to do it the only way I know how and I’m going to do it unapologetically.

BS: I was the first girl in the history of my high school to run for Student Council President; lots of people were quite indignant. It was fine to aspire to vice president, but no higher. Well, I won… and it completely paved the way for other girls to demonstrate self confidence without ridicule.

How does this campaign define what it means to be #LikeAGirl?
JJ: This campaign is more about redefining what it means and rallying people behind that.

BS: A girl can do anything she wants. Proudly. Enthusiastically. Without apology.

What do you hope this campaign will bring to light in the minds of young girls?
JJ: I hope this campaign makes girls feel awesome about being a girl and doing things like a girl. I hope they feel that they are part of a sisterhood that supports and encourages them to go be great.

BS: Young girls already believe they’re capable of doing anything – we certainly don’t want to change them. We want to change the society they are growing up in so they don’t suffer the crisis of confidence during puberty that affects girls twice as much as boys.

How can girls get involved with Always #LikeaGirl?
JJ: Start using #LIKEAGIRL in a positive way. Be a role model.

BS: Through social media. They can start by tweeting the amazing things they do #likeagirl! It will be fun to turn that hashtag on its head!

– See more at: http://www.leoburnett.com/articles/work/what-it-means-to-be-likeagirl/#sthash.t53dJqx8.dpuf

McDonald’s Brand Persona: Case Study

McDonald’s Brand Persona: Case Study

Created in France around 2009, McDonald’s claims the anthropomorphized box “brings fun and excitement to kids’ meals, while also serving as a persona for balanced and wholesome eating. ” Despite the purportedly noble aspirations of promoting healthier eating among children, Happy is entering the country bruised and beleaguered.

 

brand-persona1

 

When U.S. McDonald’s shared a preview of the character on Twitter, you might imagine, the people of the United States said more than hello to Happy. Just reading the first handful of responses on Twitter:

“That! Is Scary!”, “Oh, this was a mistake, McDonald’s”; “Why is he in pain?”,  “Do you eat it? Or does it eat you?” ; “A McStake”;  “This looks so scary”; ”

 

brand-persona-twitter brand-persona-twitter2

A recent poll by Mashable shows a vast majority of viewers think the mascot is terrifying

brand-persona-poll

 

 

 

 

Kids react to new mascot (NY magazine)

 

In lieu of these events and PR, A spokeswoman for McDonald’s  responded in a statement with dry confidence: “Not all comments reflect the broader view.” Accurately translated, haters gonna hate.

 

Perception vs Reality in Brand Development

While we appreciate the effort, there is one detail McDonald’s Happy Meal marketing strategists just aren’t getting when it comes down to changing their brand. The reason big brands become big brands is because of an early well-established mission for the company, which in this case was to provide fast greasy meals for people on the go. When it comes to branding, perception always wins over reality. So, even though McDonald’s reality is they are trying hard to make healthier, more up-scale food, the direct opposite perception about the brand is ingrained in the mind of the consumers. The brand has practically become synonymous with unhealthy food, and changing that fact in peoples mind is going to take a lot more than a happy meal mascot.

 

brand-persona-reality

From a broader approach, the standard bystander will see happy’s treatment and view on social media as a complete failure and horrible brand persona. Now while it’s true Happy’s career as an “ambassador” to kids and healthy eating is practically over. His role as a viral campaign however, is booming. Ever since the twitter release everyone seems to be partaking in the so called “roast” and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Generating loads of traffic and sparking numerous discussions and memes, is a great campaign focus in today’s digital age. Recently, online marketplace DesignCrowd challenged its graphic design community to a Photoshop contest that would drop the much-maligned mascot into horror movie posters. Creating a whole community that spreads the word and creates viral images.

 

With all this exposure and popularity online who knows, maybe adults will order happy meals just to see this so called “terrifying” mascot

 

Read More on:

How to Successfully Build a Brand Persona

 

4 Key Marketing Principles

4 Key Marketing Principles

The Principles of Marketing through the eyes of a marketing student.

As a student studying marketing and advertising at West Career & Technical Academy, we learn a lot about the “fundamentals of advertising” AKA, vocab words and charts. But one thing that really stood out to me, were the 4 principles of marketing and just how universal they were to every business.


Web

Most businesses get too caught up with the day to day aspects of running their business that when asked, “what makes them different?”, they are unable to answer, or give a generic answer such as “quality service”. These simple principles are most often overlooked and not applied, but can be used to find and focus on a companies, meaningful difference.

My purpose here is to simplify and present them in a way that any business can quickly apply them on a daily basis, and by no means is a class level lecture on the aspects of marketing.


 

So here they are, the 4 key marketing principles :

Specialization

Specialization is determining where you are going to specialize in your product or service. It’s the product, service, customer, market, or area of technology that you focus all your efforts in.

Differentiation

Differentiation is really key to business. It’s competitive advantage, how it is that you are different and better than your competitor. Because people in the marketplace always want to know, “why should I buy from you, rather than from someone else?”. It’s also your area of excellence or superiority it’s something that you do better than anybody else.
These are the truly some of the most important items to communicate/convey to your customers and audience.
Mere differentiation is not enough, it needs to be meaningful. Consumers are gravitating more towards brands that offer meaningful differentiation because they want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Segmentation

Segmentation is looking at your market and researching specific customers in the market who value your area of differentiation. This normally results to loyal customers who in most cases are willing to pay more for your area of specialization than anybody else because you understand them so well and your product/service is able to make a deeper emotional connection with them.

Concentration

Concentration is where you focus your time, money and resources. Increase the efficiency of your advertising. By focusing your message with greater clarity, you can get 5 and even 10 times the response per dollar of advertising than you were getting before. Without focus, you try to be everything to everyone. You stretch yourself too thin and your message never sticks.

 

I really felt that these principles encompasses a great deal of market psychology and will help business owners home in on what to focus their efforts on. Through the use of strategic marketing and a meaningful STANCE, businesses can benefit greatly, and come out on top.

The Power of Social Media

The Power of Social Media

Accessing the vast audience that is the internet, through social media, is a great way to elevate your brand to a higher audience.

At STANCE, we believe using social media for marketing purposes can not only enable small business to further their reach to more customers. But can also help consumers engage with each other before the sales push even ensues. Social media inevitably allows businesses to create and communicate with a vast array of communities, in a low-cost effective way.

social-media-marketing

Now when most people hear “social media” their mind almost always goes directly to creating content for consumers, well to consume, of course. But, according to Mikolaj Jan Pisorski, companies should be more focused on connecting consumers in a manner, so that they can develop social strategies under the umbrella of their brand.

Nike+

A notable example would be nike’s, “nike+” platform that allows users to interact with friends who use Nike’s digital products and synchronize them with the platform. The results of this endeavor have been impressive, and has been widely credited with contributing at least 30% increase in Nike’s athletic shoe sales.

the-power-of-social-media1

 

American Express

American Express, has also invested in a number of proprietary social platforms. The company’s “OPEN Forum” helps its small business cardholders connect and help each other with business issues.This has also yielded impressive results. Cardholders who used OPEN Forum functionalities were shown to be more more likely to recommend Amex credit card to others.

the-power-of-social-media2

 

Threadless

Threadless is an online community of artists and an e-commerce website. In 2000, co-founders Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart started the company with $1,000 of their own money. Threadless designs are created by and chosen by an online community. They’ve managed to craft a cool creative community for one of the coolest audiences. A true example of building a business for a community and not a community for a business.

Threadless.com

 

HSBC

HSBC is also becoming a good place for local business owners to chat, due to its utilization of forums and online chatting systems. Much like American Express, users who use the forum are shown to be much more loyal to the company.

All and all, in the changing world of social media, a company that is able to break away from the norm and create a community rather than always selling something will come out on top.

 

Refrences


Information retrieved on May 26th, 2014: Olenski, Mikolaj Jan. “Social Media And Branding: A One On One With A Harvard Business Professor.” http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=10663, (web)

Information retrieved on May 26th, 2014: Olenski, Mikolaj Jan. “15 Examples of thriving online communities” http://www.feverbee.com/2010/11/15-examples-of-thriving-online-communities.html, (web)

The One Persona

The One Persona

Soft blue eyes, a killer smile, six foot minimum, no children, a degree, preferably in a sustainable field, close to family, isn’t too stable in his career but there is room to grow, honest, funny…


Finding the person you will spend the rest of your life with is not an easy task. Some people spend their whole lives finding that one special person.

During the time leading up to finding the prize, we create a persona of a person we would like to attract. We create a profile for them. Whether it be if he has a dog or if he has money in the bank, we know him. They wake up at 7am, take the dog out, then make themselves a bowl of cereal with a banana on the side. This fantasy world goes on for the rest of their day.

The point is that we develop a persona for our target audience, the people we want to attract. The same needs to happen with your brand. A persona needs to be created for the exact target audience. You need to visualize what your customer does throughout their day and how your brand will be intertwined. You are going to spend the rest of your brand’s life with its persona. Therefore, you need to make sure you can commit and be serious about your new relationship.

The only real way of knowing a persona is to know its ins and outs, its secrets, and how you both can have a meaningful relationship.

 

What is A Brand?

What is A Brand?

 

You either stand for something, or brand for nothing.

It’s true strong brands stand for something. Brands that commit to a meaningful STANCE —and those who experience them—win. But what is a brand? Is it a clean logo design? A stylish and functional website? Quite a bit of confusion, right? I think the word “brand” is one of those words that is widely used but unevenly understood.

Dictionary’s definition of the term brand

The first dictionary definition of the word “Brand” is, “A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” Used in this sense the term Brand could very well be replaced by the term product or trademark. Here at STANCE we feel a brand is about much more than simply the product or service the company is offering.

A brand is really the relationship between the consumer and the company. It’s important to add that sense of humanity into a business if you want to create a good and lasting relationship with your customers. A brand needs to have life to it. A brand must also be purpose driven; having a purpose is a key factor in building a strong and meaningful brand.It helps show your customers what you do and why you’re doing it, and this leads to a much deeper connection.

On a base level you could say it’s about community, tradition, and values. Now were not saying it’s easy getting these ideals across to the public or consumer. It’s a purposeful task that utilizes disciplined, strategic thinking and creativity.

The result is a brand strategy, story and experience that are elegantly simple and ultimately an asset that drives your business ahead.

Find Your Tribe

Find Your Tribe

Society is moving in a new and meaningful trend.

Until recently, consumers sought benefits and features of a product.  Marketers and companies tried to push their products onto the consumer by displaying how it could fulfill an immediate need.

Today, things are a bit different.  This new trend was voiced by Marty Neumeier in his book, “ZAG” Neumeier states, “In a marketplace of me-too offerings, people choose on the basis of tribal identity. ‘If I buy this product, what will it make me?'”

Enter Tribal Identity

Society is growing far more concerned with how they will be perceived by others and how they can change their behavior to emulate what they believe is right. As we develop our behavior, we try to group ourselves with like behavior of others. This is what Neumeier calls tribal identity. Fortunately for marketers and growing companies, news spreads rather quickly in a tribe giving a brand extra traction. Instead of pushing products onto consumers, Neumeier suggests pulling people into tribal groups. By doing so, a product can;

  1. Grow faster
  2. Display how the use of the product or service can create a positive image for the tribe

In a growing world of companies trying to earn one more dollar, be a company that stands for something meaningful, one that is driven by purpose rather than just mere profits. Strive to do what you feel is right and beneficial to the world around you.

Here at STANCE,  we seek to contribute to the growth of brands that are driven by purpose. Our tribal identity displays how we try to benefit the community and the world around us. Keeping with the new and meaningful trend, STANCE markets brands to tribes seeking value and meaning, while upholding the consumer’s positive societal image.

Since everyone is now seeking to  buy products and services that will uphold their societal image, this will make the process of pulling tribal groups that much easier.

 

 

Building a Brand Based on Emotion: Love

Building a Brand Based on Emotion: Love

One of my favorite articles on Building Brands is this one by Susan Gunelius of KeySplash Creative “Building a Brand Based on Emotions: Love and Belonging“. Love is a universal language that everybody understands & that’s why it turns out to be one of the most powerful Brand Building Strategies.

Unfortunately, most brands that are dedicated to impacting humanity tend NOT to use this powerful strategy. That is why although this brand featured below doesn’t fall directly into the category of brands we work with, we felt the need to feature their new Super Bowl ad as an illustration of a job well done with hopes that other brands can learn something from this spot and apply it in their brand development initiatives.

Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — “Puppy Love”

This spot connects with the audience in such a deep emotional level. Read the comments on the video page and you will see what I mean.