How to Establish Your Brand Message

  Nik Oliva   None

Business communication

Branding is an effective tool for positioning your product. Branding is used on almost all customer facing elements of a product, from the packaging design to the style of writing used on posters. Your customers form a mental picture of your brand and can influence the price they are willing to pay for your products. This ability to charge more due to the positioning of your product is known as Brand Equity.

Your branding also needs to consider your unique selling points and ensure these are easily recognized through your messaging. Your brand message consists of who you are, what you are selling and what differentiates you from your competitors. It is communicated to your target audience, the people who are going to purchase your product or service via many different avenues. They include your company name, your tagline, website, verbally in person, advertising and signage.

A Brand Message is both the voice and the vocabulary by which brand is expressed. This vocabulary is verbal and visual. And like brand itself, messages may be either intentionally planned, purposeful, controlled or unintentional. Messages are manifestations of an institutional brand. They’re conveyed in taglines, logos, visual styles, and all the other methods of communicating what your business is about. The challenge is to create messages that are accurate, truthful indicators of your business’ principles, values and aspirations, while also being memorable and engaging. Mixed or incomplete messages can confuse, distract, and even alienate audiences.

Companies create brand messages to address different needs. A company that struggles to differentiate itself in the marketplace, for instance, may come up with a tagline or marketing campaign theme that contrasts itself with the rest of the industry. Messages often convey specific services or benefits (“Linkedin” connecting people for no reason at all”). A message can even be a call to action (“Coca-Cola. Open happiness”). Whatever form it takes, a brand message has to be authentic to the brand and customers’ actual experiences. Crafting a message that’s concise, unforgettable and relevant to your audience can be a lot tougher than you think. After you’ve gone through the process (seeking help from an outside facilitator or consultant can be a huge help), you’ll be a lot better prepared to explain your brand. And once you’ve found your voice, you’ll discover that people suddenly notice and feel your message. Here are some few essential elements of message as an expression of brand.

Be factual. Your message must be true: nonfiction, accurate, and supported by evidence. The message should reflect the integrity of your company. The message must be specific and relevant to the needs of the audience. This also requires that the message not contain jargon or language that is distinctive to the field.

The message must be consistent in tone and content. What is the personality of your brand? Is it playful or serious? Different tones can be fitting for different businesses or different communication pieces, but always remember to maintain some level of consistency throughout your message. Language must be precise and persuasive, voice must be compelling, and chosen media must reach the correct audiences and represent the institution positively.

Influence. The most effective marketing comes from your friends, family, and someone you trust. We call these people as Influencers. You must use and utilize these influencers to reach the potential audiences and customers for your brand. Influencers can create content for a product or idea that will connect to your audience and have a long term impression. They have power to tell a truly striking story in any environment. It’s essential to work with them and tap into their skills and abilities to work for you. These Influencers can increase product knowledge. Product knowledge has been recognized as a crucial variable that affects how consumers receive marketing messages and it is definable as the number of product related experience and information that has been accumulated, composing two dimensions: behavioral knowledge and usage of the product and mental knowledge High or low product knowledge can cause different perceptions of brand communication.

Information processing. High product knowledge reduces or even cancels the effect of message. This is interpreted according to the principle of information integration effect: knowledgeable consumers have accumulated a higher number of information pieces, so the relative weight of any new information is reduced no matter in what format it is presented, if that information does not provide any further substantive content. When highly knowledgeable consumers build their product knowledge structure not only through product usage experiences, but also a central route of processing information, they may have a larger number of cognitive components relative to the product categories. Customers can process your messages in one of two ways: heuristically or systematically. In a general sense, consumers aren’t taking heuristic (Enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves.) approaches to process marketing information. If they are exposed to your brand message, the systematic processing approach (The systematic approach values source reliability and message content, which may exert stronger impact on persuasion, when determining message validity.) is bound to render your message even lower in its impact.

Consistency and awareness. Consistency presents the customer with an image that in the future the customer can continue to associate with your products. For example, if the services that you offer, the look and feel of your website, the packaging of your product, and the logo and tagline are not all relatively similar, regularly consistent, and repeatedly recognizable over time, it is likely you will get nowhere with your brand. Creating brand awareness, through a collaborative, well-developed overall image, is essential to developing a success brand that achieves maximum benefits. You must pay attention to how customers are responding to products, packaging, displays, and messages. Look for ways to improve the image you are trying to get across. Ask your customers for suggestions. You must also Work to maintain a consistent presence in the market place. This can mean a location (your website) and regular times where customers can reliably expect to find you.

Branding is like constructing a house. You must have a solid foundation to build a strong stable home and it’s no different for your company. Branding is the foundation of your company and it needs to be solid and strong to last long. It’s important to invest the proper time and resources to get it right the first time. Before you hire some professionals to create a logo, website or any other marketing materials, it’s important to determine your brand message. Your brand message not only explains why customers should choose you but if done properly your brand will make them think that you are the only one that can solve their problem. An effective message communicates the benefits that customers will enjoy when they buy from you. It intrigues and captures the interest of the customer. Brand message It’s not about the place for a litany of product and service features. Use your brand message to use benefits to make a promise, and let the remainder of your communications explain how you will deliver on that promise by detailing the selling features. More importantly, remember that your message must be reinforced with action. Otherwise, your words will lose their potency.


Tips to Create a Viral Marketing Campaign

  Nik Oliva   None

viral marketing

Marketing techniques have dominated the marketing strategies implemented by companies worldwide. Media such as radio, television, newspapers, direct mail etc. was the one carrying out the message to the large audience. Constantly, new methods have been implemented and the rapid growth of digital media opened new marketing possibilities for businesses, the masses can be reached faster and more efficiently. The digital media capabilities can help businesses to spread viral messages to the mass market.

Viral marketing means to marketing techniques that thrives on viral spread, this means using techniques to reach customers and further use them to enhance the spread. It stands for a company’s activities to make use of customers’ communication networks to promote and distribute products. It is worth mentioning the classical success story of using viral marketing for promotion of a company at the time when people did not think that viral marketing was actually a new marketing technique. Viral marketing at that time was defined simply as “network-enhanced word-of-mouth”. The term “viral marketing” was coined by Tim Draper and Steve Jurvetso in 1997 while describing the marketing strategy of the free e-mail service Hotmail whereby each email sent arrived with the attached message “Get your private, free e-mail from Hotmail at” along with the sender’s implicit recommendation. All the users of these emails became also marketers of Hotmail. They were the ones spreading the message about the company. The result was successful. Hotmail’s subscriber base grew faster than of any other online company.

viral marketing conceptViral marketing occurs through many online mediums, including “posted reviews, web-based opinion platforms, popular web sites, news groups, discussion forums, personal e-mails, chat rooms” and other formats including blogs and social networking sites. Viral marketing truly is the rebirth of word of mouth advertising (WoM), buzz generation and communication strategies. Viral marketing has emerged as the electronic form of word of mouth advertising (WoM) and involves passing on referring news, information or entertainment to other individuals. Word of mouth advertising embraces all interpersonal communications and now also includes new media marketing communication channels such as the internet. Viral marketing is seen as a far more effective, penetrating and faster medium compared to the traditional word of mouth advertising. It is also a far more focused medium because consumers communicate their views in their social sphere, including friends, family and colleagues, where their influence is important. Thus, viral marketing can reach a wider audience gradually and can maximize its reach not only in their locality but can even be extended to a national and global scale. The contents of the message remains generally the same in most cases while on the other hand, it can be biased and easily filtered during traditional  word of mouth advertising.

Since more and more people are rejecting advertising (by simply erasing email from unknown senders), companies must take new measures to reach their audience. An effective viral marketing campaigns must include some vital parts, which engages the users, rewards them and have a social factor. It is important that your viral campaign has the ability to light a spark of emotion. There are six primary emotions with a strong influence on viral behavior and these are surprise, joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust. Surprising campaigns can have a great impact and become very successful if the campaign is unexpected. Keep in mind that surprise itself is not always enough to guarantee success. Joy is suited for fun brands or brands that want to re-energize their image. It could be a product that has been on the market for a long time but need refreshment. It is also suitable for products that promise life enhancement. Sadness is suitable when looking for an immediate response to unfortunate events, but the disadvantage is that the reactions usually result in short-term commitments instead of long-term. Anger is best suited for single campaigns that require an immediate reaction such as injustices in a target market or the society. Fear is used for short-term response to a perceived threat. It must be used carefully since it is most likely to receive mixed responses from target market. Disgust  is suitable for brands that are interpret as having a rebellious image. Viral marketing campaigns are shared more rapidly when the receiver has a strong emotional connection with the specific message. Engagement or engaging thus means that your target audience must become captivated by the campaign in some way in order to gain interest in it and further keep that interest high enough to decide to spend their time on it. This might be a common thing to point out and some people might be thinking; of course a user must be engaged and interested to take part of a product or campaign. Although this might be true it is all the same a very important factor to consider. The engaging factor also means that the campaign should be constructed in some way that gives the audience an opportunity to engage and affect the campaign rather than just pass through it. The rewarding factor is directed against the specific audience. The word “Reward” is the most powerful word in a marketer’s vocabulary. A reward can come in various forms depending on what kind of campaign the audience is following. Most viral marketing campaigns give away valuable products or services to attract attention. A reward is not necessarily something the company stands for; sharing information of a campaign can be a reward in itself in terms of giving credit to the finder of the information and further spreading it. Further the first one to find something and the first to share that information to the other customers enjoys a reward in the form of compliments and acknowledgements from the whole community. If more people have access to the reward a campaign can offer, the rewarding factor is higher. The social factor is reliant on how well the campaign use social media as a tool for their audience to connect to each other. There are many ways for users to spread the information about campaigns through their own means even outside of the campaign. The campaign must actively lead the users to other social media sites. The social factor does not only refer to how the users connect to each other but also how the company connects to its users. It is still important that a campaign that desires to become viral have a social factor to the audience, possibly through existing social media or using an own website. Simply, the social factor connects the users through existing social media or self-developed web services or applications.

The growth of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other digital social media capabilities, has given marketing managers a new platform by which to advertise and market their products to consumers.  Viral marketing campaigns can take many different forms and take use of many different media such as video clips, images, links, text messages and even flash memories. The aim of using viral marketing is generally not to maximize profits but rather to raise brand awareness. Moreover, viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals by using digital media to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence.

Helpful Tips For Your E-commerce Business

  Nik Oliva   None

E commerce

E-commerce is expanding rapidly and several trillion dollars are being exchanged annually over the web. The global online population is also increasing substantially and some research predict that there will be more than three billion Internet users worldwide and Asia will be the biggest global growth engine. Another interesting trend in global online usage is that almost sixty percent of these users are now non English speaking. So, besides English, other languages like Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and French now have significant online usage.

On the other hand, European Business to consumer e-commerce is expected to reach almost $500 billion in 2020. According to e-marketers, they estimates that in next few years the British market share will fall to thirty percent as France and Germany ramp up their online sales. Asia will also see significant growth in B2C e-commerce with more than forty percent annual growth rate and eventually reaching almost $200 billion. Japan and South Korea currently lead the business to consumer e-commerce sales in Asia but they will be overtaken by China and India. From these numbers it is clear that e-commerce is now a truly global phenomenon. Thus web is increasingly becoming a diverse global marketplace with global business opportunities. To take advantage of the full potential of e-commerce, companies need to tap into global markets and consider expanding online not only in developed countries but also in the emerging economies of China, Brazil, India and others.

Companies may proactively exploit global e-business opportunities and take advantage of the full potential of e-commerce, or may adopt a defensive approach to new global competition threatening their business. But launching into the online marketplace can be a very expensive mistake if you aren’t prepared. There are already hundreds of thousands of online stores around the world wide web, and according to some estimates, merchants open thirty thousand new e-commerce storefronts every week. There is a need for guiding, best practices, perspectives and theories that can help business better leverage the potential of e-commerce. Below are some helpful tips for your e-commerce website.

Commitment. Many studies identified owner’s commitment to grow his business and capabilities as a very important determinant of e-commerce success. The growth motivation of business owners can be observed from their readiness to adapt to market changes and reinvent their business strategies continuously. They must be open and flexible to new marketing strategies, technologies and business opportunities. When necessary, owners must be prepared to seek strategic partners and venture capitalists to provide the appropriate technology, funding, management expertise and contacts to grow their businesses rapidly.

Brand Image. The term “brand image” gained popularity as evidence began to grow that the feelings and images associated with a brand were powerful purchase influencers, though brand recognition, recall and brand identity. It is based on the proposition that consumers buy not only a product, but also the image associations of the product, such as power, wealth, sophistication, and most importantly identification and association with other users of the brand. Good brand images are instantly evoked, are positive, and are almost always unique among competitive brands. Brand image can be reinforced by brand communications such as packaging, advertising, promotion, customer service, word-of-mouth and other aspects of the brand experience.

Content. The website serves as a focal point for gathering and disseminating information related to the marketing, sales and other functions of the organization. Web content must be accurate, informative, updated, easy-to-understand and relevant to users’ needs. In addition, online retailers must offer a suitable range of products, provide accurate and relevant product information and make it easier for customers to compare prices with other competitors with the help of other service providers when necessary. To fully optimized your e-commerce business, you will also need to add shopping cart software and a payment gateway. The shopping cart allows a customer to select products, add postage and submit a complete order. The payment gateway allows your website to process their credit card or Paypal payments and transfer the funds straight into your business bank account via your merchant facility.

Growth.  All businesses start out in a niche market through differentiation or cost advantage and adopt strategies to grow their customer bases rapidly. From this position, they can search for growth opportunities through increasing sales to existing customers, branching out into new market segment and offering new products or services to existing customers. When companies employ a product expansion strategy, also known as product development, they continue selling within the existing market. A product expansion growth strategy often works well when technology starts to change. A company may also be forced to add new products as older ones become outmoded. Companies may also expand their operations by starting or acquiring new businesses that complement their existing businesses.

Price. Customers tend to expect lower prices on the web. After factoring in the shipping and handling charges, the same product cannot sell for significantly higher prices than traditional stores, especially in a physically concentrated and competitive market environment. Study shows that the competitive environment had forced  e-merchants to accept free or discounted shipping as a cost of doing business online, yet most merchants experienced an improvement in overall profit margins. To compete effectively, online retailers may consider charging premiums on specialized services or selling products that are not widely available locally.

Partnership. A partnership is a single business where two or more people share ownership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business. Because partnerships entail more than one person in the decision-making process, it’s important to discuss a wide variety of issues up front and develop a legal partnership agreement. This agreement should document how future business decisions will be made, including how the partners will divide profits, resolve disputes, change ownership (bring in new partners or buy out current partners) and how to dissolve the partnership. Partnership is particularly important to small businesses because resource scarcity compels them to work closely with customers, suppliers and business partners to leverage brand awareness, improve marketing effectiveness, launch customized products, take advantage of new market opportunities and streamline their operations. It may be worthwhile for small businesses to consider joining a business community because the membership may lead to new business and potential partnerships. Although partnership agreements are not legally required, they are strongly recommended and it is considered extremely risky to operate without one.

Don’t forget, building and maintaining a business is hard work and a long road but hopefully with this guide you’ll be able to set the right tone for your business from the start. Another thing to know about ecommerce is that it never seems to run out of opportunities. This is also a great industry with the potential to help you achieve your goals.