Tag Archives: content

EXPERT INSIGHTS: MARKET RESEARCH FOR BRAND INNOVATION

How do you define brand?

“At its core, a brand is a promise to consumers. What will consumers get when they purchase a product or service under your brand umbrella? The brand promise incorporates more than just those tangible products and services. It also includes the feelings that consumers get when they use your products and services.” – Branding Strategy Insider

I asked four market research experts from MTV, J.P. Morgan, Meijer International and Union Bank to answer what that questions means to them.

This is what they said:

“In our world, it’s the brand of the company. As a retailer, this is tricky, because we sell products for many well-known brands. That said; we define brand as what our company Brad Hilemanstands for (services, products, etc.) and how we want customers to perceive us. We’re tasked with bringing the brand to life through content and creative, so it’s really about how we communicate through tone, visuals and story.”

– Brad Hileman, Director of Digital, Brand Development, Meijer Inc.

“The way a customer remembers you.”Xavier Corona

– Xavier Corona, Vice President, Sr. Marketing Manager-Multicultural and GCM
Corporate Marketing, Consumer Lending, Union Bank

Michael Rosenberg

“Brand is the public ‘image’ or ‘perception’ of a given company. Brand is more than just a logo or name, it’s the “embodiment of a company and its’ values to the public.”

– Michael Rosenberg, Managing Director, Corporate and Investment Bank Marketing,
J.P. Morgan

alison hillhouse“Any brand that is turning old models on their heads, for example, mattress companies Caspar and Tuft & Needle that are calling BS on the outdated and opaque mattress industry model. These new brands offer Millennials exactly what they want – perfect design in both product and communications, transparent product details, free trials with no commitment, convenience, affordability and promise of perfection. Industries that try to pull the wool over consumers’ heads like Sleepy’s are dead. Millennials won’t stand for them.”

– Alison Hillhouse, Vice President of Insights Innovation, MTV

Video: A Look Back on Call Center Week 2015

I’m trying new things, y’all.

In June this year I attended the 15th Annual Call Center Week in Las Vegas. (It also happened to be where I celebrated my 29th birthday.)

CCW first image

Watch Now: A Look Back on Call Center Week

As Content Director, I was tasked with collecting photos, interviews and articles that accurately and educationally showcased the event.

Click on the link to see the final cut!

Effective Email Marketing for Niche Markets

This is a rough recreation of a niche marketing email I wrote for the Military Radar community. A few notes about why it works:

  • It has a catch subject line
  • It opens with a quote from an industry expert
  • It presents the event’s Five W’s upfront
  • It has four calls-to-action to download the content piece
  • It establishes industry knowledge

Let’s get to the email. The subject line was:

From the Desk of Dr. Guerci: Next Gen Antennas

8th Annual Military Radar Summit
February 23-25, 2015
Washington, D.C.

www.MilitaryRadarSummit.com

The Military Radar Summit is a truly unique venueIt addresses the entire radar enterprise: emerging customer needs and markets, the latest technology developments and unparalleled networking opportunities with those ready to do business…

Dr. Joe Guerci, Fellow and Warren D. White Award Recipient, IEEE

Dr. Guerci, the foremost radar authority, has been the Military Radar Summit’s chairman many times over and has provided us with an exclusive article on the Next Generation of Affordable Smart Antennas. Read the full article here.

Dr. Guerci's content piece, which is promoted in this content marketing email.
Dr. Guerci’s content piece, which is promoted in this content marketing email.

Next Generation Affordable Smart Antennas

A confluence of advances in low cost digitally controllable RF metamaterial-based apertures and real-time embedded cognitive signal processing has afforded a new opportunity to realize a distinctly new and affordable low SWAP smart antenna capability for a multitude of demanding applications from communications to radar. This article, which is co-authored by Dr. Joe Guerci in the Microwave Journal, provides an overview of these enabling advances, their synergistic combination and the new markets that are emerging as a result.

Download the ArticleEmail Me the Article

For more information on the event, including the draft agenda, additional content and speaker and session information, visit www.MilitaryRadarSummit.com.

I look forward to seeing you this February 23-25 in Washington, D.C.

Kind regards,

Headshot-1

Hannah Hager
Online Content Director
IDGA

P.S. Take a peek at this summary of our past attendees for an idea of who you can expect to meet and network with at the event.

Here’s the full thumbnail of the email:

Guerci Thumbnail

Everybody has a Story to Tell

The awkward silence. Far from foe, the awkward silence is your best friend.

Let me ask you something: What is your first reaction when you’re on the phone with someone and the natural flow of the conversation ends? If you’re like most people, it is to immediately fill the space with your words. Say something. Anything.

As a newspaper reporter and journalist, one of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to let the other person fill the awkward silence space. In journalism, this is a nifty technique that prompts the source to tell you information they might not have previously shared. In life, it’s a great technique for teaching you patience in conversation.

Most of us start out as selfish conversationalists. Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced the following daftness: The man who drones on and on about his life and travels. The woman who cuts you off to share her opinion, story or antecdote, which she believes is far more relevant than what you have to say. We all hate these people. I was once these people — and it failed me miserably. Not only did I send people running for the hills with my self absorption, I was also failing to learn anything about anyone else.

If you don’t find someone interesting then your problem is you’re doing all the talking.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” - J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
– J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye

Since I made the long and painful process from becoming a “talker” to a “listener,” I have never met a boring person. Hear me out. People love to talk about themselves. This is a simple fact. If you start asking them questions about their life, work, family or hobbies you will find that they always come up with something interesting to say. What this means is that you also have something interesting to say.

A top excuse among aspiring writers is that they “don’t have anything to say.” We all have a story to tell. Simply write what we know. I’ve learned to ignore the snickering when I say that I write about my life. Oh, you don’t think my life as a twenty-something, middle-class white girl living in NYC isn’t interesting enough? You’re wrong. Someone, somewhere will be able to relate to me. And that’s the point of writing, isn’t it?

I don’t care if you’re a reformed drug dealer who was detained in Peru for six years on smuggling charges or if you’re a housewife in Oklahoma who has never left the United States. You and your story have value.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” – J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye.

When you write, write for yourself and write like you’re talking to a friend. I think you’ll find that by using this foundation

your readers will eventually become your friends.

How to Create Fearless Brand Advocates

If you want your sales professionals to be advocates of your brand, you must first sell them on it. Naomi Garnice, Director of Marketing at Salucro, makes sure her sales professionals understand that part of being a brand advocate is the realization that daily duties with customers and partners carry into the company’s overall brand image.

I sat down with Naomi Garnice, Director of Marketing at Salucro.
I sat down with Naomi Garnice, Director of Marketing at Salucro.

What are the best ways to breakdown the “Great Wall of China” between content marketers and sales professionals to ensure that all employers are active brand advocates? 

 Breaking down the walls is easy when you open lines of communication in the right way. Marketing and Sales professionals usually speak in completely different dialects. Numbers and measurable goals move people in Sales. Part of being a brand advocate is the realization of how your day-to-day actions with customers and partners carry into the company’s overall brand image while supporting your own professional goals and quotas. To pitch your Sales leaders and department you’ll need to sell them on the direct benefits: how their added visibility will support their clout in the industry, client relationships and quotas. At the Advancements in Content Marketing event, we’ll take a deeper dive into this with some go-to lines and examples.

What metrics and measurements do you use to determine what content is most valuable to your customer base and has the most likelihood to build trust and brand recognition?

 Let your audience show you which content moves them by tracking their monthly clicks, shares, comments and resulting referral website traffic. This will take time to gauge as you build a meticulous content strategy centered around the goals and needs of your customers and prospects — we’ll look at different approaches to ensure that content is valuable to your intended audience.

What can we look forward to learning at the conference?

 At the conference, I will walk you through a powerful brand advocacy training series I’ve developed at B2Bs, which not only produces results but also aligns the business goals between the Sales and Marketing departments. Further, we will touch on all of the must-topics for your own brand advocacy training series, why they are important and how they can directly impact your business and Marketing efforts.

Don’t Claim to Be a Brand Leader … Become One

Sue Kwon is an Emmy award-winning storyteller and global corporate communications leader, holding on-air and leadership positions in CBS, NBC, and ABC stations around the U.S. She is also on the Stanford GSB Mastery in Communications team, teaching branding and storytelling to entrepreneurs.

Before joining Symantec to lead Content Strategy & Storytelling, Sue served as Digital & Social Media Director for Gap, Inc. leading internal and external communications focused on increasing employee, customer and influencer engagement.

I interviewed Sue Kwon, Senior Director of Content Strategy at Symantec.
I interviewed Sue Kwon, Senior Director of Content Strategy at Symantec.

What are the key considerations to take into account when a company sets out to establish itself as a brand leader?

You can’t SAY you’re a brand leader, you become a brand leader. It’s like saying ‘I’m cool’ on a grade school playground. Others will determine your ‘cool’ factor by what you say, what you do and how you are perceived by the most vocal influencers.

So key considerations to take into account when a company sets out to establish itself as a brand leader include:

Do you have something interesting to say that is unique or differentiated?

Is what you do actually relevant to what people need?
And, is the experience you offer as a brand worth participating in and advocating for?

Establishing your company as a brand leader requires a plan – not just for those one-off moments of positive reinforcement – but for telling a story through unique experiences over the course of a customer’s journey.

Will you outline for us the necessary materials and personnel required to elevate a content marketing strategy into a functioning media outlet that can publish, promote and deliver content across a spectrum of mediums?

I will outline an overarching Content Marketing strategy, which includes:
1. Building a Content Lifecycle plan to reach the right audience.
2. Building your Content Marketing ‘Newsroom’
3. Budgeting for multi-channel production.
4. Why Cross-Functional collaboration is the key to success.

What are your tips for re-envisioning content to imitate news media outlets?

BUILDING YOUR CONTENT MARKETING NEWSROOM:

• Your Marketing Team Structured like a Newsroom Roster– At the conference, I’ll show you who on your PR & Marketing team should play these roles– News Director, Managing Editor, Executive Producer, Show Producer, Reporter(s), Photographer/Editors/Graphics, Promo Dept.

• Secrets of the Field Crew– I’ll show you how 3-5 person crews work on deadline, within expertise, and toward a common production goal – despite hierarchy.

• Thinking like a Reporter not a Marketer – I’ll show you how to tell stories that can beat the competition – that are relevant to customers, influencers, advocates and critics.

• It’s not just about Prime Time – I’ll show you how to map your content against the customer’s journey where you are positioning assets at the right time and on the right channels.

• Speed and Expertise – TV ratings are based on capturing and keeping audience attention… and offering the most compelling insight. I’ll show you how to secure audiences early and keep them around through a structured thought leadership amplification plan.

How can you ensure that your thought leader’s subject matter stays aligned with business initiatives?

It’s important to define what a “Thought Leader” is in your organization and get shared vision across Marketing, Global Communications and C-suite. A shared definition will allow you to create a Thought Leader amplification plan where the right individuals are selected and supported. The plan will ensure that individuals authorized to speak on your company’s behalf are aware of inputs and considerations that line up to business priorities. The plan will also empower those thought leaders to show well and show often on Owned, Paid, and Earned channels – LinkedIn, 3rd party blogs, media outlets, etc.

What are the ways you can create content that has an enhanced accessibility by focusing on highlighting relevancy and importance rather than assumed value?

• Adopting a Breaking News “fast flow” content production process is important to add thought leadership and value in conversations pegged to headlines and trending topics.

• Creating a global content production plan that lines up to a company editorial calendar is important to prioritize “evergreen” stories that are supported across Geos.

• *Teaching all writers, editors and producers across the Content Lifecycle process the principles of Award-Winning storytelling is important to teach marketers how to talk about products … without literally talking about products.

**At the Advancements in Content Marketing 2014 event, I’ll give the 3 Secrets to Winning an Emmy – that will change the way you think about storytelling and content marketing.

What does the future of content marketing look like to you?

I will be out of a job. Telling great stories will become an easy habit. We need to master the science of positioning those stories with robust SEO strategy, for multi-channel consumption, with instant metrics insight. Marketing automation and the ability to position our stories to the right audiences at the right time and measure acquisition, retention and product renewal is the shiny object we should all focus on. (But first, we need to produce great assets to pump into the system.)

Sarcasm in content marketing

My marketing team received a very eloquent, middle-fingered response to a content email that was sent in my name. It’s for an event we’re hosting on a very niche topic – dredging in ports. No further introduction needed.

Dear Hannah-

I can’t believe that I failed to respond to your unsolicited email – shame on me!  

As you know, I am a big fan of dredging and reclamation, and ever since I was a little nipper I would brag to my friends about how some day I would dredge and reclaim with the big guys – little did I realize that some day I would actually get a personal email from you inviting me to a real live dredge and reclaim party!  Hannah, thank you so much for looking out for me!   I don’t know how to thank you enough for getting this invite to me – to bring me front and center tomeet and rub army boots with the celebrities and the kings of the world of sludge!

Again, I apologize for losing your email in the white noise of annoying irrelevant and unwanted spam.

Sincerely,

xx