What is your brand?

Brand-building

I encourage my team to really think about who they are and what they want the perception of them to be. I find employees are quick to blame circumstance, clients, the company and even me at times, but the real foundation is much more about them than anything else. Even if all of those things are terrible, the one thing that is very much within their control is who they are and how they respond to all of it.

Having a “personal brand” is a hot topic these days and lot’s of people are spending time packaging and developing their own. It just comes down to reputation and shouldn’t have to be contrived. If you are awesome, then just let it be known in how you conduct yourself day to day. If you are less than awesome in areas, then work on developing a better way of approaching things and change your perspective. Brands develop over time and as long as your north star and driving force are positive and pure, you will work it out. So I ask…

What is your personal brand? Are you someone who is generally negative or commits to positivity? Do you miss assignments or are you someone that can always be counted on to stick the landing? Do you build others up or tear them down? Do you find solutions, or point out problems? Do you keep things chill or drum up drama? Are you a leader or do you lean back in times when leadership is most needed?

I encourage everyone to self reflect today, even if only for a few minutes. Most of us don’t fit squarely in any one category, nor do we sit in any one area, 100%. That being said it is good to be honest and open with yourself about your brand and then work on self betterment and improving your brand’s perception.

I personally like to know what I am good at, but more importantly I want to know where I drop the ball and what I can do to improve and go from good to great. As a business owner and leader I try to be clear on what I think an employee’s brand is, but sometimes it is hard to be too honest in the moment. I want to continue to build my team up and set them up to win and don’t want the practice of radical candor to be detrimental to their growth, development or day to day work in the short-term.

So, it is important that they deploy a practice of looking inward, identifying where and how they maybe trip themselves up and then committing to working on that. I have found that stopping, thinking and implementing a little bit each day can go a long way. If you are not getting better, you are probably actually getting worse over time. Control your own destiny a bit more and work on your brand. It is your most important asset!

Add a comment

Tags: , ,

POV: Three types of paid social media

paid-social-media-marketing

If you pay attention to any content put out by Sircle Media, then you would know we are big fans of paid social (meaning paying social networks to market on their platforms).  We have historically broken that down to paid acquisition and content boosting and awareness. The truth is there are really three categories and the middle lane might just be the most important. I recently recorded a podcast episode that breaks them down and below I dive in a bit more.

Categories: 

1- ROI/ROAS type marketing: Think driving top of funnel clicks and awarness and down funnel sales and conversions. This is true marketing via social platforms and very easily measurable and attributable. If you are looking to sell products online, this must be in the mix and will probably provide the best bang for your buck. Many brands will hire an acquisition firm or employee to run point here and they are typically measured based on their return on spend. Some brands need a return that is higher (i.e. 4X1 ROAS) and some can go 1X1 (or even lose money) depending on their product and LTV (lifetime value).

Regardless of a brand’s specific formula, whoever is running point will typically not want to get involved in the other key categories I break out below. Mainly because every dollar spent there directly impacts and compromises their ROI metrics. If only measured in that way, it makes sense but for the actual brand, it is a myopic and potentially dangerous stance. Yes, you want to sell and transact, but to have a transformational business you must also build a brand.  You will need to invest money in awareness for said brand, and it is likely not your acquisition team that will want to (or should) manage that spend,

2- Awareness and Branding: Think unpublished (dark) posts, video view campaigns, A/B testing different marketing messages and different niche target groups. Essentially using the Facebook Ads platform to market your wares and putting your key messages out at scale and/or in front of highly targeted audiences.

This takes some planning, testing and experimenting with theories.  Some of the metrics will seem counter-intuitive. i.e. you might actually aim for higher CPMs if that means you are hitting a more coveted and highly targeted audience, and you need to be ok with that. It is really about leveraging this insanely powerful advertising platform and thinking more about brand pushing at scale than ringing the register. It is more like TV than DR, but imagine if TV could truly segment and guarantee delivery and consumption to a bunch of different audiences for pennies on the dollar.  Sounds great right? Well that’s what it is…

3- Boosting of published content: Think about all the time you spend on carefully crafting your content (assets and copy), so you should now want to guarantee delivery of those posts to specific groups. This can be done by a layman, but still requires some expertise and a fundamental understanding of how Facebook and Instagram Ads work in general.

If you sweat brand look and feel (which most brands do) then you should take the time and invest the funds to make sure that content is actually seen. If you publish and just count on organic exposure, you won’t have much luck. A little bit of money goes a long way here and if you experiment some and get a feel for which audiences perform best it can be very powerful. It is also worth noting, that if you optimize for reach or engagement you will get drastically different results and both are important.  If you want to just reach a ton of people and have them see your product (awareness and consideration) then you optimize for reach, but if you want to get them to take action (trial and purchase) you want to optimize for engagement.

Paid social is a battlefield and you need to be attacking it on all three fronts. Each has tremendous value on its own and can often be run by different parties on your team. Ultimately, having all of them running together can really transform your brand from being good to great or unknown to relevant. If you fully understand the purpose each one serves, then the investment of funds and effort in each component of paid social will pay off!

Add a comment

Tags: , , ,

IHOB = Marketing Genius!

ihob
On this episode, I break down the marketing genius of IHOB from IHOP.  In case you missed it, the company announced it would be changing its name by replacing the P for pancakes, with B for burgers and the internet freaked out. There was so much hype in June around the name and this for a brand that I (and many) haven’t thought about in quite some time.

The move, it turns out was a publicity stunt to announce the addition of burgers to the menu to help capture off-peak hour business and help turn the tide on declining numbers, experienced by most brands in their category.  IHOP and their creative agency decided to temporarily change its name (with no intent on keeping it that way) to earn massive exposure and accelerate WOM around their message. While most of the chatter was negative, mainly from IHOP loyalists, the masses did their heavy lifting for them and got the word out that burgers are now ready for consumption at an IHOP near you.

burger-ihob

Competitor brands with smart social media teams, jumped in right away to get into the dialogue. Hats off to Burger King, for quickly making this new mock logo and pushing it out via Twitter. This was a very easy way for them to use the draft wind of IHOPs move, to accelerate their own brand message. #wellplayed

While this article in Adweek claims that foot traffic did not increase following the stunt, it does concur that the buzz/awareness was valuable in its own right and IHOP claims that the data used by Foursquare does not accurately capture the true metrics. It appears that the brand is pleased with the play and I think Droga5 deserves some brops (see what I did there?) for the work!

Add a comment

Tags: , ,

Start Getting Serious About Social Media, Or Lose.

4-steps-social-media-strategy

It is mind boggling to me how some brands and businesses are still debating whether or not they need a social strategy.  I hear things like “it doesn’t apply to my industry,” or “it doesn’t sell product or create revenue,” or “my client base doesn’t use this network or that,” etc. People…you are over thinking it. If you have set out to be in business, then you need to define your goals as a company and then layer in a social strategy that is consistent with them…This is fact, not fiction.

Social media is the internet and the various social networks are just a part of the ecosystem.  Look around; are people using computers, tablets and smartphones everywhere you look?  Trust me, you will be interacted with online and to not have a real, make sense strategy in place is detrimental to your business.  Stop the insanity.

Social media helps with branding, partnerships,  improved search rankings, lower marketing costs, better customer service and generating qualified leads and sales. These are just some baseline reasons, as to why you need a social presence and social minded strategy coming from the very top.  It is mission critical to stay the course on your social efforts if you ever plan to reap the benefits listed above.  It does not come over night. It requires time, energy and effort.  It is an undying commitment to be a good company and a provider of positive interactions.  If you are genuine in this approach people will take to it and they will buy.  Marketing costs will go down, sales will go up and your economic model will benefit greatly. Faking it will lead to clean up work, customer service issues and will be counter-productive to your company’s goals.

Each week you need to drive the message and focus on all of the benefits listed. It is not a marketing campaign that you run for 2 weeks and then review ROI’s and KPI’s on a spreadsheet.  Some success will be measured by gut, while some will be in responsiveness.  Some will change on a dime based on pivots in your industry or your business.  You need to define what is important to you (aesthetic? service? troubleshooting? interaction?) and then execute a plan that is consistent with any and all of those.

It is a living and breathing thing and will develop with your brand.  It is not a silver bullet, it is a suit of armor that will allow you to be strong and win online. This social media plan must be planted, and then you must nurture it and let it grow. Then you will be the beneficiary of a business built to last.

Add a comment

Tags: , ,

Developing Loyal Customers

customer-service.0822.12

Social media has given brands the chance to get to know their fans and customers, and to build relationships with them. It can also help brands to cultivate loyal, long-term customers if they use the platforms correctly. Take a look at some tips from Social Media Examiner to grow your brand’s relationship with customers.

1)   Personalize the experience. Make each and every fan feel like they matter to you, because they do. End your posts with your name, so they can see that there’s a human behind your brand, or try allowing fans to personalize products.
2)   Reward them. Give your entire social media following a discount code, sneak previews, or contests to let them know you appreciate them.
3)   Give them a surprise. Whether it’s a discount code for reaching a social media milestone, an unexpected birthday gift, or a holiday surprise, do something kind to shock and delight them from time to time.
4)   Remember to listen. Engage with your fans, hear their complaints or suggestions, and take action. Let them know you value their opinion.
5)   Be knowledgeable. There is so much information on the Internet, so make sure you can offer your fans something they can’t find. Know your products and services inside and out so you can assist them with anything they might need.
6)   Don’t forget to follow up. Even if you’ve already answered a question for a customer, make sure to follow up with them at a later date. It’s important they know you value their experience.
7)   Build trust. Keep your promises to fans and always make sure to be transparent. If you make a mistake, own up to it and apologize. People will respect the honesty and will trust your brand even more.
8)   Share values. Every brand has core values they were built on, so share them with your fans. Nothing will create a long-term relationship with a customer faster than knowing you share their values.

The most important thing for building long-term relationships with customers is for the customer to know they are valued. Follow these tips to grow these relationships with people who respect and trust your brand.

Add a comment

Tags: ,

Sircle Media- Mobile Tour Design For Ginnybakes

Screen shot 2015-05-12 at 10.01.14 AMWe are always “all in” with our clients and willing to do what is ever needed to help them win online.  Sometimes we also get involved in the offline world to help them get more social with their branding and collateral materials.  Recently our client Ginnybakes asked us to create a design for a van for the company’s Summer 2015 multi-state sampling tour.

Our Art Director, Carlos Palacios took the lead on this project and handled everything from ideation to production.  When it came to creating the design, Carlos said he knew that he wanted to make sure the final product was unique, but still fit the vision of the client and appealed to the target audience. The client had a “colorful 60’s theme” in mind, so Carlos took that and ran with it.

“Both the client and I agreed that pink should be the base color as that would stand out the most, but [pink] would also be a great launch into that 60’s theme,” he said.  At the end of the day, his main focus was making sure he could create an attractive and recognizable design that would help create better brand awareness for Ginnybakes.

Below are some visuals that showcase the various POV’s we created for the vehicle

Sircle-Post-ginnyVan-02We then brought the tour to life on their website with a map that we designed and coded so they could showcase their map and tour dates.  Check it out here: Ginnybakes Tour Map.  Stay tuned for other great design projects coming soon.

Add a comment

Tags: , ,

Sircle Media Showcase


On Tuesday, April 8th, Sircle Media held a showcase promoting 4 of our Consumer Package Goods brands; Modern Oats, Avitae Caffeinated Water, ginnybakes and Veestro. Modern Oats, the modern take on old-fashioned oats with a burst of flavor is gluten-free, vegan, and non-gmo. A healthy breakfast option with six different flavors. Avitae, a purified water with natural caffeine, with guess what? Zero calories is the best way to wash breakfast down and give you that extra energy for the day. Everyone has a sweet tooth, right? So indulge mindfully with a crunchy, yummy, and healthy snack, ginnybakes, which is also gluten-free and organic. Ready for lunch? Try Veestro, all-natural, preservative-free food that’s high in protein and fiber, packed with nutrients and simply delicious – straight from your refrigerator or freezer.

We held the showcase at the WeWork 42nd street. The communal working environment that WeWork strongly promotes gave us the ability to enlighten and introduce these brands to working men and women. Each brand was a huge hit amongst members and we are happy to say that sales were made. We were thrilled to see people taking to social media and the internet to highly praise our products like Giorgia, who fell in love with Ginny Bakes!

unnamed

Because of the great deal of success from our first showcase, Sircle has decided to host other events at different WeWorks! Stay tuned to our blog and social media for updates and information!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add a comment

Tags: , , , , ,

How To Best Use Pinterest For Your Business

Pinterest_Logo

 

Pinterest isn’t always the first site that comes to mind when someone mentions social media, but it has become an important way for brands to bring their products attention. The site is known for its organic marketing, and using these seven tips from Social Media Examiner will make it easier to increase your brand’s visibility.

Try out promoted pins: Unlike most other social media sites, promoted posts on Pinterest receive just about the same amount of engagement as organic posts do. Promoted pins are a new feature of Pinterest, but one worth trying out.

Use rich pins: The standard for visuals on Pinterest is very high, so it is important for your pins to be high quality to stand out. The site has six different types of rich pins: app pins, place pins, article pins, product pins, recipe pins and movie pins. Product pins can be used for brands to provide a “Buy Now” link, as well as a price and a promotion to help sell their product.

Teamwork: One of the best ways to get more views and engagements on your pins is to collaborate with other popular pinners. You can invite other brands to add their own pins to a common board.

Be recognizable: Most Pinterest users follow multiple brands and users, so it is important that your content stands out as your own. Pick a style and stick with it so your pins are always recognizable to your followers.

Stay relevant: Tweak your pins to stay up to date on the latest trends. Staying with the trending and popular topics means they will appeal to a larger audience and garner more attention and engagement.

Don’t be afraid to re-pin: Even though you’re promoting your specific brand, Pinterest warns against never re-pinning other users’ content. Don’t re-pin content from direct competitors, but re-pin posts that complement the overall mood and value of your own product.

Remember mobile: According to Pinterest, 75% of users access the site from mobile devices. If images and posts are hard to see on smaller screens, your engagement will suffer. Make sure your pictures are big enough to still be viewable on phone screens.

These are just seven ways to optimize Pinterest usage. Implement these tips and see an increase in your user engagement and the attention your brand gets.

Add a comment

Tags: , ,

Big Brand Theory: Deepa Gurnani

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 10.40.02 AM

Instagram, as we have talked about before is a great platform for brands, even if it is not a big driver of e-commerce. While it does not directly drive sales, it does allow a brand to tell a story and reach fans in an engaging way. One of our clients, Deepa Gurnani-a jewelry and accessories designer, has been very successful on Instagram since they signed with us in February of this year. We are very proud of the progress we have made on their account!

When they began with us, they had a little over 1000 followers on the platform and their numbers have grown steadily and continue to do so every day. Even more important that follower count is that they have found their voice on Instagram, which is not always easy to do. They employ a nice balance of product and lifestyle shots in their rotation. They also take advantage of filters to spice up their photos and make them attractive and fun to their audience, rather than just using a plain white background. The jewelry images show their product(s) in a clever and attractive way allowing them to really tell their story in the process.

We are also committed to being timely and keeping up with what is going on in popular culture- i.e. “Ellen’s selfie” from the Oscars.  We are also using NYC as a backdrop as this is where the brand is primarily based. There is a real connection to the city and it is therefore a must that we weave it into our conversation. By posting these types of lifestyle posts we are able to share more about who the brand is, without directly “selling” the consumer. This is all about brand building, and it is going really well thus far!

To see more of how Deepa Gurnani is owning Instagram here!

Add a comment

Tags: , , ,

Facebook Reach: Learn The Basics

US-Map-and-Facebook-Like-600

Facebook is always rolling out new features, but does it benefit you as a brand? Let’s discuss!

Facebook reach is the number of unique people who saw your content. That’s not all. The reach affects every other metric that you can track including comments, clicks, engagement, and likes. There are different kinds of reach as well — post, page, organic, viral, and paid. Let’s first talk about those.

  • Organic reach: The number of unique people who saw your post in the news feed or on your page, including people who saw it from a story shared by a friend when they liked, commented on or shared your post, answered a question or responded to an event.
  • Paid reach: The number of unique people who saw your post through an ad

Note: Viral reach is now counted as part of organic reach.

You will also see something in your insights called “impressions”. Impressions are the number of times a post from your page is displayed, whether the post is clicked on or not. People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, someone might see a page update in the news feed 1x (or more), and then a second time if their friend shares it.

Note: The reach will most likely will be lower than impressions, because it cannot reach someone multiple times like an impression.

Should you pay to reach more?

Paying to promote the right content in order to reach more people in your target audience (fans or not), can have it’s benefits. It is recommended that you adopt a pay to play mentality in today’s Facebook Ecosystem.

5 ways to maximize your reach:

1. Know your audience

Study your fans and know what they want in terms of content. Get into Facebook insights and really look at what your fans are responding to. Do they like video? Do they like two posts a day rather than one? Are they online at a specific time? What kind of content are they interested in sharing with their friends? Once you know your fans better and what they like/don’t like, etc. you will be able to get better results in a variety of ways.

2. Be relevant, brief AND timely

Your audience does not want to see paragraph long posts. It’s a fact, they are indeed turned off by it. They are more apt to read posts that are short, accompanied by a picture, and a link (bitly). If you’re sharing content, make sure it is up-to-date, especially if it is regarding your product in the press, etc.

3. Quality, quality, quality!

Quality content is going to get your posts even further. As long as you provide valuable information to your audience, your reach will be higher as fans will be more likely to share the content as well. Ask questions, conduct contests, and involve your consumers as much as possible.

4. Turn your fans’ friends into fans themselves

Facebook insights provides admins with the “Friends of Fans” metric, letting them know how many people they can potentially reach organically. Friends of fans are extremely important — they are more likely to visit a brand’s Facebook Page or website, purchase a brand’s products and become fans themselves. Organically, these Facebook fans can easily be reached through the Facebook Ticker, which tracks all user activity. Keep your fans interacting with your brand, and their friends will see all “liking” activity, comments and posts in the top right of their news feed.

5. Engage!

Fans love to know their favorite brands are listening and interacting with them. Sometimes social media managers overlook this very simple task, but it means a lot. Whether it is to say “thank you” or “have a great day”, consumers respond best to brands when they know they are being heard and responded to. Make sure to mix up your responses. Just don’t overdo it!

To read more about Facebook reach, click here!

 

Add a comment

Tags: , , , , ,