Tag Archives: Social Media

Bare Naked Brand Names

Courtesy of Internet Business Law Journal  by Naseem Javed

Last century business names were colorfully dressed with uniquely stylized lettering, colorful logos, slogans and contextual support. This century, such ‘stylized dependency’ has been pushed over the cliff by neo-socio-mobile-media-lingo. They’re stripped and typed in black and white text as soundbite-sized ‘bare naked words’, blending into chat lines alongside abbreviations and numbing-mumbo-jumbo. The majority of big name brands are losing their luster. Powerful imagery from the old newspaper era of double sized full page ads are replaced by typed words on small portable devices.

Can you identify the high maintenance big brand names on the following social media chats?

…just checked the wind at the mall, grand service but tag too high…

…I have no option but united, they would know where my real goodies are…

… no matter what, for me prime is the way to go before I try orange or wave…

…and then she gave me a rolex…

Highly distinct brand names like ‘Rolex’ or Panasonic are identifiable in any typed conversation while diluted names like ‘United’ ‘Premier’ ‘Orange’, ‘Wave’ ‘Wind’ disappear in the bursts of text making no sense, causing confusion and least building any distinct name identity. Camouflaged brand names are only going to end up invisible.

Today, the socio-mobile-lingo-depository is the fastest growing and the largest communication pool in the world. Tweeting, Facebooking, MySpacing, YouSmiling, MeWatching, YouListening or Linkedining, alike have transformed name brands into ‘typed lingo’.

The largest majority of the last century names do not fit the next generation digital platforms. If global socio-mobile marketing is mandatory for high level results, names must pass a ‘nudity-test': a name must be inserted into an everyday social media conversation and checked to see if it’s still identifiable or lost within the text. If it doesn’t, it provides instant proof why cash registers aren’t ringing and what’s killing all the potential sales.

Last century, when names with special styles of lettering appeared in full page ads, there was no need to clarify the meaning or connection of the name with the subject. ‘United Furniture’ with furniture arranged in shape of the letters, ‘United Logistics’ stylized with a large cargo ship or ‘United Bank’ with a monetary symbol and logo to create distinction. Everybody understood what was what.

Today, with some 250,000 different businesses around the world already using ‘United’ as a name brand, the typed word has to appear lost in the depths of the English dictionary. The name values and visibility for such style dependent names are dying on upstream and downstream social media.

In this socio-mobile-marketplace only the very small percentage of highly distinct names has a clear competitive advantage. Microsoft, Rolex and Panasonic are easily identifiable in any sentence, in any format without question.

Corporations are shy to face the nakedness of their own names. When the management of ‘United Logistics’ sees their name brand, they are so conditioned to first see the stylized logo, the slogan and the whole package, with a globe replacing the ‘o’ in the ‘logistics’, a tiny plane forming a circular line arching over the name and bold italic letters telling the fast dynamics of the logistic trade. Now try searching ‘united’ as an example on social media; it will demonstrate the instant erosion of a branded name identity.

Currently, studies show that the largest majority of business names are based on dictionary or geographic words followed by surnames and acronyms or initials. Less than 1% of business names are distinct and unique. While global ad expenditures are touching $700 Billion, why is this aspect of global naming complexity not on any syllabus at any of the MBA programs in the world? The question remains; what is the reason for this waste, and more importantly, who benefits from it?

After the massive success of social media, new domain name management platforms will further kindle huge fires up the major global branding and marketing services. A new stage is being set by ICANN the International Corporation of Assigned names & Numbers and their gTLD global top level domain name program, where name-centricity will drive the digital branding explosion. What should the brand owners do? Strip their business name clean of every support, attachment, and gimmick and assess the risk of them being lost in the crowd of common language. Without a professional name evaluation report the entire marketing and branding budget may be questionable.
A distinct name identity is what separates a name from a word; the stripped down identity test will prove this.

Naseem Javed, founder of ABC Namebank, is a globally recognized authority on corporate nomenclature and related issues of global naming complexities and especially market domination via name identity. He is a lecturer, syndicated columnist, and the author of Naming for Power.  www.abcnamebank.com

Introducing the NEW Facebook Timeline

Courtesy of SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY.

You may have heard that Facebook will be rolling out their new profiles and features, including “Facebook Timeline”. As developers for Facebook, the team at MarketMeSuite got early access to it.  This post explains the new lay out and features. The big change is actually on your own page, not so much on your news feed/homepage. The layout is completely new and different.

1- Cover Photo

The big change is the photo across the entire top of your page, the “Cover Photo”:

As Facebook themselves say, it will now be the first thing anyone visiting your page see. It packs a punch and the visual impact is something not seen o Facebook before. You have complete control over the photo, much like a profile photo and it can be changed and updated as often as you like so you don’t have to worry about it being set once it’s in place. However, it is not something you an opt out of and remove so be sure to pick images you like!

Do note though, that Facebook has banned using this space as a banner for advertising, commercialization or infringement of others.

2- Data Storage

New Facebook will be storing your data is a newfangled manner. All in one place! Whether it’s you photos, videos, your friends list, apps or anything else, they will all be located in the same place. This is not to say it will all be a jumbled mess on your page but rather set in a clear and precise row where you can select the topics of your choice:

It’s definitely much easier to see what you are looking for and access it easily. When things are set out clearly, time and patience are saved, this is something that may make Facebook much more stream lined and efficient.

3- The Activity Timeline

Here is one of the key new features, where the idea of the “Timeline” really comes into its own. The activity timeline shows all of your updates, friend making, photo uploads etc that you have ever done. From the very first day you started using Facebook. It is also where you will be controlling your privacy settings for all posts, past, present and future.

This data can not be seen by any of your friends or other Facebook users so you can rest assure that your information will be secure and private so you can be as selective in your publishing and topics as you like! Be aware, this is not your notification prompts, they remain the same in the top bar.

4- The Real Timeline

The timeline, of everything you do on Facebook and in your day to day life. Whether you log your events in updates or fill in the blanks, add photos or videos, talk to friends, it is all logged here from day 1 to now! Whether you want to scroll back manually or select a date form the side side bar, you can see every single piece of data you wish.

This is great if you wish to locate a certain update, photo, status update or “Liked” data. Knowing you can find it easily but date or just scroll through means you have all your data at your fingertips ready to share with others or keep for yourself.

For Better Or Worse?

This new Facebook has been an eagerly anticipated event. Even though it had not been released to even developers until last week, it’s a popular topic of conversation or many social media fans. And it’s caused a ripple and divide in opinion. Some consider it a masterpiece in social networking future technique. After all you have every single piece of data you would ever need, you have control over it and it gives you far greater control over your social media and online sharing and interaction.  However, others consider that it may be invading too much into ones personal life, as they will be asked to add D.O.B, key events, memories, personal events and feelings that happens outside of the social  network. Does Facebook really need to know this? Is it all just advertising and an act of power at showing how influential they are? But saying that, people have the option to opt out of adding that data and keeping it as limited as possible so do Facebook really hold any sway over its users? People also argue that Facebook make far too many changes and it’s hard for users to keep up with them and be constantly learning new ways of how it works.

Key Take Away

When this new Facebook is pushed out to everyone, the only person whose opinion matters will be yours. You get to pick what you add, which data to share with Facebook. It’s an objective view and it will be a change which will have provoke various outlooks and opinions, sure to be heard through many a blog and article and even among friends. One thing is for sure, it’s a change that you will have to get used to, love it or hate it.

Who Wrote This Article?

I’m Nikki and I work at MarketMeSuite, the social media marketing dashboard. We have some Great news! We are now free! Please check it out and be sure to let me know what you think!

Why the QR code is Failing (and How To Fix It)

Courtesy of Sean X. Cummings and iMediaConnection.

They have become the standard violator appearing on advertising; in the corner of print ads, across billboards, on buses, or in pieces of direct mail — even peppered throughout this article. You’ve seen them; that little block of even littler squares. Unfortunately the technology behind QR codes was not invented for advertising and marketing; we are just co-opting its usage, and it shows.

From the relative lack of public understanding of what they even are, to the dearth of creativity in their usage, the QR code is destined to become just the little box that geek built. But if it does go the way of CueCat, only we are to blame. Here’s why.

The current use of QR codes in advertising is…
I could finish that statement with “stupid,” “useless,” “uncreative,” or “uninspiring.” Surprisingly, that is not news to anyone at advertising agencies or brands. QR codes seem to be a last ditch effort; an ignored piece of “Hey, throw a QR code on there that leads to our website.” But why bother? The general public seems largely oblivious to what they are used for, and why they are on all those ads. In my informal “on the street” survey of 300 people last month, I held up a sign with a QR code on it and the phrase: “Free gift if you can tell me what this is.”

I was not asking them to decipher it, just tell me what it actually was. Here are the results:

  • 11 percent correctly answered QR code or quick response code
  • 29 percent responded with “Some barcode thingy”
  • Seven percent guessed some variant of “Those things you stare at that get 3D when you cross your eyes. What picture is it? I can’t seem to get it”
  • The remaining 53 percent tried everything from a secret military code, Korean (uh really?), to an aerial street map of San Francisco

My survey was conducted in San Francisco, the veritable Mecca of the planet for tech, so it only goes downhill from here. When I asked those who knew it was some type of “barcode” how they could decipher it, 35 percent answered “with their phone.” When I asked them to actually “read” it with their phone? Only 45 percent of those were able to do it, and it took an average of 47 seconds for them to take out their phone and find the application to read the QR code — not exactly a “quick response.” Remember that agencies are putting these on moving buses and highway billboards.

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.

Search…Out…Discovery…In

Courtesy of Adam Singolda, MEDIA POST’s VIDEO INSIDER.

In the mid ’90s, webmasters started to optimize their site so that when a search engine had sent its “spider” to crawl the page, data would be properly extracted and visible to users proactively searching for it. That was SEO.

Better visibility on search engines meant more users landing on your website’s content. More users landing on the website meant more revenue.

That discipline later evolved to also offer a paid option for getting users into your sites — now considered one of the primary money makers for search engines.

15 years after, people still use search, true — but not as much as they used to, and in my opinion, will barely do so in the future.

Why? People have no idea what they want to do next, so how can they search for it?

The world is transforming from actively pursuing to passively discovering. People might search for an article or a video, but then discovery vehicles will get the user to bounce from one piece of content to another. In fact, I’m not even sure that search will remain to be the anchor as it is today for people to land on the first article or video. As an example — social channels are already getting massive momentum and users are spending more time on them (Facebook versus Google)

The biggest asset on the Web, in my opinion, is “owning” where users go. Today it’s primarily Google through its search engine — a very lucrative business indeed. In the not-so-far future, I think that discovery tools — from social vehicles to recommendation engines spread all around the web content pages, offering people content they might like from the Web — will win.

If that’s true, the huge market of optimizing search and paying for it (SEO/SEM) will slowly transform into optimizing and paying for Discovery tools that own users’ attention and help navigate them to the “best next thing.”

I would call it discovery engine optimization (DEO).

 

 

5 Businesses That Will Live (or Die) by Social Media

Courtesy of  Christopher Elliott, BNET

If you work in the retail business, you probably already know how important social media is to your company. But a new survey suggests several other industries are at a tipping point between interacting with their customers online and offline.

The study, conducted by the customer experience analytics company ClickFox, found five industry groups in which people have sought customer service in high numbers, which I define as more than 30 percent.

ClickFox concludes that social media such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – once unheard of as a customer service channel – has now proven to be both an effective and cost-effective alterative to traditional customer service channels.

But as I review these numbers, I see a more ominous sign. If you’re in one of these industries, it means social media isn’t just a nice option for customers; it may, in many cases, be the first place clients turn when they want to contact you. In other words, you have to be there.

Here are the industries and their percentages, according to the survey.

1. Retail (45 percent)
Sure, the next time you buy a pair of jeans at Target, you expect the company to be listening to your feedback on Twitter (@Target) or its Facebook account.  Interestingly, the survey suggests customers of smaller companies in the retail sector are treated in a similar way. That, by default, many clients will go online and look for a social media solution.

2.  Telephone (35 percent)
There’s an obvious reason why people turn to social media for phone problems. When your line isn’t working, but you have a ready Internet connection, getting satisfaction is a lot easier by tweeting AT&T (@att). There’s also a less obvious reason: Phone companies are notorious for making you spend a long time on “hold” and sending your through elaborate phone-tree mazes before you can talk to a real person.

3.  Travel and hospitality (34 percent)
People normally think “airlines” when you mention travel, but the truth is, most Americans get to where they’re going by car. Of course, airlines get some of the lowest customer-service scores America, so passengers will try to reach them any which way. But this is more about hotels and restaurants – two key components of the hospitality industry. They’ve quietly made some progress in opening social media channels to their customers.

4. Cable (33 percent)
Next to airlines, cable is one of the lowest-rated industries, when it comes to customer service. So, again, customers are reaching out to Twitter accounts like @comcastcares and Time Warner Cable’s Facebook page for help. This seems more an act of desperation than convenience, if the numbers are to be believed.

5. Banks (31 percent)
Here’s another underperforming sector, thanks to the recent wave of defaults and ill-conceived mergers. But also, banks provide notoriously bad phone service, sending their customers through endless prompts, forcing them to verify their identities multiple times, and leaving them on “hold” for half an eternity. It’s almost as if they don’t want you to use the phone. Now they are getting their wish.

With the possible exception of retail and hospitality, it may not even be a question of living by social media, but dying by it. The social media channel is so attractive because it bypasses the phone, which for an increasing number of customers just doesn’t work anymore. Their next step may be to take their business elsewhere.

A few weeks ago, I asked if your business really needs a Twitter account. Here’s your answer. If you’re in the retail, phone, travel, cable or bank industry, you probably do.

Related:

Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate, syndicated columnist and curator of the On Your Side wiki. He’s the author of the upcoming book Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals, which critics have called it “eye-opening” and “inspiring.” You can follow Elliott on Twitter, Facebook or his personal blog, Elliott.org or email him directly.

3 Ways to Supercharge Social Media with Google Analytics

Courtesy of Chris Wiebesick and SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY.

If your business is participating in social media, dig into Google Analytics to uncover actionable insights that will immediately improve your social efforts. We’ve identified three ways Google Analytics can supercharge your social media initiatives.

#1. Optimize Social Traffic

Create an advanced custom segment to look at the percentage of traffic that came to your website from social media versus other places and what that social traffic did once they got to your site. Then compare them against a control group of people that had not interacted with social media. Go further than just looking at whether Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is driving the most traffic. Look for how social media compares in areas like lead conversion rates, website bounce rates and time spent on your site.

#2. Find New Customers on Twitter

Google Analytics can help you identify which Twitter conversations you should be listening for. Analyze your search engine traffic to see what keywords people are using most often to arrive at your site. Then, create an automated search feed for these keywords on Twitter to identify conversations people are having using these keywords. These people may be prospects. Tweet with them.

#3. Drive More Blog Traffic

Use your most popular search phrases throughout your blog – in posts, titles, and tags – to generate more blog traffic. Also, if you haven’t already, set up Google Analytics to record people’s internal search queries from your website’s search box. Use these search phrases, too, in your blog.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool. Most businesses really only get limited use out of it, though, because they feel overwhelmed with all the data, struggle to make informed business decisions, or are measuring the wrong things. A Google Analytics Certified Professional may be the answer for you. A Certified Professional can install Google Analytics, determine goals for your website, and monitor the effectiveness of your site and social marketing campaigns. They will also use their expertise to give you actionable insights so you can confidently make informed business decisions.

10 Tips for Facebook and Twitter Success

Courtesy of Julie Glassman and IMediaConnection.

There’s no denying the importance of social media. You get it. Your team gets it. The question is, do your customers care to get it, or are they tired of being asked to “like” everyone and everything they meet? The big problem nowadays, with endless tweets, friends, pages, profiles, and tags — is how to engage desired audiences in such a way that your brand is perceived as relevant.

In a world defined largely by social media — from business reviews to cultural revolutions — you cannot simply be where your customers are for the sake of being there. You must be there for a reason, and that reason must not be entirely, if at all, self-serving. Social interactions with customers must be authentic and transparent, and must also offer something real in exchange for eyeballs, consideration, and loyalty. Every “like” must be viewed as currency, and audiences must be rewarded for their willingness to accept you with something they deem valuable.

What steps must you take to be perceived as genuine? It’s simple really… You actually need to be genuine. Forgotten how? Here are 10 simple things to keep in mind.

The old, new truism: Know your audience. But for real this time.
Ever thought about your customers in a way that has nothing to do with your business? Ever wonder who they are when they are not buying your products or services? Do you know what matters to them intrinsically, from saving whales to raising children? If not, it’s high time you found out. Connecting is not simply about getting on Facebook or Twitter, but interacting with your customers, in authentic ways that resonate with them — deeply. How? In a move that may seem antithetical to traditional marketing wisdom, when it comes to social media, it’s better to be reactive than proactive. Instead of planning your next big social media stunt, spend some quiet time observing your customers’ social behavior online. Kick back, hang out, listen, learn — and then interact. The simple act of getting to know your audience means knowing what works for them… and, more importantly, what doesn’t. This will likely save you much time, money, and embarrassment in the future.

Choose your friends wisely
You’re only as good as the company you keep, so choose wisely. With all the groups and influencers available to you via social media, make sure to align yourself with those befitting of “who” you are and how you want to be perceived. Befriend appropriate influencers and communities, in real and meaningful ways, and their followers will ultimately extend their trust to your brand. In social media, not all press is good press. What matters most today is not just word-of-mouth, but the right words out of the right mouths.

Look at yourself through rose-colored glasses
So what if you sell shoes. You can also sell something far more important. Emotion. Ever wonder how Zappos created such a loyal following? By thinking about employees and customers with heart. In other words, Zappos deems itself not a retailer, but a customer service organization that, oh, by the way, sells stuff. How does this translate to social media? Zappos, a living, breathing, feeling organization, engages customers via prolific, company-wide Twitter use, providing a transparent, unedited glimpse, at the caring, fun, emotive employees (CEO included), behind the curtain. They also actively solicit customer feedback, via Facebook, so that users always feel heard — and, better yet, listened to and understood. The rewards for keeping it real. Bet you’ve bought something from Zappos in recent months, if not weeks or days?

What can we learn from this? No matter the offering, the important element is to identify one or two things that matter most to desired audiences. Whether it’s emotion, social conscience, giving back, or something as simple as savings, get it out there, to the right people in authentic, fun, simple, and social ways.

In the words of Sally Field, “You like me.” Well, no… actually they don’t.
According to a March 2011 Forrester Research report on the “digital behavior of young consumers,” people simply do not want to be friends with brands. So how do you earn the trust and endorsement of customers? Give them a reason to like you. Forget about what you are selling and focus your time and energy on your winning personality and character instead. You know how the hot girl always ends up with the smart, funny guy? Well, social media typically takes off when it entertains, endears, and ingratiates. More often than not, connecting legitimately comes down to exposing your weaknesses, taking yourself less seriously, making someone laugh, and just palling around.

Think about it: Would you want to be friends with your corporate persona?

Ask not what your customers can do for you, but what you can do for your customers Social media is not just about acting sincere; it’s about being sincere. It’s not enough to simply say you care about something, but rather to demonstrate that you actually care. Identify what customers want or need from you and make it happen. Create opportunities for meaningful, two-way conversations. Solicit feedback, ask questions, get audiences involved in decision-making, or partner with someone or something that matters. Make sure, however, that your connections and queries are relevant and congruous to your existing brand, business, and practices and always, always follow through. If you ask what customers want or need, you must be prepared to change. Fake it and audiences will call BS on you faster than they can “unlike” you.

Conversely, just because customers say it’s so, doesn’t always mean they’re right. Use your head. You’re in charge for a reason. Consider audience feedback and needs in aggregate and through a seasoned marketing, sales and business lens. Just because one or two cyber bullies make a lot of noise doesn’t mean you can’t simply cover your ears. Case in point, Starbucks new logo is just fine people.

You care about me because I care
Brands need to stand up and take notice of things outside of themselves — with authenticity and humility. You can’t simply choose the cause of the day — “Hey look, we’re green” — but rather, pick something because it fits seamlessly with who you are and what you, and your audience, actually care about. Corporate social responsibility, awareness and action, must be congruent with the brand. Then, and only then, will it be perceived as real, engaging, inclusive, thoughtful, long-term and social.

When the going gets tough, go online
The web can be a dangerous place for brands these days. Ratings, reviews, rumors, pictures, video — consumers are more in control than ever before, and managing public opinion and perception can be next to impossible. That’s why being a legitimate, accepted participant in the online lives of key customers and influencers is mission critical. In other words, when things go wrong, you can turn to your “friends.” Social media puts you back in the driver’s seat, in real time, as you react (carefully) to the events, press, reviews, snafus, changes, and developments that affect consumer opinion and confidence. Haste, transparency, honesty, humility, and reverence can keep a potentially harmful story from going viral.

Change is good
Online, loyalty is not dependable. In fact, it means very little. What’s here today is most certainly gone tomorrow. Brands must keep their eyes on the ball, tracking trends, watching for audience fluctuations and never feeling too safe, too smug, or too comfortable. The truth is, you can never nail social media. One success can be followed by a major failure. The good news is that the web allows you to change anything and everything on the fly, and updates to your social media interactions and strategies needn’t be expensive nor ground breaking. Be careful not to be all over the map. Remember who you are and why audiences like you in the first place, and then focus on being relevant, fresh, inventive, and always one step ahead.

One cannot survive on social media alone
Don’t forget that real life matters. Social media does not exist in a vacuum and does not a successful company make. Everything you do online requires support; reinforcement and follow-through at other available customer touchpoints. Don’t expect users to know about, or understand, your social media initiatives without proper support elsewhere. The appropriate mix of promotional vehicles and campaigns is always a good idea. What’s more, even the best social networking cannot save you from a failed product, customer service interaction or business snafu. People will talk, so mind your Ps and Qs, socially and otherwise.

It’s social media, not brain surgery
In the end, perhaps we’re over-thinking things a bit. Do we plan this much before we go to a dinner party or a BBQ? Do we think about what we’re going to say when we meet a friend for coffee or a beer? Not really. So, what’s the most important lesson to be learned here? Get to know your audience, interact, engage, be real, and have fun doing so. It’s social media folks! Get the best version of yourself out there and simply be social.

Julie Glassman is the founder and partner of BRAND Consulting.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.