Category Archives: User Engagement

Human touchbase new marketing mantra – agree?

Its a fact, adding face and voice to a brand has become a necessity and has become a popular trend too. Businesses are realizing that customer interaction, engaging content and adding face to the brand are valuable and means a lot to their customers and business stakeholders. The connection of emotions has become beneficial to a business or a brand. Companies like Amazon take pride in customer service and their human touch is happily welcomed by customers. Over the years, they have not only become extremely powerful but very successful too because they adapted to the new trend of marketing that revolved around engagement and personal touch. Actually, this provides comfort to customers which ultimately drives sales and win brand loyalty over long term.

We have seen the success that has come to some product companies because of their human touchbase approach. But the question is, can other industries also reap the benefits using the personal touchbase approach? The answer is, yes. More than ever, financial services are seeking ways to brand themselves in the right light. And the only way to reach customers is  by producing engaging content with a personal feel that ultimately benefits the consumer is a strategy that financial service companies should adopt. According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth study, consumers are using 10.8 sources of information prior to making a banking product purchase while consumers are using 11.7 sources prior to an insurance purchase. These statistics demonstrate the importance of producing positive, engaging and humanized content that consumers can make use of while making a decision. These sources can be anything in the form of informative videos, expert analysts guides to CEO blogs. The tactic of producing useful and appealing content is a strategy that will gain momentum in the financial world since customers are continuously looking for guidance and explanations, human touch and relatedness facet are becoming more and more crucial to the consumer when they are making financial decisions.

Showing the faces behind business and giving a voice to services through the art of storytelling is an outstanding marketing tactic. Videos are the most effective and engaging medium to display the face and voice of your company. Every company has employees with unique individual stories that their audience can relate to. Storytelling is such a versatile instrument and can be utilized within any type of industry. And as a matter of fact, personal touch approach in marketing is here to stay for a long long time.

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Videos as Marketing tool

Video is a great marketing tool, it is one of the best ways to share views with audience. It is a medium that everyone loves and is not going away anytime soon. By incorporating video into your campaign, you will not only stay ahead of your competition, but also improve your brand identity.

Online video is becoming a first stop for many customers. It is akin to what the Web page was a decade ago — something that can give early adopters an edge over competitors. It gives them a channel to talk directly to customers in ways previously accessible only to large companies that could afford TV commercials. Some dominant players for Video hosting are YouTube and others including Vimeo, MetaCafe and Facebook.

Why companies should use video as part of its marketing strategy?

Video is cost effective – Compared with traditional print advertising, video can actually prove more cost effective. Companies often make the mistake of dumping money into expensive magazine advertisements that are summarily ignored. Video, on the other hand, is almost impossible to ignore. Being extremely versatile, video can be re-shaped into many different formats. Mobile kiosks, large screen presentations, smart phones and of course websites are just some of the ways to spread the word using this powerful medium. And as a matter of fact, it can be produced at a reasonable cost.

Video is audible – Video is audible and chosen before a written document as one has to read to understand a written document. People enjoy video, if someone visits a website and a video is offered, one will definitely view the video though it can be out of curiosity. And that means they have devoted their attention to a sales pitch. Marketers love using video because that’s what people want.

Video is a mature medium – Video is not a fad. People have loved motion pictures since the late 1800s. Even though the medium has changed, the passion for video has not. Now, video is an extremely mature art form and everyone respects it. YouTube sees on average 2 billion views, isn’t it big?

Video is part and package of any campaign – Any advertising company worth its salt will offer a video package. Ignoring the option of video would be like ignoring the need for a website. If your competition hasn’t jumped on the video bandwagon, why not show some industry leadership? Google’s search algorithms pay a great deal of attention to video. It’s a great way to beat the competition.

Video increases web traffic – Your website doesn’t have to be the only stop in your online transit system. There are many ways to bring in the traffic. Make sure your video is “social bookmarking” friendly! Twitter, Del.icio.us, Facebook, Digg, reddit, Newsvine, StumbleUpon and Squidoo are just some of the ways you can spread the word.

What all you can do with videos?

1. Showcase your products to the customers, demonstrate it.

2. Create a destination, it is easier to win customers if you give them a reason to tune in.

3. Use analytics and tools that allow you to measure the effect of your videos.

4. Build a brand channel, a way to get the attention of customers and invite them to become your video producers.

5. Advertise with videos cause videos have huge potential audience. Videos hosting sites like YouTube offers a dozen advertising options, including banner ads, promoted videos that appear on top and beside search results, and pre-roll ads that appear during other YouTube videos much like a conventional TV commercial.

6. How-to Instruction videos area big hit, if you are a product company Online videos will do wonders for your business.

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Community branding has a much more deeper meaning

In today’s world companies are hungry to connect and in troubled economic times, every company needs new ways to do more with what it already has. Although many firms aspire to the customer loyalty, marketing efficiency and brand authenticity that strong communities deliver, only few understand what it takes to achieve such benefits. Many fall into serious misconceptions about what brand communities are and how they actually function.

For companies considering a community strategy, we offer cautionary tales and design principles. For those with existing brand communities, we provide new approaches for increasing their impact. Here the approach is not about whether a community is right for the brand but its about the willingness to do what’s needed to get a brand community right. A brand community is a business strategy, too often companies isolate their community building efforts within the marketing function, not a brilliant idea. For a brand community to maximize benefit, it must be planned on a much higher level involving business goals.

Lets take an example of Harley-Davidson here. Following the 1985 buyback that saved the company, management completely reformulated the competitive strategy and business model around a brand community philosophy. Beyond just changing its marketing programs, Harley-Davidson retooled every aspect of its organization from work culture to operations and governance structure to drive its community strategy. Harley management recognized that the brand had developed as a community-based phenomenon. The “brotherhood” of riders, united by a shared ethos, offered Harley the basis for a strategic repositioning as the one motorcycle manufacturer that understood bikers on their own terms. To reinforce this community-centric positioning and solidify the connection between the company and its customers, Harley staffed all community-outreach events with employees rather than hired hands. Executives were required to spend time in the field with customers and bring their insights. This close-to-the-customer strategy was codified in Harley Davidson’s operating philosophy. Decisions at all levels were directed by community perspective.

Thus, it is very clear that brands need a reason and strategy to interact with people, just like people need a reason to interact with brands. Sociologically, shopping gives people a sense of belonging to a community and allows them to communicate with others. This gives brands an opportunity to build communities of interest with people around their products and so form relationships with their customers and fans after the transaction is complete.

Brands need to understand how to connect with their fans and build relationships. An effective strategy requires brands to carefully consider what their customers are looking for and what role a community should play. The Communities in real terms are representation of the broader interest of members.

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Online presence is not enough to reach potential customers

The new rules of branding your business on the Web have shifted from presentation to engagement and interaction. It’s not enough to have a website, social media presence and consistent brand aesthetic online. We have listed some innovative but effective tips for a great start.

Even if you’re entering a flooded marketplace and online is certainly a very crowded, you always have a chance to make your brand and company stand out. People used to think water was all the same; now stores carry half-a-dozen brands or more. Marketers struggle with differentiation because they give up too soon. They think that this can’t be differentiated, it can’t be unique. Experts say the constantly shifting marketplace creates the need to be creative with your approach. The toothpaste market is one that professionals cite as a constantly changing product selection that requires vigilance on the part of brand managers.

Turn your face to online marketing, increase your connectivity, and gain traffic to you site from elsewhere. You don’t necessarily need to put out the next viral marketing video or hire an expensive marketing agency to achieve a high rate of traffic. All you need is a bit of effort, few tricks and commitment to make your site a quality destination for visitors. Add Facebook links, blog, SEO and build your site populated with links.

Pay attention to your About Us page because visitors always consider checking About Us to learn more about your company and the services you offer, it deserves a little more consideration and more respect. Sure, you need to include all the basics. But few tactics can make your About Us page a more exciting read and your company come across as more accessible. Avoid writing too much but focus on connecting with your site visitors. A more personalized page also means readily available contact information, it also shows customers that you want to hear from them.

Don’t start conversation for sake of doing it, once done you have to be an integral part of it. Social media has one very important perspective to share with brand management, the conversation. Like branding, social media is all about conversation and building effective relationships. The rules for brand messaging through new media versus traditional channels haven’t changed, but it sure got better and more interesting. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, you must participate in the conversation by making regular posts and replying to direct messages from your customers. Monitoring social media is a must for all companies, it has shortened the time frame for company responses to complaints or accusations. These days, companies need to acknowledge any issues and control the messaging in a matter of minutes instead of hours or days. You have 20,000 Twitter followers but it hardly matters to your customers. Experts say that Unless you’re in one of a handful of businesses like public speaking, managing a personal brand can be a huge distraction for company founders. Steve Jobs had a personal brand, but it is Apple’s product design that makes it a valuable company.

Brand name is very important for any business. Think about re-branding or another solution can be to acquire another brand. Appearing in the media as a source of expertise can go a long way toward building your brand. To gain media coverage, identify media outlets that are most applicable to your particular areas of expertise and send them targeted pitches. As with print, the Web has also democratized the world of radio. After you have become an area of expertise, you will find that there are plenty of opportunities to take your message on the road. Becoming active in professional organizations and attending conferences offer valuable opportunities for networking. Making an appearance as a vendor at an event can also offer long-term personal branding benefits.

Monitor your brand’s reputation and be ready to respond. Facebook, Twitter, and other networking sites have become essential components of many companies’ online marketing strategies, but there are countless other sites on which customers rant about their experiences. A question or complaint left unanswered on any of them has the potential to tarnish a company’s brand and scare away prospective customers. The most basic services, like Google Alerts, allow users to select keywords to track and to receive e-mail updates whenever they appear on the Web. Others like Social Mention and HootSuite clean profiles on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and others for relevant comments.

Brand is all about trust and relationships, there’s no better way to build on that than by posting testimonials or listing big-name clients you’ve partnered with. That will lend your business a good amount of credibility. You might consider incorporating your clients’ logos somewhere on your page as an added visual element. Mentioning awards and recognitions received also make your business more appealing, company history, achievements interests readers.

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Engagement in Social Media

Every company has a Facebook page or a Twitter account, but surprisingly few have real time online personality. Gone are the days when it was called a virtual space, today you need to be authentic, real and pose the real you in the online world. I think that you actually need to be yourself and build trust through personalising interactions with the human touch. What is most important is to build and encourage trust within your community instead of going straight to hard selling. And the only way that we can do that is by not hiding behind the logo. We have to be an authentic and real voice to make that connection.

Every single post that you make should receive atleast a few likes, shares and comments, otherwise for sure you are not really talking to anyone. So, think about the ways to engage user base, its not just the freebies people are interested in, we are human beings and we do have emotions. Same is with Twitter, make your tweets personal, be careful while responding to the tweets, do not work the robotic way. Also audience in both twitter and Facebook space are very different, try and understand that connection to the customer is critical after all we’re only trying our best to build customers’ trust online.

Social media is extremely critical, it is one of the most cost-effective tool that enables brands to reach out and engage a huge customer base everyday. Online digital space has suddenly taken a front seat for brands who look forward to the growth path. Being social has actually given new life to many brands and such brands are 100% committed to the importance of being social. It not only works on the awareness side but also ensures that there is constant engagement and connection with customers. Its a fact that people within social media love to rally behind something that they believe in and that they’re passionate about, and they want to share it with others. So when something they love come their way, the connection immediately clicks and immediately becomes a chain and attracts many others in the loop. This is the power of social media, it generates very strong brand awareness. And if you are a seller, once you gel and build a connection with the user base you are ready to sell, isn’t it an opportunity?

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