brand awareness



2020 was an interesting year, to say the least, and many of us are relieved to see it gone. Cannabis business leaders faced a plethora of new challenges, such as the loss of new business from in-person events, trade shows and conferences, a struggle to build community, and the inability to travel freely or shake new hands like before.

Still, there’s a lot that we can learn to set ourselves up for success in 2021, including a strategic approach to public relations. Most of us aren’t betting on the return of in-person events anytime soon. We understand that taking a digital approach to staying top-of-mind, relevant, and expanding is not only the safest bet also a requirement.

Here are three boxes you need to check in your PR strategy.

1. Amplify brand awareness

You can have the best product and the best service, but if nobody knows, then it’s not serving anyone any good. To drive awareness, focus on collaborating and cross-promoting with others who have robust networks, audiences, and followings that could benefit from what you have to say. For example, participate in more podcasts. When you join a show as a guest and share your brand narrative, showcase your expertise, and cultivate an insightful conversation with the host, listeners will remember you and your brand. You’ve tapped into a brand new pool of business partners and collaborators. Guest blogs, press interviews, and writing thought-leader stories for media publications are also useful.

2. Create quality content

Have you ever heard of thought leadership but been confused by what it actually is? Here’s a little primer that my team and I use: Break down the phrase into two segments: thoughtfulness and leadership.

Thoughtfulness is when you’re genuine, authentic, and thoughtful in your response to a particular subject matter. So ask yourself, Are you just siding with the masses, or are you adding an original, new, innovative idea and perspective to a conversation that’s already taking place?

Leadership represents you being a pioneer and someone who is leading the conversation. By bringing a new perspective to an existing discussion with information and data to back up your thoughts and ideas, you’re leading the way for a new way of thinking, planning, and taking action. Each time you communicate, make an effort to bring something new and game-changing to the conversation so that if this is someone’s first time coming across you and your name, they won’t forget it, and they’ll want to learn more.

Content (whether it’s owned, earned, or paid media) needs to be thoughtful, relevant, and valuable to whoever is consuming it. You want them to respect you and your brand. Otherwise, it’s not thought leadership. It’s just mindless rambling.

3. Focus on community building

Content wrapped in community will drive attention to your brand, build an audience, and develop your business. But with the lack of in-person events, it’s up to the innovators and change-makers to figure out how to establish a sense of community virtually and at a distance. We already see this with virtual conferences implementing virtual booths and networking events using Zoom and virtual communication tools.

I believe one of the best vehicles for creating content wrapped in community is a podcast. When you have a podcast, a lot of great things start to happen. You’ll notice your network and your reach begin to expand. Why? Well, the cross-promotion that takes place when your guest shares the interview on their network results in reaching a brand new audience, which might have taken months or even years for you to get on your own. Multiply this effect by 50 if you’re able to publish fifty episodes in one year. You’ve just expanded your network exponentially over 12 months.

On top of the network expansion, you’ll start to feel more creative and innovative with each new person you talk to. This will naturally lead to greater business development and increasing your chances of boosting business.

It’s exciting that 2021 is finally here, but don’t forget that we need to hit the ground running in ways that embrace distant, digital connections and help us rethink and rebuild how we do business moving forward. Starting with making sure you have the right PR strategy in place is a sure-fire way to kick off the new year in the right direction.

Feature Image Credit: Sky_Blue | Getty Images 


Sourced from GreenEntrepreneur

By Prabalta Rijal

Live streaming has gained massive popularity over the past few years. Its popularity on social media and other digital platforms has turned it into an important digital marketing tool that can be used by big and small companies to raise brand awareness.

Nothing lures people in more than a good story. American story consultant, Robert McKee once said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.”  And in an age of , storytelling has become a cakewalk.

Gen Z, the youngest generation of consequence, comprises approximately 72 million Americans and 27% of the population.  For Gen Z, storytelling and digital engagement is a daily priority as they connect on the Internet and social platforms for over 10 hours every day, according to a survey made by Adobe. They seek real-time with content creators, chat with trusted peers, engage in political discussion and answer live polls. They are, in effect, the primary active target sought after by video livestreaming services.

survey by software company Livestream and New York Magazine shows that 80% of audiences prefer livestreamed videos to blog content. Moreover, with livestreaming becoming a popular feature on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and , brands have accepted it as a vital component of and invested 28% of their budgets on livestreaming shows.

Create authentic connections

Accelerating the importance of livestreaming is the fact that Gen Z is evolving into a critical consumer category. The “Next Generation Report” from  Insider Intelligence says Gen Z will shortly become the largest consumer population in the U.S. According to Business Insider, they are already estimated to influence $143 billion in spending in the U.S. alone. With their ability to influence purchasing decisions, Gen Z is transforming livestreaming into an industry worth over $30 billion, which is expected to be worth over $70 billion by 2021.  A new study by ABI Research further estimates there will be 91 million subscribers utilizing livestreaming by 2024.

What is more, Gen Z completely shuns traditional media, seeking instead platforms where they can directly connect with brands. Characteristically, this generation is partial to honesty and transparency, which livestreaming offers, with all the glitches of spontaneous reality. Savvy brands, therefore, are creating fresh strategies incorporating livestreaming, especially during these challenging times, bringing events in real time to locked-down audiences.

Recycle content once and build new video assets

marketers are discovering the value of livestreamed content beyond the event, incorporating livestreamed content in subsequent videos and building an arsenal of marketing collateral.

Vogue used the livestreamed Met Gala for a live video on behind-the-scenes activity in making it happen. The video received over 200,000 views. After National broadcaster KBS launched BMW’s M2 on Periscope, it subsequently used the launch to return with the brand’s first interactive live-action adventure, on the app.

Similarly, many brands are recycling livestreamed content as live video footage on regular brand videos, as an important part of subsequent , to draw new customers. Forbes quotes Brandlive as stating that nearly 95% of brand and agency executives said live video would be an important part of their marketing strategy.

Brand marketers, thus, see it as two for the price of one, and an opportunity to capture new customers.

Bridge the virtual and physical worlds

Not long ago, there were significant gaps in streaming media technology that made inaccessible to many organizations and limited their brand expansion within the boundaries of their business’ country of origin. Today all this seems like prehistory, as the technology leapfrogged into its current user-friendly format, providing digital marketers the option of using livestreaming to get their brand in front of global audiences in real time.

Generate Valuable Market Insight

At a live event, a brand cannot quantify how many in the audience are captivated or bored. But livestreaming allows brands to obtain information by asking questions like:

Were there more viewers at the beginning of livestreamed event that at the end? If so by how much?

When people return to re-watch the presentation, what do they watch?

What does the audience say about the presentation?

These features unique to livestreaming video provide critical feedback on real audience reactions that cannot be obtained in any other way.

Essential for improving brand awareness

Using livestreaming video has the potential of becoming a clear growth hack for almost any brand, as you will be better positioned to form those invaluable connections with your clients. If you know how to make use of the technology available, creating those connections could be easier than ever. Understanding why livestreaming matters could be crucial to improving your business’ brand awareness.

Feature Image Credit: Jasmin Merdan | Getty Images 

By Prabalta Rijal

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

By Adam Feiner

Business to business (B2B) digital marketing provocatively communicates your unique value proposition in different formats, to different segments, and across several channels to gain awareness and earn consideration. Consider a company engaging in B2B marketing without first-party data, like a start-up or a business entering a new market. Where would they present their brand and value proposition to gain awareness? What content would they reveal and to whom? How would they respond to interactions with their brand? How would they capture and organize data?

The answers to these questions will define your digital strategy and illuminate your target audience. First-party data, like intent data, reveals information about your prospects that can help you earn consideration and win deals by delivering increasingly relevant content to your audiences. Accumulating first-party data requires that you elicit a response and add it to the profiles of your prospects to enrich personas. This enriched data is used to determine what content to present next. Email, mobile, social and website interactions (i.e., clicks, downloads and demo requests) and self-identified preferences are your opportunities to acquire first-party data. Data is perishable. It takes patience and persistence to build and maintain first-party data.

Website Experience

Your website reflects your digital strategy. Effective website design naturally guides visitors toward information they seek in as few clicks as possible. This requires a customer-centric perspective acknowledging user experience and customer journey focused on need, value proposition and solution rather than products and capabilities. Your prospects should see themselves as they navigate and consume content.

In 2008, the Nielsen Norman Group estimated that visitors will read only 20% of the text on an average page, so sharpen your writing and create engaging videos. Less is more when it comes to web design, and too much information risks confusing visitors and losing their attention. Clearly articulate your value proposition on your homepage to support your keyword strategy, create a site map that simplifies navigation, and make sure your CTAs are present but not intrusive. Your website should capture visitor data with cookies to identify first-time and repeat visitors and employ gated content to enable direct marketing. Once prospects reveal interest and share their email or mobile number, your odds increase. Because Google said in 2016 that over 50% of searches come from mobile devices, optimize for mobile.

Whether you’re creating or refreshing a website, tools like Google Analytics can help identify best- and worst-performing pages. Google Search Console can reveal technical problems skewing results, and you can use visualization techniques (i.e., heat maps) to illuminate how visitors see your site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO strategy is designed to help website pages rank higher on search engines like Google and Bing. Focus on keywords that decision-makers search. Target low volume keywords with high cost-per-clicks (CPCs), publish highly tactical content for key decision-makers, and leverage social media to amplify content distribution and cover a wider audience.

There are several steps to create and leverage a B2B SEO strategy. First, know your buyer and build personas of individuals inside the companies of your target verticals. Second, understand how they search for what you sell and know the keywords they use. To uncover keywords, utilize available free crowdsourcing applications, search engine auto-complete suggestions and SEO tools (such as SEMRush and Ubersuggest) that search competitors’ keywords to uncover their strategies. When bidding on keywords, do not shy away from high CPCs. Those are likely the words that prospects use when they’re ready to buy. Third, identify the topics and content to share with your audience. This is your chance to differentiate and illuminate your solution. Successful outcomes might include capturing an email address or being mentioned on social media, which takes patience and time. Fourth, use on-page SEO to optimize each webpage for terms that indicate buying signals. Keywords in short URLs, latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords and long content publications help search engines understand what you do and increase SEO rankings. Fifth, publish high-quality blogs to increase your landing page rankings. For best results, select related topics that are impacted by your solution. “Shoulder” topics can draw more links to content. Finally, while it is not easy and takes time to get quality backlinks for your B2B business, they are important. With all the content and research required, this could easily be a full-time job.

Social Media

A successful social media strategy communicates your unique value proposition to your followers by sharing compelling content that resonates. Your brand’s story should be told to spark interest and engage the right audience. Maintain an active presence to stay current and shape industry dialogue. Social media in your marketing mix can amplify awareness, generate demand and improve content marketing campaigns. No other channel can provide the same immediate impact.

Listen to and monitor your social channels. By listening to your potential customers’ daily conversations, you can begin to see topic patterns, momentum and current market concerns. You can help guide the conversations as the subject matter expert who understands customer challenges and delivers positive outcomes. As you monitor specific prospect activities, respond to unique questions they post to establish credibility and trust.

Centralize your social profiles onto a single platform that enables monitoring and listening simultaneously. Create alerts to keep apprised of instances where your brand is mentioned directly or indirectly. Listening effectively will help you anticipate future campaigns and improve messaging. Listening can keep you ahead of your competition, help you construct an effective influencer program and even build more impactful brand partnerships.


Effective digital marketing authoritatively communicates your value proposition to an identified audience, guides them toward your unique content and website and educates and differentiates. Purposefully present your brand and value proposition where your audience will gain awareness of it. Become a trusted partner with relevant content and help search engines understand what you do. Listen to your audience and guide the conversations by responding to questions as a subject matter expert. Enrich your first-party data by eliciting responses and capturing information that can help you deliver more relevant content. Gain awareness, earn consideration and find in-market buyers for healthy digital pipelines.

Feature Image Credit: getty

By Adam Feiner

Follow me on LinkedIn. Check out my website.

VP Sales at Loyalty Builders, accurate and affordable pioneering predictive customer intelligence for retail and wholesale marketing. Read Adam Feiner’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

By Kevin Nathanson

Sponsorships and partnerships are evolving to inspire brand loyalty and advocacy.

In 2003, said, “People will forget the things you do, and people will forget the things you say. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” It has been almost two decades, but it seems that sponsorships and partnerships have started to listen to Maya Angelou. The nature of sponsorships has evolved.

Sponsorships bring brand awareness

At the origin, we have sponsorships, such as when pay a large fee to have the naming rights to a given property. Think of MetLife Stadium. There is not much brand alignment if you think about it. What does MetLife have to do with professional ? Not much. But the naming right provides the brand, in this case MetLife, an immense amount of brand awareness. Yet awareness is all the brand gets. So, when looking at the brand funnel — which begins with awareness, and goes to consideration, purchase intention, , and ends with brand advocacy — only getting awareness isn’t ideal.

Partnerships build a deeper connection

Then, we began to see a transition toward traditional partnerships. This is when the marketing world started to heed Maya Angelou’s advice. Like sponsorships, there is typically a large fee involved. With partnerships, however, the occurs more deeply, allowing the brand to receive both awareness and consideration from their partnership. Think of and the . Microsoft paid a large fee to be associated with the NFL and is seen by millions of viewers on the side-lines being used by professional coaches and athletes to improve the game of football. Consumers see the brand, and if they believe the brand improves the game they are likely to consider it. This goes a step beyond a normal sponsorship. Microsoft, in tandem with their partnership, launches campaigns to deepen their connection with the consumer. If you haven’t seen Microsoft’s Create Change campaign, you should. It details how Microsoft is used to help young children transition out of the hospital to at-home living, while still getting the attention and care they need. The campaign focuses on NFL player Greg Olsen and his child, and how Microsoft’s technology impacted their lives. This deeper emotional connection, in tandem with the partnership, leaves an impact on consumers.

The future of partnerships: experiential marketing and beyond

Going even further, we are starting to see the emergence of non-traditional partnerships. Unlike their predecessors, non-traditional partnerships have brand alignment and often have no fee involved — or at least the fee is not the focal point of the deal. At their core, there is a value exchange where each brand leverages the other’s IP to raise both of their brands’ value. A unique aspect of non-traditional partnerships is that their cultural relevance unlocks brand loyalty and advocacy. Think of Microsoft and . More specifically, Microsoft and Stranger Things season three. Stranger Things celebrates unlikely heroes who have the power to change the world but just don’t know it yet. Microsoft’s brand purpose is to help people unlock their potential. The brand alignment is there. Microsoft launched “Camp Nowhere” at all of its stores, offering STEM workshops for children using Microsoft’s technology. If you don’t know “Camp Nowhere,” it was made famous in Stranger Things. This partnership campaign utilized multiple touchpoints, storytelling, and a brand-new event. It elevated both brands’ images and helped kids everywhere feel seen. Consumers wanted to go to Camp Nowhere, watch Stranger Things, and use Microsoft products. It provided Microsoft and Netflix not only with brand awareness and consideration but also with purchase intention, brand loyalty, and brand advocacy.

If more brands want to take their target market through the entire marketing funnel, they should listen to Maya Angelou and look for non-traditional partnerships to leave a mark on consumers’ minds, hearts, and wallets.

Feature Image Credit: PeopleImages | Getty Images 

By Kevin Nathanson

MS Sports Management

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe


Last week, we ran a few polls in the newsletter to learn more about how marketing goals vary between social media platforms. You may use a platform to accomplish many goals, but there is most likely one goal that you both have invested in and have consistently seen a great return on that investment.

We selected four common social media marketing goals to focus on:

  1. Brand Awareness
  2. Lead Generation & Sales
  3. Customer Service
  4. Community Engagement

Instagram and Facebook were the first two platforms we selected for the polls. Given the immense user-base of both platforms, plus the diversity of interests and communities found on each, it’s not a huge shock that brand awareness took the lead in both of these polls.

For Instagram, brand awareness took the lead with 39% of participants claiming this to be their primary goal on the platform. This could be an indicator that Instagram is a great place to launch a new brand on social and get noticed.

Social Media Today newsletter

Once again, brand awareness took the lead on Facebook with 30% of the majority vote. Next, with 26% of the vote came generation and sales. Following close after with 24% was community engagement.

Social Media Today newsletter

It’s also not a huge surprise that these two polls shared similar results with brand awareness leading and customer service coming in last. Many marketers link their Instagram and Facebook accounts, adjusting their approach slightly for each, but there is still a connection between the two.


Sourced from Social Media Today

Sourced from AdExchanger.

“Brand Aware” explores the data-driven digital ad ecosystem from the marketer’s point of view.

Today’s column is written by Maha Madain, head of marketing at Union Bank.

How does the marketing of a regional brand with a limited budget win in a market dominated by national brands?

That’s the challenge that many organizations face today. Resources are limited, and priorities are vast. Like other regional banks, share of voice for Union Bank has historically been dwarfed by the large brands with three to four times our marketing spend. To make an impact, we knew we would have to get creative while remaining grounded in data and insights.

Our journey began by assessing and understanding where we stood in the market in terms of brand health, perception and differentiation. Based on research, we confirmed that our strengths and focus on being client-obsessed did indeed matter to our target audiences.

However, the research also uncovered a big challenge: a lack of awareness and differentiation for our brand outside of our client base. While our existing clients are highly engaged and perceive us as different from the pack, Union Bank is often overlooked by those considering a new financial services partner.

Improving brand awareness and sales on a tight budget

To do more with less, we first decided to concentrate our marketing spend in one market. The objective was to deliver a strong share of voice rather than a generic peanut butter approach that would spread our efforts and resources across multiple geographies, ultimately with less impact.

Next, we identified the best test market that would provide scalable learnings. For us, that was San Diego – a large enough market with ample target clients, but with reasonable media costs and relatively neutral brand health. With San Diego selected, we then optimized our production spend to deliver creative assets that could flex across multiple channels and deliver a variety of messages.

What we delivered was a 360-degree campaign that included digital marketing, TV commercials, radio spots, out of home and even a new smart prospect site that supported the new brand and drove conversion. All of this was supported and amplified by PR, social media, a new brand voice, training and a new style guide and attire for our local employees that was on point with our newly evolved brand.

Outcomes in San Diego

Five months after launching the campaign, we experienced more than 50% growth in the number of new clients joining the bank in the San Diego market compared to the same period the year before.

We also saw a large year-over-year lift in other key business metrics, including checking and home loans, all of which we closely continue to monitor.

While we are early into the test and continue to absorb and act on the learnings, we’ve already identified a few key takeaways.

First, we learned the value of getting senior leadership to buy in early. By focusing the investment and the learnings while providing a clear road map to measuring performance, they are more likely to provide support.

We also learned that we needed to surgically test and go deep vs. going broad right away. This helped us to ensure that our resources were maximized while also delivering measurable learnings for optimization and scalability.

Senior leadership buy-in was critical, but it was also vital to get our associates excited about our efforts and test; local buy-in goes a long way to ensure success.

Finally, by limiting the test geography, it’s possible to operate with more agility, have more opportunities to measure outcomes and, as a result, have more chances to course correct.

But this is only the beginning. With what we’ve delivered and learned, we now have a methodical and analytical approach to make a future business case for expanding into additional markets and delivering more revenue for the business.

Follow Union Bank (@UnionBank) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

Sourced from AdExchanger


By Lora Kellogg

As any franchise leader knows, developing and expanding your brand isn’t easy. Traditional methods of franchise development, such as working with franchise brokers and using public relations, can be successful. But they’re much more effective when paired with newer methods, such as digital marketing.

Social media platforms provide great lead generation options for advertising. Consumers already feel comfortable engaging on social platforms, and platforms such as Facebook have lead generation-specific ads that provide outstanding targeting options. Users can submit their information on Facebook or Instagram without having to leave the app or website, which makes the process easier for mobile users and delivers more leads to your franchise development team’s inbox.

Brands with an active social media presence already understand the benefits of social platforms. Users interacting with brands on social media aren’t looking only for promotions and discounts; they also are looking for business opportunities.

Brands hoping to interact with potential franchisees should take note. Leads generated through social media are highly motivated. Here are four ways your franchise can increase leads generated from social media platforms.

1. Increase overall brand awareness

Want more consumer interaction on social media? Start by telling your brand story. Tell customers what your company stands for and what it has to offer through articles, videos, and other posts on social media. Seize this opportunity to introduce your brand to potential franchisees on platforms where they’re already comfortable engaging.

Approximately 68 percent of American adults use Facebook — which towers above adult user statistics for other platforms. YouTube takes second place, with 40 percent of adults using it regularly. Talk to your franchisee candidates on the platform or platforms of their choice.

2. Develop lookalike audiences on Facebook

Facebook engagement reigns supreme among adults on social media platforms, so take advantage. Develop new leads by uploading an existing email leads list and using Facebook to create a target “lookalike” audience based on common characteristics shared by members of your email list.

Similarly, you can develop an audience by examining which people have visited your franchise development website. These potential franchisees have shown a clear interest in your brand and already are being served your remarketing ads. Create a lookalike audience based on these users to find similar leads to add to your remarketing list.

3. Create personas among your target demographic

Even among your target demographic, there are a lot of variations. Millennials, for example, share similarities, but they can be subgrouped into young married people with kids, young married people without kids, single college graduates in their first jobs, and other categories. Develop personas within your preferred demographic to more clearly define your target audiences.

Take inventory of the traits you look for in new franchisees to divide your target demographic into desirable categories, then take advantage of hypertargeted social media ads to talk to each persona differently. Recent college graduates are looking for something different from young married people with children. Provide messaging that forges authentic connections with each persona in your audience.

4. Take advantage of Facebook’s new lead-gen ads

Using Facebook’s hypertargeted lead ads can point your qualified audience members to a landing page. This page should offer relevant gated content in exchange for an email address. The content could include an e-book, webinar, or promotional offer.

Once you have collected this email list of qualified leads, target them with remarketing ads. This list also can be used in an email drip campaign. Despite all of Facebook’s offerings, don’t forget to follow up in real life. Digital platforms can’t replace the personal touch, after all.

Growing a franchise is a challenge every franchisor must meet. But in this digital-first world, social media provides a strong tool for lead generation. Follow these four simple tips to ensure your team is getting the most out of its social endeavors.

By Lora Kellogg

Lora Kellogg is president and CEO of Curious Jane, an ad agency specializing in franchises. With nearly 15 years of experience and a portfolio of top brands, she and her team work with established and emerging franchises to grow sales, increase traffic, build brand awareness, and generate leads.

Sourced from Franchising.com