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Can you spot the invisible bottle?

It isn’t every day that we see a company as big as Coca-Cola tweak its brand, but the soft drink giant has just revealed its magical new logo. Featuring a fresh wrap-around logo called the ‘Hug’ and a new tagline, this design is genius.

Coca-Cola has been running the fizzy drink game for decades now, and its logo has become an icon of modern culture. But the famous logo that we all know and love has just had an ingenious makeover – and we love it. If you are hoping to design your own clever logo, make sure you check out our 15 golden rules on logo design.

A Coca-Cola print ad for the 'Real Magic' campaign

The ingenious design looks as though the logo is wrapped around a Coke bottle (Image credit: Coca-Cola)

The new logo features the traditional Coca-Cola logo but is slightly wrapped around what we can only presume is an invisible Coke bottle. It’s amazing that the brand is so well recognised, that we can decipher the shape of the Coke bottle, despite it not even being there. The new logo is apparently inspired by togetherness, and the actual action of a hug, hence the wrapped around logo imitating that of arms mid-hug.

The new logo is accompanied by a new campaign and the tagline “Real Magic.” In the ad (below) for the branding update, viewers watch as a bottle of Coke sparks peace between players on an online game. And despite this ad feeling oddly similar to the advert when Kendall Jenner controversially solved world peace with a can of Pepsi, we think the new logo and the values behind the “Real Magic” are actually rather endearing.

Chief marketing officer Manolo Arroyo at Coca-Cola has said the “Real Magic” is “not just a tagline” and that it is “a philosophy.” According to an article on the Coca-Cola company website, the intentions behind the new campaign are to “increase the Coca-Cola consumer base through an ecosystem of experiences anchored in consumption occasions, such as meals and breaks, and merged with consumer passion points like music and gaming.”

The campaign features work from a number of artists and photographers that celebrates togetherness and inclusivity. With vibrancy, happiness and diversity all included in the new campaign, a number of new print ads will feature a range of colourful mediums.

Image 1 of 4

Coca-cola print ad.

The Real Magic campaign features a number of artists and mediums to promote inclusivity and happiness (Image credit: Coca-cola)

Coca-cola print ad.

This print ad takes the ‘hug’ quite literally! (Image credit: Coca-cola)

Coca-cola print ad.

We love the colour palette in this one (Image credit: Coca-cola)

Coca-cola print ad.

This design is utterly adorable (Image credit: Coca-cola)

The new logo has been praised online by Twitter users with users dubbing  the campaign as “happiness to look at,” and another calling the campaign “magic.” It’s apparent the internet likes the rebrand as much as we do.

We love this new friendly rebrand and love the fact that Coca-Cola have chosen to feature a number of different creative mediums. If you want to try your hand at logo design, then why not have a look at our roundup of the best free logo designer.

Feature Image Credit: Coca-Cola

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Sourced from CREATIVE BLOQ

By Simone Sloan

Everyone needs a personal brand. Taking control of your public image is no longer optional.

The information age demands that we share an authentic image of ourselves, and failure to manage personal branding can lead to misinformation about you or your company.

Here are five things to consider when optimizing your personal brand.

Define your brand.

You’re in control of shaping your brand. Ideally, you want to define yourself publicly in a way that’s true to your real self.

Start with a personal mantra – a positive statement that motivates and inspires you to be your best self. My personal mantra, which I also use for my business, is “voice, power, and confidence.” This mantra manifests itself in my leadership style and the approach I take with clients.

Identifying your mantra requires a lot of self-reflection in order to identify strengths, areas to develop, and places where you get derailed. This process allows you to leverage, develop, or stop specific characteristics, skills, and/or behaviours.

Next, define your personal brand values. Think of your values as one of your personal brand’s foundational elements. It is paramount to get clear on what you believe, what drives your decision making, and how you choose to show up.

We all have stated values. These are the things we say we do and don’t believe. We also have aspirational values, or what we aspire to believe, and demonstrated values, which is how we actually show up. It’s useful to reflect on the ways you’re showing up with integrity to your personal brand even when no one is watching. This tells others what you truly believe.

Reality check your brand.

Obtaining a reality check is essential for building or optimizing your personal brand. We all operate from a lens derived from our experiences and beliefs. Stepping outside of ourselves is required to get an objective sense of who we are. During this process, you take inventory of your likes, character strengths, values, motivators, and the way you communicate who you are to others. These form the baseline of your personal brand.

The next step is to validate your judgments through feedback from others. This lets you see how close your self-assessment is to how others are experiencing you. Take the time to listen and receive constructive feedback about yourself. 360s are a popular workplace tool that provides valuable information for self-improvement. Ask for feedback from people in your life such as family, friends, and colleagues.

Personality assessment tools such as Myers Briggs, DISC, and Emotional Intelligence can provide additional information to gain a better understanding of both your drivers and triggers. The more you know about yourself, the better. The feedback you receive will help you discover gaps and other information crucial to forge a future vision for your brand.

Define your brand promise.

Your personal brand promise is the expected experience others will have of you. Showing up consistently demonstrates to others that they can trust and rely on that promise. It takes commitment and consistency. My brand promise is that you will gain the tools you need to become more energized and mobilized to achieve your results.

If you promise to be prompt for meetings and in communication, then you should be on time for meetings and follow up with a meeting recap. Your brand promise is communicated both verbally and nonverbally, and you must be mindful of your nonverbal communication. Do you make eye contact? Are you more prone to frowns or smiles, interested nods or bored yawns?

Dress for success, even if you work from home. Your appearance creates your first impression and can set the stage for how others experience you.

Moving from brand planning to brand activation.

The key objective for you during brand activation is to be seen and heard consistently. You want to stand out in a positive way. Part of activation is crafting and communicating your value proposition, which conveys your value and the benefits of working with you.

Identify what makes you unique. I call this your superpower: the thing(s) you’re able to do that come easily. My superpowers are listening actively and reflectively.

Be bold with your brand or you may have difficulty escaping obscurity. The purpose of your brand is to engage, be relevant, and stay top-of-mind for your audience. As you activate your brand, you’ll find more opportunities to obtain feedback, learn, change, and build a stronger brand.

Refining your brand is not a finite, stagnant activity you engage in for a brief period every couple of years. Markets, people, and companies change. It is important to re-evaluate your brand frequently to stay current and known.

After each client engagement, I survey them to obtain feedback. Then I evaluate the experience and ask how I can improve my service. Every six months I check in on my brand messaging, services, and my presence to ensure they are still relevant and aligned.

Build rapport with others.

Part of personal branding requires building a rapport. It allows you to develop a cross-promotion between your personal and professional life that will lead to opportunities from potential employers, employees, advocates, and customers.

Authenticity is key.

People are drawn to authenticity, and it’s not an easy thing to fake. Show your true authenticity through honesty and consistency.

Use your three C’s. Clarity, consistency, and constancy.

Ensure your message is clear and consistent across all mediums, and shared constantly.

You are the CEO of your personal brand. Determine your objectives and align your actions and communications to those objectives. Be creative and original while remaining clear and consistent. Own your narrative. Don’t be shy about promoting yourself – you need to remind people of your value. Your personal brand is working for you when others see and hear you.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Simone Sloan

Simone Sloan is the founder of Your Choice Coach, an executive coaching and diversity and inclusion consulting firm. She applies expertise in business strategy, executive coaching, and emotional intelligence to help organizations align activities with strategy and become more human to realize results. To learn how emotional intelligence can help your teams, leadership style, or business, contact her. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Sourced from Forbes

Ellevate Network is a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed. We use the power of community to help you take the next step in your career.

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We are all influencers is a motto in which I firmly believe because the size of our audience does not matter but how we speak to them.

Some brands seem to have understood it very well and applied it to their strategies with influencers on TikTok , the social network of the moment.

Amazon, for example, has been able to take advantage of the videos that users create organically to reuse them in their favour and promote certain products.

Thus, the e-commerce giant is taking advantage of organically driven video trends such as Things TikTok Made Me Buy ” (“Things TikTok Made Me Buy”) or “Things You Didn’t Know You Needed From Amazon” (” Things You Didn ‘ t Know You Need Of Amazon ”) to share unsponsored content that users create on their TikTok accounts.

In addition to amplifying organic user-generated content, Amazon is investing heavily in influencer marketing for TikTok through collaborations to promote offers and increase brand recognition during the year’s busiest commercial campaigns such as Mother’s Day. , back to school, the holiday season and, of course, Prime Day.

Reply to @itsdai_ebb ## greenscreen ♬ 20min by Iil Uzi Vert –

 

The key to Amazon’s success with TikTok influencers is that they give them the creative freedom to innovate and create out-of-the-box content that is perfectly suited to the unconventional language of this Chinese-born social network.

Another brand that has known how to find influencers among users is the fast food chain Chipotle, which today has positioned itself as a benchmark for challenges on TikTok.

Chipotle leverages hashtags and influencer marketing to engage customers and create trends on TikTok. It is not intended to create scripted blockbusters, but genuine and creative user-generated content. The key to his videos and challenges: spontaneity.

For example, the #LidFlipChallenge drove a digital sales record for the company and generated more than 110K videos related to this challenge. The #GuacDance Challenge, launched in collaboration with TikTok creators including Brent Rivera and Loren Gray, generated 500 million impressions from 250K fan videos submitted.

Got it to land w / o catching it in mid-air ## ChipotleLidFlip ## lidflipchallenge ## lidflip ## lookmanohands ♬ Flip – Future

 

Endorsement from TikTok influencers and content creators, whether sponsored or organic, increases brand awareness and builds trust and connection with the audience.

What should we do?

Audience The first thing every brand should ask itself before considering TikTok as part of its digital strategy is if its audience is on that platform.

If the answer is positive, there is no better time than now to start building a presence on TikTok and not wait, as happens with many brands with other social networks, for the social network to be saturated with marketing campaigns to launch and try to draw attention.

Content . Creating content for TikTok is challenging because you only have a few seconds to grab attention before users decide to move on to the next video. TikTok users expect to be entertained or informed, or both, with each video, so you have to be absolutely clear about what the end goal is. In terms of content creation, brands need to understand that authenticity, entertainment, and originality are highly rewarded on TikTok.

The aforementioned examples from Amazon and Chipotle are a sign that these brands understand that TikTok requires its own approach because it is a different audience that expects to see different content that grabs people’s attention from the first second and is useful and educational, but not boring.

Hashtags and Challenges . Know the culture of TikTok well and find ways in which the brand can communicate and integrate naturally. Knowing which hashtags are trending and joining or creating viral challenges will help increase brand awareness, gain followers, and show your community that the brand is part of the TikTok movement.

Influencers . A recent study conducted among advertisers and influencers in the United States, Europe, and Latin America showed that TikTok is driving social commerce, but the impact comes from user-generated content, demonstrating the power and importance of integrating influencers into marketing strategies. TikTok marketing of brands.

According to the survey, 68 percent of content creators reported making a purchase based on a post from someone they follow on the platform.

Finally, remember that the best allies for a brand can be found on the same social network … because we are all influencers .

Feature Image credit: Amanda Vick vía Unsplash 

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Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

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Imagine you’ve just walked into an expensive car dealership to buy a new sports car. It’s the car you’ve always dreamed of — expensive, sleek and fast. But walking up to greet you is an unkempt, mumbling salesman, wearing a tattered suit with a tomato-soup stain on his tie.

Whoa.

It’s obviously still going to be the same great car if you buy it, but do you really want to spend your hard-earned money with this guy? Is he going to make you feel good about doing business together? Are you going to trust him and take his advice? Or, does he actually give you second thoughts about buying your dream car from him?

We’ve all heard the adage, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” In business, however, the first, second, third — and every impression after that — counts in a big way. And while the way you dress, and whether you can sip tomato soup without spilling it on your tie, can be important ways to measure every impression, I want to talk about the kind of impression you make when you’re sloppy in written communications — things like emails, texts, reports, presentations, social media, and even marketing materials. Carelessness like this is, in its own way, a tomato-soup stain on your brand and does real damage to the credibility of you and your business.

Quality counts

If you don’t care about the quality of your work why should anyone believe you do quality work?

There are lots of excuses for this kind of sloppiness and I’ve heard many of them. “I’m so busy, I don’t have time to double-check my work.” Or, “I’ve got big fingers and am a bad typist.” Or, “I hate doing that work so I just want to get it over with.” And even, “Come on, you know what I meant to say. It doesn’t really matter.”

But the underlying excuse is plain and simple, “I don’t care.”

This “who cares” approach to written communication is a lot more common than you think. And you need to know, people judge you by it.

Recently, as a favour to a friend, I had a phone call with an entrepreneur who was starting a business and wanted to know more about branding. About 15 minutes into the call, we got disconnected. He didn’t call me back so I tried calling him, but it went directly to voicemail. I texted him with no reply, leaving me no choice but to give up and wait for him to reconnect with me.

For about four hours, I heard nothing. Then, finally, I got a text from him. It was riddled with spelling errors, bad syntax, and I needed to read it three times just to decipher what he was actually trying to say.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, his excuse for being disconnected was that his phone died because he’d forgotten to charge the battery. Imagine that, he had an important call with someone who was doing him a favour, someone who could help him with something he needed help with, but he didn’t bother to charge his phone. That, too, is sloppy business practice, but for another article.

We went on to exchange several emails, each of his was poorly written and peppered with punctuation errors and simple misspellings. My entire opinion of him and, frankly, his business, was that of a tomato-soup-stained tie. I felt he was being disrespectful to me — not caring about my time and the effort I needed to make to get through his mess. All of it, to me, was a reflection on him and his ability to attend to details and care about quality. From that, I determined that I would never do business with someone who cared that little about his own business. Because if he can’t care enough to simply re-read an email to ensure it makes sense, how could I ever trust him to care about anything else?

Don’t make excuses

There is no reason, no excuse, for any mistake in written communication. It doesn’t matter if it’s a printed letter to an investor or an internal text to a subordinate, sloppiness is a bad habit. I’m not saying that you need to be a slave to the New Oxford Style Manual, or write like Ernest Hemingway. Instead, just ensure that your writing is clear and doesn’t contain any unforced errors.

The internet makes it easy to find correct answers with little effort. Spelling searches, grammar and syntax searches, simple questions about almost anything can be typed into a search bar and get you an answer in seconds. If you need more help than that, there are downloadable apps that act like an angel on your shoulder — an angel that knows how to write. Apps like Grammarly, Ginger, and others are easy to use and can pull you out of a simple mistake, or actually help improve your writing and make you look good.

Whatever you do, however, don’t simply rely on your computer’s spell check to do your work for you. It can be helpful, but it’s not always right and all it promises is correctly spelled nonsense. And sometimes not even that.

Don’t let sloppiness define you

Another way to look at this kind of sloppiness is that, these days, poorly written communication has become a hallmark of scammers. I don’t know about you, but when I receive a text from my bank, and the name of the bank is misspelled or there are other errors, I delete that text as quickly as possible. More and more, people are rightly becoming wary of errors like this and lumping them together with all kinds of nefarious schemes to avoid.

Just the other day, I was on the website of a major padlock manufacturer. As I was reading I came across some misspellings that suddenly gave me pause — could a major company trying to sell me security actually be a scam? Did I get taken to a different site without knowing it? I mean, if they can’t spell, and don’t use proper grammar, maybe they aren’t who they say they are and can’t be trusted. So I left the site without buying anything.

To be credible, you must never compromise excellence. Everything makes a statement about you and the brand you represent. You can give your reputation and your brand a ratty suit, or you can give it a beautiful, hand-sewn Italian suit that actually belongs behind the wheel of that incredible sports car.

Your message is not only what you say, but how you say it

The truth is that the content of your message is not enough — it’s also how you deliver it. So if you want to be heard, deliver your message the way you want it to be received.

Details matter. Do things to the highest quality, regardless of what those things may be. Take it beyond your writing and into the way you set up a room for a meeting, or the way you conduct a sales call. Everything. And yes, we’re all human and we make mistakes, accidently letting something slip past us. It happens. But don’t settle for that and let carelessness become a label you wear.

You may be thinking this doesn’t apply to you. You may be thinking, “I’m not perfect but I’m not about to make myself a candidate for Sigmund Freud’s couch, either.” Wrong. This isn’t about being anal-retentive, it’s about being professional. So invest a little bit of extra time to care about being perceived as a polished and credible businessperson or brand.

In the end, going to a little extra effort to ensure that everything you do is professional won’t actually add credibility to you and your business because it’s expected. It’s table stakes. But not caring is a bullet that will absolutely wound your credibility. And consistent carelessness will have you bleed out. So wear Kevlar — and for goodness’ sake, avoid tomato soup.

Feature Image credit: RyanJLane | Getty Images 

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Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

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As part of The Drum’s Retail Deep Dive, Netmums managing director Rimi Atwal argues that by comparing and contrasting pre and post-pandemic family mindsets, brands can effectively target this demographic.

The pandemic has driven seismic change in virtually all aspects of our daily lives – from workplace norms, to the provision of education; from travel to entertainment, and how, why and when we shop.

At Netmums, we conducted in-depth quantitative and qualitative research into the lives of UK families to mark our 20-year anniversary at the end of 2019.

Although we didn’t know it at the time, our insight captured the priorities for UK families in that key moment immediately preceding the pandemic, and the dramatic impact it would have on our lives and values.

To fully understand the shifts that have taken place for all UK families, Netmums conducted further research in May 2021. We revisited the questions we had posed 18 months previously and were able to track how families’ priorities and lifestyles had changed, and what new factors are shaping how they spend their money and time.

It became immediately apparent that attitudes to shopping and spending have shifted significantly. In our 2021 survey, 34% of parents say, ’since the pandemic I have changed the brands I buy’, 59% agree ’since the pandemic, delivery efficiency and cost is most important to me’, and 65% say now that, ’price is usually my first consideration’.

Digging deeper into our insight, the story is a complex one. Obvious pressure points like cost and convenience come to the fore, but even more striking is the shifting sense of family priorities and concerns from global to local, outwards-facing to inwards-facing, and from environmental to social.

Global to local

A core 2019 finding was 90% of parents declaring the environment a key consideration in their everyday purchasing decisions.

However, in 2021, the environment has fallen down the pecking order. When asked to rank family priorities:

  • 82% cited equal opportunities for their children
  • 76% said managing screen-time
  • 65% said environment/climate change

By 2021, 66% parents, ‘wish brands and retailers made it easier to purchase sustainably and ethically‘ – down from 75% in 2019. Today, less than half (48%) of parents agree ‘I would be prepared to pay a little bit more if a brand I like demonstrated a real commitment to the environment‘.

In terms of global issues, today, social inequality and mental health emerge more frequently than environmental concerns, probably as a direct result of the way the pandemic has emphasised the impact of social inequalities on health outcomes and underlining the importance of good mental and physical health.

Outward-looking to inward looking

In 2021 family worries about the outside world have been replaced by a focus on improving and investing in self, the family unit and the home. Parents cite ‘family bonding time’ as a key priority and emphasise their desire to invest in special occasions and spend more on family time:

  • 61% are focused on getting fitter
  • 50% are planning to spend on home improvements
  • 68% want to invest in more family events/entertaining
  • 52% want to save money

Greater ambivalence to tech as a positive force

Another emerging trend is a shifting attitude to technology in our lives – just three per cent of parents want to buy more tech in 2021, compared to the 76% of parents in 2019 who enthused technology made their lives easier through time-saving solutions like online shopping and internet banking.

Moreover, 76% of parents cited managing everyone’s screen-time as a major challenge in their lives in 2021, versus the 52% of parents in 2019.

Lessons for retail brands

It’s not surprising that the past two years have shifted the dial on family spending behaviours and priorities. But as we emerge from the third national lockdown, what can retail brands do to connect with UK families and align with their new priorities?

Judging by successful campaigns recently created by Netmums for high profile family brands, it’s clear that marrying brand credentials with what families want right now, is key.

Our recent Quorn campaign is a strong example of a brand who understands the mindset shift. While the campaign maintains its pre-existing focus on sustainability, it also positions the brand as one that easily enables healthy eating and family time. Bringing this concept to life, are family cookalong videos, co-created with Netmums’ editorial team and celebrity chef, Lisa Faulkner, with Netmums users joining virtually from their own kitchens.

Family stalwart brand, Fairy, is another example of a brand demonstrating clear understanding of an evolving customer mindset. The ‘Fairy Cares’ campaign, set to launch in September, will empathise with families’ challenges post-pandemic by offering both practical advice and resources, and emotional support. At the campaign’s heart is a clear commitment from Fairy to support all parents, boost their inner confidence and help celebrate family moments at a time when traditional support systems are reduced and anxiety at an all-time high.

And building out of 2021’s key insight that 98% of parents rank family health and wellbeing as their top priority, Petits Filous’ partnership with Netmums in creating a ‘Happy Healthy Kids’ hub, has been a resounding success. Delivering on parents’ needs for fun and healthy lifestyle ideas for the whole family, from healthy snack recipes to activity ideas, Petit Filous is positioning itself as the brand that will keep kids healthy and happy all year round.

As these brand partnerships show, connecting with a family-focused customer base must be about positioning the brand as the answer to what families need, right here, right now. And the only way to find out what families need, right here, right now, is to ask them and listen to what they say and how they feel.

For more on the reinvention of retail, check out The Drum’s Retail hub, where we explore everything from livestreaming e-commerce to AR shopping and conscious consumerism.

Feature Image Credit: Netmums 

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This is your essential shortlist of must-haves to form your brand’s digital identity.

The first thing you should do when you begin a new business enterprise is create your company’s digital identity. Essentially, think about all the places where you will want your future marketing campaigns to lead customers: your website, your Google Business listing and your social media. You’ll need to create all of these platforms before you start considering a marketing campaign.

So, to get started, here’s a shortlist of must-haves to set up before bringing on a marketing team. Look at it like a digital package that’s in your hands to complete. Here are the essentials.

Build your website first

Before spreading out across the internet, establish your home base first. Build your website and make sure it’s free of bugs and fully operational before you start sending people to it.

Your website is going to be the conversion point for your products or services. Everything that we touch on after this point is going to be a pathway back to it, so your site really is the most critical aspect of your brand identity.

Some important considerations of a good website include:

  • Make sure you have a clear and easy to spell domain name
  • Make sure your domain name is the name of your company if that real estate isn’t already claimed.
  • Make sure your website hosting is secure and scalable for when it’s time to expand things — for this, I would recommend a dedicated server hosting plan. It’s the more expensive option but you’re getting what you pay for.

Finally, make sure that you have a good grasp on SEO and incorporate all relevant keywords into your site to maximize traffic opportunities. Perform thorough keyword research to anticipate what kind of phrases your customers might be searching for to find the products or services that you provide, and include as many as you possibly can.

Claim your territory on all social media channels

Even if you don’t think your brand will have any use for a Facebook account, claim one anyway. Consistency is key in branding — you have to have a uniform handle across all social media if you can.

Having @mybrand claimed on all social media channels is just safeguarding yourself for the future. First off, it’s just more customer-friendly than having @mybrand on Twitter, @mybrandUS on Instagram, and @therealmybrand on TikTok. Secondly, getting control of your handles across social media will prevent potential interference from competitors who might claim the handle otherwise.

Pay attention to how social media evolves. If a new platform pops up, take five minutes to create a profile and stake your territory.

List your business on Google and everywhere else

Type in the name of a business you frequent into Google or type in the name of a competitor. What should pop up first is their Google My Business listing that will tell you what the company does, where to find them, their contact information, and an aggregate of reviews.

Because of Google’s supremacy over other search engines, this will be the first and last stop for most people trying to look up your business. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t list your business everywhere you can, though. Much like with social media, the main purpose behind this is to claim this spot before a malicious competitor or similarly named business might.

Test out a few email platforms

Email marketing builds credibility, a customer base and content. In short, you need to look into email marketing technology as part of your digital package.

All of the email marketing platforms out there have different pros and cons, so the one you choose should be able to tick the most boxes for your audience. Consider this: 43% of people now check their emails on their smartphones every single day, but does that overlap with your demographic? If your core audience is 50 and over, maybe not, so you don’t have to put as much consideration into mobile optimization as you would if you were targeting millennials.

Also, consider the automation capabilities of these platforms. You do not want to be responding to every email manually. Instead, most platforms have automation software available, so plan out what kind of conversations you and your audience will be having.

Skip advertising — for now

Advertising seems like the way to get your business at the forefront of consumer’s minds, but it isn’t. Upfront, it’s just going to be a waste of your money because if you don’t have your digital pack together, you don’t have anything substantial to advertise. Let’s break this down item by item.

With no social media channels claimed and your website fully operational, where will your advertisements take your customers? Without all the right listings in place, how are customers going to know if the business that pops up on Google is yours or not? At best, they’ll be confused when they don’t find any trace of your digital presence. At worst, they’ll end up giving clicks to a brand with a similar name.

Without your digital identity being fully formed, spending money on advertising is seriously jumping the gun.

Think of your brand and your digital presence as one and the same — you need to force out your identity in every space available in order to gain the greatest momentum. By going through these steps in your digital package, you’ll position yourself to be fully responsive and able to handle an influx of business that will come as the result of your well-planned marketing campaign.

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Sourced from Entrepreneur

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Netflix is expanding into gaming opportunities

Netflix is set to bring video games to its platform next year having made its first key hire to lead the push.

Mike Verdu was previously head of virtual and augmented reality at Facebook, where he worked with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus.

Prior to that, he spent his career leading the gaming efforts at companies including EA, Zynga and Kabam.

He will now lead Netflix’s push into creating content beyond TV shows and films. Netflix hasn’t been shy in talking up its ambition to be a major player in the $90bn video games industry.

It’s likely that some games will be tied to its most popular shows, such as Stranger Things. On its most recent earnings call, chief operating officer Greg Peters – who Verdu will report to – said its users “want to immerse themselves more deeply and get to know the characters better and their back stories and all that stuff”.

He said: “Really we’re trying to figure out what are all these different ways that we can increase those points of connection, we can deepen that fandom. And certainly, games is a really interesting component of that.

“And there’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and an important sort of modality to deepen that fan experience. So we’re going to keep going, and we’ll continue to learn and figure it out as we go.”

According to Bloomberg, which first reported Verdu’s hire, the first games are slated to appear on the platform within the next year. Rather than sitting on a separate site, they will appear alongside current content as a new programming genre. It is not expected that users will be charged extra to access games.

The move into gaming comes as Netflix continued to battle it out against Amazon Prime and Disney+ for new users in the competitive streaming market.

Netflix reported a dramatic slowdown in subscribers for the first three months of 2021.

As a result of the pandemic, it added 36 million subscribers in 2020 to pass 200 million subscribers worldwide. It predicted the surge would continue this year and said it expected to add six million users to the platform in the first quarter of the year. However, it only managed to add four million and now expects to add about one million subscribers in the current quarter, which would be its slowest growth on record.

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Sourced from The Drum

By Ross Andrew Paquette

Email isn’t going anywhere, and it cannot be ignored.

Millions of consumers worldwide use  and its use continues to increase throughout the years. Email is one of the most popular  channels, and the majority of emails sent daily are  related.

Think of how many emails you receive on a daily and weekly basis — they consume a large part of our life. From notifications to paperless billing — we rely heavily on emails every single day.

Email marketing has continued to be one of the most effective ways for a business to market to its customers. Email is personal and the open rates put your message in front of its intended recipients more than any other channel.

Email isn’t going anywhere, and while SMS marketing may be experiencing industry-high open rates, specifically in the e-commerce industry, email cannot be ignored. Here is why brands need to be all-in on email marketing.

More customizable and personal than social media

E-commerce brands, especially direct-to-consumer brands, love social media. While social media offers a great platform to market to your customers, it isn’t highly customizable or personal.

If a brand has 100,000 followers on Instagram, for example, every Post or Story is broadcast to that entire audience. What if a D2C apparel brand has both men’s and women’s lines? A post highlighting the women’s spring collection is going to be seen by all followers — male and female.

Email, however, allows an e-commerce brand to segment its list based on data. An apparel brand can have a main list that includes all customers, and then segment that into lists according to purchase behaviour.

Sending an email announcing a new women’s line to customers that have previously purchased women’s apparel is going to perform much better than an offer broadcast to the entire list. The same applies to men’s drops.

Email  also helps to create a stronger relationship. A post on social media feels generic, whereas an email addressed to the recipient feels more personal.

Highly measurable data

When you take all of the data available to you and break it down, you can make incredible improvements in your future email deployments. You can further segment your list, identifying your best customers and you can also use data to determine the best days of the week and time of day to send messages.

Numbers don’t lie, and when you take the time to analyse your email data, you will find new opportunities and optimize them to improve your overall results. For example, you might find that general newsletters have a significantly higher open rate on Tuesday afternoon, while special offers convert better on Friday mornings.

Access to this data also allows you to send dynamic content within your emails, tailored to each recipient. When you place an offer for a product they were recently viewing on your website in front of them, they are more likely to convert than they would be if it was just a generic blanket offer designed to appeal to the masses.

Consumers have instant access to their email via mobile devices

Mobile devices have the majority of consumers’ email at the tip of their fingers. You don’t have to wait for them to get home or to login to their email on a desktop or laptop. They are notified as soon as that email hits their device.

Whether or not they open your email immediately depends on several factors. If they are busy, they are going to ignore their email until they have time to dive in. A strong Call to Action in the email subject, however, can potentially get your emails opened very quickly.

Most consumers are glued to their mobile phones all day and all night — from the morning when they wake up until it’s time to go to sleep. Even while working or preoccupied, most will at least glance at their notifications.

Email gives you instant access to the majority of your customer base. Remember, you aren’t the only brand vying for their attention. Strong email subjects to draw high click-through rates are important, as is conveying your message within the first few sentences.

The right offer can trigger an immediate action, which is the beauty of email marketing. A consumer could have no intention of making a purchase, but they become intrigued with your offer, and the next thing they know, their credit card is out and they are completing a transaction on your website from their mobile device.

Cost-effective

Online marketing costs are skyrocketing for e-commerce brands. Facebook ads are becoming increasingly popular, therefore driving costs so high that it’s forcing many brands to look for additional channels that provide a more affordable acquisition cost.

Email is hands-down the most cost-effective, as the hard costs to deploy messages are minimal. Customer emails are collected when they make a purchase and via opt-ins on-site. While there is a cost associated with every email address added to a list, that is a one-time cost.

That email list turns into an asset that becomes more valuable as it grows. Large e-commerce brands can send email marketing offers weekly or bi-weekly and generate a substantial amount of revenue each time without the customer acquisition costs that come with Google Ads and Facebook ads.

By Ross Andrew Paquette

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

By Christina-Lauren Pollack,

As Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

In recent years, the word authenticity has become the smart marketer’s approach to building customer loyalty, and with good reason.

The truth is — people are fed up with companies churning out perfectly polished  images, well-crafted press releases, and corporate statements that sound like a publicist wrote them. They’re tired of some corporations turning a blind eye to the reality of their  (toxic workplaces, unfair wages, and poor working conditions for factory workers), or for that matter, lying about it all.

In reality, customers have become savvier, sassier, and more vocal about what they expect (and often demand) from brands these days. That’s one of the compelling reasons why smart brands are leading with authenticity, rather than relying on it as a last resort.

As Jeff Bezos, the Founder of Amazon says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” To help create a more influential brand that people rave (instead of rant) about, here are some helpful tips to think about when planning marketing and communications campaigns.

Whether you’re just starting a company or have been in business for decades, here are three ways to use authenticity to build customer loyalty in today’s times.

Engender trust from customers

To start with, authenticity inherently breeds trust. When customers get a better sense of the types of people who run a company, they begin to trust them more. Whether the message is coming from a brand founder or a  marketing team, one of the keys to engendering trust amongst your customer base is to be open, honest, and transparent with them. Express your values, show your integrity, and share your beliefs in a way that reflects your brand identity.

For example, if you produce goods, consider posting Instagram stories that take your audience on a “behind the scenes” tour of your factory. Show your customers that the factory has undergone a social accountability audit and meets standards (for fair treatment of workers and safe working conditions). These are just some of the things that consumers care about, as human rights have become an aspect that customers consider when deciding which brands to support.

Create deeper connections

Another way to use authenticity in your marketing approach is to think about the human-to-human interaction.

Whenever your brand launches a marketing campaign, posts on social media, or engages with customers online, focus on creating deeper connections with them. They want to know that you care about their needs, are listening to their complaints and value their feedback.

In previous decades, companies would market to consumers like a one-way street. More often than not, their executive teams would hide behind FAQ pages on websites and rely on call centres shielded by 1-800 numbers. But, nowadays, everyone is essentially a click away. This means the power has shifted to give customers a louder voice (which can either be an asset or a liability to you, depending on what they’re saying about your brand).

Smart brands use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to actively engage with their audience. Instead of just constantly promoting and selling, their teams make sure to reply to comments and questions, to answer disgruntled complaints, and to even spotlight raving fans (which make them feel valued and recognized). Just like any relationship, both parties need to feel valued and heard. So, think about your online marketing approach as a two-way dialogue, which will create deeper connections and more loyal customers.

Evoke a sense of humanity

Finally, when you focus on authenticity as a core part of your marketing efforts, you evoke a sense of humanity. Whether your company donates funds to charities or actively supports worthy causes, brands that show care for humanity often go further in the eyes of consumers than those that are only profit-oriented. A perfect example of this is TOMS, the shoe brand that has earned strong  through its philanthropic business model.

Authenticity has become one of the most important aspects to incorporate into any marketing and  strategy. The more effectively that you can connect with, listen to, and relate to your customer base, the more loyal they’ll be. And, that, we know – is one of the keys to a lasting business.

By Christina-Lauren Pollack

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

By

Over the last three years, LinkedIn‘s active user base grew by a staggering 27 percent, from 500 million in 2018 to 740 million in 2021. owners and entrepreneurs can leverage the platform to grow their brand, generate new leads, establish partnerships and make connections.

The following seven ways can help you utilize LinkedIn to grow your brand and gain a competitive edge over your competition.

1. Optimize your company profile and connect with people

If you haven’t worked on your LinkedIn profile, please take some time and perfect it. Make sure it provides all the essential details about your company’s products and services. Put more emphasis on the headline and summary to ensure that it’s compelling, engaging, interesting and professional. Furthermore, optimize it for more B2B and B2C lead generation.

Within no time, you will start seeing the “Someone has viewed your profile” notification. Don’t just view their profile back. Instead, track the individuals who viewed your business’s profile. If they are an ideal prospect, invite them to connect. An individual who views your company profile is most likely finding out more about your brand. There could be a chance they are also interested in your products or services.

2. Post valuable content on LinkedIn publisher

You can use LinkedIn Publisher to publish blog posts that users can engage with and share. With more shares of your blogs, the higher the impact it has on growing your brand. The post can also get prospects interested in your products, triggering an open door for more partnerships.

Make it a habit to publish content on LinkedIn consistently — but remember quality is key. It can build a community of loyal followers who admire your brand. Through them, you have ambassadors who can create a good reputation out there about your business. When users see the value and insights in your content, it gives them the conviction to check out more about your company. It’s one of the most straightforward and subtle ways of promoting your brand on LinkedIn without being pushy.

3. Follow other companies

Don’t forget to follow other businesses within your industry, including those you have partnered with and those who can be potential partners. This way, you have a chance to learn about them and what they offer. Still, don’t limit yourself from poking around as it might be an eye-opener to some techniques other companies use to get more leads. Also, the more you position yourself out there, the higher your chances of getting more returns.

4. Join LinkedIn groups where your target clients gather

The right groups can be a very powerful tool in growing your brand. By using advanced search, you can locate practitioners within your sector and your firm. Group conversations can give you vital insights into your industry. You can also learn about emerging industry pains and the options you can use to solve these issues.

While in the group, learn about the rules to know if content sharing is allowed. If so, create your credibility by sharing relevant content that capture potential prospects. It can include links to articles about your brand, relevant blog posts, event notices for webinars and posts that quote your business. However, make sure the materials you post are a helpful source and avoid dominating the conversation.

5. Utilize plugins

LinkedIn can be an even more powerful lead generation tool by itself when you utilize the complementary add-ons. Tap into the following plugins:

  • LinkedIn Connection Revealer: The LinkedIn Connection Revealer shows you the following that your connections have. By pinpointing the users who travel in big circles, you can engage with them to leverage their platform and promote your brand.
  • LinMailPro: It’s a Chrome extension that gives you the capability to automatically find and invite individuals who have recently viewed your profile. You can also send personalized messages to them about your brand or deliver messages.
  • Headlinr: You may have sponsored a great story, uploaded ads or put up posts, but without a great headline, your potential targets might not click on them. When you use Headlinr, a chrome paid plugin, it automatically generates multiple headline combinations with the keyword you specify depending on your industry. You will get compelling titles that lure users into clicking through your ads and stories.
  • Rapportive: If you are a user browsing in Chrome or Firefox, Rapportive can be a handy tool in getting more leads. It enables you to get LinkedIn profiles that have email addresses in your contacts. You can then send them personalized invites to their inbox to help you grow your network.

6. Create a sponsored InMail campaign

By utilizing sponsored InMail campaigns, you have an easier route to cut through the clutter and reach inboxes of individuals who matter to your business. You can send your target prospects compelling offers and rich content.

7. Ask your employees to post your business’s content

In most cases, entrepreneurs search for powerful brand advocates who can share their brand case studies and blogs. Yet, you can also do it through your employees. Research shows that about 50% of employees are already posting on social media platforms about their employers. Ask them to post blog content and other pieces relating to your brand to generate more traffic and leads. In fact, some organizations allow their marketers to pick company-approved content that their employees can share on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn can be a goldmine in attracting new clients and growing your brand, but correct execution is critical. Take your time to create your LinkedIn strategy, get clear about how you can offer prospective clients value first — then implement like crazy!

By

CEO of Bolder and Louder

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe