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How to Pick the Right Brand Ambassador

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With the rise in popularity of social media, influencers and third party content, brands are clamoring to figure out a marketing strategy that intuitively incorporates these new marketing formats in order to obtain a competitive edge.  One of the most popular ways brands are aligning with influencers is through brand ambassadorships.

 

With so many influencers showcasing large followings and a steady stream of content, it can be confusing as to which influencer would best represent your brand. Here are four simple tips on how to pick the right influencer for your brand:

 

  1. Profile - A good brand ambassador is an influencer with a decent following who has been creating content for at least a few years. A decent following ranges from 5,000 to over a 1 million subscribers. The key thing you're seeking is an influencer with experience. You want to be sure this person is consistently posting content and that there are no large gaps of time between the posts. Influencers with good sized followings treat their platforms with a sense of professionalism which ensures they will treat your brand ambassadorship with the same respect and attention.
  2. Personality - When seeking a good brand ambassador, you will want to seek someone who fits the identity of your brand. For example, if your brand manufactures healthy skin care products, your best brand ambassadors will be women and men who are health conscious, have great skin and who speak about healthy alternatives when it comes to beauty, food and wellness. The key is to seek those who are already in alignment with your brand vision.
  3. Credibility - A good brand ambassador has the trust and validation of his/her audience because of the consistent and trustworthy content he/she has churned out over the years. Take the time to sift through some videos or blog posts and see how they handle product reviews and hauls. Are they honest about the products or do they blindly endorse any and everything they receive. A good influencer will not sell themselves to the highest bidder - they will only promote and highlight products they believe in, use and stand by. Their credibility translates into brand awareness, loyalty and recognition for the products they endorse on their channels.
  4. Professionalism - In order to foster a healthy and successful relationship with an influencer, it's highly important that he/she is professional. Being that this individual will be an extension of your brand to the public, its best to pick an influencer who converses with his/her followers in a professional manner. In addition, the influencer should be open to feedback from you in regards to campaigns and content so that both parties are happy with the arrangement. You can gather a lot about an influencer just by seeing how they conduct themselves via their social media channels. Do an audit of their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms.

Signing up with a great brand ambassador can be the difference your company has been seeking. From increased consumer exposure to increased revenue, there are a myriad of benefits that come from working with an experienced influencer.

 

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How an Authentic Social Media Strategy Can Strengthen Brand Positioning

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In the seven-step brand-positioning process, step one on the list involves determining how your brand is currently positioning itself in the marketplace. And if a social media element isn’t part of that strategy, context will be lost in the mind of today’s ever-connected, techno-savvy consumer. In fact, implementing a solid social-media strategy is crucial to leveraging step number seven on the list: testing the efficacy of your brand-positioning statement. So if your brand’s statement of purpose falls flat on social media, it’s safe to say it won’t gain a foothold anywhere.

With that in mind, here’s some reasoning, as well as a few concrete examples, that prove how utilizing social media the right way can position your brand ahead of the pack.

 

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The earned media factor
Increasingly, earned media is overshadowing owned media and paid promotion as the more effective of this marketing-strategy trifecta. That’s because a new generation of consumers exists that places a premium on authenticity above all else. They trust people over brands, they look to peers for product recommendations, and they eschew celebrity endorsements. Brands who create a successful earned-media campaign in this endeavor will not only enjoy more conversions, they will effectively turn customers into brand advocates who spread positive word of mouth across their various social-media profiles. That’s brand positioning at its most artful.

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The influencers
Now that marketers are realizing the value inherent in generating positive word-of-mouth authentically, the question then becomes how best to accomplish this? Any earned-media campaign should utilize influencers. These are social-media personalities, regular folks, who can be enlisted to review a product or service on their medium of choice. But influencers come in two categories: those who charge for their reviews and those who request only product samples. And while it’s not an automatic deal-breaker to pay an influencer, doing so eliminates all earned-media credibility. Therefore, facilitating trust in the minds of consumers via various social-media platforms is the best way to achieve authenticity and earned-media.

 

The rise of Instagram
As a photo-sharing site, Instagram is tailor-made for any visually appealing product—especially those manufactured by beauty and fashion companies. Take this jaw-dropping statistic for example: of the 13 million social-media interactions that took place during the fall 2016 New York Fashion Week, 97% occurred on Instagram. This trend wasn’t lost on beauty powerhouse Chanel, who invited top Instagram influencers to their production facility in the South of France for a retreat that just happened to feature the company’s upcoming No. 5 L’Eau fragrance. And mass Instagramming ensued.

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Another point: there are newer businesses out there who aren’t merely saying that social-media is an important factor, but that Instagram itself is their most important touch point. Brands who can leverage the visual potential of their product and marry it with a successful Instagram strategy have the potential to draw millions of eyeballs to a single campaign.

 

The YouTube case studies: GoPro and Activision
GoPro could have been like many other consumer electronics manufacturers and relied on traditional “push” advertising to get the message out. But they had loftier goals, and achieving them meant harnessing the power of social media—YouTube to be precise. By creating a channel and allowing users to upload their own videos, they effectively turned their audience into branded content producers. This allowed them to rise above their status as a simple electronics product and become social-media powerhouse. The result is that GoPro is now synonymous with travel and adventure sports. Every indication is that it will be a while before a competing product supplants them in this realm.

This undated product image released by GoPro shows the GoPro digital camera mounted on a ski helmet, a hot item on ski slopes and other settings. Brian Stacey, director of new product development for Tauck, the cruise and tour company, likes the camera because it attaches “to pretty much anything _ your helmet, arm, leg, canoe” and can shoot images while you’re moving. (AP Photo/GoPro)

This undated product image released by GoPro shows the GoPro digital camera mounted on a ski helmet, a hot item on ski slopes and other settings. Brian Stacey, director of new product development for Tauck, the cruise and tour company, likes the camera because it attaches “to pretty much anything _ your helmet, arm, leg, canoe” and can shoot images while you’re moving. (AP Photo/GoPro)

But YouTube isn’t just for brands whose wheelhouse is the great outdoors. There is a major gaming market too. Activision is a video-game company probably most famous for its “Call of Duty” series, which is one of the most successful franchises in the history of console gaming. Not one to rest on their laurels, Activision took the then-risky move of focusing the brunt of their marketing on YouTube influencers. The strategy paid off, and their influencer videos were viewed almost 10 billion times, which is more than 20 times the views they received on the game’s own website. The result is that Activision positioned their brand front and center in the minds of gamers everywhere. And by utilizing honest reviews from respected YouTube personalities, the company achieved their monumental success the best way possible: authentically.

 

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So how will your brand position itself at the forefront of social-media influence? Will you go all in on YouTube and Instagram? Will you find your niche in newer platforms like SnapChat, the way
Burberry did to great success? Or maybe you’ll innovate beyond the rest and create a heretofore unheard of social strategy that boldly goes where no brand has gone before. The sky’s the limit.

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Why Influencer Marketing Succeeds at Driving Traffic

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Everyone wants in. 59% of marketers are throwing money at it, even more plan on throwing money at it, and 60% of all fashion brands are already utilizing it. So what is this new tactic that an overwhelmingly large segment of businesses are fixated on? It’s influencer marketing, and its success turns on the ability of social-media personalities to reach a target audience. Its appeal can be summed up in one attractive acronym: ROI. The facts on the ground say that brands that invest in an influencer-marketing strategy see an average $6.85 return on investment for every dollar spent. And as long as social media remains the dominant form of modern communication, the potential for grand returns will always be there.

 

But what makes it possible? Where, exactly, does influencer marketing derive its power, and what drives its success? The answers to these and many more questions are outlined below.

 

It’s authentic

 

First and foremost, influencer marketing works because it’s authentic. According to other statistics, modern teens trust YouTube personalities more than celebrities. This is part of a larger generational trend that sees a great majority of people (92%) trusting word-of-mouth advertising over traditional “push” marketing. It’s this pushiness that has turned off a modern consumer base with its own voice. They no longer want to be “talked at” by brands—they want to have a conversation with peers in the form of product reviews, social-media shares, and “likes.”

 

And that’s what the typical person sees when they follow an influencer on social media—a peer, a regular person who, like them, wants practical info and an honest recommendation. Businesses who adhere to an earned-media influencer strategy can leverage this authenticity to greater returns.

 

Its social

 

To buttress the introductory statement that social-media is today’s dominant form of communication, you only have to look at the numbers. Over two billion people from around the world are active social-media users. Facebook alone has 1.44 billion visitors, and YouTube runs a close second with a billion. And with nearly two billion of the global populous accessing social-media from their mobile devices, influencers have a direct conduit to a target audience any time of day or night via two major touch points. As far as reach is concerned, print advertising and commercials simply can’t compete.

 

It delivers the information an audience is already looking for

 

This notion has been wrapped up in a new marketing term called “Me2B” consumerism. The gist is that today the customer reaches out to the business—or in this case the influencer on their social-media channel. It’s why traditional advertising has little use in today’s world. Sure, display ads have managed to keep up (and will likely be a part of any brand’s strategy for the foreseeable future), but the statistics aren’t encouraging. Click-through rates across all platforms are an anemic 0.06%. Ad blocking grew by 41% over 2015, and that number will only continue to rise. The problem is that it’s a B2C tactic in a Me2B world. Influencer marketing is the strategy of today.

 

It blurs the line between advertising and content

 

Another reason influencer marketing drives traffic is because oftentimes folks don’t even know they’re looking at sponsored or branded content. Even with disclosure hashtags, such as #ad and #sponsored, it’s still possible to craft an influencer campaign that creates an authentic viewing experience. And businesses don’t need to focus merely on individuals. A successful example of this is when Friskies partnered with digital publisher Buzzfeed to create their “Deer Kitten,” campaign. Many found the video entertaining, but, more than that, most folks didn’t even know they were viewing what is essentially a commercial until halfway through. It proves that successful brand positioning can be a product of stealth.

 

It turns individuals into brand ambassadors

 

Even before the digital revolution, positive word-of-mouth was the ideal endgame for marketers. Indeed, according to McKinsey, word-of-mouth is responsible for twice the sales of paid advertising. And those folks who listen to recommendations by their favorite online influencers not only convert to customers, but if the product quality is as advertised they then carry the torch and tell their peers. This effectively exceeds positive word mouth, and turns the customer into a loyal brand advocate.

 

It’s time for businesses to stop doing all the heavy lifting themselves. By partnering with an influencer it’s possible to reach an individual target directly, eliminating the need for market segmentation and other superfluous noise. And if brands can deliver on their promises, they have the potential to convert millions of viewers in a single campaign.

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Your Company Needs a New Product: Content

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What do you sell? Whatever it is, it’s a key aspect of what your brand stands for, but that’s not all. Consumers expect brands to provide value long before an actual sale takes place. Content marketing tactics like native advertising are growing as brands attempt to fulfill that need. Unfortunately, a significant portion of native advertisers don’t get that point.

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Did Your Content Change Any Minds Today?

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Let’s be honest. Most content stinks. It’s not particularly useful, fun to read or compelling to it’s target audience. It doesn’t persuade anybody. But should it? Does persuasion really matter?

I know how I feel when people talk about persuasion and it’s not good. My first reaction is to think of selling or convincing. Persuasion, however, isn’t about being president of the debate club. It’s about  expanding your influence. Those two things are very different. You can expand your influence without making an argument of any kind.

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In an Opt-In Culture, All Content is Branded Content

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Making and Sharing Branded Content

Who doesn't want to appear more interesting?

How we think about content is highly dependent on how we choose to interact with it. More often than not, the content we choose to consume comes with a label that we're comfortable with, not unlike other products we use including clothing, cars, and even the food we eat.

Beyond personal communications, all content is branded content, whether we  see a given piece that way depends on how we feel about the content creator, their motives, and the context of their content.

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