Dead Collabs Tell No Tales: Will B2B Influencer Marketing Die Out in 2021?

It seems as though our feeds are constantly full of influencer collaborations and offer codes, but a question has been looming for some time now. Is the golden age of influencer marketing over? Will influencer marketing die out in 2021? What will take its place? They’re all questions that any active digital marketer has asked. From algorithm shifts to crowded markets, we’ve known that our approach to influencer marketing has to change. Consumer markets are inundated with influencers to the point that audiences are overwhelmed. 

As always, B2B spaces behave differently from B2C. Whilst the influencer marketing techniques aren’t identical, the typical B2B influencer marketing approach doesn’t cut through the noise like it used to. Using influencers in your B2B digital marketing strategy won’t help your brand stand out from its competitors. Everyone is already collaborating - to the point where an influencer strategy has become a hygiene factor as opposed to a breakthrough technique. Thoughtless collaboration with only vaguely relevant influencers is an issue throughout a range of industries. When brands continue to make these common mistakes, B2B influencer marketing won’t survive past 2021.

Confusing content creators for influencers

Too often, the titles of ‘content creator’ and ‘influencer’ are used interchangeably. These two positions are actually radically different when it comes to the impact they’ll have on their audience and your brand. 

The definition of an influencer seems fairly straightforward: a person that holds ‘influence’ over their audience and has the ability to ‘influence’ buyer decisions. You’d think it’s easy to spot an influencer out on your social media platforms, but the reality is, there are a lot of content creators out there. A content creator doesn’t represent an audience. That’s not to say they can’t have a large following. They just won’t represent a specific interest that resonates. Therefore, they have no sway over the audience and can’t motivate them to fulfil your objectives. 

Ultimately, the difference between an influencer and a content creator is their ability to generate sales. A true influencer can help grow your brand and produce leads. A content creator, however, will not. 

Picking the wrong influencers

Let’s examine this within a B2B context. If you’re working within the legal industry and looking to develop an influencer marketing strategy, you have several avenues to choose from. 

It might be tempting to collaborate with the increasingly popular ‘vlawgers’ - a group of (typically young) legal professionals that document their journey into law through video blogs (or, vlogs.) Their videos have thousands of views and comments and the individuals have a dedicated community that follows their every move. It’s an appealing opportunity. Or… It would be an appealing opportunity if their audience wasn’t entirely made up of young people that had no use for a legal firm. These are content creators. They have a huge audience and create content relevant to your sector but their audience simply won’t resonate with your brand. 

If you want to target a B2B influencer, you’re better off searching through LinkedIn for top legal professionals. CEOs, keynote speakers or seminar leaders. The type of people within your industry that hold real sway over their audience. People listen to them, look to them for advice and trust their judgement. These are the types of people that you’d want to collaborate with to generate leads, increase your brand awareness and improve credibility. 

A lack of authenticity and trust

In the early days of influencer marketing, audiences trusted the influencers they followed wholeheartedly. After all, influencers built their following around authenticity and by fostering a sense of community. Bad influencer marketing can shift this perception entirely. If a collaboration between brand and influencer seems inauthentic, it spells bad news for both parties. Maybe your values don’t align or your audiences have very little overlap. Any disconnect will foster a sense of negativity within the audience. 61% of customers have unfollowed an influencer because they “work with inappropriate brands” or “endorse too many products.” So it’s in the best interest of both brand and influencer to work with relevant parties!

Is there any hope?

Influencer marketing is such a staple in digital marketing strategies that it likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Influencer marketing won’t be dying out quite yet. It’s just a matter of standing out with your influencer marketing and ensuring it resonates fully with an audience. 

When an influencer has been working on building up an audience for a number of years, it can be exciting when an offer from a brand comes along. All those hours of free content creation - finally worth it! For those individuals, it could be so easy to become swept up and accept a collaboration that doesn’t feel authentic. It’s up to brands to be responsible with their influencer marketing and to thoroughly research the individuals they reach out to. B2B influencer marketing remains an exciting space with a wealth of opportunities for smart, creative marketers. An influx of competitors increases the challenge, but with a radical strategy and some big ideas, your B2B influencer marketing can help your business soar. If you’re looking for help with your influencer marketing strategy, contact us today for a free consultation or head on over to our influencer marketing services page to learn more.

 


digital marketing tips for professional services firms

Target Small, Think Big: 5 Digital Marketing Tips To Take Your Professional Services Firm To The Next Level

When done correctly, digital marketing is a powerful tool that can help your professional services firm to cut through the noise and get the results you have always strived for - the emphasis, of course, is on the ‘if done correctly’. Far too often, firms will dive in at the deep end, foregoing any real strategy or plan; this is where frustrations begin to arise as both time and money become wasted.

Now, you are probably wondering: “What is the key to a successful digital marketing strategy?” And the clue is in the question; it is the very strategy itself. To achieve effective results, you must have a clear journey mapped out; one that keeps you on the path to success and provides guidance to help you overcome any bumps in the road. Of course, a lot of work goes into creating a successful strategy. And we’re not going to pretend there's a quick fix, but what we are going to do is provide you with helpful tips to guide you through your journey and get you headed in the right direction.

1. Identify your niche

As a professional services firm, it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of trying to appeal to the masses - but unless you have a lot (and we mean a lot) of money to invest, this simply will not work. You are far better off defining a target niche and establishing yourself as an expert within that space; this will give you a competitive edge and increase your authority as you will become the ‘go to’ for that niche.

2. Master your website

Your website is often the first port of call for your prospective clients, so it must make the right first impression. And with the pandemic forcing more consumers and businesses to embrace digital, nailing your site is more crucial than ever. So, what makes a good website? Well, several elements must be considered, including:

      • Mobile responsiveness
      • Informative, relevant content
      • Clear navigation
      • Professional, engaging design
      • Powerful calls to action

But what’s the purpose of having a great website if no one is going to see it? If you want your website to get noticed by the right people, at the right time, you need to develop an SEO strategy. To be successful, your SEO strategy must consider on-page, off-page and technical elements (all of which you can learn more about here in our ultimate guide to SEO) and most importantly, focus on impressing the end-user as opposed to the search engines.

3. Be more social

Traditionally, social media has been labelled as a B2C channel, one which favours fitness fanatics and makeup gurus - but times have changed, and social media is now just as valuable for B2B business as their B2C counterparts.

Of course, the priority for most professional services firms is LinkedIn - and it’s no surprise. Dubbed the Facebook of the business world, LinkedIn is home to millions of driven professionals hungry for their next business opportunity, making it the perfect place to network, build relationships and generate new leads. And with 79% of B2B marketers agreeing that Linkedin is an effective source of B2B leads, the latter is certainly true.

4. Show, don’t tell

If you really want to sell your professional services firm to your target audience, then you need to show them exactly what you can offer. It’s easy enough to list off the benefits of working with your firm - which is why everyone does it - however, the real value comes from proving your worth. For clients to want to work with you, you need to add some credibility to your claims; this is where your current clients come in.

One of the most effective ways to show prospective clients that your firm can provide value to them is through case studies and customer testimonials. This not only demonstrates your expertise but also shows it in a way that your target audience can relate - the key here is relevance. If you prove you have benefitted another client just like them, they are far more likely to envision themselves working with you and trust your capabilities.

5. Create captivating content

Today's consumers want to do more than simply make a purchase; they want to be immersed in an enjoyable (and informative) buying experience, one that shows you value them just as much as their money. If you want to build meaningful relationships and increase customer loyalty, you need to go above and beyond expectations. This is where content marketing comes in.

Not only is high-quality content a great way to offer value to your audience, but it’s also a fantastic way to showcase your expertise and build credibility for your firm. Oh, and of course it’s great for SEO, too. When it comes to creating your content, think: bigger is better.

If you want to differentiate your firm, you need to offer your audience something beyond the usual. By all means, create a blog, but add something more, too; perhaps a podcast or a video interview series with industry thought leaders, or maybe you feel more comfortable publishing a whitepaper or hosting a webinar. No matter what you do, it should be relevant and valuable to your audience (first and foremost) but also tie back to your firm and your offerings in some way. Ultimately, it should put you a step closer to achieving your goals.

With increased competition being named the biggest struggle by firms within the professional services industry, now is the time to level up your digital marketing and get your business noticed. If you are looking for help creating a showstopping digital marketing strategy, contact us today for a free consultation, or head over to our professional services page to find out more about the value we can bring to your firm.

 


value of digital marketing

Small Investment, Big Returns: 5 Ways Digital Marketing Adds Value To Your Business

With technology quickly taking over every aspect of society, more and more businesses are embracing the digital revolution. With the help of digital, costs have been cut and time has been saved, which is why it’s no surprise that where digital transformation is possible, business owners are keen to jump on board. And marketing is certainly no exception. 

Of course, there will always be a place for traditional channels - there’s no doubting their value - however, thanks to digital marketing, more businesses can now promote their products and services effectively and achieve the results they desire. Now, you may be wondering: “How exactly can digital marketing add value to my business?” And there are countless ways it can: so, today we will be exploring 5 ways digital marketing can bring value to your business. 

  1. Cost-effective

  2. If you are looking for a cost-effective way to obtain leads and get your business noticed, digital marketing is the solution for you. Unlike traditional marketing, which often requires large investments to secure top spots on television, radio and other channels, digital marketing is accessible by all and allows you to reach global audiences efficiently and for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. And naturally, with acquisition costs lowering, your profit will increase, too.

  3. Invaluable insights

  4. Digital marketing creates opportunities for you to engage with your audience at every stage in their buying journey, and the more you engage with them, the better you can get to know them. This will significantly benefit your business as you will be able to gauge a deeper understanding of their preferences, wants and needs and tailor your solutions to fit their specific pain points. 

    And this data isn’t just great for attracting new customers; it can help improve your brand loyalty, too. The better your understanding of your customers, the more personalised you can make your communications and the stronger your relationships will become. 

  5. Powerful branding

  6. Naturally, thanks to the global reach of digital marketing, your brand awareness will increase as you are exposed to a larger audience (and for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing). Along with this, if you have a strong digital presence across a range of channels, brand recognition will also rise as you are given more exposure - a win-win, right? 

  7. Real-time results

  8. Another way digital marketing can significantly benefit your business is by allowing you to identify successful and underperforming areas within your marketing strategy and use this data to inform decisions. Think about it: if you place an ad in a magazine, how will you know how many people have seen it? Or exactly who has seen? Or even who has taken action as a direct result? 

    With digital marketing, you can obtain detailed insights into every campaign and gather results in real-time, allowing you to evaluate how and where to best invest your budget.

  9. Increased ROI 

Of course, we had to save the best until last. Thanks to their low costs and highly effective targeting capabilities, digital marketing channels boast some of the highest ROIs the industry has ever seen, including:

  1. Email marketing: ROI can be as high as 4400% (nope, that’s not a typo!) 
  2. Blogging: businesses with an online blog are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI
  3. Video marketing: 89% of marketers say video has a positive effect on ROI
  4. Influencer marketing: businesses generate, on average, $5.20 for every $1 invested 

Whilst we have explored several ways digital marketing can add value to your business, this list is simply scratching the surface. If you want to experience the benefits of digital marketing first-hand, contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you transform your business. 

 


Enterprise tech company marketing

Error 404, Marketing Not Found: Is Your Enterprise Technology Company Making These Common Marketing Mistakes?

Working within an exciting, fast-paced environment like an enterprise tech company can be a really appealing challenge for a range of marketers - from fresh-faced graduates to more experienced professionals. Whilst the notion of introducing new products and software seems exciting, the function of marketing for enterprise technology companies can radically differ from other consumer industries.

There are certain pitfalls that can befall any marketer new to the tech industry. But don’t start packing up your desk just yet! We’ve put together a list of the most common marketing mistakes made by enterprise tech companies so you know what to avoid and how to become the best marketer your company has ever seen. 

Mistake #1: A hyper-focus on product

The first mistake on our list is a slip-up that affects tech companies of all sizes. When a tech company’s marketing team is focused entirely on the messaging and promotion of new products, they’re not being properly utilised. 

Usually, marketing plays a seminal role in a business’s overall success and is deeply entrenched in the product production process. This is due to a marketer’s key insights on current and potential customers and the market at large. However, in some enterprise tech companies, product development is often led by a technologist team that is entirely focused on developing as quickly as possible without a strong strategy in place. In these instances, marketing for enterprise technology companies takes a back seat and is underutilised as a result. 

These enterprise tech companies need to better utilise their marketing teams so their products can be tailored to a target market. A product-focused development process that centres around technical innovation, with no consideration for the current market, may lead to some interesting products, but they’ll probably sell poorly. By thinking strategically, you’ll be able to identify who the company’s most valuable customers are, what products would most appeal to them and where to position marketing for enterprise technology companies efforts.

Solution: Prioritise strategy to drive production

Mistake #2: Slow first contact

We’re all working within a busy modern landscape of customers with short attention spans and a vast selection of competitors to choose from. The process of closing a sale with B2B customers tends to lag and take a while to actually close. It could take weeks for a customer to actually establish first contact with your tech company. More often than not, these leads are more concerned over which products might invoke a loss within their company than anything else. So, how do you quickly reassure any potential customers quickly and effectively?

Chatbots are a remarkably effective way to establish first contact with any potential leads. They allow for immediate reassurances to any questions or concerns that a customer may have and can direct users towards key landing pages to drive conversions and close sales. Any enterprise tech company can easily establish these simple, brief and instant conversations to provide additional, immediate feedback. Set it up on your most popular pages, which is most likely to be your home page, and you’ll be making contact with new customers in no time. 

Not only do chatbots provide an immediate response, but customers prefer them too! PSFK found that 74% of consumers prefer chatbots when they’re looking for instant answers. The addition of a chatbot is great for users that want to quickly source information about your tech company’s products at any time, but they’re also great for your marketing team. With a chatbot handling basic enquiries, you’ll have more time to work on important things. Chatbots are also great for data capture which can later be used for personalisation and targeting.

Solution: Chatbots allow for instant, all hours communication

Mistake #3: Generic content that fails to convert

All consumers are primed and ready to dismiss ads without a second glance. When content is so broad that it’s trying to appeal to everyone, it ends up appealing to nobody. Especially in a B2B space where lacklustre, generic content is rife. Boring content equals failed conversions and no sales for your tech company. 

The key to engaging content is personalisation. By targeting a select few highly engaged leads, as opposed to delivering standard, generic emails to thousands, your content is much more likely to convert. Users are keenly aware of data capture and know what items they’ll tolerate in their inbox and which they have no time for. It’s important to establish what products or services a lead shows interest in and to tailor your content accordingly. 

Personalisation has been cemented as one of the most essential tactics in marketing for enterprise technology companies strategy. It would be impossible and impractical to create highly relevant content for individuals, but you can segment larger key groups that fall under similar characteristics within your audience. By appealing to these specific groups that all have similar interests, your content is more likely to resonate and convert.

Solution: Personalisation allows for tailored content to engage leads

These are only a handful of solutions for budding enterprise tech companies of all sizes. For more marketing for enterprise technology companies advice, check out our Ultimate Guide for in-depth strategies. If your tech company is looking for more solutions to drive results, contact us today for a free consultation, or head over to our digital marketing page to see the other services we can offer to help your business grow.

 


Accountancy

From Shares to Shareability: Three Ways Influencer Marketing Can Help Your Accountancy Firm Grow

The phrase ‘influencer marketing’ might conjure up some very specific images. Preppy YouTube stars sharing discount codes. Flawless Instagram models basking in the Dubai sun selling diet shakes. Viral Twitter comedians peddling sunset bedroom lighting under their jokes. These consumer markets are well established and oversaturated, but what about influencer marketing for accountancy firms and other B2B organisations?

B2B influencer marketing is just as prevalent and profitable as its B2C counterpart - it just looks a little different. In fact, because B2B influencer marketing isn’t as established as consumer influencer marketing, now is a great time to start reaching out to influencers. 89% say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels. Influencer marketing for accountancy firms is an especially underutilised strategy, so it’s about time we caught up with B2C markets and started collaborating!

If B2B influencers aren’t social media stars, who are they?

They could be C-Suite executives within large corporations, keynote speakers, best-selling authors, or thought leaders. It’s easy, really - an influencer is an individual that holds sway, or influence (told you it was easy), over your industry. 

Let’s take a look at some examples of influencers that might improve marketing for accountancy firms. Here’s a handful of popular UK-based influencers within the industry to keep an eye on:

1. Larysa Melnychuk

Larysa is the Managing Director of the FP&A Trends Club and Founder of the London FP&A Club. She’s a guiding figure in the financial planning and analysis sector - especially considering her seminars with FP&A professionals from around the world. Within these seminars, they discuss trends, create realistic models for practitioners, and finally they distribute their knowledge through various articles and webinars.

2. Steve Morlidge 

When it comes to forecasting, there’s no better expert than Steve Morlidge. He’s largely associated with the Beyond Budgeting movement where he provides valuable insight on how improved forecasting can improve behaviour. As a frequent seminar leader and speaker, Steve shares practical tips and inspiration on transforming accountancy work and becoming an all-around better businessperson.

3. Andy Burrows

Andy is the Founder, CEO and CFO of SuperchargedFinance.com. From his hugely popular site, he writes about anything and everything that is the finance function. In between all that, Andy is also a keynote speaker and a freelance consultant that conducts training sessions for finance professionals.

These three aren’t the only influential people in accountancy. They’re just the few that we’ve highlighted. There are thousands of influencers out there that are ready and willing to connect with your brand. From the big name CEOs and thought leaders to micro-influencers, always make sure to research the individuals you reach out to and ensure that they align with your brand values. 

What about content?

Remember that, as a B2B organisation, the content we create is going to look very different from B2C influencers. Less sunning it up abroad and more board-room insights. Any content you create needs to be shareable, consumable, and easy to spread across a range of channels. It also should be as easy as possible for the influencer to assist in content creation. You’re collaborating with incredibly busy people and a lengthy, complicated process could deter them. Or, worse, you could end up with lacklustre content. 

It’s for these reasons that interviews are so popular. They don’t take up too much of the interviewee’s time, they’re widely shareable and can be distributed across a range of channels. A 15-minute video interview could be turned into a podcast, an article, shorter video snippets and a collection of key quotes. Send it out over email in a newsletter, put it on LinkedIn, use it to boost SEO. Whatever you do, just make sure to distribute your new content as far as you can. Your organisation gets more out of its content and your audience gets a wealth of information. It’s a win-win!

Influencer marketing for accountancy firms doesn’t just stop at digital content, though. Like the influencers we’ve already spoken about, hosting offline events is a great way to generate buzz for your business. Hosting events with thought leaders like seminars with just a handful of attendees creates a much wider reach than a single interview. 

Maintaining relationships

One of the most important aspects of influencer marketing for accountancy firms is maintaining a great relationship with your influencers. If you’re hosting annual events to get your accountancy firm’s name out there, you’ll need a good reputation to carry you through. Even when it comes to influencer marketing for accountants, everyone wants to feel special and appreciated. Even CEOs! 

By creating a community of influencers that you’ve worked with, you can encourage them to work together, feel included, and maybe even foster a healthy sense of competition. Starting a messaging group, like WhatsApp, is a great way to make all your influencers feel included and a part of something bigger. It’s also a super-effective way to distribute new ideas and content directly to your influencers for them to discuss!

If you are looking for more advice on how to make your B2B influencer marketing strategy a success, check out our ultimate guide here. Alternatively, if you are looking for help with transforming any aspect of your digital marketing, contact us today for a free consultation.

 


Beyond The Hashtag: A Deeper Look Into The Benefits Of Social Media For B2B Brands

Beyond The Hashtag: A Deeper Look Into The Benefits Of Social Media For B2B Brands

When you think of social media, what comes to mind? For many, it’s influencers, hashtags and likes - but in reality, it’s so much more than this. Social media is a powerful tool that (when used correctly) can harness a lot of power for your brand. From social monitoring and crisis control to general chit-chat with your beloved clients, social media allows you to interact directly with your audience and creates endless opportunities to build your brand and become established within your industry. 

 With all that being said, let’s jump straight into the real reason you are here: the benefits of social media for your B2B business, supported by real industry statistics.

  1. Create the right impression

    With 84% of B2B buyers saying they actively use social media to influence their purchasing decisions, it really is a ‘use it or lose it’ (or them) situation. With more consumers embracing the power of social media, it’s only natural for them to expect brands to follow the same pattern, too. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that up to 70% of consumers say they feel more connected to brands when they are active on social media. And with 76% of consumers saying they will choose a brand over their competitors if they feel more connected to them, this channel could be more beneficial to your business than you might think.

     Along with meeting consumer expectations and building awareness of your brand, using social media is also a fantastic way to improve your customer experience, being named as the preferred channel for customer care by consumers - and it doesn’t end there. Consumers who have had a positive social care experience say they are four times more likely to recommend your brand than those who haven’t, suggesting more brands should #GetSocial. 

    A platform for you to share your expertise, showcase your wins and build relationships with current and prospective customers; social media is a powerful communication tool you’d be foolish not to use. 

  2. Drive traffic to your website

  3. More than half of the global population now uses social media, so as you can imagine, there are a lot of opportunities to reach new audiences and connect with new leads. Also, by being active on social media and sharing relevant, high-quality content, you will be establishing yourself as a thought leader, raising awareness of your brand and better defining your position within the market.

    With all this being said, it comes as no surprise that social media is a top source of referral traffic for many B2B businesses, with 75% of marketers using social media saying it has increased traffic to their site. But, something that may shock you a bit more is that research from Shareholic found social media brings in almost as much referral traffic as search - pretty impressive, right? 

  4.  Opportunities, leads and sales 

  5. Not only can social media help boost your sales through building your brand, it is also a great place to generate leads (and cheaply, too). Let’s look at LinkedIn - the Facebook of the business world - a platform full of people who are hungry to improve their business, and the source of 80% of B2B social media leads - pretty impressive, right? Home to over 40 million decision-makers, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn leads the way for B2B social media marketing, but it certainly isn’t the be-all and end-all.

    Hot on the heels of LinkedIn is Twitter, with 86% of B2B marketers saying they have used the platform organically in the last year; this is followed closely by Facebook, with 83% of B2B marketers using the platform. 

    Of course, the relevance of each network will depend completely on the industry in which your company operates, but one thing remains certain: social media has the power to not only generate more leads but to help improve sales, too. With more than 50% of marketers who have implemented a social media strategy reporting an increase in sales, why not give it a go? It is free, after all.  

  6. Improve your SEO

  7. We mentioned earlier that social media is a great way to drive referral traffic to your site, but did you know it can help increase organic search traffic, too? If you are familiar with SEO (search engine optimisation), you will have likely heard of people referring to off-page ranking factors. If not, this simply refers to factors outside of your website that impact your rankings within the SERPs (search engine results pages), with the main goal being to increase the relevance, authority and credibility of your site.

    Your social media presence is thought to impact your SEO as it helps to increase brand exposure, improve your online presence, drive organic traffic to your site, enhance your brand reputation and provide backlinks to your content. 

  8.  Reach new audiences with targeted ads

     We’re all aware of paid ads, promoted posts and sponsored content - but are they worth it? In short, yes. If you understand your audience and know which channels to use, social media can bring countless new opportunities; with multiple advertising formats and targeting strategies offered, there really is something for everyone - and it’s affordable, too. 

    With 72% of B2B marketers who use paid distribution channels opting for paid social media/promoted posts (making it by far the most popular paid content distribution channel), the numbers really do speak for themselves.

 (Bonus) Finding your Kim Kardashian

Although not explicitly a benefit of social media, the two are so closely linked, it seemed only fair that influencers (aka the celebrities of the social media world) received an honourable mention on this list. 

Typically, when people hear the term ‘influencer’, they think Kardashians, Love Island winners or footballers - but it doesn’t end there. Influencers exist in every industry (yes, even B2B); they are essentially just people who hold an incredible amount of trust, credibility, and of course, influence within a certain sector. They are the masters of social media, so naturally, the best place to identify, research and build relationships with them is the channel itself - meaning you need to be active if you want to form profitable partnerships.

Not only can they help promote your brand to their loyal (and highly relevant) following, they also have the power to drive action, enhance your brand credibility and significantly increase your reach and engagement levels. Oh, and of course, being the wizards of social media, it is only right that the content they will produce for you is the best of the best - and bonus points: you can use it again and again! 

After reading the above, it probably comes as no surprise that 95% of B2B marketers now use social media marketing in some form - making it the most widely used content type. So, do you really want to risk losing out to your competitors by sticking to traditional channels? Head over to our social media marketing page to find out more about how we can help you create a strategy that delivers results.

 


Building strong brands

You're Only as Strong as Your Brand: 7 Ways to Create a Powerful Brand Strategy

If you want to be successful, you really do need to nail your branding. A way to differentiate your business and make it memorable, your brand is far more than just your logo and colour palette. It offers a means for people to connect with your business, provides a sense of security and credibility and can have significant financial and non-financial benefits for your business - so it’s fundamental to get it right. And who better to take branding advice from than the multi-award-winning David Aaker? 

Deemed the Father of Modern Branding, the creator of numerous widely used branding frameworks and of course, the author of some of the most influential branding literature, David Aaker certainly knows a thing or two about building successful brands. Today we will be summarising some of the key takeaways from his book ‘Building Strong Brands’  to provide your business with the knowledge needed to transform your brand strategy.  

Brand identity

Starting at the very beginning, you need to first work on defining your brand identity. This consists of four key areas, each of which is outlined below:

    • Brand as product: this refers to the functional, emotional and self-expressive benefits, value/quality associations and intended users (to name just a few).
    • Brand as person: here you should personify your brand; think about your tone of voice, personality and the type of relationship you have with your customers (for example would you be considered to be more of a friend or an adviser). Having a clearly defined brand personality will not only help you to better connect with your customers, but will also help to provide a point of differentiation for your brand and in turn, will help to strengthen your brand identity.
    • Brand as organisation: think about the organisational values and attributes that define your brand, for example, innovation or drive for equality. 
    • Brand as symbol: this is what most people will think of when you mention brand; it’s your visual identity and includes everything from your typeface and colour palette to your logo and imagery.

Value proposition

Your value proposition should consist of emotional, functional and self-expressive benefits. This is perhaps where some B2B brands fall short, as there tends to be more of a focus on functional benefits, when in fact emotional and self-expressive are just as (if not, more) important. It’s also important to note that the benefits must be relevant to your target customer; if they aren’t showing you can bring value to them, it’s unlikely they will pay attention.

Brand positioning

Every brand needs a clear position; this is essentially what you do and who you do it for. The reason this is so fundamental is that it not only helps to differentiate your business and demonstrate competitive advantage but also leads the way for your communications, providing focus and a means to develop a meaningful narrative.

Consistency

If you take the time to build a powerful brand, it will stand the test of time. A coherent and consistent brand is far more memorable than one that is constantly changing and will help to strengthen your position and cut costs in the long run. Of course, inevitably, there will be changes in the macro-environment over time, but if your brand is strong enough, your meaning and message should have the power to remain consistent. So, rather than completing rebranding, you should perhaps think of a clever way to evolve and alter your current brand (providing it hasn’t been completely unsuccessful).

Leveraging

A successful brand will often be one of the most valuable assets a business can own; so it makes perfect sense to leverage it, and this can be done in various ways including:

    • Line extensions
    • Brand extensions
    • Co-branding
    • Stretching

Tracking equity

Brand equity is essentially the value your brand brings to your organisation - so it’s important to continuously monitor it. When it comes to tracking your brand equity, you should monitor numerous areas, including the following: 

    • Brand awareness: simply put, this is how familiar people are with your brand. There are several ways to measure awareness, including surveys and social mentions.
    • Brand loyalty factors: considers accessibility, value, satisfaction, emotional connection and use of other brands.
    • Financial metrics: here you should consider factors such as market share, price premium, growth rate and revenue generation and potential.

Investment

There is a tendency to pull investment if a brand is not meeting financial goals, but many would do well to remember that it takes time for both consumers to get used to the concept and the brand itself to master the execution. Of course, you can expect changes to occur over time, but unless something is really not working, you should try to avoid giving up on concepts completely.

Whilst we have covered a lot of areas, we have merely scratched the surface when it comes to the specifics for each - and believe it or not, there are still several areas left untouched - so if you are interested in finding out more, contact us today for a free consultation, or head over to our digital marketing page to see the other services we can offer to help your business grow. 

 


Avoiding the brand graveyard

From The Graveyard To Greatness: 5 Ways To Bring A New Lease Of Life To Your Brand

The brand graveyard: the dreaded destination no brand wants to visit - but what exactly is it? Well, it is a concept based on both brand recognition and recall, so let’s start by defining those terms: brand recognition refers to how familiar a person is with your brand; for example, do you have a logo that is instantly recognisable? Or do people know you as soon as they hear your name? If you have answered yes, then chances are, your brand is pretty recognisable. 

On the flip side, we have recall; where recognition is vague and has no real meaning attached to it, brand recall takes things up a notch. It refers to people not only knowing your brand but being able to recall exactly what you do and who you are. The more people can recall about your brand, the more likely they are to call on you when they require a product or service you offer. 

So, what is the brand graveyard?

Of course, the ultimate goal is to have high levels of both recognition and recall - however, this is certainly not always the case. When we refer to the ‘brand graveyard’, we are talking about those brands with high recognition and low recall. This means yes, people are familiar with your brand, but they are unlikely to do business with you as they have little or no knowledge of what it is that you do. 

If you’re sitting there wondering: “Is my brand in the dreaded graveyard?” here's how you can find out: you need to ask two questions, one to establish whether they recognise your brand (this can be as simple as showing your logo and asking whether or not they are familiar with it), and another to identify if they can recall your brand, and if so, to what level. 

It’s important to note that these questions should not be asked to your customers (because, of course, they know who you are and what you do), but rather people within your target audience who you wish to convert into customers for your business.

Is there a way out?

Now, breaking out of the graveyard can be incredibly difficult as people feel little need to listen to a story they are already familiar with; they would much rather hear about an exciting new brand. So, the million-dollar question is: how do you overcome this issue? 

Well, don’t start digging your grave just yet - there is still hope. You need to think about how you can engage your target audience and get them to listen to a story they believe they already know everything about: and what’s the easiest way to find out what motivates and engages your target audience? Speak to your existing customers. 

You need to not only ask why they do business with you but why they don’t work with your competitors; find out exactly what it is that gives your business that competitive edge. This is all about establishing your unique selling point (USP).

By looking beyond the visual aspects of your brand and prioritising leveraging the benefits of your business that have already successfully converted customers for you, it will be much easier to engage your target audience, start conversations and build relationships, and when the time is right, give them a reason to come back to you. Think about it: if you need financial advice for your business, are you more likely to contact the brand whose logo you recognise instantly but know nothing about or the brand that you know can offer the services you require and has successfully helped others like you in the past? 

At the end of the day, the goal is for people to think of your brand first when they have a need that falls within your niche and encourage them to continuously seek out your brand in their hour of need.

And how do I avoid it? 

Of course, the easiest way to escape the brand graveyard is to avoid it at all costs - but that’s easier said than done. To start you off, here are a few things you can do to help strengthen your brand and improve recall:

  1. Start with why: yes, it’s likely I’m telling you something you’ve heard countless times before, but starting with your purpose is key to building a strong brand; it not only differentiates your business but also helps your audience connect with you. Ultimately, you need to give people a reason to listen to your story and make them want to learn more about your brand. Remember: consumers want to work with brands that care, not just another cold, corporate company.
  2. Create a powerful USP: we’ve touched on this above, but having a strong USP can help your brand stand out in a crowded market and be remembered. In the words of Maxime Lagacé: “The more honest and unique a person is, the more that person attracts people. It’s the same for businesses.” 
  3. Embrace storytelling: emotion sells, and more brands are recognising this, which is why we have seen an increase in brand storytelling. A great way to build relationships with your audience and make your brand both more engaging and memorable, storytelling taps into people’s emotions and helps to build relationships that last. Ultimately, if you are communicating in a way people can understand and relate to, the likelihood is they will listen.
  4. Be consistent: if you are trying to remember something important, the likelihood is you will repeat it, in the same way, several times until you do. Repetition is key for learning and reinforcing ideas, so, the more consistent you are, the more familiar your audience will become with your brand and the more likely they will be to understand and remember what you do.
  5. Don’t forget the visuals: while your visual identity should be one of your last considerations, it is still important. Having a powerful visual identity naturally helps improve brand recognition, but did you know it can improve recall, too? It offers more depth, making your brand more engaging (thus more memorable) and provides visual cues to reinforce your messaging.

In the words of Jeff Bazos: “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” So, don’t fade into the background; give people a reason to take notice and listen to your story, and remember that hard work pays off. 

If you are ready to take the leap and invest in upgrading your brand strategy, contact us today for a free consultation or head over to our services page here to see how we can help take your brand to the next level. 

 


B2B Personalisation

Hey, (INSERT NAME), Here’s Why Your Business Needs To Embrace Personalisation

We are living in a digital world driven by data, which means today's consumers expect brands to leverage this information and provide highly personalised experiences - and the B2B market is no exception. B2B buyers expect marketing and sales processes to be tailored to their every want and need; they are expecting to see only the most relevant content and the right time and more than anything, they are expecting to be treated like human beings. With 83% of business buyers saying being treated like a person, not just a number, is key to winning their business, more brands would do well to recognise the value of personalisation in both B2B and B2C markets.

So, what exactly is personalisation? In marketing, personalisation refers to the use of data and technology to move from a one-size-fits-all approach to more of a one-to-one style strategy that delivers relevant content to targeted individuals. Essentially, personalisation enables you to move away from generic communication and interact with your audience on a more personal, human level.

But personalisation doesn’t start and end with meeting consumer expectations; it can have great benefits for your business, too, including:

  1. Meeting consumer expectations: we’ve touched on this above, but with 72% of B2B consumers expecting personalised experiences, if you want to attract & retain clients, you need to get on board with personalisation
  2. Gaining a competitive advantage: with only 27% of B2B consumers agreeing companies are able to meet their experience expectations, by creating a personalisation strategy, you could be putting your business head and shoulders above the competition
  3. Driving conversions: did you know consumers are 2.1 times more likely to value personalised offers? Not only that, marketers using personalisation have reported, on average, a 20% increase in sales
  4. Increasing profit margins: with 74% of business buyers saying they will happily pay more to do business with a company that offers a good experience, it’s time to get personal! 
  5. Improving ROI: personalisation can not only help to drive conversions and increase profits but can also reduce acquisition costs by up to 50% and increase the efficiency of marketing activities by as much as 30%
  6. Driving results: with 80% of marketers agreeing that personalised content is more effective, if you want to see results, you need to start embracing personalisation

Now we’ve covered what B2B personalisation is and why it is great for both businesses and consumers, you are probably wondering how you can incorporate it into your strategy. While adding the recipient's name to an email subject line is effective, B2B personalisation goes far beyond this. To make the most of personalisation, you should consider the following:

  1. Set your goals: to give yourself the best chance of success, you need to have a clear vision to work towards; think about what it is you want to achieve and how, and then work on building your personalisation strategy around this
  2. Segment your audience: the three main categories are industry-specific, persona-specific and stage-specific (i.e. personalisation based on where they are in the buying process). You should experiment with your segmentation to find out what works best for your target audience and business goals - every business will be different
  3. Making the most of data: the more you can get to know and understand your audience, the more effective your personalisation will be
  4. Testing personalisation methods: from personalising CTAs on your site and experimenting with automation software to testing different targeting strategies for your ads, there are countless ways to incorporate personalisation into your B2B marketing; you just need to work out which method/channels work best for your business and target audience
  5. Creating a documented strategy: 79% of businesses who are exceeding their goals have a documented personalisation strategy
  6. Remember to review: like with anything in marketing, to make the most of your personalisation strategy you must continuously monitor and update your campaigns and audience personas
  7. Set boundaries: there is a fine line between personal and creepy. You should avoid using sensitive information, ensure you have permission to use the data you have obtained and be sure to use recent data from a reliable source. Remember: the use of outdated or incorrect information will definitely create a lasting impression - just the wrong one! 

With more data becoming available and technology continuously advancing, personalisation is becoming increasingly accessible and the results are only getting better! With pros for both consumers and businesses, it really is a win-win situation - so, what are you waiting for? 

 


Beat Your Marketing Blues with the Ultimate Guide to Colour Psychology

An organisation's signature colour is recognisable at a glance and inextricable from its brand. Imagine McDonald’s’ iconic golden arches without their distinctive yellow colour. Or a can of Coke without its true red tone. You just can't! With colour psychology, we can discover how these colours envoke certain emotions, reinforces brand messaging, and captivate the attention of an audience. 

What are brand colours?

Your brand colours are a selection of 2-5 shades used throughout your branding. These colours should be strategically used across all channels to increase brand awareness. When people look at your chosen tone, they should instantly think of your organisation. 

Colour is so vital because it establishes your brand’s identity. As such, it’s really important to be sure of who you are and what you represent before picking out a palette. Consider how you’d like the brand to be perceived and what aspects differentiate you from the competition. 

When you select your shades, you’ll be projecting a set of preconceived associations. This is where colour psychology comes into play. The psychology of colour can help your brand by eliciting the right emotions - be that excitement, trust, creativity, optimism, or any number of other feelings. Whilst choosing colours that align with your brand can enhance brand awareness, a bad colour selection will actually damage your brand’s image. If you accidentally pick a colour that signals the opposite of your brand identity, your audience could feel confused and disconnected. A poor colour choice could also cause eye strain and make it difficult for your audience to read copy

How we perceive colour

Whilst conversations around brand colours are dominated by cultural colour associations, it’s equally important to understand their scientific association. 

Think back to GCSE biology. You’ll probably remember learning about how our eyes perceive light through cone cells. That’s all because colour is a type of electromagnetic energy. We won’t bore you with the details, but essentially, colour is made up of all the light we can’t see - leaving us to look at whatever’s left. These remaining bits of light stimulate our cone cells in the back of our retinas. Then, finally, we can see the colour! 

There are three types of these cone cells and they each react to different ranges of light:

Blue – short wavelengths

Green – medium wavelengths

Red – long wavelengths

The red cone cells are the most sensitive to light, in the middle is green, and blue are the least sensitive. These different levels of sensitivity really impact how we see the world - and how we see advertising!

Red

If you want to get your audience’s attention, use red. Our red cone cells are most sensitive to light. It has the largest impact on our eyes and immediately evokes strong connotations. In colour psychology, red can symbolise passion, anger, danger, excitement, love and action. You’ve most likely seen red used for call-to-action buttons because of how eye-catching and motivating it is. It has a punch to it that other colours just can’t achieve. 

Orange

To uplift your audience, use orange. Colour psychology tells us that orange represents creativity, enthusiasm, adventure, fun, and success. It’s close in tone to red, so attracts the eye without causing such an extreme reaction, but still is successful at drawing attention. Many companies that market to children use the colour orange to invoke that sense of fun and wonderment - like Nickelodeon, for example. Businesses that sell DIY tools and supplies like B&Q also use this colour to foster creativity and excite customers with their impending home renovation.

Yellow

The colour yellow is intriguing as it has many meanings that seemingly contradict one another. Yellow can symbolise happiness, joy, summer, warmth and positivity. As the colour of the sun, it radiates energy and is an immediate way to invoke brightness. It’s the most luminous colour on the spectrum. Although we have no yellow cones in our eyes, observing yellow is what happens when both the red and green cones are triggered (the most sensitive and second most sensitive), which is why it’s so bright! On the other hand, yellow can also represent danger and warnings. Due to its stark luminosity, this colour is often used as fluorescent, protective clothing like hard hats and visibility vests. Too much of this colour can cause eye fatigue so use it with care.

Green 

Much like yellow, the colour psychology of green also has a duality to it. It has immediate connotations of nature, health, and wealth. Feelings of growth, life, wellness, environmentalism, fertility and generosity are all positive associations. However, it can also carry negative connotations of sickness (if given a slightly yellowed hue) and envy. This is all dependant on the type of shade used, and there are more shades of green than any other colour, so pick carefully! 

Blue

Overall, blue is by far the most popular colour used in marketing. Blue is closely connected to the sky and the ocean and evokes feelings of calm, peace, stability, harmony, trust, dignity, and tradition. As such, many brands may use touches of blue for their guarantee, trust certification or free shipping icons to capitalise on the feelings of trust the colour provides. We feel such reassurance and calm when viewing the colour blue because the blue cone cells in the eye are the least sensitive to light. The short wavelengths that trigger the blue cone cells are sharply refracted by the eyes which causes the lens to flatten and to push the image back, resulting in blue areas appearing to recede. This might explain why we perceive blue as being a calming colour!

Purple

Purple’s connotations have historic roots. The dye required to create purple was rare and incredibly expensive meaning only the wealthy and royalty could afford it. (The earliest purple dyes required around 12,000 shellfish to extract enough dye for one garment!) We still carry these connotations today and associate purple with luxury, wealth, nobility, wisdom, and dignity. 

Pink

Culturally, pink has more gendered connotations than any other colour. It’s intrinsically linked with the feminine, but contrary to popular belief, this is actually a very modern development. Up until the 20th century, it was common for baby boys to be dressed in pink and baby girls to be dressed in blue. Its connotations today are femininity, playfulness, romance, sweetness, and compassion. You’ll often find bakeries or lingerie lines utilising this shade. If you want your audience to feel nurtured and calm, or playful and feminine, choose pink. 

Brown

In colour psychology, this earthy tone is a symbol of nature and reliability. Brown is closely associated with the natural world and connotes security, solidity, dependability, warmth, comfort, and resilience. A shade like this is often used by all-natural brands to connect them with the earth and associate them with a warm, reliable feeling. Brown is also associated with various food and drink like chocolate and coffee, so brands selling these products may use this colour to reflect their product.

White

In the western world, white holds connotations of purity, cleanliness, innocence, humility, and freshness. It may symbolise simplicity or a blank canvas. Ecommerce sites often use white for this reason. Whilst it is symbolising simplicity, it also provides a blank slate for their products to be viewed upon. It’s important to remember that colour associations are not universal. In some eastern countries, white is linked with death and sadness. So make sure to understand your audience and where they’re situated. It might have a huge impact on how they perceive colour! 

Black

As a shade that's hugely popular in retail and fashion, black is very distinct. Colour psychology tells us that black conjures feelings of mystery, power, elegance, sophistication, night, and formality. The colour black absorbs all light so it’s a very low-energy colour. When used in contrast with a lighter colour (particularly white), it energies the black and provides the best combination for readability. 

Grey

If you’re striving for neutrality, use grey. This shade projects a feeling of balance, which likely stems from being a mix of black and white. It can be a depressing, moody colour when used in excess, but it’s neutrality often lends itself to being a fantastic accent colour. 

 

While colours may have some strong associations of their own, in practice it almost always depends on the context. Everyone has their own associations with a colour, so feelings surrounding them may differ from person to person.

If you’re an organisation looking for a design upgrade, contact us today for a free consultation or check out our digital marketing services pages to discover more about what we can offer your firm.