Content marketing

Problem : How to use content marketing to appeal to your customer?

LO1: What is content marketing?

  • Definitions
  • Types of contents
  • Advantages vs disadvantages

LO2: Content marketing strategy

LO3: How to create effective content for your audience?

  • Customers relation
  • Customer engagement
  • Customer loyalty
  • Brand awareness

WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?

‘Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.’ (The Content Marketing Institute, an online resource for information on all things content marketing related)

-> You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it. When considering if it’s an ad or content marketing, it al depends on how it’s received by each individual who is exposed to it.

Types of ‘contents’ :

  1. Infographics. These are generally long, vertical graphics that include statistics, charts, graphs, and other information.
  2. Webpages. What’s the difference between a normal webpage and a webpage that is content marketing? Consider The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz, a provider of SEO related tools and resources. This resource, offered for free, has been viewed millions of times, bringing in countless customers who otherwise might never have stumbled across Moz and the services they offer. Or take a look at a case study from the design firm Teehan+Lax. Most case studies are boring. Their case studies are fascinating. That’s the difference between simply putting content on your website, and content marketing.
  3. Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, practices what he preaches. His “This is Your Life” podcast is downloaded 250,000 times each month. As Hyatt elaborates on his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast, “A podcast gives you visibility in a completely different world—primarily iTunes. I have had scores of new people say they had never heard of me until they stumbled onto me in iTunes.” Hyatt gives valuable information and advice in his podcast–all for free. But that podcast leads to more sales of his books, signups for his courses, and requests for him as a speaker.
  4. Videos. Gary Vaynerchuk is a master of content marketing using online video, just take a look at his YouTube channel. He got his start creating videos to promote his family’s wine store and through those videos and other online marketing he eventually grew it to a $45M empire. Videos and podcasts are a largely untapped form of content marketing because people think it’s expensive and hard. But with the falling cost of professional grade equipment creating high quality video and audio content is easier than ever. Amateur video content marketing has been used to sell blenderslaunch new dental products, and market Hong Kong visa consulting services. What video could you throw together for your company that might change your fortunes overnight? It might be easier than you think.
  5. Books. Like movies, people often think of books as selling themselves, but savvy marketers don’t sell books just to sell books, they sell books as marketing tools. Michael Port’s sales manual Book Yourself Solid is a great read for entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers, and while I’m sure Port enjoys selling his book, the book is a tool for driving customers to his coaching and speaking services. Although with self-publishing it’s easier than ever to publish a book, there is still the perception that it’s difficult and that only reputable professionals can publish a business book. Publish your own, and even if people don’t read it you can still use it as a form of content marketing every time you’re introduced as “Author of…”

+ white papers, ebooks, apps, public speaking, presentations, and blogs

8-Hard-to-ignore-Content-Marketing-Benefits

(Business to community)

Content marketing strategy

content-marketing-model-for-2013

http://www.meltwater.com/blog/keys-to-effective-content-marketing-strategy/

1) Set content marketing goals, align them to business goals (SMART)
Content Marketing Strategy Tip: Don’t approach your content thinking “how will this help me achieve X goal.” You don’t want to stifle creativity. Instead, come up with great ideas for content, then see how you can tie them back to your content marketing goals. It may just be a matter of adding a relevant CTA or choosing specific channels to publish on.
2) Establish the target audience of your content
3)Determine content types best suited to your business
4) Create a content execution plan (step-by-step man on how an idea turns into a finished product)
5) Create a content promotion process (owned, earned, paid media)
6) Know how to measure & refine your content marketing (Hootsuite, Google Analytics, ..)

http://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-content-marketing-strategy/

How to create effective content for your audience?
  • Customers relation
  • Customer engagement
  • Customer loyalty
  • Brand awareness

Many marketers look at engagement as getting others to act. In the end it is. But to me, that action isn’t clicking or buying etc. alone. That’s the measurable stuff. Engagement is also about providing experiences and answers to questions and needs, still the primary task of content. When you solve someone’s questions or simply deliver what they expect and need across their journey or on your website, you also engage them as they get what they want. Also measurable but not directly.

A content strategy, as a consistent plan to offer great customer experiences using content, obviously starts with understanding the essential informational needs of so-called target audiences. Think about the core content people need to find on your website, for instance. However, it goes further than that. Content plays a role in all stages of the proverbial funnel and as we’ll keep repeating can fulfil a huge number of business and marketing goals or better: help fulfil them in an integrated and customer-centric way, before, during and after the buy. The need to engage through relevance goes for virtually all potential content marketing goals. Think about branding, for instance. You build emotional connections, you appeal or in other words: you engage here as well. The list goes on. (iScoop)

People will start to recognize your company when they come across resources online that clearly “feel like” your brand, such as:

  • Written blog posts that sound like your brand
  • Graphics that look like your company
  • Videos that show the people behind your company

(Brafton)

1)constantly network

2) actively listen to your audience

3) constantly research

4) extract knowledge from others

5) watch how other content performs

6) obsess over quality

7) constantly ask ‘does this provide value?’

8) monitor conservations with your customers (blog comments, social media mentions,..)

9) constantly ask questions

10) avoid blindly following the latest trends : if you want to try a new content format, see how your audience reacts with a minimal viable test

‘Just as we don’t build the same product & market it to vastly different customers, we shouldn’t produce the same content and distribute it to vastly different readers’

(Hubspot blogs – David Ly Khim (marketeer)

 

 

Sources :

http://www.brafton.com/blog/build-measure-brand-awareness-content-12daysofcontent/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2014/09/19/what-is-content-marketing/

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/

http://www.business2community.com/infographics/8-hard-ignore-content-marketing-benefits-infographic-01038290#btMjgchwghJiPldE.97

http://www.i-scoop.eu/content-strategy-customer-engagement/

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/content-marketing-habits



			
Content marketing

Problem : How to come up with a creative idea that communicates your message?

Learning objectives

  1. Creative idea = ?
  • Components
  • Examples
  • How does an idea become a message
  1. How to affect customers’ emotions by appealing to different senses
  • Examples
  1. What factors to consider when designing the message?
CREATIVE IDEA 

The Creativity Post (website) says : when testing if something is ‘creative’, the creativity test results are scored keeping in mind a number of different creativity criteria. The most common criteria are :

1. Flexibility: This captures the ability to cross boundaries and make remote associations. This is measured by number of different categories of ideas generated.

2. Originality: This measures how statistically different or novel the ideas are compared to a comparison group. This is measured as number of novel ideas generated.

3. Fluency: This captures the ability to come up with many diverse ideas quickly. This is measured by the total number of ideas generated.

4. Elaboration:  This measures the amount of detail associated with the idea.  Elaboration has more to do with focussing on each solution/idea and developing it further.

To put in simple words, creativity is generation of new, unexpected, likeable and useful/complex ideas/ things etc. Creativity happens if something ‘stands out’ from the crowd.

http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/creativity_components

98501_A

(Harvard Business Review) https://hbr.org/1998/09/how-to-kill-creativity/ar/1

Examples of techniques while creative thinking :

Brainstorming

Brainstorming allows a group of people to contribute ideas on a topic without regard to how practical they may be. The purpose is to come with an “outside the box” solution that might not occur otherwise. While many of the ideas generated may not be feasible, it is possible that by removing practical constraints, an idea will surface that you can mold into a workable solution. Another advantage is that you’ll receive input from several people instead of just one or two individuals.

Asking “What-If” Questions

The process of asking “what if” questions can lead to new discoveries that result in improvements or growth. For example, you can consider what would happen if you started to perform a process in the opposite manner of how you currently do it or if you added weekend hours of operation. You can also explore the possibilities of opening a second location or even buying out your top competitor. “What if” questions are often the source of big ideas.

Role-playing can give you a different perspective that can lead to helpful ideas. For example, if you are a salesperson, a role-playing session where you pretend to be the customer can give you a much better understanding of what your customer is thinking during your presentations. This can help you anticipate common objections your customers may have and develop a plan to overcome them. You’ll be much better prepared for making your sales calls.

Provocation Techniques

Provocation is a process where you intentionally reject a truism to help stimulate creative thought. For instance, you may pose the premise that getting rid of all of your business’s computers will improve productivity. While you have no intention of getting rid of your computer system, the concept may help stimulate thinking to where you and your colleagues may come up with ideas to improve productivity and re-examine your current processes.

(Chron) http://smallbusiness.chron.com/examples-creative-thinking-workplace-10903.html

integrated-marketing-communication-6-638

(Integrated Marketing Communication process) http://www.slideshare.net/onasogahkayode/integrated-marketing-communication-21161004

How to affect customers’ emotions by appealing to different senses

Here are a few tips and tricks for using psychology to your own marketing campaign’s advantage:

1. Run emotional ideas

Studies have shown emotional and psychological appeals resonate more with consumers than feature and function appeals. In advertising copy, benefits—which often have a psychological component—generally outsell features. Demonstrating how that new computer will improve a potential customer’s life tends to have more influence rather than explaining how it works.

2. Highlight your flaws

It’s no secret that consumers tend to doubt marketing claims—for good reasons. Many simply aren’t credible. One way to raise credibility is to point out your product’s shortcomings.

3. Reposition your competition

In Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, Al Ries and Jack Trout delve into the limited slots consumers have in their brain for products and services, and the importance of positioning one’s business in the ideal slot.

4. Promote exclusivity

Near the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid sits self-esteem. People want to feel important; like they’re part of an exclusive group. That’s why advertising copy sometimes says: “We’re not for everyone.”

5. Introduce fear, uncertainty and doubt

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt, or FUD, is often used legitimately by businesses and organizations to make consumers stop, think, and change their behavior. FUD is so powerful that it’s capable of nuking the competition.

  • (Fast Company) http://www.fastcompany.com/3032675/hit-the-ground-running/5-psychological-tactics-marketers-use-to-influence-consumer-behavior

“Brands have to be powered up to deliver a full sensory and emotional experience,” says Lindstrom. “It is not enough to present a product or service visually in an ad.”

Smell

The sense of smell is a powerful tool, and can trigger emotions that aren’t exactly defined, but have a distinctive attachment to an object or place. Retailers like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch are known for the scent that’s pumped throughout the store. Even the “new car” fragrance is sprayed into a vehicle using an aerosol can in the factory.

“Mitsubishi’s ad agency placed a fragrance ad in two major newspapers that stimulated that leathery ‘new car’ smell,” Lindstrom says. “The result: the company’s Lancer Evo X sold out in two weeks and the car company’s sales increased by 16 percent, even during a recession.”

Smell can also evoke memories. “Test results have shown a 40 percent improvement in our mood when we’re exposed to a pleasant fragrance—particularly if the fragrance taps into a joyful memory,” Lindstrom says.

Sound

The sense of sound is more easily conveyed, but can just as easily be done wrong in an advertising campaign. A sound can be a jingle, a unique voice, slogan, or familiar noise. But it isn’t enough to have a catchy tune associated with your business.

“Brands with music that ‘fit’ their brand identity are 96 percent likelier to prompt memory recall,” says Lindstrom. “Victoria’s Secret, for example, plays classical music in their stores, which creates an exclusive atmosphere and lends an air of prestige to the merchandise.”

Taste

The sense of taste is most easily conveyed in the food and beverage industry, but not every business takes advantage of it. According to Lindstrom, nearly 18 percent of the Fortune 1,000 companies could incorporate taste into their brands but have yet to explore this option.

The crunching noise made by Kellogg’s cereal isn’t one that comes naturally. The sound it makes was actually created in a laboratory.

“Kellogg’s considers the crunchiness of the grain as having everything to do with the triumph of the brand, which is why their TV ads emphasize the crunch we hear and feel in our mouths,” Lindstrom says.

Touch

This is the area where businesses selling products, especially household items, can really let the quality speak for itself. According to Lindstrom, 82 percent of all brands on the Fortune1,000 list would be able to take advantage of texture if they were made aware of it.

One example of the power of touch is from the Asda supermarket chain in Britain, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, which cut out a portion of the plastic wrap on toilet paper brands to allow shoppers to touch the tissue and compare textures.

“This has resulted in soaring sales for its home brand, and the decision by management to allot an additional 50 percent of shelf space to their product,” Lindstrom says.

In a study on the cell phone industry conducted by Lindstrom, he found that 35 percent of consumers stated that the way their cell phone feels is more important than the way it looks.

Sight

According to Geoff Crook, the head of sensory design research lab at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, “83 percent of the information people retain is received visually.”

For obvious reasons, sight is the most powerful tool. Before Coca-Cola began promoting Santa Claus in its signature color, red, he traditionally wore green.

What factors to consider when designing the message?

What makes an message effective?

  • First you need to understand your audiences & stakeholders. Without understanding, your message will miss its target. The message must connect to the knowledge, attitude and behavior of the audiences. It must be significant for them.
  • Your messages need to be easy to understand. Use the wording of the target audience and keep it simple, direct and to the point.
  • Your messages need to be credible. They must connect to the identity of the sender. The sender should have a good image.
  • The message should connect to the communication strategy: do you want to inform, involve, persuade or get people into action? Do you want to trigger emotions or do you choose a cool informative approach?
  • The tone of voice should also reflect the strategy: humorous, alarming, fact giving & expert perspective, popular & informal.

(Frog Leaps – http://www.frogleaps.org/blog/topic/designing-communication-messages/

http://www.endvawnow.org/en/articles/1235-key-steps-in-designing-a-communications-strategy.html?next=1236

 

Media agencies

  • What is a media agency?
    • What is the definition of a media agency?
    • What are tasks and core competences of media agency?
    • What are different kinds of media agencies? Give examples.
  • When to use a media agency?
    • What are pros and cons of using a media agency?
    • How to consider budget when using a media agency?
  • How to select the right media mix?
    • What are the components of media mix?
    • What is a media plan?
    • Define the following concepts:
      • earned-owned media;
      • paid media;
      • shared media;
      • intramedia;
      • intermedia

WHAT IS A MEDIA AGENCY?

Media planning is generally the task of a media agency and entails finding media platforms for a client’s brand or product to use. The job of media planning is to determine the best combination of media to achieve the marketing campaign objectives. (Advertising Promotion and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications, Study Guide)

In the process of planning, the media planner needs to answer questions such as:

  • How many of the audience can be reached through the various media?
  • On which media (and ad vehicles) should the ads be placed?
  • How frequent should the ads be placed?
  • How much money should be spent in each medium?

Factors to consider when comparing various advertising media:

  • Reach — Expressed as a percentage, reach is the number of individuals (or homes) to expose the product to through media scheduled over a period of time.
  • Frequency — Using specific media, how many times, on average, should the individuals in the target audience be exposed to the advertising message? It takes an average of three or more exposures to an advertising message before consumers take action.
  • Cost per thousand — How much will it cost to reach a thousand prospective customers (a method used in comparing print media)? To determine a publication’s cost per thousand, also known as CPM, divide the cost of the advertising by the publication’s circulation in thousands.
  • Cost per point — How much will it cost to buy one rating point the your target audience, a method used in comparing broadcast media. One rating point equals 1 percent of the target audience. Divide the cost of the schedule being considered by the number of rating points it delivers.
  • Impact — Does the medium in question offer full opportunities for appealing to the appropriate senses, such as sight and hearing, in its graphic design and production quality?
  • Selectivity — To what degree can the message be restricted to those people who are known to be the most logical prospects?

Role of media agencies :

  1. Creating an advertise on the basis of information gathered about product
  2. Doing research on the company and the product and reactions of the customers.
  3. Planning for type of media to be used, when and where to be used, and for how much time to be used.
  4. Taking the feedbacks from the clients as well as the customers and then deciding the further line of action

Types of media agencies :

1. Traditional Advertising Agency

This is the oldest and most traditional type of marketing company style. Made most famous recently by the hit TV show Mad Men.

Up until a little thing called the internet was launched in 1996 ad agencies were the only game in town. The larger Winnipeg ad agencies offer all types of marketing; with the most common service being media planning and buying services, however many now offer other services from branding, to internet marketing.  The most common service from the larger Winnipeg ad agencies remains advertising. These agencies dominate TV advertising—both creative and media, along with all types of print (magazines, newspapers), radio, outdoor, and Internet.  Many of Winnipeg’s mid sized agencies also offer many of these services. There are several smaller ad agencies in Winnipeg that focus on print, but also offer radio and digital marketing solutions if required. Many of Winnipeg’s Ad agencies will focus on retail clients (business-to-consumer), but will also work with business-to-business clients that need advertising, or have larger marketing budgets.

2. Branding Agency

Branding or brand identity agencies are often referred to as boutique agencies. Agencies that specialize in branding provide a range of services from logos design, to brand name development, graphic identities & signage.  Most branding specialists will conduct market research to support their brand strategies, and may engage in wider services like website design & advertising.

3. Design Focused Agency 

Many Design focused shops describe themselves as design agencies or studios. Design agencies will often focus their efforts on the creation and design of brand packages, websites, advertising, flyers, brochures and all types of print collateral.

4. Media Buying & Planning Service 

Media agencies and buying services often specialize in strategy, research, planning, buying, execution and placement of all types of media including TV, print or newspaper, radio, billboards or outdoor, and online & digital. Like many of Winnipeg’s advertising & marketing agencies, media agencies will also offer other types of marketing. The larger media agencies provide an integral service to large advertisers due to their ability to negotiate and leverage and multi-media networks.

5. Promotional 

Winnipeg has several promotional type agencies that specialize in working with retail and package-goods clients for promotional campaigns that include advertising, coupons, contests, loyalty programs, merchandising displays, & promotional displays.

6. PR or Public Relations Agency 

Public relations, media relations, investor relations, and crisis communications are common services provided by Winnipeg PR Agencies. Other services include, news announcements, content creation and placement, and press conferences or events. Some Winnipeg PR firms also offer event marketing and will assist clients with new product launches, web development & social media.

7. Marketing Agency

The main difference between a traditional Advertising Agency and a Marketing Agency is the volume of services they will offer. Traditionally, Advertising Agencies have focused on creating and executing advertising campaigns and while some have diversified and now offer many other services, marketing agencies generally do it all. Most of Winnipeg’s Marketing Agencies will refer to themselves as full-service agencies and provide advertising, PR, strategy and planning, digital, branding, photography, video, and other types of marketing.

8. Digital Agency

With the emergence of digital as an essential part of the marketing mix , Internet marketing, social media, e-commerce, content marketing and related, are the fastest-growing agency types in Winnipeg. All agencies in this category will design websites, social media networks, manage blogs, and more. Further segmentation of this category occurs with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agencies or consultants, Paid Search or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, and application development (Apps).

9. Social Media Agency

Winnipeg has an abundance of Social media agencies that specialize in creating and managing a brands on social media networks. With many paying special interest in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, & Instagram. In addition to profile design, they’ll manage blogs & create interesting and engaging content including info-graphs & videos.

10. Direct Marketing Agency

Direct marketing agencies are experts in direct mail, but also utilize email marketing, Internet marketing, customer databases, analytics and more.

 WHEN TO USE A MEDIA AGENCY

  • What are pros and cons of using a media agency?
  • How to consider budget when using a media agency?

John Sexton (Founder & CEO of Hiiro Media) says the following about the benefits of hiring a media agency (on LinkedIn) :

Turnover
A high turnover rate can lead to an inconsistent brand image. The man-hours put into a new person being trained is costly. Allowing an outside firm to handle your branding needs is a great way to make sure these guidelines don’t slip through the cracks from one employee to the next.
Time
Unless you have someone on staff who is wholly dedicated to both marketing and design, there’s just not enough time in the day to keep up with the branding needs of a business with 25+ employees. Things tend to get placed on hold or forgotten. Things such as social media posts are missed, ads are only halfway complete, concepts are not well thought-out, and your brand image begins to fade. Partnering with an agency gives you the assurance that your needs are met on a daily basis and handled with complete competent care.
Skill
Rarely can you find a master of both marketing and design. You may find an employee that understands the best avenues for marketing your brand. However, it is extremely unlikely that you will find both. Successful agencies like Hiiro Media have it all. As a client, you should receive a thoroughly vetted marketing plan that encompasses multiple channels (social media, digital display ads, print, etc.), accompanied by strategic planning and monitoring. For example, let’s say you sell naturally made skin care products and want to update your logo to captivate the in-store consumer’s eye. The agency designer can provide you with stellar graphics, the brand strategist could suggest adding a campaign on Instagram to drive additional traffic to your website  (also updated with the new logo) which will drive sales. An outstanding agency will always create quality content and a consistent brand experience that keeps your company relevant and thriving. An agency has the expertise to bring up relevant, strategic points that are often overlooked by an internal staff member.
Money
Astonishingly enough by hiring an agency your business will actually SAVE money. The talent at an agency such as Hiiro Media has the capabilities of: creating the best design, blogging, creation of original content to platforms, managing those social media platforms best suited for your brand, strategizing ad placements, and more. If you have to hire new employees to push out new content on a regular basis a lot of money will be lost in the process. If you hire someone internally to take on your specific marketing needs, think about the money that goes into health benefits, vacation days and training for a new employee. An agency provides an entire team of skilled professionals that hone their skills on a daily basis and can specifically focus those skills on meeting your needs and driving actual business results.
Perspective
With all the hassle and stress of running a business it can be overwhelming. Sometimes brands are spread thin focusing on too many things at once and cannot stay focused on their social media marketing efforts. At Hiiro Media, We live and breathe branding and marketing. Our team consists of experts in design, social media management, copywriting and video marketing; just to name a few. We are excited to talk with you about how we can create a strong, successful strategy for your brand that makes sense and drives revenue while building brand equity. The Result? Quality content and marketing efforts that will captivate your audience while encouraging engagement and elevate your brand.

The costing options Mark Kelly (Smart Insights) sees used most often by agencies:

Option 1. Blended rate with time estimates model

A blended rate covers all the specialists in the agency, regardless of role or seniority and will be one rate (e.g £650 per day). Useful if you are trying to keep things simple whilst estimating. And some clients will prefer this approach. Clients may ask you to give specific individual rates though if they are trying to compare ‘apples with apples’ in a pitch situation.

Option 2. Specialist rate with time estimates model

Here, as per the spreadsheet templates, the rates for individuals vary dependent on both their contribution to profitability (taking on board their overhead etc) and also the level of seniority and / or experience they have in the industry. You will be paying more for experienced people yourself and will seek to pass that on to a client who needs that experienced input into a creative or technical solution etc.

Excel-marketing-project-costing-example

Option 3. Fixed fee model

Sometimes a client fixes the budget as a ‘fait accompli’ and in this case the agency has to calculate (with its own charge­out rates) how much time can realistically be spent at each stage of the process to arrive at a solution that will meet any KPIs or campaign objectives set. Fixed fees should ideally only be set in consultation: agencies and clients should work in partnership to transparently work out what is truly involved in delivering a solution. Trying to ‘massage’ time to make it artificially fit into a ­fixed budget can lead to problems further down the line.

Even if the client has a fixed budget you should still go through a robust estimating process yourself to determine how much budget would really be required for the brief that has been set. You can the make a decision: agree to invest time (out of goodwill and for considered commercial reasons) that makes up the budget shortfall, negotiate a more realistic budget (with your robust estimate as evidence) or walk away.

Option 4. Value-based model:

This is charging for the value of the strategy or creative thinking rather than the time taken to do that thinking itself. Value-­based remuneration is based on the assumption the client will gain a high Return On Investment against the fee you charge. This is a perennial point of debate in the industry. By debate, I mean that I know of a lot of agencies who would like to use this model but the market paradigm is still that of time not value!

Option 5. Payment by results model:

Still a rare model in my experience, but one you should consider for differentiation. But you need to be confident your marketing strategy or creative for the client in the sector you’re working for can have a demonstrable, measurable impact on the KPIs you have agreed with the client. That’s where it gets difficult I think: since integration of channels is core to most campaigns, how your specific input / thinking / media planning / creative etc is isolated and attributed to those agreed measures (e.g increase in brand awareness, website traffic, online sales etc) against other external factors such as a wider campaign that may have run recently, the efficacy (or not) of the client sales team to convert leads, the UX of the website etc.

Whether you use spreadsheets or an automated / integrated project agency fees management platform, the important thing is to get your estimating discipline right from the start. A lack of accurate estimating will lead to an impact on your agency profitability. By ‘accurate’ I mean estimates that factor in all the resources / roles and time that will be required to meet the project objectives and at rates that the business has set to achieve a desired profit.

When comparing the cost and effectiveness of various advertising media, consider the following factors: (Entrepreneur)

  • Reach. Expressed as a percentage, reach is the number of individuals (or homes) you want to expose your product to through specific media scheduled over a given period of time.
  • Frequency. Using specific media, how many times, on average, should the individuals in your target audience be exposed to your advertising message? It takes an average of three or more exposures to an advertising message before consumers take action.
  • Cost per thousand. How much will it cost to reach a thousand of your prospective customers (a method used in comparing print media)? To determine a publication’s cost per thousand, also known as CPM, divide the cost of the advertising by the publication’s circulation in thousands.
  • Cost per point. How much will it cost to buy one rating point for your target audience, a method used in comparing broadcast media. One rating point equals 1 percent of your target audience. Divide the cost of the schedule being considered by the number of rating points it delivers.
  • Impact. Does the medium in question offer full opportunities for appealing to the appropriate senses, such as sight and hearing, in its graphic design and production quality?
  • Selectivity. To what degree can the message be restricted to those people who are known to be the most logical prospects?

HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT MEDIA MIX?

  • What is a media plan?
  • Define the following concepts:
    • earned-owned media;
    • paid media;
    • shared media;
    • intramedia;

intermedia

ama-higher-ed-2014-marketers-as-masters-of-the-mix-53-638

Media planning = The process of establishing the exact media vehicles to be used for advertising .

 A media plan = Document describing objectives, strategy, tactics, resource allocation, and media schedule and media mix to be used in reaching a targeted audience.

How to create a media plan = 

  • Step 1: Define and write down your objectives for your public relations or media plan. How will you design your public relations campaign? Will it be designed to:
    • Establish your expertise among your peers, the press, or your potential clients or customers?
    • Build goodwill among your customer, supplier, or your community?
    • Create and reinforce your brand and professional corporate image?
    • Inform and create good perceptions regarding your company and services?
    • Assist you in introducing a new service or product to your market?
    • Generate sales or leads?
    • Mitigate the impact of negative publicity and/or corporate crisis?

    You may be wondering why I am asking you these things at the beginning of a tutorial that is supposed to show you how to create and your develop public relations plan? The answer is easy. In order for your public relations and media plan to be successful it’s first most important to determine and define your objective. With a clear objective in mind you have laid the ground work to the complete the remainder of this tutorial.

  • Step 2: Define your goals in achieving this objective. It is important that your goals be specific, measurable, results-oriented and time-bound. These goals must be in-line with your overall business, marketing, and sales objectives.
  • Step 3: Determine who your target audienceconsists of. Who is it that you want to reach with this campaign? What do you want your key message to be?
  • Step 4: Develop a schedule for your public relation campaigns. Create synergy by coinciding your public relations plan with other marketing and sales efforts.
  • Step 5: Develop your plan of attack. What communication vehicles will you use to get your message to the public? Examples may include:
    • Press releases
    • Articles
    • Customer Success Stories
    • Letters to the Editor
    • Press Conferences, Interview, or Media Tours
    • Radio, Television, or Press Interviews
    • Seminars or Speaking Engagements
    • Event Sponsorships

    Select three from the list and beginning researching and developing your approach.

  • Step 6: Put measures in place to track the results of your public relations campaign. After each campaign sit down and review the results. Did you achieve the defined objectives and goals of this campaign? Should you consider modifying your original plan? If so, how and why?

Earned/owned media/paid media = 

trifecta2

paid-earned-owned-shared-media

http://pearanalytics.com/blog/2014/sample-marketing-plan-with-paid-owned-earned-and-shared-media/

Sources :

https://books.google.fi/books?id=U17MAwAAQBAJ&pg=PT32&lpg=PT32&dq=Media+planning+is+generally+the+task+of+a+media+agency+and+entails+finding+media+platforms+for+a+client’s+brand+or+product+to+use.+The+job+of+media+planning+is+to+determine+the+best+combination+of+media+to+achieve+the+marketing+campaign+objectives.&source=bl&ots=HUzG23ws2C&sig=ACjrB0EGniabz5t_MnHXCX1pHEQ&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBGoVChMI6ZeFvvSDyQIVQREsCh1xOwGP#v=onepage&q=Media%20planning%20is%20generally%20the%20task%20of%20a%20media%20agency%20and%20entails%20finding%20media%20platforms%20for%20a%20client’s%20brand%20or%20product%20to%20use.%20The%20job%20of%20media%20planning%20is%20to%20determine%20the%20best%20combination%20of%20media%20to%20achieve%20the%20marketing%20campaign%20objectives.&f=false

http://www.tmdwinnipeg.ca/10-types-of-winnipeg-advertising-agencies

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-benefits-hiring-social-media-agency-josh-sexton

http://www.smartinsights.com/managing-digital-marketing/planning-budgeting/marketing-agency-costing-and-budgeting-models/

http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/media-planning

http://pearanalytics.com/blog/2014/sample-marketing-plan-with-paid-owned-earned-and-shared-media/

 

 

Media agencies

Social Media

Problem : How to use social media effectively in building/developing a brand?

Learning objectives :

  1. Social media? Channels -> how to choose the most effective platform for your company?
  2. How to measure the impact of social media
  3. How to apply social media
  4. Trends/examples

SOCIAL MEDIA 

It is commonly suggested that to increase your brand presence, you need to be active on all forms of social media. While that may be true, unless your company has a dedicated social media coordinator, finding the time to maintain every platform out there can be extremely time consuming.

If your company is just starting out on the Web and need to pick a few social media networks to rule over, here is our guide to choosing the best platform(s) for your business, and how to make the most out of them.

1. Twitter

Who should use it: Everyone – from individuals to the largest multinational corporations

What to share: Start, join, and lead conversations; interact directly with brands and customers

Post frequency: Multiple times per day

Twitter is the dominant democracy of the social-sharing economy. Relevancy, personality and brevity are the keys to making your voice heard.

Useful tools: Buffer lets you stockpile and schedule content in advance. Tools like this allow for posting around-the-clock, increasing the likelihood of snagging followers beyond your country or time zone without being working 24/7.

It’s a guarantee by this point that a conversation relevant to your industry or business is occurring on Twitter. The only question: are you part of it?

buffer

2. Instagram

Who should use it: Lifestyle, food, fashion, personalities and luxury brands

What to share: Share visual content, including short videos (less than 15 seconds)

Post frequency: Once a day

Instagram invites brands with visual content into their customers’ zone-out time. Create and post content accordingly.

You’ll want to experiment with your own userbase and followers, but it’s likely that the best time to target your posts will be to get to your audience’s eyes during their commutes, nights, and weekends.

Useful tools: While hashtags are clickable and useful for search purposes, links in comments and captions are not.

Instead, use the integrated sharing functions for Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter to repurpose your Instagram posts for more shareable media. Include a relevant hashtag to become more discoverable on Instagram and to track engagement across sites where you share the content.

4QMvDq_saAPga9luwN2wMkQ-_2e3kml3TkuBTkF9b78SGh2iSSBFXC722gnByV7FcA=s2000

Additionally, Followgram is a great tool for tracking your stats on the most liked and commented posts, along with top tags and locations.

3. LinkedIn

Who should use it: Businesses (especially B2B service providers), Recruiters and Job-Seekers

What to share: Job-postings, company descriptions, employer/employee research

Post frequency: Two to four times a week

LinkedIn is the online analog to old fashioned networking. People – and connections to people – are everything

Keep a company description and profile page mindful of keyword SEO, but your network of employees and contacts is your most valuable (and potentially damaging) content on LinkedIn. Make sure people in your organization are appropriate, professional and on-brand. There’s nowhere online where employers and employees are more intimately linked.

Company seeking clients and individuals seeking employment should grow their LinkedIn networks by adding as many real connections as possible. Use your second and third-degree connections to request personal introductions (when reasonable), and weed out the Internet’s infinity of companies and applications, focusing on opportunities where you have some real connection.

linkedin profile view

Top tip: LinkedIn shares more about your own electronic creeping than any other network. Paid users can see who’s viewing their profiles.

If you’re researching a competitor or doing some preliminary job-seeking you’d rather your boss didn’t know about, try a Google search specifically for the LinkedIn page you want to see.

4. Facebook

Who should use it: Everyone and their grandmas (literally)

What to share: All types of online content, events, ads

Post frequency: Once or twice a day

Consider advertising or paying to promote your page on Facebook, but don’t make your brand’s Facebook page itself look like an advertisement. Inspire conversations and shares – and be sure to ask questions.

Of all social networks, Facebook is best equipped to linearly share responses to a post asking a question or sparking conversation. Answers then appear in friends of your respondents, spreading the conversation.

Facebook offers personal connection and an enjoyable distraction amidst the work day, but use typically peaks outside of work hours. There’s no shortage of options for analyzing Facebook data. Track the success of your content by date and time to hone in on the best times for engaging your audience.

Useful tools: URL shortener Bitly does more than just shrink down links. Each time you convert a link, Bitly offers stats on clicks generated from that specific link, making it helpful to see how much traffic is brought directly from sharing to Facebook.

fb shares

5. Google+

Who should use it: Brands already on the other major social networks, B2B networking, bloggers

What to share: More formal and professional than Facebook; Hashtags have major search value

Post frequency: Once or twice a day

As Google’s proposed alternative to Facebook, keywords and search engine optimization are central to the appeal of Google+. Link often to content on your own website to direct this search boost where you want it most.

googleplus_android_3

Useful tools: Bloggers, set up Google Authorship to have your Google+ profile follow your content from across the Web in search results. More than any particular feature of Google+, users are enticed by integration with Google’s other products.

Case in point? Comments on this article’s next social network now link to Google+ accounts.

6. YouTube

Who should use it: Brands with video content and ads, anyone giving explanations or sharing expertise

What to share: Short (less than 1.5 minutes) video content

Post frequency: Once or twice a week

Google treats its own well, and YouTube is the prime example of this fact. YouTube videos feature prominently in Google search results.

Keep this in mind when naming and describing videos, and direct people looking for insight or explanations within your industry topics to your brand’s page.

youtube

Useful tools: A subscription widget or link to your website can help convert single views into long-term influence.

7. Pinterest

Who should use it: Fashion, food, design, travel and anything DIY; audience skews female by 4:1

What to share: Creative, visual content

Post frequency: Multiple times per day

Users pin and re-pin posts to Pinterest Boards, which naturally push the content on Pinterest into categories. This makes easily-categorized content most apt for sharing, and wisely-chosen keywords essential to successful post captions.

Pinterest differs from other popular search engines in heavily favoring recent content. Pinning and re-pinning frequently is necessary to appear within current results for a given search term, regardless of how popular your content is.

pinterest2

Top tip: That stunning visual content on Pinterest? Undoubtedly the hard work of a designer, photographer or videographer. Technically, you’re only supposed to pin content you own or that’s within the public domain. Be sure to attribute your pins appropriately.

8. Yelp and/or Foursquare

Who should use it: B2C companies, brick-and-mortar outlets (especially stores, restaurants, and travel/tourism related), reviewers and bloggers

What to share: Location-based business search and reviews

Post frequency: Before your physical business opens and whenever information changes. Otherwise, at least weekly.

Share details about your business on an official company profile page. Monitor customer feedback related to your business, and respond to concerns raised in reviews. Consider it free promotion and advertisement (although paid promotions are also available).

Keep your information updated, and pay attention to keywords and SEO in crafting descriptions – Yelp listings in particular feature prominently in Google searches for local businesses.

On the consumer side of these B2C networks, reviewers and bloggers can use Yelp and Foursquare to grow their following. You can’t post a link in a review (Yelp with flag those and potentially suspend your profile), but you can develop a reputation for reliable reviews.

foursquare business profile

Top tip: Both Yelp and Foursquare users tend to glance, so it’s important to get as many high numbered ratings as possible to gain a positive first impression. Add a link to your blog or personal website under the profile section to capture additional readership.

MEASURING THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA

In a nutshell, the Social Media ROI Cycle happens in three stages. The first stage is the Launch stage where organizations rush to get their social media campaigns up-and-running quickly. Typically, they create a Facebook page, a Twitter page, a Pinterest Board and a LinkedIn Company page very rapidly without thinking about their goals or their strategic approach.

The second stage of the Social Media ROI Cycle is the Management stage. In this stage, organizations re-visit their social media campaigns and realize they need to formalize their goals and their strategic approaches. (Ideally, they would have thought about goals and strategies before launching their campaigns. Unfortunately, most businesses rush to launch their social media campaigns first without thinking about goals and strategies.)

During the second stage, companies formalize the metrics around their social media campaigns. This includes tracking Facebook Likes, website visitors, Twitter followers and other quantitative metrics. As we’ll discuss in a minute, these metrics are almost meaningless if you don’t also track your social media ROI.

The final stage of the Social Media ROI Cycle is the Optimization Stage. Most companies don’t reach Stage 3 of the Social Media ROI Cycle because it involves tracking social media metrics while also doing A/B split testing to see which campaigns performed the best. The companies that do reach this stage ultimately test their way to success by dropping the campaigns that don’t work and keeping the campaigns that do work.

sm-roi-1

APPLY SOCIAL MEDIA 

Whether you are operating a brick-and-mortar company, or a more tech-heavy startup such as my business, thoughtfully employing social media can help you increase your visibility, profits, and number of customers. One key is carefully linking your social media activity to your business strategy. How can you do so? Here are three pieces of advice:

1. Choose the right platforms and practices 

It might be tempting to follow the social media trends that are considered “hot” in popular culture and jump on whatever platform is being talked about the most. Maximizing your social media use means choosing those platforms and practices that suit your core business strategy. For instance, it may or may not make sense for your company to update its Twitter account every hour; what works for another company may not have the same effects for yours.

One strategy could be to first determine which platforms your customers and leads use, and then build your social media presence with those outlets in mind so as to achieve predetermined and measurable business objectives. Even if revenue impact is hard to measure, you should have specific key performance indicators in place that will help you evaluate the extent to which you are doing a good job and generating meaningful value for your company.

In many cases, the objective of a social media strategy is to increase the reach and visibility of your company. Therefore, it would make sense to consider fostering a social media presence on most – if not all – of the major platforms to maximize those reach results. For instance, Facebook may be the largest social media platform, but Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram have the highest growth rates. Which outlets are likely to benefit your business most, both in terms of the users you’ll reach and how you do business? Twitter users, for example, often expect near-immediate responses when they mention a company. If you do not have the resources to answer quickly, Twitter (and other similar platforms) may not be ideal for your company’s social media strategy.

2. Set goals for your social media use

The location, purpose, and size of your business will naturally affect your social media goals. However, many companies use social platforms to:

  • Increase referral traffic to their website
  • Drive lead generation or e-commerce purchases
  • Increase company credibility
  • Demonstrate a corporate identity and culture that makes people more likely to want to work with as consumers or employees
  • Increase the quantity of feedback that they receive from customers and leads.
  • Offer an additional avenue for customer service interactions. Your clients may find it more convenient to compose a Tweet or write a Facebook post than to call or email you. It may even help them like you more. One survey found that 43% of customers are likely to recommend a product or service to others when that brand responds in a timely manner on social media outlets.
  • Media outlets may even consider your online presence when deciding whether to feature your company in a piece. The stories that you portray of an exciting company through social media may help you connect with reporters and writers who are looking for interesting businesses to profile.

Whenever possible, track how your social media use influences your lead flow and customer conversion rate. Ultimately, good use of these platforms should be impacting your revenue and profit figures.

3. Take a systemized approach to content

Once you decide which social media outlets best fit your business strategy, you should develop a comprehensive plan for the content you will be posting. A systemized approach is key when developing your content plan, as this will allow you to maintain organization and consistency when sharing across your various social channels. Try to determine how frequently you will post, how you will quantify the results of your postings, and how you will attain maximum reach with your strategy.

To start, for instance, you should look into social media management tools, such as Hootsuite. These resources can be incredibly helpful for social media managers of any company, as they allow you to plan posts in advance and select only the specific channels through which you would like a particular message to be shared. This helps to keep your content plan less erratic and ultimately should assist you in engaging your target audience at the times of highest potential reach across all cohesive channels.

It is also highly recommended to create and maintain an ongoing editorial calendar for your content. Ideally, you should be able to look at the month or week ahead (depending on your business and particular social strategy) and have a clear view of when certain pieces of content will be published, as well as when you will share them on social media. Taking it day by day is not always wise, even if you are planning your posts one day in advance. That may help you for the short-term, but establishing and following an editorial calendar that stretches over a longer period of time can subsequently help your social strategy for the long-term.

Moreover, it is important to remember that you should present engagingcontent on social media. If you are only posting messages such as, “Check out our latest deals,” people will quickly tune out. Try to curate posts that are applicable to your product or service and that are interesting. The best content also encourages people to interact with your brand again. Take a company that sells shoes – it could post a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the design process for its latest model. Even content from other sources can work as long as it is relevant to your business strategy.

Whether your business relies on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, or some combination of these or other outlets, the four words above – relevant to your business strategy – are key to a successful social campaign. By choosing the correct platforms and practices, identifying key goals, and planning your approach to content, you can ensure your use of social media supports your core business strategy.

TRENDS

1) Social Media Critical for Small Business

sd-respondents-using-facebook

2) Facebook Dominates Small Business Social Media Marketing

3) B2B Small businesses use social media differently than B2C (B2B -> LinkedIn, B2C -> Facebook)

4) Most Small Business Marketers don’t know if facebook efforts are working

5) Small businesses identify increased exposure as SoMe’s top benefit

6) Increased traffic to website is nr 2 benefit of SoMarketing

7) SoMe cuts markting expenses for small businesses

8) Small Business direct social sales rise over time

9) Facebook dominates social media paid ads

Sources :

http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2013/11/17/in-depth-guide-calculating-social-media-roi/

http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2014/03/05/social-media-platform-best-business/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckcohn/2015/01/23/how-to-properly-use-social-media-to-fit-your-business-strategy/2/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-marketing-trends-for-small-business/

Social Media Examiner’s seventh annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, a survey of 3,720 marketers : http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-marketing-trends-for-small-business/

Social Media

Communication plan

Problem : How to create an effective communications plan?
Learning objectives : 

  1. What is a communications plan (CP)?
  • Elements of a CP
  • types
  • tools
  • trends
  1. What are the steps in a CP?
  2. How to measure the results of a CP? (How to know if its working?)

1)What is a communications plan (CP)?

The aim of a communication plan states the overall goal of the communication effort.

A communication plan is a road map for getting your message across to your audience. The plan is an essential tool of marketing, human resources, corporate affairs and public relations management. Spending time planning your approach will improve your ability to achieve your desired outcome.

Planning is a way to organize actions that will lead to the fulfillment of a goal. Your goal in this case is to raise awareness about your initiative’s long-term benefits to your community. To develop a plan for communication of any sort, you have to consider some basic questions:

  • Why do you want to communicate with the community?  (What’s your purpose?)
  • Whom do you want to communicate it to?  (Who’s your audience?)
  • What do you want to communicate?  (What’s your message?)
  • How do you want to communicate it?  (What communication channels will you use?)
  • Whom should you contact and what should you do in order to use those channels?  (How will you actually distribute your message?)

The answers to these questions constitute your action plan, what you need to do in order to communicate successfully with your audience. The remainder of your communication plan, involves three steps:

  • Implement your action plan. Design your message and distribute it to your intended audience.
  • Evaluate your communication efforts, and adjust your plan accordingly.
  • Keep at it

Example : communications-plan-template-word

Different elements that need to be used :

Situation Analysis

(Describe scenario as planning period begins.  What particular issues, facts, perceptions, etc. are relevant to the communications plan being undertaken? )

Key Objectives of the Communication Plan

(What tangible outcomes would you like to achieve as a result of the communications effort?)

Identify and profile each target audience.

(Describe specific audiences you are targeting through the communication effort, and the ways the knowledge, attitudes and behavior of each needs to change in order to meet your goal(s).  What barriers must be overcome to each audience fully supporting or participating in reaching your goal?  What are the characteristics of each audience that would effect how you would choose to communicate with them — language, education, media habits, etc.?)  What research is needed to understand each audience better and how to reach it?

Key Messages

Communications Channels

(Based on what you know about each target audience, pick communications channels that would be effective ways of reaching them.  In each category, be specific about which particular channels you will use within the category selected.

Television stations

Radio Stations

Newspapers

Web sites

Community centers

Laundromats

Malls

Schools

Vocational and language training centers

Libraries

Recreation centers

Supermarkets

Literature rack

Mail 

Communications Tools

Brochures

Flyers

Posters

Newsletters

Annual report

Web site

Press kit

News release

Story pitch

Article reprint

Letter to the editor

Op/ed piece

News conference

Direct mail

PSA

Advertising

Event

Electronic media

Blog

Promotional items and giveaways

Others

Plan Implementation

(By each planned activity, assign a budget estimate, staff that will be responsible for the deliverable and a date for each step in the implementation of the activity.  Create a timeline for the entire plan.)

Evaluation

(Specify times to take stock of progress in implementing the communications plan.  Determine strengths and weaknesses of plan execution to date.  When obstacles are identified, create and implement new approaches.  Evaluate again at the next touch point.)

2)What are the steps in a CP?

The steps are:

  1. Identify the purpose of your communication
  2. Identify your audience
  3. Plan and design your message
  4. Consider your resources
  5. Plan for obstacles and emergencies
  6. Strategize how you’ll connect with the media and others who can help you spread your message
  7. Create an action plan
  8. Decide how you’ll evaluate your plan and adjust it, based on the results of carrying it out

1.  IDENTIFY YOUR PURPOSE.

What you might want to say depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your communication strategy. You might be concerned with one or a combination of the following:

  • Becoming known, or better known, in the community
  • Educating the public about the issue your organization addresses
  • Recruiting program participants or beneficiaries
  • Recruiting volunteers to help with your work
  • Rallying supporters or the general public to action for your cause
  • Announcing events
  • Celebrating honors or victories
  • Raising money to fund your work
  • Countering the arguments, mistakes, or, occasionally, the lies or misrepresentations of those opposed to your work.
  • Dealing with an organizational crisis that’s public knowledge – a staff member who commits a crime, for example, or a lawsuit aimed at the organization.

2.  IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE.

Who are you trying to reach? Knowing who your audience is makes it possible to plan your communication logically.  You’ll need different messages for different groups, and you’ll need different channels and methods to reach each of those groups.

There are many different ways to think about your audience and the ways they could best be contacted. First, there’s the question of what group(s) you’ll focus on. You can group people according to a number of characteristics:

  • Demographics. Demographics are simply basic statistical information about people, such as gender, age, ethnic and racial background, income, etc.
  • Geography. You might want to focus on a whole town or region, on one or more neighborhoods, or on people who live near a particular geographic or man-made feature.
  • Employment. You may be interested in people in a particular line of work, or in people who are unemployed.
  • Health. Your concern might be with people at risk for or experiencing a particular condition – high blood pressure, perhaps, or diabetes – or you might be leveling a health promotion effort – “Eat healthy, exercise regularly” – at the whole community.
  • Behavior. You may be targeting your message to smokers, for example, or to youth engaged in violence.
  • Attitudes. Are you trying to change people’s minds, or bring them to the next level of understanding?

Another aspect of the audience to consider is whether you should direct your communication to those whose behavior, knowledge, or condition you hope to affect, or whether your communication needs to be indirect. Sometimes, in order to influence a population, you have to aim your message at those to whom they listen – clergy, community leaders, politicians, etc.

For instance, in the 1970’s, advocates wanted to stop Nestle from selling baby formula and paying doctors and nurses to recommend it to parents in the developing world; since most parents couldn’t afford formula after the free samples ran out, and many didn’t have clean water to mix it with, the practice led to large numbers of unnecessary infant deaths. Rather than target Nestle or the medical professionals who were selling the formula, advocates aimed at Nestle’s customers around the world, instituting a boycott of Nestle products that lasted for over ten years. Ultimately, the company agreed to change its practices.

3.  THE MESSAGE.

When creating your message, consider content, mood, language, and design.

Content

In the course of a national adult literacy campaign in the 1980’s, educators learned that TV ads that profiled proud, excited, successful adult learners attracted new learners to literacy programs. Ads that described the difficulties of adults with poor reading, writing, and math skills attracted potential volunteers. Both ads were meant to make the same points – the importance of basic skills and the need for literacy efforts – but they spoke to different groups.

You should craft your message with your audience in mind; planning the content of your message is necessary to make it effective.

Mood

Consider what emotions you want to appeal to.

The mood of your message will do a good deal to determine how people react to it. In general, if the mood is too extreme – too negative, too frightening, trying to make your audience feel too guilty – people won’t pay much attention to it. It may take some experience to learn how to strike the right balance. Keeping your tone positive will usually reach more people than evoking negative feelings such as fear or anger.

Language

There are two aspects to language here: one is the actual language – English, Spanish, Korean, Arabic – that your intended audience speaks; the other is the kind of language you use – formal or informal, simple or complex, referring to popular figures and ideas or to obscure ones.

You can address the language people speak by presenting any printed material in both the official language and the language(s) of the population(s) you’re hoping to reach, and by providing translation for spoken or broadcast messages.

The second language issue is more complicated. If your message is too informal, your audience might feel you’re talking down to them, or, worse, that you’re making an insincere attempt to get close to them by communicating in a way that’s clearly not normal for you.  If your message is too formal, your audience might feel you’re not really talking to them at all. You should use plain, straightforward language that expresses what you want to say simply and clearly.

Channels of communication

What does your intended audience read, listen to, watch, engage in?  You have to reach them by placing your message where they’ll see it.

  • Posters
  • Fliers and brochures – These can be more compelling in places where the issue is already in people’s minds (doctors’ offices for health issues, supermarkets for nutrition, etc.).
  • Newsletters
  • Promotional materials – Items such as caps, T-shirts, and mugs can serve as effective channels for your message.
  • Comic books or other reading material – Reading matter that is intrinsically interesting to the target audience can be used to deliver a message through a story that readers are eager to follow, or simply through the compelling nature of the medium and its design.
  • Internet sites – In addition to your organization’s website, interactive sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are effective mediums for communication
  • Letters to the Editor
  • News stories, columns, and reports
  • Press releases and press conferences
  • Presentations or presence at local events and local and national conferences, fairs, and other gatherings
  • Community outreach
  • Community or national events – The Great American Smokeout, National Literacy Day, a community “Take Back the Night” evening against violence, and other community events can serve to convey a message and highlight an issue.
  • Public demonstrations
  • Word of mouth
  • Music
  • Exhibits and public art – The AIDS quilt, a huge quilt with squares made by thousands of people, commemorating victims of the HIV epidemic, is a prime example.
  • Movies – Since the beginnings of the film industry, movies have carried messages about race, the status of women, adult literacy, homosexuality, mental illness, AIDS, and numerous other social issues.
  • TV – TV can both carry straightforward messages – ads and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) – and present news and entertainment programs that deal with your issue or profile your organization.
  • Theater and interactive theater – A play or skit, especially one written by people who have experienced what it illustrates, can be a powerful way to present an issue, or to underline the need for services or change.

Several interactive theater groups in New England, by stopping the action and inviting questions and comments, draw audiences into performances dramatizing real incidents in the lives of the actors, all of whom are staff members and learners in adult literacy programs. They have helped to change attitudes about adult learners, and to bring information about adult literacy and learning into the community

4.  RESOURCES.

What do you have the money to do? Do you have the people to make it possible? If you’re going to spend money, what are the chances that the results will be worth the expense? Who will lose what, and who will gain what by your use of financial and human resources?

Your plan should include careful determinations of how much you can spend and how much staff and volunteer time it’s reasonable to use. You may also be able to get materials, air time, and other goods and services from individuals, businesses, other organizations, and institutions.

5.  ANTICIPATE OBSTACLES AND EMERGENCIES.

Any number of things can happen in the course of a communication effort. Someone can forget to e-mail a press release, or forget to include a phone number or e-mail address. A crucial word on your posters or in your brochure can be misspelled, or a reporter might get important information wrong. Worse, you might have to deal with a real disaster involving the organization that has the potential to discredit everything you do.

It’s important to try to anticipate these kinds of problems, and to create a plan to deal with them. Crisis planning should be part of any communication plan, so you’ll know exactly what to do when a problem or crisis occurs. Crisis plans should include who takes responsibility for what – dealing with the media, correcting errors, deciding when something has to be redone rather than fixed, etc. It should cover as many situations, and as many aspects of each situation, as possible.

6.  STRATEGIZE HOW YOU’LL CONNECT WITH THE MEDIA AND OTHERS TO SPREAD YOUR MESSAGE.

Establishing relationships with individual media representatives and media outlets is an important part of a communication plan, as is doing the same with influential individuals and institutions in the community and/or the population you’re trying to reach. You have to make personal contacts, give the media and others reasons to want to help you, and follow through over time to sustain those relationships in order to keep communication channels open.

The individuals that can help you spread your message can vary from formal community leaders – elected officials, CEOs of important local, businesses, clergy, etc. – to community activists and ordinary citizens.  Institutions and organizations, such as colleges, hospitals, service clubs, faith communities, and other health and community organizations all have access to groups of community members who might need to hear your message.

7.  CREATE AN ACTION PLAN.

Now the task is to put it all together into a plan that you can act on. By the time you reach this point, your plan will already be essentially done. You know what your purpose is and whom you need to reach to accomplish it, what your message should contain and look like, what you can afford, what problems you might face, what channels can best be used to reach your intended audience, and how to gain access to those channels. Now it’s just a matter of putting the details together – actually composing and designing your message (perhaps more than one, in order to use lots of channels), making contact with the people who can help you get your message out, and getting everything in place to start your communication effort. And finally, you’ll evaluate your effort so that you can continue to make it better.

8.  EVALUATION.

If you evaluate your communication plan in terms of both how well you carry it out and how well it works, you’ll be able to make changes to improve it. It will keep getting more effective each time you implement it.

And there’s really a ninth step to developing a communication plan; as with just about every phase of health and community work, you have to keep up the effort, adjusting your plan and communicating with the community.

3)How to measure the results of a CP? (How to know if it’s working)?

Monitoring your communication activities :
Events
 Keep track of participants’ lists and contacts (including
journalists!)
 Prepare a questionnaire for feedback or conduct a brief
online survey after your event
Online tools
 Monitor your website hits in connection with certain events,
after having sent out a press release etc…
 Social media activities
Publications 
 Keep track of who received your publications (distribution
lists) and the number of publications disseminated. Get
feedback through surveys or focus groups.

blog-marketingobjectives-150110

Step 1Conduct regular surveys of your employees and customers to determine if you're communicating effectively. The survey should ask questions specifically related to your communication patterns. For example, ask customers, “How did you learn about our latest product or service?” Ask employees, “Do your superiors and team members clearly communicate information to you?” Have them rate their replies on a one-to-five scale.

Step 2Post information online in blog format to better communicate with employees (intraoffice) and customers (public information). Use a website tracking service to monitor visiting patterns and see how long visitors remain on your various website pages. If you see visitors spend several minutes reading content and making positive comments, then you know your communication is effective. If they click away in a few seconds, that could mean you are not sufficiently capturing their attention and effectively delivering your message.

Step 3Measure the progress of specific work projects to ascertain whether you and your employees are communicating effectively. If you find results are consistently at odds with your instructions or that your employees experience conflict, these are signs of possible communication problems.

Step 4Ask your employees to repeat verbal instructions back to you to see if they fully understand. You can simply ask each employee to send you an email summarizing your assignment and how they plan to get it done. If the employees clearly and accurately reiterate your instructions, that's a sign you're communicating effectively. This will also encourage your employees to ask questions to clarify points of confusion when you're talking to them in group and one-on-one meetings.

Sources :

http://admin.interact-eu.net/downloads/3087/Presentation_Evaluation_and_communication_INTERACT.pdf

http://www.cgiar.org/www-archive/www.cgiar.org/communicationstoolkit/pdf/Developing%20a%20Communication%20Plan.pdf

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Communication-Plan

http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/participation/promoting-interest/communication-plan/main

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/measure-effective-communication-3180.html

Communication plan

Crisis Communication and Reputation Management

Problem : Managing your reputation with good crisis communication

Learning objectives :

  • How to prepare for a crisis?
  • How to manage a crisis?
  • How to manage your reputation after the crisis?

Defining a crisis & crisis management :

A crisis is considered as anything that threatens the continuity and viability of a business. It can befall any business at any time and typically falls into one of four categories – a natural crisis; a technological crisis, a confrontational crisis, and a malevolent crisis.

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, financial collapses, litigation, tarnishing of brand and business reputation, and other crisis situations have captured public attention to an unprecedented degree in recent years. In the face of these and many more potential crises, and the damaging aftermath that can follow, it is imperative that every business has, as part of its overall risk management plan, a sound crisis management plan.

Put simply crisis management involves:

• Identifying a crisis
• Planning a response
• Responding to a sudden event that poses a significant threat to the firm
• Limiting the damage
• Selecting an individual and team to deal with the crisis
• Resolving a crisis

From a communications standpoint, a crisis is a business or organizational problem that is exposed to public attention, and that threatens a company’s reputation and its ability to conduct business.

A crisis can take on many forms, including natural or man-made disasters, environmental spills, product tampering or recalls, labour disruptions or criminal acts, to name a few. What makes them a crisis is the fact that they are the focus of intense media scrutiny.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CRISIS :

!! Crisis management plan !!

A crisis management plan should be an integral part of your organisation’s risk management plan.

You should already have in place a risk management plan which identifies the risks and their impacts that could threaten the viability and existence of an organisation.

Within your risk management plan you should have a contingency plan which identifies back-up procedures, emergency responses and post crisis/disaster recovery.

Your crisis plan

Your crisis plan should identify the process of responding to an event that might threaten the operations, staff, customers, reputation or the legal and financial status of an organisation. It should cover strategies to minimise the potential impact of identified crises by limiting any damage and minimising any losses that your organisation might face, and ensuring the continuity of the business.

The plan should detail the key business functions you need to ensure you are operating as quickly as possible, and the resources you’ll need to do so; and the roles of individuals in the emergency. Within the crisis plan there should be a business continuity plan setting out in writing how you will cope if a crisis does occur; and a contingency plan which identifies back-up procedures, emergency responses and the like. These strategies are important if you need to claim on your insurance policy.

The following is a checklist of the contents of a good crisis communications plan:

  • Names and contact information of the crisis team/ spokespeople. People need to know who holds responsibility for leading the organization through the crisis.
  • Crisis triage. Understanding what level of “crisis” you’re facing. Establishing criteria to decide when a minor incident has the potential to become a national crisis can be a challenge.
  • ” First response. What information has top priority? How will you initially respond to media?
  • Alert/ notification procedures. Who needs to get information, and in what order of priority? By phone, e-mail, pager or fax?
  • Situation room. Assess the physical space that will be the nerve centre for managing the crisis, including the required hardware and software, staffing, location and layout.
  • Stakeholder communications. How do you plan to communicate with customers, shareholders, employees, government and the media?
  • Contact lists. Include the “inputs (which media outlets and Internet message boards should be monitored, which opinion leaders should be kept track of, etc.) and “outputs” (which journalists should be contacted, which newspapers and television programs should be approached, which media outlets need to hear your story).
  • Template responses. Standardized format,language and protocol for all communications.

Some tips :
1. Prepare a system that will allow you to respond to the emergency– Although emergencies are unexpected by nature, you can make a list of the predicted problems and implement a plan to possibly deal with them. For example, a good idea is to hold a brainstorming session with influential members of the organization to identify events that might bring unfavorable publicity.
2. Develop policies: Each company or organization should have a set of policies or guidelines to deal with emergencies. When asked by the media what the company’s policies are about a certain situation, your spokesperson should be able to answer firmly. This assures the public that the company’s employees are reliable and knowledgeable.
3. Create a crisis management team: Assign certain individuals to be fully knowledgeable about the company’s policies and who are efficient in problem-solving to deal with emergencies. Appoint a team leader, a spokesperson to deal with the media, team members to deal with the victims and emergency officials, and others to guide the staff and volunteers.
4. Assemble and Organize resources: Make sure you have up-to-date information to be able to react immediately without having to do extensive research. Resources include: lists of contacts for team members, volunteers, staff, as well as emergency officials such as police, hospitals and the fire department.
5. Distribute an emergency procedures guide: This is to ensure that volunteers, staff and team members know what to do in case of emergency. For example, how to talk to the press as well as how to deal with the safety of the people involved.

HOW TO MANAGE A CRISIS

Some tips :
1. Bring the situation under control: Ensure the safety of those involved in the crisis. “Always protect people first and property second.”
2. Analyze the situation and gather all the facts: Once safety and security have been restored, gather the information of the incident and begin thinking of a solution to the problem. Don’t blow the problem out of proportion before gathering all the facts.
3. Notify the families of those involved: Assign your team member to personally and kindly contact the families of those involved to inform them about the situation. Never publicly release the names of dead or injured before contacting the family first.
4. Keep internal publics informed: Keeping your staff and volunteers informed will ensure that the right information is being released. Try to inform your internal publics before or at the same time that you are releasing information to the media.
5. Communicate with the media: The only way for your affected publics to be informed is by watching or listening to the media. Therefore, it is your duty to inform the media outlets as soon as possible about the situation.
6. Effective crisis management calls for open, honest communication between the company and its publics: It is almost human nature to try and minimize the problem when the reality is too difficult to deal with, but it is your duty to your publics to keep them well informed. They depend on you, therefore you have to correspond by treating them with the same respect.

During the crisis, one of the most vital skills a company can possess is the ability to determine if, when and at what level of importance a crisis has struck:

  • Is this a crisis, or is it simply a continuing business problem coming to the surface?
  • Is it confined to a local area, or does it have the potential to become a situation of national or international importance?
  • Has someone verified the incident or crisis?
  • What are the legal implications?
  • What level of resources will be required to manage it?

What about the media :

weiner-1

How to manage your reputation after the crisis?

1. Call an end to the crisis: Ensure that your company has done everything possible to fix the problem and declare an end to it. 

2. Follow up: Stay in touch with the victims, keep media informed of any updates, thank your internal publics for their support during the crisis and review company’s policies to avoid a repetition of the situation. 

3. Evaluate: Evaluate your performance, analyze what you have learned and revise your crisis management plan by including what you learned in the past experience.

WHEN DEALING WITH THE VICTIMS:

1. Do the right thing: Put the public’s interest and safety before trying to salvage the reputation of the organization. Don’t try to minimize large problems as well as don’t blow problems out of proportion that don’t need to be. 

2. Give accurate information quickly: By providing the facts at least to one major media outlet, you still have control of the dissemination of information. Positive, assertive communication moves the process forward to finding a proper solution. 

3. Follow up: Make sure that the victims involved are safe and change policies within the company to prevent another crisis.

Crisis as an opportunity

• A crisis can radically change the environment in which your business operates. As devastating as it can be, it can also offer an opportunity to re-structure the business. It’s possible that there is an opportunity to take your business in a new direction by restructuring and repositioning the business.
• Consider being appropriately prepared for a disaster as a business opportunity. If your products can be used in an emergency, register them with emergency agencies. It is important that you will be ready to provide the goods and services as soon as needed.
– A well-managed crisis response, coupled with an effective recovery program, will leave stakeholders with a favourable impression and renewed confidence in the affected company.

———————————————————————————-

(From our course Public Relations last year) :

CRISIS COMMUNICATION :

A crisis = an (unexpected) event/happening that could have negative consequences for the company and that could create a risk for the continuity of the company.

Crisis :

– Crisisteam

– Crisismanager

– Crisisplan
crisis communication plan
crisis communication manager

=> Crisis communication is taking structured measures to ensure that a crisis and the negative consequences for the name and the image of the organization can be controlled and limited, as far as possible.

During a crisis it’s often hard to keep a balance between the intern and extern target groups -> panic -> rumors

So? 

– Pick a crisis manager : head of the crisisteam

– + A crisis communication manager -> in contact with the target groups.

– Create a crisis plan in advance (for a big business)

A crisis plan contains : 

> An overview of possible crises

> A schedule with the different tasks (crisis manager, safety officer,..)

> Possible solutions

> Procedures for reporting (List of internal & external contact persons)

> The establishment of the crisis centre

A crisis communication plan gives information about : 

> Who is the communication manager (usually the spokesman)

> Procedures internal communication (Family victims, staff,..)

> Procedures press (Press list, guidelines interviews, list of possible questions,..)

> Procedures external communication (public authorities, consumers, distributors, local residents,..)

> Aftercare : communication to consumers, evaluation,..

5 commandments for good crisis communication :

1) First inform your employees, before you inform the press

2) Keep your relationship with unions as open as possible and continue to consult during crisis moments

3) Consumer safety must always come first bv. : when in doubt of a can of coca cola : withdraw directly

4) Never give control of your communication out of hands + make sure there is only 1 spokesman, and that your staff doesn’t talk to the press

6) Avoid leaks!

———————————————————————————————————-

10 RULES FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT

1. Respect the role of the media. The media are not the enemy; they have direct access to the audiences you need to reach. Rather than avoiding media, use them as a conduit to communicate key messages. Prepare a statement that includes the confirmed facts; communicate what the company is doing and provide background information.

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. The first rule of crisis management is to communicate. Early hours are critical and they set the tone for the duration of the crisis. The media’s first questions are likely to be simple and predictable:

  • What happened?
  • Where?
  • When did you know of the problem?
  • What are you doing about it?
  • Who’s to blame?
  • Were there warning signs?
  • How will life or property be protected or compensated?

Be as forthright as possible; tell what you know and when you became aware of it; explain who is involved and what is being done to fix the situation. Be sure to correct misinformation promptly when it emerges.

  • In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani held a press conference in the ruins of Lower Manhattan that afternoon. In the coming days, he became the reassuring voice of calm for worried residents of the city.
  • In the hours, days and months after the 1998 crash of Swissair 111 in Nova Scotia, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada held a series of media updates on the status of the crash investigation, and provided regular safety alerts to the international aviation community.
  • When Pepsi-Cola heard first reports of syringes being found in soft drink bottles in 1993 — which turned out to be hoaxes — it launched a broad communications offensive to reassure consumers. Tactics included media relations and interviews, company open houses, video news releases, third-party endorsement and consumer hotlines.

Remaining silent or appearing removed, perhaps on the advice of legal counsel, tends to enrage the public and other stakeholders. A balanced communications strategy must be developed that protects corporate liability while satisfying the demands of today’s information and media dynamic.

As demanding as the public may be, they are usually inclined to give an organization the benefit of the doubt in the early hours of a crisis. They judge a company and its leaders not by the incident itself — which they recognize is often beyond the control of those individuals — but by their response.

3. Take responsibility. One of the more controversial tenets of crisis management is that someone involved in a crisis must be prepared to empathize, even publicly apologize, for the events that have transpired. This is different from accepting blame. Taking responsibility means communicating what an organization is doing to remedy a situation that the media and the public have determined involve that organization in some way.

4. Centralize information. A company needs to move quickly to gain control over information and the resolution of the crisis. Ensure that appropriate levels of management are updated with information from a wide variety of sources (media coverage, analyst comments, competitive intelligence, managers’ first-hand reports, etc.).

5. Establish a crisis team. Create and train the crisis team before a crisis strikes, and establish a situation room. During a crisis, when everyone goes into action, be sure the team has access to the highest levels of management.

6. “Plan for the worst; hope for the best.” Assume the worst-case scenario. Develop contingencies for the hours and days ahead, forecast possible consequences and determine plans of action.

7. Communicate with employees. Remember that employees are your front-line “ambassadors” in a crisis. Be sure they are aware of what the company is doing to deal with the situation.

8. Third parties. Use third parties to speak on your behalf. Third parties act as character witnesses and often carry more credibility than the organization at the centre of a crisis.

9. Use research to determine responses. Polling, market research and focus groups provide essential insight into the magnitude of a crisis and public attitudes about where hidden issues may lie. Monitor the Internet, chat rooms and blogs.

10. Create a website – If circumstances warrant, create a website to give quick, up-to-the-minute information and get the company’s story out.

Sources :

http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall02/susi/after.htm

https://www.nswbusinesschamber.com.au/Members/members-askushow/Planning-and-strategy/Growth-Development/How-to-prepare-your-business-for-a-crisis

CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS: MANAGING CORPORATE REPUTATION IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION

Crisis Communication and Reputation Management

Visual brand identity

Problem : How to visualize your brand identity?

Learning objectives : 

  • Elements of visual brand identity
  • The process of creating & managing a visual brand ( – Tools)
  • Examples of visual brand identity (- The good, bad & ugly – Effects)

Defining visual identity : 

The visual and verbal articulation of a brand or group including all pertinent design applications, such as, letterhead, business card, and packaging, among many other possible applications. (‘Graphic Design Solutions’, Robin Landa) 

Also called a corporate identity or brand identity

  1. Elements of visual brand identity

brand-core-elements-small-300x300-2

A visual identity consists of the following integrated components
-A brand name
-Logo
-Letterhead
-Business card
-Packaging
-Web site
-Any other application pertinent to a particular brand

Continuity must be established among the various designs in a visual identity. –
-> There must be a “family resemblance” among the designs.

For example : MNW – National Museum in Warsaw

branding+identity+logo+3.jpgbranding+identity+logo+2.jpgbranding+identity+logo+1.jpg

The logo is the major part of the visual brand identity (Haig & Harper, 1997); nevertheless other elements are fundamental in the corporate visual design (Hart & Murphy, 1998). According to the visual brand identity definition (Clifton et al., 2009, p. 113) and to Bassani et al. (2008), the following characteristics have to be taken into account:

  • –  The Logo
  • –  The Color combination
  • –  The Sign, Symbol
  • –  The typography
  • –  The slogan

The logo

According to Egan (2007, p.83), a logo is “an emblem or device used to distinguish an organization or brand”. A logo is a representation of the brand, which does not have to be confused with the brand itself. Even if the logo is nothing less than the visual embodiment of the brand, it is only a part of it. Quoting Glaser, a famous designer mentioned by DiMarco (2010, p.121), “the logo is the entry point to the brand”. For Silver (2001) an effective logo is even able to generate emotion and desire. According to Joannès (2008), a logo requires to have particular properties to be effective:
-Consistency
-Semantic & emotional richness
-Durability
-Adaptability
-Reproducibility

1. Choose the right brand name

Even though naming isn’t technically part of the visual design process of brand identity, the brand name should still be considered a visual element. A strong brand name shouldn’t just sound right and be easy to pronounce; it should look right too. (Mc Donalds ->  Even if you hire a gifted design team, a poor brand name can eliminate the opportunity for a successful visual brand identity.

2. Create a consistent visual style

All of the brand elements should follow a consistent visual style throughout. If, for example, a decision is made to design a brand identity that is visually romantic and endearing, then this style should be applied to all visual elements. Exceptions can be made for advertising campaigns, but the overall brand identity should always be uniform. This is why visual style guides are always a vital deliverable as they help maintain consistency.

3. Develop a compelling logo

The logo is the flagship image of any brand. Logos can quickly speak volumes about your business, your mission and what services you offer. An enterprise without a logo has no chance of making an impact on its target audience. The logo is the most essential and valuable visual element of your brand, so keep this in mind when allocating your branding budget and hiring professionals.

4. Pay attention to color

Colors can play an integral role in brand recognition and brand loyalty. They influence our emotions and help us distinguish between competing brands. Having acknowledged this, considerable research should be carried out before deciding on a final brand color or palette. Cadbury’s, the UK based confectionery producer, considers their own brand color so important to their identity that they went as far as copyrighting their “Cadbury Purple,” or Pantone 2685C as it is more commonly known.

5. Select appropriate typography

Typography concerns the style and appearance of any lettering or fonts used as part of your visual brand identity. These characteristics can have a significant influence over people’s purchasing decisions and help to further emphasize the message of your brand. Typeface and font choice can affect whether the right message is being communicated and these should conform to the overall visual brand style. Wrong choices can be disastrous, for example a playful font such as the ever-popular Comic Sans would not be suitable for a serious brand image.

2. The process of creating & managing a visual brand ( – Tools)

Large organizations with layers of management require a thorough brand identity system that provides a unified vision and tools that help everyone build the brand. But before we dig in, let’s define the difference (and relationship) between a brand, an identity and a logo.

3up-relationship

PHASE 1 

phase1

This phase should be as thorough as needed — depending on the depth of research and size of the company. It’s the most crucial part of the overall process, and should result in a design brief that guides the rest of the project.

Below is a list of foundational questions and key dynamics to explore and document through qualitative and quantitative methodologies. (Note: This is only a quick overview of the most complex part of this process.)

  • How is the brand perceived against competitors in the market for products and services you’re looking to provide?
  • What is the positioning statement of your brand? Answer the what, how, to whom, where, why and when questions.
  • What is the heritage of your product type, and the origin(s) of it’s ingredients and fabrication process?
  • Who is your audience? Are they digitally savvy? Where will your products/services have contact with them? How do you want that contact experience to make them feel, take action and think about your brand?
  • What values & beliefs should the brand have about the business and it’s mission in the world? If the brand was a person, what would it’s personality be? How would it look, act and talk?
  • What benefits do you want customers to associate with your brand? What is the vision of the brand that you want to create?
  • Other brand image concerns: market awareness, emotional associations, value to the consumer, brand perception vs. consumer behavior, changes desired in the brand-consumer relationship over time.

DESIGN BRIEF : It’s important to have a design (or creative) brief if the brand identity project is bigger than one designer doing work for a small local business. A design briefshould contain summaries from the research phase, such as: target audience(s), messaging objectives, values and mission of the brand, and the brand’s products/services offering. It should also include budget, project schedule, file formats for delivery, and other practical needs.

After the research phase is complete and a design brief has been created, it’s time to start designing the logo and identity system.

PHASE 2 

phase2

THE LOGO

There are many ways to start designing a logo, but most often times you’ll see designers begin by sketching out dozens if not hundreds of iterations on paper. The process of getting concepts down on paper and then iterating on those ideas can unlock new directions to explore and final solutions that you wouldn’t have normally arrived at when starting on the computer. After selecting your best sketched concepts, you should start iterating on them digitally.

Here’s a peak behind the curtain of a few logo concept sketches as they became final digital solutions: bv. ITV (foto)

example-itv

The Identity System

The identity system usually starts after the logo is complete. The purpose of the identity system is to form a systematic visual language around the logo — one that compliments the design thinking of the logo and offers a family of useful, flexible elements that will help to design marketing and business collateral. Here are some examples:

The Style Guidelines

The style guidelines contain and prescribe the logo usage rules, typeface system, color palette, layout guidelines, and more. They exist so that others can create design collateral and marketing materials that will have a cohesive look and voice.

Style guidelines have traditionally been produced as print and web-ready PDFs. They’re the core of the identity design, and usually accompany the logo, templates, fonts and other resources packaged together to make designing for the brand easier. Style guidelines are in-depth rules about logo usage, styling, and layout, and are always interesting to browse through.

For example : GOOGLE Style guidelines:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/Google-Visual-Assets-Guidelines-Part-1/9028077?utm_source=CMblog&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=Designing+a+Brand+Identity

3. Examples of visual brand identity (- The good, bad & ugly – Effects)

Successful brands often have similarities within the design that allow them to easily remembered. A very popular brand is that of Apple‘s, an example of the evolution can be seen below.

apple

micro1

Attributes of a good brand identity 

  • uniquely identifiable : to distinguish from the competition. you are exposed to a lot of brand msgs each day. It’s not necessary to make your identity represent exactly what your company does -> this will avoid your identity resembling the competition and not limit areas of future growth.
  • Simple enough to be instantly recognizable. FOR EXAMPLE : Apple -> we can easily recall & remember it : leads to feelings of comfort & trust
  • Sometimes has a hidden element or meaning that demands attention. FOR EXAMPLE : the FedEx Logo -> there’s a negative space between the E and the X, it forms an arrow -> this sublty portrays forward movement to show they are a shipping company
    fedex-logo-arrow
  • It should be easily reproduced across a variety of media, both in print & online + at a variety of sizes, so for example it should be legible on the side of a truck and also as a favicon in a browser address bar.  (Val Sanna, creative director)
    For example :CMM (Southern Industrial Equipment Brand Image)

branding-visual-identity-logo-designs-2

branding-visual-identity-logo-designs-2-1

branding-visual-identity-logo-designs-2-2

The psychology of shapes used in logos is not as commonly addressed as it of colours in design literature. Associations of the three basic shapes (circle, square, and triangle) have been explored by character design’s writers, specifically in creating facial structure of animated characters. Uses of these shapes are essential as each shape suggest different associations that relate to the character’s personality. (Tillman 2011) Authors in graphic design propose perceptions of popular shapes used in web and logo design. Following are theories on associations of some particular shapes and shape’s elements that this paper will consider:

Circles represent the eternal whole and suggest completeness which induces a sense of infinite, unity, and harmony. Circles are often seen as warm and comforting; their curves make them more graceful, and can be associated to femininity. The well-roundedness of circles expresses community, protection, and perfection. (Bradley 2010; Wilde 2013; Tillman 2011)

Rectangles and Squares are the most common geometric shape encountered. They suggest stability, security (Tillman 2011), trust, and honesty (Tillman 2011, Bradley 2010). Because of their geometric balance, squares and rectangles are connected to equality, balance, and reliability (Wilde 2013). They are also associated with power, efficiency, and professionalism (Wilde 2013).

Triangles can have different associations depending on how they are positioned. They suggest stability when sitting on their base, and instability otherwise (Wilde 2013, Bradley 2010). Triangles express certain level of energy, power and aggression (Tillman 2011, Wilde 2013, Bradley 2010) which suggest steady or conflict strength depending on their stable/unstable dynamic (Bradley 2010). This strength of triangles is linked to masculinity (Bradley 2010). Triangles represent direction and movement, and sense of speed when they point forward (Wilde 2013, Bradley 2010).

Vertical lines and shapes are seen as strong (Bradley 2010); they represent courage, domination, and power (Wilde 2013). In contrast to vertical lines/shapes’ masculinity, Horizontal lines and shapes are described as more feminine, resting, and calm. They have a sense of peace, flow, and tranquillity. (Wilde 2013).

Curves can be an element of shapes. Curved shapes are linked to femininity, motion, and rhythm; they also suggest happiness, pleasure, and generosity (Wilde 2013). On the opposite, shapes with sharp angels are described as dynamic, young, and lively. Similar to triangles, they are energetic, masculine, and associated with speed. (Wilde 2013)

Spiral is a shape that can easily found in nature, most often as a natural growth pattern of organism. Therefore, it induces the idea of growth and expansion (Bradley 2010). Spirals’ combination of roundedness and movement suggest creativity (Bradley 2010, Wilde 2013) and flexibility in transformation (Bradley 2010).

Colors

are everything when it comes to visual branding. There’s a psychological attachment to each color. Observe:13-color psychology

I suggest to stick with a two color maximum for the visual branding of your logo, website, and stationery. If you use photos on social media, they will probably feature more than two colors, but you can create consistency when you add the same filter to your photos. Finding the perfect color story harmonizes your brand.

So, what does each color say?

A blue color scheme says that you can be trusted. Many banks use blue to convey this message, including Barclays, Chase, and Citibank.

Purple is often associated with creativity and luxury. You should use this color if you’re slightly on the fringes or a true original.

Red is passionate and bold. Along with sister colors orange and yellow, red grabs attention.

Green is eco-friendly and fresh. It symbolizes growth. It’s a no-brainer for natural products to use this color.

Black is great for authoritative sites. It’s also a sophisticated color that works well with established brands.

(Design School Canva)

During the busy Christmas period of 2010, Gap launched a new logo design and rebranded their company to suit. They did so with no warning. The original Gap logo, a design that had served the brand for more than 20 years, disappeared from without warning and was replaced with the new logo – the word Gap in a bold font and a square, fading diagonally from light blue to dark blue. The change was no internet hiccup, it was permanent – or so it seemed.

Gap-Rebrand-Before-and-After

A small buzz began to reverberate around the design community, quiet sniggering about the new Gap logo. Soon, the internet was alive with activity and it was clear that people didn’t like the new design. Gap responded positively, revealing that their new logo design was in fact the first stage of a crowd sourcing process that allowed them to reinvent the company (proving again why you shouldn’t crowd source your design projects.)

To cut a long story short, Gap performed possibly one of the fastest branding turnarounds of all time when they reverted to their original design, just six days after putting their new logo out into the public. There are many things that can be learned from Gap’s disaster and that article might just write itself in the near future.

Estimated Cost: The Gap rebrand was estimated to have cost them $100 million, not the price tag you’d expect for something that could’ve been cobbled together using WordArt.

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Visual brand identity