Know what you’re selling

Brand AwareI recently had some beers and a meal at a place called Little Creatures dinning hall in Melbourne Australia.

For the uninitiated, Little Creatures is a craft beer which has it’s origins in Australia and has recently opened a flagship ‘dinning hall’

They’ve simply taken this to a new level. I’m not taking about the fact that they have weird and groovy beer flavours, all naturally brewed. I’m talking about the way they take you on a personal journey with their service.

My favourtie was the beer education programme. They have a ‘pony show’ – I don’t think it’s called that, but it is what I’ll call it for this post.

You get a taste in little groovy pony glasses of all their different beers, then choose one you like. One of their ‘Little Creatures Beer Experts’ comes and sits down on your table with you and they explain all the different types of beers. A real sit down for 10 minutes. A rare treat when the usual sitiation is waiting 10 minutes for crappy service in bars and restuarants. They teach you how to taste each beer and the slight nuances of each. They even provide an idea what type of people generally like the different types.

It’s really nice and fun. I even heard the word “sessionable” to describe a beer – They invent some nice jargon to make you feel part of a tribe. Cool.

No need to advertise this little venture. We’ll do that for them….

And this is what cool startups are doing in retail.

Connecting Brand Messages with Teens on the Social Web

Brand AwarenessThe teen demographic is a coveted consumer audience that can drive big bucks to a business, and these days, teens spend a lot of time on the social Web.  Whether they’re exchanging messages on Facebook or uploading videos to YouTube, they’re an active, influential group, and brands are desperately trying to connect with them.

In a May 2010 report, myYearbook and Ketchum revealed data about online teen influencers and how brands can engage them on the social Web.  The most interesting results show the sources of information that U.S. teen influencers (i.e., the top 15% most active and engaged myYearbook members) trust the most are as follows:

  • 52% trust friends
  • 13% trust consumer reviews
  • 9% trust adults
  • 5% trust what they hear from ads
  • 5% trust information that comes directly from companies
  • 4% trust celebrities
  • 3% trust bloggers
  • 3% trust news reporters
  • 7% trust other sources

If you try to remember what you were like as a teenager, then these results probably aren’t too surprising.  The key for brands to connect with the teen audience on the social Web is to get teen online influencers to talk about them, recommend them, and share content from them.

Interestingly, most teens who responded to the survey indicated that they prefer to share humorous content with their friends online but prefer straightforward content from companies and brands.  This shouldn’t be that surprising given that 2010 is the year of brand transparency for most consumer demographics.

Considering that the study also found that, “the top 15% of teen social network users are 70% more likely to share purchase decision information with their friends” (via eMarketer), brand managers would be wise to take note of the products teens are most likely to recommend and talk about with their online friends.  As shown in the chart below, entertainment, electronics, new food or beverage, clothing, footwear and sneakers, video games, and makeup and skin care products are the most talked about products among teens who spend time on the social Web.

emarketer teen influencers Connecting Brand Messages with Teens on the Social Web

It’s important to note this doesn’t mean that other products aren’t discussed by teens at all on the social Web, but brands that operate in the channels listed above are missing a big opportunity if they’re not trying to engage teens on the social Web where they’re already spending time.

Building Your Blogging Brand

Currently, there are approximately over 150 Million blogs worldwide with a large majority of them talking about the same things, in same boring way. Millions of them look the same, many bloggers express themselves the same way and even more are blogging without passion, authority, concrete goals and without having a respectable brand. Many of us fail to realize that while we blog expecting to achieve success, we are also responsible for our personal brand.

Successful professional blogging is no longer for the average Joe with average goals. It is for the prudent who will approach their audience seriously and strive to build their company, and more so, personal brand.

Here is a massive guide that will get you started on the road to developing your blogging brand for success.

Set Goals, Huge Goals!

build-your-brand

Before you register that domain or go crazy thinking about the right name for your blog, write down clearly defined goals for your site. Get a pen and paper, or however you write notes, and start jotting down everything you may require and what you NEED to be successful with your blog. Spend a week or two to decide your direction and focus on it. Your goals may not be set in stone for the entire lifetime of your blog since you will definitely grow, mature and learn so your goals should grow with you but remain in a general direction.

Aim for the sky! If your blogger friends want to achieve or are achieving $1,000 per month, shoot for $2,000 per month. Never limit your goals to match your peers or environment.

Know Your Target Audience & Competition

Spend the time to read and study other bloggers in the blogosphere. However, not just the smaller newbie bloggers who may be on the same level as you but try to learn from the “big guns.” Never size up your competition by analyzing the weakest opponents. Ignore them, they will compromise your judgment and cause you to aim lower.

Your blog should be serving a purpose, whether its to provide financial guidance, video tutorials, news, etc. Find out if those are the things readers want or need or may not even know it yet. Get on the grind and think of a unique way to fill a need or provide a unique service through blogging. Your audience will thank you and you will stand out as a pro blogger.

Use A Killer Site Design & Domain Name

If you’re not a skilled designer/developer, hire one here who can give you the entire package: Awesome logo, killer user-friendly site design, robust theme, the works. If you want to build a brand your design needs to be unique and stands out from the everyday regulars.

Choose a domain name that somewhat describes what you do. It will stick in the minds of your readers much easier. If the .com top level domain (TLD) is not available and is in use by someone else, never ever use the same name with .org, .net or any other TLD. You will be placing yourself in unnecessary competition with the owner of the .com since readers will remember this much easier. If you wish to have your name as a domain name, this has its pros too since you will be building a more personal brand with your name ringing all over the net in the forefront, whereas describing what you do in your domain name will help with SEO and thus better search results.

coming soon image

Use A Coming Soon Page Before Its Launch

If it will take you more than a couple months to execute your plan to build your blog, you definitely need a coming soon page that provides a little teaser of what is to come. This builds anticipation in the minds of those who have encountered your site. Have options for readers to subscribe to your newsletter that will in the meantime provide e-mail updates. Ensure it also has links to your social profiles like twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc.

Start promoting your blog and begin commenting on other sites with your URL of your coming soon page. Use that URL in everything online. In a couple of months when you’re ready to launch, your domain would have already been crawled by search engines and could have gained a couple google page ranks which builds your search engine authority even before your launch.

Consistency That Makes Your Brand Stick

Be consistent with your topics, names and all other forms of branding and design. Create a tagline that sticks and use it all around the web. Similarly, brands like McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Nike use their logos consistently in everything they do and captures the consumers’ attention by providing consistent quality regardless of recessions, lawsuits or any other challenge.

Use a consistent name with your tagline when commenting on other sites. For example, “Robyn Samuda – Social Media Expert” along with the domain name in the comment form.

Guest Post On Popular Blogs

Guest posting is a surefire way to get your brand and your name out there in the blogosphere. Always guest post on sites with superb quality and reputation. Unfortunately, most of us judge others based on association and it applies to blogging as well. In addition, guest posting allows a couple link backs to your site which will improve rankings in search engine result pages (SERP) and can easily drive unique visitors to your blog. Try to guest post on at least 2 sites per week and within a couple of months your massive increase in traffic will surprise you.

Quality Content Can Make You Famous

Time and again we may seek inspiration from news stories, events and other bloggers. However, never copy and post the same information. Nobody wants to read old news, especially old news that is copied and pasted. Don’t get me wrong though, you can write about current happenings even if it has been reported already but always find a way to provide deeper insight, provide graphs and other research material that is not readily available elsewhere. This will make you stand out as the pro in your niche.

There we have it. Building your brand is easier than you may immediately realize. The key is to always be consistent with your targets, your image and evolve as you master the blogosphere and strive towards being exceptional.

Discussion: What do you think you could achieve with a personal brand that stands shoulder to shoulder with the biggest blogging names you can think of? Massive dream and yet it is possible. How have you been able to build your brand and stand out? Please let us know.

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