What Are Your Brand Touchpoints?

December 8, 2011

White fenceA nice post by Nick Westergaard on the “12 Most Underutilized Brand Touchpoints” talks about the stuff many people relegate to second plan when thinking about their company’s brand.

You have your logo, your tagline, your website… but how about product packaging,  brochures, and holiday cards? Yup, holiday cards deserve some branding love too. It’s all about how you present yourself and your company to customers and prospects in every single touchpoint. This means every place where someone will see your company (or read about it) should have the same consistent message, look and feel.

So what are the 12 touchpoints? They are:

  1. Packaging
  2. Invoices
  3. Packing Slips
  4. Price change letters/ renewal notices
  5. User guides
  6. New business proposals
  7. Vehicles
  8. Search ads
  9. Holiday cards
  10. Inter-office / company newsletters
  11. Employees
  12. The back of the fence (this is a Steve Jobs analogy, about what goes inside your product or at the back of the fence where people usually don’t even look)
Check out the full article here: http://12most.com/2011/12/05/12-underutilized-brand-touchpoints/

What is your list of touchpoints?


Content Marketing Starts With Your Brand

November 18, 2011

Branding used to be a high-level exercise bigger companies went through as part of their strategic marketing processes. You get an agency, brainstorm cute pictures, logos, and tag lines, come up with the visual guidelines, and move on. Every now and then you refer back to those branding guidelines that tell you the correct position for your logo and the approved color scheme.

Fast forward to today. You’re not doing passive marketing anymore, you’re actively seeking out, enticing, educating, and engaging your audience. You are creating content. Your colleague on the other side of the cubicle is creating content. Even the receptionist with her Facebook updates is creating content. Where is your brand now?

It Starts With the Brand

Content marketing experts tell you to find your voice. They tell you to be authentic, to show there’s a face behind the tweets, there’s people behind the whitepapers, and that there is a personality for your company. This is all good, and is all part of branding.

How is branding related to content marketing? When you think of your company’s brand (whatever size company you may be working for / with), you have to consider the following aspects of who your company is:

  • Purpose: why do you do what you do?
  • Values: what do you stand for and how you behave?
  • Promise: what differentiates you from everyone else? Why are you relevant?
  • Voice: how do you present yourself, your look and feel

If we put it another way, think about how your company behaves, how it is perceived in the market, and what it wants to stand for. For example, how is your company in relation to the following “attributes”:

  • Serious vs. Playful
  • Funny vs. Taciturn
  • Outspoken vs. Introverted
  • Analytical vs. Impulsive
  • Likes to socialize vs. Keeps to himself
  • Wordy vs. Concise
  • Courageous vs. Prudent

Looks like a personality test? Well, it kinda is. Your ‘brand’ has a personality, a voice, a look. When you create content, you have to keep those things in mind. It helps with maintaining consistency, in presenting a unified front whether is via an eBook, a video, or a presentation.

Your Brand and Content Marketing

If you are a one-person shop, going through this exercise is faster. It’s all in your head and you basically have to decide if your company’s brand will be an extension of your own personality and behavior or if you’ll give it a different twist. For larger companies this will involve getting leaders from all areas together to understand what exactly makes the company unique. It will also involve documenting your brand attributes and communicating it to the rest of the company.

If you are thinking about putting together a social media policy, for example, it would have to follow the brand strategy for your company. When hiring someone, the brand is an important factor to consider. The company’s culture will be extremely close to the brand as well and is what will ultimately drive the brand and sustain it.

So as you put together your content marketing plan and decide which angles to approach certain topics, think back to your brand. That’s the first step in creating the best content.


How An Old School Product Leveraged A New Mobile App

September 20, 2011

It has been out for a couple months now, the new myStain app from Clorox, but only now I have seen an interesting account of the marketing campaign and results highlighted in an article from MarketingNews (an AMA publication, requires registration).

Clorox myStain AppAs I first started reading about the mobile app that gives tips on stain removal, I wasn’t sure who would actually want to download it. Well, it seems the app has been downloaded over 75,000 times and 50% of users have shared the app via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter, according to the MarketingNews article.

In addition to that, Clorox got a bunch of good press and, according to David Kellis, PR manager at Clorox, “this app helped us make [our site] more searchable, more functional. It opened our eyes into how we should be positioning [the way] people search for stain solutions”.

The transformation in the perception of the Clorox brand was also a key success for the company. For me, it showed that even a near-century-old bleach brand can leverage modern technology to create something not only creative but really amazing. What a great way to connect with customers and refresh their perception of your brand.

For more about the app, the Mobile Marketer blog has a good overview.

Apple’s Marketing Genius

August 26, 2011

With Steve Jobs stepping down from the CEO post at Apple, is inevitable we look back at the history of such an iconic company. Marketing, at Apple, has always been a differentiating point and key to their eventual dominance of the electronics consumer market and their resurrection in the personal computer industry.

While Brand Republic’s post “Appointment to view: Apple’s History of Marketing” takes us back to the early days of Apple advertising the Apple-1 in 1976 until today’s iPad commercials, Tom Hormby’s “Think Different – The Ad Campaign that Restored Apple’s Reputation”  is a great analysis of the role marketing played in lifting Apple from almost demise to what became the greatest turnaround in that company’s history.

There’s been speculation about Apple’s ad spend but it is clear that Apple’s marketing has always followed a set of guiding principles, no matter how much money they had for the marketing budget at the time.

For more about Apple’s best ads, check out Advertising Age’s “The 10 Best Ads to Come Out of Steve Jobs’ Reign at Apple”  and Marketing Week’s “Apple: A History in Ads”.

Apple: History in Ads

Apple Silhouettes Commercial

10 Best Ads from Steve Jobs


You may also want to check out this video showing the original marketing group at Apple at the launch of the McIntosh reminiscing about the old days, telling tales and sharing some insider stories of what it was like to work at Apple in the early days.

Finally, Guy Kawasaki’s book “The McIntosh Way” talks about his career as a McIntosh Evangelist, the early efforts of Apple to dominate the personal computer market, and more. His book is now offered as a free download.

The Opposite of Advertising

September 20, 2010

How can a company embark on an branding campaign without prominently displaying its logo? What seems to be the opposite thinking of the advertising school became the winning campaign of Banco Hipotecario, a financial services business based in Argentina.

After becoming the sponsor of Racing Club de Avellaneda, a big soccer team in Argentina, they decided to do something audacious, maybe even heretic in the minds of conservative brand strategists: they decided to NOT put the bank’s logo on the soccer jerseys. Crazy as it seems the whole strategy leveraged the ongoing “Creator of Owners” message Banco Hipotecario was already running (the message focused on showing how the bank was helping people become house owners through their mortgage lending business) and created the slogan “Racing: Duenos de su camistea” (Racing: Owners of their jersey), to show that the bank really cared for the sport and the team they were sponsoring. After being picked up by local media and sports commentators, fans raved about the new jersey.

Banco Hipotecario’s facebook page has over 14,000 fans and was the centerpiece of their second phase of the campaign. They asked fans to vote on a phrase to be printed on the shirt that would evoke how the fans feel about their beloved team. The winning phrase, “Duenos de una passion” (Owners of a passion) received 2,398 votes.

Voting on Racing's new slogan for their jersey

Although it was reported that some fans were against the printing of the phrase (and the choice of phrases themselves) on the shirt, it’s undeniable the level of participation the branding effort generated and how quickly they were able to engage the fans.

Sometimes going against established “best practices” may pay off.

Sources for more info on this story are:

Creativity Online article, F*ck Smaller. Make the Logo Disappear.

Marca del Gol post, Second Phase of Invisible Advertising (in spanish).

Communicate Good blog post, Invisible Branding.

Marketing News article, Marketing Across the Americas (requires login).

Taming Your Brand Mascot

May 10, 2010

From Tony The Tiger, Trix Rabbit and Energizer Bunny to Ronald McDonald and even John McCain (?!) brand mascots are a common tool to promote your product or service. More recently even Twitter mascots have been showing up as a company’s public face.

The good ones are those that you don’t even think about until you decide to wear your marketer hat. That’s what makes them memorable.

A recent article I read on Harvard Business Review, “ Aflac’s CEO Explains How He Fell For The Duck” made me think about brand messaging and the use of mascots. The article is great because it gives you an insider’s view of how the famous Aflac duck came to being and the challenges Aflac’s CEO had to overcome to get it adopted.

The first Aflac duck debuted in 2000. The company reported $9.7 billion (US and Japan combined) that year, up $1 billion from the previous year. In 2008, revenues were up to $16.6 billion. Amos credits this increase mostly due to the branding initiatives related to the duck, an amazing feat for any brand mascot. Here are some highlights of the Aflac duck’s impact:

  • First year after the duck’s introduction, sales were up by 29%.
  • Name recognition increased 67% after two years of running the commercials. Today the name recognition is 90%.
  • The duck has 165,000 facebook fans in the US.
  • In two months 100,000 people posted spoofs of the Japanese duck’s song online.

How do you create a successful brand mascot? I particularly like the tips a FastCompany article, “Brands with character”, gives:

  1. Give the brand human traits
  2. Create a life, backstory to your character/mascot
  3. Plan for the long run
  4. Don’t overcomplicate

What mascots do you consider memorable and why?

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