Posts Tagged ‘Communications’

Think What Not to Brand: 5 Things You DON’T Want Others to Say About You or Your Business

When we talk about branding, we’re really talking about how you want people, i.e. your customers, to talk about you and your service/product. And if we can get this concept down, we’ll have success on any media platform from social media to website to advertising.

  • Think of 5 things you want others to say about you and your service
  • Think of 5 things you DON’T want others to say about you and your service
  • What does it take for people to say what you want them to say about you, but not about your competitors?
  • Why should your customers trust your brand versus the others?
  • What functional and emotional benefits you can offer to your customers?
  • On a scale of 0-10, what would your customers rate you in terms of service satisfaction?
  • On a scale of 0-10, how likely would your customers recommend or refer you to others?

Once we’ve identified these items, we can begin to discuss the language, messaging and visual image you aspire to convey through your brand.

My little annecdote: On the client loyalty surveys we conduct with customers, we always ask the following set of questions:

  1. Would you recommend us?
  2. Are we your top-of-mind partner?
  3. Are you getting quick enough responses from us?
  4. Do we demonstrate knowledge of the marketplace?
  5. Are you happy with our products/services ?
  6. Are you happy with the process we deliver our products and services?

Ultimately, these are brand perception questions and the answers to them can help us figure out what we need to work on for successful branding.

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Become Part of the Statistics: Integrate Social into Your Business

Courtesy of NYTimesAre you over 55 and an active computer user? Then welcome to the fastest-growing-demographic club on Facebook!

Take a deep breath, here are the latest stats of U.S. visits to Facebook reported by Hitwise:

  • Facebook has a year-to-year growth of 194% from its U.S. visits in September.
  • Its market share among all social networking sites has also grown from 55.2% –> 58.6%
  • Monthly active users reached 88.3 million in September.
  • 45% of users are now 26 and older.
  • Fastest growing demographic: 55 years old and over

Hands down, Facebook is by far the most cross-generational, cross-functional and cross-everything social networking site that has ever existed in human history, though the history of Facebook merely began five years ago.

According to comScore, 16.5 million adults over the age of 55 engage in social media. And in just one year since AARP unveiled its social networking platform, about 350,000 users created 1,700 groups.

So are you evolving your business forward like the rest of the marketplace is? Or are you giving yourself the excuse that you’re not part of the Internet age and simply can’t see the bigger picture of how social networking sites can help advance your business? (Don’t want to get too philosophical here, but are you focusing on the trees and missing the jungle? Trees can be your current customers, the jungle is the industry trends, business climate and your potential customers. )

For those who embrace the greatest and latest with social media, are you jumping into Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and becoming active, connecting and building relationships? Are you establishing thought leadership through LinkedIn groups, Twitter follows and Facebook fan clubs? Are you ready to conduct business, communicate and handle transactions on social networking sites with your customers?

“Are you serious about transacting on Facebook?” you might ask. Dead serious (see 1-800-Flowers’ recent e-commerce launch on Facebook). Many brands and companies are already doing so on social networking sites. And if you do have a presence on these sites, make sure you dedicate time and resources to keep them current and reflective of your latest business offers. Take advantage of your fan base and followers to create excitement about a new business launch or incentive program. And top off these efforts by measuring activities and results across your social networking sites and your website or blog. Don’t expect these tools to work for you without your first putting them to work to your advantage and measuring what they can or have produced for you. 

Here are things that Fortune 500 companies and big brands are undertaking at the moment, but let’s make sure we as business owners and managers are not too far behind:

  1. Create brand messaging for your business product/service online.
  2. Measure visits, dialogues and transactions online.
  3. Analyze results over time, identify seasonal activities and user peaks.
  4. Reach out and connect with industry experts and interact with them.
  5. Share your insights and ideas with peers and associates in your field.
  6. Dig into new tools and constantly retool and refine your presentation and messaging across media.
  7. Stay current and experiment new concepts and methodologies in bringing your business up a notch!

Webinars are IN, but keep common faux pas OUT

Webinars are IN these days, in case you haven’t noticed. And Twitter and Facebook names are becoming popular leave-behinds from presenters to continue their dialogues with the participants post-webinar. Preparing for a highly-engaging and interactive webinar is not much different from preparing to present like Steve Jobs. How do you keep your webinars informative, relevant and engaging? How do you make sure your audience doesn’t tune you out 5 minutes into the presentation? Here are a few webinar faux pas we can try avoid:

  • Starting your webinar late – like 5 to 10 minutes late – making attendees wait or drop off.
  • A moderator who has very little knowledge of the presentation content and offers no insight on the value and background of the presentation and fumbles through the transition from one presenter to another.
  • Presenters are not cued properly to begin their presentation, causing awkward silences on the line. (Need a better moderator!)
  • Loud or monotone presenters 
  • Webinar application doesn’t allow you adjust the volume of the presenters from the listening end.
  • Unsynchronized audio and visual presentations – shouldn’t they be tested prior to going live?
  • A presentation with non-working audio and requires you to dial in via phone to hear the presenter. (Why bother with a webinar?)
  • Questions or raised hands that aren’t responded to or addressed. 
  • The webinar goes on forever, say more than 40 minutes.

Some must-have and considerations:

  • A knowledgeable, communicative and assertive moderator.
  • Presenters who can present effortlessly with high energy and the right tone (and volume).
  • Iron out all the technical kinks prior to the webinar.
  • Rehearse, test and dry run your webinar at least once before you go live.
  • Keep your presentation under 30 minutes – most people’s attention span is much shorter than that.
  • Provide audio AND visual in one application. (This is 2009, not 1999.)
  • Engage your audience and be interactive! Answer questions as they come in (or acknowledge incoming questions and hold them until the end of the presentation).
  • Poll your audience to gauge their business needs, interests and inclinations.
  • Summarize lessons-learned and calls-to-action.
  • Make your presentation memorable, buzz-worthy and viral.

Tested Google Voice today and am loving it!

Google Voice Call MeYeah, I received my first Google Voice phone number, or GV # in short, in my Gmail account today. Logged onto the GV home site and began testing it right away. The startup was as easy as 1-2-3: recorded my name, a personalized greeting and forwarded my calls to my cell phone number. (I questioned myself whether I was making the right move – making myself accessible to anybody wherever, whenever with a single phone number.) But oh well, I took the step of faith and have been relishing the cool features and new web-voice experience since then. 

Besides given a global phone number (with a local area code and a choice list of some dozens of phone numbers), I can make unlimited calls for free from the GV #. Friends and colleagues can also make unlimited calls to this same number. What’s cool about it is that now I can really screen calls. Phone numbers are actually read to me and the system alerts me of any incoming call and asks if I want to accept or decline it or transfer to VM. (Personal assistance at its best!) Love it.

Here’s more. One feature I haven’t quite started using yet though I know it’ll come in handy one day, and that is I can tag spam callers and block them out from all future calls and voicemails. No more “Sorry, wrong number” callers or spammers. Spammers will get filtered into a spam folder and Google will run spam reports across all users to identify global spammers and block them out once-and-for-all. Love it! 

As if that’s not cool enough, voice messages get transcribed and can be read (or listened to) online anywhere, anytime, saving me tons of “checking voicemail” airtime fees. Love it!

As I checked the “Discussions” tab, I realize some users are experiencing a few serious bugs. Just like any new product and technology, bugs affect user experience and leave some users feeling “duped”. (You should read some of the threads – some sound peculiarly offended on an amusingly personal level…as if they’ve forgotten they didn’t pay a dime for this new technology nor were they coerced to use it.) For me, everything is still as cool as school. And if I get hit by a bug, I’ll do what needs to be done like any new product peer tests – report the bug to get it fixed. If it doesn’t, I’ll just move on – continue to use it if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, or simply drop it. For me, chances are I’ll stick with it and await improved experience. 

After all, ain’t that the spirit of open source and peer production. Everybody pitches in to tweak and refine, ride out the storm and reach a better place together.

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