Some Basic Branding “Don’ts”

Recent social media traffic has me feeling like some basic reminders are in order for companies who are using these channels.

Be your brand. Not something you saw on TMZ.

Don’t #1: Trendy Stuff
By the time you became aware of the Harlem Shake, it was already passé. That’s really swell that your CFO wanted to wear a gorilla suit. But you look like the most interesting thing you could find to say was to copy someone. Be your brand. Not something you saw on TMZ.

Don’t #2: Commenting Excessively on Social Topics
Your personal opinions are just that – yours and personal. Unless same sex marriage impacts your business in some way (for example, you’re a health care insurer and you have some cogent thoughts on the economic impacts of partner benefits) then leave it alone. While we appreciate socially aware companies, this needs to be part of a larger, well thought-out strategy. If you need guidance, watch Patagonia or Target. They both do it well. In fact, go read Yvon Chouinard’s excellent book Let My People Go Surfing if you want to build a socially conscious company. And, no, I won’t loan you my copy. It might be the best business book ever.

Don’t #3: Noise
Don’t have anything valuable to say? Then shut up. Your clients and followers are busy people – they follow you because you deliver value. When you don’t deliver value … well, you get the picture.

Great Example of Photos in Social Media [Infographic]

Sharing photos in social media often improves the chances that posts get views. It can also help improve user engagement. Hubspot recently reported that Facebook posts using photos received 53% more Likes.  In fact imagery is one of the major reasons for the Facebook News Feed redesign. Simply slapping images into posts onto Social Media sites, like Facebook or Twitter isn’t going to cut it. Want to see a great example of sharing photos in social media?

The Soup Facebook

Last week on Facebook, I noticed an image shared on The Soup Facebook Page.  It wasn’t simply loaded to the wall in the hopes that someone would see it, instead the photo featured a large yellow rectangle blocking the image. Viewers were then instructed to click-through to see the image, then come back to Facebook to comment  on the “Caption This” photo contest.

You may ask yourself, “Why is that important, or in the very least, why would that be noteworthy?” I would then argue that in posting an image with a good part of it blocked, the viewers are drawn in. They are drawn in by the yellow block but they also get the “what’s behind the curtain” feeling and want to peek. That my friends is user engagement. The Soup’s social media interns have just caused fans to take an action!

What makes this example even more special is that the contest wasn’t being run on entirely on The Soup Facebook Page. The post directed viewers to click-through to The Soup to see the image, then asked the viewers to come BACK to Facebook to post their comment. Pretty brilliant eh? Simplicity often is.

A week later The Soup posted the entire image to their Facebook Page which included the best caption. They also wrote a second blog post about the image and Caption This contest that included a second award for the comment with the “Most Likes.” Want to see if YOUR comment won the most likes? You created more user engagement by having fans click-through to the blog yet again.

Want to know something even more amazing? Between their website analytics and the basic analytics Facebook provides, The Soup should be able to guage the effectiveness of the contest, two Facebook posts and two blog posts! It must be working for them. There are more “Caption This” contests happening that include the yellow rectangle.

Now lets’ stop for a moment to consider the many social media sites. How can your business grab attention on each of them by posting photos? Are there things your company can do to improve user engagement acorss channels?  With millions of potential viewers and rapidly growing social media platforms this better be something your company is thinking about.

social media, photographs in socail media

Using photos on the many social media platforms often increases visibility. Are you using images to reach more readers? Does using photos improve user engagement?

Infographic Sources: Facebook, Hubspot, CNN

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Rebranding is ticklish business. There are a myriad of issues and questions to address to achieve success. Do I just update what I have? Do I throw it all out and start over? Is there significant equity in my current brand mark? Do I rename at the same time? All of these (and more) are among the reasons we believe that working with a solid outside partner is practically mandatory.

I ran across an interesting example from the outdoor industry this weekend. With consolidation, a fair number of the major brands in fly fishing are being rolled up into families. The group that owns Sage fly rods also owns Rio fly lines – and more. Scientific Anglers has been under 3M ownership for a number of years. Last year’s acquisition of Ross Reels by 3M was a significant development.

Ross Reels Almost immediately, Ross was rebranded. Personally, I liked the old logo better – it had a lot of equity and was visually unique. But I see now that they’re trying to get the Ross and Scientific Anglers brands in alignment, so as a marketer I get where they’re coming from.

Sage fly rods, Rio fly linesSo now Sage feels compelled to get into the game by rebranding Rio. The old Rio logo looked like an escapee from the 80’s, so it was definitely time to freshen things up.

Here’s where I think it gets weird. The new Rio logo has been in-market for a few months. Something about it has been vaguely bugging me since I first saw it. This weekend I figured out what it was. What do you think?It sure seems to me to look just a bit too much like the new Ross logo. Yeah, I get it, I see the fish. But the basic letterform sure does have a lot of similarities to the Ross logo. And, it gives up one of the strengths of the old Rio logo – the fly line built into the image.

This brings up a key factor of rebranding – adjacency. You can’t just look at what your competitors are doing. What is needed is a holistic view of your segment. Both Rio and Ross are well-known and well-respected brands. I really believe that it would have been a good idea for Rio to consider what Ross had recently done before launching a visually similar brand.

Keep this in mind if you’re considering a rebranding. I think Rio made a major faux pas. One that could have easily been avoided.

But I will give Rio credit for one marketing win. It offered Facebook fans who visited their booth at the Midwest Fly Fishing Show a free hat just for stopping by and mentioning that they were FB fans. Solid way to tie social media to your trade show strategy – nice work, Rio!