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branding development Tag

3 Things to Help Engage Your Creativity

Most of us are stress junkies. Especially if we run a company or own a business. It goes along with a fast-paced life.

Stress gives us a rush and makes us temporarily more alert, which in turn, helps us achieve a high productivity level. But this stressed state of mind is not only temporary, but also very left-brained.READ MORE

In 3… 2… 1…

You’ve got less than 5 seconds to pique someone’s interest enough to click on your link.

The first few sentences of any presentation determine whether your idea gets heard.

Studies show that each of us has to connect on some level with any new idea or product at least three times before we are willing to give it a chance with our pocketbook.

How does the information above square with your marketing campaign?

Here are basic questions to ask before you launch any new marketing campaign:

  • What need does this fulfill?
  • Are there typos?
  • Is the idea sexy?
  • Is the design compelling?
  • Is it this offer too good to be true?

You can’t blame your prospects for ignoring you. You’ve got to know the game and cut to the chase differently, faster, and most importantly, memorably.

Stand apart from the crowd in a way that is memorable. And timely. Then you will be heard above the fray.

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Getting it right

Attention to detail is big for us at FocalPoint.

We believe in getting things right. The first time.

And – what we seek to get right that first time matters more than just about anything else. Like what’s really important.

Really important like…

  • Creating a product or a service you are truly proud of
  • Addressing a workable business plan that meets a real need
  • Hiring a team that cares about the dream and the details
  • Building shrewd creative marketing around your business model that will speak to your mission and your audience

About that last bullet point…

FocalPoint creates marketing strategy with an end point in mind. The tag line won’t simply be ‘catchy.’ It will support that business plan you lost sleep over.

We understand that there will be endless details to get right before you launch your web site and your social media plan. That’s the ground point where we work best together. Before you have something that you’re truly proud of. That’s an ideal place for us to be. So together we can create, double check, test, and launch with more than just a hunch.

We want to get things launched right— right alongside you and your team. Greeting success together after hard work ironing out what’s most important.

Er, what should I say about my business on social media?

Here at Focal Point, we frequently talk to business owners and managers tasked with using social media as a part of their overall marketing plan. Often these folks can pull up their latest Twitter feed, link to YouTube, post on their Facebook page, and download their LinkedIN updates, but just aren’t very sure what to say when it comes to business use.

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New SEO is Now Online Branding?

As 2014 comes to an end, this is the time when marketers naturally reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one.  Over the past couple months, I’ve written about must have’s for 2015 marketing plans and some dynamic shifts in Internet marketing as we know it.  But I wouldn’t be considered an online marketer if I didn’t touch on one of the most dramatic changes we’ve seen over the last couple of years – the evolution of SEO (search engine optimization).

I recently participated in a webinar with Rand Fishkin from Moz entitled: Cracking the SEO Code for 2015: Tactics to Love vs. Leave and I’ve got to tell you he pointed out some pretty eye opening things.  These are things that many online marketers are doing wrong and things that must change if there’s any hope in your website showing up in Google.  I’m going to break it all down with a few major points from the presentation.

Gone are the Days of Traditional SEO
The good old fashioned tactics of trying to match on-page for exact phrase keywords by using the phrase in the domain, headings, within the content and links are just that – old fashioned.  That’s no longer what SEO is about.  In fact, Rand pulled up several Google search examples showing the first few results not even mentioning the exact keyword phrase at all in the traditional on-page SEO way.

It’s now about understanding user intent and moving away from keyword matching to topic association.  What topics are you the authority on and what type of content naturally revolves around those topics?  Sure, keywords are naturally going to be used, but it’s not necessary to setup a new page for every single keyword – it can all be grouped together into one page with info around a specific topic.

Google Search

Google is Becoming Smarter
Google is functioning more like a person and less like a robot.  It’s getting better at understanding user intent.  It knows what people actually want to read based upon social signals and the searcher’s  behavior.  Results are also becoming more personalized and it’s increasingly difficult to “dominate” a keyword or phrase across the board.  It’s now about what Google is able to associate with your brand vs. what keywords you’re using.

Real Brands are Winning Search
Google is now learning more toward rewarding brands.  Brands are what people know and trust.  Brands are what create quality content that people actually want to read.  The days of being able to setup a website, publish a few articles and expect to instantly begin getting traffic for the keywords your site is targeting are history.

Ranking well in search engines such as Google is now about being in more than one place, developing a reputation and consistently producing different types of useful multimedia content.

Winning at the New SEO is Winning at Online Branding
If you want to be successful in getting your website to rank well in search engines such as Google and get a good deal of organic traffic, it’s imperative that to truly understand your company’s brand.  What are the unique strengths of your company and how can you create a truly unique online experience centered around those strengths?

The best tactic to employ here is what Rand referred to as “modern content investments.”  What type of content marketing plan can you put together to create information that is:

  • One of a kind – it could take weeks or months to develop it, but no one else ever has
  • Relevant – extremely on point with user intent
  • Helpful – solves a problem or multiple problems the user is facing
  • Uniquely valuable – there’s a high level of worth to the info you’re providing
  • Great UX – the content is easy to consume/interact with on all devices
  • Likely to spread – who will share this content and why?

What to Do Next
Take the time to really think about your brand.  Not just the way you see it, but the way your customers do.  What do you want to focus on and what problems are you trying to solve?  Now, every single piece of content you put out should easily be tied back to solving those problems or discussing those topics to create the ultimate brand association in Google’s eyes.

If more brand development needs to be done, that’s OK.  The sooner you can nail this down, the easier it’s going to be to understand how you’re going to be able to win at the new SEO – online business branding.

Need help?  Contact me to talk online branding strategies.

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3 Articles To Make You Question Facebook’s Branding Strategy

Facebook Branding Questions

Question: What one or two words come to mind when you think about Facebook as a brand?  Just think about that for a moment.

Sure, we all know that Facebook is a giant.  We know that people spend more time on Facebook than any other site.  We know that it’s a necessary part of any social media marketing strategy and a great way to reach our potential customers.  But is Facebook getting away from what it does best – connecting people?

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve read 3 articles that make me wonder about Facebook’s branding strategy.  As a marketing professional, I’d be curious to know what Facebook’s branding strategy looks like big picture and if it’s in line with the way users perceive the site.  These 3 articles will explain what I mean by that…

1. Facebook Did What?  Really?

Did you know Facebook recently did a psychological experiment on over 600,000 of its users without them knowing?  Odds are you didn’t know unless you read this article about it.  Sure, Facebook has done some things in the past to raise some red flags, but from a marketing viewpoint this one really makes people lose trust in the brand.  So what did they do?  Well with one group of people they displayed a much higher than normal amount of negative updates in their news feed.  As you might guess, the other group of people got a larger than normal amount of only positive updates.  In essence, they played with people’s emotions without them knowing it was going on.

A lot of people spend a ton of time on Facebook with many of them being affected either consciously or subconsciously by what they see on the social network.  How do you think these people felt after finding out they might have been part of this experiment?  Where does this fit in with Facebook’s marketing plan?

One viewpoint is that Facebook is a free site and yes, these people did agree to the terms by signing up and using Facebook that allows things like this to legally happen.  But, there’s still something to be said about how people perceive Facebook as a brand because of things like this.  If Facebook eventually becomes a smaller piece of a good social media marketing strategy, will things like this make people finally decide enough is enough?

Need to take a closer look at your branding strategy?  Contact Focal Point today!

2. Is Facebook Getting Away from Its Original Brand?

Paid Social media marketing is highly effective and I’ve seen Facebook greatly improve its ads over the past couple of years.  But does introducing so many advertisements alienate the person who just wants to use Facebook to stay in touch with family?  Does the need to make money as a publicly traded company prove to be a frustrating user experience in the long run?

Facebook used to be about connecting people to people.  Now it’s much more about connecting brands to current and potential customers. To a certain extent, the “human” aspect might be disappearing.  I recently read this article about a guy who liked every single post he saw on Facebook for 48 hours (Note: Apparently “liking” everything resulted  in a few choice words, but it’s still worth the read).  Soon his entire newsfeed became all about advertising and business.  The human element had almost disappeared, completely.  That’s pretty wild when you really stop to think out it.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that it’s necessarily a bad thing for businesses to target customers by using highly effective data that’s shared via Facebook.  What I am saying is that a lot of Facebook users who aren’t on the site for business don’t want that and feel they’ve been a victim of the old bait and switch.

3. Facebook Messenger App Update.  No Big Deal, Right?

The Facebook Messenger feature has changed over the last couple of years quite a bit.  In fact, I’ve seen some customers prefer using this over email.  Very similar to how Twitter can be, sometimes it’s easier to get in touch via social media vs. fighting the never ending email battle (you all know what I’m talking about).  Recently however, I saw several marketing professionals resist upgrading to the new Facebook Messenger app until they were absolutely forced to do so.

A lot has been written about this and there are still several myths out there about what exactly this means to users.  The thing I found interesting is that the reason most people resisted is that they felt forced to do this update and they were concerned about their privacy being violated.  It seems people initially avoid change for a long as possible when it comes to Facebook and, in general, don’t really have trust in the brand that their info will be safe.  From a recent Huffington Post article:

“A quick look at these permissions (Facebook Messenger) reveals it can indeed access your entire address book, send SMS messages, record photos or videos using your camera, know your location at all times, access the Internet when it wants, and a slew of other pretty creeptastic things.”

After looking into it further, people are mostly getting stirred up about these 5 Facebook myths and in most cases Facebook Messenger is less invasive than the native Facebook app itself.

Facebook Messenger

What Does Facebook’s Branding Strategy Have To Do With Your Business?
These are 3 simple reminders that the importance of having a clear branding strategy in place at your business cannot be overlooked. I wanted to share these examples with you to suggest that it’s possible for even the largest of brands to lose touch with their users/customers over time.  Remember, the reality of your business branding strategy isn’t how you want to be perceived, but how your business is actually perceived by your audience.

At the end of the day, Facebook is still a vital part of an effective social media marketing strategy.  That being said, it’s examples like these that may one day cause this giant to fall.  So, let me ask you again after reading this – what one or two words come to mind when you think of Facebook as a brand?  Share in the comments below!

Need Help With Your Branding Strategy?
Let’s make sure your brand message is clear.  Read more about how our team can help you develop a clear brand identity.

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