What makes a brand popular?

brand popularity

 

brand popularity

If there was a simple answer, someone would already be flogging it for millions (under a popular brand name, no doubt). Branding is an odd concept – somehow leeching its way into public psyche like a Pied Piper of consumerism and no matter how anti-brand you are, you can’t help but at least acknowledge the power a brand has. Who doesn’t subconsciously feel a little bit more Christmassy once that first “holidays are coming…” Coca Cola advert plays on TV (even it if they do start their campaign in October)?

Broadly speaking, a popular brand is one that is instantly identifiable, and inspires familiarity in whatever field it happens to be in – like quickfire answers in the last round of a gameshow everyone would win:

What’s the most famous fast food chain? Maccy D’s.

The first car company? Ford.

Biggest name in sportsgear? Nike.

Coffee, anyone? Starbucks. Etc, etc.

And it’s not just about a logo, though golden arches and ticks rarely need text to accompany them for us to recognise what they represent – a successful brand has its own identity, somehow conveys its value is higher than other similar companies, differentiates itself even if it sells exactly the same thing as the next store. They are the brands of our childhood, bringing with them memories and personality; they are the brands of the future, bringing progress and excitement; they are the brands of today, having impacts on our daily lives. And now I’m getting a bit oratory so I’ll calm down and we’ll have a list. What are the factors that make a brand popular?

  • Time. Not a hard and fast rule, but generally, we’re not all that into change. We stick with what we know, what we’ve used for years, what our family and friends recommend and respect. If you’ve used a Mac since that first apple fell from the tree, you’re not likely to run out and buy the next Vaio. No matter how many incarnations McDonalds uses to reinvent itself (fancy a salad?), we still know what we’re getting when we fancy something naughty.
  • Value. Brands don’t necessarily mean the crème de la crème, they can represent the best value option too. Certainly, using a brand such as Prada broadcasts wealth, style and exclusivity, but just as powerful are brands like Wallmart or Tesco, whose personality is based in value for money and being available to all.
  • Identity. CEOs may come and go, but a brand’s identity usually stays the same – again, the importance of feeling the safety in familiarity. Ford’s identity has developed since Henry brought out the first fleet of (slightly unimaginatively coloured) Model T cars in 1908, fulfilling his dream for ‘simple, affordable cars’. Ford still maintains that feeling of reliability and good value over a century later.
  • Association. A good brand attracts affiliation, be it in the form of celebrities, national pride, other products or companies or a good cause. Driving an Aston Martin won’t make you into James Bond, but it will give you an ego boost, and perhaps tweak the perceptions of those who see you drive it. Affiliations are often fleeting, and not always successful, but the sign of a strong brand is that it stays popular nonetheless. Nike has managed to extricate itself from Tiger Woods relatively unscathed – after all, his Nike branded clothes presumably weren’t even anywhere near the scene of the crime…
  • Following. Paradoxical maybe, but what makes a brand popular is its popularity. Despite angsty quests for individuality, the human spirit craves to be part of a group or a crowd or a family – even if that means showing undyingly loyalty to a product or company. iPhone-lovers will fight Androidians when their beloved fruit is challenged; there is an emotional response rather than a logical one.

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks explains: “A great brand raises the bar – it adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience, whether it’s the challenge to do your best in sports and fitness, or the affirmation that the cup of coffee you’re drinking really matters.”

Having a strong brand is a culmination of so many aspects – giving your company the visibility in the first place, so people are aware of its existence; providing the best service you can, and differentiating yourself from your competitors; showing personality and honesty in your business, through interactions with customers and your target audience (social media is a popular new way of achieving this); and being a recognisable authority in your field.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Sites We Revisit and Why

Ikroh SEO

 

Ikroh SEO

Web usage is a habitual thing – generally, we have a list of commonly visited sites and favourites, only adding new places to surf if they pass a stringent set of personal rules and reasons. The main reasons for internet browsing are (in no statistical order):

  • Communication – email, Skype, live chat, whatever.
  • Shopping or researching a product for purchase.
  • Networking – Facebook, Twitter, forums etc.
  • Information retrieval – be it looking up a location on a map, reading a newspaper online, finding facts for a project or googling your own name… (go on, you’re doing it right now, aren’t you?)
  • Amusement and entertainment – think boxing kittens on YouTube, blogs, watching TV you’ve missed on iPlayer etc.
  • Work – natch.

(For those of you wondering, yes, I did consider adding porn to the list, but I don’t think it is especially relevant in this article, do you? Feel free to visualise its addition if you must.)

A gazillion sites fall into those categories, and your business presumably does too – possibly more than one – but what makes a user revisit a site multiple times?

Well, fulfilling their needs with the least amount of effort is surely up there. If you host an ecommerce site, providing products at a competitive price, with fast and reasonable shipping and great customer service ticks all the boxes… but, there will always be others to rival you, offering all the same goodies. One of Amazon’s successes, aside from all the above, is its wealth of information, reviews, wishlists and massive range of products, always handily suggesting things that you’re just gonna LOVE judging by what you’ve just been looking at… They do all the work for you (even down to one-click purchasing – yikes what a dangerous invention!), like your own personal superstore.

Going above and beyond what you should do makes us all warm and fuzzy – honestly worthwhile special offers, discounts and loyalty schemes give an incentive for people to keep using your site, and little extras or charity affiliations will buy you some love and affection. Similarly, showing a little intriguing kookiness, amusement and personality turns you into a company that is different from the rest, a company that visitors will remember for its quirks.

Creating a brand that people want to be part of is a difficult challenge, but people will associate themselves with things they like and respect and admire, no matter what it is. We all strive to become part of a likeminded community, whether it’s comprised of lovers of coffee, Star Trek or rare twelve spotted ladybirds. Find something to unite your customers, make a place for them to interact or provide something that they can claim as their own and they will stick to you like glue.

Show some authority. Of course, being first on SERPs is gonna get you some traffic, but you also need accreditation from other areas to prove that you are the best at what you do. Linking, reviews, complimentary comments, press and awards all should be used to boost your rankings and encourage trust in your audience. Don’t be modest, shout about your achievements, and explain what makes you so wonderful.

Connect with your customers. Being part of social media networks can be a big asset to gaining support and loyalty from your clients as it enables you to interact on a personal basis, answer questions and queries and be witty and charming in a way sometimes not possible on a website. It also is a powerful platform for word of mouth recommendation – we all like to have a good moan if we’ve suffered bad service, and will rave about a great offer or product, wanting to help out our friends who might be interested in the same thing.

Yes, SEO is important, yes, ranking is essential, but you can drive traffic into your site as much as you like – they still won’t stay if you’re not giving them those magic qualities that make your site revisitable. Think about engaging content, aesthetic design, usability, effective networking, honesty and trust and personality and you’ll be well on your way to someone’s favourite list.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Putting Social Media Marketing into Practice

social media marketing strategy

social media marketing strategy

So you realise it’s something you should be doing for your business. You know about Facebook and Twitter, you’ve heard of Reddit and Digg, you’ve got your last holiday photos up on Flickr and watched clips of pandas sneezing on YouTube… But how do you actually put Social Media Marketing into practice for your business? Where to start and what’s best for you?

Well, obviously, our first suggestion would be to come to Ikroh and let us do it for you, but out of the kindness of our hearts, here are a few free pointers:

#1 – Have Clear Goals: What are your goals and targets for Social Media? Do you want it to become a major asset to your company, a strong aspect of your marketing campaign or just a handy forum for communication with customers? Get these straight in your mind and start off with a firm foundation.

#2 – Use it Appropriately: Work out which platforms are going to be of most benefit for your business, and for what purpose you wish to use them. Don’t create five identical pages that just rehash the same old info – make use of the variety available to you. For example: Facebook for announcing promotions, Twitter for customer services, YouTube for advertisements or Slideshare for presentations.

#3 – Target the Right Audience: Who is your primary demographic and what is the best way to target them? What will appeal to your target audience most? Community based discussion? Technical support? Humour-laden tweets? Generous competitions? Monitor, audit and research. Work out what kind of information your customers are going to want to know, and how to get it to them most effectively.

#4 – Work Efficiently and Effectively: Be realistic about your resources and capabilities. How much Social Media Marketing can your company realistically implement and maintain? Social Media is not a one-hit-wonder. It’s set within a constantly shifting, changing world, and you need to stay on top of current trends, differences in public opinion and new additions to its ever-growing network. Content needs to be updated regularly to keep from becoming stale. Give yourself a viable target and then try to exceed it!

#5 – Innovate, develop and engage: Always push forward to create new interest, keep your existing viewers hooked and stand out from the crowd. The most successful Social Media Marketing campaigns have been those that draw customers in with inventive ideas, make them want to be a part of the brand and share that information with their friends. You need to create a network around your company that will continue to grow.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Social Media Strategies – Why Should I Have One?

Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy

Well… it’s the next big thing, doncha know? It really is. Social media is currently unavoidable and is causing a storm in the marketing world. You can either stay in the dark ages or you can get with the times, and judging by the very real and impressive results some companies are getting, we would recommend the latter.

But there’s no point jumping on the bandwagon in a keeping up with the Jones’ kind of way. One of the reasons many strategies fail is because a company gets impatient, doesn’t take the time to think objectively about what they want to achieve and how they intend on doing it, then quickly lose focus when they don’t get the results they expect. Others become a little too obsessed with their Twitter interactions and forget about the actual work… As Buddha suggests, “Take the middle path.”

A good social media strategy requires a lot of thought and planning – you need to think about your goals, you need to include your entire company when embarking on this relatively new route to market, you need to prepare content and set aside time to put your aims into practice.

Because we all like a good list of top tips, let’s put it like this:

#1 – Social media is a MASSIVE opportunity for building your brand. Massive. MaHOOsive. Imagine a whole network of people orbiting around your business, getting included in the processes and feedback of your ideas, providing free advertising for you through the phenomenon of word-of-mouth, making your company into a familiar brand. Now, it won’t always work like this, but the opportunity is there. You can make a dent in your visibility and increase the stretch of your marketing campaign’s arms by reaching the largest amount of customers possible through the various platforms of social media – a reach that is incomparable to what you have been doing before.

#2 – Social media has a place for everyone. Where do you belong? Well try out Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us, Scribd or a gazillion more of the social media platforms out there. Have a good browse, there are many subject specific niche sites which may focus your results more effectively, such as Hugg (ahhh) for environmental issues, Kirsty for fashion and design, Sphinn for search and interactive marketers, Tweako for guides and tutorials and Autospies for, you guessed it, everything automotive. And there is a ton more if you just look – some are not very well publicised, some are not very active, but hey, it’s up to you to find the best forum for your content.

#3 – Social media is a cheaper alternative to traditional advertising. It takes narry a penny to set up accounts for email, a blog, or any of the sites listed in #2. It takes man power and man hours to manage, but very little, if anything, to maintain. There are tools to help things work more smoothly and integrate all your different areas of networking which charge for services, but it is possible to run a social media campaign for next to nothing. You are reaching your targeted demographic (and beyond) for the price of your broadband…

#4 – Social media allows you to see what your clients are saying about you. It’s no secret that posting certain opinions on social media sites has got people into trouble with bosses, spouses, friends and the law, but a bit of honesty is extremely healthy for marketing. People hang up the minute they realise there’s a market researcher calling, yet they’ll freely publicise their opinions on products and services online. In fact, most people jump at the chance to give their two pennies’ worth. As long as you respond to bad feedback in a productive and professional way, you can use this information to increase your offerings based on cold hard facts, and end up giving your customers exactly what they want.

#5 – Social media makes us all equal. Social media has a great levelling power. If you’re a little local business, trying to branch out into the big bad world of the web – great, you can achieve much wider popularity than just advertising in your home town, doing what you do best, providing great personalised services. If you’re a fat cat company, struggling with a public face like a blank wall – great, you can interact with your customers on a personal level, make yourselves accessible and friendly and show the world you’re not just a corporate suit. The fact that everyone from your little niece to your doddery granny is getting online and getting involved with social media means that everyone has a voice, and everyone has an opportunity to be friends. Ah, isn’t that nice? Now go sell yourself.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

5 Top Tips to Make Your Website Stand Out From The Crowd

Making a website stand out from the rest is a very important aspect of business and could prove vital to finding success. The internet is playing major part in marketing today and is a hugely effective and competitive field of play.

Giving your site a kick start with Search Engine Optimisation can be a vital benefit and give you successful measures to ensure you meet your goals set. Providing your website with page one results for correctly chosen, powerful keywords will create a fantastic marketing structure that is guaranteed to drive extra traffic to your web site.

For smaller online companies, marketing budgets may be hard fetched. However, Ikroh SEO bespoke packages can be set up to help each individual to grow and develop a marketing strategy. In the long run, with our assistance, you can aim for your business to start competing with the largest companies within your industry. With our expert knowledge and experience, we can make sure you compete in the lower searches, then gradually move you into more competitive fields.

Establish Your Site as a Go-To Resource

Web users and potential clients will always return to sites that they find useful. By giving your site a resources area such as an article library, FAQ, forum, news center or blog, you are creating extra reasons for customers to return. These repeat visits will often lead to enquiries because you’re already an established source of help and information.
When you have filled your site with good, relevant content, you will need to commit to keeping it updated on a regular basis. By adding new pages regularly you are encouraging users to return to your site to see more. This will also help deliver inbound traffic by promoting this new area of the site. This can be done in various ways;

Develop a Strong Brand Identity

By developing a strong brand identity, whether it be online or offline, is important. By producing a high level brand you will produce more traffic into your web site and also create a fantastic reputation which people will come to expect from you, both with products and your services.
Brand presence can work amazingly well and can drive traffic to a desired location or online site, serving you with a stepping stone to grow faster.

Become an Authority

Becoming an authority is a little like marketing your website at a high level to stand out from the others within your industry, but instead you are doing it yourself.

Write a Blog

Blogging is a great way to release new relevant information. Not only do search engines love new content, helping your search engine rankings, but it is also a great way of expanding your business and producing for you a larger brand.

  • Use of WordPress – this is a very simple way to produce blogs which can also be optimised for SEO.
  • Post regular content – at least once a week.
  • Promote your blog on social media sites to produce a better visual outlook. This will get noticed by more people and develop a better traffic rate.
  • Introduce a share button where people can publish information that appeals to them on their social media programmes.

Social Media

Social media has very quickly become a popular part of the web today. With Facebook currently leading the social networking industry – gaining over 300,000 users every month – it is a fantastic way to develop your business and stand out from the crowd.
Some social media sites:-

  • Facebook
  • Twttter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Google Buzz

There are many more social media networking sites, with general awareness spreading every day. This area is proving to be vital for online business today.