Monday, November 26, 2012

E-blasting A Strong Finish to the Holiday Season

Every retailer has goals and objectives regarding their expectations for the holiday season.  Sales are predicted to be better than last year and retailers are anticipating 4% increases.
Although holiday shopping is predicted to increase over last year, what is your plan of action in case it doesn’t?  Black Friday is the day retailers are expected to go from the red to the black, but what happens if your weekend closed below what you were expecting?  It's be too late to launch an effective holiday shopping campaign, but there are some simple things you can do to drive sales in-house that can receive instant response in the market.
Social media is instant and targets people who already likely enjoy your product.  You can post special discounts and promotions to drive those existing customers back into the store.  Use this tool to remind them how much you value them as your customer and give them reasons to shop for their loved ones with you.  Use social media to push any new products you have and also re-educate your audience about the old ones.
By now you likely have a customer database of e-mail addresses for e-marketing.  Take time to set aside an e-blast contingency plan.  If your sales do not go as planned, you will already have a plan in place that takes just a click to launch.
·      Tie your e-blasting in with your social media
·      Encourage your subscribers to share your posts with their friends
·      Follow through with a few revised versions to remind your consumers
Planning ahead will allow you to instantly react to changes in the market.  While sales are predicted to rise over last year, there are no guarantees.  As we have seen through the recent hurricane, things can change at the drop of a hat and negatively impact sales.  Being proactive will give you the advantage over your competition.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why #Hashtag? Because We Love It!

The first time I saw a hashtag was when I was a child watching Wheel of Fortune with my parents.  I asked what this symbol meant and my parents explained that it was the number sign.  Today it is so much more than just a number sign.  It has become how we index the happenings in our day-to-day lives.  I’m not sure how this trend came to play such a big role in social media, but I am pretty sure we have #Twitter to thank for it. 

Retailers are scrambling to incorporate hashtagging into their social media campaigns.  Why?  Because it allows them to track how many people are talking about them and respond accordingly.  It gets their names out there with little expense to the company; and if they are smart, they have recruited all of their team players as official hash-taggers of their brand.

One of the biggest hashtagging platforms right now is #Instagram.  Users are indexing pictures everyday with this tool to gain followers and stay on top of trends in products.  We have emotional attachment to the things that we purchase and can’t wait to show it off to our friends — and in many cases, even strangers.  If I want to see who is wearing the latest #ALDO shoes, I can do so by searching for the hashtag on Instagram.  Perhaps by doing so, I have also obtained some inspiration on different looks and styles.  This also gives people the opportunity to interact with others that have similar interests.

Employers are starting to encourage employees to use their social media in the workplace and employees are jumping on the opportunity.  They are excited to not only keep up-to-date on their viral connections throughout the day, but also to be contributors to their brand.  This is especially true for retailers in the fashion industry, where the employees have a passion for the products they are selling.  After all, that’s why most of them started working there. Well, that — and to get the employee #discount as an added bonus.

Marketing strategies are evolving on a daily basis, especially when it comes to social media and mobile technology.  If your target market has gone social, then you had better embrace the change. Resistance could result in the extinction of your brand.  Encourage your employees to interact with you and on your behalf.  It strengthens their loyalty to you and further builds on the foundation of your business.  And you will find that the younger members of your team really enjoy it!

Jump in with two feet first and have some fun!  #Just #don’t #get #too #hashtag #crazy!  Though a hashtag is now more than just a number symbol, too many of them can put people off and the right amount can help increase your customer base and have a positive effect on your overall sales. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Branding Is So Much More Than A Product Thing

Over the past 2 weeks conducting business in New York and surrounding areas has proven to be very difficult.  Sandy blew through and really changed the way many of us live our lives in a matter of just two days.  In the worst cases, many lost their homes and even some their loved ones.  In some of the better cases, people were stranded with no gas for their cars and their candle lit homes — most campers live in more luxury.  Fortunately, things are starting to get back to normal and ‘business as usual’ for most. 

Just about now you are probably thinking, how is this going to transition into a blog about branding?  Well, as the title says, branding is so much more than a product thing.  Our televisions and newspapers were swarmed with news coverage about organizations like the Red Cross, FEMA, Salvation Army, etc.  These are organizations that have done a great job in branding themselves.

I stopped at a rest stop the other night and came across a slew of Boy Scouts.  I instantly had a feeling that they were out in some community lending a helping hand in the hurricane relief.  Upon my conversation with a few of them, my suspicions were confirmed.  What I did not realize is that they came all the way from New Hampshire to offer their assistance. Four pick-up trucks each with a loaded trailer and a caravan of minivans and SUV’s brought these young men down to Staten Island where they waded through about a foot of water to bring supplies in and then stayed and cooked until it was all gone.  I was quite impressed and it definitely brought a few tears to my eyes when I heard their story.

Why did the Boy Scouts drive so far and do what they did?  They did it because it’s not just how they market their brand, it’s because they practice and preach their brand.  They live every day by their oath and live by their slogan.  It really makes me proud to have gone through the program when I was a kid.

Taking a lesson from the scouts, we have to be our brands!  What are your core values?  What is the image you want to portray?  Incorporating these elements of your brand into your daily life will only create strength in your products and further strengthen the core of what your business is about.

Richard Kurisko
BBG&G Advertising

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

As the Fall Leaves Have Changed, Brand Identity Should Stay Consistent

Decreased consumer spending and a loss of leisure time have made travel a luxury for some. Yet people still feel the need to get away, so there is vast opportunity for destination brands that promise a unique and desirable experience. Where can you find this edge? The answer is brand Identity- the concept is simple, but most do not know where to begin. Staying true to your identity across every business platform creates a strong brand that can thrive and survive in these times.
The consumer needs to receive a deliberate and consistent message at every contact point with your brand to avoid confusion. If a consumer picked up your brochure it should look and feel your website, Facebook, etc. People choose places that are recognizable for the reason that these places appear known, established, and trustworthy. Some destination brands lack cohesiveness in their image because they try new things too often. You may be tired of seeing the same colors and layouts, but your potential customers may just be starting to grasp your unique identity. Keep with it and the payoff will arrive.
Consistent brand identity gets everything working together thus your social media, website, ads, employees and materials reinforce, strengthen and amplify one another. The sum is greater than the parts.  Only then will consumers experience a unified, consistent, and powerful sense of your brand far beyond the actual dollars you spend.
Someone needs to be ensuring that your elements are consistent from one media to another.  BBG&G takes our customers logo, print materials, advertisements, photos and ideas and creates an integrated brand identity. The end product strategically reinforces the message and desired public image, both visually and contextually. There’s a great story to be told about your travel or destination brand. Do you know how to tell it?