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Essential Tips to Build a Personal CEO Digital Brand

In today’s continuously connected world, customers, employees and shareholders have a constant hunger for — and access to — information about your company and you as its leader.

According to the 2014 BRANDfog Global Social CEO Survey :

61 percent of U.S. respondents said they were more likely to purchase from a company whose values and leadership have been clearly communicated by executive leadership on social media.

83 percent of U.S. respondents believe better connections with customers, employees and investors can be built through CEO participation in social media.

In short, the message for today’s business leaders is “go social, or go home.” Assuming you have accepted the necessity of leveraging your personal executive digital brand for the good of your organization, the question becomes, how do you get there? A few essential actions include:

Leverage Your LinkedIn.

One current trend is the release of apps that aggregate and integrate calendar appointments with data from LinkedIn and other social media sources to provide a “brand at a glance” of the person you are going to meet. For this reason alone, it’s important that every leader’s LinkedIn profile be up to speed. How exactly does having this digital dossier impact your chief executive brand? Let’s say you’re scheduled to give a keynote speech at an industry conference. There’s a potential investor you want to connect with, and you’ve found out they will be there. You look them up on LinkedIn, reach out on the site and suggest you meet up at the conference. It’s almost a certainty they will look over your profile. Their online impression may be the deciding factor.

Find Your Flavor of Thought Leadership.

The world of CEO digital branding overflows with self-proclaimed experts and gurus — many of whom have not taken the time or rigorous exploration to define their thought leadership brand. To cut through the noise and be a standout chief executive in the digital space, you need to first decide the type of thought leadership you want to represent. The three most common are:

Celebrity. These leaders are best known for their personality: think Richard Branson, Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey.

Cerebral. These titans of industry are best known for their thinking and ideas: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.

Consequential. These executives are best known for the results they produce: Steve Jobs, Stephen Wynn and Debra Cafaro.

Where do you think you fit in? Knowing which variety of thought leadership you want to be known for affects the tactical and content marketing strategy you put in place.
Engage in C-suite Content Marketing.

The content options for getting your personal C-suite digital brand out there are endless. The key is to figure out which tactics would work best for you and your company, and then build around those. Two simple, but often underused, activities include:

1. Be proactive with online news media . The more reporters get to know you, the more they will call on you when they need sources to interview. A proactive online outreach campaign can get you on the media’s radar, be it big online outlets or bloggers.

2. Share new insights and trends with the public at large. Consider the following content marketing tactics — singularly or in combination — to get your thoughts across.  A regular blog; writing articles; a weekly podcast; an ebook; webcasts.

Remember, you as a chief executive have the daily opportunity (and obligation) to build your personal digital brand in service of your company’s reputation. The results should be higher performance, greater influence, and increased cooperation and engagement with your staff, colleagues, customers, industry, and the public at large.

CEO sign on desk

CEO sign on desk

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(The article is written by Karen Leland and originally posted on Business Insider India).

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7 Best Ways to Get Your Content to Stand Out

It’s not that your content sucks…in fact, it might even be pretty darn good. It’s just that every minute of every day, there are 1,300 more blog posts, 360,000 more tweets, 1.7 million more Facebook posts and 2 million more videos uploaded to YouTube. And that only accounts for a few channels. Which means your content is simply being drowned out in an ever-quickening deluge of words and images.

So what’s a content marketer like you to do? We suggest the following seven ways to stand out from the crowd.

Standing Out from Thinkstock

Rally Around Your Purpose

Too many content programs are created in isolation without a clear connection to a company or brand’s reason for being. If you can’t answer why your company is in business, chances are your content lacks a purpose as well. For example, Jennifer Dominiquini, CMO of BBVA Compass, connects all of the organization’s marketing activities through its “banking on a brighter future” promise. The result is content that is inspirational to employees and customers alike.

Hire Talented Storytellers

Humans are hard-wired to respond favorably to emotional stories, yet 98% of branded content lacks any of the elements of good storytelling (narrative, conflict, character development, etc.). To address this, some brands like IBM, GE and Cisco have hired professional storytellers from Hollywood, magazines and even comedy troupes. Others have turned to agencies who have embraced the tenets of storytelling and trained their teams accordingly.

Embrace Quality Over Quantity

As brands feel compelled to fill up their content calendars, the overall quality-per-piece tends to decline, which has a compounding deleterious effect on future readership. One brilliantly written post by your CEO is worth at least 12 by your junior marketing manager. Authorship matters, as does authority. Warren Buffett writes one shareholder letter each year and it is prized among its many readers. For inspiration, take a look at some of these top-ranked blogs by CEOs.

Become an Ongoing News Source

Have you heard of Quinnipiac? How about Bard? We’ll guess you answered yes to the first and no to the second. Why the huge discrepancy in awareness? Quinnipiac has become famous for its polling, the results of which are quoted in the media all the time. The lesson here for savvy marketers is clear — become a news source by gathering your own research data that can also be used to inform customer service, product development and employee recruiting.

Give Your Best a Boost

Let’s assume you’ve followed the tips above and have created what you think is an extraordinary piece of content. Now it’s time to post and pray, right? Wrong. Even great content deserves, or more to the point, requires a boost from paid media. On Facebook, this is particularly easy because the site will tell you when a post is doing better than average organically—and those are the posts to support even if you are doing so against a finite audience.

Extend with Unique Content-Driven Events

As screens, and especially mobile devices dominate our lives, we are anticipating a counter-trend toward the need for actual human contact. Brands that recognize this trend and create events that bring people together will have the dual opportunity to bond with their customers and capture content that can extend the value of the event indefinitely. IBM has had great success with this approach, most recently with the launch of World of Watson.

Test, Test and Test Some More

Since taking over as publisher of Social Media Explorer, we’ve conducted an endless stream of tests helping to increase site traffic by 50%, increase time on the site by 20%, decrease bounce rate, double our email subscribers, increase our newsletter open and click-through rates while lowering our opt-out rate. We’ve tested headlines (sadly, “listicles” always win), images (don’t go overboard with animated gifs) and author types (influence matters). And the testing continues.

 

This post was originally published by Drew Neisser on SocialMediaExplorer.com 

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How To Protect Your Service Business and Brand It For Success

It’s long been said in business circles that customer loyalty is too dependent on the fidelity you show in the quality of your product. While most of us agree that this is true, the question becomes; what about those who have no goods to sell?

What fidelity is used to join businesses that are 100 percent or largely service businesses? The truth is, if you have a product, your product is your brand and can sustain you. If you wholly deliver services, you become the brand, and then it becomes necessary for you to learn how to brand yourself for success.

Service businesses are sitting ducks for litigation and a plethora of complaints, and they can very easily be torn apart. Product integrity is a bit easier to maintain than integrity of staff and the people who make up the business.

These tips will help you brand your service business for success and build a stable base from which you can further your aspirations.

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1. Develop a feedback system for both positive and negative feedback.

Communication they say, is not complete until feedback is received. When your business has to deal purely with services rendered, like a hair salon, telecommunications business, clinic, car wash or property management business, you need feedback much more than any other business. For instance, I run a property management firm and find myself susceptible to cross fire, from both the property owners and the tenants. While most people in my shoes listen primarily only to the property owners, it is wiser to listen to all parties involved. Getting feedback — and asking for it regularly, even if it is negative — is a strong move in protecting yourself.

Many businesses have faced litigation and even filed for bankruptcy as a result of little things ignored over time. Feedback helps you know what to work on or what to keep up. You can use feedback charts, boxes or provide room for feedback on your company app, if you have one. Make feedback avenues available and beyond that, encourage and ask for it. It protects you more than it makes your customers feel valued

2. Treat data like gold.

The high profile Yahoo hack was an eye-opener for everyone involved in the service business. The allegation that Yahoo knew about the hack initially and did nothing raised a great number of hairs on users of the platform.

You may not have a physical commodity, but trust is the commodity you are selling — you are selling yourself. If your customers are required to submit sensitive data, they have to see that you have adequate plans to secure them.

Limit the staff who have access to this information. It should be criminal for your staff to take work home and log onto your platform from a public server. You do not have to keep sensitive data for longer than is necessary, so as not to increase the possibility of loss. Put electronic data and electronics on lockdown; the contents of an entire hard drive can be saved on a flash disk the size of your thumb. Most importantly, if your customer data is serviced by third party vendors, ensure that vendors adhere to stringent privacy practices and insist they upgrade if they aren’t in strict adherence.

3. Concentrate more on personal branding than corporate branding.

Research has shown repeatedly that customers trust people more than businesses. Understanding this will cause a shift in how you carry on your business. While you need the visibility that billboards, logos and conventional advertising will give you, to sustain the business in the long run, you need to concentrate more on personal branding and learn how to brand for success.

People are far more likely to follow you, talk to you, trust you and engage with you if they believe they are interacting with a real person. This is where the benefits of humanizing your brand really come into play. Personal branding is simply bringing down branding to the smallest component of a business — the individual. It starts with you as the business owner and then must reflect on your staff through trainings and mentorship.

The question — “What do you want your business to be known for?” For service-based businesses, what do you want to be known for?

4. Understand the three rules of customer attraction and retention.

There are generally three broad rules of customer attraction and retention. First, you must apply the adequate tools to gain visibility. This may take any shape appropriate for you — conventional advertising, social media advertising or, one I personally advocate, social impact advertising. Social impact advertising is when you carry out deliberate efforts that have positive societal impact. It often works best with businesses whose services are rendered majorly to customers in their immediate geographical location. However, with the advent of social media and content marketing, it can draw any number of customers from anywhere and retain them as well.

Secondly, you need to have consistency. Consistency is not very relevant if you have a weak brand, but if you have developed a strong personal brand, efforts should be put towards maintaining that brand through the consistency of customer interactions.

Lastly, you need to earn loyalty. Consistency does this, but the additional services you render is what many customers will keep coming back for. The battle between Uber and Lyft has largely been in this realm. Their apps, customer support and innovations have primarily revolved around gaining loyalty with perks, give-aways and techniques that introduce speed and ease to the customer.

In effect, the goal is to showcase an identity, or personality, that is visible, consistent and valuable to your customers or your audience.

5. How you say it is more important than what you say.

For product-based businesses, most of the customer’s focus is on what you have to offer, but with service-based businesses, how you offer it matters a lot as well. If you need to write proposals to prospective clients or investors or even just have to address customers, you have to pay more attention to your tone and content.

A property owner is more likely to let me manage his property because of my approach than because of my expertise, because frankly, the skill is the same everywhere. You should be going straight for the heart to make them accept you. A good product usually cushions the effect of bad service, but when service is all you have, you have to step up your game.

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6 Digital Branding Trends You Should Not Follow in 2017

The only eternal truth about digital marketing is that there is nothing eternal in it. The very moment when we think we understand where it’s headed is also the moment we realise that we are late to the party. The full range of media content competes for 10 seconds of a customer’s attention. And to win this battle we must be ready to change our strategy and to get rid of our favourite tools.

Digital Branding Trend

We are not talking about making prophecies but about fixing the bugs in our game plan. To make an impact in 2017 you will need to stop following these digital branding trends.

#1 Activity imitation game

Let’s start with the obvious one. Fake likes, shares, and followers will not work for you anymore. Most customers can tell the difference between pages with fraud clicks and the pages with strong content. Besides, social media platforms often ban suspicious business pages with a number of fake subscribers.

Faking the comments and reviews on your product is also a weak move since experienced users can easily indicate the fraud. And we are talking here about the generation of customers who have grown up with a Smartphone instead of a rattle in their hands. So the matter is not even that it is a cheap trick, but that it is useless.

#2 Posting too much

The more is not the merrier anymore. It was clear in 2015, and in 2016 it became obvious, that there must be a limit on posts per a day. Yet many companies still keep overposting. You shouldn’t post every time you have something valuable/new/interesting to say. This strategy has two unpleasant outcomes. First, your posts may go unnoticed due to the wrong posting time. And second, when you make too many posts, regardless of their quality and relevance, it annoys people. Thus, you must find a balance between consistency and obsession. The good news is, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just appeal to the experts that have already done the job of figuring out the optimal posting frequency.

In 2017 it is as simple as that: don’t make fake users and don’t bore your real ones.

#3 Pushing keywords

An even trickier problem is the quality of your content. Marketing success is based not only on the ability to attract customers but on the ability to make them return; in other words, on customer retention. To maintain it, we need to reconsider our SEO policy.

When our SEO focus on solely on keywords, we neglect our contents’ quality for the sake of click rate. The task here is not to please the search engines, but to create good content that will bring back your customers. The priorities for up-to-date SEO strategies are usefulness and meeting the customers’ needs. On the one hand, it helps to earn your customer’s loyalty. And on the other, it makes the user eager to share this content. Most customers make their offline purchases based on recommendations. The same rule works online – shares are the most valuable indicator of the validity of your content strategy.

The algorithm of search engines has gotten smarter. Now to get to the top 10 search results you need to provide the top-quality content. Long story short, make your content worth reading.

#4 Making it all about the text

A blog is one of the must-have elements of your marketing strategy. With blogs, you earn the loyalty of your audience and bring in leads. However, if you only stick to the conservative tools for your business, you’ll be drowned out by more progressive brands. One of the trends of 2017 is video marketing. If you think that video content doesn’t suit your business, or is not applicable to it, then think again.

You sell maintenance equipment – make a video on how to choose proper tools and equipment and why. If you have a hair salon – shoot a video about makeup techniques and trends in hair styles and color. Want to promote any kind of service? Make a behind-the-scenes video or an interview of your happy clients. Finally, ask your customers what they what to see. Video-on-demand is one of the most engaging and effective techniques for earning audience loyalty.

However, even if you have good content, you can spoil all your efforts by aggressive advertising.

#5 Falling for banner advertising

Web advertising is going through radical transformations. One of the reasons is the widespread use of AdBlock. Experts claim that in 2016 ad publishers lost more than 21 billion dollars because of AdBlock’s popularity boost among users. While impressions are becoming harder to generate, ad publishers have to look for new strategies. A good alternative is native advertising. It shows a better level of ad content acceptance and most importantly, it cannot be blocked or singled out from the other content.

Losing impressions is not the biggest problem, though. By aggressively posting ads you frighten away your audience and lose in retention.

#6 Seeking large influencers

Most customers listen to recommendations, especially when they hear them from somebody famous. A strong personal brand or celebrity who suggests your product to their followers is an influencer. Recent studies show that there is a better alternative to promotion by macro-influencers. Appealing to micro-influencers brings better results to your business promotion. How so? Micro-influencers have a narrower focus and represent particular groups of interest. It makes their words more relevant and authentic to readers. There is no particular number of followers which defines the micro-influencer. They all can be quite influential. A niche YouTube blogger with 5,000 followers can bring you more real customers than a celebrity. At the same time, YouTube bloggers with 500 followers will recommend your product to a wider audience than an average customer. It is a win-win situation.

These facts impact both your targeting and brand promoting strategies:

  1. Micro-influencers give brand recommendations 22.2 times more often than other customers. Target them and you will attain a larger reach.
  2. A niche influencer’s recommendation has a bigger response than those made by celebrities. In general, they deliver a better ROI than big influencers.

Conclusion

To recap, 2017 should be your year to stop:

  • Trying to fool your customers – the fraud is always obvious.
  • Bothering them with an enormous amount of information and ads.
  • Disrespecting your customers and promoting lousy content.
  • Being afraid to engage new media tools.
  • Choosing solely traditional ways of brand promotion.

This is not a comprehensive list of ways to improve your marketing strategy. If your business is still alive in 2017 you already know that. Now is not the time for being conservative. Instead, you must be open to new tricks and techniques.

 

 

Source: Business2Community

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Color in Branding: What Does it Say About Your Industry?

Many marketers see color as an important part of marketing because color can be used to influence consumers’ emotions and perceptions of goods and services. Companies also use color when deciding on brand logos. The use of color can be a powerful way to guide the associations consumers have about a brand, but how and why certain colors are used can often be perplexing.

Color of Branding

The color red is the perfect example. When it is used as a primary color for McDonald’s, red is meant to energize and attract the attention of potential customers. Red is also thought by some psychologists as a hunger stimulant, which might help them sell more Big Macs and McNuggets at the end of the day.

However, in the case of a company such as British Airways, red is supposed to represent none of those things. For an airline brand, red should be about warmth and a sense of caring, and it ostensibly helps to make customers feel more comfortable flying. For the famous shoe brand Vans, the color red is supposed to evoke feelings of desire and passion, with a hope that customers will link these concepts intrinsically to their brand.

How can red mean so many different things at the same time? The answer is context, much of which is provided by consumers choosing between brands within a particular industry.

COLOR AND CONTEXT

When consumers plan to make a purchase decision, they are typically deciding between an evoked set of companies that they’re familiar with for a specific industry or sector. In buying an automobile, for example, a consumer may only to be willing to only consider buying a Toyota, Ford, or Honda.

Since these brands are competing against one another for a “spot” in the mind of consumers, their brands are positioned based on consumer needs and desires in order to win certain associations. Color is an important part of this – but the need is only to differentiate from competitors within an industry, since non-auto brands like McDonald’s or Calvin Klein are not a part of the evoked set of brand choices in this situation.

Therefore, industry context is an essential factor that determines the color choices made by companies for their branding.

EXAMPLES: COLOR IN BRANDING

Today’s infographic from Towergate Insurance breaks down 26 industries by the colors used in top brands, providing an additional focus on industries such as autos, pharmaceutical, and apparel to identify the reasons why particular colors are used.

color-by-industry-infographic

Here are some examples worth thinking about:

Autos
Based on the breakdown of the top 20 brands in the auto industry, it is interesting to see that silver is used with more prominence than in other sectors. Silver provides a sense of luxury and high-quality workmanship. Red and blue are also popular colors for brands in the auto sector. Red can symbol masculinity, while blue is supposed to represent reliability for brands like Volkswagen or Ford.

Pharma
Within the context of pharmaceutical branding, the concepts of health, vitality, and optimism are important. Blue, which is used as a color in branding for companies such as Pfizer, is meant to represent well-being. Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline’s orange is meant to be optimistic and energetic. Vitality or health can also be represented with green, which has a strong association with nature and healing.

Apparel
Fashion is dominated by companies that use black as a part of their branding. Of the top 20 apparel and accessory brands, 12 of them use black in their logos to evoke senses of sophistication, formality, style, or luxury.

These include companies such as Chanel, Zara, Adidas, Nike, Oakley, Burberry, Cartier, and many others.

When making color decisions, it is important to determine the target audience in order to convey the right message. Color decisions can influence both direct messages and secondary brand values and attributes in any communication. Color should be carefully selected to align with the key message and emotions being conveyed in a piece.

Sources: Visual Capitalist and Psychology of Colors in Marketing and Branding

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3 Ways Introverts Can Boost Their Personal Brand

3 Cara Introvert Dapat Meningkatkan Merek Pribadi mereka

Gambaran, sejenak, seorang pria. Dia tidak mudah bergaul. Cukup dilindungi, sebenarnya; ia menghabiskan banyak waktu sendirian. Ketika di banyak pikirannya akan campur aduk, dan hatinya mulai berdetak hanya sedikit lebih cepat. Pria itu tahu dari potensi yang sebenarnya, tapi bahkan tidak bisa mulai berpikir tentang melakukan langkah-langkah yang diperlukan untuk sampai ke sana.

Jika ini terdengar seperti Anda, kemungkinan Anda seorang introvert.

Tetapi orang-orang introvert memiliki merek pribadi sama seperti manusia lainnya dari dunia, dan menyangkal bahwa memimpin kemungkinan besar akan ke jalur karir biasa-biasa saja. Yang benar adalah, introvert memiliki potensi untuk perintah hanya sebagai besar, jika tidak lebih besar, merek pribadi daripada bahkan orang yang paling extrovert.

Introvert Personal Branding

Berikut adalah beberapa cara Anda dapat membangun merek pribadi Anda tanpa memberikan terlalu banyak ruang pribadi Anda:

1. Public speaking

Mimpi terburuk setiap orang introvert adalah, sayangnya, bagian yang sangat penting dari membangun merek pribadi – tetapi banyak waktu ketakutan Anda hanyalah sebuah hasil dari pikiran Anda bermain trik pada Anda.

Salah satu stigma terbesar introvert ‘berbicara di depan umum adalah berpikir penonton akan menghakimi mereka buruk selama pidato mereka, tidak peduli seberapa baik-berlatih itu. Ini serius dapat mempengaruhi bagaimana ceramah pergi. Sebuah metode yang bekerja untuk banyak introvert adalah untuk mengulang sesuatu seperti, “Penonton tidak akan menilai saya buruk.” Semakin Anda mengulanginya, akhirnya Anda percaya (setidaknya untuk sementara) dan melakukan lebih baik daripada jika Anda tidak.

Orang-orang datang ke acara berbicara Anda karena mereka ingin belajar lebih banyak tentang Anda dan apa yang Anda bicarakan. Ada juga tidak ada masalah dalam memperluas Anda sesi tanya jawab untuk mengambil sedikit tekanan terlepas dari diri sendiri.

Gunakan jaringan Anda untuk mencetak peluang berbicara di podcast hidup atau webinar. Meskipun mereka mungkin tidak seefektif berbicara di depan publik non-digital, peluang tersebut memungkinkan introvert untuk tumbuh jangkauan dan kredibilitas mereka dengan cara yang membuat mereka paling nyaman.

2. Digital presence

Internet menyediakan manfaat berinteraksi dengan orang-orang tanpa harus meninggalkan ruangan Anda. Melalui media sosial, Anda dapat jaringan dengan orang di seluruh dunia, semua dari kenyamanan ruang pribadi Anda.

Anda juga dapat mempublikasikan konten berkualitas dan berbagi dengan pengikut Anda untuk memaksimalkan jangkauan dan membangun kredibilitas lebih lanjut sebagai influencer. Menulis ide-ide fantastis dan pikiran bagi seluruh dunia untuk membaca dapat melakukan hal-hal luar biasa baik untuk merek pribadi Anda.

3. Traditional networking

Media sosial masih tidak menggantikan jaringan tradisional. Bertemu orang-orang di-orang adalah metode yang paling kuno jaringan karena suatu alasan – kerjanya.

Tapi siapa bilang Anda hanya perlu bertemu orang-orang di pameran perdagangan dan acara networking? Sebaliknya, hanya penelitian orang yang Anda ingin berbicara dengan dan membuat daftar. Kemudian, mencari tahu di mana mereka akan berbicara atau peristiwa mana mereka menghadiri dan pergi ke sana sendiri.

Setelah Anda sampai di sana, Anda sudah akan memiliki seseorang dalam pikiran untuk berbicara dengan, sehingga overload memikirkan siapa yang harus bicara pertama atau di mana untuk memulai tidak akan sama besar. Mungkin diperlukan beberapa kali untuk bisa digunakan untuk itu, dan itu tidak selalu berjalan seperti yang direncanakan, tetapi memiliki tujuan jangka pendek dapat membantu Anda melupakan kecemasan Anda sehingga Anda dapat membuat sebagian besar dari percakapan Anda.

 

Artikel ini pertama muncul di Personal Branding Blog dan di terjemahkan oleh FMB Consultant Blog.

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How to Develop a Winning Pitch

There are so many ideas out there in the market. The reason why some survive over the others is a plain and simple case of investor money or funding. While most entrepreneurs do prepare a lot for investor meetings, they forget some basic communication rules. It doesn’t matter if you spend days and nights preparing the perfect pitch but often forget the basics in the end. Here are some rules to keep in mind when you’re faced with your investor and pitching your idea.

Image : shutterstock

 

 

Be crisp and precise

Time is money. A brilliant idea isn’t so unless it can be explained within a few minutes. Investors simply can’t afford to spend more than a few minutes on your pitch. Concise and effective speeches often impress the investors. Sometimes, entrepreneurs get into unnecessary details of the business idea forgetting the time clause. This is something to be mindful of.

Numbers matter

Investors like to see numbers. Project your finances in terms of cashflows, EBITDA, and balance sheet status within realistic numbers, and there is no way that the investor will not be impressed.  It reveals your seriousness and commitment towards the vision of the company.

Humility

While entrepreneurs should really believe in their ideas and take pride in their venture, humility is an ingredient that keeps one grounded. In the spur of the moment, it is very easy to gain a hot head if your idea is criticized. However, there could be some truth or wisdom in what the investor is saying, so receive it with an open mind. Basic etiquette should be maintained to build a long lasting relationship.

Uniqueness

You need to explain exactly what is unique and different about your offering. A run-of-the-mill product will immediately render the investor uninterested. With their sharp mind and business acumen, they can easily tell how exactly your product or offering really is. This makes it crucial to keep developing on your pitch or the idea.

Sync, align, and answer accordingly

One of the signs of a great entrepreneur is his ability to sync himself with another person’s thoughts and anticipate their moves. Even with an investor, always understand where they come from and what kind of questions they are likely to ask. Be prepared with an amazing answer which shows your abilities and talents. Investors love it when things are presented to them with absolute clarity and they don’t have the need to ask any questions.

Focus

Getting an investor’s time is really difficult. So when you do, it is vital that you respect their time. Investors judge your ability to use the funds based on the pitch you present. Translate laser sharp focus into your speech and idea. Time should be spent to understand the key components that need to be spoken about, and these core components should form the essential part of the pitch.

A winning pitch is not the one where you beg for funding, nor is it driven and flamboyance and ego. It is essential to follow the rules given above to cave a middle path. Developing a nourishing and healthy relationship with the investor is important and difficult at the same time. However, once these basic rules are followed, the job becomes easier and the battle is half won.

Source: Develop Winning Pitch

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Donald Trump’s Victory: What Do Brands Do Now?

Trump is the 45th President of The United States. Well before Tuesday, Nov. 8, brands knew that this was an atypical presidential election. Its surprising result in the early hours of Wednesday morning confirmed that thought many times over. Obviously there are so many emotions to deal with and questions to answer; however, this brief essay will confine itself to the election’s implications for brands and PR.

What Do Brands Do Now?

The traditional PR playbook says that brands should be apolitical. Long before Americans began thinking about election 2016, though, several pages from the traditional playbook were deleted. One of the deleted pages held that brands exist only to make money. Customers feeling good about your brand experience was nice, but certainly not an imperative. Profits ruled.

Today, however, “there’s an expectation that [brands] stand for more” than profits, Allen Shaphard of APCO Worldwide says in this week’s edition of PR News Pro.

As such there were brands that injected themselves into the campaign. Several brands blasted the President-elect Donald Trump’s stance on immigration, for example. One brand took offense to Trump’s choice of words when discussing immigration issues. In another example, more than a few brands decried Trump’s comments, caught on tape prior to an interview with “Access Hollywood,” about his right as a celebrity to take liberties with women. At least one brand tried to inject levity into the presidential debates and was met with rancor. An iconic brand attempted to promote unity and took a few whacks on social media for its trouble.

Back to our original question: What do brands do now?

The simple answer is if they believe their positions were true to their brand values, they remain authentic. The last thing a brand wants to do is back off a position it’s taken, Shaphard says, and have consumers wondering what the brand stands for. Remember, brand values and missions were carefully crafted, evolving over many years. That’s far more time than a political campaign cycle. As such, it’s unwise to abandon them quickly, Stephen Payne of Feld Entertainment, says in PR News Pro.

The good news is that the public tends to respect brands that stick to their values, particularly when they are defending the dignity of women and minorities, Shaphard says. And note that roughly half the electorate voted for a candidate whose views clashed with those of the president-elect. If you’re a brand, there’s nothing wrong with having 50% of the market agreeing with your political viewpoint.

The other bit of good news is related to political history. Promises made and positions taken in presidential campaigns often are just that—campaign promises and positions. Many fall away when the practicalities of governing take over. It remains to be seen how many of Trump’s campaign promises become reality. Recall that one of the key promises President Obama made during his first presidential campaign eight years ago was that he’d close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay during his first week in office.

Who Needs the Media?

This is another issue for brands to mull in that most of the so-called media experts got the election wrong. The election was almost another “Dewey Defeats Truman.” This knocks media down several more steps from where it was positioned going into Tuesday.

Another point, Trump, in part a creation of the media, ran almost as much against the media as he did against Hillary Clinton. “I’m not running against Crooked Hillary,” he said during the campaign. “I’m running against the crooked media.” Indeed  when he was accused of failing to give a promised donation to a veterans’ group, instead of attacking those who made the charge, Trump turned his ire toward what he called the irresponsible and incompetent political press. During the campaign he promised to weaken libel laws and investigate big media mergers, such as Comcast-NBCU. Through last week he claimed the media was biased against him.

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Who Needs Polling?

A corollary to the above concerns polling and research. Both disciplines received black eyes Tuesday for their poor performance calling the election, admittedly a tough one to predict, though. More than that, however, Trump noted often that he didn’t believe in polls and didn’t need them. (He changed his tune later in the campaign.)

While we’re not advocating that brands junk research and polling, we are saying the election provided a sobering if obvious lesson: If you will be using polling and research it’s wise to make sure both are done well. In late October Doug Usher wrote on PR News Online, “Asking questions on a survey is just one step (and not the first one). Have you identified the opportunities and challenges that are behind the project? What are the key insights you need to know to move forward? When you think ahead to the numbers you’ll receive, will you be able to generate usable, actionable insights, or just have a printout of numbers that sit on the shelf?”

Who Needs to Apologize?

Moving from brands to PR and communications generally, the success of Trump can be ascribed to his refusal to apologize. True, he apologized about his “Access Hollywood” comments about women, but few other attacks on him were responded to with apologies. Most were met with attacks on the attacker. As such, Trump again nearly by himself destroyed a chapter in the PR 101 playbook that urges brands, corporate and personal, to own up to mistakes. As John Roderick wrote in a provocative essay in PR News Pro last month: “The public apology is dead. Long live the indignant counterattack.” Again, we’re not saying brands should cease apologizing when criticized; however, in the rare case when an offensive is authentic to your brand or your CEO, it might be worth considering.

Who Needs Scripts and Messages?

Scripts and messaging, two of the mainstays of corporate communications, also took some hits Tuesday. The president-elect allegedly spoke from the seat of his pants more than he stuck to a script or stayed on message. Those tactics were authentic to him and arguably were among the keys to his victory. At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe about the president-elect, who, perhaps not coincidentally, seemed to surge in the past few weeks because he stayed on message. We’ll need to wait for in-depth reporting about his campaign before we can write obituaries for scripts and messages. Of course, with the president-elect’s distaste for the media, it’s uncertain how much insight journalists and authors will be permitted to gain about the inner workings of one of the biggest upsets in U.S. election history.

 

This article cited from PR News Online.

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4 Ways to Engage the World on Instagram

Have you got the realest engagement? Instagram’s got it.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a social media graphic is worth 40 times—research shows that visual content is up to 40 times more likely to be shared on social media over other types of content.

The photo-sharing and video-sharing platform could be the best choice for getting people to like, watch and comment on your posts. Average engagement per Instagram post has grown by 416% over the last two years and more than half of millennials are users, to name just one demographic.

But, at the risk of being plain to see, you need to have strong visuals to have a good Instagram presence. This is not something that comes naturally to some brands, especially nonprofits and B2Bs. However, anyone can put a strategy in place that will make their Instagram feed more engagement-friendly, but even greater to learn from the best, at the top of their game.

PR News Online spoke to Lindsay Kaplan, global vice president of communications at Casper, in advance of her appearance at the PR News Social Media Conference on October 20. Casper’s Instagram presence is a good model for what PR pros can aim for with their own efforts, so Kaplan supplied us with these four brief tips:

1. Plan out your grid—Mock up a grid in photoshop to make sure the images work together visually as a whole. Below is a screenshot of Casper’s Instagram grid; notice how there is a lack of clutter and generally three colors: blue, white and beige/brown/gold. 

2. Vary your content—Feature a delicate balance between campaign, lifestyle and product assets, as well a good mix of photo and video. Not too much of one, and not too much of the other.

3. A great image isn’t enough—The perfect caption together with that adorable kitty photo is a must. Don’t forget to include industry-relevant hashtags if you’re trying to grow your brand, and when it comes to influencer posts, definitely don’t forget to have them include sponsorship disclosure or you could wind up in trouble.

4. Don’t forget about your DM inbox—Casper has grown many meaningful relationships by interacting with its followers. Just because the world can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t good PR!

This article is cited from: 4 Ways to Engage the World on Instagram

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