Tag Archives: branding

5 Ways to Bring Humanity to Your Brand

Brand rubber stamp. Part of a series of business concepts.

People like doing business with other people—not with faceless, personality-deficient corporate brands.

So if you’re looking to build real connections, and to convince your customers to trust you, it’s important that you present your brand with some humanity—a hard thing to quantify or to achieve, but essential nonetheless.

But how can you make your company come across as more approachable, more humane—without compromising your polish or your professionalism?

Consider these strategies:

  1. Use your actual team members in your marketing. If you want to put a human face on your business—well, why not actually use human faces? Involve the different people and personalities who work for your company. Put employee bios and photos on your website. Share behind-the-scenes employee photos on social media. And don’t resort to the use of stock photos; there’s no need, when you’ve got plenty of talented humans right under your roof!
  2. Encourage your employees to be brand ambassadors. You probably don’t want to force anyone to share branded content on their personal social media channels, but you can at the very least encourage them to post or tweet company blogs and status updates. Create a culture in which employees are eager to showcase the brand on social media; ensure that there is plenty of positive and entertaining content for them to share.
  3. Get your users involved. Encourage your social media followers to post pictures of your products being used, or to send in their stories and experiences related to your brand. Create a hashtag for them to use, and share some of the best submissions you get.
  4. Personalize your automated messages. Do you have automated e-mails that go out when people buy your products or sign up for your newsletter? Write a brief but creative message to use in these e-mails—something to lend your brand a little extra pizzazz.
  5. Write like a human. This one is the toughest, but perhaps also the most essential. In writing company content, avoid using jargon or needless technical terms. Instead, write naturally, conversationally, perhaps even humorously. Don’t write as The Company; write as a person. That’s what readers will connect to.

And that’s what this is all about: Creating marketing materials that will facilitate real relationships. That’s something you can only accomplish when you show some humanity.

Get help with your content marketing today: Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Tips for Addressing Bad Yelp Reviews

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It’s the 21st Century business owner’s worst nightmare: You sign on to your company’s Yelp page and see that someone has left an absolutely scathing review. This can obviously take its toll on your ego, but this is about far more than mere vanity. The truth is, negative Yelp reviews can have a real, bottom-line impact on your business; they attract search engine users and effectively set the public perception of your brand.

But while a bad review can have devastating effect, it can also provide you with a great opportunity to do some customer outreach, damage control, and brand enhancement. It all boils down to how you respond.

  1. First, put the review into perspective.

There’s no question that a bad review can be harmful to your brand. We don’t want to sugarcoat it, but we also don’t want to overstate it. A litany of bad reviews could honestly sink your company, but a single bad review amidst dozens of positive ones is probably not going to be a big deal. Regardless, it’s important not to panic, or to let your emotions carry you away. Respond rationally and with a level head.

  1. Do your research.

Also respond with all available information. Read the review carefully, noting its tone, the specific complaints, the date of the review, and any other information about the incident posted. Make sure your response addresses the review with precision and accuracy. If you come across like you Just Don’t Get It, it will only make things worse.

Also research the Yelp reviewer, if possible. (For anonymous reviewers, you’ll be out of luck.) Is it someone who always leaves nasty reviews? If so, then maybe that can help your anger subside. You could just be dealing with a mean-spirited person, quite frankly. No reason to get your feelings hurt over that.

  1. Show some customer service.

Whether you feel like the negative review is warranted or not, it’s important to seize the opportunity to treat your customer respectfully; apologize, and ask what you can do to make the situation right, or at the very least offer an explanation and sincere remorse that the customer’s experience was not better.

  1. Remember who you’re writing for.

In any and all writing, audience is important. When you’re addressing a Yelp review, remember that 90 percent of the Yelp audience is people who just read reviews, not people who write them, and that most of these people still have an unformed opinion of your company. That’s who you’re writing to, really. That’s who you’re trying to impress. Showing warmth, patience, and a customer-centered perspective can more than make up for the bad review itself.

  1. Don’t engage hotheads.

Every now and again, you may see an all-caps, foul-mouthed review that’s obviously just designed to be incendiary. Yelp does a pretty good job of filtering these out, but if you do run across one, it may be best not to engage at all. It’s hard to come across well when you sink to the level of addressing flamers and hotheads.

A bonus tip: You can enhance your brand’s reputation and minimize the damage of a bad review by providing your customers with plenty of positive content. To learn more, contact Grammar Chic today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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Who Are Your Brand Ambassadors?

Who’s on your company’s social media team? Hopefully you’ve got some good content writers and strategists there in the office with you—or else, you’ve found a good content marketing team to contract. Remember, though, that your team doesn’t merely consist of paid employees. Even your social media followers are, in a significant way, part of the team.

Not All Followers Are Created Equally

Some of your social media followers are probably just along for the ride—happy to “like” your company profiles but not necessarily willing to help you spread the word about your brand.

Others, though, are real brand ambassadors—followers who don’t need much prompting to engage your content and share it with their friends.

What we recommend is that you be fully aware of the folks in this latter category, and that you make a concentrated effort to cultivate their enthusiasm and support. Reach out to them directly and thank them for their help. Maybe even offer them special promotions. Certainly look at the kinds of content they seem to like, and adjust your editorial calendars in kind.

Friends and Family

Who, though, are these mysterious followers? Some aren’t so mysterious at all: They’re your friends and family—people who support you no matter what you do, and engage with your company page out of love for you, if not actual interest in what you’re doing!

Regardless, friends and family members can be an important foundation for a fledgling social media campaign. Go out of your way to recruit them and engage them in the earliest stages of your social media campaigns, when momentum is everything and having a few reliable likers and sharers can go a long way toward bolstering your own confidence.

Brand Ambassadors

The next category consists of the folks who we consider to be the true brand ambassadors—folks who don’t necessarily know you or care about you personally but are sincerely enthusiastic about your business. They may be actual customers who care about your projects, or they may just really like your content—but either way, their engagement is priceless.

And as you start to notice these folks, it’s important to empower them. Provide reminders to share your content. Make sure the content itself is well done and attractive. Perhaps even provide some incentives for sharing—such as contests or drawings.

The Peanut Gallery

To close, let us note that you’ll have some ambassadors but likely also some naysayers—some folks who seem frequently to comment on posts just for the sake of being contrarian. This can be frustrating—but then again, contrariness is better than indifference, and their activity may well provide a boost to some of your social media posts. These folks obviously care enough about your brand to engage with it, however destructively, so it’s worth it to be aware of them and perhaps even to try and win them over.

The bottom line: Your social media followers come in all shapes and sizes—and it’s worth it to you to court the true brand ambassadors.

Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic today: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Ted Cruz’s Online Reputation Fiasco: A Cautionary Tale

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Resembling nothing so much as the limpid, photo-negative version of Frank Underwood’s rigor and ruthlessness, the presidential campaign of Texas Senator Ted Cruz has, thus far, been a rather hapless affair. And that may be putting it mildly.

The Senator announced his candidacy for the nation’s highest office mere days ago, and already his electoral enterprise has been plagued with problems. The first and most elementary among them: It seems as though nobody on Cruz’s brand management team thought to buy up all the online domains associated with his name. Thus, a visit to TedCruz.com—snapped up by, one assumes, a more tech-savvy and brand-aware Democrat—offers a simple message: SUPPORT PRESIDENT OBAMA, IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW!

Little better, at least from the Senator’s standpoint: TedCruzForAmerica.com redirects straight to healthcare.gov, the signature domestic achievement of President Obama that Cruz has campaigned against so vigorously.

But a failure to buy up his online domains is, it turns out, just one of Cruz’s many campaign problems (not including a general sense that his candidacy falls somewhere between a pipe dream and a farce). The candidate was met with merciless mockery on Twitter, with a wildly popular #TedCruzCampaignSlogans putting him through the ringer. (“For a whiter tomorrow” is our favorite.)

You could point to other campaign decisions of dubious merit, many of them technical—for a while, the official Ted Cruz website had an unencrypted donations page, opening up all campaign donors to cyber attacks—but perhaps the big finish for Cruz’s rocky campaign rollout was the announcement, made the day after he announced his candidacy, that the candidate himself was signing up for Obamacare, the very federal program he has attacked so aggressively for so long.

Of course, Cruz’s decisions about his family’s healthcare are ultimately his business, but this points to a larger issue—namely, a certain fecklessness in cultivating his own positive online image. Simply put, it seems as though there is no one, or at least no one competent, advising Cruz on how to convey a strong message and protect himself from attack when running a campaign in the social media age.

A smart brand manager would have bought up all domain names associated with Ted Cruz; and while Twitter attacks are par for the course in politics, more could be done to combat them and control them, using a more coherent social media platform.

Social media and content marketing provide politicians—like companies—with the ability to shape their own narrative and to control their story and its perceptions. Perhaps other presidential hopefuls will learn from Ted Cruz’s bizarre saga and exert greater mastery over these disciplines.

To learn more about Grammar Chic’s own brand management and content marketing offerings, call us today at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

 

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Does Your Visual Marketing Reflect Your Brand?

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If you spend much time at all reading articles about content marketing, then you probably know how important visual marketing is. In an increasingly photo-dominated digital landscape, one in which Instagram and Pinterest gain in prestige every day and Facebook and Twitter keep pushing pics to the fore, it’s important that your brand engages users not just with meaningful text, but also with well-chosen imagery.

But what exactly does that mean for your marketing efforts? If you think it means you can just slap together some funny memes or vaguely on-topic infographics—a few cat pictures and movie tie-ins, maybe—think again. It’s not enough to have funny or interesting pictures; the images you use in your content marketing—whether you curate them or create them from scratch—ultimately need to underscore your brand’s identity, its values, its message.

So how can you ensure that your visual marketing remains not just compelling, but on-brand? A few tips from the Grammar Chic team:

  1. Work with a set, limited color palette. Some of our Grammar Chic clients prefer to use only black and white photos. Others work only with a set of two to four colors that tie in with their logo and website colors. You can set the limitations however you want, but do work with a specific visual vocabulary—some basic colors that will be immediately associated with your brand.
  2. Speak to problems and solutions. Your branding should always focus on delivering the solution to your customers’ problems, as determined by your buyer personas. Visual branding is no different. Even when you’re being a little cheeky, humorous, or coy, focus on a value proposition. Our Chic Resumes brand uses a lot of funny graphics, but all of them come back around to this basic point: You need a job, and we can provide you with a resume that boosts your chances of getting it!
  3. Don’t forget hashtags and calls to action. You have to be careful here—Facebook won’t let you use much text on your cover photo, for instance—but when possible, tie the images you use back to your main branding simply by including a website address or a relevant hashtag.

Pictures speak volumes, and as such, you want to make sure they’re saying the right thing—and that what they’re saying is consistent with your overall brand messaging. To learn more, contact the Grammar Chic team today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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Building Your Brand: Tips for Small Business Owners

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Small business owners, do you know how you get your company’s name out there—do you know how you get it not just seen, but well-received—among online shoppers and search engine users?

There was a time when the answer might have involved tricky SEO, “link building,” online directories, article marketing, or even online reputation management.

In today’s marketing environment, it involves something that’s simultaneously more respectable and more complicated. It involves brand building.

Establishing Your Brand

A recent Search Engine Watch article, penned by Adam Stetzer, illustrates this divide. “In days gone by, a no-name company could build a bunch of target keyword anchor links and start ranking,” Stetzer writes. “That was enough. In 2015, it takes a lot more. It takes aesthetic and user-friendly Web design, a social media presence that’s as engaging as it is dynamic, pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, and native advertising. It also requires a well-built brand, which sends a multitude of positive signals to Google and helps to improve the site’s rank.”

How, though, is a brand actually built? Stetzer lists five basic strategies for small business owners to employ, and all of them are commendable:

  • Invest in a good, professional logo—a sort of visual shorthand for what your company stands for.
  • Give away some branded, promotional goods. (We will note that this makes for an especially good social media campaign!)
  • Participate in charity/exhibit some social responsibility.
  • Build an engaging social media presence. (Of course, we agree with this one, in particular!)
  • Connect to something larger than just a business or just a product; tap into a feeling of generational nostalgia, for example, or orienting your brand toward providing a meaningful service to people.

More Ways to Build a Brand

All of these points are good ones, and we take no issue with them. However, we have a few steps to add to the process. Small business owners, we recommend the following brand-building strategies:

  • Start sending out some press releases—not necessarily weekly, but maybe quarterly. Compile them in a “News” section of your company website. Real companies have news to share! That’s an important part of branding.
  • Take control of your online reviews—as much as you can, anyway. Reviews are part of your brand, like it or not. Encourage customers to leave their feedback, and feature positive reviews on your company website.
  • Get your team involved with your online branding efforts. At the very least, get their feedback on the company’s social media presence, and ask them to help underscore the brand in their own social media engagement. Full team buy-in is imperative!

To learn more about online brand building, don’t hesitate to contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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