Encouraging professional social media use

Professional social media is important to your personal branding

Professional social media is important to your personal branding. Image source: http://www.fusionspark.com/socialmedia-smallbiz/

How we use social media use is a target of criticism by so many people around us. Your mom may critique that weekend party picture you posted for your friends on Facebook. Your advisor may comment on how little you update your LinkedIn account and how important your professional social media persona is to getting your dream job. In many offices, the rules regarding our personal use of social media can feel invasive and overwhelming. Before the days of social media our lives weren’t well… quite so broadly public and therefore only fodder for criticism by the town gossips rather than everyone you know.

From a business or educator’s stand point, I do believe that we need to help guide and encourage professional social media use by employees and students. How a student chooses to use social media now can very likely effect their opportunities to interview at their top pick company in a few years closer to graduation. In fact, the argument could be made that your professional social media use is directly tied to your personal marketing and branding. Continue…

Social media marketing requires statistics

socail media marketingStudying statistics is important, especially when it comes to monitoring the ever-changing world of social media marketing. If a business is not closely monitoring and controlling the effects of their online campaigns, they are really missing an opportunity to focus expenditures and improve return on investment (ROI).

The good news is that social media marketing is incredibly easy to track. That is not to say that it doesn’t take time and expertise to do it well. What I mean is that: the data is there. Every page visit, every click through, every download is recorded and that data is available for analysis. One of the most popular (free) programs is Google Analytics. GA is robust and gives web developers many options to test, tweak, and monitor the success of their websites.

If you don’t believe me, visit the Social Media Listening Center on the campus of Clemson University. I bring students from #GC3400 there every semester and they get to see first hand public tweets from classmates and friends from across campus. The response is often “I had no idea you could see everything like that!” Continue…

History of NFL logo development

A client asks: Do you provide logo development? So you think sure, you can bust out a super logo proposal in a few hours, right? What if the client already has a current logo they want to include in the concept. Is it harder to start from scratch or continue to create fresh iterations of a current brand? I think the argument can be made that re-developing a logo could be more difficult. The challenge of creating something that stays fresh without losing the original branding investment. Questions that should be explored are: How far should you change? How often?

I think these questions are especially relevant when it comes to huge brands and logo development. What if all the sudden Coca-cola dropped their font or added a circle reminiscent of pepsi’s logo. Immediately their logo becomes unrecognizable and brand damaging. I’m not saying that a large overhaul can’t or shouldn’t be done on a company logo, just that branding and consistency must be carefully considered.

This infographic shows NFL logo development over time, a great example of seriously engrained branding. If you watch football at all, you recognize the teams by their logos and colors and often times by as little as their chosen fonts. Do you think they all improve with each iteration?

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The History of NFL Logo Designs – Blog About Infographics and Data Visualization – Cool Infographics

Football is extremely popular in the United States. People pick sides and cheer on their teams …

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Credibility and believable marketing: 9 elements that help

This article brings up a good point about credibility and believable marketing. Even if you know your product is the very best thing since sliced bread, how can you expect your potential customers to believe you? Did they hear about your product from a friend (probably the most trustworthy and perhaps the hardest endorsement to get)? Or are they having to take your word, as the advertiser’s, as true?

Lance Armstrong cheated. Manti Te’o didn’t have a girlfriend. Heck, a Subway footlong isn’t even 12 inches long. Face it — we live in a fairly uncredible age.

Which is, of course, a major challenge for marketers trying to communicate the value of their products.

That’s why, in the MECLABS Value Proposition Development online course, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, teaches about the importance of communicating with credibility.

After all, you can create an extremely appealing and exclusive value proposition. But, if no one believes it, it is essentially worthless.

“If your value statements are not believable, then you have nothing more than an ‘As Seen on TV’ gimmick product,” said Adam Lapp, Associate Director of Optimization and Strategy, MECLABS. “They may work, but you don’t really know until you try. And usually they don’t.”

So, how do you overcome skeptical consumers?

“For your words to be believable, you need to be transparent, specific, and show some proof you are telling the truth,” Adam says.

Let’s look at some proof you can provide …

#1. Testimonials

These can come customers or industry experts, but having people who do not have any skin in the game and will not profit from your product or service talking about how good it is helps your entire offer become much more believable.

#2. Case studies

Richer than a testimonial, this deep dive shows exactly how others have benefited from your product.

#3. Press

Media reports are also a credibility indicator, and are more powerful the more prestigious the news organization is.

#4. Social media

The Web 2.0 of testimonials, they have the benefit of happening in an unsolicited fashion, making them even more believable. Just be careful how you display them. If you’re simply allowing a stream of social media, an overwhelming amount of negative comments could hurt you.

#5. Negative comments

That doesn’t mean you don’t want any negative comments at all. If you are naturally and credibly showing customer feedback, some people won’t like your product. Some people don’t like everything. Even if nine out of 10 dentists recommend Super Spiffy Dental Floss, there’s always that “10th dentist” who doesn’t like it …

Some people complain about your product for legitimate reasons. And then, for others, their favorite team lost the playoffs, they got into an argument with their wife, and then they see your offer and just rip into your product for no good reason.

Either way, treat them transparently and honestly, and you will help improve your company’s credibility in your customers’ eyes.

#6. Reviews

Give your customers a clear way to express what they like about your products (and, per above, what they do not). Not only does this show the value of products from your customers’ peers, but it can help you identify and fix or pull defective products, further increasing your credibility.

Continue to the other elements of credibility in advertising here: Credibility: 9 elements that help make your marketing claims more believable | MarketingExperiments Blog: Research-driven optimization, testing, and marketing ideas.

5 Things to Avoid when Branding

As students, branding is something that constantly thought about both in relation to selling ourselves as Graphic Communication majors and when thinking of companies logos and branding packages.

FedEx logo uses negative space to illustrate the company's services in a positive way.

In the article below written by Tara Horner for Design Festival, she explores what elements don’t work in branding and why. And she has some really good points. Make sure you get to the bottom of the article for some serious giggles.

Have you ever found yourself in a brand design project that has taken on a life of its own and you’re just along for the ride? Well I have, and it can be a frustrating experience, especially if your clients or colleagues are passing on obvious opportunities for improvement and overlooking significant mistakes.

In some cases, the client has an old logo that they just want me to “clean up” or “update” — this is rarely as effective as building a completely new brand, and ironically, it’s often harder. In other cases, you have so many hands in the pot and so many ideas rushing around that it’s impossible to get any kind of consensus — this tends to end up with hodge-podge design work that stitches everyone’s different ideas together into a “frankenbrand” monstrosity.

Regardless of how you end up in these overwhelming situations, there are a couple of ways that you can present your concerns in a rational, logical way that business people can understand. I’ve found that it helps to both visually illustrate their mistakes as well as articulate exactly what’s wrong from a business perspective. So, here are some classic issues that I’ve seen crop up consistently in branding and logo design, as well as my methods for leading the client toward a more focused, effective brand.

Continue reading full article here:

5 Shapes, Symbols, and Concepts to Avoid in Your Brand – DesignFestival.

I love across the board branding…

I love across the board branding…

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20 Brilliant Branding Material Ensembles – DesignFestival
Although the act of branding and subsequently launching a successful branding campaign is a long, hard, and sometimes daunting task, the hard work is sure to pay off in the end if done properly. Brand…

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