Uncategorized Archives - Rock, Paper, Scissors

Posted 05 Apr 2016
Branding Vs. Marketing

Branding vs. Marketing: What is the difference? Do you need both?

Did you miss our most recent webinar? Read our recap, or EVEN BETTER, watch the video of the actual webinar below!

Marketing has been a business buzzword for as long as any of us can remember. Branding, while a little more recent in its birth, has rapidly gained ground on its marketing big brother in popularity. It’s hard not to find these terms thrown around in a blog post or on social media, but assumptions are being made by authors that everyone knows the difference between the two. What do these terms really mean? Do you need both?

Branding –

Whether you realize it or not, you already have an established  brand. Your brand is the manifestation of your beliefs as a leader, shown through your products, experiences and interactions. Your brand is not just part of your business, it is your business. Your brand is how  your audience connects with your business, their experience, what they FEEL.  More concretely, your brand can manifest itself in your logo, your website, your storefront, your customer service, and all the little things in between.

A brand is not just limited to businesses, every person has a personal brand. You show it by the clothes you wear, the car you drive, how you treat others, the work you do… the personal branding list simply does not end. Whether you are connecting  personally or with your business, your audience takes all of this information and compiles a picture of who you are.

The perception your audience builds of you is your brand. The good news is that if you don’t like it, you can change it. You can build a conscious brand and guide your audience so they get to see your intention and the best parts of you and your business. The key to intentional branding is just that, you have to have intention behind your choices and action. Another key ingredient integrity – today’s audience won’t stand behind a fraud. Just ask Tiger Woods who used to be  branded as the “golden boy”. When he fell from grace because people found out who he really was, his audience was devastated because his brand did not align with the real person behind it.

Part of building a conscious brand is being a good storyteller. Through the ages, as humans,  we flock to a good story, whether it was the Greek orators, the Renaissance  bards or today’s gossip on social media – people love a story. So when you are building your brand, you want to think about the story you are telling about yourself and your company.

 

Marketing –

The flip side of branding is marketing. Marketing, while often and incorrectly substituted for branding, is not only about who you are, but how you get your story out there. Think flyers, Facebook, Brochures, Networking, Pay-Per-Click Campaigns, Billboards, P.R., etc. Branding is the story and marketing is making sure that the story gets out there and connects with an audience.

The key with marketing is to start with your customer, and not with you. Marketing is all about meeting your audience where they are so that you provide REAL value. Well, there are other ways to market; you can bombard and bully your audience, but this strategy won’t help you build relationships or get repeat customers?

Marketing is more than just advertising. It can include advertising, but it does not stop there and is only limited by your imagination.  Marketing uses targeted data, analytics and carefully crafted campaigns  to know where your audience spends their time and how to most cost-efficiently reach them.

 

Coming Together –

Now that we have a clear picture of branding and marketing, the question we come back to is: Do you need both? I like to think about branding and marketing like spaghetti and meatballs. You can have them separate, but they are awkward on their own and they really need to be paired up. The truth is, you can have a beautiful, well crafted brand and not market or market to the wrong audience. And you can also market without an intentional brand, but by doing so you are risking your message falling short, creating confusion, and disconnecting from your audience.

Branding and marketing  lift each other up so well that you’ll be hard pressed to find a better combination. Too many businesses today want to jump right into their marketing plan without taking the time to understand who they are, who they want to connect with, and the impact they want to make. When you take the time to build a conscious brand of intention, your message and marketing channels become easier to define. You stop wasting time and resources in the wrong places and connect with the right audience for you and your business with thrive.

Posted 02 Mar 2016

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

We’ve all heard the old cliche: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” While there is no replacing well written content, exactly how much does an image boost the quality of the overall story you are trying to tell? In fact, what other purposes does an image serve when paired with your content?

 

Tell Your Whole Story

There are some things words can’t do, regardless of your talent as a writer. When you get into the nitty gritty of your blog, it’s about storytelling. With everything from tech blogs to “mommy” blogs, at the end of the day, you should be telling your story. And who likes only getting a PART of the story? Using images is a great way to support your story; Although your words should paint a picture, you can’t compete with a literal image! According to a study by the Social Science Research Center, over 65% of your traffic consists of visual learners. So, let’s say you have succeeded in telling a great story. Although this is quite the accomplishment, you want people to remember your story, and hopefully more than just 35% of your audience.

 

Increase Your Shareability

If you’re writing a blog, more than likely you have a social media presence, or at the very least, social sharing options embedded within your content. If you want to drive traffic to your content, social media provides a variety of great platforms and a unique way to connect with your audience. From a shareability standpoint, including an image in your blog accomplishes two things. One, it allows you to control what image is attached when people share your blog (i.e. your brand). Additionally, your blog will have a higher social media click rate if there is an image. According to internet marketing expert, Jeff Bullas, your audience is 94% more likely to click an article with an image attached!  Give your audience more reason to click AND more reason to share with some graphics!

 

Let’s Get Personal

A large part of any story is the personal connection that the author establishes with their reader. One way to build this connection is including a personal image. If you can get personal and show your audience that this blog or article is written by a human and not just  a faceless corporation, by all means, do it! By humanizing your blog, you’re providing your reader with an additional incentive to come back because they’re now connected with the author. This can be a short author biography and picture that is attached to every post, a picture of your entire team who contributed to the post, or even something more whimsical from your personal life.

10418479_10153134712213393_6433358476841371113_n

While usually, you want your image to relate to the written content, seeing the dogs of RPS was a nice interruption, right? As a reader, it’s easy to get lost in a wall of text AND now you have a personal connection provided by this quick window into the RPS office! Next time you are writing a blog post, consider including an image and comparing your traffic with past posts that were imageless. We would love to hear your traffic success stories! If you manage a blog and see a noticeable increase after including graphics in your posts, let us know so we can share your story!

Posted 27 Jan 2016
It Takes An Audience

It Takes An Audience: Gaining Followers

Is good content good if it lands in the forest and there’s no one there to read it? This dilemma poses quite the content marketing conundrum. At what point are you wasting time by creating and releasing content to a meager following? On the flipside, shouldn’t you leverage the strategy of releasing valuable content in order to grow your audience? In truth, both sides are correct. If you are releasing content to a small following and not seeing a return or audience growth, then you are wasting time. However, it is hard, if not impossible, to grow your audience without providing them something of value, e.g. content. Don’t worry, everyone starting to dabble in content marketing is going through a similar dilemma. Luckily for you, there is always a happy medium and a good starting point! The key is, don’t get frustrated. You have to create content. You have to build an audience.

When you’re in this middle ground, it’s hard to know how to move forwards. Regardless of your audience size, if you keep on trucking and creating valuable content your audience will grow. However, there are some things you can do while creating and releasing your content that will organically help you grow your audience. Paying for “likes,” “followers,” and “connections” may be an option, but if you use organic growth to gain a REAL audience opposed to the fake accounts you can buy, you will not only receive much better engagement but you will also be able to use your money for authentic advertisements. So, as tempting as it may be to pay $15 for 10,000 twitter followers, remember that they’re disengaged robots and you can spend that $15 in a much more efficient manner. For now, try these quick ways to start growing your audience. Regardless of if your audience is exactly zero, or if you just reached 100,000, these are three powerful ways to increase your audience with people that matter while you start to create your content.

 

Engage!


As corny as it may sound, follow the golden rule! Even on social media and the blogosphere, treat others like you would like to be treated. Before, and especially while you’re in the midst of releasing your value to the world, you should be engaging and connecting with others. Follow other people! Like other pages! Comment on that Facebook post you found interesting. Consider this, when someone engages with your content, even on the smallest level, it makes you happy! You can extend little time and effort and bring other people immense joy simply by interacting with their content. You can even take this a step further.

 

Cross-Promote!


While liking and commenting on other company’s or personal content is incredibly rewarding, cross-promotion is one of the best free things you can do. It is so easy to share other’s content. While initially, you should do this without asking for anything in return, once you have an audience, even if a small one, you can start reaching out and offering cross promotions. It’s as easy as sending a message like:

 

Hey, I’m _______ with _______ and I am really connecting with your content! Your post on _________ really seems to resonate with my audience and I was wondering if you would mind me sharing it with a small shout out to your brand? I have attached two posts on similar subjects that I wrote that I really think your audience would appreciate because they supplement your content so well. Either way, I would love the chance to provide my audience with the value of your post!

Thanks,

_______

Just like that, not only have you found a new connection AND some valuable content for your audience that you didn’t have to write, but you potentially found someone that will promote your content to their audience as well. Can you say win-win?

 

Know Your Audience!


Although this one seems like the easiest way to build your audience, for some reason it seems to be the most oft overlooked. You absolutely must know who you are trying to reach. You cannot provide your audience with value if you do not know who your audience is! The phrase “The riches are in the niches” is everywhere, and there is definitely a degree of truth to it. Write about what you know. Write about what your audience is coming to you for. If you own a blog about baking vegan pancakes in Alaska for the vegan polar bears, don’t publish content about cooking crepes in South America. If you know who your audience is, you can monitor their interests and leverage these interests, boost content to the places they spend the most time, and create content solely around the things they want to read. More simply put, if you know who your audience is and you connect with them, your audience will grow . . . And once your audience has grown, the sky’s the limit for your content.

Posted 12 Jan 2016

Basic to Bold – Addressing The Fear of Rebranding

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Winston Churchill  

We won’t lie to you. Rebranding can be a tough process and sometimes even painful. As such, we understand your fear. While something as simple as a logo change can be classified as a rebranding, it really comes down to focusing on the core of your business and audience and connecting all of this with intention. Rebranding provides you with an opportunity to change the perception of your company without changing your business. It can have tremendous benefits, but the process requires putting in work. Whether something as seemingly simple as a tagline or logo change, or the more in-depth process of changing your messaging to better connect with your audience, every element of your rebranding requires ample research, intention, collaboration and execution.

If you are in business for more than a couple months, you will eventually be faced with rebranding at some point. If you are experiencing a continued, sustainable growth, rebranding is crucial to staying relevant. If you think your company is too big or well recognized for a rebranding campaign, consider this – Starbucks has rebranded four times. Apple has rebranded thirteen times. If you think your company is too small to warrant a rebrand, realize it is crucial to shift your brand to match your targeted audience as they change – and they will change. Business size aside, audiences are constantly changing. While an entire rebranding campaign isn’t always necessary for every aspect of change your audience goes through, the ability to meet your audience where they are is important. Of course, there’s also a major reason for rebranding that no one likes to talk about. If your company is subjected to some negative PR or garners a bad reputation, a rebranding becomes crucial to longevity and customer satisfaction.  

When you actually look at it, the fear that comes from rebranding is natural. It’s the deeply-rooted, visceral fear that comes from the possibility of change. The mystery surrounding change, the idea of leaving something you love behind, and especially the fear of failure is completely natural, if not expected. Considering that your brand is your baby, or at least it should be, we understand there will be stubborn attempts at holding on to the brand you have already nurtured and raised since day one.  However, if you shift your perspective of change, the thought of your rebranding doesn’t seem quite as scary.

In 2016, we say it’s time to embrace the idea of change. If you only view change in terms of what you may lose, you will remain rooted in an illusion of safety that will eventually lead to an out-dated brand that doesn’t serve your customers any more. Instead, if you shift your perspective of change to the positive, your focus moving forwards with a rebranding completely shifts as well. Instead of loss prevention and alienating your old audience, associate the exciting change that comes from rebranding with maximizing your potential and reaping the rewards that naturally occur with growth. If done correctly, your rebranding will not be about changing the viewpoint of your already loyal following; it will be about creating new opportunities for success and generating an authentic excitement around your company! You can’t be afraid to tell your REAL story, even if it has changed. When it comes to your brand, let us help you figure out where you are, where you are going, and only then, get you where you would like to be.

Posted 30 Nov 2015

Black Friday: Elite Marketing Model And How You Can Use It

 

We’ve all seen it. Images of lines wrapped around buildings consisting of people bundled in their winter coats and videos of similar crowds bursting through department store doors, often trampling each other for subpar deals. While this has become generally accepted, and one could even argue, engrained as a part of our holiday culture, we have to ask why? Why do we suffer through lines full of people we have no connection with, why do we plod through stores overly-saturated with crowds competing for today’s best deal?  Even for those of us who do not actually participate, why do watch the news every Black Friday and Saturday, taking in the images and footage with a mix of comedic horror? The answer, albeit an easy one, is often overlooked and under discussed. We have been subjected to one of, if not THE greatest marketing and branding project of our generation.

When you break it down, people rarely leave Black Friday having saved an exorbitant amount of money. The deals are not too much better than the other days of the year, barring a few “doorbusters” and raffled off giveaways. So how do they do it? Year after year, millions flock to the stores and spend money that they would normally save, all in some misguided effort to take advantage of Black Friday. There are primarily three ways that you can apply this Black Friday model to your own business, regardless of your product or brand.

 

Market An Event, Not Your Product

Every marketing campaign does not have to be firmly rooted in your product. Event marketing is easy, eye-catching, and starts conversations in an organic manner. Instead of marketing your product, host a couple of events a year whose sole purpose is to generate conversation and build relationships within your network. An open house, a client appreciation party, your options are only limited by your creativity. By marketing an event, you are bringing the consumer to you and allowing your passion for what you do to do the rest. People get excited for Black Friday as an event just as much as they anticipate the deals. Waking up early with your friends or family, bundling up in your favorite winter wear, stopping at Starbucks, and other similar Black Friday rituals have become so important to family/friend dynamics that even if you walk away without buying anything, you enjoyed the process. Build hype around your event, not your product and let the lines form!

 

Take Advantage of Holiday Marketing

Black Friday has become synonymous with American holidays, with commercials and print advertisements utilizing Thanksgiving and Christmas imagery and messaging. As such, it has become so necessary to participate in the holiday deals that the companies marketing their products do not actually market the product. They market the holiday, e.g.

“It’s not Thanksgiving without Black Friday.”

“Black Friday IS Your Christmas Shopping.”

You should use the wave of holiday marketing for your advantage. Client appreciation gifts, social media images, specific holiday specials, etc. the options are truly limitless. Throw in some cross-promotion hashtags that correlate with each holiday and you’re really setting the stage for holiday marketing success.

 

Add An Element of Exclusivity

Technically, Black Friday is a 24 hour sale. As such, if you do not participate, you miss out. While, yes, many places have started increasing the timespan of their sales, it is still very limited. People often joke about suffering from “Fear Of Missing Out” syndrome, but the innate need to feel included is very real. By making Black Friday such a limited time frame, or by making the deals limited to the first X amount of customers through the door, these companies are cashing in on our natural desires to feel included. You will rush to their brick-and-mortar location. You will trample over others to get through the doors. You will spend countless dollars on deals that really do not save you that much. And you will do it because you appreciate the rush, want to join the ranks of other Black Friday shoppers, and like to feel like you are a part of something bigger.

Next time you plan on participating in Black Friday, take some time the month beforehand to record the prices of your favorite items. I guarantee you that the deals are not exactly what you think they are. While a few people will cash in on the “insane door-busting deals,” the vast majority of you will buy things you do not need at prices that barely differ from their year-round counterparts. And that’s okay. These companies pay millions for marketing strategies because it works!

1 2 3