How to Build a Strong Brand Reputation for Your Business

The outline of a head with a lightbulb and PR symbols.

Here are three case studies you can learn from to build a strong brand.

Apple is the world’s most valuable brand in 2016, with a value of nearly $146 billion, according to Brand Finance. This marks the fourth straight year Apple has held the top spot since displacing Coca-Cola in the 2013 Interbrand report. When it comes to brand building, Apple definitely has an edge on the competition. Here are some case studies of how Apple and other leading companies built their brands by building a reputation and thereby setting examples other businesses can emulate.

Apple: Building by Design

The story of how Apple built its brand began in 1976. Apple’s earliest logo was a black ink drawing of Isaac Newton sitting under a tree. Steve Jobs thought this logo might be slowing down sales, so he asked Regis McKenna Advertising to design a new logo. The result was the famous apple shape, with a bite out of it, portrayed in multiple bright-colored stripes that symbolized the innovative color capability of the Apple II. Over the years, this design was gradually modified and eventually simplified to a flat, white apple in keeping with Apple’s minimalist design philosophy.

While Apple’s logo has changed over the years, the brand has maintained a consistent philosophy, centered around an approach to design, McKenna explained. Whereas traditional advertising had sought to persuade consumers to buy products, Apple brought consumers into the marketing process by developing designs geared toward what market research revealed about user needs. In so doing, Apple innovated in ways that opened up new markets. Continue reading

Social Media Etiquette and Rules to Follow [Part 1]

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so, you’ve likely heard all about Pokémon Go. This app/game allows user to a real world way to “Catch ‘em All” and experience their neighborhood in a whole new way through (can you believe it?) walking.

With all these wannabe Ash and Misty’s out there, society has started calling out players for their poor choices and behaviors. Some of these biggest offenders are walking into traffic and playing in sensitive places such as cemeteries and the Holocaust Museum. SF Curbed recently released a list of do’s and don’ts that should be followed by players:

Pokémon Go Do’s:

Are you obsessed with Pokémon Go?

Are you obsessed with Pokémon Go?

  • Be a Good Sport
  • Buy Goods from Restaurants and Stores
  • Put Your Phone Away When It’s Appropriate
  • Carry External Batteries
  • Read the Poke Stop for Information About Your City
  • Explore Your City

Pokémon Go Don’ts:

  • Don’t Loiter Around Areas Where Children Are
  • Don’t Run into Traffic
  • Don’t Play in Sensitive Locations (churches, memorials, hospitals, etc.)
  • Don’t Hang Around Someone’s House
  • Don’t Fall Down Stairs
  • Don’t Leave Yourself Vulnerable
  • Don’t Be Rude
  • Don’t Shame Others

With all this talk of do’s and don’ts for playing Pokémon Go in public, it got me thinking about the rules of social media. For new businesses who may not be familiar with the rules and etiquette of social media, here is a guideline to follow for the different platforms.

Guidelines for Social Media

Each social media platform is its own beast and should be handled individually, however, there are some general rules that should be applied to all sites. Take a look at this checklist of questions from Forbes to make sure everything you share is the best representation of your brand:

  1. Should I target a specific audience with this message?
  2. Will anyone really care about this content besides me?
  3. Will I offend anyone with this content? If so, who?

    Follow these social media etiquette rules for business pages.

    Follow these social media etiquette rules for business pages.

  4. Is this appropriate for a social portal, or would it best be communicated another way?
  5. How many times have I already posted something today? More than three can be excessive.
  6. Did I spell check?
  7. Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this?
  8. Is this post too vague? Will everyone understand what I’m saying?
  9. Am I using this as an emotional dumping ground? If so, why? Is a different outlet better for these purposes?
  10. Am I using too many abbreviations in this post and starting to sound like a teenager?
  11. Is this reactive communication or is it well thought-out?
  12. Is this really something I want to share?

After reviewing the social media checklist, let’s take a look and the do’s and don’ts of each social media platform that you may find yourself using for your business. Continue reading

Tips & Tricks for Business Twitter Pages

Recently, I shared an article detailing helpful advice for setting up a company page on Facebook. Now that you’ve gotten a handle on your business’ Facebook page, why not tackle another social media platform like Twitter? Although it’s important to only take on the social media channels you have time to maintain, it can also give your company’s SEO (search engine optimization) a boost to have a solid presence on multiple platforms. Read on for tips, tricks and strategies for your company’s Twitter profile.

A blue bird on a blue background

Has your company set up a Twitter page yet?

Why Twitter? A Look at User Demographics

Why should your company even consider setting up a company page on Twitter? First let’s take a look at Twitter’s user demographics from Business Insider, Social Caffeine and Craig Smith at DMR.

  • 19% of the entire adult population is on Twitter
  • Twitter’s active user base totals 310 million
  • By 2018, 24.2 % of internet users are expected to have an account
  • The majority of Twitter users are college-educated and under 50 years of age
  • Since 2013, Twitter has seen a significant increase among men and those over age 65
  • According to the Pew Research Center, 22% of men and 15% of women use Twitter
  • Twitter receives 120 million unique monthly visits
  • 34% of users log on more than once per day

Continue reading

How Videos Can Dramatically Increase Customer Engagement

Image of a laptop with the words video marketing on the screen.

Don’t miss these tips to incorporate video into your content marketing efforts!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 10,000. A study on video marketing by ReelSEO found that 93 percent of marketers use some sort of video in their campaigns, while 84 percent use videos to aid in their web marketing. And those numbers are only going up as competition, technology and creativity continues to advance.

If you’re unsure of how to incorporate videos into your marketing and PR strategies, or if you’re looking for some fresh ideas in creating your next video, read on for a few best practices you can put into play.

Conversion and Engagement

In internet marketing, you hear a lot about customer engagement and conversion rates, but did you know that by utilizing videos in your messaging you can substantially increase these rates?

Experts say that videos come up in nearly a third of the top 100 search results. They also note that potential customers stay on your page longer after watching a video and that people are 85 percent more likely to buy your product or service if they’ve viewed a product video. Suffice to say, if you’re not already capitalizing on video marketing to increase sales, you should be. Continue reading

Pitch Perfect: The Ultimate Guide to Press Pitching

Lights, cameras, media pitching

Here’s your guide to creating the perfect pitch from start to finish.

Whether your business is all about providing a service or offering products to meet a specific need, one of the best ways to get your brand out to the world is through media pitching. Sending targeted pitches to the right media outlets can get you the exposure you’re looking for without the price tag of paid advertising. In this article, find out how to generate the perfect media list, write a flawless pitch and avoid some of the fatal mistakes made when sending pitches.

Generating a Media List

The first step in constructing the perfect pitch is generating a list of media outlets you want to share your products or services with. Sure, you can send your pitch to every contact you have and hope some will bite, but let’s be honest – that’s not the best method and can even be considered spam. Creating a list that is meaningful to your offering is the most tedious part of crafting a winning pitch, but the time and effort you put in to your list now will be rewarded in the end. Here are five pieces of advice to consider when you build your next list.

1. Define Your Angle. What is your pitch angle? Answering this question will go a long way in determining who you should send your pitch to. A food writer and a writer on parenting advice have drastically different needs; you wouldn’t want to send them both a pitch with the same angle. A well-defined angle will help you understand the audience you are trying to reach, allowing you to narrow down the best contacts who cater to the viewers you want to see your offering.

2. Know the Editorial Timing. If you want to share your holiday specials, you shouldn’t pitch to magazines the month before since they have a longer lead time, working approximately six months ahead of time. On the other side of the editorial spectrum, you don’t want to send a blogger your holiday specials six months in advance since they generally run 1-2 months ahead. By knowing how your angle relates to the editorial timing, you can decide which media contacts should go on your list and the ones you can leave off. Continue reading