Here are this week’s ‘Sunday Musings’ – the top five stories in branding and digital marketing. You can find the archives of this weekly write-up under the Blog-Sunday Musings tab at the top of the page.
#1 – “Starbucks Hopes to Grow Loyalty Program with Expansion to the Grocery Aisle” – AaramShopPro.com
Premise: Starbucks has some of the most loyal fans and brand ambassadors in the world. The company is looking to increase their loyalty and engagement with the brand by allowing purchases in the grocery / retail store count towards their Starbucks Rewards program. There will be a sticker on each product in the store that the shopper will need to peel off and add to their account themselves in order to receive credit for the purchase.
Thoughts: It looks like Starbucks has found another means of building/driving loyalty and engaging with those that are most connected with the brand. Building stronger connections through retail and driving people to their rewards account online can/should help build an even stronger relationship between the brand and its customers.
Premise: Facebook has redesigned its mobile Pages to more prominently show reviews of each page or business and what is local to the individual user. The redesign was launched earlier this week on the iOS version and is coming to Android’s platform in May. The article here provides several visuals comparing the old and new look to Facebook Pages.
Thoughts: In its continued shift toward mobile, Facebook’s latest updates certainly make Pages more actionable and more detailed at first glance. I agree with the author of this article; the look of the redesign provides more easily accessible content and a better use of space. The redesign does look a lot like a Yelp business page. It will be interesting to see if Facebook can better compete in the local search space, given the strength of Yelp and others (Foursquare, Google Places, etc.).
#3 – “Branding Like Apple: 20 Ways to Make Your Biz Stand Out” – BigGirlBranding.com
Premise: The article provides twenty different ways to help your brand or business stand out with others. These recommendations or steps are presented in a straightforward manner with a few blurbs following each to provide a little more detail.
Thoughts: We’ve mentioned this a few times here; branding isn’t rocket science, but it is very easy to miss a step, focus in the wrong areas, and/or trip up along the way. These steps/recommendations are good to keep by your side / in your back pocket as a reminder for your business on what to do and how to do it better than your competition.
To point to just one of the recommendations here, I particularly liked #18 – “Culture a tradition”. I really like the thought behind this; make your customers comfortable right from the beginning. They should know exactly what to expect from you or your company right away.
#4 – “Google+ for Brands: 4 Reasons Your Brand Should Be On It” – Blog.Hootsuite.com
Premise: While many are quick to dismiss the platform, Google+ has grown to 500 million users, of which almost 350 million are considered active users. This write-up provides more rationale as to why you or your brand/business need to be using the network. With a lot more detail in the article itself, there are four steps or reasons for your brand to be on G+: 1. Better Discovery, 2. Deeper Engagement, 3. Marketing Performance, and 4. Measurable Impact.
Thoughts: Past Sunday Musings have focused on G+ and a need to leverage the site, particularly around #1 and #2 from this article – which includes our personal recommendations to engage in G+’s Communities. The connections across Google’s platforms presented in #3 and #4 here are just as important to your brand/business. Working with and fully understanding the capabilities of Google’s AdWords, Ripples, and Analytics will help your brand better understand your audience and to make the necessary tweaks to your online presence and to optimize your message/efforts.
#5 – “Celebrity Endorsement – 5 Key Questions You Should Ask” – Alison Cressey on BrandingMagazine.com
Premise: One would typically believe that celebrities help sell your brand or product. Before spending money on hiring a celebrity to promote your business, this write-up provides a few questions you should ask yourself to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment.
Thoughts: Interesting take on how or when you should consider celebrity endorsement here, with an appropriate caveat to why you might consider passing on this marketing technique. I particularly “enjoyed” reading about Oprah’s promotional efforts of the Surface tablet … while using an iPad. I would not be happy if I was Steve Ballmer and I would be pretty embarrassed if that was my campaign … and/or infuriated with Oprah.
The questions and thoughts here make a lot of sense. You need to make sure the celebrity endorsing your products connects with and is relevant to your target market / audience. You can quickly waste a lot of cash by not fully understanding these components.
What caught your eye this week in branding and digital marketing?