Month: November 2013

The Best Ideas Aren’t Always In The Box

When thinking about branding, we all know that large brands tend to have the financial resources to produce innovative and creative advertising while smaller brands and budgets often have difficulties getting noticed.

With this in mind, I wanted to showcase how with some creative, out of the box thinking, a small brand (Queensland Board of Tourism) made a real impact with a low cost approach!

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This extraordinary campaign relied on the “Jobs” section of newspapers to get noticed. The result: the Board received over 7 million visitors, 34,000 applicants from 200 countries, and 500,000 votes for this once-in-a-lifetime job.

My take away for all SMBs is that you can make a difference and leave an impact with great results if you risk a little, and work with non-traditional marketing channels.

Has your SMB ever had success with an out of the box campaign? Or has a radically different campaign backfired for you? Have you wanted to try a risky campaign, but been held back by fear? I look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.

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The Hype Behind Apps

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Smartphones and tablets have become the device of choice for many professionals, which have led to the dominance of apps (short for application).  Apple’s popular slogan for their App Store “There’s an app for that” has instilled the idea that people need to use apps on their phones rather than go to a website – even websites that are optimized for mobile. In fact, a recent Pollara survey on app use in Canada revealed that we now have an average of 14 apps on our smart devices and use them on a weekly or daily basis.

Large companies such as Best Buy and Pizza Pizza have branded apps that provide the customer with a shopping experience that is unique to their smart device. It lets customers accomplish what they can do on a full website in just a few finger swipes, such as ordering a pizza or even purchasing a new 50-inch television! Not all apps are used for e-commerce, as some apps just deliver information.

All of this talk about apps might cause you to wonder if you too should consider getting one for your business. But before you go down what can be a lengthy process, I’ve outlined below four key areas you should consider before you decide whether an app is right for your business.

1)     Customer Demand: Have you had customers approach you asking for an app? Will there be a fan base waiting once your app is available? Just because you are excited to release an app doesn’t mean that your target audience feels the same way. If the demand isn’t there, your app will simply become another of thousands of failed apps that are never downloaded.

2)     Competition: Do your key competitors have an app? What services do they offer on it? You will need to closely monitor what your competitors are doing and try to improve on it, while being careful not to simply imitate it.

3)     Development: How are you going to develop your app? What functionality will it have, and what platforms will it be released on (Apple, Android, etc.)? Do you have someone who will develop the app in house or will you hire an external company? Developing an app can be very expensive, depending on what functionality you want to include in it.

4)     Maintenance: How do you plan to maintain your app once it is released? How will you update the content and test for bugs? An app is never just a simple release into the wild. You will not only need to update content regularly, but also update the app for new software releases for phones and tablets.

You must make sure that your investment in an app is worth it in the long-term. Don’t rush into the flooded app market without a plan, or your app will simply go unnoticed.

Does your SMB currently have an app? Do you think an app would benefit your business? Have your customers mentioned an app to you before? I look forward to reading your opinions on this topic in the comments below.

Cut Through Information Overload With Effective Storytelling (infographic)

Did you know that on average, it’s estimated that people see 5,000 marketing messages per day?  This means getting your message heard is a very challenging task indeed.

As SMB owners, building brand recognition takes time and dedication, and what this infographic from LookBookHQ & Beutler Ink indicates is that there’s no better way to do this than with a story!

An effective story not only cuts through the noise that every day advertisements deliver, but it also makes your brand more memorable to your target audience.  This infographic discusses how you can make your brand stand out with effective story telling.

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While the infographic says it is for B2B marketing, the lessons learned from it apply to all audiences. The art of storytelling can be tricky, but learning to tell a compelling story is the foundation for building strong social relationships and, more importantly, brand recognition and advocacy.

Do you try to tell a story when you talk about your brand? Have you had success or failure when trying to tie a compelling story about your SMB? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.