Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What is Content Marketing and How to Start Using it Today

Miami Heat & Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Content Marketing in short is Social Storytelling distributed through the various tools provided by the different social media platforms. It is all about connecting with audiences through unique content such as videos, images, relevant quotes, rewarding fans, sharing secrets, knowledge, running contests and  more that convey every aspect of branding and community. The information should be fresh, provoking, enriching and so exciting that fans are eager to share and come back for more. 

According to a Nielsen report earned media, that is, content that is shared about a brand by a third party, is 88% more effective and has a greater impact at all stages of the consumer purchasing cycle. Earned media is acquired when your content is shared and if content goes viral the rewards can be quite powerful so creativity is the key. 

Three poster children of amazing content media are GE, Miami Heat and Four Seasons Hotels and I love to cite them as examples when I talk about content. GE has been able to successfully re-position themselves from an appliance company to an "innovative and competitive science and technology leader" through their campaigns featuring 3D printing #3DPrintMyGift or their #6SecondScience Fair. On the other hand Miami Heat's content is filled with dynamic and exciting on-court images, sharing game and practice updates, behind-the-scenes and first-to-know information. And Four Seasons Hotels content takes you inside the luxurious lifestyle of the brand through evocative images, DIY spa treatments and virtual image tours of their amazing properties leaving you in an inspired state. 

Content Marketing is not the same as Social Media Marketing but both are related and essential to each other. The difference between the two is where the information comes from. Content Marketing comes through the brand's website or microsite and it is shared through the different social media platforms in the form of links. 

In conclusion, to begin using content marketing today start thinking of yourself as a as publisher of high-quality content to build audiences on your own website and make sure to share and encourage others to share your content on relevant social media platforms. This can result in greater opportunities to nurture motivated leads that can turn into loyal customers. Feel free to discuss your thought and share with us your best content marketing practices.

Gabriela Borja
SEED Branding Studio 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why Storytelling should be your top Marketing Tool

The traditional concept of Marketing revolves around business functions, or things that Marketing people do: sale, promotion, advertising, market research, distribution, public relations and so forth. As a matter of fact most of the marketing money is spent on activities and the personnel who handle them. However Marketing is also an orientation, an operating philosophy geared towards customer satisfaction, towards creating a brand experience, a connection and in this realm is where storytelling is a powerful tool. 

Human beings have traditionally used stories to describe or explain things they could not explain otherwise. There are stories explaining the mysteries of creation, the afterlife, the apocalypse, heroes and more in cultures all over the world such as Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hebrew, Indian, Greek, Christian, Hopi, Boshongo and in the modern age. Although most stories are very different in context they all share a basic structure that is very similar to one another, this is remarkable and significant because most of the stories where written at a time where cultures did not connect to one another. This implies that the stories that are perpetuated share elements that resonate deep into the human subconscious and become ingrained in our minds.

How does this translate into the business world? Apple is a great example, behind its marketing powerhouse is the foundation of the brand that dates to its very beginning. The story of Apple follows the classic journey of the "Hero", this has helped the brand go from underdog to a market leader and it is the single most effective tool that creates a cult-like following for the brand. The myth of the hero  emerges from the many cultural versions and is seen as a universal metaphor for the human search for self-knowledge, to follow the hero is to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves. Jobs and Wozniak created the company in a humble garage, they did not wear suits and where part of a counter culture, Jobs went through trials and tribulations being fired from the company he created only to have a great comeback balancing his failure by sources of strength and completing his journey as a hero. 

The best way to create a connection with your customer base is through storytelling, why would people wait months and pay a fortune for an Hermes bag? Because of the story of the brand, its history of craftsmanship the great feats it has to go through in order to acquire and manufacture the top materials. This connection can also be created using stories in your advertising, think of Budweiser's highly successful Super Bowl commercial "Puppy Love", it is a story of the adopted puppy going on a journey, going trough trials and tribulations until he finds his place in the world at the barn where he befriends a horse, they are separated and it seems that it will have a sad ending, but then the horses band together to save the puppy and bring him back home. The puppy succesfully embarked in the journey of the hero and Budweiser successfully created a long-lasting bond with consumers. In conclusion, the next time you think of marketing try to embed your own story into your plan, or create stories through carefully crafted communication in order to create emotional bonds and ingrain your brand in the hearts of consumers. 

Gabriela Borja
SEED Branding Studio

Monday, May 19, 2014

Should you use celebrities in your Advertising?

We see celebrities in ads everywhere selling products ranging from cars to watches, cosmetics, baby products, insurance and more. Celebrity endorsements bring attention, and are definitely expensive but are they worth it? In this article we will discuss when it is useful to hire a celebrity to endorse your brand, when it is not, and when you must run away from them. 

Kendall Jenner
But first let's go through a quick psychological background about how we process information and how we direct our attention. There are basically two ways in which our brain processes information from the outside; an active and a lazy way. The active way is called the Central Route Processing and we use it when we are highly involved in something, such as the purchase of a home. The lazy way is called the Peripheral Route Processing and it is when we pay casual attention and we process a message without in-depth evaluation. With this in mind I will discuss three brand scenarios and when it is worth splurging in hiring a celebrity to endorse your brand.

1. High-Involvement Brands
In this type of scenario your customer is highly motivated to buy and they will make a highly focused evaluation of your product offering. On the other hand you have a strong value proposition that makes your product different and unique plus you have a strong argument as your sales pitch, a good example would be a home loan. With this type of product offering a celebrity endorsement would not make a significant difference in terms of sales so it would not be worthwhile to spend the extra bucks. 

2. Low-Involvement Brands
In this type of scenario your customer is casually motivated and will pay peripheral attention to your product. Your product offering may not have a strong enough argument to grab your customer's attention and convince them to buy your product.  If money is an issue you can use pretty pictures, humor, nudity, taboo or heartwarming messages to make a connection. But if your budget allows, here is where a celebrity endorsement can become your secret weapon! However the celebrity must be chosen very carefully and strategically.

3. When to Run -Away 
In the case of true luxury brands celebrity endorsements are a big no-no. The luxury brand must be courted by the celebrity not the other way around. The luxury brand must exude an air of mystery that can be cheapened or killed by a celebrity attachment. Your head may begin to start popping with a couple of ads of "luxury brands" that have been endorsed by those belonging to Tinseltown, but if you dig deeper you may be surprised to find out that those brands are no longer true luxury. Thinking of the Roger Federer-Mercedes Benz pairing perhaps? If you dig deeper Maybach is now Daimler's true luxury brand and Mercedes Benz now belongs to us mere mortals.

Gabriela Borja
SEED Branding Studio

Friday, May 9, 2014

At SEED Branding we love the kind of thinking that just as a small seed has the material and potential to grow into a huge tree, so do we have all the material and potential to become who we would like to. We are are part of nature and we are part of the same principle: It is all about growth, if you are not growing you are dying. Let us help you build your passion and grow your dreams.