Marketing Tips

What Taylor Swift Can Teach You About Branding

1. Brand Consistency is Key

If you are a Taylor Swift fan, then you know that with each new album comes a new “era”. That means a new style, new sound and sometimes a new haircut. Taylor has been quoted saying that she does this so that years later she can look at a picture of herself and know exactly what album she was working on. 

 From left to right: Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989 and Reputation

From left to right: Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989 and Reputation

How this applies to your business:

If you are going with a theme for a campaign for you business, you need to go all in. If you are doing graphics that include watercolors, you need to continue that theme until you launch a new campaign. You need time for people to get used to it and assign the relationship between those graphics and your brand. A good example to look at for this is Apple. When they launch a new phone, they have a campaign theme to go along with it. This new iPhone X theme is swirled paint and water. Which coincidentally was a theme also taken on by the new Adobe launch. You can see them side by side here:

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2. Brand Evolution

While consistency is important you also can’t ignore that a brand is going to grow and evolve. Taylor Swift has done this beautifully, slowing changing throughout each new album. It was always age appropriate, she didn’t go from country princess to sex kitten overnight. She evolved and matured at a normal pace — the same way that her fans were also growing up along with her. If she had gone from singing “Love Story” to singing “Look What You Made Me Do” we would all be pretty shocked. But her evolution from country to pop was actually pretty smooth. In her last country album, Red she had songs that sounded completely pop - like “I Knew You Were Trouble”. This started to temper her fans into this kind of style and when 1989 came out, they were completely on board. 

In 2011, she understood that many of her fans were still young girls and that she was a role model for them whether she liked it or not. She was quoted saying "I definitely think about a million people when I am getting dressed in the morning," "That's just part of my life now. I think it's my responsibility to know it and to be conscious of it."

How this applies to your business:

Your business is going to evolve and grow, but doing a complete 180 overnight is going to upset your customers. Sure, you will always upset someone with any type of change, but you can avoid a huge upheaval by evolving on a gradient. 

3. Survey and Engage with Your Audience

Taylor Swift is known for her intense involvement with her fans. Some examples include: 

•“T-party” which is a party that she hosts for hand-picked fans at the end of her concerts. They eat pizza and take pictures and hang out together.
 

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• Tumblr Comments: Since the 1989 era, Taylor has been on Tumblr and has interacted and commented on numerous fan posts. 

• Fan Visits and Presents: Taylor has some relationships with fans that have lasted through her whole career. She has sent boxes of Christmas presents, helped pay for college, attended weddings and bridal showers. See this here: https://youtu.be/j3yyF31jbKo

• Secret Sessions: Just when you thought the fan-love couldn’t get stronger, before the launch of 1989, Taylor hosted “Secret Sessions”. These are sessions held at her houses across the country where hundreds of fans are hand-picked to hear her new album before it gets released. These fans had to keep this secret for months until the album was released. She carried on this tradition into this new album Reputation. See this here: https://youtu.be/kGOmPmILndU

Taylor knows what her audience likes to hear, what they want from her lyrics. In the forward of 1989, she wrote “These songs were once about my life. They are now about yours”. If you think this resonated just for young girls, then think again, because Ryan Adams was grieving a divorce when he heard 1989 and it helped him get through it. “It was very cathartic for me, because I found myself singing those songs and feeling things from my divorce.” He went on to release a cover album of 1989

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How this applies to your business:

Always listen to your customers. Even if it is things you don’t want to hear. The easiest way to hear from customers is on social media. If you are transparent about your business you will gain and keep customers when you start really having a conversation with them. 

4. Take a PR nightmare and turn it into solid gold. 

As Taylor says, “haters gonna hate”. Tomorrow is the launch of Taylor’s new album Reputation and whether you like this new era or hate it, I don’t think it matters. This album is going to sell like hotcakes and I think it embodies the example of what you do after you have been embarrassed by the world — you stand up and fight back. 

Are you ready for it? :) 

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Branding is much more than “making it look pretty”

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We have come across this viewpoint that branding is unnecessary and that it is “nice to have” and just “makes things look pretty”. This could not be more wrong. Whether you like it or not you have a brand because, to put it simply, branding is just differentiation. It is what distinguishes your company from other companies. Your brand needs to reflect what your company stands for and what principles you will follow into the future.

You may know “who you are” but if you don’t take the time to brand your company, other people will do it for you. You don’t want to be “that skincare company that is trying to be like {well-known brand} but not as good” or “the product is really great, but I can’t remember the name, starts with a ‘y’ I think?” or “that cream that smells like cough syrup”. These are things that we all say when we talk about products, companies and places. We have also said things like “ you have to go there, the food is amazing!” and “that cream changed my skin, it is so great!” Differentiation can be good, bad, on purpose and by accident. 

When you are figuring out your branding, you are also looking at your product or service and putting it through the wringer as well. Is your product good enough? Is your service really delivering what it is promising? All these things together: your product, service, message, position, viewpoint, purpose and vision all tie together to form what makes you different — and that is your brand. 

After you have that established, you need to visually represent it. This is where you might need some help. How do you take all those conceptual things and turn them into a logo, packaging, website, flyer, signage, etc.? It’s a tough job, but when it’s done right you have everything you need to push forward as a company. There is no question on what font you are using, what the image should look like or what color the box should be. Your branding is established and it is the bedrock of your business. Now you just focus on building and growing. 

Hopefully that helped convince you that branding is more than just “making it look pretty”.

If you need help with your company’s branding call us at (727) 303-0387 for a FREE branding consultation. 

How to View Your Own Advertising

Many business owners make a critical mistake when creating advertising. They write the advertising and pick photos that they like and understand. They forget all about their audience, the people they are trying to attract with their ads and they do not communicate their message.

When you write the copy and choose a picture for a post or an ad, you then need to take your professional hat off and walk over to the other side of life and be your audience. It is from that viewpoint you need to critique the ad. Does it contain words or acronyms that the normal person does not understand? Is the photo interesting and represent the product or service? Is the photo confrontable and not graphic and disturbing such as bleeding gums for a dentist, smashed in cars for Car Insurance or injured pet for a Veterinarian. I’m sorry- no one wants to see these pictures. 

So write your ads and look at them from the point of view of your potential customers. This will get you much better results.

Why it is Important, Vital and Even Crucial to Proofread?

If you are doing your own marketing or even if you are contracting someone else to do your marketing, it is absolutely crucial that you have a literate person proofread the content before it goes out. You need to be responsible for it – it’s your marketing! When you get sent a proof of a postcard, Facebook ad or website design, do this:

Go to a quiet room with no disturbances. Have a dictionary or computer available to check spelling. Go through each and every line of the content. Check all names, telephone numbers, address and zip code. Check everything!  Sometimes it helps to read it backwards because your mind can fill in and correct errors. 

It is very embarrassing and expensive for an ad to go out with spelling errors or a wrong number. Proof, proof, proof!

Here's how to post to your Facebook Page from your phone:

We get asked this a lot.

1. You first need to download the Facebook Pages App to your phone. You have to download it from the app store - here is the link for itunes.

2. Next you need to have the picture or video you want to post saved in your camera roll on your phone. If you took the photo on your phone, then you have nothing to worry about. If it is a photo from your computer, you can email it to yourself and save it, or if you have dropbox you can save it from the Dropbox app on your phone. 

3. Next, open the Facebook Pages app on your phone. If this is the first time opening it, you will need to sign into it using your personal Facebook Login. Remember that all Facebook tools revolve around your PERSONAL Facebook Login. So if you are an admin of your page, then you login to the Pages app with your personal login and Facebook will pull up all the pages that you are an admin of.

You will see your Facebook Page come up:

4. To post a photo or video click the Photo/Video button.
5. All your photos will come up from your camera roll, you can also take a photo right from the app.

6. Once the photo is chosen, you can write your caption.

7. When you are ready to post it hit "Continue". Then hit "Publish" if you want to post it immediately, or hit "When will this be published?" and you can schedule it for later.

8. You're done!

How to Get Rid of Duplicate Facebook Pages

This situation comes up a lot with our clients - especially if they have had multiple employees working on their Facebook Page. 

Here is how you can MERGE duplicate Facebook Pages:

1. You need to be the ADMIN of BOTH Facebook Pages. The one you want to keep and the one you want to merge. 

If you are not an admin, you need to figure out who is.
Run through this list to see if you can figure out who is the admin:

  • Family members
  • Office Managers
  • PR Managers
  • Past Employees
  • Old Marketing Companies

Once you know who the Admin is, they need to make YOU an Admin as well. You need to go onto your personal Facebook account, LIKE the Facebook Page where you need to be an Admin and then the existing Admin can go into the Settings > Page Roles and add you as an Admin. 

******NOTE - Facebook will not let you merge pages until you have been an Admin of a page for at least a week. So you might have to wait until you go to the next steps:

2. Once you are an Admin of BOTH pages, you then need to make sure that the data on both pages IS IDENTICAL. The Page name, address, category, about section - all of it, needs to be letter for letter IDENTICAL. 

This data can be edited by logging into Facebook and going to your page, then going to the About section. 

3. Now you are ready to MERGE! 
Simply go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/merge/
and it will walk you through how to merge one page into the other page. 

If your Pages can be merged, the people who like your Pages and any check-ins will be combined, but posts, photos, reviews, ratings and the username will be deleted from the Page you merge. The Page you want to keep will remain unchanged, except for the addition of people who like the Page and check-ins that were merged from the other Page. The Page you don't want to keep will be removed from Facebook, and you won't be able to unmerge it.

It can take a few days for Facebook to process the request.

Should you be everywhere? 

This is a question that comes up a lot and it is something we see done correctly and incorrectly. 

We have seen people that sign up for EVERYTHING: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. etc. etc. etc. ….but then they don’t post anything!

If you are just starting out with social media for your business, you should pick one or two platforms. We usually suggest Facebook and Instagram because it is easy to post to both platforms at the same time and you can advertise on both since both companies are owned by Facebook. 

Once you get used to posting great content and it is consistent and you are getting followers and engagement then you can expand out to another platform and sooner or later you WILL BE everywhere, but this time posting great, consistent content. 

By expanding this way, it is in a controlled and strategic manner, not a dispersed and splattered everywhere type of manner. 

If you need help getting started on Facebook or Instagram, call us for a FREE Social Media Consultation and we can answer any questions you have. 

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How to Post Multiple Photos in One Post on Instagram

Watch the Video above to learn about Instagram's New Feature! 

Here are the steps:

  1. Hit the "plus" symbol, just like you were going to add a new photo.
  2. Then hit "Select Multiple"
  3. Then select up to 10 photos. It will go in order of how you select them. So if you need to reorder, just deselect a photo and then reselect it in the order you want. (You will see the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc.)
  4. After you have your photos selected, hit NEXT, then you have the option of adding a filter to all of the photos.
  5. Hit NEXT. Write your caption and publish your post! Here's what it looks like when it is published. The little dots indicate that you have multiple photos in your post.

Ok that's it! Have fun using this new tool! 

When it feels like no one cares...

When we first started our business, we were working very hard creating amazing promotion-videos, hand drawn illustrations, articles, etc. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to make a difference. No one was listening or responding ……we felt like no one cared!! 

Fast forward a few years later and we have realized that it is not that “no one cared”.  People did care, they just didn’t receive the communication. We weren’t getting our message out in front of enough people and the people we were getting it in front of were not seeing it enough times. 

Do you realize that people are hit with over 5000 pieces of information a day- TV, Social Media, Email, Texts, Radio, Billboards, Mail, on and on! How do you possibly break through all of that chatter?

Well, three years later, we know the amount of work it really takes to create the effect we want, to get people to see us, to get people to care about what we are saying. We know the number. When we hit that number of promotion sent out, our sales go up, when we don’t hit that number our sales go down. 

So what do you do when sales go down and money gets tight? Most businesses cut back on their marketing. That is absolutely the worse thing you could do! When sales go down, promotion must go up or your company will become smaller.

How many people do you need to reach, in order to create the effect that you need? Is it 200 a day? 25,000 a month? When you do your marketing, you need to track this so you know your number. Add up your Facebook ads, your posts, your emails and your postcards on a weekly basis. See what number of those combined things give you the sales you want. Once you’ve got that number- keep it up! 

Let us help you figure out your number, so you can get your message across and succeed in your business. 

Call us at (727) 303-0387 for a FREE Consultation!
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