Article | July 8, 2020
At Stickyeyes, we’ve invested heavily to build the tools we need to help our clients be the best in the business. Our enterprise-level tech suite means we have a wealth of data at our fingertips so we make the right decisions for the long-term, often starting with a thorough understanding of any market landscape. Our latest report draws on this tech suite to analyse 50 of the best and well-known technology brands online including Oracle, Cisco, Intel, RS Components, Texas Instruments and Farnell, as well as those with an interesting search story to tell.
Article | July 8, 2020
A ton of people confuse branding with a company’s logo. When they hear the word “branding,” they immediately picture designers hard at work choosing the perfect shades and template for a new logo. But although a logo is part of branding, it’s not the whole package.
Article | July 8, 2020
A human approach to content marketing begins and ends with being vulnerable. No, it is not the same thing as being weak. As Brene Brown says:
"Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences…. What most of us fail to understand...is that vulnerability is also the cradle of the emotions and experiences that we crave. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity."
This is why being vulnerable is important to your content marketing: it helps create a connection. (If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be connected to other people. And we need to wash our hands more.)
If the thought of being vulnerable totally freaks you out, remember that no one is perfect. No one.
Here’s how to weave that human approach into your content marketing.
Share your struggles
People who don’t know me well probably think I float through life on rainbows and sprinkles. If only.
When I graduated from college, I had zero resilience and was struggling with severe anxiety. Unfortunately, I had very little self-awareness, so I had no idea. My first “real” job was with a truly wonderful company, and of course I had the dragon-lady-boss-from-hell. I lasted five miserable months, during which time my anxiety went through the roof and I developed bulimia.
I recovered from bulimia after four years, but I didn’t get my anxiety under control until I fell down a hole into depression when I was 37 years old. Here’s how bad it was: If I was out running errands and noticed my car needed gas, I could not stop at a gas station unless I had already planned to. Spontaneously changing the “plan” was mission impossible. Didn’t matter if I drove past six gas stations. I couldn’t do it.
Eight years later, I am still on anti-depressants. I doubt I’ll ever go off, because it makes life manageable. (If I hadn’t been medicated during the early days of the pandemic, I probably would have ended up in the looney bin.)
Anyway, my point is that we grow the most as humans when we survive and overcome challenging times. My struggles have certainly helped me become the person I was meant to be.
Sharing our personal stories – especially the thorny, dark ones – make us human and relatable. If you are on anti-depressants, you and I are now connected by that shared experience.
Own your failures
I have failed as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and business owner. I am sure I have failed complete strangers as well.
Here’s a short list of my failures as a business owner:
Doing work for free
Not charging enough
Failing to fire bad clients quickly
Ignoring the financials (profit and loss, balance sheet, expenses, etc.)
Hiring the wrong people
Working without a contract
Not getting a security deposit
I own every single failure, which is easy to do when you use the experience to learn and grow.
A few years ago, we created a social media marketing strategy for a small clothing brand, even though we didn’t have a contract in place. When we sent the invoice, they refused to pay it. Without a contract, we were SOL. I was furious at myself, but I am comforted knowing that karma is a total bitch.
When money is on the line, I tend to learn the lesson very quickly. Recently, I had a discovery call scheduled with someone who had not yet signed the contract. When I called her, I simply said, “We can’t proceed until you sign the contract.” She apologized profusely. We jumped off the phone, she read through it, signed it and called me when she was done.
No muss, no fuss.
An authentic, human approach to content marketing is being you.
A client once fired us because I sent an email that was “too direct.” He said he found it offensive.
Was I upset? Not at all. I laughed.
Then I read the email again. I scratched my head. I had someone on my team read the email. They scratched their head.
In near unison, we said, “Dodged a bullet!”
You can’t be everything to everyone, and frankly, I don’t want to be. I am known for saying it like it is and making you laugh at the same time. Not everyone appreciates my style, and that’s cool. We are all different.
And that is the beauty of using a human approach. You have no choice but to be you. As a result, you’ll only work with the people who get you. Would you have it any other way?
The next time you’re writing a blog, social post or email, I want you to do something for me. Read it and ask yourself, “Would my best friend recognize that I wrote this?” If the answer is yes, congrats: you are using a human approach to content marketing.
Article | July 8, 2020
In recent years, the focus and surge in ecommerce has been undeniable. There has been clear evidence of how a lack of online consideration can ultimately result in a brand’s demise, with Debenhams and Topshop just two recent examples. However, the latest moves by online giants, including Amazon, are suggesting we’re not quite ready for a complete digital switchover just yet.
In this article, Nate Burke, CEO at Diginius, a proprietary software solutions provider for digital marketing and ecommerce, explains that multichannel models are the next logical step, and how businesses can boost their prospects with not just a presence in both the digital and physical space, but by combining the two to create a frictionless customer experience.
While it might have felt like the pandemic was driving us closer to some sort of digital utopia, particularly with the closure of non-essential shops, remote working and online social gatherings being the norm for over a year now, it has become apparent neither businesses nor consumers are quite ready for things to transform to such an extent just yet.
One clear piece of evidence is the buzz and excitement that surrounded the reopening of retail in England and Wales from 12 April. This date marks the first time this year non-essential stores allowed customers to enter, browse and purchase items in the traditional bricks and mortar way.
Stores and hospitality venues were met with queuing customers on day one of the eased restrictions, showing a clear desire for physical brand offerings. One brand in particular which is known for its strictly-bricks and mortar model is Primark. Despite months of plummeted sales, its stores across England and Wales were one of the most popular among consumers on the first day of reopening, with many even lining up outside before business hours.
Although the excitement may have simply been down to pent up frustration after having spent months indoors with few other recreational activities available, there is undeniably a certain sense of trust, convenience and comfort offered by the in-store experience, that digital channels are yet to trump.
However, when taking to high streets and re-entering shopping centres after so long, consumers are no doubt being met with an unrecognisable physical retail landscape, with a significant number of empty units, some of which once belonged to flagship stores and iconic brands.
A changing physical landscape
The pandemic was the tipping point for many brands that had been slow or reluctant to adapt to the gradual digital transformation that has been occurring for some years now, examples of which include Debenhams and businesses operating under the Arcadia Group. Essentially, while some of these brands were struggling against online competitors before the initial lockdown, forced store closures drove customers to shop with those that had perfected their digital experience as there was no physical alternative anymore. So with no other options, the enhanced experience and simpler processes of trusted online brands outweighed any incentives to remain loyal to those which favoured the in-store offering. Evidently, the two channels are not the same and a mere presence in both online and offline spaces is not enough.
But while consumers bid farewell to stores they have known and visited their whole life, we welcome new brands and ways of shopping to the high street, suggesting it’s not completely over for bricks and mortar just yet.
One of the latest additions is Amazon Fresh. The online giant has been taking up space in physical retail across the U.S. for some years now, with bookstores, Amazon Go and the acquisition of Whole Foods. While the latter helped Amazon break into the competitive grocery market in the UK too, its most recent Amazon Fresh store opening in Ealing, London, is on track to solidify its position.
The unique store concept of a till-less shopping experience aims to disrupt the grocery industry by removing frictions and enabling customers to get their goods in the most convenient way. The concept utilises hundreds of cameras, depth sensors and artificial intelligence to recognise and monitor items customers pick up and put back. Upon entry, they scan a barcode on their Amazon Shopping smartphone app, and upon leaving, their accounts are automatically charged with the items they walk out with.
Of course, Amazon certainly did not need to make this move into physical retail, especially considering their growing online financial performance. However, the business clearly understands the importance of a model that comprises both online and physical channels, particularly as consumers’ behaviours and sentiments adjust following the pandemic.
Digital-led bricks and mortar
While digital offerings have provided a lifeline for both businesses and consumers amid lockdown restrictions, there are still certain items that customers prefer to buy in-store, with groceries and clothing two of the biggest categories. Ultimately, in-store grocery shopping remains the most convenient way to get items you need instantly, and digital is yet to offer a way to help customers gauge fit, feel and quality of clothing items online. The only option is to place an order and return it if you are unsatisfied, which as Amazon is beginning to understand, comes at a great financial and environmental cost.
The brand’s physical stores offer a way to combat these issues until a digital solution is established. Not only do they offer a fast and seamless way to shop for essential grocery items, Amazon Fresh also features a station at which online orders can be picked up and returned, minimising the impact delivery to multiple addresses and round return trips have on its bottom line and the planet.
Going forward, this is precisely what the future of retail will look like. Rather than pulling all physical presence, technology and digital software needs to be integrated into in-store offerings in order to reduce pain points of either channel.
Many multichannel retailers offer similar click and collect services that help merge customer experiences across channels and create a seamless and convenient process. And while Amazon Fresh is a unique concept, we can see other brands making similar moves with the likes of Scan and Go services and self-checkouts.
By embracing and leveraging the technology available, brands can make the most of their multichannel models, whereby online and offline routes are not separate entities, but rather a way to boost business prospects through greater presence, frictionless processes and an overall better buying experience for the customer.