Article | February 13, 2020
Making quality customer-generated content is one of the best strategies of your computerized advertising procedure. On the off chance that you make applicable content for your site pages and other content distribution platforms, it can channel more traffic to your site and increase conversion rate. Viable content creation encourages you to get qualified traffic from a natural hunt, promotions clicks, and backlinks. The following are ways of using customer-generated content to build your brand.
Article | May 4, 2021
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.
Article | March 8, 2021
In advance of the already highly controversial interview between Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex surprised us all with an interview on The Late Late Show with James Corden just over a week ago now.
In his first interview since stepping back from his duties within the Royal Family, the Prince took part in a seemingly relaxed, natural, and spontaneous interview with TV host and friend, James Corden.
And whilst it appeared to be off-the-cuff and completely un-staged, it would have in fact, been quite the opposite.
This interview highlighted the true power of sensationalism within communications, provoking public interest, telling Harry’s side of the story, and defining his position as a brand.
Matthew Hayes, Managing Director of Midlands-based brand agency Champions (UK) plc, explains why he thinks the interview proves that Harry, the Duke of Sussex understands his brand power, allowing him to reposition himself within the industry.
“The interview was completely unexpected and caught everybody off guard. We were all so eagerly anticipating his and Meghan’s upcoming interview with Oprah that we hadn’t even considered he would perhaps look at other options,” he said.
The Late Late Show almost goes against his previous branding as a member of the Royal Family.
Matthew said, “It was great to see Harry doing Harry.
“Throughout the entire interview, Harry displayed his true personality and owned it. And in terms of branding and positioning, he knocked it out of the park.
“I believe that Harry achieved what he had set out to do, which was to change the narrative by telling his side of the story and ultimately change the public’s opinion of him.”
And in doing so, the interview amassed more than 15 million views on YouTube in under a week, proving that anticipation doesn’t always equate to more impact.
More than just a Prince
Providing a glimpse into family Zoom calls with his grandparents, Harry used this interview as a way to demonstrate he is more than just a Prince, but a father, husband, son, and grandson, too.
"Harry managed to find his own brand identity whilst remaining all of those things, as well as continuing to work in public service. He owned and delivered it in a way that I can only describe as genius.”
By changing the narrative and telling his story, Harry proved that he is much more than everybody has perceived him as.
The Duke of Sussex isn’t the only person within this industry to change and reposition his brand.
Snoop Dogg is renowned for having more than one persona and this has become a part of his brand identity. From gangster to rapper, actor and more recently, the star of Just Eat’s latest marketing campaign, Snoop is recognised for exactly that – proving the power of branding.
Clever and controversial marketing
After watching the Prince’s interview with James Corden ahead of his sit-down chat with Oprah Winfrey, many of us have been left wondering which really came first – or was this a part of the plan all along?
Matthew explains why he thinks it was a clever marketing ploy:
“I believe that this interview came first as a deliberate way for Harry to define his brand and lay down the law prior to appearing on Oprah.
“Many of us, myself included, assumed that Oprah would be his first (and possibly last) exclusive interview, but what this has done is create a buzz and even more anticipation ahead of its airing.
“Before watching Harry with James, I may not have even considered sitting down to watch his appearance on Oprah, and I expect this to be the case for many others, too.”
It was recently announced that ITV have bought the rights to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah for £1M, with it set to air at 9pm on March 8.
While some may call this controversial, and it may be, Matthew believes it to be clever and tactful marketing.
He said, “Harry’s appearance on The Late Late Show will no doubt boost viewing figures for his interview with Oprah, making it somewhat of a teaser.
“Mystery and anticipation are remarkable ways to tell a story, which is exactly what both Harry and Meghan have done here.”
Digital storytelling expert and founder of Play Human, Matthew Scott also explains the benefits of controversial marketing and why it is so impactful.
He explains, “Simply, controversy appeals to consumers and it grabs their attention. But more importantly, it raises a point and sparks debate, which is key when it comes to storytelling, particularly within branding.
“Telling a story with an edge of controversy or challenge is a good thing and is what leads to change.”
The future of sensationalism
Matthew Hayes predicts that following this seemingly controversial yet clever act of sensationalism and storytelling, many brands will begin to follow suit.
“Already, Prince Harry has gained such tremendous traction from one short interview, so just imagine the publicity after Monday evenings show.
“Brands will see the benefits of working in this manner, albeit slightly controversially, but that it really does work and will garner seriously impressive results.
“I am one of those people who perhaps frowned upon Harry’s decision to officially leave the Royal Family.
However, after watching his interview with James Corden, my perception of the whole matter has completely changed, which I guess was the aim of the game, right? Well, it worked – for me, anyway.”
Article | December 15, 2020
Whether you’re selling yourself, a product, service, or idea, your online reputation makes a powerful impact on how successful you are. The way we communicate with family, friends, business associates, clients, and the world has been revolutionized in today’s digital environment. Everyone has the opportunity to be famous, or infamous, for something in a matter of minutes.
Andy Warhol said that everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes. Today, those minutes of fame have the potential to live on forever digitally. When you’re in the business of selling products and services, it’s your duty to ensure that what potential customers see online engages them in a positive way. The management of your online reputation is everything!
Most people will tell you they make important decisions after weighing the pros and cons of situations. Some will tell you that they “go with their guts.” The truth is that for nearly all decisions, even those evaluated using logic, the final determination is strongly influenced by emotion. It’s a natural aspect of being human. The dominant tipping point in most situations is how the buyer will feel after the decision is made. Decision-makers may be relieved to have found a viable solution, or they may be excited about something new entering their lives or influencing their businesses in a positive manner.
Understanding that emotion comes into play when making purchasing decisions, it’s important to proactively and positively influence human emotions through your digital presence. Most people who contemplate getting involved with you or your product will want to go through a getting-to-know-you phase. It’s a normal part of building relationships. It’s where we decide whether we like the person, brand, or product enough to invest more of our time and effort into them.
In sales, this is referred to as building or establishing rapport. It’s where you learn about your buyers and find commonality with them, not solely on a business level. It’s when you establish that you’re able to help them with their needs so they will listen to what you have to say. It’s the first step in building trust.
You can be fairly certain that the getting-to-know-you phase will include the buyers’ review of your digital presence. It’s the go-to resource for everyone these days. How you or your company come across online can either start or end the sales process, or it could just make the process much more challenging if there is any negative publicity or reviews to overcome. Your online reputation may be the tipping point for decisions about purchasing from you or building business relationships.
The way we sell and foster trust as professionals must include authentic representation of our brands as providing tremendous value to our ideal customers. Authenticity is highly valued. Coming across as either phony or too good to be true will cause hesitation in the minds of buyers, creating the opposite of trust. And where there is no trust, there will be no sales.
If you’re passionate about your clients and your products, that passion should show in your online presence. Part of being authentic is not to be afraid to speak about what you believe in or what your company believes in—just be realistic about it. Be thoughtful about the words and images used online to represent yourself and your business. Being passionate is important but do it in a manner that attracts buyers and doesn’t offend anyone. After all, even those who may not be qualified to own your product may know someone who is. Negative experiences are shared more frequently than positive ones. An unqualified person could negatively impact qualified friends or associates.
Not every page or post has to be about your product. Demonstrating authentic humanity through positive comments, good works, or light humor (depending on your type of product) can be quite attractive to those researching online.
Going back to the concept of “moments of fame,” it’s imperative that your online reputation be consistent and be managed consistently. Avoid taking risks with your digital reputation by checking in and evaluating what’s being said online about your product or company on a regular basis.
Express gratitude for positive comments or reviews and address negative ones immediately. When challenges arise both the solution and speed of solution are critical to their impact on your business. Being proactive demonstrates a high level of care for your reputation, which equates to a high level of attention being given to customers.
There are thousands of nuances inherent in building relationships and creating sales opportunities. Mishandled, any one of them could cause buyers to seek solutions elsewhere. Effective management of your online reputation is simple, strategic, and achievable.