Tag Archives: branding

Brand Polish

11 Apr

Brand Polish

A blog is a must-have in my opinion for any company doing business on the web. I wrote recently that it’s the soul and personality of your business. But, if you can’t give it the attention and care that it deserves, maybe you should leave it out of your marketing toolbox altogether.

I used to have a client that cared a great deal about their brand. They hired me to develop their social strategy and present them as thought leaders in their industry long before this was a cool thing for brands to do. In some ways the brand had more polish and finesse than their actual product offerings.

Awhile back they stopped using my services. They believed that I was too expensive and they thought they had the ability in-house to manage and grow all the content channels we had established. I knew they didn’t, but I wished them well and focused my energy on my other clients.

Since my work with this client ended, their brand polish has gone from mild neglect to full-blown disrepair. Their content and dialogue in the social sphere is exclusively self-promotional. It’s repetitive, boring and shows little sign of any meaningful user engagement. What’s worse is the spelling and grammatical errors found in nearly every thing they do. In fact, I can’t even use their blog as any sort of reference to my potential client base at this point because it is so far removed from what it used to be.

The message that this type of degradation in quality projects to me one of not caring. You’ve given up. I mean, why have a blog at all if you can’t be bothered to spend an extra 5 minutes proofreading the post you just wrote? You care enough to spend the time to write the post, but not enough to make sure there are no misspellings or grammatical errors? Do people want to do business with a company that doesn’t care about getting the details right? I wouldn’t.

My takeaway here is simple: I believe a blog is an integral part of your marketing mix, but only if you have the resources to sustain and support it properly. Having an intern write content would not be my preference, but it can work if it’s the only resource you have available. The key is making sure someone at a senior level of the marketing organization is overseeing that content and proofing it for accuracy, tone and voice.

While I’ve focused this post around blog content, it also applies to the person piloting your other social channels like Twitter and Facebook. We may be talking about smaller 140 character bursts, but the potential for sloppiness is still there. Make sure those channels are being spot-checked and that the content and information being posted there best represents your brand.

Do the Ends Justify the Means?

11 Jan

Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Over the last month I have been battling a major ant problem at my apartment in Santa Barbara. Usually the rainy season drives a few of them indoors so at first I wasn’t too worried. After a several days, “a few” turned into hundreds and I knew I needed to take action. Being the environmentally conscious guy I try be, I looked for green products that would treat my ant situation. I tried something called Orange Guard from Whole Foods. While it killed the ants if you sprayed it directly on them, it did nothing to prevent their swarm from returning. In fact, I felt like they were belittling me and my Orange Guard. I could almost hear their tiny ant laughs as they mocked my environmentally friendly, yet useless, deterrent.

After trying several other tactics that failed equally, I knew I needed to give in to the pest control dark side. Yesterday I sprayed my apartment doorways and other entrance crevices with Raid. Sure, I know it’s a nasty mix of chemicals and all sorts of bad stuff, but I didn’t know what else to try. The ants were infesting my pantry, marching in lines all over my kitchen and bathroom floors and even overtook my messenger bag because it had a bag of half-opened M&Ms in it’s pocket. Something had to be done and you know what? It worked. I have been ant-free for the last 24 hours because of the Raid.

This got me thinking about the ends justifying the means. Sure, Raid wasn’t my first, second or even third choice to deal with my univited houseguests, but in the end it’s the only thing that worked. It got me thinking about marketing and applying that same model. Should you try a marketing tactic that you’re not altogether comfortable with if the end result is a success? How far outside the boundary would you step? What implications could it have on overall brand perception?

Affiliate Marketing immediately comes to mind in this case. So many companies made a fortune in the affiliate space selling products and using marketing tactics that were questionable at best. Yet, these companies made millions of dollars. Did the ends justify the means? Did these affiliate networks act in the best interest of their shareholders? Did they do longterm damage? Can it be undone?

Would you use a questionable marketing strategy if you knew it would result in a short-term financial win?  Have you ever been put in a situation to do so? I’d love to hear your thoughts.