Tag Archives: Strategy

Alibaba invests another $1.3 billion into its offline retail strategy

 Alibaba has furthered its physical retail footprint after it invested another billion dollars into projects to develop its so-called “new retail” strategy which combines online and offline. The Chinese firm, the dominant e-commerce player in its country, gobbled up a 15 percent stake in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing for RMB 5.45 billion, or around $867 million, and pumped $486… Read More

11 Insights on Personal Care Brands’ Social Media Strategy

Every industry has different priorities on social media. For personal care brands, community building is crucial. The interactive nature of social media serves this need better than conventional media. However, personal care brands need a solid social media strategy to achieve this goal. In this article, we evaluate how successful top personal care brands in North America were in this regard.

The brands analyzed here include Always, Angel Soft, Charmin, Cottonelle, Dial, Dollar Shave Club, Gillette, Harry’s, Huggies, Kleenex, Kotex, Method, Softsoap and The Honest Company.

Time period: 1st January – 31st May 2017

Facebook

Even with the newer networks like Snapchat and Instagram gaining popularity, Facebook is still crucial for brands. Find out how well these personal care brands engaged their audience on Facebook and explore possible reasons why they did so well.

Engagement

Take a look at the average number of likes, comments and shares each brand received per post:

Average likes, comments and shares received by CPG brands

Angel Soft takes the lead in average engagement. However, if you were to consider total engagement, Kleenex comes out on top. This is because of the difference in posting frequency.

Volume of Posts

The brands studied here typically posted around 60 times in the period studied. The Honest Company posted the most (180), followed by The Dollar Shave Club (159). Angel Soft (6) and Softsoap (2) had a very low post count.

Number of posts published by each CPG brand

(It’s possible that Angel Soft and Softsoap publish ‘dark posts’ via the Facebook ads platform which inserts their content into users’ timelines but doesn’t show up on the brand’s Facebook page).

Such a large gulf in posting frequency makes it difficult to base engagement on average interactions alone (the larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction). Kleenex however, stands ahead of the pack by securing great engagement without posting too much.

Promotion

With the decline in organic reach, brands have to bank on promoted content to ensure that their posts get to their target audience. The chart below shows the degree to which each brand promoted their content:

Number of organic and promoted posts by each CPG brand

The brands studied here were likely to promote around 30% of all their content. Some brands like Charmin, Always, Softsoap and Gillette banked solely on organic content. Others like Method (85%) promoted a sizeable chunk of all their posts.

Consider how the promotion strategy of these brands translated to engagement:

Rise in engagement offset by percentage promotion

Kleenex has benefitted the most from boosting their content. The small percentage of content they’ve promoted has yielded them great returns.

Reach and Impressions

A clear implication of promoted content is a boost in reach. Xia, our AI can estimate the reach and impressions brands receive at page and post level. Observe the dividend in terms of reach and impressions these brands were able to gain:

Overall estimated reach and impressions for each brand

By designing an efficient promotion strategy, Kleenex manages to get the most eyeballs on Facebook.

Yet, it is not enough that every brand arrives at an estimate of the optimum percentage of content that has to be boosted. It is imperative that they decide which posts to promote.

To understand more about how promotion figures in their social media strategy, let us take a look at the top posts.

Top Content

The following posts by Kleenex clinched the highest number of Reactions and Shares among all the brands compared:

These videos are part of a larger campaign run by the brand ‘#ShareKleenexCare’. As part of this, the brand ran features of random acts of caring that make a difference. Rather than talking about their product, these videos address the theme of caring. By doing so, they build a strong association with their brand and the act of caring.

Story-telling as a strategy is crucial to social media success. The use of video content facilitates this. Over 80% of the posts that were published as part of this campaign during this time period were videos. This allows the brand to capture the attention of their audience.

However, great story-telling and visuals can fail to meet their objectives if it does not reach a wide audience. In order to ensure that their content gets a good reach, Kleenex promoted over 50% of all their posts around the #ShareKleenexCare campaign.

If you were to take a look at all the posts that were promoted by Kleenex, you’d see that more than half are videos that are part of this campaign. Other than that, the brand also boosted links to purchase pages and a video that showcased their new tissue box designs.

Check out the split of content types and the degree to which Kleenex promoted each type:

Volume of Kleenex's posts and engagement per content type

Video content is central to their content strategy. A key edge they have over their competitors is the success of their video content. Take a look at the views clinched by each brand’s videos:
Number of views received by each brand on Facebook

As you can see, Kleenex outperforms the others in terms of video views. Quite like their promotion strategy, the brand banks on quality of content to get the most out of a handful of excellent content.

Takeaways

  1. Infuse the power of story-telling to create content that resonates
  2. Consider past data and industry trends to arrive at an optimum posting frequency
  3. Similarly, take data-backed decisions on content promotion
  4. Identify the content types that your audience is most attentive to

Twitter

The way personal care brands use Twitter differs significantly from how they use Facebook. For one, they post a lot more on Twitter. While on average, each brand published 55 posts on Facebook, they’d tweet 144 times. However, brands receive better engagement on Facebook compared to Twitter. On Facebook brands typically got around 1,200 interactions. On Twitter, this was a meager 25.

Due to the chronological nature (as opposed to the Facebook NewsFeed algorithm for instance) of Twitter, tweets can have a lifespan of minutes before they are buried.

On the other hand, Twitter is a great platform for brands to address their customers’ questions and concerns, respond to feedback etc. Let’s take a closer look:

Customer Service

Diligent responses to customer complaints and queries make a brand look good on social media. It is not enough that brands respond to most of the user tweets that they get, but they have to do it as fast as possible too. In the following chart, you can see where each brand stands in terms of reply time and response rate.

Average Reply Time and Response Rate

Harry’s had the highest response rate by replying to over 40% of all the mentions they received. Charmin had the best average reply time. They were likely to respond to a tweet in 1 hour 40 minutes.

If you look at the chart below, you will see that Charmin, U by Kotex and Huggies serviced most of their user tweets within 15 minutes. Most other brands would get back to a tweet in less than a day.
Time taken by each brand to reply to user tweets

What brands respond with is equally important as a quick response time. Apart from plain text replies, the brands studied here were most likely to ask users to view a link. This can lead them to a page on their website which contains more information about a particular product or to one where they can purchase a product, register a complaint etc.

What brands are most likely to reply with

Twitter is not just a medium where brands can deal with customer complaints and questions. Brands have to formulate a solid content strategy that suits the nature of this platform.

Content Strategy

Apart from the differences in posting frequency and average interactions, one major difference is the split of various content types used. From the chart below, it is evident that tweets that contain plain text with or without a link are the most used.

Volume and engagement received by photos, videos, text/links and GIFs

This is in stark contrast to the composition of Facebook posts.

Volume of posts and engagement per content type

However, video content brings in the best engagement on both platforms. Let us take a look at the most engaging tweets from the period studied here:

This GIF by Charmin clinched the most number of likes and retweets. A key reason why this performed so well was because it was a Twitter ad. This implies that it had a greater reach due to a paid push, and thereby, better engagement.

Gillette received the most number of replies on a single tweet by joining in on the conversation around Superbowl 2017. Adding a contest twist to their tweet, they gave their audience an incentive to interact with their content.

Another way brands can bring in more engagement is by tapping into influencers and celebrities. Huggies did just that by roping in Michael Phelps to promote their disposable swimpants, Little Swimmers.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the engagement that these brands received on Twitter:

Likes, replies and retweets received by each CPG brand on Twitter

Charmin topped the charts in total likes received, while Gillette amassed the most replies and The Honest Company the most shares. Gillette’s high reply count is on account of the contest they ran coupled with the large number of tweets they published. Similarly, Charmin was able to notch up 2,135 retweets even though they only had a fifth of The Honest Company’s tweet count. Charmin owes 60% of all these retweets to ads they ran on Twitter.

Takeaways

  1. How people perceive your brand depends on your interactions with them. Respond promptly and precisely.
  2. Use Twitter ads to get your audience’s attention about new products, exciting offers or to spark conversations around a new ad that you’ve put a lot of effort into.
  3. Analyze content types and topics that interest your audience and strive to provide a value-add with every piece of content.

Instagram

Instagram offers brands the capability to visually communicate their brand personality. By using images and videos, they can communicate who they are as a brand and speak to their target audience.

A good example of this is The Honest Company. It is the most engaging brand of the ones studied in this report on Instagram.

Likes and Comments received by each brand

How does The Honest Company win engagement on Instagram?

The Honest Company has a tendency to publish a lot of content on all social media networks. While this did not really translate into engagement on other platforms, it seems to have paid off on Instagram. However, it is not just about quantity as much as how relevant their content is to their audience.

Let us take a look at their most engaging posts:

Balance is our friend.

A post shared by The Honest Company (@honest) on May 24, 2017 at 5:07pm PDT

The Honest Company’s success on the platform is largely because they understand their audience. They have anchored their content around honest moments like this, which speak to their target audience. This is apparent if you look at their top performing hashtags, most of which center around the theme of honesty.

The Honest Company's most popular hashtags

Most of these posts carry a quote that addresses parenting worries and dilemmas. This way, they win points by being sympathetic to their audience.

Types of Posts

Only a tiny fraction of the posts published by the personal care brands analyzed here were videos (13%). These contributed to barely 5% of all the interactions registered.

The Honest Company published the most number of videos. These also had the highest volume of video views.
Number of video views received by each brand
In addition to getting the most views, these videos brought in on average 1,227 interactions. The average interactions received per video content in this group is barely over 600.

Influencers

A big reason why The Honest Company’s video content does so well is because of their tie-ups with influencers. These include, apart from popular social media personalities and celebrities, publishers who have a commendable following.

The Honest Company has leveraged the superfood obsession by getting a food blogger to create Buzzfeed-Tasty-like videos. The four videos that were published in association with Honey Suckle Catering generated close to 2,250 interactions each.

Community

Instagram introduced the algorithmic feed that many brands suspected to be the end of organic reach for brands on the platform. However, it is still important to grow your audience size on Instagram. If you create content that truly interests your audience and they interact with it, as we have seen with The Honest Company, the algorithm may work in your favor. Your brand will get good visibility in user feeds, leading to better engagement. You could almost call it a virtuous circle.

In this case, The Honest Company is getting good traction out of their audience size which is significantly larger than their competitors’, as you can see from the chart below:

The number of followers and growth rate for each CPG brand

Takeaways

  1. Tailor your content according to the nature of the platform. Look at topics and formats that are popular and infuse them into your content.
  2. Similarly, know your audience and the kind of content they engage with. Create content that is extremely relevant to them.
  3. Channel influencers who are experts in your industry or have a huge following among your target audience.
  4. Make an effort to build your community size by encouraging followers to engage with your content and follow you.

You can make the most out of your social presence by consulting data. Every decision, be it about the frequency of posting or what you should talk about, should be backed by data. This way you can eliminate the guesswork and streamline your social media strategy.

Unmetric provides brands and agencies AI-driven insights so that they can create compelling content.

The post 11 Insights on Personal Care Brands’ Social Media Strategy appeared first on Unmetric Social Media Analytics Blog.

The Importance of Visual Elements in Your Brand Strategy

The Importance of Visual Elements in Your Brand Strategy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

When you’re building your brand, including the development of your story, personality, core message, brand promise and so on, you need to be sure to include a strategy for visual components as well.

No matter how great your business and messaging are, let’s face it, visuals are usually the most effective way to capture your audience’s attention and build brand recognition, provided you’re implementing these visual aspects correctly.

By including visuals in your overall marketing strategy, you’ll help your brand’s long-term success.

There’s no denying that today’s marketing world is becoming increasingly visual, and you must be able to adapt to that strategically.

Let’s take a deeper look.

What is visual brand identity and why is it so important?

Brand identity involves all of the moving pieces that together represent how your brand is perceived, and your visual identity includes the visual components of that.

The way you present yourself visually is more than just colors and design. Brands who are consistent with their visual identity resonate more effectively with their audience than those who are not.

Your visual identity is an exact reflection of your company, so you need to put in the time and research to make sure it’s represented accurately and positively, and that it is in line with your spoken and written messaging.

The importance of knowing your audience

Your visual strategy really begins with understanding who your audience is and who you’re trying to attract. If you don’t know this, nothing about your visual brand, or marketing and operational efforts in general, will matter. Keep in mind, the visual aspects of your brand aren’t for you. They are for your consumers, so be sure to have that in the back of your mind at all times.

Understanding their wants and needs will help you identify how you need to present yourself to them.

How to make your visual brand identity stand out

  • instagramBe unique – It should truly stand apart from the competition. Now, to truly be effective with this, you must have a deep understanding of who the competition is and what their visual brand identity looks like as well.
  • Be memorable – Aim to make your visual brand so strong that your audience can glance briefly at the visual elements and know exactly what they’re looking at, even without any context. For example, the image to the right doesn’t have any copy, but avid social media users would know instantly that that’s the Instagram logo.
  • Make everything match – Each element of your visual brand should be cohesive and tie together effortlessly.

Things to consider for creating a strong visual brand identity

Get your logo right

You will likely go through many iterations of this, but it’s worth it. Your logo will be stamped on almost everything that you do so you want to make sure you do it well. Your personality should shine through it and it should be distinctly you…no pressure.

Create a consistent color palette

If you look at well-known brands, they all use consistent color palettes (who doesn’t think “red” when they think of Coca Cola?). These big-name brands are consistent with their colors throughout their texts, images, and designs because it helps make them more recognizable.

Choose just a handful of colors and apply them to everything you do. The colors you choose should reflect the personality of your brand, so if you run a daycare, for example, you may want to use bright colors. If you run a law firm, you may want to be a bit more conservative with the colors you choose.

If you look at my Duct Tape Marketing site, you’ll see a lot of shades of blue used across the board, including my logo, text, and site design. This wasn’t by accident.

Choose a font that matches your brand personality

Along with your color palette, you need to be mindful of the font you use as it can speak volumes about the type of business you are. For example, if you run a serious business, you may want to stay away from Comic Sans, but if your business is light-hearted and fun and that’s how you want to be portrayed, then that may be the right font for you.

In addition to matching your personality, you must also ensure it matches your audience’s perception of you and sits well with them.

Choose images that address your audience and reflect your brand

At this point, this should go without saying, but I’ve seen many companies use images on their website that quite frankly make what they do more confusing than if they just didn’t use any imagery at all. It’s OK to have fun with images but be sure they tie back to your brand and speak to your ideal customers.

Don’t forget about layout

Many brands believe that if they have their logo, color, and fonts, then they’re good to go, but the reality is they’re not quite finished yet.

How those elements flow together is equally important. How you present them as a unified strategy can truly make or break your brand recognition.

Use the visuals to bring out emotions

The more of an emotional connection you can make with your audience, the more likely they’ll be to trust you and eventually buy from you.

What do you want your audience to think and feel when they come across your brand? Ask yourself these questions, and remember, visuals can more quickly tell customers whether your brand is a good fit for them more than words can.

Test your initial concepts

Like anything with marketing, you should test and optimize your visual elements until you land on one that truly resonates with your ideal customers.

Once you have the visual component solidified, document your style guide within your company’s processes. Should you ever need to bring on new designers, this will be key in ensuring nothing gets missed as you move forward.

With all aspects of marketing, you must remember to put strategy first. It is the backbone of everything that you do. If you can get that in place, creating the visual elements will be much easier because you’ll truly know who your business is, what it represents, and who you want to attract.

That, to me, sounds like a recipe for success.

If you liked this post, check out our Ultimate Guide to Small Business Marketing Strategy.

Using Content As Your Voice of Strategy

Using Content As Your Voice of Strategy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

I’ve said it once (or twice) and I’ll say it again: content is no longer king, it’s air. It not only touches all aspects of your marketing these days but of your business as well.

Your audience expects to find information about any product, service, or challenge they face simply by typing a keyword into Google. If you aren’t showing up, even if someone referred them to you, there’s a good chance they won’t decide to move forward with you because of a lack of trust.

In my opinion (and I’m not alone), the most important element when it comes to building a long-term, sustainable marketing system is content. But here’s the thing, it’s not enough to simply produce content for content’s sake. You must use content as your voice of strategy, and the best way to do this is to produce content that focuses on education and building trust – all based on your core business objectives and message.

In order to be effective with this, you must come up with a plan. Waking up in the morning and deciding what you are going to write about on your blog that day isn’t sustainable.

The Total Content System

I came up with this approach a while back and it essentially allows you to plan, delegate, curate, create, collaborate, repurpose and get more out of every piece of content you produce.

Create foundational content themes

Develop a list of core content topics and assign one to each month for the next 12 months. Each theme should be a substantial topic related to your business or industry and represent an important keyword search term. You can also designate terms that you know you would like to rank higher for, but currently, have little or no content that leads people online or off to you.

Bundle your topics into packages

I find it helpful to think about it like a book, where each month represents a chapter in what will ultimately make up an important body of work by the end of this year.

But the key is to develop multiple subtopics around each theme and then develop a core “guide” for each theme by linking the various subject together.

I recorded a podcast on this topic that may shed more light on it for you – Content Marketing for Small Business

Develop your content delivery platform

Once you have your themes, you can organize your Content Delivery Platform. Here are a few examples of content that I use and how I use them.

  • Blog posts – I write a weekly blog post that ultimately contributes to a monthly guide with other content of the same theme.
  • Podcast – I publish a podcast episode twice/week and aim to have at least one of them be a solo show that discusses and aspect of my theme for the month.
  • Webinars – Since we are creating all this rich, topic-specific content we host monthly online seminars to deliver the content in a new form.
  • Content package – The final step is to take all of this content from each month and create a package that allows people interested in the monthly topic to access the entire package in one tidy resource.

Integrate content with core business objectives

Once the first two steps are complete, you must map your content plan to your core business objectives. This step allows you to better understand how to get a return on your content investment and how much you should actually invest in creating a certain form or package of content.

One of the most important aspects of a Total Content System plan is that it changes the lens you use to view all the information that comes at you all day long.

When you know what your monthly themes are, all of a sudden tools, articles, and conversations take on new meaning and seem to somehow organize themselves for the benefit of your ongoing, long-term approach.

Now, in order for all of this to be truly effective, I want to reiterate that the content must build trust and must educate your audience.

What types of content build trust?

  • Blogs – A blog should be your starting point for your content strategy because it makes content production, syndication and sharing so easy. Plus, search engines love blog content which can help boost your SEO.
  • Social media – Building rich profiles, and optimizing links, images and videos that point back to your main site is an important part of the content as strategy plan.
  • Reviews – You’ll never have total control over this category, but ignore it and it may be one of the most damaging to your brand. Get proactive and monitor this channel aggressively.
  • Testimonials – This content adds important trust-building endorsements and makes for great brand building assets out there on Google and YouTube.

What types of content work best for educating your audience?

  • Podcasts – Podcasts are becomingly increasingly popular and serve as a fantastic way to engage and educate your audience in an easily digestible format.
  • Seminars – People want information packaged in ways that will help them get what they want. Presentations, workshop, and seminars are tremendous ways to provide education with increased engagement.
  • FAQs – There’s no denying the value of information packaged in this format, but go beyond the questions that routinely get asked and include those that should get asked but don’t.
  • Success stories – Building rich examples of actual clients succeeding through the use of your product or service offerings is a tremendous way to help people learn from other individuals and business just like them.

If you liked this post, check out our Ultimate Guide to Small Business Marketing Strategy.