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How to Decide: PR, Marketing or Branding?

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Poodle Mafia Marketing Branding PR for Startups Movements and Personalities - Miss Piggy Quote

At Poodle Mafia, we offer those services to our clients, but sometimes we find our clients think they need one thing when what they actually need is another. So what’s the difference and when should you use each as a strategy.

In truth, your business probably needs ongoing campaigns for each of those, but breaking it down helps prioritize.

What’s the difference between marketing, branding and PR?

 

Branding: Building Loyalty and Affinity

Many people think creating a logo is the extent of branding, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your brand is your company’s personality.

Branding drives the emotional response your audience has to your message and brand. Branding means having a solid understanding of your audience, their emotional triggers. Branding will touch every single thing you do in marketing and PR too. Think about your social media voice – is it sassy or supportive? That’s a branding decision.

A strong brand has a clear voice and gives their customers something they can self-identify with. When your brand fits into their self-story of how they seem themselves you’ll increase affinity and loyalty. The strongest brands have simple identities that rarely change. Think: Coca-Cola (happiness), Apple (innovation) Lady Gaga (acceptance). The strongest brands also always consider their brand when making big decisions (is this consistent with our brand and our customer’s expectations of us?)

All of the below-mentioned tools will support a brand initiative, the biggest key to a branding initiative is to be sure your company has complete clarity on the audience, key messages, and the desired emotional connection. Branding initiatives may include a call to action, but most prominently elicit an emotional reaction or response.

  • Website: with an emphasis design and layout that matches desired emotional response
  • Content: whether 3rd party or branded, designed and selected to enhance brand’s status in the customer’s mind
  • Advertising: with an emphasis on “WHY” the brand is relevant rather than the “how or where”
  • Events: designed with imprint a memorable experience, or attach a brand to a memorable experience, in the customer’s mind, as opposed to a “lead retrieval” strategy

Marketing: Driving Leads

Acquiring leads is job number 1 for marketing. Depending on your product marketing may also be the science/artform of conversion also.
In this bucket, we find top-of-the-funnel tactics including:

DIGITAL 

  • Website: Landing pages with a strong call to action
  • Content: blogging, lead magnets designed to support the customer’s buying cycle
  • Content: Webinars
  • Social Media: with a link-building and custom content emphasis
  • Email marketing: shopping cart abandonment, new product announcements, customer campaigns and promotions
  • Digital Ads: social ads and banner ads with a strong call to action for potential customers
  • Remarketing: including shopping cart abandonment and past and current customers

IN PERSON

  • Tradeshows/Festivals
  • Seminars

When to use marketing tactics:
Use marketing when your sales people are trained and ready to follow up with leads. Training your sales people to understand the lead source and where the customer is in the decision-making funnel will help increase conversion. Notice one of the key differences between marketing and branding content is the use of a strong call to action.

PR: Influence & Social Proof


PR is the art of influence and raising awareness. It’s the ultimate in social proof.

In this bucket, we find tactics like:

  • Events: brand-hosted events for customers, community or likely customers
  • Word of Mouth: campaigns that get people talking about your product, brand and key message
  • Media Relations: relationship building with journalists, writers, and bloggers with an emphasis on collaboration
  • Social Media: with an emphasis on key messaging and influencing the market

In PR you may not get editorial control, so don’t count on a strong call to action, although you may get a link or product recommendation, it will rarely come with a heavy sales action. The best PR is earned PR which means it didn’t come with a quid-pro-quo and that’s part of what gives PR enhanced credibility over marketing.

It’s not as if these tactics aren’t supportive of one another (of COURSE you can get leads from PR tactics), but your overall mix will be determined by your brand’s maturity, customers, and community among other things.

Have more questions about how and when to use these tactics? Get in touch with us. 

I’m Just Not That Into You – Choosing Social Platforms in 2017

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Elegantly Aggressive Social Media Strategy and Management

What social media platforms are right for your business?

 

Choosing social media platforms. I get asked which social platform is right every single day. The answer is: “it depends.” It’s common today to launch on a platform because it’s “hot” or to question your presence on a platform because someone says the platform its “dying” but this isn’t a particularly effective strategy.

Here’s why- there is a (large) audience on many social media sites. Your goal is to get the right message in front of the right audience then engage with that audience through content and conversation.

Set the goals and strategies that work for YOU, don’t worry about what your competitor is doing. Choose your strategy and work it, work it, work it.

For the average business, it isn’t necessary to be on every single social platform, invest in a couple and do them well.

Let’s understand something: failures in social media are almost never the “platform’s fault.” The platform doesn’t “suck,” because it doesn’t work for you. Choosing your social media platforms is a balance between content, audience, and goals.  Regardless of social media platform, there are spectacular successes and flaming failures.

social media success happens for 3 reasons:

1) absolute audience clarity
2) commitment to goal and objective clarity
3) content creation that matches the audience’s motivations

That’s it. It’s that simple and it’s that complicated.

With that in mind, here are some considerations for choosing the right social platform for your business.

Objectives & Goals

You probably have numerous strategies for social media-now its up to you to decide which social media platforms are right for your business.  It’s not enough to say “we’re on social media,” because everything you do hinges on knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. It could

It’s not enough to say “we’re on social media,” because everything you do hinges on knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. It could eyeballs (branding), engagement (building community and fans) or it could be website click-thru’s (conversions), all those things are possible on social media, but they require a deep understanding of how and why your audience participates with the platform and what kind of content they engage with.

Be sure your platforms, goals and metrics are all aligned.

One platform might be a better branding platform, another might be a better engagement platform. Engagement might vary by audience on the same platform. I’ll give you an example, in broad strokes,  millennials are ON Facebook, but not highly engaged, except millennials with kids, they’re pretty engaged with the right content. Yet, I just did a campaign where our content was so spot on, millennials (with and without kids) engaged on Facebook and the brand wasn’t even on Snapchat (we break rules over here sometimes).  My point is – whatever broad strokes we point to, based on the rest of the considerations, there’s always an exception to be made.

Set clear goals and expectations and use content and the right platforms to meet those goals.

 

Audiences:

Yes, the number of active users matters, but let me put it in context for you. The 2017 Superbowl drew 111 million viewers, making it the 5th most watched Superbowl in history. It cost approximately $5M-$5.5M to run an ad during the Superbowl, and that’s just for the airtime, not including commercial conceptualization, production, etc.

So with that in mind, may I present some of the ACTIVE USER NUMBERS for social media platforms as of January 2017:

Facebook: 1,871 Million 
WeChat: 846 Million
Instagram: 600 Million 
Twitter: 317 Million 
Snapchat: 300 Million 

Snapchat, the darling of the social media world has only slightly fewer daily users than Twitter, which is occasionally called a “dying social channel.” Neither of them comes close to the number of people on WeChat. What gives? Why do people say Twitter is dying and Snapchat is hopping and no one in the US is developing WeChat content?

There are some serious problems on Twitter (bots, trolls) which Snapchat isn’t suffering from, and as Snapchat gets some of the “new shiny toy” glow, but let’s put that aside for a moment. On BOTH platforms there is an audience of an extremely sizeable daily audience – 3X the size of the Superbowl. Facebook’s daily audience size is 100X the size of the Superbowl.

So when someone tells you “no one is on that platform,” go ahead and unleash your side-eye.

Audience size matters, but quality over quantity- let’s really consider whether the platform has YOUR audience, whether your audience is engaged there.

 

Content

First and foremost, you’ve got to consider what motivates your audience to engage with content. Do they want to be entertained or informed? Highly shareable content tends to be something that your audience feels reflects their self-story, so if you want your content to be shared, consider your audience’s self-perceptions of themselves. People share content because they feel it reflects the story they want others to know about them. Someone who considers themselves geeky interacts with different content than someone who considers themselves artistic.

Do they want to be entertained or informed? Highly shareable content tends to be something that your audience feels reflects their self-story, so if you want your content to be shared, consider your audience’s self-perceptions of themselves. People share content because they feel it reflects the story they want others to know about them. Someone who considers themselves geeky interacts with different content than someone who considers themselves artistic.

Highly shareable content tends to be something that your audience feels reflects their self-story, so if you want your content to be shared, consider your audience’s self-perceptions of themselves. People share content because they feel it reflects the story they want others to know about them. Someone who considers themselves geeky interacts with different content than someone who considers themselves artistic.

Almost all platforms are diving headfirst into video and livestreaming. In platforms (like Facebook and Instagram) where video is prioritized in the feed, you’ll see video almost always out-performs other types of content, so be sure you’re considering video in the mix – especially short video. Social media has made our attention spans so incredibly brief – you have about half of a second to engage the viewer and hook them.

Regardless of content type, the key is to create content that’s in the sweet spot of your brand story and your audience’s self-story.

In short, choosing the right platforms depends on your specific mix of objectives, audiences and content. Trust me, there’s a sweet spot for you on social media, whatever platforms you choose when you “get” your audience and create the right content.

Sources: https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/