Category Archives: Marketing Strategy

Brand Fast Trackers #216 — Back to Basics

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Branding Strategy

As marketing strategies continue to quickly evolve, our recent podcast with Donna Goldsmith, former COO of WWE, reminded us of core marketing absolutes when approaching branding:

  1. What is the objective you want to convey to your consumer? 
  2. How can you get that message across at the least cost? 
  3. What is the ROI by the messaging or the mechanics used to convey that message?

Specifically in Donna’s experiences with sports and entertainment brands, she conveyed that the product or “brand” she was marketing was often times the talent associated with the NBA or WWE, however, the same strategies applied across the board.

To hear the full podcast, check us out on itunes or stitcher!

[ Lead Image Via Monetized ]

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Brand Fast Trackers #215- Audience First. Content Second.

Audience Segmentation
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As Brand Connections is internally in the process of creating a brand new strategy for our social media channels, our recent podcast with Curtis Hougland, Founder of Attention USA, really hit home. Truly, the perfect conversation at the perfect time. In a nutshell, Attention demonstrates the value of social campaigns and channels by using social data and analytics that help brands see where their brand fits in the social space. More importantly, Attention precisely tells us what we should be doing with that information.

Social Strategy

We have spent hours upon hours in brainstorming sessions and meetings deliberating over innovative content to post. How to increase our reach, influence and engagement via a strategy, that is simply, mind blowing. I go into the podcast excited ready for Curtis to reaffirm that our team is on the right track. Then, Curtis lays this stat on us: 70% of content doesn’t work, receives almost no engagement and often doesn’t serve a purpose. He explains, “Everyone wants big content, big strategy, but there is less content innovation this year than there was last year, content is less innovative than it was before.”

Curtis continues to explain that “why people seek content is more important than the content itself.” Interesting- I am listening, “Everyone wants big content, big strategy. No one wants to do the dirty work of seeing how it works and making sure the RIGHT people see it.”

As the cliche saying goes, “don’t put the cart before the horse.” Before we can generate our impressive content strategy, we must understand our audience; their behaviors, relationships, interests and needs. If you reach the right people, in the right niches, that is the best way to go about looking at your content strategy. In sum, you need to understand who exactly your audience is and create content that is relevant and engaging for them, “Get your audience segmentation right then you have a 50% higher chance that your content will be received.”

Tune into the full podcast below or check us out on iTunes or Stitcher for more key insights.

[Lead Image via Marketing Land]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #204 – The Zestful Brand Refresh

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There are certain iconic brands from my 80′s childhood that just stick in my mind. If I asked you to sing the jingle for DoubleMint or Big Red gum, could you? What about Zest? Do you still remember the packaging of V05 Hot Oil?

Zestfully Clean . . . A Brand Refresh

Today, we are privileged to speak with a classically trained marketer (General Mills, Unilever) who brings iconic brands back to popularity. Nina Riley is the Vice President of Marketing for High Ridge Brands, including Zest, Coast, White Rain, V05 and Rave. Here on Brand Fast-Trackers, we’ve spoken with big brand marketers and niche brand marketers, we’ve spoken with venture capitalists/lawyers/developers, but I can’t think of a show where we’ve talked about how to refresh a brand. 

High Ridge is owned by private equity firm Brynwood Partners. They specialize in buying iconic brands that have been neglected under bigger brand portfolios for years and flipping them. They’ve done this with Balance Bar, Sun Country Food and others.

As a marketer, what prepares you to thrive in a lean, private-equity owned brand? For Nina, her experience founding her own company is key to this lean culture, but more than that, successful brand refreshes requires three core principles:

  1. You must have an inherent curiousity
  2. You have to know where a brand comes from and what its heritage is
  3. You have to know to whom that heritage/brand stance will appeal

For High Ridge, their brands appeal mostly to the value consumers, so that goes into all of their initiatives. Nina recommends to not be afraid of really delving into the brand heritage. With V05, she was able to discover that the “5″ actually stood for five essential oils in the formula. Turns out that v05 was using most of these before they became key ingredients in other popular hair products.

Overall, this was a really insightful discussion and one I think you will enjoy:

[Lead Image via High Ridge Brands]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #203 – Social Listening

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Say What? Social Listening

Consumers are having conversations every day; about the brands they are engaging with, the products they love, their interests, their ideas and their lifestyle. But how are we as marketers engaging in these conversations with them? Making our presence known and responding relevantly?

Today we connected with Zena Weist, VP of Strategy for Expion, who had a lot of great insights about how we should be engaging with consumers every day. Zena’s key strategy is a simple concept we all have been taught since our elementary years and is perhaps one of the most effective tactics all marketers should be utilizing. Stop and listen.

When we were discussing with Zena the most frequent “misses” brands have related to social, Zena
eloquently explained:

“You have to listen first. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. They
(brands) need to listen to the conversations that are going on. Not only about the brand, but by the people they are targeting. What conversations are going on and how can the brand become a part of those conversations in a very relevant and meaningful way? How can they organically weave themselves in? They only way to do this is to really listen to the conversations that are going on. They have to identify advocates and listen to the advocates. This is a time commitment. It boils down to customer relationship management.”

Zena ended this thought with a key take a way, “Social Media is more than broadcasting the brand. It is to stimulate conversation.”

That insight truly made me stop to think, how are we engaging in conversations? How are our brands relevant to consumers beyond the product itself? Are we telling consumers about our brand, or are we talking about it? For more incredible insights from Zena on how to reach your consumers please tune into the podcast below:

[Lead Image Via ICUC Moderation]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #201 – Venture Development

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In a lot of ways, today’s podcast completes the venture capital trifecta. In episode #137 with Dave Knox, we spoke about his work with the Cincinnati-based start-up accelerator The Brandery and why budding entrepreneurs have to act on their ideas. In episode #143 with Ed Zimmerman, a venture lawyer, we spoke about how he helps start-ups to raise the necessary funding to get their great ideas off the ground. Today, we speak with Frank Dale, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at DeveloperTown, a venture development firm.

I had never really thought about VC firms vs. venture development firms, but Frank explained the different positioning of the two and how venture development firms are more hands on operationally.

For those of us who have thought of starting our own business Frank’s advice was surprisingly simple. Much like Dave Knox sharing that one has to act on the idea, Frank asks two simple questions:

  1. What have you done to validate that the problem you are trying to solve exists?
  2. What is your strategy for connecting the new product with the right consumer demographic on a large scale?

Simple, succinct advice. To hear more of Frank’s interview on thinking innovatively, finding gaps in the marketing and identifying the new needs of consumers. Listen below, on iTunes, or Stitcher.

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