Tag Archives: business

What does Content Marketing actually mean for a business?

What does Content Marketing actually mean for a business?

by Ingrida Andrijauskaite

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Content marketing has recently become bigger than ever. Most companies are beginning to focus on the creation and publication of content for marketing purposes, with the objective of selling an idea rather than just a product or service. Due to this, marketing budgets are being actively reallocated in order to gain the best content marketing efforts for brand communications.

What is the Content Marketing?

In order to understand what content marketing truly means for a business, we should become familiar with the meaning of this term. The Content Marketing Institute from United States outlines that content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content. The main goal of this marketing mode is to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience, which means the objective of driving profitable customer action. [1]

Furthermore, content marketing is known as the creation and sharing of content for the purpose of promoting a product or service. The majority of marketing professionals are emphasizing that content plays an important role in B2B marketing strategies. Marketing professionals hold an opinion that businesses should deliver consistent and on-going valuable information to customers and highlight their responsible practices through content marketing. This can help long-term customer engagement and loyalty.

Content marketing can also contributes to an increase in sales, through quality content that allows customers to better understand the added value of a company’s service or product. This could help your company win a significant and appreciable position in the advertising & branding industry.

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How does the machine that drives Content Marketing work?

Creating the right message for the right time is the key element to excellent content marketing. A content marketing strategy starts to gain form when you begin to define the viewpoint and characteristics of buyers, and also determine the main questions which customers ask during buying process. After this, marketers and business stakeholders can decide which types of content marketing strategy are more suitable for communicating their brand to the public. Will you use infographics for your content marketing? Or perhaps blogs or video campaigns, or others?

Content marketing distinguishes three main types of content text for promoting your brand: images, videos and infographics. The content text of a content marketing strategy can be used for describing the company’s services or other company information. For this purpose images can be used to illustrate the location of the company’s offices or organizational structure.

However, videos are more suitable if you want to show an interesting movie of company’s experience and values, or present the value of your product and service, and its benefit to your customers. Infographics can be used as a graphic visual representations of a company’s information. Also, it can be used to present the growth achievements of a company’s business.

Why content marketing is beneficial for small business?

This is no secret: most small business do not have a large enough budget for more traditional advertising tools such as spots on national TV or large print campaigns. Content marketing campaigns can be executed through social media networks, company websites, blog etc. and therefore are an easier and less expensive tool for promoting your brand.

Most B2B small business marketers and stakeholders are using more actively social media content tactics rather than blogs or podcasting, because they believe it do be more effective. This also demonstrates that social media is currently one of the most popular content marketing tactics, being that social media provides your business with the power to engage your target audience and improve brand awareness.

In conclusion, content marketing helps you to sell your brand products or services through the right way, as well as avoid wasting time, financial sources and marketing efforts. This marketing strategy can provide your business with the best solution for presenting content-driven experiences, which are exciting and useful to your customers, and increases the understanding of your brand.

If you need an inspiration, listen to the speech of producer Kevin Spacey about the Storytelling in the Content Marketing:

[1] About Content Marketing more here: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/

 

Outdoor advertising – an Effective Marketing Tool for your Business

Outdoor advertising –  an Effective Marketing Tool for your Business

by Ingrida Andrijauskaite

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Outdoor adversting goes as far back as the Egyptian era, when laws and treaties were publicized on tall stone obelisks. Also, ancient Greeks advertised the Olympic games on wooden columns along roadsides.

This type of advertising has changed over the centuries, but currently it is still considered as an effective form of communication. Nowadays, this advertising is known as the OOH Media, which means Outdoor advertising or Out-of-home advertising.

Outdoor advertising works very well for promoting company‘s services or products in specific geographic areas. The chanels that can be used for such advertising are: billboards, bus benches, or transit advertising, ect. All of these can be very effective not only for larger businesses, but especially, for the small-business owners.

Why OOH Media is an important tool for business?

Outdoor advertising is an effective marketing tool and is an integral element of an high-quality advertising campaign. Firstly, outdoor advertising provides readily available brand messages and images for a wider audience, since you are targeting people on the go. This trend of advertising has a great impact because it is usually the first form of adversting that potential clients see, and therefore it can influence their opinion or impression of your brand.

Secondly, outdoor advertising can combined with dynamic digital media marketing tools. This means that businesses can use interactive forms of brand promotion including images of 3D characters, virtual environments, or visual graphic design elements of a company’s identity such as logos, colors and ect.

Digital OOH Media can be placed on many different addressable places, for example on: backlit translits, LCDs, kiosks, bus stops, screens, and on other various banners.

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Shaun Gregory, CEO of Exterion Media said: “…We are committed to harnessing the digital opportunity and using increasingly available technology to create the experience the audience we are engaging with would expect. The only way we are going to achieve this is through collaboration, which is why I am hugely excited that so many major players in OOH are coming together to develop this industry standard for measuring DOOH (Digital Out-of-home advertising). The insights it will bring will only help us to provide a better experience for brands, agencies and consumers and accelerate the rapid growth of DOOH[1]

What is a Good Brand Message?

The majority of outdoor advertising professionals underscore that effective brand messages of OOH Media should be significantly eye catching to attract the attention of the customers. The advertising has to be sufficiently informative to let future customers know what you sell and why it is beneficial for them.

First impression is indeed the last impression: businesses never get a second chance to make a first impression, so all companies should endeavor to devote all important marketing tools to achieve the best results of their OOH Media campaign. It is also important to keep the message short since people don‘t have time to read or watch a long advertising message of a product.

Marketing professionals say that when the brand message looks irresistible, customers are interested to find out more details of the product and most of them often end up buying the product.

Present a realistic Brand message: it is essential to focus on the reality of brand messages and to use the relevant promotional tools for the brand advertising campaign. All businesses should  present to the public their social and ethical behaviour and provide it’s customers with reliable brand information, so that they do not feel cheated or misinformed about the company’s products or services.

So, be smart and innovative, engage the audience with your brand message, and win the market struggle with victory through OOH Media.

[1] More information here:

http://www.jcdecaux.com/en/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2015/Outdoor-media-owners-unite-to-develop-an-Audience-Measurement-system-for-Digital-Out-of-Home

 

 

Business ethics and corporate social responsibility

Business ethics and corporate social responsibility

by Ingrida Andrijauskaite

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Every year the watchdog of ethics focuses on ethical values in business. The desire to have an ethical and responsible business is developing a colaboration between small and large corporations. Ethical organisations, such as the Institute of Business Ethics, are seeking to unite all companies to join and share knowledge concerning the best ethical practices, activities and solutions.

The ethics of a business depends on the company’s culture. The decision to do activities ethically is an example of  moral behaviour. All corporations have to decide what to do and how to do it in order to align their behaviour with their ethical values.

A Cadbury Schweppes – Business Case Studies[1] presents some examples of the positive impact that ethical behaviour and corporate social responsibility has on a business:

  • Attracts customers to the firm’s products, thereby boosting sales and profits.
  • Makes employees want to stay with the business, reducing labour turnover and therefore increase productivity.
  • Increases the number of employees wanting to work for the business, reducing recruitment costs and enabling the company to obtain the most talented employees.
  • Attracts investors and keeps the company’s share price high, thereby protecting the business from takeover.

So, ethical behaviour and social responsibility in business is considered the key to success for a company. Also, it is a way for businesses to gain the publics’ trust.

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Attitudes of the British Public on Business Ethics

Every years Ipsos MORI, a market research company, conducts a survey about the British publics’ view on ethical behaviour of British business and the issues that most need solving. The survey results revealed that in 2014 the majority of the British public considered that the general behaviour of British enterprises is fairly or very ethical. 58 % of the respondents thought that British business was more ethical than unethical. However, 40 % of the respondents thought that the behaviour of British businesses was “not very” or “not at all” ethical.

This survey also asked the British public to compare the behaviour of British businesses to how it was 10 years ago. The data of Ipsos MORI showed that 36% of the British public thought that businesses were behaving “less ethically” than 10 years ago. Just 25 % of the respondents believed businesses were more ethical. 36 % thought that businesses looked the “same”.[2]

We can assume that, although the majority of the British trust and think positively about the behaviour of businesses, there is a large percentage of the public who acknowledge the lack of ethical behaviour in business. It is very important for businesses to incorporate social responsibility, integrity, and honesty.

The main issues mentioned by the British public were corporate tax avoidance ( 35%) and executive pay (34%). However, the data of the survey revealed that bribery and corruption has also increased one place (19%).

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Also, this information shows us that the British public wants to see more honesty from the business community, especially from employers who could inform companies about unethical behaviour or wrongdoing.

Perhaps, we can hope that this data could encourage the business community to focus more on forging reliable and honest connections with society. Also, it is vital not to forget to emphasize the practical applications of a company’s ethics in the public arena so that people can find out about a corporation’s social responsibility and their efforts to incorporate ethics into their business strategies.

HSBC tax scandal – an example of unethical behaviour

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The HSBC tax scandal, is a clear example of corporate unethical behaviour. HSBC has been shaken by leaked financial documents, most from around 2005-2007, that reveal that it helped wealthy customers evade taxes. The documents were leaked by Hervé Falciani, a former systems engineer from HSBC’s Geneva branch.

This secret data revealed that the bank not only helped rich customers evade taxes but also provided accounts for international criminals, corrupt businessmen and other high-risk individuals. HSBC presented a general letter to the public, in which they apologized for this tax dodging scandal and emphasized that they have made changes since the period which is covered by the documents, and that it’s Swiss private bank had been “completely overhauled.”

Such scandles are the reason for why corporate tax avoidance is a public concern. This is one of the biggest problems in businesses. How did HSBC manage their reputation crisis? They sent a public notice in which they sincerely apologized about the tax scandal. Also, they tried to emphasize how now everything has changed and improved.

What about HSBC’s current culture? As HSBC’s group Chief Executive, Stuart Gulliver said: HSBC has been working tirelessly and with great dedication to build a stronger bank with fully global businesses and functions, rigorous controls and the highest global standards, all underpinned by a clear strategy to serve our millions of loyal customers. We can try to believe it, but now HSBC have to prove their integrity and focus on ethical standards.

The unethical financial situation of HSBC has showed us how employees are able to speak up about companies’ wrongdoing. Hervé Falciani’s behaviour could be considered criminal, as he secretely stole private company financial data. Nevertheless, this is evidence that large corporations do not always respect the ethical standards or even the law, and do not focus on their compliance.

The advantages of Ethical behaviour in business

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In summary, all companies should not forget the advantages of ethical behavior in business. It is very important to build and improve customer loyalty – consumers have to know that a company appreciates and respects them. Also, a company’s reputation built around it’s ethical behaviour can help to create a more positive image in the marketplace and allows them to reach a greater number of potential clients.

On the contrary,  if a company has an unethical reputation, the chances of obtaining new customers decreases, especially in this era of innovative social networks, where all customers are able to quickly find negative information about a company’s  activities.

The improvement of internal communications. It is significant to share information within an organization so that all employees are aware of the values of a company. Focusing on the improvement of professional skills is important to employees, as talented individuals want to  improve their skills and knowledge, in order to advance in their career.

In addition, every employee wants to be part of an organisation where they know the truth about whats is going on, particularly in crisis situations. Those companies which are responsible and open with their employees have a better chance of attracting and retaining more talented staff.

Avoid Legal Problems  a company has to respect and abide by the law. Also,  companies must focus on environmental regulations and labour laws, and also not ignore workers’ safety. If these factors are not taken into account, a company’s reputation can be damaged. Those companies which focus on the highest ethical standards can build a strong protection of their fundamental values.

 

[1]Business Case Studies: http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/cadbury-schweppes/ethical-business-practices/the-importance-of-ethics-in-business.html#axzz3Ru3WMJWB

[2]The survey results of the Institute of Business Ethics: http://www.ibe.org.uk/userassets/surveys/attitudes2014.pdf

The power of Storytelling in Brand communications

by Ingrida Andrijauskaite

The power of Storytelling in Brand communications

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It‘s no mystery how businesses are reaching the best results with their brand communications. We can find a lot of advice or look at the examples of Apple, Google, CocaCola, McDonald’s, Microsoft etc. We all know how companies use mass social media and digital media channels to help advertise their brand’s products and services.

However a company’s aim is to come up with the “best idea”, which could be different from their competitors’ strategies. The “best idea”  is that which helps a company improve their business, by reaching the target audience or by increasing exposure of their brand to the general public.

Today the trend of “storytelling” has captured the attention of the advertising world. It is believed that great stories help to sell products, motivate consumers and outperform competition in the  business environment. The winner is often the most original story. Telling the story behind a brand is considered a very good way to convey experiences to an audience and allow them to feel emotionally involved. The best brand stories are always based on real facts, contain surprises and are appealing to the company’s selective target audience.

Good stories surprise us and they have interesting characters. Also, storytelling makes us think and feel. The story stays in our minds and the main ideas and concepts are memorable. We can admire the beautiful images and sounds which we can see in video advertisement and, at the same time, listen to the compelling story. If we like and believe in the story then we persuaded to buy the brand’s products/services.

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Basic principles of storytelling in B2B marketing

Storytelling has started to be considered a communication priority in both indirect and direct brand marketing strategies. These days, businesses have to find away to engage their audience and show them why they need to be a part of what they are doing.

The majority of communication experts state that, firstly, all businesses have to know their audience very well. To create inspiration for people to believe in your company, you have to outline who your target audience is. When you understand who your audience is, it is easier to start to design a marketing campaign and decide how to convey your brand’s message via advertising.

The story needs an effective concept. This means that there is a need to focus on creating persuasive and memorable ideas associated to your products. The effective idea is the core of the story – a positive and bright message about why your brand is good and appreciable. So, you need to combine this idea with digital and visual solutions in oder to create something unique and delicious for your audience.

Inspirational elements. It‘s said that a good storyteller has to inspire others with their stories. It means that your brand’s message needs to have a marvelous aspect which can inspire people to believe in the story and to be passionate about it! For this part of the campaign, there needs to be in-depth research, creative thoughts, design and a good development and promotion of the story. Also, you have to understand in great detail what your audience cares about.

The execution of this high-quality idea is fundamental. This means this idea in a manner with both sound and a visual-digital “language”, which can help you to make your audience admire your product due to its charm. It is no secret that now people like advertisements if they contain more  attractive, innovative images and do not last too long.

Also, it is necessary to remember to incorporate more personal, human elements. If you can create a story via personal experience, this has greater potential to touch people on an individual level than an impersonal, fictional one. Also, it will show that the core valuesof the company do not lie solely in their product details but in their appreciation of their consumers as people with emotions, not statistics. This contrasts with the negative side of mass consumerism.

Tell your business stories in a smarter, more attractice and more effective way. Provide your audience something they could can relate to and find appealing.

Examples of Storytelling

It‘s very useful to use storytelling methods for companies, because this allows them to show real-life scenarios, gain more exposure and present themselves as reliable. Also the real-life stories create a stronger connection with the audience and this relationship then becomes more important and central to future commmunications. So, let’s look at some examples of businesses trying to communicate with people via storytelling methods.

Dove – Real Beauty Sketches

The company Dove tried to find another way to advertise their beauty products. They created an authentically touching campaign which aimed to make women feel more beautiful and confident. They wanted to conduct a social experiment researching how woman look at their own beauty in cotrast to how others describe them. The results clearly exhibited that women are much more attractive  to others than they suppose. Everything was created in a ‘story-telling’ way.

This new marketing campaign of storytelling helped for Dove to find a new way to send a message about beauty to people. And this advertisement with a story helped to find a means of professionally presenting a product whilst also focusing on the needs of your target audience.

The next example of storytelling is the British Airways campaign – India – A Ticket to Visit Mum

British Airways focused on the touching true-life story of a man who planned a surprise visit to his mother in Mumbai. It was created in the style of a documentary to show the journey of the man. British Airways in this story was presented as the “bridge” in the long distance between your true home and your work and new life environment. This type of advert creates more connectivity between the airline and the general public.

Hovewer, it also has to be said that using the storytelling generally increases the length of the advert. It could easily become boring to watch if the viewer’s interest is not sustained during this time. Therefore, it is important to find an original idea and original context when presenting this type of advert, in order to better connect with your intended audience.

Brand Journalism – a new hybrid of PR and business ?

by Ingrida Andrijauskaite

Brand Journalism – a new hybrid of PR and business ?

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It happened ten years ago, when one of the most famous companies in the world – McDonald’s decided to take a new look at advertising and the marketing of their products to consumers. In 2004 McDonald’s started to call it “brand journalism” strategy. This was the first time this trend appeared in the public space. McDonald’s wanted to show that a brand’s story can’t be an over-simplification of a complex idea.

McDonald’s showed that there is a need to look more deeply at the product and the methods of communication which can help to reach the different demographics – different people in varying situations with different needs.

This was exemplified by the new “I’m lovin’ it” campaign; McDonald’s rejected the traditional marketing and advertising approaches focusing on a single, recurrent message in preference of a “content stream approach,” which involves various messages via different channels to multiple audiences.

What is Brand Journalism and why is there a need for it in business?

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Firstly, it is interesting to look deeper at the meaning of brand journalism and try to ascertain why this method has become increasingly popular in the business area.

It can’t be said that this trend is very new in business, because it appeared ten years ago. However, it is just now that this term is beginning to be used in the communication strategies of business companies with a selective target audience.

There are many professionals who analyse brand journalism, but as of yet there is no strict theoretical definition of brand journalism. Brand Journalism is considered as the first wide–ranging practical guide to this hybrid form of traditional journalism, marketing and public relations. Therefore, it can also be referred to as corporate journalism or corporate media. This trend has come from the practical nature of business communications strategies.

The companies are increasingly using and creating journalistic content in their brand communications to the public. They are hiring camera crew and journalists to help prepare the video montage, the text of the news and the content of the brand communications, and to find the best ways of properly representing the company to their target audience.

However, the most popular definition of this trend which is mentioned by communications experts is a method of journalistic storytelling that focuses on communicating messages that consumers care about. It helps attract, inform and engage the target audience of every business companies.

The journalist and author of the book “Brand Journalism”, Andy Bull,  states that this new trend is a response to the fact that any organization can now use journalistic techniques to tell it‘s story directly to the public.[1]

Andy Bull

A journalist has defined the concept as “Journalism produced on behalf of a brand.” This definition sees it as techniques used by any organisations which have ongoing contact with the public. Andy Bull claims that the startegy of brand journalism is also used by companies working in the B2B sector. Brand journalism can be implemented to help businesses sell their products and services to orther organisations and to establish themselves as reliable and trustworthy institutions within their field.

The opinion of McDonald’s Chief Marketing Officer, Larry Light, discussed in “Six Rules for Brand Revitalization” is that mass marketing and mass media no longer work. He explained this: “We no longer live in a world where mass marketing to masses of consumers with a mass message delivered through mass media makes money. In fact, mass marketing as we know it is dead.”

Andy Bull states that it is just as true for mass journalism: “Journalism has always been seen as serving a mass audience. Newspapers, magazines, television and radio – they are all mass media. Or they were. Now journalists are facing just the challenge that Light defined for marketers.”

We all know that every journalist has to focus on comprehensively researching and gathering information without any corruption or influence from corporations, powerful individuals, politicians, or public organizations. Journalists must be reliable informer and presenters of the news to the public. According to this, brand journalism must also focus on the reliable content of a brand and attaining the trust of the public.

One of the reasons why a method of storytelling is very important for all businesses – is that it improves the trust society has in the brand being presented to her. And the main aim is to show that the company is socially responsible across all of their services, products and promises in accordance with the ethical standards of society.

What can be taken from all of this is that brand journalism tries to help businesses to create interesting and original stories about their brand and team. Some great examples of campaigns are HSBC Business without Borders, Survey Monkey, Mail Chimp who are in the lead with their efforts concerning brand journalism.

It is important for companies to remember to create and foster a reliable connection with society. If the company is open and genuine to the public, it helps to build fundamental trust and increasingly garners more interest in the brand.

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Does Brand Journalism split traditional journalism?

Brand Journalism is an ever-evolving discipline within public relations (PR) and business. It‘s not suprising that this trend creates a great deal of disagreement amongst professional journalists and media experts regarding its validity, values and potential harmful impact on traditional journalism.

The watchdog of traditional journalism state that the term of Brand journalism should be referred to as brand communications or content marketing, shedding the word “journalism”. This term is considered to aptly describe the manner of information transfer in the marketing and PR fields. This could be misleading to users and the public, as it does not have the same connotations of media transparency and corporation integrity.

So all the problems with ethics, values or social responsibilities of business will be applied to traditional journalism. This may decrease the trust society to journalism has in journalism and the ethics and worth of traditional journalism. If brand journalism is actively used in the public domain, it may be very difficult to ensure that it is distinguished from traditional journalism. This is the main reason why the majority of media professionals are looking very carefully at this new hybrid – brand journalism.

The new opportunities for business

Although it is harder to find the results obtained by brand journalism, marketing and PR professionals agree that this is one of the best methods to encourage companies to actively use ‘storytelling’ in their brand communications or in the public space.

Brand journalists concentrate on the overall positive impact of brand journalism, because it will provide the novelty, courage, variety and authenticity to companies’ communications. Also, the storytelling part is informative and engaging for audiences, and makes them want to know  how the story ends.

On a final note, Brand journalism can help businesses to improve by finding more effective ways to communicate with their existing and potential clients.

Check out the interview about Brand Journalism and its value for business:

[1] http://www.brand-journalism.co.uk/introduction-to-the-subject/what-brand-journalism-is/

 

A day working in the room n° 68

A Day Working in the Room n° 68

By Antonia Di Lorenzo

A day working at Grow3 begins at 9.30 am in the morning, in the room n° 68 on the third floor of the Eurolink building, just five minutes walk from the Brixton tube station.

My first day I knocked on the door and I took a seat. Before starting I made a cup of tea, even though I used to start my day with a hot espresso, but I was not able to use the coffee maker. No matter, because I was so nervous and anxious to let caffeine flow into my veins.

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Around me people from different countries filled the room. Italians, Brazilians, Chileans, Indians, Venezuelans, British, Spanish. I thought: am I in London?

Each person has a different background, experience or studies. Everyone has a different story to tell. But they all are part of a multicultural community ready to grow together as team and to help other people grow.

Our flexibility and desire to learn is our motivating power.

In the first days in Grow3 I learned:

  • No matter what you have studied, your background, or your previous experience your ideas weigh more.
  • No matter where you come from, you will be part of an engaging community, to share your knowledge and make it available for others.
  • Behind every kind of business, there are people. We go beyond money to see what our clients really need. Nothing can be built sustainably without passion and inspiration.

As Albert Camus said:

“To create is likewise to give a shape to one’s fate”.

That’s how we work in the room n° 68.