In January of 2013 I attended New Media Expo for the first time. I have been to many conferences and this one was much better than most. I bought the content creator pass, went to tons of sessions, all of the keynotes and walked the trade show many times. I even bought the virtual sessions on-site so that I could watch the ones I missed when I got home. It was an engaging conference and I came away a satisfied customer who immediately blocked off the time to return to Vegas for NMX in 2014.
To put things in perspective, here is a little background about me. This blog is a side project for me and I don’t derive any significant income from it. I don’t drink or gamble and I am a big-time introvert. So going to conferences like this, especially in Vegas, are not my natural tendency and I end up footing the bill out of my own pocket. With conference fees, airfare, hotel & food I figure I spent about $2,000 to go to New Media Expo in 2013.
Fast forward to NMX 2014. I put in for my vacation time from work, bought my plane ticket, had the hotel and rental car all setup. Last time the sessions were a little overwhelming for me, so this time I just booked the trade show ticket with plans to again purchase the virtual ticket on-site. This way I could force myself to network more, not a natural thing being an introvert, and try to pace myself.
I was supposed to fly out on Friday night after work but mother nature had other plans. The weather in the mid-west, where I live, was cold but clear. However, the weather out east was another story as they were getting hammered with snow & ice. Long story short, after a six hour delay at the airport my flight got cancelled due to shortage of pilots. I stood in line for an hour to get re-booked only to find out that the earliest they could get me out to Vegas was Sunday night.
Since the conference last day of the conference would be Monday, I had to make the tough decision to cancel my trip. The airline refunded my money no problem. The hotel was very helpful and cancelled my reservation without penalty even though it was way past the cutoff time for that day. The car rental was no problem either after a quick call to India.
I sent an inquiry to NMX registration asking if they were going to make some accommodations for refunds due to the problems with the weather. On twitter it was very obvious that I was not the only one with this problem.
About a week later, when I still had not gotten a response I followed up with another e-mail, this time copying another contact at NMX from their contact us page. My expectations were that I would not receive a refund, but I just wanted a response. Any response.
After another two weeks of radio silence, I sent a third e-mail, this time to a completely different contact. I know there is someone working because their social media accounts keep churning out posts. However, I did not want to post anything publicly at that point, preferring to try to keep the dialog private.
It has now been six weeks and I feel like someone with one walkie-talkie. This type of response, or lack thereof, is very counter-intuitive for a brand that is built on engagement. And there is the point of this post, all of the brand equity that NMX had built up with me is now gone. Poof.
I believe when you except money from someone, they become a customer. And I believe that all customers deserve the respect of professional communication. Even if the news is not the answer they are looking for. As for me, I will likely not be going back to NMX. Clearly, I am nobody to them and that is fine. I don’t have a big audience, and I don’t have deep pockets. You see, in my day job I am responsible for a couple of small brands and we would never damage our brand by ignoring a customer. Then again, maybe I am doing it wrong.
The internet today is a highly interactive environment. It’s no longer enough to simply post a few news pieces a month while running your business. Your fans, customers, and followers expect a higher level of visibility from you and your business, and you can use that to help your business grow naturally and effectively.
Sites like Youtube and Vimeo offer great options for your business to put out large pieces of video content to your customers. This can take the form of video blogs, showing everyday life at your business and what you have been up to lately. It can also include demos of your current project, or pieces that let you engage with your fans. A good example of this is how Google puts out full product demonstrations of their newest products and services on their Youtube page. Another example is Red Bull’s viral marketing videos that perpetuate the culture of Red Bull as active, athletic, and cool.
However, Youtube and Vimeo are not your only options for putting out video content from your business. Recently, services like Vine and Instagram Video have become very popular. These services allow you to record and post micro-videos from your smart phone. These videos can give tiny tastes of your company culture. Often, these videos are most effective if you use their miniscule lengths to comedic effect. Many video game developers use these services to provide small updates as to the latest build of their current game.
No matter the service you choose, the most important thing to remember is to show your business’ personality. Video is direct and personal, and if you remember that you will garner more customers through your content.
Branding is a practice which is not restricted solely to large companies. Many small enterprises these days embark on branding campaigns but they do so on a small scale as against the large scale campaigns planned and executed by the bigger enterprises. Branding has definite objectives amongst which are:
i.Differentiation: A brand MUST differentiate itself from others in its field in other to even be capable of recall by the target audience. The ability to stand out of the crowd is a crucial objective of branding.
ii.Competitive Advantage: The need to have an edge above its competitors is also critical to the success of a brand. A successful branding campaign will ensure that a brand has a competitive advantage over others competing with it.
iii.High Brand Recall: If a brand is to be chosen above its competitors, it must be occupy a top position in the minds of its target audience and this position will result from a successful brand campaign.
Five low cost techniques that can be used to achieve the above objectives include the following: (more…)
Customers are generally known to be careful about the way they spend their money. A lot of consideration goes into the purchases made by customers but at the end, the question they always ask is this; ‘what do I have to gain?’ They want to know why they should buy a product or engage a company for service in preference over others. It is never an easy task for a marketer to craft a value proposition as it is an encapsulation of so many issues that combine at the end to present a compelling reason for the customer to deal with a particular enterprise instead of others competing with it. Furthermore, this value proposition is usually just a statement that condenses so much for the customer to digest easily. Therein lies the difficulty and the potholes facing most marketers and their companies. We can summarize these challenges like this: (more…)
The perception of branding is usually from the angle of the large multinational companies. These enterprises have a large budget and what can be regarded as a warchest with which to prosecute their branding campaigns. It is therefore not surprising that most business owners have come to regard the very practice of branding as one that must be carried out with huge funds. In addressing this issue, it is important to examine the concept of a brand. A brand is the core identity of an enterprise, product or service. It is intangible and the measure of the worth attached to that enterprise, product or service and due to its intangibility, it resides in the mind of the customers. Branding therefore is the practice of connecting the brand with the target audience. It is an extensive exercise encapsulating of several factors and issues.
When big companies embark on branding campaigns, the objective is to engage the attention of the target audience and create a favorable impression in their minds. This impression serves to ensure that the brand will likely enjoy the patronage of the members of the target audience whenever a choice is to be made concerning its use. In a nutshell, a few of the advantages sought to be gained through branding includes the following: (more…)