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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brand Loyalty - A Symbiotic Relationship

Brand Loyalty is something that is established at an early age.
From commercials for what cereal to eat to what shows you watch for what products to buy. The relationship with the brand grows and strengthens over time, as does your loyalty. The loyalty you show the brand is returned with continued great service and
products. Many brands have also established loyalty programs for their valued customers.

For the quality brands your relationship strengthens over time and the brand already has a product or service for you in your next stage in life. For instance McDonald's, they have a happy meal for when you are young and meals for when you get to old for a happy meal. Other brands don't have this ease of transition. Once you reach your a cut off age where that brand is no longer cool or popular there is nothing more that the brand can offer you. All that brand loyalty that was built over the years has vanished. A personal example was my younger brother who loved Barney, he had Barney & Friends toys, games, clothes, bed sheets. But once he reached that age where Barney wasn't cool he got rid of all of that.

What could Barney have done?
Not much could have been done when you focus on an age demographic and have no follow up once they get beyond that age range. Once the brand locked themselves in with the 1-8 age range they were stuck with it. They could have attempted to make a spin off show for an older audience of 5-12 to run with the original. But with such a narrow demographic the brand was doomed for a cliff of brand loyalty. Some brands that managed a better job are the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus brand with a larger demographic and numerous complementing industries. The brand has movies, music, video games, clothes, jewelry and much more that appeals to a wider age range than the original brand. Two other brands are my childhood favorites of Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For me I started with the cartoons at a young age, 5 or 6, and expanded into their toys. Over time expanding further with their video games and movies. With the additional arenas for me to follow the brands to my loyalty and fandom grew and expanded.

Ways brands can destroy the relationship.
There are many ways of destroying the relationship and loyalty.
  1. No Room to Grow -As stated above one way you can destroy the brand loyalty is by not having a way to continue to evolve the relationship once it reaches a point (age range or end of brand product line).
  2. Poor Customer Service/ Brand Deterioration - can whittle away at the established brand loyalty as described by Scott Stratten in his blog post Why I changed my coffee religion.
  3. The Competition has Arrived - Someone else has came and has a bigger, better, and/ or cheaper product or service. But if you have brand loyalty they should wait for you to come out with a similar product, as long as you let them know.
  4. Any others I have missed besides these big three let me know.
What brands are you loyal to and why? What have they done that others haven't?

If you enjoyed this post you can read my post on Brand Value - It changes with the tide

Photo Credit to ArbyReed

Monday, August 16, 2010

Social Media Experiment Part 1

In an effort to get some comments and increase my interaction with my online community I will be posing a question across my social media accounts to see where I get the most interaction then I will share the results with you, my readers.

The most difficult part is coming up with a good question that will invoke a response to comment. I have known for a while what I want the question to be, just not how to word it. I choose this question because I never get the same answer, and it is hard for me to answer about myself. It can be my Achilles heel of job interviews, so your input and views would be highly appreciated.

The Question:

What adjectives would you use choose to describe me (Raymond)? Or what personal impression(s) do you have of me?

If you can give a reason to why you pick or feel that way, and I will be glad to give my opinion of you as well. If you never meet me that is fine since when I write I try to insert my persona into it. It's human nature to have an opinion on anything and everything and I want to hear it. When I write want to be honest, so if you do meet me in real life you will get the same guy who is writing this blog, or sending out those tweets, or posting stuff to LinkedIn. (Is that the correct verbage for LinkedIn?) I want to come across the same on all medians, well maybe more laid back on Twitter.

Thanks for your input

If you want me to give you my opinion of you feel free to ask it in the comments.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How I Use Twitter

A few months ago I posted 5 Easy Ways to get me to follow you (on Twitter). This is a sort of follow up to that post.

I connect with my followers

Twitter is a wonderful service that has allowed me to find many people who I now would consider friends. For me Twitter is a community, we have similar interests and I genuinely care about them and in most aspects what they are doing. Twitter and the people on Twitter continue to amaze me with their generosity with all the charity events going on like #saveteecycle.

I read all the tweets and click on the links

As @TheBrandBuilder tweeted: I no longer need an RSS reader. You guys are my meta filter. THIS is my RSS feed now. Which for me is very true, the individuals I follow keep me up to date with the latest and greatest blog posts, videos, and current events. I have recently unfollowed a significant amount of individuals, why would I do that? I like to read all of the tweets, I have the time and get not only enjoyment but value from them (well most of them). I was not getting what I wanted from some people I was following and the extra tweets in my timeline were making it difficult for me to keep up on everyone else's tweets. This is different from individuals I follow with now dormant accounts. I will not unfollow them, they are not posing any problems or clogging up my timeline. As well as the possibility they will come back and start tweeting again and I will be unaware of this for some time.

Others follow an army

I know some individuals following thousands of people on Twitter, nothing is wrong with that. They are not able to read or keep up on everyone's tweets but they do manage a lot more @ replies and mentions that they are able to read. I feel that these people will miss out on an awesome tweet or link. Most of the good tweets and links get retweeted anyway right, that is true but I would rather not take the chance of missing it, or being the person to RT it. Those that follow more than they can keep up with also are the ones using twitter clients to help keep up and get the important information. I use TweetDeck as my client but also use Clusterr. My previous post on Clusterr: Is the next step in Social Media Clusterr?

For me its about quality not quantity

I follow the people who provide me with entertainment, joy, and value. I don't need to follow everyone because it is popular or they are popular. I enjoy who I am following and do add others when we have a common interest or I enjoy what they tweet.

Which camp do you fall into, do you follow a few or a lot? Do you read or try to read everyones tweets or just look a few times a day? Anything else you would like to add?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time Sensitivity- Don't wait for the fruit to rot

Sorry if the visual is too harsh for some.
The Story
3 weeks ago I saw a Webinar on Content Curation is the Secret to Becoming a Thought Leader with Chris Brogan, which is the reason why I watched the Webinar. It was a good Webinar and if you have an hour I encourage you to watch it. I watch about 3 Webinars a week on various marketing subjects. I also spend around 3 hours a day (since I have the time) reading blog posts on various marketing subjects. I remember most of the valuable information, ideas, and points; who presented the Webinar not so much the company even less.
The Follow-up
Today I received a phone call about that Webinar and was clueless. I did, I was... umm okay. For me it was the equivalent of a cold call maybe even a telemarketing call. The individual reminded me of the topic which I recalled a little or think I did, it was something I would have watched. Then he brought up what was covered and some key points, okay now I remember, so what can I do for him?
The Problem
I have already forgotten about the Webinar and had little interest in the product, even if I could afford it. The time for the sale has passed and the sale (fruit) has rotted. You only have a small amount of time from when the sale is not ready to ripe to rotten and have to pick it at the right time. In fairness it is completely possible they went after the high profile individuals first right away when the sale (fruit) was ripe and ready to be picked. I am unemployed, with little work and attempting to do some freelance work with no success so I would not be an ideal candidate for anything. So my fruit is underdeveloped and small but those mini foods are still awesome and can fill some of the hunger. But I do remain a prospective client for the future.
The Solution
It would have been easier for them to send a follow up email, once was sent for the Webinar. On that email they could have asked if I (we) were interested in the product and a follow up phone call. That would have helped them find individuals interested in purchasing the product or finding out more information. While being still within a timely period where the fruit was ripe.

What would you suggest for the sale not to rot? Would you as a company do anything different, as the consumer?

Photo by Jacob Esben

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Baseball Analogy: I am a Position Player

This is about me, and where I would and could fit in and how I see myself.

I might not be an all-star on the team or even a starter but I am there when you need me. I just need the chance to be called up from the minors to get a chance to show what I can do. I can bat (work alone) or field (work as a group) efficiently. I am a switch hitter who can bat .250 who doesn’t hit home runs often but is able to advance the players (team members, ideas) to where they are able to score. I am also able to get on base (start an idea) and let my team mates hit me home (finish the idea, make it work). I am able to play any position you need me in (with the exception of pitcher and catcher) because there are some things I don’t know, yet. If you want me at third base (for example promotions) I am there, or at short stop (Social Media) you can count on me, and the same with outfield or anywhere you need me. I will be there to get the ball and make an out or work with my teammates to turn a double play. The areas where I can’t currently play are limited but I know what they are and won’t be committing an error by playing those positions. But with a good coach and team I would be able to focus my skills to be that needed position player. With the extra experience and guidance I will be able to be a starter for the team and eventually I will become an all-star.

For those who don’t understand or follow baseball:

While I specialize in the areas of Promotions and Social Media I am able to do much more. While I am not the greatest or the best at many other business activities I know and understand them and would be able to perform them well enough to get the job done correctly. If there is something that I don’t know how to do I will learn and teach myself it. What I will do is tell you that I don’t have the experience so you don’t put me there alone before I am ready or able to meet the expectations that role requires. I am a team player able to start new ideas or help to finish old ideas. I can work alone or in a group setting proficiently. I have the skills and patience to become a valuable member of your company all I need is an opportunity. Given this opportunity I will work as hard as I can to improve your company and myself.

Where would you fit in on a team? Given and what you know about me would you be willing to call me up to the majors? What If you are a Human Resources or Hiring Manager I would love to hear what you think of this analogy.

Photo by Erin Ryan also known as Shutter Daddy