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  • Posted by: Nora Geiss on Thursday, January 31 2013 07:26 PM | Comments (0)
    Nora Geiss

    Nora Geiss, Director, Verbal Identity & Digital, Interbrand New York will be participating in the first panel discussion of the morning, “Megatrends: Driving Brand Growth in the Social Media Era” at The Conference Board’s Corporate Image and Branding Conference in New York City tomorrow, February 1, 2013. Nora shares her insights heading into the discussion.

    Social media shines a light on human nature. It reveals what we think is worth sharing, how we view ourselves (and how we want others to view us), and how we make decisions. Social technology is unlocking new windows into human behavior, feature by feed by metric by meme.

    I couldn’t be more thrilled to join our friends Lee Hornick (the Conference Board), Jonathan Baskin (author of Tell the Truth: Honesty is Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool) and Kathleen Shouldis (VP Marketing, IBM) for a panel discussion tomorrow morning on the big trends driving brand growth in social media.

    Here are some of the big social trends we have our eye on – and what they indicate will be coming up next:

    Beyond content to consumption

    Social sites are moving beyond mere destinations for social activity to becoming hubs of discovery and purchase. 2013 is shaping up to be the year that content marketing and consumption of product come together.

    The Facebook + Spotify partnerships point to social as a place to consume music and Facebook showed us how that could come to life by testing the "want" button. Up next could be books and movies directly downloadable from a friend’s feed, or click-to-purchase data embedded in b2b infographics.

    Retail brands like Pottery Barn and Victoria’s Secret and financial brands like AmericanExpress are getting the jump on this social commerce category. The question is how social sites will approach it - exclusive partnerships between sites and brands? Or social commerce for all, challenging the Amazon behemoth head on?

    Realtime web is closer than you think

    ChatRoulette may have been a faddish web crush, but its flame of popularity was proof that users will engage with real-time content – now you see it, now you don’t. These days, all the cool kids are using SnapChat, real-time photo texts that disappear in seconds (at least for now – don't get too cocky kids) and Facebook’s Poke and Twitter’s Vine are fast following with their own version of flash content.

    Big business conducts social listening to stay on top of issues and opportunities as they happen. Publishers who get the net use leading-edge services like Chartbeat to measure and optimize engagement while their readers are reading. And Realtime is putting their latest $100 million to work reinventing the Internet to operate in, you guessed it, real time.

    Social demands new approach to achieving brand strength

    The new standards of immediacy, frequency and transparency set by social media add complexity to achieving the ideals of brand strength:  in particular, elements like consistency, understanding, responsiveness and protection become harder to achieve. How can brands better structure their teams and their approach to meet the demands of a social world?

    In-depth immersion in brand and social strategy will need to become commonplace for teams that today, enabling people across departments to interface with communications teams and facilitate the social experience from fresh perspectives.

    Companies who adopt a “brand-as-hub” mentality that places a sense of urgency on a brand-driven culture training will be light years ahead when it comes to achieving success. This kind of thinking and approach will enable teams to move with greater speed and agility to live up to the ever-higher expectations of the connected consumer.

    Tweet us @Interbrand and Nora Geiss @kittiegeiss to weigh in. You’ll find more great conversation with #tcbci.

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  • Posted by: Paola Norambuena on Wednesday, October 10 2012 06:05 PM | Comments (0)
    Facebook Hides

    If Facebook is a key channel in your strategy, then think about this: recent data suggests that Facebook fans are “hiding posts at an alarming rate.” In the race to count more fans, or followers, brands may not be connecting with them in a meaningful way.  Rather than fans un-liking, un-fanning or even commenting, they simply choose to make your brand invisible.

    A recent article from Fast Company by Ekaterina Walter, Intel's social media strategist, highlights that one of the ways people “negatively” respond to Facebook pages is to simply hide all posts. Working with PageLever, a Facebook analytics tool. Walter discovered:

    “Facebook fans are most likely to block ALL your page stories when they take a negative feedback action, 60 times more likely than unfanning your page. Which means that just because your brand has a lot of fans doesn’t mean all those fans are seeing the page content. Some fans may have just hidden the page. Fans are more likely to report a post as spam than to unlike the page.”

    What most caught our eye, was one of Walter’s recommendations for avoiding invisibility: Brand Voice. We could not agree more.

    “Tweak your copy so it’s recognizably your brand voice. Sometimes the problem isn’t that the content is off-topic, but that it’s off-voice. Your brand has a unique voice, which your fans know and appreciate, so make sure your posts are phrased in a way your customers expect.”

    Brand Voice is so much more than how you say it. It’s being true to who you are, the personality your fans have come to know and love. It’s making sure that everything you say lives up to it – the type of content you curate and the spin you put on it when you share. It’s how you sound, how naturally it comes and how unmistakably yours the words seem.

    It’s getting all that personality across in limited real estate, in a smattering of words. Hard to do? Sure. Have to do? Absolutely. That extra attention to detail is what adds up to extraordinary experiences. Without it, you're just another – possibly invisible – voice in the noise.

    Paola Norambuena is Executive Director of Verbal Identity, North America.

    For more on digital strategy and branding in this new ecosystem, please see Simon Smith and Erica Velis' piece Playing to Win on the Digital Frontier.

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  • Posted by: Joe Harrod on Friday, August 12 2011 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

    “First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    So spoke Franklin Delano Roosevelt upon his inauguration in 1933, as America and the world languished in the depths of the Depression. And trepidation, temerity, and uncertainty are with us still. Boom and bust has returned. Consumerism and fecklessness have created a rioting ferment in the streets. Anarchy had an identity crisis and got organised, borrowing the tools of new media, which are evolving faster than thought. There is talk of a Double Dip.

    But, let’s have a Cornetto instead. The sun is trying to shine, and the darkest hour is just before dawn. Warren Buffet counsels us to be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.

    This is an epoch of uncertainty. In addition to economic slowdown and civil unrest, we’re faced by a confusing, volatile world based on interactive digital channels. We keep abreast of the information revolution, but our clients are not sure what messages to share globally, or how to prepare for two-way conversations and the instant, often unfair karma of the digital age.

    Creating and adding Brand Value doesn’t require us to come to the party armed with a hipster’s guide to Blackberry Messenger. As commentators on the London riots so pointedly failed to realize, social media is not a threat, or a promise. It is a messaging device. Which is not to say that it doesn’t break the mould. It is wonderfully interactive, instant, and complex.

    Audiences, rioters, consumers, and partners are all in the same exciting but confusing environment, with a world of choices at their fingertips. And this uncertainty creates a desire for recognition: people crave clarity, consistency, understanding, and authenticity. All these are aspects of Brand Strength.

    To sit with Brand Analytics for a week is to take a crash course in how Interbrand builds and protects economic value. Their work involves reams of research, mind-boggling statistics, and unfathomable maths, but it invariably nails the fundamentals of a brand: what it stands for, how it works, and whether people trust it.

    Brands need to be responsive as well, and stay relevant. But if they stand for strong values and great experiences they will be compelling to their customers and potential customers.

    A recent article entitled "I’ll Be Your Mirror" by Interbrand New York’s Nora Geiss argues brilliantly that “reflecting the needs and desires of the audience does not mean falsely adopting their lingo and shrugging into their trendy dress code.” She describes a shift in consumer decision-making away from “I want” to “I am.” This is the single most important outcome of interactive social media. In the “I am” world consumer choices align them with a brand. By buying a brand, or mentioning it, consumers give it a personal endorsement, and they say something about themselves at the same time. London copywriters wear New York sneakers. Shanghai housewives crave Paris couture. It doesn’t matter if a brand is old fashioned as long as it is responsive enough to endorse and increase a sense of identity.

    Our world can be very individualistic. But as spontaneous good deeds like #riotcleanup show us, people also cherish context and community. Social media is used to spread good vibes too – “Stay safe. Stay strong.” was one of thousands of anti-riot solidarity tweets. Like-minded souls coalesce around good ideas, charitable deeds, great art… and brands. A brand may attract and engage them, but its most important role is to stand for something. To be desirable, delightful – and dependable.

    So what does this mean for our clients? How do they stay ahead of the game? Should they try and attach themselves to something cool? Are they missing out on the next big thing? Do they need to change? The answers are obvious: Stay calm. Stay true to yourself. Be coherent. Invest in your brand.

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