This was a great session featuring everything from crisis communication to overall brand monitoring and tips.
First up was Sean Jackson of Ecordia with a presentation entitled “Branding Through the Sales Funnel”. Sean started by defining brand management and how brand management can drive sales. Strong brands = efficient sales and costs because it makes it easier for customers to move through each stage of the sales funnel.
What is the sales funnel? There are essentially eight stages:
- category awareness
- brand awareness
- brand consideration
- brand preference
- purchase intent
- customer retention
The goal of sales is to move prospects from one stage to another. The three main elements of online brand management:
There are many ways to monitor, such as Raven, Trackur and Google Alerts. The problem isn’t finding a tool, but determining what to look for. Consider focusing on proper names (such as brand names, etc.) as well as proper names + intent (such as “need”) and proper name + sentiment (such as “good”).
Have a process-oriented approach — you want it to be part of the “DNA” of the organization. When should you respond? Who will respond? How will you respond?
When you get your message out, be sure to think about how you’ll get the prospect from one sales stage to the next. Make sure the call to action and offer move them from one stage to the next.
Next up was Kenny Hyder of Rockstar Consultants who covered search rankings and brand management.
If you have bad results in the rankings on your brand, such as a bad review on Yelp, you need to clean it up. Here are some tools you can use to clean up your brand in the search results:
- make sure your website ranks for your brand name
- use a blog — another way to own more search results
- social media profiles — also push out the bad
- niche sites and directories
Blogs easily rank for brand queries and help you rank for specific topics as well. Tips for blogs:
- be resourceful
- have a schedule and post with purpose
- understand how blogs interact with SEO and optimize it accordingly
Social media profiles can be created on many different social media sites and these profiles can also rank for your brand in search results as well. Some benefits include: there are social media sites for everything — there’s a niche site for everything, most social media sites are designed to rank well for brand queries and they’re free! Some tips:
- don’t set it and forget it
- build links
- remember your purpose
Some key sites to use:
Niche sites and directories also rank very well and are highly relevant to your vertical or niche. They’re also easier to dominate than being the top of Twitter search or Google. Finally, these sites can add clout to your brand. Tips:
- Set yourself up as an authority (be a resource to others)
- Be useful and interactive
- Use these to rank for the bottom of page one of the search results
Next up was Tony Wright of WrightIMC. Tony reminded us that people aren’t talking about your brand because they like your brand, but rather because they like their friends and want to be seen as an authority.
Why do people complain? Because they want to feel like part of a community. Why do people listen to it? People considered information shared on their network (like Facebook) in their purchase decisions. Why should you care? Because there will be more user-generated content in the future — it will continue to grow.
Who should be involved in your plan?
- Upper management
- Crisis communicators
- Union reps
Tony said you MUST be monitoring your brand AT ALL TIMES.
When you think you have a crisis, first thing you should do is “tie up your CEO in a corner”. Not everything is a real crisis. Look at the following factors:
- potential reach of crisis
- potential revenue loss from crisis
- is it a game changer? is it going to alter your business?
- likelihood of viral? will it continue to haunt your company for years to come?
How will you quantify success? Know how you will know the crisis is over and don’t knee jerk, and take note of what the crisis did to the brand after the crisis happened.
There are three separate items that are correlated: reputation, influence and branding. Tony said influence and branding come with a good reputation. But don’t let “good branding” get in the way of a good reputation. For example, limiting your logo being put on other sites because of being the “brand police”.
Last up was Krista Neher of Boot Camp Digital. Krista said that social media changed branding. But she said that no matter what you do with monitoring, if your product is not good, social media and monitoring will not help. She gave the example of @comcastcares, which is nice, but doesn’t fix the problem that Comcast might not have the best service.
Current brand trends include:
- Determine who in your organization should speak for it.
- Accept that brands are no longer always in control of the brand
- Be consistent.
- Be transparent.
- Assume that everything is public. There’s a heightened risk that things will become public you don’t expect to.
- Set clear expectations.
Show some love to create and empassioned fan. Advocates can defend your brand.
How can you deal with negativity?
- Humanize the brand. (What can we do to make it better?)
- Listen and try to understand the problem.
- Thank them for caring.
- Be transparent and explain. If you’re wrong, admit it graciously — it goes a long way.
- Have your advocates help your brand.
- Know when to walk away. There are certain people who you will not change their minds, but you can post a response. You need to know when you SHOULD engage and when not.
Krista shared a case study of RyanAir where employees responded to a blogger calling him an “idiot blogger”. RyanAir then developed a policy, and the social media policy included the word “lunatic blogger” and how they would not engage with “lunatic bloggers”. Yikes!