Brand, Campaigns, Content, Online PR and Marketing, Psychology, Small Biz, Social Media, Startup, Strategy, THE BLOG

The importance of social in business #SMWLDN

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SMWLDNSocial Media Week London #SMWLDN this week is on a roll and I don’t know about you, but my brain is doing a fair few 360s, whirring away with stats, promises from the big guns and not to mention the good old online buzz words…and it’s only day 2! But, I’ve already done some champion networking and looking forward to the rest of the week for much of the same.

I wanted to draw your attention to a couple of questions that have popped up as they have been on mind for quite some time.  And that is; how important social is in business. It seemed to be the biggest point made on Monday at various talks.

I am flagging this up today because many clients and brands I have come across or worked with this year, still don’t realize this.

Some do, some understand they have to have it, but don’t get the bigger picture, which is that social is only a part of their brand or businesses marketing efforts.  A part of the jigsaw, that needs to be aligned with everything else to succeed properly and to get the best results.  Some feel that if they hire someone to manage their Facebook and Twitter pages, they have it covered but where is the continuity? The coherent, collaborative module that has been proven time and time again in large organisations to succeed in a marketing situation? Heads together around a table, thrashing out ideas and ways in which to roll them out? Collaboration and involving as many key folk as possible when writing a strategy is of the upmost importance and these views were also shared with @Nokia and @Virgin at both of their seminars on Monday. The online marketer simply has to be a part of sales, marketing and operations chats too, in small businesses they may take on these roles themselves but shouldn’t be held completely responsible unless it’s part of their remit and signed off.

We are, as a nation of consumers and end users are becoming much more savvy in the way we think and buy which in turn, makes us more choosy with whom we convey our loyalty. But this does, however, put social right at the heart of it all.

We are more likely to go to a particular restaurant if we see a tweet of a delicious looking dish on our friends instagram feed.  We are more likely to go and watch a film if someone we admire, like or trust, shouts about it on Twitter and we are definitely going to understand more about how to run our businesses if we read informative, apposite content.

Did you know that the average person goes on Facebook 14 times a day? That’s 14 times a day you are missing an opportunity to engage your audiences. Ok –  Facebook isn’t the best channel for acquisition, but for ensuring repeat business, building brand story, increasing reach? It’s significant.

Social brands are realizing that their best advocates are their fans/customers/users. They are also understanding that sharing is essential  so with this in mind and keeping a watchful eye on startups that are true advocates to this theory (i.e. happened to hear @nickholzherr from @WhiskTeam chatting at #likeminds event on Monday – his brand is a perfect example) where will this be going in the future? Development equals, quicker, easier, better design, more emotion, more connections, more…. everything right?

I’m sure every tech startup wants the end user experience to be as simple and quick as possible. But what happens when they succeed? When they get to 1 click and in? What happens when emotive and relative campaigns used to draw in audiences get predictable? What happens when people are just bored with sharing the same old content?

The answer?

Creativity. Individuality. Expression. Art (and of course, choosing the right marketer for your business or brand.)

Seth Godin talks about art and creativity in an absolutely brilliant way in his book The Icarus Deception. “Conformity no longer leads to comfort. But the good news is that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever. So is choosing to do something unpredictable and brave: Make art”

Marketers who don’t follow the crowd or copy others, or who don’t put the client at the heart of their social efforts will fail.  They also need to know how to connect brands with people. The new media agency. The pioneers. The realists.

What do you think?

Brand, Guest Posts, market research, THE BLOG

Tips for Defending Your Brand with Qualitative Market Research


market research

With the increased competition in the modern globalized marketplace, brand defense is an essential part of securing your place within the market and achieving long-term success. Qualitative research is an effective tool for optimizing or creating brand defense strategies. These tips offer actionable ways for brands in any industry to utilize qualitative research for maximum benefits.

Understanding Qualitative Market Research

Market research is useful for obtaining additional information about a segment of your audience, predicting market trends and analyzing existing efforts. Market research is often split into two main types–qualitative research and quantitative research. While quantitative can provide general overviews of market trends and establish benchmarks for your brand operations, it does little to provide insight into why markets behave the way that they do or the underlying motivations of your target segment.

Qualitative research uses small participant groups and in-depth questioning and observation to help uncover the underlying motivations to why and when decisions are made. From the impact of your branding and other visual elements to the best words to use for optimal engagement and conversion rates, qualitative research holds the key to unlocking the inner workings of why your market behaves the way that it does and how your business can most effectively capture the market.

Popular Qualitative Research Methods Include:

  1. Focus Groups: Focus groups typically involve participant groups of 15 to 20 individuals. Larger tests should be conducted through segmentation to keep group size low and allow for greater personalized interaction.
  2. Vox-Pop Surveys: Also known as “man on the street” surveys, vox pop surveys are often impromptu and untargeted. A simple question is asked to random participants at a location. In most cases, the main goal of the question is not to record to spoken answer but to gauge response, emotion and deeper elements of the response.
  3. Observational Studies: Observational studies are often connected with focus groups. In these studies, one-way mirrors, cameras or other devices provide ways to observe or record interactions between group members or moderators. This is often used to gauge engagement, emotional response or other body language.
  4. In-Depth Interviews: Interviews are useful for obtaining ample amounts of information in one session. In many cases, interviews will last for an hour or more. Most in-depth interviews are recorded for later analysis and discussion.
  5. Video Conferences: This format is gaining popularity quickly amongst digital brands and entrepreneurs. By removing the cost and physical limitations of gathering participants in a single location, focus groups and other popular formats are possible using a high-speed Internet connection and compatible camera.
  6. Forums and Online Discussion Groups: Long-term research often faces issues with engagement and expenses. Forums and online discussion groups offer an excellent alternative to face-to-face interaction over long periods of time. Participants simply log in and answer questions or discuss issues at times most convenient to them.


Ideal Ways to Implement Defensive Strategies through Qualitative Research

Though specific tactics will change depending on your industry, business phase and available resources, these simple concepts are applicable to most brands.

1.     Utilize Qualitative Market Research to Improve Communication

A key metric for many brand communications is engagement. With the rise in popularity of social media, video marketing, mobile marketing and other communication-centric formats, understanding how to best speak with your target audience is crucial. Qualitative research makes it simple to analyze the definitions of important terms to your audience and learn how they communicate. Integrating this information into your efforts will improve engagement and help defend your brand from competitors.

2.     Minimize Weak Points in Your Brand

Qualitative research not only provides insightful access to opinions, but provides information into how a market segment forms these opinions. This allows you to find potential weaknesses in brand practices, image, products or services and strengthen your defenses. By reacting to market concerns and complaints, you can position yourself as a brand that is in touch with it’s customer base and caring as well.

3.     Bolster Authority through Market Research

Qualitative research is ideal for uncovering alternative uses for existing products and services or finding needs within your market that are currently unmet. Through utilizing this information to shape your brand, you can position yourself as an innovator and authority within your industry. By shaping the trends for your market, you are forcing the competition to take a defensive stance. In some cases, the best defense is a good offense.

Brand defense is an important part of strengthening any brand. These tips and strategies offer effective ways to utilize qualitative research when improving the defensive strategies of your brand.

Guest Post:  Willie Pena is a freelance writer, video producer, visual artist, and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma. Connect with him on LinkedIn.


Willie Pena