Tag Archive for: branding

Humanize Your Brand: Marketing Your Technology Business With Human Touch

Everything is evolving, including the way how technology companies market themselves.

Technology companies in the B2B sector are doing everything they can to get the attention of decision-makers, a feat that is becoming more challenging with the increased competition on different digital channels. Connecting to these decision makers has a significant impact on the success of their companies.

Despite all the competition, however, some companies manage to rise and do the unexpected. This article will look at various practices that made these companies a success.

Manage your expectations

Most, if not all companies, know how important managing the expectations of their customers are. It makes customers happy which, in turn, increases sales. The sad reality, however, is all the strategies for management expectation barely gets done.

Are they difficult? No, but they can be challenging because it requires a change in whatever wrong you’re doing in your marketing strategies.

Managing expectations has primarily three essential components – provide more solutions, be transparent, and provide clear timelines. These simple components are what give your marketing solution a human touch.

Now, expectation management does not start when you negotiate the purchase. It begins at the very touchpoint – on your landing page, when you reach out to your clients first, and even when clients are talking to your customer service support.

When everything is evident at the beginning, especially the pricing, your customer will trust you. And that can translate into sales.

Related: Becoming an Online Entrepreneur: The Expectations vs. The Reality

Tell better stories

Stories are an integral part of culture and society. People connect through stories. People relate to stories. In other words, stories give your marketing a human touch.

Stories are abundant, even clickbait advertising has a story. Your competitors also have their stories to tell. Your challenge, therefore, is to create better stories. Observe great and long-lasting brands – what kind of stories do they show?

These stories usually provide a solution to their target audience’s pain point, an idea that impacts the lives of their clients, or simply showing your client an exciting side of your business or company.

What kind of story do you want to tell? Better yet, how do you want to consume information? Use this to tell a compelling story packed with emotion.

Related: A Complete Cheat Sheet to Social Media Branding for Consulting Firms

Create a contrast

What makes an exciting story? One which has conflict or contrast.

Not only are these stories exciting but they also stick to your brain. That’s because it affirms what people are already thinking in their minds. Your clients or customers might have liked your product already, but they still have reservations in their minds. Contrast allows you to reframe any objectionable element in your product, such as price or product features that might be unclear to them, so that your audience will proceed to purchase your product.

If you don’t believe that, consider this example:

A person who has plans to go on vacation to a tropical island might be dreaming of getting a tan and reclining on a lounge chair, sipping some piña colada, and reading their favorite book. However, that might change if he or she learns the statistic saying that falling coconuts kill 150 people each year than shark attacks.

One SaaS company that has nailed this strategy is Miva. They created contrast by talking how downtimes happen every time there’s a software update. They used that pain point and created a difference by saying that they don’t break on upgrades.

By creating contrast, they show their difference from their competitors.

Make your product appeal to humans

Even if you are a tech company, you are still selling and talking to humans. Thus, it makes sense to give your marketing solution a human touch. You might be offering to solve a technical problem, but you don’t need to sound like a robot.

Humanizing your brand is very simple – think about how you interact or talk to your friends. If you notice, each of you has their unique voice. The same goes true when you communicate with your customer. Find your unique voice and maintain it when talking to your customers and prospects.

Another way of creating a human touch to your strategy is by putting a spotlight on your employees. It tells your audience that they are dealing with humans, who grow the brand. Do this by sharing stories with your employees or sharing the story of an employee on social media. Not only will it humanize your company but it will also boost the morale of your employees.

It’s not easy to market your product

The tips given above should guide you towards making a more thoughtful marketing campaign.

Why thoughtful and not successful?

A thoughtful marketing campaign builds trust as people realize you understand them and their pain points.

Eventually, you will increase your ROI rate as they trust you more and more.

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

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How NOT to Market your Product: 9 of the Worst Branding Failures

#1: Malaysia Airlines: Bucket List

Still reeling from two tragic disasters in 2014, Malaysian Airlines tried to make it three in a row by launching a promo called “My Ultimate Bucket List Contest”.

Worst Branding Failures

If  you recall, more than 500 people perished when two of Malaysian Airlines’ planes crashed within months of each other. One disappeared midflight on the way to China, while the other was allegedly shot down flying over Ukraine.

Now the genius who came up with Malaysian Airlines’ “Bucket List” contest has a lot of explaining to do (Not if he’s been fire already. In that case, good luck looking for another job in marketing.) In a competition, the airline asked their customers to answer the question “What and where would you like to tick off on your bucket list, and explain why?” The competition was open to participants in New Zealand and Australia, who would be eligible to win iPads or economy class tickets on the airlines.

While it would have been brilliant under normal circumstances, the company’s recent history is far from normal. The marketing genius who came up with the ploy might have been too excited about the promo he/she forgot to take into consideration the fact that a “bucket list” is nothing more than a list of things people want to do before they die. Needless to say, the campaign reeked of a lack of sensitivity, empathy, and plain common sense. Fortunately, the promo was changed to something like a “to-do list” not long after it was launched.  

#2: Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water

Worst Branding Failures

It’s just not wise to sell a non-alcoholic version of one of the most recognizable beer brands in the US, if not in the world. And yet, somebody from Coors was able to convince somebody that it might actually work. So out came the *drum roll* Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water!

According to the company itself, Coors has brewed its iconic American lager with Rocky Mountain spring water since 1873. Even if it’s 100% true, it doesn’t mean it will translate to revenue once you remove the alcohol from the spring water. No, it doesn’t.  Apparently, the customers were so used to the alcohol in Coors they just couldn’t accept other flavors like lemon-lime and cherry.

#3: American Airlines Fly First Class Free Forever

Worst Branding Failures

Because of the stiff competition in the airline industry, American Airlines decided to up the ante: target customers with money to burn. So in 1981, American Airlines unveiled a special offering: for just *choke* $250,000, privileged customers get to fly first class for the rest of their lives. And that’s unlimited – meaning the customers can fly as often as they want. And not just that. For an extra $150,000, they could bring anybody along — family member, friend, colleague, even a stranger. Great, right? For the customer, yes.

For American Airlines, it sounded like a brilliant marketing magnet, until they realized they lacked foresight. Remember, a first-class ticket isn’t inexpensive, and some people had the brains to use the special American Airlines pass as often as their health permitted to, uhm, have a quick ROI.

For example, there was a guy who flew to London 16 times. In one month! It’s like waking up in the morning and you got bored and decided to have breakfast in near Buckingham at 9:30, maybe have lunch in Amsterdam at 1 pm, fly to Paris for dinner and return to New York just before bedtime. Sweet.

Soon, the company had enough. Research showed there were customers who literally used up a million dollars in free airfare every single year. After more than a decade, it stopped the promo. No reports came out as to how much profit AA gained from the promo.

#4: Pepsi’s Grave Mistake

Worst Branding Failures

If competition on the airline industry was stiff, it was cutthroat in the carbonated beverage industry. You’re familiar with the Cola Wars, right? In a move that Pepsi Co. hoped would widen its global reach, it expanded to – where else? – China. However, when Pepsi went into the Chinese market, they failed to do their research on the meaning of their slogan, which at that time was, “Pepsi brings you back to life”. Apparently, the English and Chinese languages aren’t a perfect fit when translations are done, and so Pepsi’s cool slogan, when translated to Mandarin said something like, “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.  It was so bad even if it were a Halloween promo, the Chinese customers still wouldn’t get a Pepsi. Unless it’s free.

Related: Why Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is “King of the World” After his Speech at Oscars

#5: New Coke Doesn’t Mean “Better”

Worst Branding Failures

Most people, even those with no idea about marketing, are familiar with the maxim “If it aint broke, don’t fix it.” Yet, there’s somebody from Coca Cola who must not have heard of this morsel of wisdom. That, or he’s just a hard-headed maverick.

See, in 1985, after almost 100 years of being in the business and doing really good, Coca Cola decided to launch a ‘New Coke’ – new logo, new font style, and best (or worst) of all, new flavor! What it didn’t take into consideration was how its loyal customers would react for with the drastic change. To make the long story short, customers boycotted the “new” drink. Fearing the worst, Coca Cola wisely reverted to the tried and tested original flavor, packaging, and branding. Somebody from Coke must have scribbled a note on his notebook that says “Not all change is good.”

Related: How Coke Beats Pepsi: Top-Of-Mind-Awareness in Marketing

#6: U2 and Apple: Forced Download

Worst Branding Failures

There are no scientific studies to back this, but everybody seems to believe that people love free stuff. Perhaps armed with this belief, Apple embarked on a mission to give away free music on their iPhones and iPads and Macbooks. Yes, free music courtesy of U2, one of the more popular bands in the world.

However, there’s a difference between giving something for free and giving something for free inside a device that a customer paid hundreds of dollars for. A device such as a desktop or a tablet or a phone is a personal thing. As such, the owner has all the right to choose whatever he wants to put there as much as he has a choice what NOT to put there. The last idea must have been alien to some people at Apple.

Related: What IT Leaders can Learn from (the fall of) Nokia

#7: Sheet Energy Strips

Worst Branding Failures

“She takes a what, where?” “Pitbull takes a ****** on stage?”

If that’s your reaction upon seeing and/or silently reading the ad, I do not blame you. It is so funny one would wonder if it was made on purpose.

Clearly, the people behind this marketing stunt did this on purpose. I am prepared to congratulate them for that because it may have gotten some mileage courtesy of the humor, but I still think it has done more harm than good. I don’t know, but it just reeks of foul taste, pun intended.

#8: #susanalbumparty

Worst Branding Failures

This next one should be a poster for everything that’s wrong in social media campaigns. We all know the exponential reach of social media and how a simple hashtag can create a huge ripple in the virtual world. And such a humongous ripple did this hashtag create! Imagine two related words, maybe cousins, in one hashtag that smells funny?

You can’t blame people for making it the butt of all hashtag jokes! I just hope it didn’t have a huge negative impact on Susanalbum sales.

Related: The Number One Mistake on @Twitter by Gary Vaynerchuk

#9: Gap putting a gap on itself and the customer

Worst Branding Failures

When you say comfortable everyday clothing, only a handful brands come to mind. One of them is Gap. The company isn’t happy with just that, so they did something about the well-loved and famous logo.

In October 2010, Gap launched a new logo in an attempt to be more modern.

What they ended doing was probably break the record for the shortest logo being officially used ever.  

The change made the customers feel a loss of connection with their beloved brand, and so after just two days, Gap quickly put the old logo back into place.

While bad marketing campaigns aren’t necessarily the end of your business, it is a waste of money and effort. It could also spell the difference between a good legacy or a tarnished reputation. In order to avoid marketing disasters, it is always wise to exercise due diligence, do a lot of market research research, consult the customers, and if you’re still not sure, stick with what you know has always worked. 

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Why Branding Matters In Lead Generation

Before you begin your lead generation campaign, be sure that you have a brand that will back up your business. After all, in today’s highly brand-conscious market, how you describe your business, as well as the name you choose, could very well spell a bonanza of B2B leads, or probably make your appointment setting team’s work harder to do.

A company brand is essentially your name and calling card. This is the first thing that your business prospects will see in your calling card, as well as the name they will hear when you give them a telemarketing call. You brand would be the one on display during trade fairs or symposiums you participate in. That is why you need to choose your brand name well.

To do that, you need to first think about the tone. You need to choose a name that fits your image, like the way Ford uses nostalgia and classics in their imagery. It also helps that you research your brand. You may have thought it up on your own, but there might be others using it already. Avoid using brand names that have already been used, lest you are ready to deal with trademark lawsuits. And be kind to feedback, mind you? If people do not like your name, or could not connect your brand to your business, then it means you need to change it. Remember, you are creating a brand to generate sales leads.

Choose your branding well, and you can do better in lead generation.