“I clearly won the fight; that was no draw. I am shocked by this decision,” were the words of a disappointed Nicholas ‘The Axeman’ Walters yesterday, when asked to comment on the majority draw decision of the judges in his fight against Jason Sosa, at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York, on Saturday night.In what has been declared by journalists who watched the fight at ringside as ‘the worst scored fight of 2015’, one judge, Tom Schreck, had Sosa the winner 96-94, while the other judges, Wynn Kintz and Don Ackerman, had it 95-95. The Gleaner scored the fight 97-93 for Walters, and as another point of reference, experienced HBO scorer and former international boxing judge, Harold Lederman, scored it 99-91 for Walters.It was a hard-fought and entertaining fight, with Walters, (26-0), fighting as a super featherweight (130 lb) for the first time. Having lost his featherweight title in June on the scale, when he weighed in a pound over the featherweight limit of 126 lb, Walters was using this fight as a benchmark to see how he would perform at the higher weight class.On this occasion, he fought a bigger man in the person of Sosa, who entered the ring with a 18-1-3 record, but he held his own in a fight that was mostly at close range, and his vicious body attacks clearly bothered his opponent. If one could find fault with his work during the 10 bruising rounds, it would be that he did not use his jabs enough.Whenever Walters went on the outside, he looked far superior than his opponent, and it was surprising that his trainers, Celso Ch·vez and Job Walters, did not tell him at any time in the fight to use his jabs more.The impression given was that they wanted to prove a point. They wanted it to be seen that Walters could outslug a bigger opponent.This tactic nearly backfired, however, as the judges clearly did not give Walters full credit for the good, clean punches to the body that he landed repeatedly. Walters was clearly the better fighter, and in the fifth round, he shook Sosa with a left hook to the body and right cross to the head combination.Surprisingly, he did not follow through and Sosa weathered the storm.BEST ROUNDSWalters gained the ascendancy as the fight progressed, and in the eighth round, he seemed as if he was trying to end it. This was one of his best rounds.Ironically, Sosa came out aggressively for the ninth, which was perhaps his best round.Walters came back firing on all cylinders in the final round, using jabs and hooks to good advantage, and it seemed a mere formality when the fight ended that it would be the Jamaican raising his hands in victory for the 27th time. That was not to be, however, as he had to share the spoils.He told The Gleaner that he will be taking a break for Christmas and the New Year and will be in Jamaica for a holiday soon.”I am coming home for a short holiday, after which I will sit down with my team and decide what we will do in 2016,” said Walters.
CLICK HERE if you are having trouble viewing these photos on a mobile device.“Welcome to Chase Center,” said Golden State Warriors team president Rick Welts as he stood in front of the team’s new home in San Francisco’s Mission Bay. “I’ve been waiting over seven years to say that.”Welts was addressing members of the media before a tour of the new facility Monday (see the photos here), not quite six weeks before it will first see its first preseason game on Oct. 5, with Steph Curry and the …
Jordaan, who represented South Africa in 2009 at both the Women’s Nations Cup in Canada and Women’s Sevens World Cup in Dubai, refereed the match between Peru and Paraguay at the Confederacion Sudamericana de Rugby (Consur) Sevens at the Club Regatas do Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. “Marlize has grown so much in her career as a referee that we weren’t surprised when we were told of her appointment,” Watson said. At the Consur Sevens, Uruguay’s men and Brazil’s women claimed the final remaining spots at the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, which will take place at Moscow’s iconic Luzhniki Stadium from 28 to 30 June. 27 February 2013 ‘Expecting big things’ The tournament served as a qualifier for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, which take place in Russia in June. South Africa’s Marlize Jordaan made history when she became the first woman to referee in an international sevens rugby match for men in South America this past weekend. “Last week Marlize refereed the Varsity Cup Young Guns match between the under-20 teams of Kovsies and UP-Tuks, and was very good. In 2012, she also handled two matches in the Absa U19B Tournament with great aplomb. Bernd Gabbei, the referee development consultant for the International Rugby Board, said Jordaan’s appointment for the match between Peru and Paraguay was based on merit after a few superb performances in the women’s tournament, which was taking place at the same time. SAinfo reporter An achievement to celebrateAndre Watson, the South African Rugby Union’s general manager of referees, said Jordaan’s achievement was one to celebrate for the entire South African rugby fraternity. “We’re really expecting big things from her and are very proud of her achievement in South America.” Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Looking for a new way of working on your video editing projects? Two new iPad based controllers for FCPX offer a unique workflow, but are they really more efficient?Final Cut Pro X hasn’t come to the iPad…yet. But PROCUTX and CTRL + Console are two applications that integrate your FCPX video editing into an iPad interface.Video editing software and plugin maker Pixel Film Studios is really making a splash in 2013, with a slew of new FCPX plugins and effects and a new editing interface. The PROCUTX is a revolutionary iPad based video editing controller that allows you to complete common Final Cut Pro X video editing related tasks using your iPad.For $25 you can install the app on your iPad (or iPad mini) and reap the benefits of having a ton of FCPX controls on one slick screen. A jog wheel takes center stage, allowing you to skim through your video editing timeline. The app works over a shared WiFi connection.Although the creators claim it will speed up “every step of the FCPX editing process” some early users have reported a bit of a latency in the controls (which may be due in part to the strength of the WiFi signal). The single pane control panel has keys for common editing tasks (select, cut, trim) as well as more specialized post production tools (color correction, import/export and creating compound clips). To save time, there’s even some autocorrection buttons for quickly cleaning up noise and color issues with your footage.From the surface, PROCUTX looks like a pretty slick tool that’s a no-brainer for FCPX video editors looking to make their workflow more efficient. Like any new technology however, it’s not without it’s limitations and user adjustment curve – read some thoughts by early adopters over at FCP.co.NoFilmSchool reports possible updates to the iPad video editing controller in future releases including:Siri-like voice command capabilitiesMultiple [in-app screens] iPad integration for separate color-grading, audio controls, effect controlsSocial Sharing capabilities Another FCPX iPad controller scheduled to hit the market this year is CTRL + Console, the successfully funded Kickstarter campaign of technologist Jeff Chow. The Kickstarter campaign raised over $40,000 in the fall of 2012 for Chow’s iPad based video editing control surface that works with multiple applications including FCP, FCPX and Adobe Premiere Pro. Additional development is being done to create consoles for working in Adobe Lightroom as well.CTRL + Console is designed so the editor can keep their eyes on video playback while editing with gestures on the app. Favoring gestures over traditional buttons, is really what makes this app such an attractive tool for speeding up a video editing workflow.Unfortunately a release date has not yet been set, so there’s no telling when this FCPX iPad controller will be available for public use. We’ll keep our eyes out for the release and will keep you updated on this blog.Are you using a controller or jog wheel in your video editing?If so, which product/brand do you prefer? Share your advice in the comments below!
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Originally published Jan 16, 2013 12:30:00 PM, updated June 27 2019 Marketing Resources Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: If your organization uses Salesforce or another CRM system , you probably know that it’s a powerful piece of software that is capable of transforming every aspect of how your sales team works. An effective CRM system can help your reps identify, manage, and close more deals more quickly. But with great power often comes great responsi … err, complexity.For many of us marketers, our CRM system is like a black box. We know it’s chock full of data that could be useful to us, and we have a sense that we don’t know enough about it, but we still don’t know how to get our bearings. Perhaps you feel like you’re neck deep in CRM terminology every time you have a conversation with your sales manager. Maybe you just don’t feel all that confident navigating through your CRM system, or maybe you know that as a marketer, you could get a lot more out of knowing it better.While different CRM systems use slightly different terminology, to ease you into a better understanding of CRMs, let’s take a look at some common CRM, and specifically, Salesforce terminology that marketers should know. A Account A standard object in Salesforce that represents a company or organization (but not necessarily a customer). An account may have contacts (individuals or employees who work there), opportunities (potential sales deals), and other objects associated with it. The contact record stores details about the company like the company name, address, etc. Activities Records stored on an object that are typically used to represent actions taken on a lead, contact, or account — things like phone calls, emails from a rep, or future tasks that a rep intends to complete. Many marketing software platforms can automatically insert activities into the activity history to give a rep context about key actions marketing is taking with respect to a lead (e.g. email sends, if those emails were opened or clicked, form submissions made by the lead, etc.). Activity History A list stored on a record in Salesforce that shows the history of activities that have been carried out on that object. For example, the activity history section on a contact record may contain a list of actions the sales rep has taken in working that lead — emails sent, calls made, etc. API An API (application programming interface) is a system used by a piece of software to talk to other pieces of software. Salesforce offers an API that allows it to be connected to outside systems like a marketing platform or email tool. Some third parties ( like HubSpot ) have standard “connectors” that makes it possible to connect them to Salesforce’s API easily and without any technical knowledge. Apex A programming language used by developers to build applications that interact with Salesforce. These applications are often hosted on the Force.com platform (see below); there are hundreds of generally available applications in the Salesforce AppExchange. AppExchange Salesforce’s app marketplace, which contains hundreds of integrations with third-party services that allow users to extend the functionality of their Salesforce instance. HubSpot’s Salesforce integration, for example, is listed in the Salesforce AppExchange. B Bi-Directional Sync A feature of a third-party tool (like HubSpot) that allows it to both read information from, and write information to, Salesforce. (Example: Because HubSpot’s Salesforce integration features bi-directional sync, it can both add new leads to Salesforce, and pull leads from Salesforce based on a user’s preference.) C Campaign An object in Salesforce used to track a marketing effort. The campaign object houses several standard pieces of data — a campaign name, start and end dates, expected revenue, budgeted and actual costs, and more. While Salesforce campaigns have many uses, most marketers use them for reporting purposes. Campaigns are often used in conjunction with closed-loop reporting from a marketing software platform like HubSpot. Chatter A set of collaboration tools that are woven throughout Salesforce, allowing individuals to work together and share information on deals they are working. Users can join different groups, comment on different objects and data, and share details through chatter. Closed-Loop Reporting A reporting methodology in which data about which leads/contacts/accounts ultimately convert into sales is passed back to a marketing platform . In the marketing platform, the marketer can then attribute that customer to the various marketing efforts they touched, and better understand the ROI each of those efforts generated. Closed Won Opportunity A standard stage in Salesforce that refers to the status of an opportunity. An opportunity is typically set to “closed won” status when a deal is closed and the associated account is now a customer. Systems like HubSpot listen for this “closed won” status in Salesforce to enable closed-loop reporting . Connector A piece of software that connects another system (like a marketing software platform, or an email tool) to Salesforce. Contact A standard object in Salesforce that represents an individual person. The contact record contains details like a name, address, email, and phone number. A contact can be attached to an account and opportunity record. Contact Role A standard field included on the contact record that can be used to define the role an individual plays in an account or opportunity (e.g. decision maker, influencer, etc.). Custom Field A specialized piece of data stored in Salesforce that is unique to the user’s business. (e.g. A dog food manufacturer might create a custom field for “favorite dog breed” in its system to track the favorite breed of each of its contacts.) Custom Object A specialized type of record in Salesforce created to meet the needs of an individual business. An example of this might be an “employee” object that contains several details about an employee that is used by an HR department. Custom Report A view of data in Salesforce that has been personalized by the user to include exactly the information they want to see. A custom report might use filters to determine which records it includes (e.g. this report should include only lead records in Massachusetts who are CEOs) and will contain a set of individually chosen fields, usually as columns (e.g. the name, email address, and lead score of those Massachusetts CEO leads). D Dashboard A dashboard in Salesforce is a graphical representation of what you might find in a report. Dashboards might include charts, gauges, or other graphics that represent the metrics that underly them. They make it easy for a team to track progress toward a goal or metric. F Field A field in Salesforce is a piece of data stored on an object. An example of a field might be the “First Name” or “Email Address” field found on the lead and contact records. Fields are also often referred to as “properties.” Force.com A cloud platform service that allows developers to build and host applications on Salesforce’s servers. Force.com is widely used to host applications that work in conjunction with Salesforce, like many of the apps available in the Salesforce AppExchange. Forecast Generally speaking, a forecast is an estimate of revenue that will be brought in during a given time period. In the context of Salesforce, a forecast is a type of report that shows a tally of data from opportunities expected to close in a specified time period. Your sales managers may use Salesforce forecasts to monitor their pipeline throughout the month. Formula Field A formula field in Salesforce is similar to a cell in Excel that contains a formula. The field relies on an equation to populate the data it shows. That equation may take other fields or information into consideration. An example of a formula field might be a field that shows the number of days since sales last followed up with a specific lead. L Lead A standard object in Salesforce that represents an individual identity at an early stage in the sales process. A lead record isn’t natively connected to other data in Salesforce, but is “converted” when it represents a valid opportunity (a process which creates a contact in its place, and associates it with account and opportunity records). Lead Scoring A process typically carried out in a marketing platform that assigns a numeric value to a lead to represent how qualified he/she is. Every organization typically devises its own scoring criteria based on factors that determine the likelihood that a lead is well qualified. Lookup A field that references the data in another field, possibly on another object. A lookup field can be identified by the clickable magnifying glass icon that appears alongside it. An example of a standard lookup field is the “Account” field that appears on a contact — this field is set to reference the “Account Name” field on the associated account object. M Marketing Cloud A suite of social analytics tools offered as an add-on to Salesforce that helps large enterprise organizations monitor and leverage social media. O Object In the context of Salesforce, an “object” is a type of record that Salesforce uses to store your data. There are several standard objects that every Salesforce instance comes with out of the box — an account, a lead, an opportunity, a contact, and many more. It is also possible to set up custom objects to reflect custom pieces of data or custom parts of your process. Opportunity A standard object in Salesforce that represents a potential sales deal. An opportunity record typically contains details about the potential deal, like expected deal size (a dollar amount that cascades up to Salesforce forecasts), expected close date, probability, and opportunity stage. Opportunity Stage A standard field found on the opportunity object that is used to track the status of an opportunity. The opportunity stage may be set to one of several values such as “Prospecting”, “Negotiation/Review,” or “Closed Won,” which represents that the opportunity is associated with a customer or won business. Q Queue A queue in Salesforce is akin to a “holding pen” for objects that aren’t yet assigned to an individual. An example might be a “Recycled Leads Queue” where your sales reps send unqualified leads to if they determine the lead isn’t ready for sales contact. R Report A report is what it sounds like — a view in Salesforce of a specific subset of records and fields of data. Salesforce comes with several standard report types out of the box (e.g. the Campaign ROI Analysis Report, or the Lead History Report). It is also possible to create custom reports in Salesforce. S Standard Object A type of record where data is stored that Salesforce uses out of the box. Examples of a standard object might be a lead object, a contact object, an account object, or an opportunity object. Also see the definition for “object.” T Task Tasks in Salesforce represent an action that has been taken or will be taken with respect to a record in Salesforce. An example of a task might be a phone call to a lead, or a marketing email that was sent to and opened by a contact. Tasks are listed on individual records, and are used by sales reps to manage their day-to-day actions for each lead. Managers can track tasks to measure the activity of a rep via reports. Trigger A piece of Apex code that is used to kick off actions in Salesforce when a change to a record, or creation of a new record, happens in Salesforce. An example use of a trigger might be to change the “company type” field on an account record to “enterprise” if an account is set to have more than 500 employees in its company size field. V View Think of a view as a predefined set of filter criteria that can be applied to a list of data from a drop-down menu. Many lists of data come with a preset list of helpful views; for example, you might choose to filter a list of contacts to see only “My Contacts,” which would surface a list of only contacts that you are set as the owner of. You can also create custom views in Salesforce. W Web to Lead A tool in Salesforce that allows you to create simple forms that you can place on outside websites. When a user fills out the form, a lead is created in Salesforce. Note that most Salesforce Web to Lead forms will only accept up to 500 submissions per day. Workflow Rule A tool in Salesforce that allows you to automate certain actions like sending notification emails, updating fields in your database, adding tasks to a record in Salesforce, and more. An example use of workflow rules might be setting up a rule that sends an email to a specific sales manager when a deal comes in that needs their approval, based on the company size (or any other characteristic) of the associated opportunity. Don’t Be Overwhelmed! While there are many terms you’ve probably heard used in reference to your particular CRM system, it’s important to not be overwhelmed. By biting off small bits and learning more and more from this CRM and Salesforce glossary , you’ll get a better understanding of the system your sales team uses every day, and how you can better leverage its capabilities to improve your marketing and your processes.Image Credit: JD Hancock
At HubSpot, we have the privilege of talking to a lot of marketers on a regular basis. And although we’re ultimately trying to sell inbound marketing software, a big challenge for our salespeople isn’t just in convincing people our software is a good choice for them — it’s also in selling them on the idea of inbound marketing in general, especially if those marketers aren’t convinced they should be shifting their marketing from a traditional, outbound approach toward a more inbound one. Because this is the case, our salespeople have heard every concern in the book when it comes to shifting gears to inbound — and a lot of those concerns have to do with their perceived limitations and shortcomings of inbound marketing.So let’s clear the air once and for all by highlighting some of the most commonly believed inbound marketing shortcomings we’ve caught wind of from other marketers on the phone and on the web, and giving you our two cents about them.Claim: It’s not easy to target specific audiences with inbound marketing.This claim usually comes from marketers who regularly market to purchased or rented lists of contacts or who pull together lists of contacts at specific companies they want to target. The thought process behind this one is that inbound marketing is based on organically attracting people who opt in to receive your marketing messages, and there’s no way to guarantee that the specific people you want to target will opt in to receive your messages.Rebuttal: Inbound marketing allows you to target specific audiences — throughout the entire funnel.With inbound marketing, targeting specific audiences and sets of contacts is not only very possible, but it can also be much more effective than traditional targeting methods. With inbound marketing, you’re attracting potential buyers to your website with relevant content that is targeted at the specific interests and needs of your business’ buyer personas (found through channels like search engines and social media). As a result, inbound marketing allows you to focus your efforts on prospects who have already shown an interest in you, making them much more qualified than people you might target who have never heard of your company or shown any interest in you whatsoever.Marketers should also consider that inbound marketing applies to the entire funnel beyond just the top of the funnel — all the way from attracting new visitors to your website, to converting them into qualified leads, and then nurturing them into becoming happy customers. And once you’ve attracted visitors to your website and converted them into leads for your business, you can use the information you’ve collected about them — where they came from, what offers they’ve converted on, which pages they’ve visited, the demographic information they’ve provided on your lead-capture forms — to nurture them in the middle of the funnel. In other words, you can send them much more targeted, personalized messages in the form of email marketing, dynamic content on your website, etc., all of which moves prospects further through the funnel and makes them much more likely (and ready) to buy.We disagree with marketers who argue that inbound marketing is more about pulling in a broad audience rather than targeting specific groups of people. In fact, I’d argue that inbound marketing enables you to do the very opposite with targeted content, and that the concept of capturing the attention of a broader audience much more appropriately applies to more traditional, outbound marketing techniques. Effective inbound marketing ultimately allows you to market to segments of one, whereas outbound tactics usually involve bombarding lists of people with mass marketing messages.Claim: Decision-makers don’t spend their time online researching products and services.This argument is mostly prevalent in B2B marketing in which longer sales cycles and more high-ticket products and services are involved. The idea is that the typical C-suite executive doesn’t spend his or her time online reading blogs, conducting searches in Google, or participating in social media — all of which are top-of-the-funnel, traffic-driving channels for inbound marketing.Rebuttal: Decision-makers are influenced by online channels when it comes to purchasing decisions.To say that decision-makers and C-suite executives are not spending their time online is an overgeneralization. Just consider the fact that, according to a Forrester-commissioned study by LinkedIn in November 2012, 59% of IT decision-makers said they are influenced by at least one social network when considering business purchases. And during each of the five phases of decision-making (awareness, scope, plan, select, implement) social networks influenced nearly 50% of all IT decision-makers involved in each phase — close to a 60% increase since 2010. Furthermore, 73% have engaged with an IT vendor on a social network.Even if a C-suite executive doesn’t spend a lot of their time reading blogs, using social media, and conducting research online, that doesn’t mean there aren’t others within their company who are doing those things. And chances are, these people have some level of influence on the decisions of those C-suite executives.Claim: Inbound marketing doesn’t push people to take action.In other words, because inbound marketing is built around the idea that buyers have more control over their purchasing decisions than they had in the past, inbound marketing waits for prospects to take action when they’re ready.Rebuttal: Effective inbound marketing leverages compelling calls-to-action to get prospects to take action.First of all, is it really a bad thing to let your prospects have control over when they decide to act? Second, just sitting around and waiting for potential buyers to take action is not a tenet of inbound marketing. Savvy inbound marketers know they have to motivate their prospects to move down the funnel — and they do this with compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage prospects to take the next logical step depending on which stage in the sales cycle the prospect is currently in. Content pulls them in, and relevant CTAs serve as that “push” that incites them to take action. And with technologies like dynamic, Smart CTAs, inbound marketers can ensure they’re automatically displaying the right CTAs, to the right visitors, at the right time to increase the likelihood that prospects will convert through targeted messages and content. So, depending on the prospect’s position in the funnel, that CTA might motivate them to download an educational ebook, sign up for a webinar, request a product demo, get a free trial, download a coupon, or contact a sales rep, incrementally propelling them closer and closer to sales-readiness.Claim: With inbound marketing, you miss out on the inactives, or late adopters.Another argument that inbound marketing skeptics will bring up is that inbound marketing doesn’t allow you to capture late adopters, or people who are content with their current solutions and/or are not actively seeking new alternatives or solutions. Rebuttal: Inbound marketing attracts people’s interest before they even realize they need your solution.There’s no doubt that those types of people exist, but the problem is that this argument is referring to the bottom of the funnel — when people would actively seek out a new solution. Here’s the thing: Those laggards may not recognize the need for a new solution or actively shop around for new products/services, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for information that helps them solve the everyday problems they have … and that’s where inbound marketing comes into play.Let me explain, using HubSpot as an example. We sell marketing software, and yes, ultimately we want the people who come to our website to buy that software. But a lot of the people we end up closing as customers didn’t first come to our website because they were specifically looking for marketing software. Instead, they were seeking solutions to problems that are symptomatic of a need for a new marketing software solution — maybe they wanted to know how to generate more leads, or how to better market to their existing contacts, or how to get more traffic to their website. So, in other words, they were drawn in at the top of the funnel — probably by an educational blog post or ebook about how to generate more traffic/leads/customers — and then over time, as they interacted with our website and our content more and more, they realized they needed a better marketing software solution and decided to buy.What other inbound marketing shortcomings have you caught wind of? Looking forward to hearing your own thoughts on the ones above in what I anticipate will be quite an interesting debate in the comments 😉 Topics: Originally published Feb 22, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated October 01 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! 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Originally published Jan 6, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 When was the last time you paid any attention to your blog subscriber emails? “My blog subscriber emails? I’m pretty sure those just … get sent, right?”Probably. For many marketers, subscriber emails were likely something you configured when you first launched your blog — never to be thought about again.If this sounds familiar and you’re treating your blog subscriber email like just another automated email you set and forgot, you could be missing out on a wealth of opportunity. Not to blame you, though. Most automated blog subscriber emails from software are nothing to write home about. In fact, HubSpot’s own software only recently, with the launch of our new Blog tool on HubSpot’s new COS, started giving customers the ability to truly customize their blog subscriber emails.But if you do have the ability to customize these emails, they’re definitely an important asset to leverage. After all, depending on how often you blog and how many email subscribers you have, these emails go out to quite a few of your contacts on a regular basis. Are you making the most of all their potential?Using the HubSpot software’s own blog email capabilities as our prototype, let’s dissect the anatomy of an optimized subscriber email so you can identify areas for improvement in your own emails.The Anatomy of an Optimized Blog Subscriber Email1) Recognizable Sender NameMake sure your sender name makes it clear to recipients who the email is from. This is likely the first thing your subscribers notice about your email notifications, so if it’s not immediately evident to them that your email is from a known sender, your emails might end up straight in the trash.In HubSpot’s case, because multiple sections make up our blog, we use “HubSpot Blog” followed by the name of the particular section the contact is subscribed to as our sender name. This makes it easy for recipients to identify that the email is coming from, say, the marketing section of HubSpot’s blog.2) Clear, Catchy Subject LineBecause your email’s subject line is the most critical factor in whether your recipients decide to even open your email in the first place, make sure you give it ample thought.Considering your subscriber emails are most likely automated and triggered every time you publish a new post, a great approach here is to simply use the title of the blog post as your subject line — if your software enables you to do so like HubSpot’s does. Knowing this, make sure you take the subscriber email into consideration when you’re crafting your blog post titles.And be sure to avoid lengthy titles — 50 characters or fewer will ensure the subject line doesn’t get cut off in most email clients, particularly for mobile users. Also, make sure the title is catchy and interesting while also clearly indicating what the content is about. Misleading titles may get you the initial click, but over time, they will lead to the loss of subscribers’ trust — and ultimately, an increase in unsubscribes.3) Enticing Preview Text If your software enables you to customize the preview text of your email, this is another great opportunity to increase opens of your subscriber emails.The preview text is the copy that appears immediately following the subject line of your email. Use this real estate to further clarify what your recipients are getting and get them excited about what’s inside. Remind them that this is a notification email about your awesome new blog post and entice them to open it with some creative copy. But again, keep it brief! 4) Responsive Template Your email recipients are reading their emails on various devices, operating systems, and email clients — desktops, smartphones, tablets, iOS, Android, Gmail, Outlook — you name it! This means that in order to send effective blog subscriber emails, they should be optimized for each and every one of these different platforms. That’s where responsive email templates come in handy.A responsive template will automatically adjust to suit your email recipients’ individual situations — whether they’re using Gmail on a desktop, an Android smartphone, an iPad, or any other combination of software.So, if you have access to responsive email templates, use them! (Note: HubSpot’s Email tool has a variety of responsive templates to choose from and customize). If not, make sure you at least keep mobile email optimization best practices in mind when you’re designing your blog subscriber emails.5) Logo/Branding Now, on to the body of the email itself. Remember, getting your subscribers to open the email is only half the battle. The true goal is to get them to click through to the post itself. First things first: Incorporate some branding, such as your company’s logo, near the top of your email. This reassures subscribers that your email is coming from a trusted sender and adds some consistency to your blog notification emails.For instance, in HubSpot’s own blog subscriber emails, we use the same banner (with the addition of the HubSpot sprocket logo) that appears at the top of the section of the HubSpot blog the email is associated with.6) Personalization Greet your subscribers by name! If your blog software is connected to your contacts database, chances are you may know at least the names of many of your blog subscribers. Use it to your advantage and make your subscriber emails a little bit more personal using dynamic tags. Just be sure to set a default value for this dynamic tag for those people whose names are not in your contacts database.7) Introduction/Greeting You can also introduce your latest post and let your brand’s personality shine through with a quick, friendly greeting. Just keep in mind that, because your blog notification emails are automated, this greeting can easily get stale to recipients over time. If you’re going to incorporate a greeting, try to remember to switch it up every once in a while. 8) Clickable Blog TitleProminently display the title of the blog post you’re emailing about, and make sure it’s hyperlinked to the post itself. (If you’re using HubSpot’s new Blog tool, the title of your post is automatically pulled in to your email and hyperlinked for you.) This is exactly what your subscribers are looking for — and the main point of your email — so you want to make sure it’s easy to find to encourage clickthroughs.And as we mentioned earlier, when you’re brainstorming the title of your blog post, keep in mind how critical it is for generating clickthroughs from not only your emails, but also promotion in other channels like social media. For help with blog title generation, check out this simple formula for writing kick-ass titles. 9) Post Preview Some subscribers may need a little more convincing that your new post is worth the read before they decide to click through on your email. This is where the post preview comes in handy.Depending on the capabilities of your software, this is a good place to either provide a quick summary/description of your post or include the first few sentences of the post itself to draw readers in and entice them to click for more. Feel free to experiment with both to determine which generates more clickthroughs.If you’re using HubSpot’s new blog subscriber emails, you can choose to either show the post in full or just the content appearing before the “Read More Separator” (which you can set) in the post itself. Since the goal of your email is likely to drive subscribers back to your blog so they can explore not only this particular post but also your other content, I strongly recommend the latter. 10) Compelling Image and Alt TextUse the power of visual content to make your subscriber emails even more clickable by including a compelling, relevant image in your post preview. Not only will this help draw in the eye, but it will also make your emails more sharable, increasing the likelihood recipients will forward it to others and expand the reach of your blog content. And don’t forget to add relevant alt text for those recipients who either choose not to enable images in their email clients or whose email clients don’t support it. If you’re using HubSpot’s new blog notification emails, keep in mind that the image in your email will automatically get pulled in from your blog post if it’s included before the Read More Separator in the post itself. As such, you’ll need to add your alt text to the image in the post (not the email) and choose compelling images for your posts as you’re writing them. The good news is this is not only a best practice for email, but also for the social shareability of your blog content in general.11) “Read More” Call-to-ActionWe know every effective marketing email has a clear call-to-action (CTA), so how does this translate to your blog subscriber emails? Well, if you’re main goal is to drive subscribers back to your website where they can read the article you’re emailing about (and hopefully other articles), make sure that next step is crystal clear!After your post preview, include a call-to-action for recipients to read the full article on your blog. Experiment with the copy of this text link to see what generates more clickthroughs, and if your software allows, try a more prominent button CTA instead.(Tip for HubSpot COS Users: You can use HTML to display your “Read More” CTA copy more prominently, using styling like bolded text or headers.)12) Secondary CTAsThis begs the question — should you include any secondary CTAs in your blog subscriber emails? What about a CTA promoting an offer relevant to the content of the post? You know, for lead generation? To be honest, this depends on your particular goals and the type of secondary CTA you plan to use.If the goal of your blog subscriber emails is to drive traffic to your blog, then it’d probably be wise to forego any competing CTAs that might interfere. If your goal is to use these emails as another source of lead generation, feel free to experiment with secondary lead gen CTAs.For HubSpot’s own blog subscriber emails, our main goal is to drive subscribers back to our blog, so we chose to exclude lead gen CTAs. However, we do include a CTA for subscribers to download our free Newsstand app, enabling them to read our blog content optimized for their iPad — a complementary, but not competing offer.You’ll also notice that our “update your email preferences or subscribe to other sections” anchor text link is a CTA in and of itself. We have this there as a way to make sure subscribers know their options, save them from unsubscribing, and promote the other sections on our blog. 13) Social Media Follow Buttons Not every post you email is going to tickle your subscribers’ fancy. Maybe your blog is about unicorn care, and one of your subscribers is already an expert unicorn dietician. While your introductory post about unicorn diet may not be something she feels is worth the read, that doesn’t mean she has to go away empty-handed.For instance, is she following your company on Twitter yet? How about Facebook? A form of secondary CTAs, social media follow buttons are a great way to engage and nurture blog subscribers in other channels, and increase your overall social reach. Configure these buttons for the social networks in which your company actively maintains a presence.14) Footer Last but not least, customize your email’s footer. The most critical component of your footer is CAN-SPAM compliancy, so be sure to include your company’s physical mailing address and a clear unsubscribe link.You can also use your footer as an opportunity to save a few unsubscribes by reminding subscribers that they can always modify their current email preferences if they’re receiving too much email.HubSpot’s new blog subscriber emails enable you to offer subscription via an instant, daily, weekly, or monthly frequency, so if instant emails are overwhelming your subscribers, you’ll want them to know they have other frequency options before choosing to unsubscribe altogether.How else can you customize — and optimize — your blog subscriber emails? Share your tips in the comments! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Email Lists and Segmentation Topics:
The main attraction of any live event is (or should be) the content. At HubSpot’s INBOUND 2015 event, for example, we had over 100 speakers from marketing, sales, and beyond, designed to attract thousands of attendees.But sometimes, it’s the little things that can make an event go the extra mile: the special surprises the coordinators throw in, the prizes companies hand out, the contests that take place. You know … the free swag!When event swag is really cool, it can really delight attendees at an event. But when event swag is really lame, it can make your attendees grumble … and look for the nearest trash can.So, to help out all the conference coordinators out there, we’ve collected examples of the best and worst swag we’ve come across at events. We hope it helps inspire you to create awesome swag bags, and leave behind all the lame trinkets that ultimately end up in the dumpster.Download free resources for executing your best event yet. [Free Kit]What Does ‘Swag’ Mean?”Swag” is a slang term used, for our intents and purposes, to describe the free stuff companies give away as a form of advertising. It’s usually branded with the company’s name, logo, and/or colors.So, that company-branded t-shirt you saw someone wearing on the subway? That’s an example of swag. Same with those logo stickers you see on people’s laptops, and that branded mug on your desk. People can get swag from events and conferences, like we’ll talk about here, or through a company’s blog or website.14 of the Best & Worst Swag Ideas for Your Next Conference or EventThe Best1) Mobile Device ChargersEveryone and their mother is on their phone at conferences — all the time. Whether they’re tweeting, checking their email, or trying to meet up with other attendees, their phone is most likely going to be at 50% battery life by lunchtime.Give out mobile chargers, and every attendee will love you for it. Oh, and they’ll probably learn your name, too. Not only will they be pleasantly surprised when they see such practical and thoughtful swag, but having their phones charged will mean they’ll be able to engage even more throughout the conference, which is great for the conference coordinator. Finally, they’ll likely use that mobile charger beyond the last day of the conference. In other word, your logo will be exposed to them — and to others around them — long after the conference is over. That’s a beautiful thing.2) Seasonal ItemsEveryone likes unique gifts in their event swag bags. One way to make your swag bag stand out is by filling it with fun, seasonal items. Most companies don’t give out seasonal items because they’re looking for gifts that can be used year-round, but that fact alone makes these items even more special.If you’re hosting a summer conference or an event in a beach location, for example, then think about giving out items like beach towels, flip flops, and frisbees. They cater to activities attendees can partake in during the event. Also, let’s think even another step ahead: When and where will attendees use your swag items? They’ll probably use beach items and outdoor sports paraphernalia in public places where other people might see them and ask, “Where did you get that?” or “What company is that?” The result? Your company’s exposure will go far beyond the conference’s attendees.3) UmbrellasAs much as we all wish we could predict the weather (trust us, we’re from Boston), we simply can’t always foresee the rain. As many of you well know, unexpected rain can be one of the most frustrating annoyances at a conference — which is where free umbrellas can come in clutch. Not only will it make their experience better, but it’ll also create buzz around how well prepared your company was for any given situation. Let’s face it, that’s just impressive.The other great thing about umbrellas? You really can’t have too many of them. So you can be sure that your swag — with your logo on it, of course — will be used and seen long after the event ends.Image Credit: ZDNet4) T-shirtsLike umbrellas, I would argue you can never have too many t-shirts, either. (Get back to me around spring cleaning, though. ) If you’re giving away t-shirts with cool designs or sayings (as in, not just a t-shirt with your company name or logo on it), then chances are, a lot of people will pick one up — even if they’ve never heard of your brand before. Who knows, they might even pick one up for their coworker, too, who would just love a shirt like that. It’s something people will wear in many different contexts outside of the event itself. Image Credit: HubShop5) Reusable Water BottlesIt may sound like a simple idea, but reusable water bottles are some of the most valued swag items given out at conferences. First of all, they’re convenient — and a lot easier to handle than open cups of water that can easily be spilled everywhere. They also encourage attendees to stay hydrated, which can be hard for people to remember when they’re rushing from event to event. Finally, reusable water bottles pair well with the recent emphasis on conferences going green.Not to mention, reusable water bottles are yet another item that can be used long after the conference is over. (Are you seeing a theme here?) HubSpot gave away thousands of reusable bottles at Dreamforce a few years ago, which were soon spotted all over the city.6) Unique Food ItemsPeople always stop to chat if you’re giving away food — after all, people tend to go long periods of time without food at conferences since they’re usually scurrying around from place to place. But you’re doing it right if the food you’re giving away is unique and could be a conversation-starter.For example, the folks at Digital Talent Agents once gave away Coffee Cereal (coffee-flavored cereal that has caffeine in it), which served as a unique conversation starter for attendees who’d never heard of it before. One year, the New York Post gave away buckets of gummy bears. As you would imagine, this gift went over really well. (In fact, my coworker still talks about how awesome it was.) While these won’t last as long as other great swag items, they can serve as an interesting way to get people talking about your brand at the conference itself. Image Credit: Capital New York7) MoleskinesWhile unique swag like frisbees and flip flops can be a lot of fun, don’t leave all office-related swag items off the table. Even old-school, paper-related items like moleskin notebooks can be coveted pieces of swag.After all, in a time when everything is done digitally, moleskines are still one of the most popular items for notetaking. They’re also a lot nicer-looking than your classic spiral notebook, making them more of a novelty that many attendees will enjoy using both during and after the event — an important consideration when you’re picking out what to give away.Image Credit: Fincel Design… And the Worst8) KeychainsIt used to be cool to get a keychain in your swag bag … until everyone started to give out keychains in their swag bags. It didn’t take long to become one of the least effective ways to get attendees to remember your brand.Some companies have adapted the keychain so that it has other functions, like doubling as a bottle opener or a whistle. But let’s face it: People don’t really want a keychain with your company’s logo on it. It’s not that useful, and it’s not unique — there are probably several other vendors who didn’t read this blog post and are giving out keychains at the very same conference. Not a great way to stand out.9) PensSure, everyone can use an extra pen, but I mean … come on. A pen? Giving out a pen at a conference is the oldest of old school. First of all, we’re smack dab in the middle of a this giant mobile movement, meaning people aren’t relying on pen and paper as much as they were ten years ago. Additionally, the pens given out at conferences are known to run out of ink pretty quickly and be of very low quality. If you’re willing to spend a substantial amount of money on higher quality pens, it may be worth it, but you could also put that money toward a more unique and memorable experience for your attendees with a better swag item.10) USB Flash DrivesA few years ago, I would have said this is the perfect item to give out at an event. After all, it’s small, it’s easy to carry, and you can load it with cool stuff like session presentations. But now that people are storing documents in the cloud, not many people use flash drives anymore. Plus, the reasonable priced ones don’t have a lot of storage and can break really easily.If you want to share digital folders with attendees, it’s much more user-friendly nowadays to use programs like Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox. Point being? You may want to rethink your decision before ordering up something people probably won’t use. 11) Phone CasesThere are some items that each person only ever needs one of, and they probably have it already. A great example of this is a phone case.I’ve seen a number of phone cases given away at conference lately, and yet I’ve seen no attendees put them on their phones. Why? Because they already have a phone case — one they’ve carefully chosen and then paid for. While something like a phone case that doubles as a cardholder is cool in theory, chances are your attendees won’t switch out their own for one with your company’s name and logo on it. When you’re thinking unique, also think about something people might actually use.12) BackpacksStrictly in practical terms, you could make the argument that backpacks are a great swag item. They’re reusable in many different contexts, they can flatten and fold up for the trip home, or they can be used to help carry all the other swag and stuff attendees picked up at the conference, right?But from a human perspective, you have to admit … branded backpacks are a little bit nerdy. How many attendees do you think are really going to take home a backpack with your logo on it and wear it around — especially if they’ve just having heard of your company for the very first time? Probably not many. I’ve seen far too many conference attendees throw free backpack giveaways in the trash … and that’s a big item to throw away. Even tote bags are more reasonable. Think instead of wearable items your attendees might actually wear even if they haven’t heard of you, like t-shirts.13) Paper WeightsWhere do I even begin?Paper weights are the single piece of swag that breaks every rule in the Good Swag Rulebook. (Note: not an actual book. That we know of, at least.) Not only are they dated, but they’re heavy and bulky — two things that traveling conference attendees don’t want to deal with while going from session to session and traveling home. When thinking of what conference swag to purchase, pick out something that’s light, useful, and easy to travel with.Speaking of getting swag that’s easy to travel with …14) Large Items (In General)This is a bit of a broad “item,” but it’s a critical piece to remember when purchasing your swag. A lot of conference attendees travel a long distance to come to the event, and many of them traveled there via airplane and don’t have much extra room in their luggage.Take these people into consideration when picking your event swag. If your swag’s too large, like a backpack or a teddy bear, it’ll probably get abandoned in a hotel room or thrown out. Remember, the best swag items last beyond the conference — so make sure your giveaways are a manageable size.What’s the best or worst swag you’ve seen at a conference? Share with us in the comments.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. Originally published Sep 3, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated June 25 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Event Marketing Topics:
Ever wonder how Dollar Shave Club turned razor subscriptions into a billion dollar exit? Or how LaCroix’s fans strong-armed their beloved bubbly’s way to the top of the sparkling water food chain? The answer is simple. They inspire impressive devotion from their large fan bases.That’s especially true among Millennials — 62% of them tend to stick with one brand, compared to 54% of the population at-large. How does a brand garner that kind of advocacy? I found myself asking the same question, so I compiled a list of 19 brands with faithful followings, along with the marketing tactics that might contribute to their cult status.Download our essential guide to branding here for even more tips on branding your company. Note: It’s easy to look at the behemoth brands below and feel a little overwhelmed. From one marketer to another, stop, breathe deeply, and give yourself a break. The strategies these brands employ don’t require billions of dollars or global teams. They’re simple enough that even a lone marketer can incorporate them into their next campaign — that’s why we love them.Free Download: Slogan Writing Guide and Examples19 Brands with a Cult Following (and What You Can Learn From Them)1) Southwest AirlinesSource: Brand NewWhen I say Southwest, you probably think of cheap fares, funny flight attendants, and drink coupons. If you also think of great branding, there’s a reason for that. In September 2014, Southwest unveiled a branding refresh that earned positive media attention and made marketers swoon.Southwest rolled out a PR campaign for its rebrand, explaining the reasoning and research behind the airline’s new look. It included videos that maintained the company’s playful brand voice while touting the new message, “Without a heart, it’s just a machine.” Southwest proved that sharing its new identity was as much a part of the rebrand as the redesigned packages of peanuts.Branding Best Practice: Own Your RebrandYour rebrand may not be at the scale of a major airline, but it’s still a big undertaking, so don’t hide the results. And remember, it works in a number of sectors — at least half of nonprofits, for example, say that a rebrand has increased their revenue.Use your rebrand as a way to create buzz within your industry. Make it clear why you felt a rebrand was necessary, how you considered your audience, and what the positive results will be. Think of it as another way to reinforce your new image and foster adoption of your refreshed identity.2) LaCroixSource: LaCroixDo you know someone who’s obsessed with LaCroix? Hypothetically, you might be addicted to the fizzy water yourself (raises hand slowly). Sales for the bubbly drink have more than doubled over the past two years, but chances are, you won’t see a ton of LaCroix TV ads.Instead, LaCroix has executed some impressive social media campaigns, specifically with Instagram. In 2015, the brand grew its Instagram followers from 4,000 to 30,000 in just eight months. Today, it has almost 60,000 followers.But how? First, LaCroix engages with anyone who tags the brand, no matter their number of followers. If you’re lucky, you might even receive a free case of Pamplemousse for posting a photo. Second, LaCroix is quick to adopt relevant trending hashtags like #Whole30approved (to promote its partnership with Whole30 nutrition) and branded ones like #LiveLaCroix. Third, Instagram micro-influencers are smartly targeted with free products and other perks in exchange for featuring LaCroix in lifestyle images shared with their large following.Branding Best Practice: Discover Where Your Audience Hangs OutFind out who your target audience is and where they’re hanging out. LaCroix knew that 55% of online 18-29-year-olds are active on Instagram and doubled down on efforts there. By promoting user-generated photos and rewarding influencers, LaCroix went from sitting on dusty grocery store shelves to becoming a drink of choice for Millennials.3) In-N-OutSource: In-N-OutLet’s not even get started on the In-N-Out vs. Five Guys and Shake Shack debate. That’s a blog for a different day (and, probably, a different website). But if you’ve been to California, you might have made at least one stop for a Double-Double Animal Style — one of In-N-Out’s more notable menu items. And, the chain maintains its fervent following by knowing that meals like that are part of its brand, even being a bit protective of it.The brand is comprised of burgers, fries, and shakes, as it has been for 68 years, insulating it from fad-food missteps. And while it’s tough to find an In-N-Out beyond the west coast, the brand extends much further. In September 2016, a pop-up shop came to London, selling out of burgers in an hour. “These events also help to protect the In-N-Out Burger brand,” the company said in a statement, “in important regions like England and Southeast Asia.”Branding Best Practice: Protect Your BrandsIt’s been said that your brand is more important than the product or service you sell. Building a brand strategy, getting buy-in from your team, and sticking to the plan are important parts of ensuring that your marketing efforts reinforce your brand standards.4) Trader Joe’sSource: Trader Joe’sTrader Joe’s products draw levels of adoration that would make something like pumpkin spice jealous. (I mean, hello, cookie butter.)So what’s the secret sauce in the brand’s marketing efforts? Well, the funny thing is, it doesn’t really have any. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have an official Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, nor will you see television ads. What it does offer are great products that the brand is openly passionate about.But they have discovered one thing that works. The Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer newsletter is one of the brand’s dedicated marketing channels — and people seem to love it. With a selection of featured items and an astonishing amount of copy, the Flyer waxes eloquent on Trader Joe’s hotdogs, apple cider, and more.Branding Best Practice: Be Strategic About the Channels You Engage InWhat the success of Trader Joe’s doesn’t mean: you should shut down all marketing channels and “let your product speak for itself.” Unless you start selling products like cookie butter by the gallon, that strategy probably isn’t right for you. But it does mean that stepping back and taking an unbiased look at which unconventional channels could work for you. What’s your brand’s “Fearless Flyer”? Figure out what makes your brand different, and capitalize on it with something unexpected.5) Saturday Night LiveSource: GiphySaturday Night Live (SNL) first aired in 1975. And while a 41-year run is prone to its share of tough seasons and dry spells, this sketch variety has remained strong and relevant.While a talented cast might be the backbone of the show, it’s the weekly guest hosts and musical talent that keep each episode topical and trending. That impressive lineup allows SNL to leverage current events (e.g., when Ronda Rousey hosted after her impressive six-win UFC streak). It also allows the show to test out different hosts and bring back fan favorites, like Justin Timberlake.Branding Best Practice: Incorporate Guest Contributions Into Your Content StrategyWhile having a strong, core content team is important, guest contributions are a great way to keep your brand relevant and credible. But remember — these guests have to be aligned with your brand. Think of it as a co-marketing agreement. These partnerships have to be strategic and both parties have to benefit from it. Check out our tips on how co-marketing works in branding here.6) IKEASource: Home DesigningIKEA has a simple vision: “to create a better everyday life for the many people.” And while some patrons might give credit to the in-store meatballs — the brand is rumored to sell three million each day — IKEA turns to research to learn what its consumers really want.But there’s no reliance on customer surveys and downloaded data. Instead, design experts are actually sent into people’s homes to learn what’s important to them and what their pain points are. That information is funneled into content that’s relevant to customers, ranging from the brand’s over 50-year-old catalogue, to the award-winning web series “Easy to Assemble,” which ran for four seasons.Branding Best Practice: Do More Than Audience SurveysUnderstanding your audience goes deeper than sending out a survey. That’s said to be especially true of Millennials, who are more interested in conversing with a brand (see LaCroix’s Instagram example above) than spending time on a questionnaire. Finding out what motivates and challenges your consumers is arguably the most important part of a marketer’s job, which also means you have to allocate your marketing time and resources accordingly. Focus on the conversation — engagement through social media and other conversation-centric platforms can help bring your user personas to life.7) Dollar Shave ClubSource: BrandfolderRazors are not exactly an exciting topic. In fact, they’re probably a topic that most of us avoid discussing — because, gross. But when Dollar Shave Club (DSC) burst onto the startup scene in 2012 with a launch video that people are still talking about, it made shaving worth talking about.The deep care for the brand is often evident, like in one interview with Brandfolder: “From our packaging to our digital presence, the DSC brand identity informs everything we do.” That devotion to the brand shines through every piece of marketing content produced. From witty emails, to carefully branded packaging that makes you stop and read your razor wrappers, DSC’s brand is carefully and craftily infused into everything they do.Branding Best Practice: Organize Your Brand AssetsHow do you incorporate your brand identity into each piece of marketing you own? With brand consistency. While your brand might have several moving parts, they have to be cohesive — in fact, 90% of consumers expect this kind of consistency across all channels, especially when shopping for a product or service. Not sure where your brand inconsistencies might be hiding? Check out this list.And once you have achieved that consistency, consider using digital asset management: the technology that makes any of your digital branding collateral — logos, images, and standards, to name a few — easily accessible to your team (and ready to implement).8) AppleSource: AppleYear after year, new Apple product announcements get people talking — whether it’s industry chatter or consumer debate. So how does the tech giant manage to generate buzz about yet another new iPhone, even now?For one thing, the launch messages tend to be simple and consumer-focused. For example, the iPhone 7 landing page reads that this version “dramatically improves the most important aspects of the iPhone experience.” See that? Experience. Before I even read the list of features that follows, I’m already thinking about which aspects of my iPhone are most important to me, and how much better they’ll be on this new device.Branding Best Practice: Keep it SimpleChoose the benefits that matter to your customer and build a marketing strategy around them. And don’t forget to keep that marketing message simple and unapologetic — focusing on too much at once can lead to brand confusion, which might be why 69% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand based on its simplicity.Focusing on benefits in a no-frills way can also imply confidence. For example, Apple was noticeably unapologetic about removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. Instead, the official announcement proclaimed, “Oh yeah … and the headphone jack from over 100 years ago has been removed (shocker) for the more versatile Lightning port.”9) StarbucksSource: TechGenieMobile has seen some interesting developments as of late. 51% percent of digital media is consumed via mobile (versus 42% on desktop), and voice search is on the rise. It makes sense for marketers to be focused on mobile, and Starbucks is no exception.When Starbucks introduced the “Order & Pay” feature of its app in 2014, it saw adoption rates between 4-10% in stores. The brand capitalized and built on that, creating an in-app experience that remembers and recalls your favorite orders, suggests pairings, and guesses where you’d like to pick up your order.Branding Best Practice: Invest in Mobile MarketingIf you’re not investing time and resources into your mobile marketing strategy, you might want to get started, especially when it comes to building an app for your brand — 56% of digital time is spent using them.But if an app is out of reach or not relevant for to your brand (after all, just look at the Trader Joe’s example), how else can you elevate your mobile strategy? Start by making sure your site is mobile-friendly, and look into push notifications or other unique offerings that your organization can use to its advantage.10) ZapposSource: ReferralCandyZappos has built its brand around customer service — a brand that CEO Tony Hsieh has defended and protected over the years, even famously saying, “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.” At any other company, it might be considered inefficient for a customer service rep to engage in an almost 11-hour phone call with a customer, but at Zappos, that kind of dedication is encouraged.But it doesn’t stop there. From sending flowers to a bereaving customer, to overnighting free shoes to a best man whose footwear hadn’t made the flight to the wedding, Zappos leads with a customer service story and keeps their fans coming back from more.Branding Best Practice: Delight Your CustomersIn a marketplace where consumers have hundreds and even thousands of choices at their mobile-savvy fingertips, you need to set yourself apart. And sometimes, all your consumer needs to make a decision between you and three other competitors is exceptional service — especially since U.S. businesses collectively lose about $41 billion dollars each year because of bad customer service. (I suppose sending flowers can’t hurt, either.)11) TED GoPro makes handheld video cameras that are high quality and easy to use. The return has been huge — in 2011, less than a decade after being founded, the brand saw a 112% increase in net income after spending only $50,515 on marketing. In 2013, marketing costs went up by $41,000 and income by $28 million.Maybe that has something to do with the company’s expertise in putting user-generated content to work for their brand. By simply encouraging its audience to use the #GoPro hashtag when posting images captured by its camera, GoPro succeeded in building strong brand loyalty and a powerful content machine. At least, that’s how I see a company with 6,000 user-branded videos uploaded to YouTube every day.Branding Best Practice: User-Generated Content is KingHow is your audience using your product or service? That information might already be out there and on social media — it just doesn’t have a branded hashtag yet. Once you get that information, ask users to tag your brand or submit content for you to post on your own networks. Some companies, like West Elm, are hopping on this trend by almost exclusively featuring user-generated content on their social media feeds — a smart strategy that can conserve your marketing budget.19) Philz CoffeeSource: MINTPhilz is a California coffee chain with a rabid following and well-cared for social media channels. In 2014, when content marketer and Philz devotee Caitlin Roberson tweeted her displeasure at the brand’s then-generic Twitter responses, Philz tweeted back their apologies. Today, you’ll find genuine and customized responses to followers on each of the coffee house’s social media channels — especially on Twitter.For a business that built its brand on delicious coffee and a small shop vibe, that’s an important part of the marketing strategy. Could the social media team get by just fine by continuing to post generic responses to their followers? Probably. But going the extra few steps leaves their fans with anything but a bitter taste — in fact, a personalized customer service experience on Twitter, for example, leaves people 83% more satisfied.Branding Best Practice: Talk to Your Customers Like They’re Real PeopleMake sure you’re interacting with your consumers in a genuine and rewarding way. Yes, it takes time to thoughtfully respond to customers through on social media and customer support channels, which are sometimes one in the same. But the benefit to both your brand and your consumers, however, will be well worth the extra brainpower — since Roberson’s noted interaction with Philz, the brand’s Twitter following has nearly doubled.If You Build It…Take time to really understand what motivates and moves your audience, and create a content and brand marketing plan accordingly. Stay confident and genuine in your message. Then, share it with your audience in a relatable way. You might just find yourself with advocates who believe in your brand as much as you do.How are you building your brand’s following? Let us know in the comments. Brand Awareness Topics: As marketers, we have our favorite TED talks. Maybe yours is Simon Sinek explaining the golden circle, or my personal favorite, Susan Cain speaking on the power of introverts. Regardless, TED talks have become a go-to resource for quick, insightful information across almost any topic.In a time when consumer attention spans are shorter than those of goldfish, TED does what might seem impossible to some marketers. The brand holds five million YouTube subscribers captive for talks that average 20 minutes in length. There’s no flashy light show or catchy theme song — just solid storytelling that’s largely spread by word of mouth.Branding Best Practice: Focus on Quality ContentPut time, effort, and money into creating quality content. While you might be able to grab someone’s attention for eight seconds with a catchy headline, valuable content is what will transform that one-time view into a regular reader, and hopefully, a customer. Plus, quality content is imperative to SEO — without it, your rankings can take a serious hit.12) LululemonSource: LululemonLululemon is one of the hottest fitness brands in the market today. Ask someone why she spent just short of $100 for a pair of yoga pants, and you might get a lecture on the superior quality of Lululemon’s products. That’s the kind of brand loyalty sought after by every marketer on the planet, and it starts with Lululemon ambassadors.While consumer word-of-mouth is one form of brand loyalty, Lululemon fosters a more formal type of ambassador in yoga teachers and fitness trainers who have been selected to represent the brand’s values and lifestyle. They lead classes at storefronts on weekends, share photos of themselves wearing the brand, and provide aspirational advertising.Branding Best Practice: Experiment with Influencer MarketingBrand ambassadors are a form of influencer marketing — which, according to Twitter, is responsible for 49% of user purchases. Look at who the movers and shakers are in your industry, and learn how you can partner with them through guest contributions, using, or writing about your product.13) SoulCycleSource: SoulCycleTelling a colleague that you’re headed to the gym can elicit a number of responses. You might hear, “good for you,” or receive a grimace face that says, “I feel your pain.”But SoulCycle, similarly to Lululemon, has found a way to rebrand your workout. One visit to its website or Instagram profile is all it takes to find mantras about pushing your body to its limits with your #SoulMates and #SoulSquad. By sending the message that exercise is a community-bound opportunity, SoulCycle makes it seem like less of a chore, and more like an exclusive club.Branding Best Practice: Market to Your Consumer’s Emotional SideHow can you make your product or service sexier? Consider how you can tap into your client’s emotions, and touch on the things that are important to them. In fact, a study that measured consumers’ brain activity in response to ads found that higher activity indicated a 23% increase in sales volume. And considering that 60% of consumers who feel a “high brand connection” are more likely to make a purchase — even at a higher price point — it quite literally pays to understand their potential feelings toward your brand.14) Life is GoodSource: Life is GoodLife is Good was founded in 1994. Within 11 years, the brand was boasting $50 million in sales — having never run a single ad — and $100 million by 2015.What was the strategy behind that rapid growth and success? Say sibling co-founders John and Bert Jacobs, it was simple — “rely on the good vibes and social power of their community to spread the word,” according to Inc.Instead of traditional marketing, Life is Good pours its advertising dollars into different events for its charity, Life is Good Playmakers. In addition to impressive sales, these efforts have resulted in an avid fan following and even partnerships with celebrity musicians.Branding Best Practice: Think Outside the Advertising BoxConsider new, less traditional forms of advertising — especially since 84% of Millennials, for example, don’t even like advertising. By sponsoring local events or supporting a charity that aligns with your company’s mission, you could generate more than just good PR. You could also gain fans who respect and appreciate your work. Plus, 80% of consumers believe that corporations can (and should) work to benefit their communities — a win-win for both brands and the people they serve.15) MoleskineSource: The Next WebMoleskine is not just a notebook. It’s “a free platform for creativity,” Maria Sebregondi, Moleskin’s head of brand equity once said. What’s more, it’s found a way to make paper cool and relevant in the digital age.The notebook brand expertly balances its heritage past — touting Hemingway and Picasso among its early brand advocates — with the digital present, launching a smart notebook and companion app. This balance of yesterday and today helps maintain the brand’s relevance — and appear to consumers who love the latest tech, but still have nostalgia for paper.Branding Best Practice: Allow Your Brand to EvolveEvery brand should evolve. Our shortened attention spans aren’t limited to the content we consume — they apply to the products we adopt, as well. It is possible to maintain your brand’s legacy while also letting your marketing evolve, but it requires being flexible and open to your product changing.16) ChacoSource: ChacoChaco is a lifestyle and outdoor footwear brand with an active following. Just look at its Instagram profile — it’s packed with user-generated photos of fans hiking, adventuring, and camping in these colorful sandals. And that’s key — such bold visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.The branding also travels well, hitting up music festivals and gear shops around the country in what Chaco refers to as “Z the World Tour.” The tour allows the brand to interact with consumers in-person, advocate for the product, and raise awareness directly.Branding Best Practice: Don’t be Afraid to Put a Face with Your BrandConsider taking your marketing on the road. Sales teams often suggest closing deals through in-person meetings and, sometimes, marketing can follow the same strategy. Want to recruit brand advocates? Let them experience your brand in a tangible way.17) CrossFitSource: CrossFitCrossFit, a workout regimen created by CEO Greg Glassman, is today a billion-dollar business with what some describe as a cult-like following. So what’s in the CrossFit Kool-Aid everyone’s drinking? Great marketing, of course.Similar to SoulCycle, CrossFit taps into the desire for community. CrossFit’s website wastes no time nodding to that idea with photos of and journal entries from its “elite” pool of members. The brand could have called them “testimonials,” but CrossFit’s careful use of language ensures that its messaging reads more like a movement, and less like a product. Another example of this strategic word choice: describing itself as a phenomenon that’s “harnessing [a] natural camaraderie.”Branding Best Practice: Inspire Ownership in Your BrandHow can you give your audience more ownership in your brand? Simple language tweaks like calling your audience a “community” instead of “members” can go a long way in building brand advocates. That goes back to the idea of shared values that we mentioned earlier — 64% of consumers cite that as the main reason for even having a relationship with a brand.18) GoPro Originally published Nov 7, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post!