Provide Your Customers More Value Through Lifestyle Content

Provide Your Customers More Value Through Lifestyle Content

(Originally posted in Entrepreneur.com)

Disney knows what its customers love and that’s just what it gives them. The entertainment media giant understands that a well-proportioned content strategy is crucial to effective marketing.

The media company satisfies its audience by posting behind-the-scenes movie footage and crafting engaging blog content that hooks readers. This works because Disney knows how to balance two important kinds of content: traditional and lifestyle content.

A call to action typically asks consumers to visit a store or fill out a contact form. But lifestyle content engages customers with information that adds value without a direct link to buy.

You’d be thrilled to read an email from your best friend, right? Treat customers like friends by developing relationships built on shared values and interests, rather than always asking them to do something for you.

With the right traditional-to-lifestyle content ratio in place, you can expand your company’s reach, increase click-through rates on call-to-action posts and improve your organization’s overall brand’s success.

The Future of Marketing is Here – Custom Content

Did you know that 78 percent of chief marketing officers surveyed a few years back considered custom content the future of marketing? With the lifestyle method of content marketing gaining momentum, you need to incorporate it into your promotion strategy.

For example, Puma has shifted its content focus from functionality of soccer shoes to lifestyle qualities such as self-expression and leisure. Puma lets its audience experience the branded lifestyle.

My company was intrigued by the move toward lifestyle marketing and wanted to identify the proportion of traditional content to lifestyle content. So my organization aggregated a year’s worth of Facebook posts from Adidas and Nike to compare how each used lifestyle content last year.

The findings? Nike used more lifestyle content than Adidas. Sixty percent of Nike’s posts featured lifestyle content and its traditional call-to-action posts received an average of 993 shares a post. In contrast, only 32 percent of Adidas’ posts featured lifestyle content, with its traditional posts receiving an average of 122 shares each.

Nike used more lifestyle content than Adidas

If you want lifestyle marketing to work for your company, know how your company’s brand aligns with consumers’ values and become an extension of those values. You’ll use fewer calls to action, but the ones you post will connect more effectively with your customers.

Three Tips to Connect With Your Customers:

1. Conduct a professional or DIY branding session.

Figure out the following: What makes your brand special? Answering that question will help you build a content strategy that your customers can relate to.

Conduct a branding session to identify the unique appeal that sets your company apart. Your budget will determine whether you commission a branding project from an agency or dig into the data with your own team.

2. Target customers with a few limited, personality-based topics.

When dating, you work hard to find out and cater to your partner’s likes. Do the same for your customers.

Create a branding persona that captures every detail about your target audience, including a wide range of their interests, such as music preferences and hobbies. Use this data to build a style guide and content strategy that encourages engagement and makes customers fall in love with your company.

3. Channel the campaign through an influential network.

Your company’s brand doesn’t have to be fronted by a celebrity to make a big impact. Networking is a powerful factor in lifestyle branding, so put your energy into building a network of influencers. Just like a circle of friends who share information with one another, these influencers will talk about your brand and share your content within the context of an authentic lifestyle.

According to advertising legend Keith Reinhard, one of the big obstacles to effective marketing is “the obsession with quick results.” If you’re not careful, your focus on numbers will overshadow effective lifestyle marketing. Instead, understand your audience and use that knowledge to strike the perfect balance.

3 Tips To Keep Your Brand Healthy in 2015

3 Tips To Keep Your Brand Healthy in 2015

(originally published in Entrepreneur)

Determine who influences your buyer persona.

 

“Sorry. I won’t even consider that brand.”

As I finally figured out what the robin’s egg blue tinge on my fingers came from, I recalled my buying journey earlier that day.

And it was an ambitious journey. Buying jeans isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s especially difficult when you’re shopping for cool-guy jeans with a dad-jeans body.

The brands and style choices are staggering. There’s selvage, raw, distressed, boot-cut, straight leg and skinny varieties. The brands have interesting, americana names like The Flat Head, Sugar Cane Co., and Imogene and Willie. But after a 20-minute Internet search I was bombarded with retargeting ads asking me to buy their jeans before I even knew what my choices were. I immediately discounted those brands in my brain then realized how gargantuan my mission was. I needed some kind of shortcut.

I got it. Soon I was teetering under 210 pounds of slippery, oddly metallic-smelling denim in a trendy men’s store in Austin’s South Congress district. To the astonishment of the sales person, I said I wouldn’t even try on one of their fashion brands – I’ve seen it too many times at discounters – it’s dead to me. Anyway, after a couple hours of hopping, cussing, and crashing into fitting rooms made for skinny-jeans people, I found that perfect pair.

As an entrepreneur with an emerging brand, trying to get your name and content trusted can seem like an art form. In your gut you know it’s not just money – after all, the “Will It Blend – iPhone 6 Plus” video has amassed almost 3 million views. But it’s not voodoo – it just takes knowledge, discipline, and a lot of hard work.

Here are some crucial elements (and that shortcut) that can make placing your company’s product in the hands of consumers a lot easier:

1. Distribute with discipline.

“Content is king, but distribution is queen; and she wears the pants.” There are a lot of ways to poison your brand. But incorrect or inconsistent distribution is near the top of the most wanted list. It’s why I wouldn’t even try on one of the brands during my jeans journey.

Joshua Bingaman, founder of HELM Boots, is fiercely disciplined in his company’s branding strategy. He researched all the possible personas of consumers who buy fashionable boots and came up with the one that’s most aligned with his brand’s values.

He determined that his buyers would trust his artisanal boots only if they were excluded from sales sites.

“We’ve worked hard to develop HELM Boots into a brand that is recognized in Esquire or GQ instead of sale sites like Gilt or Fab.” – Joshua Bingaman, founder of Helm Boots

This is Joshua telling the queen which pants to wear.

Look – you work hard on conceiving and creating your brand’s image, products, and marketing content. You’re rightfully proud of them. But your distribution must fit your buyer perfectly or your jeans may be the only ones left on the rack.

How about that shortcut I took to find my perfect pair of jeans?

2. Determine who influences your buyer persona.

Word-of-mouth is an old and established marketing channel. Nielsen Research found that 84% of consumers trust buying advice from friends. So HELM puts its global tribe of brand advocates to work to spread its message; these people know their reputation will be elevated each time they recommend HELM. And it was a similar web of advocates that proved critical to my buying journey.

After I gave up searching for the perfect jeans, I tossed out a Facebook post to my friends.

 

I received some good advice from a fashionable Dane whose opinions I trust. He gave me the name of the men’s shop on South Congress and a few brands to try.

Cultivate your brand advocates, those people who have bought your product and look for opportunities to recommend it. It’s hard, but rewarding work. Your other influencer channel, bloggers, can have a bigger impact that pays off enormously. Of course, I could talk to you for hours about it.

Number one on the most wanted list of most toxic brand poisons is next.

3. Mind where your consumers are in their buying journey.

Mastering timing is critical for ensuring that you’re providing the right content for a particular phase of a buyer’s journey.

Roughly speaking, buyers go through three phases: awareness (do they know your brand exists?), consideration (how does your brand compare to competitors?), and conversion from prospect to customer (Are they ready for a call to action?).

In my cool-guy jeans experience, I went through the journey in a matter of hours. I wasn’t buying a car or a house or looking to move data centers. Usually consumers need time to make up their minds before a company or its influencers bombard them with “buy now” messaging. Retargeted ads are the most ham-fisted example of a premature call to action. If this happens too soon, it’s bad fugu – poisonous to the brand.

Today, getting your product in front of the right buyers isn’t about broadcasting your message to anyone who will listen. It’s about identifying your ideal buyers, finding the influencers who resonate most with them and serving up the appropriate content at the right time, in the right place.

That way, in the chaos of the holiday-shopping season, your customers hopefully won’t be distracted by an overabundance of choices. If they hear about your company’s brand from someone they trust, making a choice will be as easy and comfortable as donning a good pair of jeans.

iPhone versus Windows Phone – How Are Their Influencers Different?

iPhone versus Windows Phone – How Are Their Influencers Different?

You probably know by now that Mattr is big on personality (not ours; your brand’s). Our latest platform extension features influencer marketing and you can filter for values.

This solves the problem of you digging through millions of profiles to look for the 1000 people who are both conservative and early tech adopters – think of launching a new mobile app for Hobby Lobby.

In any event, here’s the quick analysis for people influential about the iPhone and those who impact the conversation around the Windows Phone(s).

Influencer Marketing Values

 

 

How We Did It

We looked at micro and mid-level influencers for both phones in our influencer application, looking at their last 10,000 tweets and Instagram posts. We left out the macro influencers, who are primarily media and large verified accounts like young Master Bieber. Mid-level influencers are not Twitter verified and usually have hundreds of thousands of followers. Micro influencers have minimal followers but are real people who post on Instagram or Twitter with some frequency. We like to say that everyone matters at Mattr – so if you’re looking for the people who influence your target audience, you want to see your next door neighbor who only has 100 followers, but a lot of influence over you.

 

What it Means

The political party affiliation surprised us a bit, as did the environmental analysis. Just goes to show you that stereotypes are often dangerous–but always sloppy and rarely good enough in these days of big data.

For Microsoft, it tells us that they’re close to on par with Apple’s sense of non-conformism, even though 5% of the dataset represents a significant enough difference to call out.

I would definitely play off of the environmental analysis, and appeal to phone and electronics recycling programs. To date, few campaigns come to mind with this message. Certainly, Microsoft should heed the advice of avoiding trying to appeal to conflicting value sets such as Self-Indulgence versus Conservation / Conformity.

Want to Learn More?

Drop us a message at contact@mattr.co.

How Apple Bends You To Their Will

How Apple Bends You To Their Will

tim-cook-apple-ceo1

Few iPhone users would identify “hedonism” (or the pursuit of pleasure) as a core value in their lives, but when you look at the sentiments behind Apple’s marketing strategy for the past 30 years, you might not be so quick to disagree. This extremely human core value is a key factor in Apple’s success today, despite the fact that the company based its marketing on entirely different values when it first began.

The unmitigated success of Apple’s products and its ability to shift values over the years are clear indicators of what we already know to be true: Apple lives and breathes values-based marketing, and so should your business.

Irresistible Marketing Speaks to Values

If you’re new to values-based marketing, you should familiarize yourself with Schwartz’s circumplex model of values. This model organizes human values into one system that can help you pinpoint the most effective way to market your products. The values outlined in the Schwartz model, such as hedonism, stimulation, and self-direction, make up a new wave of suspiciously successful values-based marketing.

schwarz_styled450
This approach has been adopted by several major brands. Microsoft’s recent “Empowering” campaign tugs at our heartstrings, while Amazon’s promo for the new Kindle Unlimited service appeals to readers’ desire for instant gratification.

Values-based marketing is so effective because values, unlike beliefs, are not just static ideas. Rather, when values are activated, they become infused with deep feeling. Marketing that taps into this relationship between belief and action ignites a powerful desire to act within consumers.

How to Activate Consumers Through Values-based Marketing

Long-lasting, high-profile success isn’t just a matter of creating the perfect product. It’s a matter of speaking to the right values from the get-go and then allowing those values to shift as your target market and company’s products mature.

Here are three powerful lessons from Apple on values-based marketing:

1. Make the unnecessary necessary
What are the top five apps on your iPhone? They aren’t saving lives, that’s for sure. Yet people like you and I account for 150 million iPhones sold in 2013 alone. You don’t need the iPhone 6, but you want it—desperately.

Selling a product that people want is as simple as providing an opportunity for your customers to fulfill their need for stimulation, power, self-direction, or another dominant value. Tap into these values with your branding and advertising, and your market’s “want” for the product will bubble uncontrollably.

2. Make your product a values statement
How you appeal to your target market through values must align with that target market at the right time of your company’s lifecycle. In 1984, Apple believed that non-conformist messages would appeal to its target market. Once Apple’s products were more accepted by the mainstream, the marketing message shifted to more hedonistic values.

This shift in values can be risky. You have to recognize your competition’s approach and comprehensively analyze the macroeconomic environment to be successful.

3. Shift your offering as values shift
Despite its runaway success, there’s a reason Apple isn’t still playing that old “1984” commercial. Today, consumer values are rapidly shifting toward hedonism and stimulation.

Instead of gathering around the table, my family often eats dinner in front of a laptop or tablet, taking the latest BuzzFeed quiz or binge-watching “The Walking Dead” on Netflix. Those who value tradition over non-conformism and hedonism would be horrified, but they aren’t Apple’s target market.

Think about the pleasure you get from downloading a new app or hearing a great new song (curated by Apple’s recent acquisition, Beats Music). Apple’s obsession with hardware, visual design, and simplicity reinforces its dedication to make its product and presentation beautiful to use, look at, and hold, which appeals to the values of its current market.

What do you think are some of the most important consumer values?
What do you think of Apple’s approach?

Who else echoes consumer values?

(Originally posted in the AWESOME Bplans)

@Scobleizer Moves to #1 #SXSW Influencer Over @BrianSolis

@Scobleizer Moves to #1 #SXSW Influencer Over @BrianSolis

Mattr.co Most Relevant Figures

 

Love him or hate him, you have to respect the man’s persistence and energy. His endless enthusiasm for all things new and interesting.

Personally, I love him since he took the time to interview me a couple of years ago – open, child-like verve for anything new. Overnight, he went from just the fourth-most popular to most relevant / unique / over-represented. Well done, Scobleizer.

FAQs

 

Can I Have Access to This Real Time?

I can add you to my team for free – you just need a Twitter account to log in. Email (jack{at}mattr.co) or tweet me your email address and I’ll get you in asap. **Note** it also means these results can change hourly.

 

What Exactly Does “Unique” Mean?

Do you see that Barack Obama is ranked #1? That means that, of all the people who tweeted using the #SXSW hashtag, more of them follow Barack Obama than any other public figure.

Now look at Scoble; see the “Kapow” exclamation mark? That means that he is “over-represented” by this engagement group. This means an unusually high proportion of #SXSW tweeters follow him. He has increased relevancy among this cohort / segment / persona.

Why should you care? Although these in-demand dudes probably don’t do product endorsements, celebrities do – so If you want to reach SXSWesters, you may have much better engagement from endorsement deals with these unique people.

 

How’d You Do This?

You can Go to the App Here if you want to try it out yourself.

This is a “Campaign Report” running real time. It’s a sample group of up to 10,000 people who’ve used #SXSW in a tweet. There’s a lot more info than this.

Email me at jack{at}mattr.co if you want to get on the team – you only need your Twitter account to get in.

 

Full Persona Summary

Mattr.co