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Brands in our times aim for the best possible awareness. In order to do this, they have to work on the how they tell the story and how it can be share-able. Therefore, brands aiming to achieve the highest possible awareness should:

1.Be a Skilled Conversationalist: Strong digital brands don’t just know how to talk – they know how to converse, building relationships through their messaging and content.

2. Be Authentic: Authentic brands are able to find a universal truth and create content that inspires those ideals among consumers.

3. Be Data-Driven: The challenge for brands is less about collecting data and more about how to leverage it to optimize current programs and inspire future efforts.

4. Be Discover-able: Successful brands today align their digital footprints with the consumer journey and meet people where they are online.

5. Be Relevant: Brands that achieve relevancy in today’s digital environment are those able to effectively navigate the ever-changing currents of conversation.

6. Be a Content Creator: Today’s landscape forces marketers to constantly re-think the creation, organization, and distribution of content in order to better connect with consumers.

7. Be Constant: By being always-on, marketers can tap into how people live every day and respond to their audiences’ wants, needs, and values in a way that is true to their brand’s story and their objectives as a marketer.

Three keys to being a great conversationalist
Plan for the unexpected. We are going to change your approach to content planning and build flexibility in the editorial schedule. When planning your content calendar, leave room for organic, conversational posts. Instead of guessing what users would like, give yourself room to engage them: make them tell you what they want, and deliver it to them in a timely manner.

Use community insights to inform strategy. Use conversations taking place in your community to shape upcoming content, and make your messaging as timely as possible. You might have planned for great content, but if people are already engaging around one topic, you’ll be more successful joining the existing conversation than you will be trying to create a new one.

Invest time in developing a brand voice. While this can require increased time and effort, it quickly pays off by allowing for effortless genuine, human, and personable content. A brand voice exercise will not only allow your team to identify a muse, but more importantly, it will help you set a list of filters to eliminate the risk of being “off-brand” in real-time interactions.

Three keys to being authentic
Do some soul-searching. When it comes to the types of content you share, look deeper than product promotions or information. Think about the core values and brand truths your company is built upon. Ultimately, these are the attributes that will make your brand identifiable and relatable in social.

Think BIG. Humans take risks – and brands can, too. Ambitious endeavors have become commonplace in social media — from the death-defying Red Bull stunt to real-time content series like Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” and Oscar Mayer’s “Great American Bacon Barter” – brands are stretching the boundaries of marketing. Utilizing social listening ahead of attempting these kinds of campaigns can educate you on potential hidden risks and pitfalls before getting started and improve your chances of success.

Be consistent. Maintain a consistent social tone of voice and aesthetic throughout your content efforts to ensure that your brand’s personality rings true no matter the format. Marketers have been adhering to brand guidelines for years, but with the plethora of media and content formats (think a Facebook post versus a Tumblr GIF), this becomes more complex.

Three keys to being data-driven
Develop a tailored social listening program. The Internet is the world’s largest focus group, but the challenge becomes how to mine the information to find succinct, actionable insights that can be used to inform marketing strategy. Marrying quantitative data with human analysis – which provides a strategic lens through which you can view the information – is the ideal. Customized research and analytics (CSS) might manifest as forward-looking trend reports specific to the brand, or daily tactical listening around key conversations and topics. Adopt a test and learn approach for emerging tools. Almost constantly, new platforms emerge to give brands more opportunities to get to know their audiences – often, in a highly cost-effective way.

Develop a Digital Health Scorecard. Establishing a framework for evaluating the data and tracking key metrics over time is critical to making the information you collect actionable. A Digital Health Scorecard allows marketers to understand online metrics within a similar context as traditional programs by creating common definitions that can be applied across paid, owned, and earned media.

Three keys to being discover-able
Ensure that your brand’s footprint aligns with your consumers’ mindset. Assess your gaps by understanding where your consumer’s journey and your brand’s current digital footprint are misaligned. Staying on top of website analytics is critical to uncovering the right insights. If a brand is seeing above average mobile referral traffic and very low time on site, there is a mobile-optimization gap that needs to be addressed.

Determine the emerging behaviors and platforms that are relevant to the brand. Track innovations across the digital landscape and evaluate opportunities that bubble up early and often. A test and learn approach can humanize a brand’s approach to discovery.

Know the role that influencers can play. Research existing conversations being had about your brand online and understand who is talking. Ideate around the relationship between your brand, potential influencers, and pop culture to think of new ways for your brand to get noticed.

Three keys to being relevant
Keep a finger on the digital and cultural pulse. We are going to be culturephiles – obsessed with consumer behavior and the ways in which digital is shaping culture every day. Study how other brands are maintaining relevancy and using social listening to quickly identify emerging patterns, behaviors and opportunities.

Find a point of commonality and seize it. Instead of merely jumping onto with the first meme or trend you see, first consider how your brand can provide further value – perhaps in the form of information or entertainment. Adding a layer of value to the conversation – and putting your own stamp on the dialogue – is critical to staying relevant.

Get in at the right moment. Timing is everything. If you jump on a trend too soon, you’ll disconnect from too many consumers who haven’t discovered it yet. However, if you’re too late to the game you risk looking dated and slow. Get out while they’re still smiling. Don’t ride the wave too long. Remember, the life of digital conversations – even heavily trending ones – is short.

Three keys to successful content creation
Build with the right foundation. We are going to create the right content for the brand . The second step is to consult social listening to better understand the target audience and their interests across the digital landscape.

Develop a content strategy and distribution plan. Content creators should identify meaningful topics and sources within a framework that will excite brand stakeholders and fans. This may include bigger, campaign-based content as well as ongoing “conversational” content. Planning must also include a publishing strategy that may involve paid media as a necessary boost in reach.

Monitor results and measure success. The digital content creation process is not over once the creative is published or shared. It is important to use real-time feedback and community management to monitor the conversations surrounding the brand and content. Ongoing monitoring and analysis can and should inform the content creation process. Aligning on key metrics in advance will help creators know which content is engaging the users, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Three keys to being constant
Follow a constant north star. Establish the core values that you stand for. This is probably not a product, feature, or attribute, but a value that can be a constant north star for you to improvise off of, push off against, and focus on as the theme of your conversation.

Listen closely. Once you have your focus, stop and listen to everything going on around you. Hear what memes, conversations and human problems are relevant. It may seem simplistic, but listen to the competition as well. It’s up to you to maintain freshness and differentiation.

Make a plan, but keep space to improvise. Implement a calendar and plan that allows for improvisation at the eleventh hour. This may involve educating the “back office” functions of your organization to prepare them for a new way of working. Traditional rules of production, legal and even in-store promotion and packaging can hamstring innovation so consider how processes can shift to allow for greater flexibility.

 

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George Achillias

About George Achillias

George Achillias is a physicist, specialized in solid state physics and quantum theory, but with long experience in product development and marketing. Able to connect the dots. Interested in things are to happen in the next 20 years. A rainmaker regarding mobile and connectivity. Understand mobility and keen to learn more about the nomadic behaviour of modern societies.

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