Classic advertising - or advertising direct action, as it is called, in general, is over. And the more time passes, the more obvious it becomes. The amount of information around the ordinary inhabitants of the planet Earth is increasing every day, and most of us no longer pay attention to advertising messages, and sometimes actively avoid them (which we have written repeatedly - for example, here). In confirmation of these words, we can cite several links to studies that say that many Internet users use ad-blocking browser extensions. You can insert links to studies proving that modern people develop “banner blindness”. But why? Just think, how often do you pay attention to advertisements in your life? How much does it affect you? Here you walk along the street, you see a street constrictor, telling you once a thousand times that this washing powder is the best. How fast will you run to buy this powder? How many packs do you buy at a time?
What we want to say by this is that an ordinary person doesn’t care what your selling proposition is unique for and why it is better than the unique offers of other sellers.
A unique selling proposition (UTP) is a marketing message containing information about the advantages of a specific product, service or project advertised.
So how to promote projects and products if traditional advertising no longer works? The answer is simple:
Consumers should have sympathy and lively genuine interest in you.
In this case, they will themselves look for your product and understand its advantages and differences from similar offers of competitors.
Creating and regularly publishing branded content that has independent value for consumers is one of the ways to win the sympathy of the audience. Such content allows you to personalize business interaction with consumers. It shows to clients that in your company live people have a sense of humor, come up with and implement ideas that help a particular person to solve his problems.
In this article you will find tips on creating branded content that demonstrates the culture of your company. Using them, you will increase the loyalty of the audience and get rid of the need to shoot guns at sparrows, spending money on ineffective advertisements.
The site should work as a sales manager at a party
Imagine that you are going to a party where there will be a lot of strangers to you. For example, representatives of the industry you are interested in are going to discuss prospects and celebrate achievements. Here you will find many potential customers and business partners. What will you do first of all by meeting the owner of a large company at this party?
It is unlikely that you immediately pounce on him with the words: “Hi, I am Mark - the head of the social network, and I guarantee you that in five years we will be the most popular network in the world. But we need advertisers now. Look at the rates on ads? "
Not the best solution, given the sound of music, dancing couples and a glass of champagne in the hands of your interlocutor. But most of the sites are like sales managers who decided to execute a quarterly plan during a party. They immediately inform the visitor, landing on the main page, what a wonderful and unique product he can buy. Often this only annoys a potential client, forcing him to leave the site.
Having met a potential client at a party, you will surely try to find common interests, discuss the result of the last football match and the fall of Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars. You will win the sympathy of the interlocutor, if you behave sincerely. And if champagne and music do not distract a potential partner, then you will have a chance to mention that you could be useful to each other.
This is how experienced business executives and sales managers work. And this is how an ideal site should work in an era of content marketing.
How to advertise a business without imposing products to the consumer: cases Captains of Industry and IBM
Until the end of last year, the American content marketing company Captains of Industry used a site focused on selling its services. Services were sold, but the results were not outstanding. In December 2012, the company changed its approach to business promotion. Captains of Industry has launched a new site that focuses on showcasing the culture of this organization to potential customers. In particular, the company published in the "About Us" section a video that really tells about the organization, and not about the benefits of its products.
At the end of January 2013, Captains of Industry attracted as many new customers as for the whole 2012. And this is without a single word in the promo video about the uniqueness of the sales offer and explaining its advantages over competitors. The creators of the video did not even tell what the company specifically does for the clients, since there are corresponding sections of the site for this. Instead, they presented Captains of Industry employees and asked them to answer a few questions.
Watching the video, the audience has the opportunity to virtually visit the company's office, to feel the working atmosphere, to evaluate the sense of humor of the specialists and the democratic nature of the leadership. When new customers first come to the Captains of Industry office to discuss collaboration, they feel that they are back where they are waiting for and where they have been before.
Another example I would like to mention is the IBM video about the corporation’s desire to hire the most talented professionals, regardless of their nationality, color or sexual orientation. After watching the video, a potential customer will feel sympathy for IBM. Please note that there are no sales and a unique sales offer in the video.
How to showcase your corporate culture with content: 7 tips
First of all, let's say that we do not like the term "corporate culture". We don’t like it, because this term is already “occupied” with a not quite correct meaning, followed by a double-breasted suit with a tie, polished shoes, internal corporate rules set out on three A4 pages, and New Year’s corporate parties with busy grandmothers. It seems to us that corporate culture is quite another. This is the spirit of the company, which is difficult to express with any instructions. These are unwritten rules of behavior. These are values that cannot be declared, because the declaration of these values kills their very nature (they cease to be values). In the end - this is what makes the company different from others. These are people, their behavior at work and outside it, as well as what makes these people strive for a particular company, besides their salaries. How to express the spirit of the company or - if you like - its corporate values?
One of the main ways is through content.
Regular publication of branded content allows the audience to demonstrate the organization's culture and break through consumer immunity to advertisements. The tips below will help you create such content.
Determine what your employees and customers like most about your company in its corporate culture. For example, you can conduct an online consumer survey and anonymous staff survey. Please note that we are talking about studying the opinions of all specialists, and not just managers and middle managers. Very often, ordinary employees provide the most valuable information in the course of such research. Moreover, as a rule, it is by ordinary employees who will judge your corporate values.
Do not limit yourself to online customer surveys. Select multiple customers and talk to them in person. You will learn first-hand what your customers like and dislike about your company. Perhaps sales managers should be more interested in customer needs? And it is better to hold meetings with consumers in your office, as there is a good atmosphere, delicious coffee and vanilla cookies? Face-to-face conversations with buyers usually become a valuable source of good ideas.
- Analyze the information received from employees and customers and discuss it with colleagues. Choose the 3-5 attributes of corporate culture that respondents like best. Think maybe some of these points need additional reinforcement?
It's time to brainstorm. Gather the staff of your company and invite them to give out a few dozen content ideas. Brainstorming should answer this question: "How to attract and captivate the audience with a story about the culture of the company?"
You can use any type of content - texts, videos, podcasts, infographics, polls, tests, etc. The main requirement - the materials should help potential customers understand the culture of your organization without the typical techniques used in sales. In other words, you need to tell the audience that you are the best without advertising yourself. The story should be natural, not intrusive or selling.
Perhaps in the history of your company there are facts that the audience does not know about. They can emphasize the values that employees of the company are oriented to during their work. Your task is to write about it, make a video, draw a picture - tell consumers about the organization's culture in one way or another.
Integrate the received content ideas into the information campaign of your company. The created article or video should not be divorced from its overall content strategy. For example, if you plan to attract new customers, use the experience of Captains of Industry and publish a video in the section "About Us". And if you need the best people in your industry, remember the IBM video when creating content. Publish the created material in the "Jobs" section.
Regardless of which section of the site you publish branded content, pay attention to its surroundings. All content on your site should be part of a great story. For example, Captains of Industry do not tell in the video about the services provided. However, a site visitor can get the relevant information in one click.
- Show the content to several people you trust. This should be both company employees and friends who are not related to the business. Post content if selected by critics like it. Modify the content if you have received significant comments.
- Measure content performance. Creating and publishing branded content, like any other information campaign, should begin with goal definition and performance metrics. You can use quantitative and qualitative indicators of success. The first group includes, for example, the number of social network shares, the number of external links, traffic attracted, the number of page views or video views. The second is the feedback received from the audience after viewing the content.
- Publish branded content regularly. The culture and values of an organization cannot be shown using a single article or video. You will notice that some materials resonate with the audience, and some go unnoticed. Continue to publish new content, not paying attention to the failure. In the long run, this will increase brand awareness of your company, attract new customers and better employees.
The Internet has changed the way consumers get information about products and companies. In times of social networking and content marketing, buyers no longer pay attention to banal advertising, even if it is beautifully packaged. Customers want to know who you are, what kind of music you listen to, what inspires you and what you are guided by spending 12 hours a day in the workplace. The audience wants you to like it. In this case, she will buy your product.
Branded content that demonstrates the culture and values of an organization helps a business to appeal to potential and existing customers. It works around the clock and is more effective than annoying ads.
What inspires your employees? Tell us about it in the comments.