How to Humanize Your Brand With Storytelling

You’ve heard it before:  The best way to attract new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones is by connecting with them in a deeply human way. Often, though, establishing a human connection via digital mediums presents a challenging task for marketers. After all, the Web creates a barrier between you and your audience. Unique, personalized stories that resonate with your audience work to diminish this obstacle, and help to create meaningful customer relationships.

Before we begin discussing strategy and highlighting great examples of brand storytelling, let’s talk about what not to do. “Brand storytelling” might make you think this will serve as a great platform to share your brand’s unique story. While this is certainly important, it is not what brand storytelling is about. Rather, this content marketing strategy is about telling the stories of your consumers so they can feel more connected to your brand.

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Three Ways to Make Your Content Blossom This Spring

tulip-690320_1280Springtime is a light at the end of a dark and seemingly never-ending tunnel for residents of New England. Though we are used to crazy weather, the wintry mix of snow, sleet and arctic winds can quell the spirits of even the staunchest optimists among us. Spring’s long, warm days and blossoming flowers are a welcome relief after the cold and ice.

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Target’s “OCD” Holiday Sweater Stirs Up Controversy

If there is one thing people love about the holidays, it’s ugly sweater parties (or maybe that’s just me). And, over the years, Target has met consumers’ unfashionable, but festive, demands by selling “ugly” sweaters throughout this time of the year.

These swoooopps2eaters are usually a big hit amongst holiday shoppers, but this year one sweater‘s message is creating chaos on social media.

The controversial sweater reads “OCD Obsessive Christmas Disorder,” and it’s generating a storm of backlash on Twitter. This is because the message seems to blatantly trivialize mental illness, specifically Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

For example, one angry individual responded on Twitter by saying “Hey @Target this sweater isn’t cute or funny. OCD is a serious mental illness that shouldn’t be mocked.”

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Content Marketing and Craft Breweries: A Match Made in Beer Heaven

I can still remember the moment I fell in love with craft beer and, believe it or not, it had nothing to do with the taste, color or aroma of these hop-filled brews.

I had just turned 21 and was flying out to visit my sister who now lives in Boulder, Colorado, which is home of some of the country’s best tasting, and most successful craft beers.shutterstock_81784003

Yes, Colorado has a lot more to offer than that fizzy yellow water that Coors attempts to pass off as beer.

Having been out to Colorado once before turning 21, I was excited to return over the Thanksgiving holiday and tour some of the local breweries such as Avery Brewing Co. (before they moved into their massive new location). In fact, Avery was the first brewery I ever toured and it was the place where I learned that craft brewing is far more about culture, love and passion than it is about making a great beer (but it’s a lot about that, too).

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How I Got Hooked On Benefit Cosmetics

make upHi, my name is Diana Bishop and I am a Benefit Cosmetics addict. This is my story.

I’ll admit I’m not what you would typically dub a “girly girl” and so I’ve never been one to cake on pounds of makeup, let alone spend a large sum of money on beauty products. And while smothering my cheekbones with rosey powder still isn’t my style, I just can’t seem to end my bi-monthly trip to the Benefit Cosmetics store where I empty my wallet for a handful of my favorite products. Continue reading “How I Got Hooked On Benefit Cosmetics”

Lessons From The Donald: Don’t Trump Up Your Content

It is ironic that the most business-savvy candidate in the 2016 presidential race also appears to be the least adept at branding. Donald J. Trump, 69, an American real estate tycoon, television host, politician and author, has a long history of successfully marketing casinos, resorts and even clothing lines that bear his name, yet, in the political arena, his personal branding efforts seem unfocused and unpredictable.

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Retooling Your Brand? Make Sure You Have Supporting Content

Back in April, PepsiCo made headlines when the company announced plans to stop shipping bottles of Diet Pepsi containing aspartame—a widely used but controversial artificial sweetener. And this week, the first shipments of its new aspartame-free beverages, containing the sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium (or “Ace-K”), will slowly make their way onto grocery store shelves.

shutterstock_178657133It’s a big change for the Diet Pepsi brand, and one that comes at an important time as we’re exactly one month away from the big September 10 kickoff to the NFL season. So executives at PepsiCo are waiting with bated breath to see how customers will react to the change.

The big question is, will the change encourage consumers to continue reaching for Diet Pepsi? Or will more people start reaching for Diet Coke? Only time will tell how consumers react to the new product.

As you can see, making a change to a product can be a stressful experience. This is especially true in the food and beverage industry, where making even a small adjustment—like replacing an ingredient—can have a massive impact on taste, and thus consumer perception. Continue reading “Retooling Your Brand? Make Sure You Have Supporting Content”

Why I’m Not Buying McDonald’s Branding Shift

As the national and global populations have become increasingly aware of the benefits of healthy eating, fast food chains have had to find ways to re-invent themselves to remain viable. But perhaps no chain has been hit harder by this shift in public consciousness than McDonald’s, which has seen its sales plummet quarter after quarter in recent years, most recently in the second three months of 2015, when earnings fell another 10 percent.

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Should Your Content Be Inclusive?

Inclusive

Not one to follow reality TV or tabloid gossip, I did happen upon the E! channel’s new series, “I Am Cait,” in which Caitlyn Jenner leads viewers through the early stages of her recent gender transition. I only watched the first 20 minutes of the show, but what I found most interesting was not in the show at all, but an ad for Airbnb, the community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book accommodations around the world, which aired twice while I watched.

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Why Too Many Meetings Can Be Death for Marketers’ Productivity

For marketers, the number of meetings we attend can sometimes feel overwhelming. For example, personally speaking, I am proud to take part in some of my organization’s most important collaborative sessions and decision-making processes. Between half-day strategic sessions and ad-hoc meetings, however, some weeks can feel a bit nightmarish.

I’m not the only marketer who feels this way. Research from software development company Atlassian found that 45 percent of employees feel overwhelmed by the number of meetings they must attend every month—over 60 meetings for most employees, or about two per day. Although there is no specific data on the length of these meetings, consider that even two half-hour meetings per day amounts to five hours per week.

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