“Four Ways Brands Can Build Better Relationships”

Article Summary

JP Lafors, writer and brand voice for Forbes.com published an article titled “Four Ways Brands Can Build Better Relationships”. The purpose of this article is provide its readers four underlying tips on building better relationships for brands, as well as to get their readers thinking whether or not if their brand is more transactions or interaction orientated. Lafors is a strong believer that transactional excellence for brands is over, and that when interactional excellence is executed and fostered correctly it is by far a main source for a brands success.

“Todays reality is that consumers today, people today, are thirst for brands to provide something more than just a product or service”. I could not agree more with this statement. For myself, I find that when I’m online shopping and I come across a brand that I love like “Winona Australia”, I start to do what I would consider website digging. I am not only shopping for clothes, I am searching for more information on this brand, how to follow them on other social platforms, access to their blogs, and somewhere so that I can leave my information so that I can be updated with promotions and coupon codes. All of these actions I take upon myself so that I can feel a sense of connection to this brand, also known as joining a community. Brands that create Blogs so that they are accessible right on their website is a growing trend simply because its original content, straight from the heart and soul of the particular brand. Allowing for quick and easy access to blogs, users are able to engage with and keep an ongoing relationship with the brand once the web browser has been closed. These basic, yet necessary ideas are similar to the four major ways brands can build better their relationships.

  1. “Relationships have moved beyond product transactions to human interaction”. An example from the article is how Nike is not only known for selling shoes that perform well for runners, but the communities they have created around Nike+ designed to create a next level experience for runners, athletes, and others who share a common interest or purpose. In this particular case, Nike’s concern isn’t in favor for the transaction, it is solely for the heart of the community. This idea can also be applied to my example above on how a brand like Winona Australia goes beyond both their offline and online retail stores.

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  1. “Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond service transactions to personal interactions”. A recent personal interaction I had over the phone was with Adidas. I had made a purchase online but wanted to make sure it was going to be sent to a different address I had originally provided them with. I explained my reasoning for changing addresses and explained I was moving and they replied, “How exciting, are you a student going back home for the summer” and then I got into how I was graduating in May and the conversation carried on while the employee was looking up my information. The Adidas employee could have easily put me on hold and put some horrible elevator music on, but they chose to create conversation, learn more about me all while helping me solve my ordering issue. To me this is excellent customer services as well as a memorable personal interaction. Go Adidas!


  1. “Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond marketing-led transactions to user-led demand”. The author used a great example explaining how marketers truly don’t have the control when, and where and how people experience the brand and that it is simply on peoples own terms. Scotsman is a B-to-B ice machine brand that goes beyond its profits and benefits off of “nugget ice” by actually creating a user-led digital community (LuvtheNug.com) that allows users to share their favorable chewable ice and find places that serve nugget ice. By creating this online community Scotsman is not only creating more brand awareness but has allowed for others who share a common interest to come together and interact with one another. Scotsman is an exceptional example of how to tap into a humanly relevant idea when working with B-to-B marketing.

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  1. “Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond a structured research process to organic discovery”. Another quote from this particular idea is that “Relationships we have with one another are leading us to brands, not just how marketers lead brands to us”. I would have to entirely agree with this and say that because of Amazons “recommended for you” found right on the sidebar has easily influenced the way I purchase on their website and has brought me to taking out my credit card multiple times especially when I didn’t plan on too. I was sold not only by the accuracy of these recommendations but as well as the peer reviews that I had read right on the website. Even though the algorithm used to recommend these products has already been pre-assigned, I still feel a sense of personal interaction during my overall experience with the brand- simply because they know what I like as a an individual and consumer.

 

All of these major points share the idea of brands being “humanly relevant”. By going beyond the transactions and understanding consumer’s needs, lifestyles and behaviors, brands will find themselves to be very successful in maintaining relationships by building powerful communities.

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#GradChat – Topics for Discussion

Tonight @FifieldBrooke and @mm_caprio are hosting our first ever tweetchat – #GradChat. This is an assignment for our #ccmkt430 class with @ejyoung. The purpose of this assignment is to conduct our own tweetchat based on a community we feel passionate about. What else could we relate to more right now than graduating?

We hope for fellow undergrads, soon to be grads, and post grads to all feel welcome in participating in this chat. Our goal is for people to join knowing that they will be able to leave this chat with advice or even just a piece of mind. Graduating is scary, overwhelming yet very exciting. Hosting a tweet chat like this will allow others from all over to connect, share words of wisdom, and who knows, you might just network with someone who can get you your dream job. Whatever you purpose may be for joining #GradChat we hope each individual is able to contribute great content and walk away with something as well as return for next weeks #GradChat 4/15 @ 7pm for another round.

Below are topics for discussion, but not limited to.

  1. What are some tips for networking as a college student?
  2. Networking tips you’ve used or seen via Linkedin
  3. What are some ways you have networked outside your college?
  4. How do your professors help you w/ your job search?
  5. What are your favorite job searching sites?
  6. How much do you base your job search on location?

Source: nerdwallet.com

If you have any topics you would like to add to the chat before tonights #GradChat or next weeks, please comment below!

Wish us luck! – #GradChat 

“Digital Minds” Book Summary

I previously chose to read Digital Minds as my first option based off of recommendation. As a marketing major with a strong desire to indulge into more specific career concentrations, I could tell by flipping through pages that Digital Minds was packed full of valuable information that could really open up my mind to the world of digital marketing. Digital Minds is very much so a condensed textbook. I find that I am able to take away a lot more knowledge out of books that are very concise and to the point without any filler content. The subtitle of the book is “12 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing”, which is entirely suitable, as there are twelve chapters, each one being a different aspect of digital marketing necessary to be successful. Prior to reading this book I was intrigued to discover if the author ranked these twelve items or if they were just random. In this reflection I will touch upon each of these twelve aspects of digital marketing and provide a bit of an explanation as to why it is valuable to keep these things in mind when operating any type of business.

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Source: friesenpress.com

The first of the twelve principals is referred to as The Digital Landscape: Framework and Strategy. The digital marketing framework consists of six key elements; discovery, Internet business analysis, build, implement, measure, and manage results. Discovery appears to be the most important and longest phase of the six elements of the digital marketing framework. Core components of discovery include identifying goals and objectives, selecting strategies and tactics, exploring new opportunities, and setting metrics and targets. It is extremely valuable to use business goals to plan the digital marketing strategy in order to ensure effective use of digital media and generation of a significant return on investment. The best way to implement a digital marketing strategy is internet business analysis. There are three specific tasks of Internet business analysis that will bring valuable information relevant to the success of a firm. The following are market segmentation, persona development, and competitor analysis. The next step of the digital marketing framework is build; build refers to resource planning and allocation. The build phase is what rolls into the implementation phase. During implementation, all the digital assets and campaigns must be scheduled for launch. Once it has been implementated a crucial action must be taken which is the measurement stage. Measuring enables you to determine which strategies work best and enhance those that are generating a positive return on investment with your marketing budget. While measuring your results is hugely important in generating ROI, managing those results is the key to effective digital marketing. By monitoring digital marketing efforts, you can make ongoing adjustments and rapid improvements to campaigns. I found myself relating these last steps to similar ideas that guest speaker David Wynn from MyWebGrocer as the product manager who had recently visited my capstone class. David ended his presentation talking about how they measure their actions in any department. Like this book, David talked about how building small ideas is the most effective way of growing so that the measuring process can be done in the most concise and efficient way so that you can then learn and continue to keep building. These six elements of the digital marketing framework all play an important role in using digital marketing effectively.

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Source: abetteruserexperience.com

“In the past, businesses could get away with sending their messages in short bursts through traditional marketing mediums. But today, businesses are shifting towards attracting their target market with good content” (Muscat 19). This quote speaks directly to the title of the chapter, “Content Marketing is King.” Content marketing utilizes a number of mediums to get content out to the target market; common mediums include social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as blog posts and articles posted online. Social media sites allow customers to connect with you and ask questions about your products or services. Social profiles help expand the customer base by driving more traffic towards your high-quality content. Articles and blog posts have been more popular than ever for business because of the potential it gives a business to draw in customers by creating engaging content. While it does require time and money to develop high quality content, it is actually extremely cost effective when compared to other forms of advertising, such as “paid search advertising”. Paid search advertising is measured by how successful you are at driving traffic to your content or even social media platforms. This being the more expensive option does come with some benefiting options that allow you to make changes to your strategy as needed.

One of the key characteristics of digital marketing is speed. The Internet allows for instantaneous connection with businesses; as a result, paid search advertising placed on search engine results pages can be helpful in positioning a brand in a way that will make it stand out to consumers. Paid search advertising ads are driven by keywords. Meaning that when a consumer searches a certain keyword, your company’s site may come up, depending on how much thought into your keywords as well as how much of a grasp your brand has on your consumers searching habits.

paid-search-marketing-processSource: marketfunction.com

“People do not read on the Internet, they scan. They see headlines, images, and bullet points. Depending on the personality type of your visitor, you have between two and eight seconds to convince them to stay on your website” (Bankoff 52). Landing pages are extremely important as a result of peoples’ nature to just breeze over online content. All landing pages need to be able to have some type of influence on the consumer so that they take a specific desire action by the company. Actions such as share content on social media, sign up for a newsletter, or make an online purchase. The image on the left is a great example of a landing page that includes testimonials, a logo, a headline, links to more information, technical specifications of products, guarantees, and relevant and appealing media.

According to the book there are three typical online behaviors; surf, search, and social. “Consumers are now spending more than half of their media time surfing popular news, entertainment, and lifestyle sites on the Internet” (Chenoweth 71). Since surfing the web is such a lengthy experience for people it is important to display your advertisements in a way that will create top-of-the-mind awareness for your brand. Through a number of types of targeting, including geo-targeting, site specific targeting, behavioral targeting, and demographic targeting, you can essentially pinpoint where your ads will be seen and by who will the help of cookie tracking.

When I search for anything on Google I cant help but to naturally hit the link that appears on top of the list. Companies that have links to their sites at the top of the Google search results page accomplish this by having good SEO, search engine optimization. If done correctly, SEO can provide companies with outstanding return on investment. In order to achieve a “good” SEO, it is necessary to create content that is valuable, and people genuinely want to read. At the end of the day SEO is content driven, taking that extra bit of time to develop great content is key.

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Source:firstclickinc.com

Social media is quickly climbing its way to the top of digital marketing. While it is a constant battle of keeping up with the ever-changing trends on social media, businesses that stay on the ball and have a strong following on social media are reaping the benefits. There are currently four main social platforms that offer businesses unique opportunities to create brand awareness and draw in customers; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Businesses can pay to have their posts promoted, which will ensure that the posts are seen by a large number of people. In order to be successful in using social media, brands need to be consistent in posting content, encourage engagement (whether its liking, commenting, reposting) and direct traffic to their site as well as their social media pages. In order to be successful in digital marketing, companies need to embrace social media, because it is here to stay.

A great way to get consumers familiarized and interested in your brand is to create video content. Youtube, which began in 2005, has now flourished to the second largest search engine on the Internet, only topped by Google. Over four billion hours of video are watched each month on Youtube (Gill 124). Video marketing can be immensely helpful for businesses in certain industries. For example, I am currently working with my client Boyden Valley in improving their digital marketing as a whole. There is one thing that they are lacking in production which is video taking. There is an immense amount of knowledge on wine making they can share especially being a family owned business. I feel as though they could expect to see a high level of engagement if they were to post at least one video a month their YouTube channel. Creating videos enable you to really display the details of your product or service, and create value for the consumer. Videos should be posted on the company website as well as on all active forms of social media so that they can easily be stumbled upon.

“One of the best ways to generate new leads and nurture existing ones is by implementing a carefully planned and engaging email marketing strategy” (Baldwin 137). Email marketing is a campaign that spans over a period of time and involves a specific call to action. When customers make a purchase, whether online or in the store it is crucial ask for their email so that it can be processed into a data sheet. By doing so you now have accumulated useful data as well as ways to contact them so they can stay updated with your brand.

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Source: pinterest.com

Since customers are often accessing your website or social media platforms on a variety of devices, it is important to be sure that you utilize responsive web designs. You want your content to look the same across all devices; this way, customers interact with a page they are familiar with and comfortable with.

Mobile marketing is currently exploding in both popularity and importance to a successful digital marketing strategy. The book states that as a business owner, it is crucial to realize the fact that at any given time throughout the day, even throughout the night, that a person’s mobile device is more than likely within arms reach. Between 2008 and 2012, time spent on mobile devices increased by nearly three hundred percent (Cook 162). People often use their mobile devices to access social media platforms, as well as surf the web. Businesses are beginning to use QR codes, which is a code that your phone can read and will then direct you to a particular online page. As mobile is ever-growing, it is of utmost importance for companies to utilize mobile marketing to connect with consumers.

The final of the “Twelve Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing” is the importance of analytics. Analytics enable you to measure exactly how effective your digital marketing efforts are by displaying the number of clicks each link has gotten, as well as where those clicks are coming from. By looking at analytics, businesses can make adjustments to their digital marketing efforts in order to maximize ROI and achieve business goals.

Want, Need, Have

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Like one of my favorite Pinterest board “Want, Need, Have”, I have also started to visualize my life as well as career path into “wants, needs, and what I already have. These categories are more than just the material items I have on my Pinterest board, and I don’t mean price.  What’s interesting about my Pinterest board is all three of these categories are combined into one board. I never really had a reason for doing this but thinking more deeply about the meaning behind it i realized that I Mikayla Caprio age 21, soon to be college graduate have a lot of things, need a few, and want too much. My life is this board that I am slowly and carefully pinning everything together. Like I previously stated these pins aren’t necessarily the material things I possess or the number of followers on Instagram I have, I’m talking about my short and long term goals, things and people I need in life to make me happy, and what I already have gained in my life through experiences over the past four years of college. This is a growing board of mine, not like a dream board, but my life board.

“Wants” – I visualize my want’s to be both short term and long term goals.

My short Term goals for the next couple of months are to send my resume into about ten different companies spread across the country as well across the wold. I like to have options, lots of options. Fingers crossed I will have these options prior to graduation. Ah, yes graduating is also a short term goal of mine. I wish to make deans list so that I can leave Champlain College with my diploma in hand knowing that I put in my all into this semester. Making Deans list is not only going to make me feel extremely accomplished but I believe I will make a great impression on future employers. Another short term goal of mine is to be taken serious during the transition of my time from a student into a marketer. I also want to continue gaining experience at American Apparel in sales, promotions and fashion merchandising. Working alongside the manager as well as the fashion merchandising I can learn the ins and outs of this industry in which I could very well see myself working in. If anything I can take away my experience as working with and contributing to market research, development and various strategies as an international company. Gaining this experience, making connections and proving my abilities I would like to see where it could take me which leads me into my long term goals.

For my long term goals, I have very high expectations for myself. I know Its unfair to do that to yourself but I truly find setting high limits for yourself you tend to only push yourself to work harder and harder to get there. I hate to disappoint anyone, and I think I use a fear of disappointing myself as a “tool” throughout my life. Below are pending, unrevised and possibly not the most realistic long term goals:

  • Gain Connections – become a LinkedIn queen
  • Get Hired at dream job in either California or Australia
  • Make a medium-high income & become fully self sufficient
  • Travel to places I wish to see
  • Meet new friends, create new networks
  • Always have time to visit family & friends
  • Work for top notch companies
  • Make a difference- work with a company that is socially responsible
  • Decide whether or not I wish work for myself so that I can prepare for my own business
  • Design own home, start family
  • Retire at 50
  • Look back on life and know I “killed it” in every aspect aka did everything I could have possibly imagined of doing

“Needs”- Simplistic, yet necessary

My needs are to be happy, healthy, and self sufficient. Happiness for me comes from my family, good friends, my boyfriened and the experiences I share with them. I’m all about, ugh I hate saying it but “you only live once”. It’s true, we are slowly dying and I come to the realization that spending time with those you love are what builds you, gives you confidence, and also gives you the courage to do things you may never believed you could do. I take up any opportunity to go to new places, go to concerts, get involved in sports, basically any spontaneous thing I can do with my friends because after all this is what we live for. My health has also been something I have become very aware of over the past two years. I eat very healthy so that I can feel good, look good and live a long life. Along with eating healthy I take exercising quite serious throughout my week. I want to maintain my health so that when I’m retired at 50 I can still go for long runs without giving myself a heart attack. Lastly, I wish to be self sufficient over the next couple of years. Meaning that the umbilical cord of funding from my parents wont be in tact for much longer. In fact I would love to be able to give back to them…but thats a very long term goal of mine.

 cropped-10915343_10152926687241212_5352381729074410485_n1.jpgPhoto taken at The Mulia in Bali, Indoneisa / 2014

“Have”– Stepping back and appreciating what I already have

 I will come out and say that I have a lot to be grateful for. Theres so much a human can have whether they’re tangible like possessions or intangible for example, knowledge and experiences. I have a great foundation at home, at school and as well in Australia, and by foundation I mean friends and family that would go to the end of the world for me. I have dealt with a father who couldn’t step up to the plate and father his own children – from that I have gained so many life lessons and as well I have gained a life mentor – a stepfather for the past twelve years who I cant imagine life without. I have been able travel across the world, study abroad twice in Australia, Work in Australia as well live with my boyfriend who is from Australia. I have completed 1/4th of my degree in Australia and have grown so much as a student and as an individual. I have become more as an independent person from my travels and have had the true Australian experience, not once but twice. I have made connections in Australia and networked with promotional companies and agencies, study abroad programs as well as the university attended. I have walked away, or flew away from this beautiful country with more of a network I could have ever imagined doing so on my own.

As my college career is coming to a close, I will be moving into the real world with a bachelors degree in marketing and a specialization in sales and brand management – a very, very expensive piece of paper. I have so much opportunity that will come from it and so far I must say I have had been blessed. Taking the good that has come my way and outweighing it with the bad I have let every experience shape me into becoming the best person I can be.

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Photo taken at Burleigh Heads Beach, Gold Coast Australia / 2014follow-me-on-pinterest_

Dark & Social? – A request said no business ever

I recently came across my college professor Elaine Young’s most recent post titled “Using Social Media to Propel Your Business”. This is a presentation she created and shared for Champlain Colleges #byobiz social media workshop. Before going ahead and clicking on it I thought to myself, “I don’t necessarily have a business of my own, however I could most certainly come across resourceful information and tips for my current client I am working with for my strategic community course”. What stood out to me within a couple of slides was “Dark Social”, something I have never heard of before, and I suddenly became intrigued to understand the meaning of this so-called “dark social” and the impacts it has on a business.

The Dark Social Era 

Dark social sharing is when people (in this case consumers) share content digitally, but not directly through measurable social networks that have social media marketing tracking like Google Analytics. The best way to visualize dark social is to think of my friend dear Kate who is planning a trip to Vegas and needs to pack all of her things in one carry on but is stumped as to what has she needs to bring and what she can leave behind. Let’s say I decide to Google “What to Pack for Vegas” and stumble upon this great blog post titled “What to Pack for Vegas in One Carry-on Suitcase”. It has everything she was looking for. I am really excited to share this blog post with Kate because I know its exactly what she was looking for so I copy and past the link and send it to her via Facebook messenger. What’s the big deal?

These “private” messages that are only shared between users are untraceable and unmeasurable. The issues that occur for the blogger in this example is that they published some great insightful content but they’re not receiving any credit from my Facebook message, nor gaining publicity and is most certainly not receiving any feedback. How will the blogger ever know if what they’re producing on their blog is useful to others when they’re not receiving any type of feedback. Dark social is ultimately breaking connections and relationships with an author and its readers, and especially a business to consumer relationship.

Internet users worldwide who share content digitally and via dark social, by age. Source: emarketer

Users worldwide sharing content digitally and via dark social. Source: emarketer 

Taken from the graph shown above the two demographics with the highest percentages for sharing via dark social are from the ages 16-34 and 55 and over. According to a RadiumOne study conducted in October 2014 their findings conclude that:

84% of people share content online globally

32% of people who share content online will only share via Dark Social

69% of all sharing activity takes place via dark social globally versus 23% via Facebook

Source: RadiumOne 

Dark Social – Geographic Segmentation 

Percentage of shares by sharing channels, by geographic locationsSource: RadiumOne 

“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.” Kristin Smaby, “Being Human is Good Business”


The underlying struggle for all businesses facing this dark social era is the disconnect of influence businesses and marketers have on customers and their decision to share via digital recognized channels. Here are some findings, recommendations and ideas to take into consideration:

  • Solicit Feedback 

If your a business with a strong cliental base with numbers that are clearly showing your business is striving as a whole you must be doing something right. If it it clear that your most loyal customers are speaking highly over your brand then you ask them to put those experiences for the world to see. People are busy and also lazy when it comes to these type of requests, this isn’t something that everyone will be willing to do, however providing incentives for this is also very effective.

  • Content Marketing, Content Marketing & Content Marketing 

Dark social sharing is basically copying and pasting whether its text, photo, video, infographic or  a quote. By doing so theres no trace to where the content originally came from and who the true owner is. Brands that share their own stories whether they convey an experience, educate or even inspire, people will notice them and even better share these stories. These stories or posts will not go unseen or unrecognized because they are personal to your brand.

  • Facebook Is Your Friend 

Facebook can seem very overwhelming to a business. All of these analytics, but what do they really even mean to your business? Interestingly enough in North America 31% of the social sharing can be tracked through Facebook. There is a great potential of Facebook marketing for your business if you have not already taken it on. Not only can you track almost every little interaction with your brands page you can target using photos or videos to your desired audience both by using a psychographic and demographic approach. There are all sorts of opportunities for sequential messaging with posting videos on Facebook. Creative that can tap into both current and potential consumers emotions and align with the buyers journey are what I believe to be the most effective approach.

  • Email… Say What? 

Facebook may have the highest percentages of social sharing, but email actually has three times more accounts. Working with these numbers it is clear that email is much more widespread in the US over social media. Just because your brand doesn’t always receive replies or even generate sales from specific emails, don’t give up. If you haven’t already take up on e-newsletters. According to Radicati, it is estimated that in 2015 53% of newsletter and emails get opened on mobile devices. This is a huge insight for the future of mobile sharing. Take advantage of this high percentage by incorporating a “send to a friend”, “tweet this”, “share on Facebook”, “comment”. Also, try including your latest blog post in your email signature and measure the results!

Looking at Dark social as a hurdle for your brand, is OK, but make sure to use it as a time for growth as a marketer and brand. Mastering these approaches as well as new ones will not only lower the numbers of the dark social era but rise the percentage of those who share digitally.