Where the Conversation’s at.

Here’s a nice infographic from Brian Solis that may help you decide what platforms to use for your marketing channels.

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Hello Flo

Just when you thought advertising for Feminine Hygiene products couldn’t get any more interesting (Ha!) Hello Flo went and created a highly entertaining film using a fictional young girl’s first period as inspiration to tell a very amusing story!

And their website http://helloflo.com is a highly engaging site as well focussed on everything to do with Females and Female issues.

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Nice to see a brand breaking free from  the mould of the “happy girl running carefree along the beach” cliche.

I challenge you to think positively about the #EtisalatChallenge

The laws of physics demonstrate that for every trend, there is an equal and opposite counter trend and I am a firm believer in this principle. There never is an absolute truth, rather a series of forces that shape our lives and we get to choose what suits us, there is no black and white but a series of grey.

And so it is with the #etisalatchallenge. For years people have been complaining that the Telco “doesn’t listen” “is old fashioned” and “doesn’t reach out to the community” – and then finally when it does, it gets bagged out on social media.

I know there are only 2 Telco’s in the UAE but that is precisely why the #etisalatchallenge is so bold because rather than rest on their laurels, Etisalat demonstrates that they are serious about offering best in market products and services. If you check the Etisalat website, they have offers that are first in the market and quite useful for various audiences.

What this campaign has done is create a conversation around Etisalat and it invites people to be part of that conversation either through the #etisalatchallenge or via opinions about the campaign and that’s what every brand wishes for, to start a conversation.

Rather than critisizing Etisalat’s move, we should support and encourage this gesture by a prominent and iconic UAE brand. Maybe it could have been done in a more relevant way (using meaningful brand ambassadors and having a better customer service response across social media) but it takes guts to challenge people and live up to the challenge. And, taking a Challenger position is not something usually done by an established player.

Brands that want to stay relevant constantly innovate and challenge themselves. And this is exactly what Etisalat has done. So now Etisalat should continue to challenge itself by listening and learning from customer feedback.

And I challenge other brands in the UAE to be open and transparent about their products and customer service and to put in place mechanisms that help identify and resolve customer complaints.

#UAEbrandchallenge

Show Your Customers Love.

I interact with a few of my very favorite brands and thinkers on various social media platforms. These are brands that share similar values and world view as myself. I enjoy receiving useful bits of information about various topics from them.

What distinguishes these brands is that I like to extend to them my support. I like things they post on social and I participate in conversations they initiate by posting comments, answering questions, retweeting, repinning.

But recently I’ve started to question this interaction. Because if I’ve taken the time to like and comment and engage with a brand then I believe the least the brand can do is recognise this relationship/support.

Brands as friends.

If we imagine that a brand was a person, would this be the way a person would treat their friends? By ignoring them? Until now social media has been used as an updated form of push marketing rather than a genuine attempt to connect with people (albeit brands push their messages out to people who have opted in to the messages).

Social media is such a great way to connect with people but when not used properly, it just highlights a brands opportunistic and selfish tendancies. Any brand employee can be given the tools to connect, but very few brand custodians or employees really understand how to talk and how to treat people.

Here are some points I’ve thought about:

Why don’t brands link their customers online and offline interactions?

Why don’t brands reward customers who support them online?

Why don’t brands use social media as a form of customer support and customer service?

If I was a brand owner / custodian I’d make sure that I connected the people who most commonly interact with me to some sort of loyalty or ‘appreciation’ program. I would send them a little note “Dear friend, next time you’re *at the cafe / at the mall / shopping for shoes* we’d like to shout you a coffee, because you’re special to us!”.

It’s time we built databases or eCRM programs that connect people’s social media activity to the real world. Databases that value people, not numbers and interactions not transactions.

That’s how I’d treat my friends and supporters.

~ Brenda.

Action Brands

The brands that pique my interest and win my loyalty are those that care about my health, wellbeing and intellect and that of my family and the world around me.

They tend to be products and services, publishers (magazines, journals), personalities (Jamie Oliver), places (bookstores and museums) that have an inclusive and empathetic view of the world and give back to the community or world at large in an honest and transparent way.

I am loyal to brands that I can interact with, and if they can help me benefit or serve a noble cause or organisation, even better.

Here is my formula to grow modern conscious brands:

Purpose + Relevance + Omnichannel Presence + Engagement + Honest Conversations + Postive Social Impact = Loyalty and Action.

That’s not much to ask for is it?