4 steps that South African brands can take to win with consumers at Micro-moments

4 steps that South African brands can take to win with consumers at Micro-moments

What are Micro-moments?

How would you describe the difference between a laptop and a smartphone to your grandmother?

Shape and size are probably the first thing that comes to mind and, not surprisingly, that’s also what differentiates these devices in the marketing world.

Laptops are bigger and usually, require a desktop or a lap and a wall plug. This means that your audience to online media through a laptop is relaxed, perhaps with a cup of coffee in one hand and time to allow themselves to be intrigued by captivating design and wowed by a list of the benefits your product offers, but a smartphone is a whole new ball game.

A smartphone can be whipped out your pocket on impulse in a bustling street, the stuffy back seat of a taxi or a supermarket isle with a million products screaming for your attention. Smartphone users need answers to the questions right in front of them, they are multitasking, and they are late. Smartphone users are under pressure. Smartphone users, therefore, approach marketing in a completely different manner.

Between Sipho sitting with coffee and his laptop in Seattle and the Jahara running through Woolies with five minutes left of lunch hour, who do you think would have gathered from your site that you only deliver on Tuesdays? In fact, the chances are that Jahara granny smith instead of golden delicious and she can’t even recall who served her. In fact, chances are the only thing that Jahara remembers was how many minutes she had to get back to work. This is called the narrowing effect.

When our minds get stressed they zero into one attribute in particular. There’s no time to consider complex positives, rather people tend to eliminate products based on negatives. They don’t look at reviews and they don’t revisit decisions.

 

If people are going to your site in a hurry for directions, bookings or answers, it should offer a clear, simple offering. Millions of customers around the world are listening through their smartphones by split seconds at a time. The question is, are you telling them what they need to hear, right there, right now?

 

Here are the 4 steps that South African brands can take to win with consumers at micro-moments:

 

1)      Know the four search types.

Your customers are using their micro-moments to buy off your site or to find information. If they are looking for information, it’s usually of three kinds: they want to know more about your product or service, they want to know how to use your product or they want to find out where you are. These four search types need to offer easy to get results.

 

2)       Answer questions.

With the four search types in mind, delve deeper into your customers experience by searching the most searched phrases about your brand. Are you happy with the results? Take some time to ask yourself if the customer really needs all the text and images they are seeing on the screen. The information should only be the answers to the questions inside a viewer’s head. Try to anticipate what they will need, and when they will need it in the purchasing journey.

 

3)      Play to location.

Is the information you see relevant to the many various environments that your customer may find themselves in? Or even better can you customise what the customer sees depending on their location?

 

4)      Make it fast.

They key word here is ‘eliminate’. Eliminating unnecessary information and images in the second step will save your user plenty of scanning time. Reducing the loading time of your pages and eliminating unnecessary clicks and steps in processes like checkout will also work miracles.

 

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Written by Abigail Koch, Abigail is a student of psychology and anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand. She is a young writer and a published children’s book writer and illustrator. Her interest in marketing, strategy and behavioral economics allows her to be a specialist projects consultant and designer.
What is a brand?

What is a brand?

A name, an image, a logo, a symbol, a word or any other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others. A brand is the specific perception in a customer’s mind concerning the qualities and attributes of your product or service, your brand is what creates a lasting impression in the minds of customers. It is what prospects think of or feel when they hear your name. Your brand is your most valuable asset and is what keeps customers coming back, recommending you to others and ultimately makes your business successful. It takes many years to build and it is therefore just as essential to protect your brand image as it is to create awareness.

Branding has been around for a very long time; it started more than a century ago when cattle famers used branding irons to ‘mark’ which cattle were theirs. This ‘mark’, eventually made its way onto products, with the widening array of products, producers found the need to distinguish the source of their goods. In the late 1880’s the infamous Coca-cola product started what is seen as today’s first branding: distinguishing coca cola from other soda’s in the market.

Building a brand is more than just making sure your product is distinguishable, functional, searchable and available. Building a brand is making a promise to your customers that they can expect long-term security, a competitive frame of reference and consistent delivery of functional as well as emotional benefits from using your product or service. Branding has thus far surpassed just the physical and functional nature of your product or service, it includes how the customer feels when they use your brand, the customer experience, the customer journey, the customer satisfaction and the customers willingness to continue to use your brand and refer it to others. Everything your brand touches or is associated with is a reflection of your brand. From your premises, your employees, your culture and values, your business operation policies to the manner in which your delivery trucks drive are all factors being accounted for when customers form perceptions of your brand. Hence why brand image, customer service, reputation management, brand partners need to be carefully considered. One unsatisfied customer has the potential to really cause great damage to your brand. The internet is not only your biggest tool as it can reach customers far and wide 24/7, it can also be your most dangerous one. The internet has given the consumer power and a voice, consumers now research you, compare you and read other customer testimonials, they can complain more easily about you and share experiences they had with you with millions of people immediately. The notion that the customer is your businesses most important asset is becoming more true everyday.

Building a brand, requires you to have certain key tools.  Your  brand building toolbox includes your brand’s identity, the visible elements of your brand, your product design,colours, logo, slogan and imagary . Constantly ensureyour brands image is always consistent and always adheres to your corporate identity.

Brand communication, the different channels a customer uses to interact with your brand, your website, social media channels, your store partner stores etc. Brand awareness, the extent to which your brand is recognized by customers, you need to reach the right customer, at the right time on the right channels.  Brand loyalty, how likely are customers to use your brand again, the right customer constantly needs to see or hear your product,  you can also build brand loyaly by ensuring your customers leave you satisfied, this way they will tell others about your brand. When a customer is familiar with a brand or favours it incomparably to its competitors, this is when you  have reached a high level of brand equity. One of the ways to see that your brand is growing stronger is when your customers start referring to it by something different from its brand name, think of Woolworths, everyone refers to it as Woolies or coca cola referred to as coke.

Brands are everywhere and consumers are constantly experiencing them in their daily lives so it is vital to protect, grow and reinvent your brand all the time.

Written by, Bronwyn van Dyk. Bronwyn joins Prana as a Marketing and Branding Consultant, working on specialist projects. Bronwyn has a B.Comm Business Management, a diploma in Marketing Management and a certificate in branding. Bronwyn started her career at FNB as a graduate for 5 years and is now an independent marketing consultant. She has worked her way to be a specialist in her field. Bronwyn has worked across a 360-degree marketing sphere in digital marketing and as well above and below the line advertising.
Using PR to drive business growth

Using PR to drive business growth

PR is unique and often tricky terrain to navigate, that, if applied strategically and correctly, can be an excellent way to drive business growth and increase brand awareness.  Bad publicity is often harder and more costly to repair, so it’s worth time, money and effort to strategize on your businesses approach to PR.

 

PR is often the least understood of business marketing tools.  Trends suggest that PR is becoming more and more vital to the credibility and amplification of most brands. A report from Influence & Co released this year indicates that thought leadership in particular is set to become a critical marketing tool in the year ahead and one of the most important aspects of good business PR.

 

According to world-renowned African PR firm, Magna Carta, South Africa is considered to have a mature PR market whose services are considered the best on the African continent. According to Vincent Magwenya, CEO of Magna Carta,  “Public relations, although still in its infancy in many African countries, is assuming new significance as international investors and South African companies expand operations on the continent.”

 

Here’s are 4 ways PR can help your business grow in the year ahead:

 

  1. It builds brand integrity

 

Being published in a newspaper or magazine, being seen on TV or heard on radio creates integrity around your brand. It tells the world you have a message or story that is important enough to be made public by media opinion-makers, who often come with their own unique brand and following. Once the brand has established itself with one or two key journalists or editors, it will open up further doors for other publications that are keen to use your expertise and knowledge. The key is consistency – a once off opinion piece or article will not establish your brand in the media – it needs to be done on message and in volume over time.

 

  1. It builds brand awareness

 

PR, if directed correctly can establish brand awareness in a certain sector very successfully. It’s not just about getting into the Sunday Times or the 08:00 pm news on TV; there are dedicated and specialized media platforms that really allow businesses to drill down into their own unique offering. Whether your business is IT, Finance, HR, digital, arty or socially driven, there are PR spaces for all sectors. Nando’s is a brand that continues to generate huge amounts of PR buzz through its quirky and witty adverts which tend to go viral through their unique take on South African life.

 

  1. Online publication has opened up endless opportunities

 

The emergence of online publication has opened up extensive opportunities for businesses to include a PR angle to their marketing. In a world of instant news and a demanding public, media platforms have to turn around information at an extremely fast rate and are always looking for news. It’s an opportunity for free publicity that just can’t be missed. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, eighty percent of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. The personal weight of a published article reaches people in a stronger manner than traditional advertising.  In 2015, Internet Live Stats released a report that indicates that South Africa ranks among the fastest growing internet markets in the world with around 24 million users. With a yearly growth rate of around 14% and only a 47% penetration rate, online platforms remain a key sector for current and potential PR opportunities.

 

  1. Every one has a story to tell

 

There is a story to be found in almost everything and PR is simply the channel to tell everyone else why this story matters. By establishing your brand in the PR world, further opportunities for publicity will open up. In particular, becoming a go-to opinion maker for the media to rely on for comment on topical matters is often a powerful offshoot to establishing your PR credibility.  If interested potential clients or even other media search for your business online, having positive and quality content published and available establishes your credibility with your audience immediately. Your brand’s story is the personality behind your business and a means for people to connect with and learn about you through the messaging and content that you put out there.

 

The PR wheel will keep turning as long as you establish a consistent and trusted message over time. It can often be disheartening as the news cycle can swallow up seemingly important information without any visible outcome. But it is hugely rewarding and beneficial if PR is done correctly and strategically and can really assist in your brand develop and business growth. Positive and valuable content that is readily and consistently available can ensure that PR becomes a key tool in the development of your brand.

Written by Kelly Miller, Kelly’s PR and communications background stems from several years as a political staffer in the Democratic Alliance’s media and communications division. This comprised running several major media and social media campaigns, including for current DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane. She has extensive knowledge of the media landscape in South Africa and believes in building personal relationships to get the job done.

Branding and Communications for Business

Branding and Communications for Business

Building a business is part of something great. Having a business name, mission and vision is not nearly enough to get the ball rolling. Reaching the maximum business potential is what companies focus on. You need something that your customers can hold on to, delivering your brand promise. A brand that people can identify with is just as important as a company providing a service. The definition of branding is “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products”– Entrepreneur.  Effective branding is what sets your company aside from the competition. So how do we achieve effective branding and communications in the new era?

A company’s image, brand message, customer service and communications, builds the foundation for the credibility of the business. In a digital age, with many marketing products out there, competition is on the rise. For this reason, strategically positioning your brand in line with your products and services that can speak to the consumer at a human level is vast becoming a trend. This means if you’re trying to communicate with key consumer targets through digital platforms, try to appeal to them by making their consumer experience almost personal.

While traditional branding is more focused customer retention, communicating with a wider audience through mass communications can turn out to be more profitable.

Best practices for branding and communications

  • Create a brand strategy for communicating and delivering your brand messages.
  • Be creative with attractive designs identifying your business using catchy phrases.
  • Create a compelling brand story by giving something useful to your customers.
  • Build around outreach programs, giving something to the community or providing an affordable service that is of high quality.
  • Create a buzz around an extreme offer that will drive traffic to your brand.
  • Expose your business using social media platforms.
  • Be consistent in your messages.
  • Show brand integrity and what your brand represents.

The idea behind brand building is for all business elements to integrate with your corporate identity. As a result of effective communications – through various mediums such as your business website, email signatures, email marketing, social media, print and advertising, packaging and promotional materials –your business uniforms and brings about a consistency.  With growing competition comes a growing need for businesses to upskill their creativity, user designs and communication integrations for a complete modern age brand initiative. Now is the time – to take the time – to get to know your customer, have a conversation with them and make it a personal brand experience to achieve success.  

References:

 Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting.  She has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses.  Jainta’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses.  Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on vaiorus marketing related topics.

Brand Equity VS Customer Equity

Brand Equity VS Customer Equity

Brands do not exist without consumers and consumers do not exist without brands – a bold statement perhaps, but very true and relevant.   From this, an understanding of Brand Equity vs Customer Equity is imperative!

What is the Difference Between Brand Equity and Customer Equity?

Brand Equity can be defined as; “The monetary value and strength of the brand – its’ total worth.”

Customer Equity is defined as; “The lifetime value of its customers.”

Brand Equity and Customer Equity have two things in common

  • Both emphasise the significance of customer loyalty to the brand
  • Both emphasise that value is created by having as many customers as possible paying as high price as possible for the product/brand.

How do Brand Equity and Customer Equity differ conceptually?

  • While customer equity puts a lot of emphasis on financial value received from the customers; brand equity attempts to place more emphasis on the strategic issues in managing those brands.
  • Customer Equity is a less narrow alternative. It can overlook a brands’ optional value, and their capacity effect on revenues and cost beyond the present marketing environment.
  • Just as customer equity can persist without brand equity, brand equity may also exist without customer equity. For instance I may have positive attitude towards brands – Nandos and KFC, but I may only purchase from Nandos brand consistently.

 Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting.  She has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses.  Jainta’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses.  Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on vaiorus marketing related topics.