Tag Archives: identity

New Year, New You: Keeping your brand alive

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Whether you are your own brand, or you have a constructed a brand separate from your
identity, it always seem that as you grow your brand grows with you. Enter the “new year, new you” mantra. Although it is important to keep parts of your brand consistent, it never hurts to hit refresh and improve areas of your brand in order to stay ahead. Keeping up with trends, whether it’s technology or industry related changes, also means shifting your brand to reflect those changes.

With a new year ahead, it’s a great time to start benchmarking goals for 2014 and planning out strategies for where you want to take your brand. If you’re looking to gain more awareness for your blog, perhaps you can start brainstorming new topic ideas. This might also mean taking a look at what generates the most amount of traffic to your website. The great part of a new year is being able to reflect upon what has worked in the past and what hasn’t.

Another way to keep your brand alive may be to consider ways to incorporate new elements into your brand. Using a blogging brand as an example, if you mainly focus on reviewing makeup and beauty products, consider other topics you enjoy that you could include as a new segment. If you enjoy staying active, create a segment on looking and feeling your best. A good reminder is to keep content fresh and exciting to encourage your readers to come back for more. This advice also applies towards product brands. In order to keep you customers returning, as well as capture new ones, you have to reinvent the face of your product sometimes to foster new appeal. Revitalizing an old product or brand gives it a new look, but still maintains the essence of what it’s trying to offer.

My “new year, new you” mantra serves to remind yourself of the possibilities, and encourage you to make changes even if they aren’t needed. Sometimes getting wrapped up in the idea “if it’s working, don’t fix it” is only preventing us from making something better. Instead of being afraid of change, embrace the potential it holds for your brand. It might be risky, but it might also be worth it!

What are some of your 2014 goals?

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Content Strategies: Creating Quality Material

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“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
- Maya Angelou

It goes without saying that everyone loves an easy and enjoyable read. Connecting with your
audience is a pivotal part of brand building and engagement. One area of struggle individuals, companies, and/or organizations run into is creating good content. More specifically, there is
always difficulty in conjuring up new and refreshing content that makes your audience want to act on. Whether it’s an article for your company blog, or a Facebook post promoting a new
product line, being strategic about your material can help boost interaction. But, how?

First, it’s important to research and understand your audience. Sometimes companies can make the mistake of assuming they know who their audience is without really taking the time to look into the demographic breakdown. A simple error made in promoting aspects of a company is reaching out to individuals who aren’t necessarily your largest audience. Take time to create
surveys, focus groups, and scan your platforms to see what ages are interacting with your
services. If you understand your audience, messages and content can be tailored towards them.

As well, it’s important to monitor and track what content is drawing in the most engagement. When you first begin producing content, take note of which articles and posts get the most
interaction. If topics that focus on social media monitoring get more attention than say, topics on employee management, perhaps your audiences want more messages tailored towards
social media usage. Also, be sure to use your analytic tools and metrics. These are a valuable
resource for determining which posts get the most interaction from users.

Another suggestion is to think outside the box. This means producing content that is creative and fun. In order to encourage your audience to participate with your content, you need to make sure that its worthy of engagement. If your company isn’t the type to usually make videos, perhaps it’s time to vary up the method of content production. To measure what your audience engages with, you need to vary up the methods for producing the content. Sometimes the least expected methods draw the most interaction. Creativity also means changing things up. Maybe have guest posts, interviews or Q&A sessions with industry professionals. The goal of your
content is to give your audience more reasons for interacting with your brand.

What are some of your suggestions for creating good content?

Sound off below, or tweet me @Sam__Dickson

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Cocktails, Careers & Cosmopolitan

image-64“I hope I have convinced you — the only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard.” – Helen Gurley Brown

Last night Gorkana US held their first consumer brand event by hosting a media-briefing with the magazine that inspires all women to be “fun and fearless” – Cosmopolitan. The event panel featured Louise Court, editor of Cosmopolitan UK, Sara Austin, deputy editor of Cosmopolitan US, as well as Jeni-Lee Chapman, US Managing Director of Gorkana. Held at the gorgeous Hearst Tower, the media event focused on how Cosmopolitan reaches out to their main audience and maintains a consistent brand image.

With 64 international editions, Cosmopolitan has discussed the topics every girl wants to know, but might not always ask. Sara Austin spoke on the brand’s image by saying that Cosmo desires to have an “intimate relationship with its readers.” She elaborated by saying, “We want our readership to be like an intoxicating cocktail of what every woman wants in life — it should be about having fun, friends, a career… and fabulous shoes.”  Austin went on to say that the Cosmo brand places itself at the forefront of providing women with relevant, trendy news, as well as topics that might not get discussed otherwise. Austin states, “We’re Cosmo, modesty is not what we do.” The overall brand message led into a discussion about who the editors believed to be Cosmo’s biggest competition in the market.

In order to attract readership, Cosmo UK editor Court says their biggest competition is fighting for a share of voice in the lives of young women. Court states, “Young women are busy. It can’t just be a nice feature, it has to be fit for purpose.” Both editors agreed that Cosmo takes the approach that content has to be tailored to “what she wants out of life.”

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How is Cosmo adapting to the age of technology and digital?
Discussing the traditional versus digital approaches to content, Court suggests that twitter gives readers the chance to react to the content, and perhaps amplify the messages. Austin agreed by suggesting that digital offers Cosmo the opportunity to expand across multiple platforms and gain more exposure. The discussion narrowed in on the different ways that content can be presented online. Austin stated that online media can be displayed “more visually, viral and with more attitude.” However, both editors mentioned the importance of maintaining the essence and niche of the in-store magazine. “We don’t want our magazine to look like a website – we want to keep the beauty of the magazine. It also enables longer stories.” Both Austin and Court seemed to agree that there was a prominent audience for both traditional and digital media, the importance being to keep those audiences, as well as the beauty of both outlets.

How do you successfully pitch to Cosmo?
When asked about making pitches to Cosmo, both editors stressed the importance of due diligence, and making connections. Court and Austin contended that part of making a successful pitch is to build a relevant strategy of how to connect, while having an interesting topic to discuss. This includes doing research on recent Cosmo topics, and what the magazine covers.

Quick tips from the editors included:

  • Avoid Monday morning and Friday afternoon pitches. Companies tend to hold office meetings to discuss weekly events early morning on Mondays, while Friday afternoon pitches tend to get lost in weekend emails.
  • Know your deadlines. When you’re reaching out for digital content, understand that there is always a longer lead-time.
  • Be Timely. The editors stressed the importance of understanding timeliness, and knowing the best time frames for getting your content to the right person.
  • Research. Avoid pitching a topic that might have been covered in last month’s issue. Make sure you do your research before you pitch.

Building the Cosmo Community
The Cosmo brand is also built on bridging the gap between its international editions. Cosmo offers consumers the chance to participate in global surveys in order to create a sense of community among women. Court states, “It’s about the community of women who have something in common with you. Cosmo wants to encourage being fun and fearless, for all people, in all aspects of life.” She also went on to say that you must “always believe in yourself, and don’t listen to the naysayers.” The continuity of these messages across all the Cosmo editions is what ultimately unites the readership. This discussion provided valuable insight into developing a brand identity.

Thanks to Gorkana US for hosting this incredible event! As well, a large thank you to the panelists Louise Court of Cosmopolitan UK, and Sara Austin from Cosmopolitan US, for their terrific insight into the Cosmo brand and the future of media.

- S.

image-62Gorgeous waterfall inside Hearst Tower