Understanding Web 2.0

The “social media” network is neither a trend nor a fad. It is real and it is changing how businesses think their pr marketing strategies.

Businesses have changed their approach on marketing as new technologies emerge. Look at radio and television. It made marketers, pr clients; all change how to reach their audience from traditional print media. Then came direct mail, telemarketers, and catalogs. This again forced marketers to re-think their approach. If you do not change your pr marketing strategy or your overall advertising plan, then you will be left in the dust as your competitors move forward.

I have written several articles on this web 2.0 subject for the past 8 months. Warning pr clients, ad agencies, and publicitysocial media web 2.0 firms to “open their marketing eyes” and look what the Internet is doing. For example, no longer is the marketer in charge of telling the consumer about their great product or service. This doesn’t make the cut anymore. It is the consumer who is in control. They tell you what they want, when they want it, and how they will buy it. If your pr marketing strategies are not including this process of the consumer, then you need to re-think about changing to another marketing company that is sensitive to the Web 2.0 and how it affects pr clients.

I read a great article in Brandweek that made me realize marketers, and pr clients alike are not addressing this new social media correctly. It’s called “The 12 Steps to the Interactive Future”. It mainly highlights the 12 steps written by Larry Weber who is an expert on social media. His book titled: “How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business”. I will give you a few of the steps now, then a few more in another blog.

1- Change your marketing mindset. Marketers still define target markets by communicating with prospective customers, building loyalty. These old techniques are not going to work today. Your pr marketing strategy, or ad plan needs to re-think, get out of that old box mindset. You need to be more transparent to the customer. Don’t try to brag about whom you are and your product. It is about nurturing relationships and dialog with customers, prospects and all those active in the community.

2- Make your brand come alive. To make a branding program successful today you need to recognize that brand equity is shifting away from brand essence and brand recall. Mr. Weber points out that branding is a living thing. Something that marketers cannot accept, at least not yet. A good example of this new dialogue is GoogleTalk, Google Groups and Blogger. Oh, did you notice these are blog type-sites. Something I have been pushing for two years! Google keeps asking customers what they want and then responds. That’s making your brand come alive!

3- Out with the old Segmentation. It doesn’t surprise me that marketers for the most part, still segment their pr marketing strategy by demographics such as age or gender. Ok, some products and services need to do this. If you are promoting an assisted living complex, yes, then some of the traditional methods work. But today, you need to segment by behavior, attitudes and interests. Forget the age and gender. These groups are what are important, not age, or gender.

These three points of the 12 should make you realize that the Web 2.0, or social media, or Business Web (all are the same, just different tags) shows how you, as a pr client, or marketing professional needs to re-think your mindset. If not, then read my next three steps. Happy marketing!

How to Create a Superbrand

Unless you have the time and the millions of dollars to spend, it is not overnight success that builds a brand to become a superbrand. When you hear or see the logos for Starbuck’s, and companies like Google, or exotic cars like Lamborghini you immediately have an image in your mind. So how didSuperbrands these names get so big in recognition? Like I said, it wasn’t overnight. These PR Clients built their names over time. Each of them started out with small pr marketing strategy and publicity campaign. As the companies grew, they created identity campaigns, targeting their specific audiences.

Different methods of advertising and marketing are applied to become a superbrand. This can include local publicity, direct mailers, Internet marketing through YouTube, social networks, even word-of-mouth. All of these pr marketing strategies will work, but only few names become “super”. Just like an athlete, or a rock star, you may have heard of them, but only a few standout when you think of a sport, or a rock band.

Brandweek magazine publishes yearly the Superbrands issue. This year one article discusses what makes a brand super. The writer says Brandweek uses a score method to decide which are superbrands. The scoring is based on comparisons. Although a complex method is used, some of the stats used are the amounts of money each spends on advertising and marketing. This in turn creates awareness and builds an identity. The writer also explains that doing this is why you say to yourself, “I really shouldn’t be spending $4 on coffee, but…”or “I know the Dell notebook is $500 cheaper, but…” These examples tell us that when you say this to yourself, you then have identified a superbrand. When a PR Client reaches this status, it then requires a lot to maintain that position.

Branding sells more than the name but a lifestyle. It is how we want to be perceived by our peers. If you drive a BMW or a VW bug, those around you perceive you differently. This applies to how and what you wear. Fashion has been how we brand ourselves. It is through the “branded names” we buy that helps us to become a specific brand in the minds of those who sees us.

When you want to build a brand, then you need a plan. PR Clients who become successful start with a pr marketing strategy. This marketing plan is the roadmap that will get your name to become super. Oh, one more thing, you need a budget to get there. So be prepared before planning your company’s future.