Tag Archives: branding

How To Get Your Twitter Presence Up To Scratch

Whilst Twitter has been around for 10 years, many are just starting out on their Twitter travels. Whether you’re just setting out, or have been on the channel for a while – take a look at these top tips to help you improve your Twitter Profile:

CC Twitter Page

Complete Your Twitter Profile –

Nobody likes an unfinished profile as it can look fake and your friends or customers might not know it’s you.It is highly recommended that you set a profile picture whether it be a logo or a headshot or item that is suitable to your product or brand. Twitter is all about people and people tend to like seeing who they are talking to.

When it comes to writing your bio our advice is to KISS. Yes, Keep It Short and Simple! You only have 160 characters so you should say a few key things that describe you or your business in a nutshell.

What is it you do? What interests do you or your business engage in? Most importantly; think about what it is you want people to know about you. And possibly what you don’t want people to know. If you’re stuck, have a look at some other profiles that get a lot of traction to see how they’ve positioned things.  Always a good idea to do your research and borrow ideas.

 Brand It, Own It –                                                                 

Does the colour scheme and imagery on your profile go with what you are about? The ‘Settings’ tab on Twitter enable you to personalise your profile from background image and profile picture – right down to being able to select a specific colour to use for wording and links. Also, the new cover photo space above the profile picture allows a little extra ‘promotional’ space for telling your followers a bit more about you. Make the most of your profile page now, as first impressions really do count.

Join The Conversation –

In recent years Twitter has been a great ‘go-to’ tool for users to read up on the latest news and goings on around the world in real-time. In fact, latest stats unveil that 40% of Twitter users never ‘tweet’.  Just going to prove it’s a wonderful news feed and research resource for many.  To find out the hot topics in your local region as well as the world – you can view the ‘trends’ section – and view ‘hot trends by country or region.

And if you do decide to go with the majority on Twitter and ‘join the conversation’, ensure you include relevant hashtags and Twitter handles of people you want to say something to. By joining in and making sure people know you’re part of the conversation – this drives the opportunity for retweets, new followers, and maybe even some favouriting your tweet!

Personal Tweeting vs Marketing Tweets –

In this cluttered world of communication we live in, our advice is that you don’t join in the ‘spam’ culture. Don’t make your tweets spammy and by spammy we mean posting a single link or constantly referring your followers to your products or services or offer. No-one wants to be bombarded with the ‘hard sell’ all the time. Think about your own browsing and engagement habits. If it all gets too spammy, you tune out. And so the same goes for those audiences you bombard too.

Sharing links to third party articles you enjoyed reading or watching is a good way to share. Content curation can be just as relevant and purposeful for your audience as sharing your authentic content.  And of course, add your own views to anything you share where relevant, keeping it a bit more personal.

Think Before You Tweet –

Questions worth asking yourself before clicking the tweet button should be;  is this newsworthy? Would my followers want to know this? Are there any typos? Have I included a correct link for my followers to click? Is there an image I could add to this that is relevant to what I am saying?  As we reported in one of our recent blog articles; tweets that include images can lead to a whopping 150% increase in engagement.

Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas on how to improve your Twitter presence. Check out this page from the Twitter website for extra support with setting up and personalising your profile as well as taking a look at other blogs we’ve written around optimising Twitter below.

Happy tweeting!

Michael Jackson – boy, man, superbrand!

It was a weird start to the day. Having gone to bed very early the evening before (poorly daughter had kept me awake for much of the previous 3 nights) – I had missed all the news on Twitter and so awoke with no idea about the terribly sad news of Michael Jackson’s death.

They say that you always remember where you are when you hear shocking news – and so there I was – in the kitchen, robotically preparing weetabix and bagels.

I turned on the news and the media circus was, as one would expect, in full swing.

From the myriad of documentaries that were given pride of place in the programming schedules (and I viewed 3 consecutively) – they all seemed to have been splitting Michael Jackson’s life into 3 sections:

  1. The early years – how he started, the Jackson 5, the Jacksons
  2. The King of Pop – how he changed music, broke down barriers of ‘colour’
  3. Whacko Jacko – how we went off the rails, his appearance, ‘the court case’, self destruction and his debts

As true marmite lovers know –  all brands, and in particularly with superbrands – thrive on ‘brand loyalty’ – people grow to love their ‘brands’ so much – that they won’t hear anything negative said against them, they become protective of their brand, and no matter what slurs are made against that brand, it takes a lot to switch true brand loyalty.

Superbrands are superbrands because they are able to sustain ‘loyalty’ over a significant period of time. It’s not really about ‘Michael Jackson’ himself – but more about the values, beliefs and feelings we as ‘consumers’ associate with him. What does Michael Jackson mean to you? That’s the loyalty factor.

Michael Jackson as a brand has been growing this loyalty for over 45 years – and so his superbrand status is truly embedded.

In reality, even shocking allegations of child molestation, whilst not great for the brand, didn’t really do much to dent the brand power. The several millions of people tuned into ‘the verdict’ is testament to his brand strength and reach – with people from all over the world screaming and crying at the ‘verdict’ – as if it was one of their closest family members. And personally, I just didn’t believe it. Call me naïve if you wish – but whilst I figured he was clearly a shrewd businessman, I really couldn’t get my head around him being anything other than emotionally ‘innocent’.

And it isn’t surprising – many of us around the 40 ish age – grew up with Michael Jackson. I know in my household – my mother’s Sunday morning cleaning ritual was supported by Shirley Bassey and anything ‘motown’ – and The Jacksons featured heavily – so I was about 7 when I was dancing to ‘I want you back’ with a duster in my hand.

And so it went – each time he reinvented his brand, giving it a new edge or angle – we all followed his journey.

It’s a rare thing to find a person who hasn’t got the ‘Off the Wall’ album (somewhere) or who watched the Thriller video in awe, with a household of friends – video-taped it and then relentlessly endeavoured to replicate the steps in perfect sequence to showcase at the school disco! (Or perhaps that was just me and my friends!).

Thriller was such a ground breaking event in music – treasured by billions of people of all ages. In fact, when my mother died and my sister and I were sorting out the house – we found the Thriller video which she had recorded years earlier, and kept (video cassettes in the era of dvds!) alongside video recordings of our family. She clearly couldn’t part with the tape – even though she no longer had a video recorder! And I took it home with me – dogged and worn with the fingerprints of my family and friends – an old video recording of Thriller – but such sentiment and value – loyalty to the brand.

Prior to going it alone, I worked in a global consultancy – when we did our 3 day intense management training seminars, the supporting music was Michael Jackson’s, ‘Man in the Mirror’ – strategically selected because of his power to connect emotionally with audiences.

Whilst the media are keen to advise us of just how much debt he is in and what a terrible mess he’s made of things – £400 million, (or it is billion!). Then at least from a financial perspective, we can all rest assured that the death of a superbrand is good for business.

The debts will pale into insignificance with new album sales, downloads, memorabilia, tribute concerts – and long may they all continue. It’s a shame it takes his death to give his range of music more airtime, and for us all to remember his outstanding achievements and contribution to music.

As I said earlier – a brand isn’t about the ‘object’ ‘product’ or ‘person’ – it’s about the values that the object, product or person instils in the hearts and minds of the consumer. And over the years, Michael Jackson has given us so much to value – such value builds a barrier which makes it difficult for any negativity to penetrate.

I found the ‘Wacko Jacko’ emphasis in the programmes I watched last night – distasteful, but that’s because they are not part of the values I associate with Michael Jackson – and from a psychological perspective – once those values are embedded, as any brand manager looking after a ‘superbrand’ will tell you, they are excruciatingly difficult to shift.

The tributes from people who really knew Michael Jackson all seem to concur with the fact that he was a genius talent, a genuinely nice guy, shrewd in business, yet gentle and childlike, often introverted – and through pressure, he lost his way. Fame beyond fame – but at what cost? He had so much to live up to – it was interesting when his sister was talking about the pressure surrounding the lack of success of the HIStory album – to learn that even though this was deemed a ‘failure’ – it still had more sales than most recording artists could even dream of achieving. The bar was certainly high!

I may have seen him a few times (in concert), I certainly never met or knew him. And so, my views about Michael Jackson can only be based on what he and his music has meant to me over the years.

Genius talent and King of Pop for sure.  There’s no doubt his music will continue to be played forever.  And yes, my children have already been introduced to The Jacksons and Michael Jackson,  as we dance around the house with our dusters on a Sunday morning!

Superbrand indeed – yet also an all time icon!

Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing – covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.

What’s in a photo? Can you judge a book by its cover…

As someone happily involved in ‘social media’ – I’ve had to get together a ‘photo’ that I was happy to share with the masses.  My Twitter profile, my ezine profile, my Digg profile, my UKBF profile, Facebook, Linked In etc etc etc…

The photo I originally posted across these sites – was one taken by the camera on my laptop.  It was small b/w and to be honest I didn’t think too much about it.

It was only when I received a comment from someone asking why I looked so miserable as it was putting them off ‘following me’ – that I looked at the photo with fresh eyes.

The comment coincided with an article I was reading in New Scientist ‘ How your looks betray your personality’.

The idea that a person’s personality can be glimpsed in their face is not a new suggestion – it dates back hundreds (if not thousands) of years.  (The Chinese Ancient Art of Face Reading – to name but one!)

First impressions do count.  Malcolm Gladwell, in his brilliant, brilliant book ‘Blink’ (a book which sets out to scientifically prove that first impressions do count) – cites a scenario where a Senator was elected purely on the basis of his ‘square jaw and stature’ (yet no leadership competence to back it up) – but his height and looks alone got him into the position.

Apparently within a tenth of a second of seeing a face (that ‘blink’ moment) we have already passed judgement and made our minds up about that person.  And once that perception is in place, it’s a difficult one to budge.

Research has shown that dominant looking men rise in ranks more so than their ‘baby faced’ colleagues.

And those that are more ‘attractive’ are perceived as more socially outgoing, more fun to be with, more successful, powerful, healthy and intelligent!

So is there any substance to our ‘snap decisions’ about people?  Malcolm Gladwell and those featured in ‘Blink’ would say yes.  And the New Scientist feature suggests that there is ‘tantalising evidence’ that our faces do indeed portray traits of our personality.  Yet also includes the views of those psychologists that put forward the view that we can ‘engineer’ what our face portrays.

So as you spread your ‘photo’ (or personality) across the social media landscape then perhaps consider your photo more carefully.  I’ve now got one that’s definitely a little more ‘me’.  Something I hadn’t even thought about before… but will do from now on!

To read the New Scientist feature in full http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126957.300-how-your-looks-betray-your-personality.html?full=true

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Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing – covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.

Is your ring tone part of your personal brand?

I don’t think it was a conscious decision of mine to set my ringtone at the ‘traditional old fashioned phone ring’ available.  I went through the usual pattern of listening to all options (about 3 times) and then decided to settle on that particular one.  And yes, when on a train, when the tone fires – at least 10 people in close proximity start padding at their pockets or digging around their bags.  

Not terribly original – and indeed, not that differentiated, pretty classical and un-offensive.

So is my ringtone part of my personal brand?  Should we judge a person by their ringtone?

I’m always curious to hear and see who answers some of the more ‘quirky/annoying/ridiculous’ tones you hear.  On a recent commute a smart and dour looking pinstripe suited chap (complete with trilby) intrigued me when he answered to Chris De Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’ – such a juxtaposition – through my marketing eyes a personal identity ‘clash’ of major proportions.   Not quite sure what I thought about the chap following that – but I definitely thought there was a softer centre to his rather polished exterior.

Continue reading Is your ring tone part of your personal brand?

What does your ‘tag line’ say about you?

Call it what you will – whether you choose; ‘slogan’, ‘tag line’, ‘powerline’ or ‘brand message’ – what we are talking about here – is a key message / description which quickly and simply – (without any ‘waffle’) communicates what it is that you do! 

So, here are some do’s and don’ts to consider when creating yours:

  • Keep it short – never more than 6 words – it’s got to be snappy and ideally roll of the tongue. 
  • Can it stand the test of time?  FCUK for England was initially an eyepopper – but overtime became damaging to the brand.
  • If making a claim it has to be TRUE – if you are going to use a statement such as ‘least dropped calls (as AT&T did) – then it’s got to be a true claim.  Curry’s was banned from using ‘Unbeatable low prices’ – once it emerged that the chain was frequently more expensive than rivals.  So, if you can’t back it up – you can be challenged.  And if it’s a ridiculous claim – then audiences will be sceptical. 
  • Make sure it means something – provide the audience with a clear idea of what you do -eg:  ‘Results focused marketing solutions’ – or something factual brand value related such as Avis’s ‘We try harder’.
  • Don’t alienate your audience.  L’Oreal changed their slogan ‘because I’m worth it’ to because ‘you’re worth it’ – providing the brand with a friendlier face.
  • Check translation – I recently read an article which cited the case of food brand Frank Perdue’s – ‘It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken’ – translated in Spanish to ‘It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate!  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

For a bit of fun – visit www.thesurrealist.co.uk/slogan  – it’s a site where you can enter any word and it will turn it into a catchphrase for you.  Who knows…you could find the perfect catchphrase.

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Brands from above…

Given one of my related businesses is www.logotastic.co.uk – an online tailored logo creation and that the logotastic brand includes the use of fluffy clouds – I was amused to see this article in The Times recently.

“An inventor in Alabama has managed to create logos as foamy clouds. Francisco Guerro, who also makes fake snow for Hollywood, can create shapes up to 4ft wide, says his foam is environmentally safe and pops likes bubbles when it lands.”

So what’s the plan – to drop logo clouds from the sky?  The logo would have to be really distinct to work – wouldn’t it?  Even the most simple of icons – for example, the Nike tick, would lose context as a foamy cloud – and brands which depend on words, such as Sainsbury’s would possibly have trouble being legible (particularly at only 4 ft wide!).  I’m always open-minded however, and no doubt we’ll see Coke, Google and Skype clouds falling from above in the near future…

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