How Exchanging Value Builds Dynamic Customer Relationships

Nov 17 2014

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Relationships, relationships, brandshare-how-brands-people-create-value-exchangerelationships! How many times have you heard this or read about the importance of building relationships with prospects and customers, especially when talking about social media? Countless times I would guess. Well, like it or you’ll continue hearing that magic word “relationships” in the years to come. Why? Simple: with the mainstream adoption of always-on real-time communications and information available at our fingertips, your customers demand that you know how you can add value and meaning to them in a highly personalised manner. Creating and delivering such value is at the heart of building relationships.

The reality, however, is that these value-adding, multidimensional relationships are rather a myth.

That’s what Edelman reveals with the results of brandshare 2014. It’s a study of 15,000 consumers in 12 developing and developed countries, across 11 industries, that sought to understand the evolving relationship between people and brands. The focus was discovering what drives value for business and for the consumer.

Examining brand behaviour and performance, Edelman found that there’s actually little value exchange between brands and consumers. The majority of people believe their relationships with brands are one-sided (66%) and purely transactional, where consumers are solely contributors bringing benefits to the brand by buying, but not receiving much in return. Current interactions between consumers and brands add more value to brands than to consumers. Continue Reading »

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What’s Happening with Social Media, Journalism and PR?

Nov 10 2014

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Do you remember whatsocial media then and now life was before social media? I’m a Millennial, so I find it a little bit difficult, but I suppose for the older generations painting a picture between then and now must be quite shocking, especially for those working in the media – either in PR and communications or in journalism. Describing what’s changed, how and why is the easy part. Adopting these changes and adapting to the new way of business for an effective modus operandi at work is the difficult bit if you are not a digital native.

So, let’s dive into some cool infographics and interesting research findings from a few new studies in the areas of social media, journalism and PR.

First stop: our daily activities before and after the emergence of social media.

Then and Now

At the bottom of this post you can find an infographic from Zerofox that takes us a walk down memory lane, showing us what non-digital assets we used to rely on and their new social versions. Some of these include:

  • post-its –> our 140 character tweets
  • Polaroid cameras –> Instagram as our photo documentation tool of choice
  • cork boards –> our digital Pinterest boards
  • rolodexes –> our LinkedIn contacts

Funnily enough, I still have a cork board at home, but I use to pin little brochures or tickets from places I’ve been – for example the ticket from the amazing Sade concert I went to a few years back or the card I got from ShaunTerventionUK. So basically memories and things I’ve received offline, in real life, things you can touch. Continue Reading »

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Hold Tight or Let Go? Brand Control Uncovered

Nov 03 2014

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“The Secret Power of Brands” is trust goes both ways - brand and consumerone of the four MOOCs (massive open online courses) that I am currently doing. Very interesting indeed, so for anyone who is looking to learn more about branding, I can only recommend it. As part of the course materials, we were assigned last week to write a short piece answering the following question: To build a successful brand, is it better to control every aspect of the brand, or to encourage people to adopt it and adapt it? Here’s how I answered:

In today’s era of real-time, in-the-moment, everywhere-and-anytime world of online communications, brands no longer hold control over their reputation. Organisations do indeed control internal activities such as manufacturing, supply chain management, finance and even corporate communications that allow them to ensure expected quality of products and services, but the way their brand is seen and experienced externally is now defined by consumers. As Brian Solis says,

“Businesses are no longer the sole creator of a brand; it is co-created by consumers through shared experiences and defined by the results of online searches and conversations.”

Brands have no physical objectivity. They sell a way of life. The asset of a brand is that dream that exists in the heart and soul of the customer and her experiences of it, shared in the online space. Continue Reading »

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The Story Behind Successful Luxury Brands

Oct 27 2014

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This is not a typical postLuxury is timeless for this blog. For the first time, I am not really going to talk about PR, social media, business (in the direct sense) or sustainability. This piece is about one of my other major passions – fashion. I am doing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies (a great course by the way!), which opened my eyes about the peculiarities of the fashion business and particularly the luxury segment. So today, I am going to show you some really amazing videos about the uniqueness of luxury products and how heritage, legacy and manufacturing mastery underpin the storytelling of luxury brands.

Before I move on to the videos, here are some key things I have so far learned from the course to help you better understand the meaning and power of these stories.

What makes up the concept of luxury? Three things:

  1. Human touch
  2. Craftsmanship
  3. Excellence

The luxury industry is about value creation, it’s about selling a dream, a feeling, an experience non-comparable to another. Luxury brands are therefore required to strike the balance between providing an intrinsic product value (e.g. superior quality, handmade, unique, precious, with extraordinary design, limited) and an intangible element related to it – giving the desired dream effect or special feeling, often determined by the exclusive branding or the aspirational lifestyle that the brand embodies. Continue Reading »

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How to Win and Influence People [Infographic]

Oct 20 2014

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In a previous blog post I talked about how to win and influence peoplethe art of persuasion and the ethical principles of influence as defined by Robert Cialdni. Today, I want to share with you further important principles from the work of another brilliant man – Dale Carnegie and his best-selling book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. The difference between this post and the one about persuasion is that with the advice from this post you can go a step further – from influencing people to making friends, or in the language of business, from influencing strangers to delighting them into becoming your loyal followers.

I read Carnegie’s book a while ago and I’ve been thinking about how to best present my impressions. He offers valuable advice in the form of well categorised principles and I though it doesn’t really make sense to just list them. So I got a little creative and put together an infographic that serves as an ethical guide to human relations and making friends.

Why is that important in your professional life?

As Dale Carnegie says,

“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business.”

Continue Reading »

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Time for Disruption: Why We Need a New Sustainability Narrative

Oct 13 2014

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What is sustainability? You’ve got 15 People don't know what sustainability meansseconds to define it in one sentence! Go! Tough, right? It’s difficult for businesses to describe what sustainability is, but it’s even more difficult for consumers to understand it. Companies have already recognised the value of sustainability to waste and energy reduction, cost savings, increased profitability over the long term and a prosperous future for all of us on our endangered planet, but has the mainstream consumer realised that? Does she see the need to adopt and demand sustainable consumption?

Sadly, I think no.

And that’s the biggest barrier for sustainability. The real problem behind making sustainable consumption mainstream is the lack of awareness among people that such products and services exist, and that these are a big part of the solution towards solving pressing global issues such as resource and water scarcity, pollution and waste, carbon footprint, urbanisation etc. I’m not saying that companies don’t have an important role here, I am only saying that if companies were facing much stronger demands from consumers for sustainable products, then companies wouldn’t have any other choice but to respond to that pressure in a timely manner and transform their business models. If that were so, then the process of aligning sustainability with overall business goals and especially financial strategy as well as embedding sustainability within the entire business, including developing metrics to track progress and tie in with external factors (e.g. environmental costs), would have already been largely adopted. And so would have consumer behavioural and consumption change already been mainstream. It’s a viscous circle… Continue Reading »

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The Future of PR is People and Relationships

Oct 06 2014

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There have been many discussions PR stands for People and Relationshipslately about why the PR industry must evolve and how it needs to change its business model. At the World PR Forum two weeks ago, Anne Gregory urged PR to reach for a higher purpose and stop obsessing with tactics, but to assert its role as a management discipline.  Recently, Richard Edelman proposed that PR should move into a much more  mission-critical role – Communications Marketing with communications being a full partner of marketing, beyond just building credibility to becoming the change agent. But by far the strongest and most inspiring idea I’ve come across lately is a visual guide by Brian Solis, Vision and Cision and brilliantly illustrated by Hugh MacLeod.

Released just last week, the eBook outlines a new vision for the PR industry to harness technology and deliver business outcomes. It’s a manifesto for building relationships in the digital age. And as we know, building relationships is at the very core of PR

But first, why the need to evolve? Continue Reading »

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