Aug 112017
 

social media planning Columbia Business School EMBA It was my honor to teach social media planning for the Executive MBA program summer session at the Columbia Business School.  Professor Emeritus of Business Marketing Don Sexton leads a lively class of fresh thinkers with insightful questions.

The curriculum I presented as guest lecturer provided an historical overview of social media, with a strong focus on processes and tools for social media planning–including many links to deeper insights, templates, and more. The rest of the class focused on where this fast-changing field is headed in terms of technology, user habits and expectations, and marketing tactics:

Social Media Landscape

  • Evolution of Social Media from 1973 to Present
  • Changing Dynamics
  • Users and User Habits of Different Sites

Elements of Social Media Planning

  • Goals and Objectives
  • Competitive Social Media Audit
  • Finding an Audience
  • Choosing Channels
  • Engaging Influencers
  • Content Strategy
  • Tactics for Engagement
  • Tools
  • Planning Templates
  • Budget and Staff

Trends: Top Directional Changes for 2017 and Beyond–With Current Real World Examples

  • Social video—live, 360°, mixed reality
  • Integrated and omni-channel
  • Increasingly robust reporting
  • Better tracking of users, including military grade social listening
  • Customer relationship building
  • Making the customer an insider and humanizing companies
  • Customer service
  • Holding companies accountable
  • User-generated content
  • Not social if not human?

The Executive MBA Program at the Columbia Business School is a world-class Executive MBA education that provides access to leaders across many business fields and functions; access that leads to even greater impact and success. Immersed in a dynamic business environment in one of the world’s great business cities, you’ll study with renowned professors and prominent practitioners. The core curriculum embraces both big-picture business and entrepreneurial dreams. The program is identical to our Full-Time MBA in every way but with a flexible schedule for working executives.

Jul 212017
 

call for clarity siegelvision simplifying businessSimplifying business is good branding. It was my honor to produce the backstage interviews for the first annual Call for Clarity Conference in New York City, hosted by Siegelvision. Siegelvision is a branding agency with a unique philosophy:

“In a world plagued by complexity, our work is governed by a passion for clarity. We organize every engagement with clarity in mind and help purpose-driven organizations to achieve clarity of identity, clarity of expression and clarity of experience. Our commitment to Clarity Above All means we deliver clear, hard-hitting solutions that inspire action and drive impact.”

The event features speakers from different industries and sparked conversations among the 200 attendees about the damage that complexity causes brands. Simplifying business enhances the customer experience and impacts the brand. By making communications, processes and policies simple, the brand is enhanced. The videos of the speakers from the fields of finance, health, communications, criminal justice, academia, design and non-profit, feature “after talk” interviews that expand on the simplicity theme.

May 272017
 

  • 2017 Marketing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held May 11, 2017 in New York, New York.
  • 2017 Marketing Hall of Fame inductees.
  • Past President of AMA New York Dr. Don Sexton, Professor of Marketing at Columbia University presents the award to Dr. Jerry Wind, Lauder Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Academic Director, SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management
  • Seth Farbman, Chief Marketing Officer of Spotify inducts IBM Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jon Iwata into the Marketing Hall of Fame.
  • Past President Joanna Seddon presents the award to Jim Stengel, the former Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble
  • Lisa Merriam, member of the board of directors for the American Marketing Association New York joins Ogilvy executives at the Marketing Hall of Fame Celebration.
  • AMA New York President Bob Kahn Congratulates Gary Briggs, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Facebook

The Marketing Hall of Fame is the only award which recognizes individual marketers who have made outstanding contributions to the field of marketing.  American Marketing Association New York created this award, hosts the annual induction ceremony, and manages the Marketing Hall of Fame Academy. The Academy, which draws its membership from the corporate, agency, academic and research worlds, selects honorees by democratic vote.

This year, the induction ceremony was held on May 11, 2017, at the ground breaking headquarters (the world’s most connected office) of R/GA  at 450 W. 33rd Street, facing the Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s west side.

The 2017 inductees were Gary Briggs, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Facebook; Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM; Jim Stengel, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Jim Stengel Company; and Jerry Wind PhD, Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School.

Jul 062016
 

frisbee-brand-nameThe American Marketing Association has a great blog entry on brand names that became more than household words; they practically entered the dictionary.

In my naming consulting practice, I am constantly advising clients to stay away from descriptive names. Such names can never really be owned as brands. The classic example is Amazon’s once mighty competitor Books-a-Million. Would ebay have done as well if it went to market as online-auctions.com?

Descriptive names are not memorable and tend to be very limiting. The better approach is to consider brand names that have the potential to become iconic. Choose something unusual in which you can build meaning over time.

The “Genericide” of Brand Names

Yet in success, comes the danger of an iconic brand becoming so synonymous with a product that it becomes the generic. Frisbee spends millions protecting its name as a brand. The Dempster Brothers’ branded their wheeled trash haulers a portmanteau of “dump” with “Dempster.” Having lost control of the brand, today “dumpster” is a generic word. Aspirin, Zipper, Yo-Yo, Thermos, Vaseline and even Heroin are other examples of brands that suffered “genericide” through trademark erosion.

More naming resources for choosing a brand name:

Naming How-To:

Naming Mistakes
Six Factors for a Memorable and Motivating Name
History of Best Known Brands
Styles and Types of Brands
Choosing a Name
Try a Recycled Name
Web 2.0 Naming Considerations
What is Brand Architecture
Approaches to Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture and Business Strategy

Companies and Products:

MSNBC vs. msnbc.com and The Bigger Naming Problem
Macy’s Blunder with Marshall Field’s Name Change
Banks and the Name Game from Bank Marketing Magazine
AIG Name Change to AIU
Breaking Up the Motorola Brand
Google’s Speedbook Disaster
Renaming a Small Business
Proxios CEO Talks About Renaming Process
Naming a Green Sportswear Company
Unintentionally Funny Names-BARF
Unintentionally Funny Names-Putzmeister
Unintentionally Funny Names-Bimbo
Renaming a $2 Billion IPG Agency
Renaming Iraqi Freedom
Selected Naming Portfolio

 

Apr 142016
 

AMA-Web-Content-Marketing-SEO-ExpertiseCopy writers MUST be search-algorithm savvy for effective content marketing. It is no long enough to be a gifted writer; you must know how Google and other search engines evaluate and serve up your copy to potential readers. If your material is not seen, no matter how good it is, it is worthless. True SEO expertise is a career in itself, but you don’t need to be a search engine optimization genius to do a good enough job with content marketing. You do need to know some of the basics.

Content Marketing Basics

The American Marketing Association has published a helpful post that explains the basics in: Web Content Checklist: 21 Ways to Publish Better Content. Author Andy Crestodina this list of easy must-dos that will generate more page views and more engagement with just a little extra knowledge and just a little extra effort.

Jun 222015
 

urban-news-serviceI am very honored to announce the launch of my client Urban News Service in Detroit last week. Urban News Service is a non-profit producing the kind of journalism readers want and publishing businesses need. By providing quality content to urban papers, Urban News Service transforms the economics of news gathering and serves the needs of urban communities.

African American-owned media serve a unique, loyal and engaged readership, yet quality content is costlier to produce than ever before. Urban News Service was founded to help these publishers better compete in a digital world with declining in print advertising revenue. The dynamics of today’s publishing economy have hit many publishers especially hard, impacting their ability to hire writers, cover the stories that matter and support their communities.

The privately supported initiative provides quality content to African American publishers:

  • Stories by respected professional reporters with decades of experience working for major news outlets who are highly regarded experts in their fields.
  • Stories that are exhaustively researched, fully documented and fact-checked, and conform to AP style.
  • Stories that have high impact to driver readership, reputation and revenue.
  • Stories that uniquely serve and support urban communities and individuals.

Be sure to visit their site: www.UrbanNewsService.com

Mar 312015
 

marketing-sherpa-increase-web-trafficHow to increase Web traffic is the subject of MarketingSherpa’s latest case study of Knockout Pest Control‘s local search and digital marketing work. Marketing Sherpa is a research company that tracks and shares “what works in all aspects of marketing.” They selected our client Knockout Pest Control to profile on how to build business–and better serve customers–through optimizing local search and coordinating digital marketing outreach.

It has been my privilege to work with Knockout Pest Control’s Arthur Katz to redo his digital marketing efforts in partnership with Liquid Marketing Group. Mr. Katz initiated the change as part of the company’s commitment to the best of customer service. Better, relevant content that is easy to access benefits Knockout customers. At the same time, the change benefited his business with a dramatic increase in number of visitors, engagement and action.

The Marketing Sherpa article provides detail on how to drive Web traffic, but here are a few tips:

1) Get rid of your old html site. You can’t do adequate SEO with an html site. You can’t keep every page fresh and changing and you can’t easily optimize all the elements that impact the Google search algorithm without content management. WordPress, Jumla and Drupal are the way to go. Look at any page on your site and check out the URL. If it ends in.html, you’re missing out.

2) On page SEO that is absolutely current is a must. Know your keywords and how to use them. Old fashioned key-word stuffing techniques will hurt you. Make sure you are up to date on all Google releases. If your SEO provider doesn’t know what you are talking about when you talk about when you mention Panda, Penguin, Pigeon or Hummingbird, your provider is no SEO expert. Google is constantly changing its algorithm and doing “major” updates with code names such as those above. A technique that used to work might now really hurt you.

3) Have rich, varied content that readers really want to read. Knockout Pest Control went from one page on bed bugs to over a dozen, taking on this topic in depth. Don’t upload a pdf and hope for the best. Put all that great content on a page that Google can find–and that readers can easily access without downloading a file. If your copy writer doesn’t understand how to write with keywords and how to format content for SEO, get a new writer.

4) Keep it fresh. Your site needs new content all the time, not an annual or ever-five-years update. Topical, focused, newsy content is a requirement to compete online today.

5) Link! Incoming and outgoing links are the gift that keeps on giving. They bring in relevant, motivated visitors and the Google algorithm sees them as votes of confidence, boosting your search engine results rank.

“Many thanks to Steve Scott of the Tampa SEO Training Academy –if you want to be an SEO expert in a week, call Steve.”

Merriam Associates specializes in combining the brand voice with a deep understanding of SEO for content that engages and motivates customers–and that can increase web traffic.

May 212014
 

new-GM_Brand_Sinking_Recalls_SwitchgateYesterday, GM announced yet more recalls that brought the total number of vehicle call-backs to an all-time record. The damage to an already hurting brand–see “Switchgate”–is incalculable. The idea of a “new GM” is taking a beating.

Toyota suffered similar negative press several years ago, but the strength of its brand, built over decades, helped it through. GM does not have that asset so this latest disaster may well sink it.

More on Automotive Branding:

Volt vs. Edsel
Volt Green Brand Bomb
GM: General Motors Reorganized Brand Architecture
Toyota Brand During the Recalls
Toyota Recall Doublespeak
Toyota Brand Bounces Back after Recalls
Brand Experience: Land Rover Dealers Take Owners Off Road

Nov 192013
 

manufacturing-net-knowledge-managementWorking with Everbrand, we helped rebrand a revolutionary technology for corporate knowledge management: Auros.

Writing with Jeff Moffa, Vice President for Knowledge Systems at Auros, we wrote this article for Manufacturing.net: What happens when your company experts retire or move to another company, taking your corporate knowledge with them?

May 252013
 

brand-jacking-skitchingBrand-jacking is when an existing brand is co-opted and used to promote something else. That is exactly what opponents of genetically modified foods are doing with the Monsanto brand.They’ve grabbed the bumper of Monsanto and are skitching on  its reputation to bring attention and understanding  to their message.

Millions-Against-MonsantoAs a kid growing up in Chicago, we used to grab the fenders of passing cars for exhilarating fast slides on icy roads. “Skitching” is a portmanteau combining skate and hitch. Political causes that are brand-jacking grab onto the power of well-known brands to use their power to efficiently communicate their messages and the get attention in the media.

The nicely alliterative “March Against Monsanto” is just the latest example of this kind of skitching on a brand. Organizers of today’s marches claim over 2 million people participated in over 400 evens in 52 countries according to founder and organizer Tami Canal. “If I had gotten 3,000 people to join me, I would have considered that a success,” she said in media interviews. Brand-jacking off the Monsanto brand brought Canal’s cause enormous attention that would have been hard to obtain without the connection to this chemical boogeyman. Monsanto has long been associated with reviled chemicals like DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange–it was the perfect vehicle for skitching.

© 2014 Lisa Merriam