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Latest blogpostsApril 30, 2014 April 2, 2014 August 27, 2013 June 10, 2013 April 30, 2013 April 25, 2013 April 18, 2013 April 2, 2013 March 26, 2013 March 19, 2013
- business unusual
- return on involvement
- social branding
- social marketing
- social media
- social media marketing
Way back in 2009, Henriette shared some thoughts on brand sharing. Her post talked about being authentic and sharing your brand inward before you can share it outward.
Many things in the market have changed since then. In today’s marketplace hyper focused on the next big thing, features and benefits are no longer sustainable. There is just too much stuff for sale these days that everything else is white noise. And most of us, in these time-compressed nanosecond days, have little patience for things that don’t really matter to us personally. Sorry, rockers – no spiritual connection is equal to no sale.
Brand sharing is more take than give
For your brand to differentiate itself from its niche, consumers must believe that the brand delivers something more valuable than the money they paid for it. In effect, your brand must provide more user value to your specific market than you ask for in cash value – in a “more take than give” relationship, however intangible such value may be.
This is what outward brand sharing is all about. Simply defined, outbound brand sharing is reaching out to those consumers who share the same values your brand holds dear.
Listen more, market less
But on a more specific level, this also means paying more attention and listening more closely to what your customers are saying about your brand. For Pete’s sake, do not be afraid to involve your core users in making your product better. They are often best equipped to innovate because they are the ones who actually use your brand regularly.
These mother lodes of information, coming as they are from your most loyal consumers and, resulting from healthy, active participation in conversations around your brand, is the most cost-effective yet the most underutilized tool in the market today.
A super-community is the company
To illustrate this point further, an interesting case is threadless.com, a company which enjoyed phenomenal growth with sales reaching up to millions of dollars despite having no ads, no professional designers, used no modeling agency or even fashion photographers, no sales force and retail distribution. As a result, operating costs are low, and profit margins are above 30% – a super feat for a brand which started out by selling something as trivial as – mere shirts!
The brand’s success formula? All tees are designed by an actively engaged super community with members numbering more than two million through competitions on an online social network. As the members themselves get to vote – and eventually buy – on which designs they liked best, the brand has yet to produce a single flop.
Face that white board
Of course, your brand does not have to go through such extremes to make some headway. But before you start conversations around your brand and listen for feedback carefully, go back to the white board and know exactly what values your brand stands for. Once informed, you can start reconnecting your brand’s core values to your consumers much more forcefully.
[brand sharing, branding]
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March 4, 2013
For some, networking is a stress; it never works out; and it takes our valuable time away from the gazillion of things we have to do. All those long cocktail hours, the compulsory meet and greets, the automatic exchange of business cards – make us want to hit the warm bed instead.
All you ever do was say “Hi” to people you would never meet again. No business leads was generated, no new contacts were made, and no partnership was considered. You want to shout out – what a boring and wasted evening! – as you head out for the door.
Guilty? Yeah, thank you most hands are raised. But you know networking should never be this way.
Sure, spending some time off your busy days networking means you’re using some time off those pressing things you have to do right now. But will another hour spent in the endless revision of that marketing plan brings in more clients? Expand your reach? Strengthen your relationships?
Maybe so but definitely not as much as a face to face meeting with a prospect or, even a new person with a lot of potential clients. You may feel like you’re too busy right now to expand your network (it’s hell week), and you will have enough time for it next week. However, those projects that feel so urgent today will not be around tomorrow, and you better find new projects to replace them – now.
The solution is to change the way we approach networking. Those long cocktail hours are done for some useful reason. If not, why is almost everyone present, just collectively wasting their time? The casual meet and greets are the first steps to establish any potentially rewarding relationship. You did not find your life-long friends and partners in a vacuum. Somewhere down the road, the initial “Hello” was offered and accepted and, if interests are mutually shared, awesome friendship usually develops.
The same holds true for any business relationship. The customary exchange of calling cards remains good business practice because they contain valuable contact information. It gives you the opportunity to call the person and talk business. But how many of us have done so?
Of course, not everyone you meet can help you directly in your business. But somewhere inside your extensive network you will find at least one person who can give you a fantastic lead. If you play your cards right, one amazing referral can often generate a whole bunch of wonderful referrals.
The thing is for you to be always human and warm to get the most value out of your networking activities. Practice a lot of empathy. Treat everyone you meet with the same high degree of respect you expect from them. Always give anyone your 100% attention as if they are waving a million dollar contract in your face. You will be surprised with the results.
Now, have you ever tried smiling at complete strangers on your way to the grocery store? They always smile back.
Try that, for a change…
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February 25, 2013
We have been on the lookout for some cool, inspiring brand with a unique approach to business and social activism – in a hippie sort of way.
To qualify for our search, a brand should have integrated the social and the responsible into the business model from day one, and not only morphed into a more social and responsible company today simply because it’s the “in” thing to do right now. A brand whose bottom lines are not only great products or services and the corresponding windfall profits but more importantly, a brand fully dedicated to improve the quality of life not only locally but also globally.
A business willing to sacrifice its profits on the altar of its social responsibility – the idea seems strange, right? Most of us grew up in a world where the sole purpose of creating business was to make a profit; the more profit we made, the more success our business concerns were.
Nowhere was this view more apparent than in the US where the full notion of capitalism, both the good and the ugly, was born. In fact, the US invented the concept “to make money”, where everyone and anyone have the opportunity to create wealth. And no other country in the world uses its initials as its proud symbol for currency except the US – the dollar sign “$” is the US placed on top of each other.
Most of us grew up believing that business and social responsibility go together like oil and water. They just won’t cling together.
Brand activism at its best
But one brand stood out for meeting the seemingly impossible criteria of marrying business and social responsibility together.
Quite ironically and much to our pleasant surprise, this social brand – Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream – is an American company created not a year ago, not five years ago but, amazingly, more than 30 years ago. Ben and Jerry’s social activism is something worth aiming for, and worth creating a social activism strategy around. It simply rocks.
The brand was so ahead of its time that they were one of the first companies to give its employees living allowances, a pay rate twice the national average, offered better benefits, donated 7.5 percent of its annual pre-tax revenue to charity, and supported local as well as third world farmers by paying a premium on organic produce.
Not only that and this is the fun part, this brand strongly believes that its progressive social mission is as equally important as its profits. Ben & Jerry’s buys quality ingredients from a New York bakery that hires the homeless since the mid-80’s, and they are the first US company to loudly support the use of Natural Refrigerants, a more energy efficient and climate friendly alternative to standard freezers, in its Cleaner, Greener Freezer campaign.
Such delightful way of doing business is proudly punctuated by the brand’s famous triple bottom line mission statement – people, planet and profits – in that order.
Seamless online and offline engagement
Being a true-blue social brand since birth, the shift to social media was just perfect for Ben & Jerry’s. The brand has over 5 million facebook fans with some 100,000 people talking and engaged at any one time.
But exactly why are they so successful?
Ben & Jerry’s is known for its distinctive flavors and unusual flavor names like Imagine Whirled Peace, Karamel Sutra and Chocolate Therapy that fans can become quite passionate about. Their social formula is simple – announce the new flavor and include an enticing product shot. Given how yummy these look on facebook feeds, it’s not surprising that most announcements averaged 25K per post!
So what does brand activism mean for your brand?
In this age of increasing consumer participation and vigilance, we firmly believe that there is no other way to conduct business but to go social. Of course, it requires a lot of soul-searching and resources especially for established companies that are trying to reposition their brand to adapt to these earth-shifting times. For newbie companies, the shift may be less painful but still resource-sapping especially when working on a tight budget.
Oh and if you ever want to buy us Ben & Jerry’s we’re really into Caramel Chew Chew =)[brand activism]
February 14, 2013
Let’s face it – Superbowl 2013 is all about viewership and commercials. And if you want to get a part of that you can choose to pay a gazillion dollars, or you can do what Oreo did under SuperBowl 2013: Newsjacking.
With over 100 million viewers who watched the game, advertisers did not bat an eyelash in coughing out a record average of 3.5 million dollars for a 30-second commercial spot.
Newsjacking: a FREE Ad Scored a Resounding Touchdown on Superbowl 2013
As expected from such multi-million dollar tabs, most of the ads – especially the Budweiser commercial “Brotherhood” about a Clydesdale moving away from his farm and his trainer; years later, the horse remembered his trainer after returning for a parade, and run to hug him – were mini-epics of the usual drama and comedy.
To date, Superbowl 2013 goes down as one of the most expensive commercial spots ever – and the worst embarrassment in pro sports history: a power blackout that stopped play in the third quarter for a full 34 minutes.
But the real show stopper happened right in the middle of that power outage. An enterprising brand, Oreo, came up with an idea so bold and brilliant at the same time that it ushered a new age in advertising.
“Power out? No problem.” – Oreo wrote on its twitter and facebook pages, along with the image of an ad showing an Oreo cookie with a single spotlight and an amazing tagline, “You can still dunk in the dark.”
This ad cost almost nothing, but it became the most-talked about marketing coup the entire night earning more than 13,000 retweets, 20,000 likes and 6,000 shares on facebook.
We have always known the power of relevance and timeliness in social media, but it’s so important not to look at the ad in itself, but how the speed of company actually was, and we are in awe of how well constructed the company is: It only took the ad agency FOUR minutes to make the commercial. We’re wondering who hit the button saying – “let’s go ahead and do this – NOW”.
Magical moment used for newsjacking
In marketing, making an ad usually takes months and months of preparation. In fact, Oreo itself bought a 30-second spot for the Superbowl coverage; spent countless hours coming up with a commercial message and hoped it will register home; and yes, it also paid millions to the TV promoter. That video, featuring an impressive “Whisper Fight” in a library, garnered more than 1 million views on youtube, thanks largely to the freebie “Power Out?…” ad.
So how did Oreo do it so right so quickly? Every stakeholder was there holed up in their war room, including key Oreo executives who bravely and promptly approved content. Being creative in your comfort zone is one thing but being curly creative and brave in an unpredictable situation is another thing. The result was simply magic.
Marketing dream and reality
Another thing we really are interested in is how Oreo will follow-through this marketing magic. With practically one amazing sweep of the wand, consumers are suddenly talking about the brand. This is every company’s and every marketer’s dream.
But the worst thing Oreo can do right now is to sit down and pat itself in the back. There is no time to relax, but there is enough time to engage consumers in meaningful conversations by focusing on relevant insights and messages centered on core company values.
Our take on providing continuity
The idea here is to provide compelling reason for consumers to follow the brand by producing similarly innovative and engaging content while retaining the basic identity of the company.
From a marketing standpoint, we should treat last Sunday as jumping board to reach greater heights for the brand. We should consider it a kickoff, a sort of day one to a year’s worth of marketing ingenuity.
Oreo has set a new bar at the Superbowl 2013. We’ll see what’s next…ability to change, community-marketing, newsjacking]
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February 6, 2013
Why should you get brand ambassadors to advocate your company?
We talk to a lot of people about digital strategies, implementation, planning and social media. A couple of weeks ago we met up with a company that had 40.000 likes on facebook, but they didn’t manage to get anything out of it.
Brand ambassadors are crucial to help you spread your brand in a business niche that you’re targeting. Also it’s important for you to know, that there are people out there who has your back, and send referrals your way because you’re simply awesome. Normally you would talk about your employees as brand ambassadors, but since we are networked company, we don’t have a lot of those.
At Toothless Tiger we work around our brand ambassadors via a smart CRM system (we use contactually.com – but also we really like the idea of advocate hub - when we are a bit more advanced. Tools like these make sure we have our brand ambassadors on our agenda all the time, in the mix of everything else.
We have experienced that they are a key part of your sales and feedback process, because they actually help you spread your brand. Oh heck, we might as well spill the beans – they are the most important part of your sales proces, because they hook you up with other people in a genuine way.
So how do we keep our ambassadors in the loop? well me make sure to follow up with them regularly and we also have tons of coffee and good times with them. We give them a sneakpeak of Toothless Tiger that is mostly unseen from the outside. And we give them free advice on a regular basis. If they see something that’s interesting to our brand they often send us a text message. Oh and another great thing is that we get to be their brand ambassadors too.[brand advocacy, brand ambassadors, love]
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January 11, 2013
We have gotten our KAiKU case up on Toothless Tiger. KAiKU came to us and wanted us to help them get a better hold on digital branding, identity and social media.
We made a full mini-strategy including an action plan and a weekly plan to make it easy for KAiKU to implement themselves while we where watching over their shoulder.
Also KAiKU was the first danish design company on Pinterest – something we pride ourselves of – and something that has come back 1000 folds to KAiKU and their awesome design + work for smaller designers in Scandinavia.[actionplan, branding, cases, clients, identity, social media, strategy]
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December 13, 2012
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“People love it when you listen and engage them as a company. It’s not enough to get people to have attention towards your brand: you have to put in a great deal of proactivity, participation and comments on social media to get people to be interested in what you have to say. It’s a key factor in what I call “business unusual” ”
“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”
― Coco Chanel
[business unusual, companies, identity, quotes]
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December 11, 2012
This fall has been so incredibly busy for us, in so many ways. It’s christmas time and we’re still running around like mad, doing workshops, giving advice to CEOs on all things digital, mapping out strategies and helping the teams implement them and managing their communities.
Sometimes it feels like that tendencies comes out of nowhere, and while we where busy working the digital for our clients, suddenly web of things where here. Partly manifested at Le Web in Paris (where I was an official blogger) it’s a lifechanging tendency that makes you smarter around yourself and your enviroment. All the important stuff that matters. What I am really psyched about is that it’s actually driven by consumer products that can literally change the world – both your own, but also contribute to the larger picture.
So what is all the fuzz about ?
Well actually it’s things – hardware such as scales, sleep and activity trackers, solarpanels, cameras, and even plant sensors and termostats that are connected to the internet (either realtime or via USB) and transmits data to it when it’s plugged into a network or your computer.
It sounds simple, but it can actually make your choices smarter and it can make you do something in order to become more effective. An example ? Changers.com a solarpanel that charges a battery for a phone, but at the same time you can plug the battery into the computer and it will tell you how much Sun you’ve gathered. Smart. Another example of a website going web of things is the new barcode scanner that ShapeUp Club has added – in addition with their integration with runkeeper. Not web of things but super efficient if you want to well ShapeUp.
So web of things is cross platform internet driven devices that makes you choose smarter. -and I am loving every product launch of it.
[cases, how to, le web, le web 12, web of things]
September 14, 2012
Here at Toothless Tiger, we have decided that we’re on the look for a scandinavian bank. A bank that dares to become transparent, clear and simple.
I feel like I need to try and do something about the banks, to change them – and as always I start trying to get on the inside (then later I will parade in front of their huge building with signs).
I don’t know if it’s actually possible to do an outreach here on the blog and then to try find a cool bank in that way. But heck, I’ll try.
This week on danish TV there was a tv show around banks and how the interest rates changes depending on your risk as a person. If they could only get the banks to admit that they actually did this, then I would somewhat-accept it. But nearly none of them admitted that they worked in that way.
And then you wonder what’s wrong with the financial industry these days ?
Also this week, I took part in a bank survey over the phone where I was supposed to rate my bank (nykredit) within several different fields and the highest I rated them – was a 3 out of a 10. Yeah that’s how bad it is with the trust bankpeople – now what are you going to do about it ? here’s some advice from yours truely, and it’s for free this time.
Cut the bullsh*t – seriously tell it like it is. How do you come up with the numbers surrounding a person ? How do you determine an interest rate? what ? are you afraid we might get upset ? upset is what you get if you mess around behind our backs. You get the crowd so upset that they are swearing never to do business with you again.
Make personal economy clear and objective. Nobody trusts their bank “advisor” anymore, because when everything started to get screwed up, it was not about service anymore or advice – it was about earning money and getting everything you could get from clients and then more.
Don’t hide behind glossy campaigns. The overall industry is a mess and we see right through you.
but if you don’t want to be in that box ? if you don’t want to be a part of the untrusted banks – you need to start letting down the guards and think transparent, clear and simple.
What you get from it ? trust. It’s in high demand these days bank-rockers! =)[banks, clear, economy, nykredit, simple, transparency, trust]
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June 21, 2012
We’ve gathered a list of the biggest mistakes made on social media according to us – These are obstacles we work around everyday, and they are really important to face and acknowledge.
1. No clear social strategy
We’ve often wondered about this easygoing attitude of business brands rushing too quickly into the social media arena without a clear social strategy on what they hope to accomplish for doing so. We ALWAYS suggest a proper social marketing plan based on our clients’ needs, with a clear time-oriented goal for each step of the process.
2. No support from top management
Each business strategy, to be successful, should have the approval of the top management. This is especially true regarding the still young and evolving social media where chaos and disorder are the norm (we’re talking about anarchy here). Errors are to be expected, and without the all-important support coming from the top bosses, your social media plan is bound for the slaughterhouse sooner than later.
3. Nearsighted approach
Social media is all about building relationships (know, like and trust people =) and it takes a lot of time and effort to get fully connected with your audience. Unfortunately, we’ve come across some companies that are largely impatient, and resort to shortcuts, thinking wrongly that social media is another quick way to make more sales. Nothing can be further from the truth, because social media actually adds more time, and therefore, more money – to the sales process. And just like any other business process, your company must seriously consider how much of its resources should be allocated to social media.
4. Focus on just one social network
While it’s been a business principle to focus on all your marketing efforts to a specific audience to market your products, some companies are taking this practice all the way to the tipping board and right into their social media plans. Of course, it’s fantastic to see amazing results on one form of media, and it’s very tempting to invest all your company resources into what’s working. However, considering the rapid pace at which technology changes, social platforms are starting to look like a fad – today you’re hot, tomorrow you’re not. It goes without saying that businesses which meticulously build their online presence on only one platform will have nowhere to go if this network loses popularity.
5. Focus on the product
Most of us are sometimes guilty of this mistake. You know you have this great product, and the whole world should learn about it, and you just can’t stop from mentioning all about it on your blogposts, tweets and status updates, because it’s great. But you should also know that users are especially critical of too much commercial message in social communities. The rule of thumb in promoting your product on social media is that it should not account for more than 10% of all your proactivity in social networking (and that includes the inevitable amazing discount on your great product, folks) while 90% of your posts should offer real insights, valuable information, essential tips and useful resources that can make your customers’ lives a lot easier.
6. Using corporate lingo
Another familiar mistake – for Pete’s sake, get your a** off that ivory tower, and engage in conversations using the everyday language your audience uses. You won’t build trust and lasting relationships by speaking in corporate lingo because the community won’t understand your message, and they will ignore simply you. The best you can do is to communicate fully using the language of the community you’ve chosen to connect to, and participate fully within the context of the conversation.
7. Not listening enough
As a business, listening is a powerful tool to gauge the perception of your audience regarding your brand. By listening first, you’re giving yourself the window to prepare and react accordingly. However, some businesses just leap into conversations without the benefit of knowing the sentiments surrounding their brands. In the event of bad publicity, they’re at a loss on how to respond properly, damaging their social reputation.
8. Untimely Responses
This is closely related to number 7. When businesses commit blunders, the best damage control on social networks is an immediate and humble acknowledgement of wrongdoing. Admit your mistakes and your audience will reward your honesty.
9. No open culture
Admitting your mistakes may be the best route to take against negative sentiments, but a lot of businesses participating in social media are simply not yet ready to engage in honest conversations with their target audience. They can’t accept criticism and they can’t admit mistakes. These companies need to cultivate an open culture within their ranks before they dip their toes into social media.
10. Making social media the end-all and be-all of your marketing plan
I’ve always emphasized this in all my contributions to my ideal digital world – social media is just a means to connect with a much wider audience in the fastest way possible, and face to face interaction is still the end. Virtual experience can never replace the real smell of a bouquet of flowers on your anniversary, or even that wonderful smile on your face as you smell those flowers. Or companies exceeding our expectations.
In similar fashion, social media marketing is only a tool to enhance real life experiences and should be treated nothing more than that. Social media is only an extension of reality, but it’s never the complete reality.
So you want a one sentence digital strategy from us ?
One that everybody should be using ?
“we strive to create a holistic marketing plan where social, digital marketing and traditional marketing are complementary, where one’s weakness is the other’s strength.”
Businesses that can create an optimum balance between these social media and marketing forces will succeed.
[mistakes, social media, social media marketing]
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