How to Quickly Build a Stunning Website to Brand Yourself Online

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting Comparison

Linux Cpanel shared hosting: 600 GB disk space, 6 TB bandwidth, free domain, unlimited databases and ftp accounts, web hosting cheap and pro at Hostony

Would you like to showcase your works and be prestigious? Would you like to get employed effortlessly even if you are a new graduate? Provided that this is true, then take after our tips today!

Presenting the Latest Trends in Web Design

We committed errors. Flash are not in nowadays. Online sitebuilder from various web hosting providers won’t give you great locales. It’s a great opportunity to grasp new designs for sites. Responsive designs are much excessively helpful all together for your site to look great on portable workstations, desktops, cell phones and tablets.

5 Best WordPress Portfolio Themes

  • Bigbang – fully responsive theme and ability to photostream from Instagram, Flickr, Dribbble, and Pinterest

    Bigbang | WordPress Portfolio Themes

  • Synergie – a powerful WordPress theme that can be use for everything. With a really innovative system, the homepage can be modified to really fit your need. You can turn on/off any of the 5 modules and stack the the way you want in 10 seconds.

    Synergie | WordPress Portfolio Themes

  • SCRN – a single responsive portfolio wordpress template. Perfect to promote your work or your business. Is compatible with all modern mobile devices. Other than the minimalistic single page design, it also has a blog.

    SCRN | WordPress Portfolio Themes

  • Mineral – a modern, clean and fully responsive WordPress theme. The theme implements parallax effects in different elements and sections, such as; content slider background image, full-width sections background images, services boxes animations, testimonials animations.

    Mineral | WordPress Portfolio Themes

    Linux Cpanel shared hosting: 600 GB disk space, 6 TB bandwidth, free domain, unlimited databases and ftp accounts, web hosting cheap and pro at Hostony

  • Boom – a fully responsive WordPress theme providing the ideal scenario in which visitors can experience the website in any device, any browser and any screen resolution

    Boom | WordPress Portfolio Themes

Want to see more portfolio WordPress templates? Feel free to click here for other WordPress portfolio themes.

What is the Next Step?

Do you believe that the general shift toward mobile makes it more important than ever to ensure employers to view your online portfolio on whichever device they are using? You should try a Responsive WordPress theme (RWD). RWD provides a customized viewing experience for different browser platforms, i.e making sure your website does not suck when viewed on other devices especially on mobile phones and tablets.

  1. Buy a hosting account if you do not already have one (about $ 10/month)
  2. Buy and download a gorgeous theme of your choice from above (less than $ 60, one time)
  3. Install WordPress on your hosting account (use QuickInstall if using Hostgator as hosting)
  4. Upload the theme to your WordPress site
  5. Configure your site and upload your design, photos, videos, work, etc.

Now that you have been revealed with the most cost-effective option to make a good-looking website, what hosting do you use for this beautiful portfolio site of yours? Our recommendation is Hostgator for hosting your WordPress site(s). You can try Hostgator for $ 0.01 only and use the coupon code WEBSITELAUNCH. You can also save 25% from your first bill using coupon code WEBTEMPLATE.

The steps may sound complicated but it is really straightforward. You should be able to show off your online portfolio in about 4 hours. If by any chance you have any query or problem with setting up your site, feel free contact your friendly hosting support to give you a helping hand.

Hostgator discount code

Web Hosting Comparison

Linux Cpanel shared hosting: 600 GB disk space, 6 TB bandwidth, free domain, unlimited databases and ftp accounts, web hosting cheap and pro at Hostony

How to Build a Contest or Giveway Website for Your Brand

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting Comparison

Do you want to create your own website to organize a contest or competition? Here is a simple and clear step-by-step explanation on how you too can make your own stunning contest website in the shortest time possible. You can own a gorgeous website of a contest in just a few hours, and at a price you can afford. Here are four steps to make before you can have your own website.

STEP 1: Get a Domain Name

First you need to get a domain name for your contest. If you want to look professional, you need to have your own domain name for the contest or campaign. A competition or giveaway that is hosted on a unique domain will look more legitimate than the ones hosted on a free hosting or blog. If you already registered your name or do not want to be one your own domain name, you can skip to Step 2.

It is easy to get a domain name, just go to one of the domain registrars such as Namecheap and Godaddy. You can search for a domain name and if it’s available, buy it before somebody else grabs it.

A domain name is like the signboard outside of a restaurant. It should be a name people can remember easily. It may include your brand and the name of the contest.

Click here to search for a domain name.

STEP 2: Get a Website Hosting

You also need a website hosting for hosting the pages for your contest. This is like the space or shop unit that your rent to open the restaurant.

There are many kinds of web hosting space that you can rent depending on your needs and the scale of your website. Webhostingcomparison.org is a good place to learn about the various kinds of web host service available. If you are building your first website, we will assume you either want to use a simple site builder or to get a multi domain shared hosting to create a more robust website.

To decide on which web hosting to use, you will need to ask yourself, “what are my requirements?”.

Choose a Site Builder if… Choose a Multi Domain Shared Hosting if…
  • You want to build a website rather easily and quickly
  • You don’t have time to learn and become proficient with technical stuff like HTML, WordPress, FTP etc.
  • You don’t want to spend a lot of money (since sometimes you may need to hire WordPress specialists to build your ideal website)
  • You don’t mind having a simple, yet elegant website that you can build by yourself
  • If you want to customize a ready-made template or a theme
  • You plan to have more than one website in the future
  • You want have more than informational site, i.e have more functionalities (such as shopping cart, discussion forum, membership area etc.)
  • You don’t mind learning some technical stuff so that you are able to build your ideal website
  • You plan to hire somebody else to create your website
Site Builder Hosting Suggestions Multi-Domain Hosting Suggestions
Try site builders such as Weebly or Wix

We recommend you get a cPanel web hosting at Hostgator because we have been using them for over 8 years with no problem. They also have a very helpful support team.

STEP 3: Build and Customize Your Website

The next step is to build your website.

If you go with the multi domain hosting path above, the best platform to use to create your website is WordPress. With WordPress, you can easily install it using one-click installer like Fantastico and QuickInstall that can be found in your cPanel. WordPress also have huge selection of themes and plugins that you can choose from to minimize coding your site manually.

If you choose the multi domain hosting method instead of using Weebly or Wix, you have the flexibillity to customize your website. If you want stunning themes, you can go to Themeforest. Here are some of the gorgeous themes suitable for contest websites:

Create the Pages for Your Site

Next, you want to create the pages for your contest or giveaway website. Some of the common pages you may want to add are:

  • About the contest
  • About the prizes
  • Terms and Conditions
  • How to enter/win
  • Contest page (see next section below on how to create the contest)

STEP 4: Build Your Contest Using Gleam

Now, when it comes to creating contest, the most sensible solution is to use a contest app such as Gleam, Woobox or Rafflecopter. We prefer Gleam instead of the others because it has the most features and highly customizable.

To be honest, there are many things to consider when creating a competition, contest or giveaway for your brand. There are any factors such as:

  • Building email lists
  • How to engage the userbase
  • How to verify entries and frauds
  • How to restrict by country
  • How to integrate with social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc.
  • Analytics
  • Notifications
  • Picking of winners

Good news! Gleam provides an easy way to create contests for free. They also allow a seamless experience across devices & platforms that not only looks great, but allows you to syndicate your contest in a way that fits the image of your brand perfectly.

Click here to sign up with Gleam for free

To create a competition or contest you will first need to add a site at Gleam. Each site has access to individual instances of their apps, you can also use the left menu to switch between sites.

Multiple sites have the following advantages: You can keep your data separated, ensure your campaigns are branded from that site & also allows you to have site specific integrations.

How to create a new competition:

  1. Navigate to the site you want to use
  2. Click on the competitions tab in the left navigation
  3. Click on the New Competition button on the top right

Inserting the Contest into Your Website

You can embed your contest inside any page that allows Javascript. This means you can install it on your own site or perhaps give to a web designer to include the code for you.

You can view more detailed instructions in the add to a page installation guide.

Web Hosting Comparison

Brand Value & the Most Powerful Brands 2016 (with Infographic)

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

Brand value – everyone wants it, however, only few are able to achieve it. The subject of “brand value” holds a significant position amongst marketers, executives, and entrepreneurs. Let’s discuss what makes a brand unique, and how it is evaluated.

Brand makes your business unique. It sets the company apart and has the ability to position the business on the top in their specific industry. Sometimes, a brand is the company’s most valuable assets. In fact, many companies are often referred to by the name used in their brand – and they become one and the same. A strong brand identity drives customer loyalty, for the simple fact that once a customer uses your services and has a positive experience, your brand will bring them back.

apple google - most powerful brands

Skip to Infographic

Everyone knows the most powerful brands just by glancing their logos: Apple, Google, Facebook, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Disney, McDonald’s and Coca Cola are just a few. A brand can be any name, symbol, word, sentence, or logo that is used to distinguish the product from other similar products available on the market.

However, there is more to it than just a nifty logo and a catchy name. Everything you do within your business adds to your brand equity – the choices you make in product design, the quality of service that customers receive, the handling of customer complaints and any other services that your company offers – all of these things can add to credence to your brand equity.

What is Brand Equity (Value)?

Well, brand equity can be best defined as the phrase that is used inside the industry of marketing that defines the significance of having a well-established and recognized brand name, based on the concept that the owner of the brand is capable of generating more profits from products registered under that brand name over those products of a not so popular name. This justification is based on the perspective of many customers that a product which has a well-known name is much better compared to those products from a less popular brand name.

brand value equityThe main principle behind brand equity is the relationship between a consumer and the company selling the products/services. If the customer prefers a specific brand over the other, it is mainly because of his or her perception of the brand and its value regardless of the price tags on the product.

Of course, the company must strive hard to earn and maintain the consumer’s loyalty for their brand. To establish a brand value, the company must earn name recognition for its product, encourage the customer to actually try their product/service and convince them that their product is acceptable. Only after that the company can expect to secure a few preferences for their brands.

Having solid brand equity not only increases the profits and revenues for the company but it lower costs as well. the companies that already have an established brand equity are likely to spend less on marketing since the existing as well as potential consumers are already aware of their product. They don’t have to go into the hassle of educating the general public about their company and its products/services. Having brand equity also helps the company expand into different product lines. Since the customer is already following the brand, they are more likely to try any new product that is created by them.

Whether through a quality product line, excellent consumer service, and/or exceptional marketing techniques used by the company – having a strong brand equity symbolizes that the company has gained enough recognition and respect from their consumers that guarantees they will spend more on products created by that brand.

The Benefits of Brand Value

Simply put, “brand equity” is the construct which is specifically designed to replicate the actual value which the brand name is holding for products and services which it accompanies. Measuring brand equity has been considered important mainly for the reason that brands are regarded to be powerful influencers of crucial business results like market share and sales.

“Branded products invariably command a higher price than so-called ‘store brands’ or ‘generic’ – even when the product itself is a commodity such as sugar. In these cases, the higher price is due almost entirely to the power of the brand.”

Inc. Magazine

Here is a list of the advantages of brand equity that were identified by Kevin Keller, a professor from Dartmouth College:

  • Be perceived variably and then produce varied interpretations of the product performance
  • Enjoy better loyalty as well as be less prone to competitive advertising actions
  • Command bigger margins and gain more unyielding responses to cost hikes and flexible responses to price drops
  • Obtain better support and trade cooperation
  • Boost the effectiveness of marketing communication
  • Backing brand extensions
  • Produce licensing opportunities

Just like other constructs, brand value has been defined and gauged in different ways. It’s sometimes understood from the viewpoint of perceptible financial assets of a company. On the other hand, from the marketing research outlook, it is usually viewed conceptually, as the framework to understand the effectiveness of emotional and intellectual associations that customers do have with branded services and products.

Contrary to outright dollar valuations, which underscore the direct financial perspective, the marketing researchers are looking to gauge and then understand the brand value for strategic planning and positioning.

Brand Equity Modeling and Brand Value Measurement

Brand equity has been defined and measured in numerous ways. However, the measurement process is not as simple as counting the number of individuals who recognize a certain brand name or symbol. It can also not be assumed by the fact that if the brand is popular, it holds strong brand equity. In fact, the most powerful brands can effortlessly be weakened by any wrong steps taken by the company or faulty product.

As a matter of fact, most research agencies worked and developed their own brand value model which is implemented in collaboration with the end-user researchers. Professor Kevin Keller said:

“Although the details of various approaches to conceptualize brand value differ, they tend to share a general core: All definitions usually either explicitly or implicitly depend on brad knowledge structures within the minds of customers both organizations and individuals as the foundation or source of brand value.”

Professor Keller

Researchers explain and gauge brand equity when it comes to knowledge that consumers have about a specific brand. Different published brand value models and measurements were available up to date. Remarkably, measuring brand value might be just a single piece of a more complete brand research program. Also, a brand research program of an organization might be just a single facet of a bigger research & insights program.

Brand Value Model:

  1. Brand Awareness (strength of brand in consumer’s memory)
    • Breadth (likeliness of recognition and recall of the brand)
    • Depth (mindfulness of the brand under various purchase or consumption scenarios)
  2. Brand Image (consumer perceptions and preferences for the brand)
    • “Lower” order brand associations (perceptions of benefits and attributes):
    • – Brand Performance – characteristics and features, reliability, serviceability and durability, effectiveness, empathy and efficiency, style and design, price.
      – Brand Imagery – user profile, purchase circumstances, usage situations, values and personality, history and heritage.

    • “Higher” order brand associations (judgments, responses and feelings):
    • – Brand Judgments – brand quality, brand credibility, brand consideration, brand superiority.
      – Brand Feelings – warmth, fun, excitement, security, social approval, self-respect.

Measurements

  1. Brand Equity Measurement
    • Brand Awareness (Brand recognition, Unaided recall, Aided recall)
    • Brand Image (Free association, Interview, Means-ends chain analysis, Projective techniques, Zaltman Tech., Aaker Scale, Ethnography or Observ, Fournier BRQ scale)
  2. Extra Measurement
    • Comparative Approaches (Brand based comparative approaches, Marketing based comparative approaches, Conjoint comparative approaches)
    • Holistic Methods (Valuation approach, Residual approach)

Experts usually agree that the best way to measure the brand equity depends on its specific industry or company. In some cases, the brand equity can be analyzed by looking at the customer’s preference for the product while other cases require a careful study of customer’s satisfaction or market share of the company.

Most Powerful Brands in 2016

brand value and the most powerful brands 2016

Embed this infographic on your website:

It should come as no surprise that Apple tops the Forbes 2016 list. Recognizable products, a strong product portfolio and the ability to have people lining up for hours on product launch day. Despite strong competition they are responsible for almost half of the mobile phones sold in the US. The tech giant Apple is the most valuable brand of 2016. Having a value of $ 154.1billion, this is the sixth year Apple has dominated the rankings.

Google is now number 2, passing Microsoft and it isn’t difficult to understand why. The name Google has become synonymous with any internet search, if you don’t know something your friend will advise you to Google it. After Microsoft come Coca-Cola and Facebook.

Facebook is a prime example of something that started small, aimed at kids in one college as a beta test and grew into a behemoth. They constantly update their platform on the back of customer feedback and sometimes it might take longer than the customers want but they keep them in the loop that change is coming. People threaten to delete their accounts all the time, but they just keep coming back for more. Almost two billion of them!

BrandFinance Worlds Most Powerful Brands 2016

On the other hand, according to brandfinance.com, which ranks the company’s based on their product quality, familiarity, promotion, customer loyalty, marketing tactics, staff satisfaction, and reputation – Disney is the most powerful brand of 2016. Having a brand value of $ 31.7 billion, the company has acquired the number one position due to its long and established history. It has also acquired many prominent companies recently. These include purchasing ESPN Inc, Star Wars, Pixar, and the Muppets and the Marvel.

The Danish Lego Company which was dominating the charts in 2015, shifted to #2 positions as a result of several controversies that were circulating about the company in the past year. The quality of their products remains the same but other factors contributed to their downfall.

Last year the toy company whose products are loved and cherished by kids of all ages was fined by German officials for preventing retailers from discounting its products. It was also a part of the censorship issue where it prevented a Chinese artist from using Lego in his work. Yet, the brand remains powerful and a part of every child’s toy box. L’Oreal with a brand value of $ 14.9 billion sits on the third position while PwC auditing company holds the court on the fourth. The consulting firm McKinsey is ranked on the fifth position while the 40 year old brand “Nike” is still going strong on the sixth position.

The recent reports that incorporated 100 brands from 16 countries serves to remind us how valuable and powerful a strong brand can be and really is.

Conclusion

Every market is cluttered, so by doing your research before you jump in head first you will be better placed to grow your brand identity.

If you’re starting fresh you are in a better position than most, because you can look at the market you are moving into and find what is missing to really carve out an identity for your business, give it a personality that is likely to attract customers and see them coming back for more.

Who is your target market? The face of your company should reflect them, a customer should be able to look at that and say, yes!

We’ve watched many iconic brands slip away in recent years and the same can be said for most of them: they completely lost sight of their identity. They knew who they wanted to target they just didn’t understand what it would take to make their target realise they were the brand for them.

Look at your brand preferences and look at your business, or your potential business. What can you do to build a brand as solid as that?

  • Make it relatable, tell your customers a story – the story of how your business came to be, how you started out, and sell them on you.
  • Deliver first class customer service, employ people who are willing to go the extra mile.
  • Offer high quality products at fair prices.

There are a lot of people trying to say that brands are dying out because with the emergence of the internet customers have more options and far more information available to them. I would suggest there are brands that will never go away because they have the ability to adapt to the changes and movements in their industries. They take the time to understand what their customers want and need and they don’t waste time in putting it into action.

If you want to build a successful brand then you will take heed of the big names that have gone down the drain and adopt a more pro-active approach to running your business.

Good luck!

The post Brand Value & the Most Powerful Brands 2016 (with Infographic) appeared first on Web Hosting Geeks' Blog.

Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

Copying an Existing Brand — Illegal or Just Immoral?

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

Whether it happens in a corporate conference room or in a startup client’s office, at some point in your career, whether it’s as a designer, social media manager or marketing expert, someone is going to ignore your suggestions and ideas and say, “here’s a site I like. I want one designed just like this!” Your bruised ego is one thing, but knowing where to draw the line between inspiration and theft is another. Relaying that to a client or boss can be even tougher.

There are times we need to just give in to clients and bosses—it is a service industry/job, after all. As an old teacher once said to me:

“If you’re a marketing designer, you will have to follow instructions and inane wishes of clients and bosses. If you want to do your own thing, be an artist and paint pictures.”

It sticks in my mind because at the time he was strangling me while other students tried to pry his hands from my throat. My arguments about creativity and self-respect were naive… and aggravating, judging by the teacher’s attempt to murder me. I’ve since learned my lesson while enjoying breathing freely.

Your Duty to the Client

As a professional hired to build on a company’s brand, it’s up to you to not just be a pair of hands that knows how to do “that internet stuff” and build and promote a business and their website, but to also know how that branding will affect the client in the market and among a customer base. When faced with a request to copy another creative’s work, line for line, button for button and color for color and word for word, you have to consider the ramifications for your career and for the client or company.

Thief looking around a blank signA website that takes all its “inspiration” from another design is totally heinous to a creative, but it happens more often then we’d care to admit. Companies like to jump on bandwagons and an idea that’s been tested and succeeds is a magnet for those who fear risk. As creatives, we love risk and we live to dare, so it is hard for us to understand. As professional business people, we need to understand the fear a client feels and how to guide them past it to success. Design is a message—it should be pointed, effective and unique. It should also make us feel good about the job we do and love and knowing we left the client in a better place.

But if a client wants you to take “inspiration” from an existing, successful website, the first question you must address is: Will the design of the example site fit the demographics and purpose of the client’s business? If it’s way off target, you need to express those concerns to your client. If the answer is, “I don’t care” or “just do it, web monkey,” then you have a good idea of the client’s ethics… or understanding of business.

The next question is: Will there be any brand damage by using the design? Again, as a professional, it’s part of your service to protect the client’s reputation. It takes a gentle but firm demeanor to explain why using a knockoff of the Coca-Cola website is not a good idea for a funeral home (“Coke Adds Life” is their motto. It’s doubtful a funeral home wants the same motto… Thief Worksone would hope!). If targeted consumers see the brand’s website as a spoof of the original design, they won’t take the company seriously. If word spreads on social media, huge embarrassment will ensue and chances are, your name and reputation as the one who did the branding/marketing will get thrown under the bus. Oh, look, the 3:10 express to Endofcareersville is right on time.

Let’s say the client is really excited and determined about the idea of the funeral home having the same branding as Coke. There is only one final question for the client: Are there legal ramifications to using the same design and branding? Are any copyrights or trademarks being infringed upon? The company could get a cease-and-desist order, which would shut down the website and any collateral materials. You might very well be blamed for the whole ordeal. If the client’s answer to the legal question is “Eh, I think it’s fine,” you know there will be trouble ahead.

Protect Yourself!

If you’re ordered to “take inspiration” from another design/brand and all the outs described above haven’t worked, refer to this handy list of subtle acts of nonviolent resistance:

  • In meetings, dress as a thief character from the 1920s by wearing a mask, striped shirt, black pants and flat cap and carry a bag marked “loot.”
  • Cry and ask for God’s forgiveness every time you say the word “inspiration” while meeting about the site.
  • Ask for an extra fee to keep your mouth shut about the “inspiration.” Wink every time you say, “inspiration.”
  • Make sure your contract indemnifies you from lawsuits. Save all correspondence that show you argued about the direction the client is taking.
  • Demand that you be referred to by a pseudonym such as “John Smith” in all correspondence so you can go under the radar once the site goes live.
  • In every discussion about the project, end it with questions about the plans to avoid litigation.

These acts of protest should make your point clear: crime never pays… and clients in prison also hardly ever pay a freelancer.

A Client’s Duty to Branding/Marketing

Thief stealing a laptop computerI’ve never heard of a person refusing to be put under during an operation so he/she could tell the surgeon how to operate or, for that matter, tell a portrait painter what colors to use and brush strokes to be taken. Using professional designers, branding experts and marketers is hiring people with experience and knowledge. Like a surgeon, they know what needs to be cut out, stitched up or augmented. Like a painter, they know how to make you look your best.

There are a million ideas to be thought up and just as many solutions for your business branding. Listen to unique, standout ideas from the professionals you hire and employ. They want you to succeed because every win is success for them as well. A growing business means a growing client for more work!

Images ©GL Stock Images

Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

When It’s Time for Your Brand to Stand Up or Shut Up

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

Your brand is your personality. It’s how others see your company as a person — someone with whom a consumer can identify, and think of as a friend. As with life, your brand will be stalked by those who take that friendship for the identity to a weird, creepy level.

The rule for every dinner table, cocktail party, office, Facebook post, tweet, or Google+ post, lest your followers become a minus, should be; “no sexual, political, religious, or money discussions allowed.” There are other things people like to hear. Unfortunately, brand loyalty often falls upon consumers knowing the company brand stance on all of the taboo subjects that have nothing to do with how clean your dishes can be, or how less delicious your greasy hamburger would be if the brand didn’t meet your own ideals. Often a brand is called out to state an opinion, and sometimes someone at the top just can’t keep their mouth shut.

My Company — MY RULES!

Freedom of speech you say? True. It’s often followed by the freedom to buy another brand.

Recently, and it’s hard to keep track as brand blunders happen almost every day, the CEO of Barilla Pasta made a statement that caused the LGBT community and straight supporters to blast the company via every social media channel for his views and how it effected his business decisions.

barillastory

bigotoni  1377378_10202129099698911_1179082781_n

BANG! Not defensible, somewhat like the spin on a similar statement from the president of Chik-Fil-A, where it was argued that it was his personal opinion, did not reflect business practices, and appropriate apologies were issued. The Barilla statement targeted a group, stated the brand belief, which brought the business into the incident, and made it sound like a commitment for which no apology was ever necessary, or deserved. Perhaps this is why the follow up apologies are rarely, if ever, accepted by consumers. It’s time that wipes memories clean!

cfa.president

Even just a foolish trip on Twitter, or using the wrong hashtag at the wrong time can be a disaster. Plenty of top corporations have had to do damage control after an innocent slip up, or moronic social media employee posted the wrong tweet because he/she thought they were on their own Twitter account. Yikes! Protecting one’s brand is a 24/7 job for not just outgoing social media, but also for inbound reactions.

Brand Building Changes

Brands used to build loyalty sheerly upon the friendly, and popular feeling people got from using the product, based mostly on brilliant commercials, pushing a brand image. Who would want more?

In the modern, corporate world, donations are made, sometimes for tax reasons, but other times for philanthropic reasons. It is the recipient(s) of those charitable donations that can cause a brand bump if your base of consumer support doesn’t agree with the work of those charities. THAT has forced some very brave, and risky brand stance. Why are corporations starting to weigh in on hot issues, such as support of the LGBT community?

homedepot.support

“Businesses see more reward than risk in communicating their acceptance toward LGBT people. Companies that come out against DOMA want to reflect contemporary market attitudes,” says Bob Witeck, president of Witeck Communications, which advises corporations on LGBT issues.

stand.oreo.gay.rights

In her article, “Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything,” Tara Hunt writes:

You can smell a brand who is following a formula or just follows advice and ‘best practice’ guidelines. Their voice is forced and weak. They won’t take a position. They are afraid of what others think. They define themselves by what they ARE NOT, but refuse to own who they ARE.

absolut-2The easiest explanation for such risks to one’s brand, is that no business can live within a self-controlled bubble anymore. Social context has now become the key to consumer brand loyalty. The current backlash of economics and politics, at least in the perception of consumers, make them want more control over large corporate entities. Don’t support MY beliefs? I’ll feel my power by not buying your product. It’s a self-affirmation for a society that feels more, and more helpless, and feel the companies that depend on consumer dollar power, can be bent to meet yet another step in the evolution of brand building — consumer political, and social opinions.

1012793_10152491427533306_2141043304_n

1011382_10152485706138306_1033632009_n

gay_marriage_smirnoff

There are also those who smell a conspiracy. Corporate support can wield a lot of power, and contributions do buy power. Of course, when it comes to brand awareness, some people believe store brands are just as good as name brands, but save money, and their eyes and ears are closed to any opinions, good or bad. Money does talk!

Top image ©GL Stock Images

whg.bannerad.1.prelim

Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

Twidiots, Pinheads and Facebook Fools: Protecting Your Brand on Social Media

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

The title of this article says it all—”social” and “media.” Are you prepared to use both to your best advantage? Do you know how to control both? What do you do when both go haywire beyond your control? Whether you handle your own social media outreach or trust it to someone else, you need to know what is said for you, about you and to you. One slip and negativity about you and your brand is there for all to see forever!

Years ago, when I had a position as the gatekeeper of an iconic magazine, it was my unpleasant task of turning down people whose dream was to work for the magazine. Being in the position of having to dash hopes for what was the good of the brand, which also included wrangling freelancers and having to let some go when they couldn’t deliver on time or what was asked of them made me the target of hatred and spite. No matter how nice I was about it, when I would say, “I’m sorry but you just don’t fit our needs right now but please keep in touch,” which was the generic turn-down for the publishing industry, people no doubt heard me cursing and ripping out their hearts. For that, my name was trashed in chat rooms across the net.

People Remember the Worst

Luckily, many years later, nobody seems to remember the passing insults and labels attached to me as most, if not all of those chart rooms were killed by technological advances and my name became mine to ruin across the internet. Quite a relief! Still, for several years after leaving that position, I would have to answer a question here or there about did I say this or that or really kick puppies, etc. I felt out of control about so many lies others so callously place on the web due to their own insecurities.

If you have a personal Facebook page and were not in a coma for the past few months, chances are you saw or were part of a discussion or flame war about the presidential candidates. You probably had a few open-palm-to-forehead moments at what other people said. Well, when your time in the spotlight comes, what will you do to reverse the damage? When it was my turn, I ignored what was being said and hoped my real reputation would cancel out the complaints as hot air from a few idiots. That was about a dozen years ago. Today there are better and more immediate ways needed to keep a clean web reputation.

Putting Yourself in Harm’s Way

When you post an opinion, either through an article, a Facebook post, a Pinterest post or a tweet, you invite others to comment and/or reply. Look at the example of Donald Trump’s election night tweets. His opinion’s brought damage to his reputation that will NEVER be forgotten and may have him explaining himself to the Secret Service on charges of inciting treason. While many think it was solely based on self-promotion, he chose the wrong route to get people talking about him and the damage is beyond control. Trump’s only choice is to fade into the background and wait for someone else to create a new scandal or to simply apologize and blame a chemical imbalance. The negativity, political pronouncements and fighting between democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives, blacks, Latinos and whites, rich and poor will be felt and resented for years. No one knows how or if it will go away and that will hurt the business of this nation.

Several company CEOs have joined the fray by announcing firings, layoffs and hiring freezes due to the reelection of President Obama. It’s too early for them to comment about the backlash of their public announcements and the effect their businesses will feel. When the CEO of Chick-fil-A let his feelings on gay marriage known to the public, business for the chain took a reported income nose dive as well as receiving opposition from the mayors of Boston and Chicago to the building of new restaurants in those cities (although even THOSE response brought a backlash). It wasn’t long before he softened his stance to the public. Naturally, the businesses who stepped up in support of LGBT rights, such as Target and Amazon, took hits as well from those who support Chick-fil-A’s position.

The lesson learned is that sensitive topics that deal with sex, politics or religion has no place outside your own mind, in public. Free speech is a right but not a license to harm others and certainly not a right you want to exercise without considering the ramifications. Every word, every sentence and every thought will have a reaction. Business is, after all, business.

Letting Someone Else Do Your Talking

As too many businesses have found, having someone else do their social media outreach, unchecked, has brought similar problems of an angry public. In the Complex magazine article, ‘Bad Business: The 8 Worst Corporate Twitter Fails,’ there are some examples you might not think were breaking Twitter protocol. For instance:

When UK-based furniture store, Habitat, joined Twitter, it thought it unlocked the secret to getting its tweets in front of as many eyes as possible. Too bad all it did was find a new way to spam the Twitterverse. How? With hastag abuse. For a short period of time every tweet that came from the HabitatUK account contained one of the day’s top-searched, or trending hashtags that had nothing to do with the message of the tweet, placing the company’s tweets high in Twitter’s search results. All that resulted in was people crying foul and Habitat changing its ways.

Seemingly apropos of nothing, a Vodafone UK employee tasked with handling the telecommunication company’s Twitter account let loose an attack on homosexuals. The tweet was immediately removed and the employee, who tweeted, ‘VodafoneUK is fed up of dirty homo’s and is going after beaver’ on the company Twitter account, was fired.

Simultaneously managing two Twitter accounts could have dire consequences. Case in point: Instead of Tweeting from her personal account, American Red Cross worker Gloria Huang told the nation’s premier humanitarian organization’s 400,000 followers that she was about to get twistedly drunk with a friend. It was eventually taken down.

You know what’s not funny? Revolution. While people in Cairo were protesting and risking their lives for their freedom, Kenneth Cole decided to not only use the heavily searched #Cairo hashtag to prop up his results standings, but made light of the uprising with an off-colored joke by tweeting, ‘Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor has it they heard our new spring collection is in now available online.’ He later apologized for not being funny.

An employee of New Media Strategies, the company that handles Chrysler’s social media efforts, saw fit to voice his opinion of D-Town’s drivers to all of Chrysler’s followers by tweeting, ‘I find it Ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive.’ Chrysler immediately had the “social media expert” fired and issued an apology.

While the company looked for someone to manage its Twitter account full time, Marc Jacobs CEO, Robert Duffy, thought it wise to put an intern in charge and solicit resumes. When the job proved too difficult the intern cracked and with three tweets created a harmful message:

‘You guys and gals have no idea how difficult Robert is. I am only an intern. My last day is tomorrow. I wouldn’t be tweeting this if not! Good luck! I pray for you all. If you get the job! I’m out of here. See ya! Don’t want to be ya! Roberts a tyrant! Seriously! He is tough! I can call him out! I’m out! Won’t work in this town again! I know that! Learned a lot. But, I don’t have the energy for what is expected! Yea, walk in my MJ shoes! Don’t judge me! I’m alone in this office having to try and entertain you all. This isn’t easy. I have tried. Done!’

A day after Amy Winehouse’s tragic, untimely passing, Microsoft’s UK PR team thought it’d be a good idea to encourage fans of the British superstar to pay tribute by going to its Zune store and buying her last album. The body wasn’t even cold!

An intern in charge of using social media outreach? Unfortunately, this is not the only example of such a foolish decision. A financial institution got into some hot water when two tweets appeared seconds apart with different loan rates:

‘Our rates come with a guarantee – lock this in for the next 30 days, 4.9%…’

‘We have great loan rates, really low, 5.3%.’

The reason this happened is because two people were tweeting remotely on the same account without talking to each other.

Some of the examples above just can’t be helped when an employee goes off their medication or just goes insane during the workday. Then again, some businesses, aside from feeling interns can handle all social media outreach, don’t understand the medium and hire Twidiots.

Personal Reputation

Experts say LinkedIn is a great way to increase the power of your personal brand. Post links to gain attention, answer questions to establish a reputation of being an expert in your field/industry and join groups to network and further establish professional reputation and connections. It never ceases to amaze me who people abuse the medium or embarrass themselves in front of peers on these groups. I often cite the words of the late Jackie Gleason (some say it was actually Walter Winchell), “be nice to those you meet on the way up, because they are the same folks you’ll meet on the way down.”

When eBay, for instance, announced its rebranding and showed its new logo, graphic design message boards on design groups were overactive with opinions on the logo design. Who were these people and were their opinions valid? Were they informed about the inner process that came up with the final solution? Were they just blathering rants of jealousy and bravado? From a group of professionals that are so adamant against design-by-committee, they sure formed their own committee to trash the design and the design firm that provided the work. I all of this internet declarations, what were they telling their peers about their own temperament and professionalism? Did they raise others’ opinions about their own capabilities through these critiques or did they seem mean spirited and invite critiques on their own work via links to their own portfolios, acting only to lower opinions about their professional standing?

When you flame someone, make false statements, bogus claims, show unwarranted bravado or put forth your opinion when it’s not appropriate, you are creating a reputation among peers you probably don’t want. As with social media managers who go insane in mid-tweet or those who decided I should be punished for not hiring them or demanding they actually meet deadlines, some people are just mean. Here’s an article that has some vile examples of personal attacks that affected people’s reputation and business. While the article recommends a professional reputation repair firm and that might be necessary for those who aren’t savvy about social media, there are other remedies.

The biggest mistake people make is ignoring their online reputation. Use several search engines and enter in your name (use several spellings, just use your first initial with your last name, any nicknames, etc.). Read everything! Do this regularly. If you find any really potentially harmful information about yourself that should be immediately removed, contact the owner of the site. If you do not get a response, a support team from the search engine should be able to help you have the harmful content removed.

Everyone agrees that negative comments should be addressed immediately. It’s best to keep a level head and answer/query why the person has posted something negative, how you can satisfy them (if they are a dissatisfied customer) or appear sympathetic to their view but correct any false facts or accusations calmly and in a conversational tone. In most cases, they will not respond but anyone who reads the thread will admire you for your stance and give little or no credence to the negative comment.

Nothing is private! Friends sometimes tag you in a photo with which you’d rather not be associated, someone mentions you in a tweet, etc. You can control what you make available through common sense… albeit in rare quantities these days. If a friend posts or tags something inappropriate, simply ask them to remove it.

Sometimes you can’t make the negative things disappear completely but you can always try to make it appear lower in search results where people are less likely to see it. ‘If you can get stuff that you want people to see to outperform the stuff you don’t want them to see, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of harm that that negative or embarrassing content can do to your reputation,’ says Google’s guide to protecting your personal information. Google and other search engines favor newer content, so it helps if this content is produced on a regular basis (for example: blog posts, Twitter and Facebook updates, press releases).

I had a boss who told me when I was hired that no matter what, apologize, even if you weren’t wrong. He knew this because he was always wrong and always apologizing for his actions. Sometimes you’re responsible for the mistake. A central tenet of crisis communications is to apologize as quickly as possible, so you don’t inflame the public or your bosses by appearing clueless or defiant. My boss held the belief that even if you’re not responsible for a mistake, it will placate people if you apologize. Learning to swallow your own pride is hard but necessary and usually before you open your mouth in the first place.

When You Can Rest

The answer is; never. Vigilance is now part of social media and social media is part of business. Whether you are a huge corporation, a small store or a freelancer/service provider, you need to be aware of your reputation. Part of marketing via social media is to constantly check what you are putting out there and how it is being received. An important part of social media, as mentioned in the first sentence of this article, is to BE social and that includes the general rules of manners and decorum. The practice of hiding behind the anonymity of a keyboard and screen name is for trolls and gamers. In business, transparency and professional demeanor is the utmost. Sometimes you just have to work really hard to make sure everyone is on board with the same dedication.

Images ©GL Stock Images

Related posts:


Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog