Personal vs. Corporate Branding: Is It Me or We?

Sitting in a staff meeting, my boss asked if there were any questions. I mentioned seeing a job posting online for the marketing department and wondered if the team was expanding.

Several co-workers quickly interjected, “Why were you reading that? Are you looking for a new job?”

“No,” I replied. “I just like to keep tabs on what’s happening in the marketplace.”

That was 15 years ago. I doubt that conversation would go the same way today because most people have an online presence through social media and use the internet for information gathering.

As the rise of social media and influencer marketing has led to exponential opportunities for content marketing for corporate brands, it also has presented countless opportunities for content marketing for personal brands.

But how do the two work in harmony? Should they? Should people closely connect their brand to their employers? Should companies actively encourage their employees to use content marketing, including social media, to talk about the company?

Eight years ago, Christian Crumlish, then director of consumer experience at AOL, outlined the concerns of the employer – they don’t want to make star employees visible and expose them to poaching from competitors, and they are concerned those star employees will outshine the corporate brand.

Given the billion-plus active on social media now, the option to discourage or ban employees from talking about their employers publicly isn’t realistic.

“It’s not only possible – but highly advantageous – to leverage the power of personal brands in conjunction with (or instead of) the central corporate brand,” writes Jayson DeMers, a Forbes contributor.

As Jayson explains, telling your corporate brand stories through a personal brand (i.e., your employee) allows for more trust with the audience, a distinct voice, a difference from your competitors, an extended reach, and lasting power.

Nurturing employees’ personal brands also is an attractive selling component in the recruiting component as it indicates the company cares about developing the people who work for it.

And employers still worried their employees will take off for greener pastures should turn their focus to the positives. Sure, employees may leave the company, but they will do that with or without your support. If the company helped nurture their personal brand, they may attain positions at other brands that could benefit their previous employer or, at a minimum, they will speak well of the company.

Consider the example of Hallie Warner. She spent years developing her personal brand around her professional identity as chief of staff at Adam Hergenrother Companies. “I use the corporate brand and story to share my own,” she says.

About 18 months ago, she launched her own blog, Lead and Assist, and was invited, along with her boss, to speak at the Behind Every Leader conference. “These branding efforts have put me on the map as an expert for executive assistants and other chiefs of staff, and administrative professionals,” Hallie explains.

In addition to her chief-of-staff position, Hallie is now working as a coach and trainer for executive assistants through Adam Hergenrother Training.

Overall, supporting employees to develop their digital profiles is good for the bottom line. Research from Weber Shandwick shows employees with socially encouraging employers are significantly more likely to help boost sales (72%) than those with employers who are not socially encouraging (48%).

What should the company do?

If you want your employees (and their personal brands) to boost your corporate brand, you must be strategic. Here are a few essential steps.

1. Set easy-to-follow, practical guidelines

Sure, you must protect the brand, especially if it’s a publicly traded company, from employees disclosing proprietary or confidential information. Just don’t use that as a reason to go overboard with restrictions in your social media policy.

Check out this employee social media policy from Intel:

  1. Disclose your relationship to Intel.
  2. Protect Intel.
  3. Use common sense when posting.

“What do our policies mean? They mean we trust you … You are both the person in the best position to tell the world why Intel is such an amazing place to be and the person best suited to protect Intel from harm. Don’t slam Intel or our competitors …  When you are online, you are representing Intel: our peoples, our values. There is no room for bigotry, prejudice, misogyny, or hatred in our company or on our associated social media feeds.”

TIP: Post your employee social media guidelines online to be transparent internally and externally. If a problem arises, you can easily reference and link to it when you address the issue.

2. Don’t restrict at-work access to social media websites

In some workplaces, employees are unable to access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., because of restrictions enforced by IT-related controls. But if you want your employees to grow their personal brand in concert with your corporate brand, you must trust them enough to give them access to social media during their workday. Otherwise, they will build their personal brands without your corporate brand (or worse, with negativity toward their employer).

TIP: Apply this principle to all employees. If you cherry-pick only those who you want to elevate your brand, you’ll alienate the other employees (who also are on social media and now more likely to talk negatively about their employer).

TIP: As a marketer, you likely don’t have the ability to set company-wide policy. Get your HR leaders involved in the process. Persuade them using credible resources they’re familiar with, such as this comprehensive toolkit on workplace use of social media from the Society for Human Resource Management.

3. Make it easy and attractive for employees to tell your brand’s stories

Allowing your employees to talk about your brand on social is a first step. Encouraging them to tell your brand story is the next step. Offer your employees an opportunity to suggest ideas or get involved in other ways in the content you’re creating and sharing. Tell the stories they think should be told.

Share your editorial calendar with employees so they can know what you’re writing about and when. Send a weekly update with suggested tweets or posts referencing your content to all employees and ask them to share.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:6 Steps to Get Your Whole Company Involved in Content Marketing

4. Recognize employees who contribute to your corporate brand’s content marketing

Monitor those people who choose to be active supporters of the brand’s storytelling. Recognize those individuals whose contributions lead to the most shares, most retweets, most conversions (whatever measurement you choose). Acknowledge their work in a company email or newsletter. Send a handwritten note thanking them for their contributions.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: How to Create a Marketing Team That Cares About Revenue

What should the employee do?

“If you want to succeed in the workplace, you need a well-defined personal brand that supports the company’s mission,” says Dan Schawbel, a Monster contributor.

Though some jobs may not require a well-developed personal brand, many do. Jake Solyst is a content specialist for a 40-person marketing agency, idfive, that focuses on mission-based clients such as universities, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations.

He actively connects his personal branding efforts to industries of the agency’s clients. His personal Twitter profile is focused on his employer, including a link to the company – which features many of Jake’s articles.

Jake says he participates in a weekly Twitter chat for higher-education marketers, and tweets from industry-related events and volunteer opportunities. He also reads books about higher education and social issues, then shares his thoughts about them on his social media channels.

“It’s important to be more than a marketer, but a marketer with a passion for and an understanding of the ideas, services, and people we’re promoting,” he says.

How can you build your personal brand that also works for your employer’s brand? Here are some steps to accomplish that.

1. Know your company’s mission and your mission

Dan’s advice about a well-defined personal brand being essential for workplace success is good, but to do that you need to know your company’s mission. You also need to understand your personal mission or purpose. What are the goals for your personal branding effort? How do those goals fit with your company’s purpose?

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Your Brand Needs a Point of View, But Do You?

2. Build your personal brand in concert with your employer’s brand

Don’t become a shill for your employer, hawking every product or even every piece of news or story from the company. That won’t win you anything. And don’t ignore your employer in your content – that won’t win you any fans at your company. Strike a balance, incorporating relevant company content when appropriate and ensuring that you share your personal and others’ content too.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 60+ LinkedIn Profile Tips for Marketers

3. Raise your profile in your industry

Create or share content around topics and interests specific to your industry and your role or department. Investigate speaking engagements at industry-related or community-based events.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: LinkedIn Publishing Trends Every Marketer Must Know

4. Reach out proactively to your company

Check regularly with key stakeholders to learn about what’s happening within the company, what they’re hearing about in the industry, and to discover new research being conducted. Consider this group an invaluable editorial advisory board for potential ideas to write about or share.

Inform your supervisors and executives of your personal branding efforts that they may not be aware of. For example, tell them about a speaking opportunity you’re doing at a community meeting or let them know about your blog.

5. Avoid polarizing and controversial issues unrelated to your brand (personal or corporate)

Though you likely have opinions on politics, religion, etc., resist sharing them in the professional setting. You don’t need to spark a debate that detracts from the focus of your intended personal brand.

TIP: Even references to political or religious figures meant to be humorous can be harmful. An off-handed description in place of the words “U.S. president,” for example, can elicit reader comments and criticism.

It’s really about both

The question of personal brand vs. corporate brand can’t be an either-or option. A personal brand is intrinsically tied to the employer brand and vice versa. Both are critical to each other’s success. Understanding that is the first step, embracing it through proactive policies and promotion is the next. Then both employees and employers have a better one-two branding punch.

Grow your personal content marketing skills and strengthen your company’s content marketing at the same time. Attend Content Marketing World Sept. 4-7 and using code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Full Guide To Branding Yourself (12 Point Checklist)

Need help branding your company? My team and I put together this 12 point checklist to help you.

Lets begin.

1. Name

Your name should be simple, short and easy to remember.

Good example: A Plus Construction

Bad example: Jason Alexanders Kitchen and Full Construction Services

The shorter and easier to remember the better.

2. Logo

A logo represents your company.

It needs to be perfect and it needs to flow with your style.

If you don’t have a logo you should make one.

This is an example of a good logo.

It is a logo that my team came up with when we were establishing our marketing company.

It fits with the name ‘Sassy Egg’ and its very easy to remember.

We had clients book services with us because of this logo alone and their exact words were;

“Your logo is so awesome and memorable that we know your team knows what they are doing.”

3. Domain

Domain is key.

What is easier to remember and type into google?

or

Don’t make the mistake of picking a horrible URL name that people can’t remember or type.

If possible try to find a domain that is exactly the same as your company name.

Think of it this way.

If someone tells you their name or company, what would you search for in Google?

You would search their name or the name of the company, right?

Exactly.

Your name should match your URL/domain to avoid confusion.

Bonus tip: try finding a URL name that ends with .com and not .co or .net

You want to go with something that is most common.

4. Email

Same as the domain name, your email should end with your company name to look professional.

Use an email such as support@bookingkoala.com and not bookingkoala@gmail.com

Although this is not the end of the world, it will make you look bigger, more trusted and it will set you up for the future when you need to add more users.

5. Colors

Colors are also important.

Every color tells its own story and you want to be able to tell yours.

Here is an example of what I mean:

Do you notice how King of Maids goes with purple because ‘King’ and ‘Royalty’ go together.

It clicks and it brands your company whether you know it or not.

This makes a big difference when it comes to selling.

It’s psychological and it’s proven.

This is also a reason why sometimes you like one company better over the other.

Simply because of their colors and how they brand themselves.

6. Slogan

Do you have a slogan for your company that explains what you do in one or two seconds?

Most of my companies have at least one and we use them to brand our selves.

Here are examples of slogans we use:

My marketing company: “We build companies from scratch”

Short, easy and explains what we do.

A subscription clothing line I’m part of “Your personal stylist delivered straight to your door”

My cleaning service “Experience Royalty” or “Book a cleaning online in seconds”

A slogan is a way to brand yourself and it is a must have.

It will be used when you run advertisement.

7. Website

We talked about this many times and I even told you how to make sure you have a good website.

A website will help you brand.

When someone lands on your site, it will take them seconds to know if they want to do business with you or not.

You will need to impress them with your name, slogan, colors and everything else we discussed here and in all the other courses.

A lot of businesses don’t understand that a bad website is hurting them and their sales and in most cases they would do better without one.

8. Social Media

When you set up your Facebook, Instagram and all other types of profiles it will make an impression.

If you don’t complete it, it tells a story if a user goes on it.

If you complete it and stay active at least once a month it also tells another story.

Make sure if you create something that relates to your company and it is shown to the public it looks appropriate.

Your potential customers will be searching the web for you and you don’t want them finding inactive and incomplete profiles.

9. Pricing

If you are branding yourself well by following this checklist you can charge low or high prices.

Low prices will grab customers instantly when you show them a great first impression and high prices may also grab them especially if your brand gives a great, trustworthy feeling.

If you don’t brand yourself properly, you will never sell at a high price and if you offer low prices, people may assume you’re not trustworthy.

Branding is everything.

10. Voicemail

Is your voicemail set up?

Make sure that when someone calls you, your voicemail is professional and to the point:

Welcome to ABC.

We apologize you couldn’t reach us at this moment.

If you are looking to book an appointment, view pricing or reschedule, you can do so on our website at .

If you are having any issues or questions please leave us a voicemail with your name, phone number and we will give you a call back as soon as we can.

Have a great day!

11. Scripts

Same as a voicemail, whenever you answer a call or an email you need to follow a script.

It should be professional and to the point.

You will use this script to train your employees and providers.

You don’t want employees answering in different tones.

It doesn’t look professional and it leaves a bad impression.

12. Live Chat

Have a live chat on your website.

There are plenty of free versions on the web and it will give your customers extra value knowing they can rely on someone to answer their questions instantly without calling.

Hope this helped!

How to Use Twitter for Business: Best Practices & Branding Guidelines

Why Half a Billion People Can’t be Wrong

Twitter’s size is undeniable. The micro blogging platform – which was founded in just 2006 – already has over half a billion users. Even crazier? Those users are sending almost 10,000 tweets per second. Second. It has single-handedly changed the way individuals, companies, and news outlets communicate to one another.

So, it makes sense for businesses to have a presence on the platform. They can communicate & connect with customers, share news, and announce sales – and that’s just scratching the surface. More importantly, Twitter can be used to build customer/brand loyalty, an intangible goal that every single business strives for.

Our inbound marketing specialist Sam Nute recently presented on the topic – his slides are embedded below.

Best Practices for Businesses on Twitter

Of course, there are things you should do (and shouldn’t do) on Twitter. There are best practices, like creating quality, sharable content, keeping tweets short and sweet, conversing with customers, tweeting often, and more. These practices will help to grow your following and establish customer and brand loyalty.

Branding & Engagement Guidelines

Branding and engagement are also incredibly important on Twitter. Your company has to define itself with a unique and likeable voice/personality. Sparking conversations and answering questions builds your community and keeps the content interesting.

Visually, your profile has to look fantastic. Every image should be branded, including the profile, cover, and background picture. Arguably the most important section, the About section, must describe your business and catch the eye of someone checking out your page. Think of it as a first impression – they mean a lot. Your About section can mean the difference between a follow or a bounce. Make it count!

You can learn more about Twitter’s history, best practices, branding & engagement tips, helpful links, and more on Sam’s slides below!

Twitter For Business from

Still have questions about using social media to grow your business? Contact Raka today.


By: Sam Nute

Source

https://www.rakacreative.com/blog/inbound-marketing/twitter-for-business-best-practices-branding-guidelines/

New Skift Research Report: A Deep Dive Into Operating and Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners

New Skift Research Report: A Deep Dive Into Operating and Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners

http://ift.tt/2GaR3O3

Today we are launching the latest report for our Skift Research subscribers, A Deep Dive Into Operating & Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners.

In the report, we examine implications for hotel owners of the major brands increasingly shifting to asset light; how independents can succeed when catering to experiential-minded consumers with a focus on technology and data; and key items to think about when choosing a brand. We provide our growth expectations for soft brands and non-branded operators, changes in management and franchise contracts, and distribution, and how these changes will impact hotel owners.

Preview and Purchase

When it comes to owning a hotel, many public investors think of the less-than-stellar aspects of hotel ownership: lower profit margins relative to franchise and management organizational structures; more volatility in economic downturns against an essentially fixed cost structure; potentially lower company valuations; challenges with online travel agency (OTA) commissions and other distribution costs; costly investments in renovations, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, labor, insurance, sales and marketing, reservation and property management systems, and other expenses. The list goes on and on.

From inside the industry, however, hotel owners and developers see the opportunity to make a return on a real estate investment, “wow” guests with a unique experience, and provide a place of shelter, a space for people to meet and gather, a community. When a hotel owner appropriately positions a property by making smart, efficient, innovative decisions, the outcome can be a financially rewarding, and also a personally fulfilling, experience.
Preview and Purchase
What we found through our analyses and interviews with owners, operators, managers, franchisors and other industry experts is that there may not be one best way to own a hotel. There is no “one size fits all” operating model, and decisions must be made on a property-by-property basis. Nevertheless, hotel owners can’t be idle, and should continue to be innovative, adaptable, thoughtful. They should also be willing to push back on their managers and franchisors to produce the best results. At the end of the day, the objectives remain the same: Acquire or develop strong real estate, ensure the property is run as effectively and efficiently as possible, choose the right partners, and never lose sight of that hospitality factor. This is a people business after all.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • The advantages and disadvantages of different ownership operating models
  • Key considerations when entering into management and franchise agreements
  • How income statements differ among owners, managers, and franchisors
  • An overview of the hotel industry in terms of market shares of branded versus non-branded and managed versus franchised versus owned properties
  • Why the large brands have increasingly shifted to asset light and consolidated
  • The benefits of brand affiliation, including how loyalty programs and lower online travel agency (OTA) commissions can drive incremental revenue
  • How consolidation has negatively impacted hotel owners
  • The potential market opportunity for soft brands and non-branded operators
  • Keys to operating a successful independent property
  • How changes in the distribution landscape, from OTAs to Airbnb and Google, are influencing hotel owner decisions
  • Cost considerations for hotel owners in today’s environment
  • Skift Research’s proprietary ranking of seven major hotel brand chains based on 13 quantitative metrics to inform hotel owners’ decisions about brand affiliation
  • Expectations for distribution costs, growth of independent hotels, how contracts will evolve, and how the major brands are going to respond to industry trends

This is the latest in a series of monthly reports, data sheets, and analyst calls aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision-maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

February 13, 2018 at 03:34PM

The post New Skift Research Report: A Deep Dive Into Operating and Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners appeared first on BestTours.com Blog.

A Deep Dive Into Operating & Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners – Skift

by Rebecca Stone + Skift Team

The hospitality industry is evolving rapidly, with brands shifting to asset light and consolidating, soft brands and non-branded operators growing steadily, and the distribution landscape becoming increasingly competitive. Nevertheless, hotel owners stand to gain if they focus on acquiring and developing the right real estate, choosing the appropriate franchisors, managers, and partners, running their properties efficiently and effectively, remaining innovative and thoughtful, and maintaining that ever-needed hospitality factor.

“The most important thing in our business is the quality of the real estate, the location of the real estate, and the hospitality factor … Everything around it is noise, and owners can adjust.” – Shai Zelering, MD, Real Estate, Hospitality, Brookfield Property Partners

Brands are consolidating, consumer preferences are changing, disruptors are impacting the distribution landscape, and technology is evolving. Hotel owners face an increasingly complex environment in which they must choose the single, best operating model and brand strategy for a given property. Easier said than done. In this report, we examine implications for hotel owners of the major brands increasingly shifting to asset light; the growth potential for non-branded operators and soft brands; how independents can succeed when catering to experiential-minded consumers with a focus on technology and data; and key items to think about when choosing a brand. What we found through our analyses and interviews with owners, operators, managers, franchisors and other industry experts is that there may not be one best way to own a hotel. There is no “one size fits all” operating model, and decisions must be made on a property-by-property basis. Nevertheless, hotel owners can’t be idle, and should continue to be innovative, adaptable, thoughtful. They should also be willing to push back on their managers and franchisors to produce the best results. At the end of the day, the objectives remain the same: Acquire or develop strong real estate, ensure the property is run as effectively and efficiently as possible, choose the right partners, and never lose sight of that hospitality factor. This is a people business after all.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • The advantages and disadvantages of different ownership operating models (independent, brand management, non-branded management, franchise)
  • Key considerations when entering into management and franchise agreements
  • How income statements differ among owners, managers, and franchisors
  • An overview of the hotel industry in terms of market shares of branded versus non-branded and managed versus franchised versus owned properties
  • Why the large brands have increasingly shifted to asset light and consolidated
  • The benefits of brand affiliation, including how loyalty programs and lower online travel agency (OTA) commissions can drive incremental revenue
  • How consolidation has negatively impacted hotel owners
  • The potential market opportunity for soft brands and non-branded operators
  • Keys to operating a successful independent property
  • How changes in the distribution landscape, from OTAs to Airbnb to Google, are influencing hotel owner decisions
  • Cost considerations for hotel owners in today’s environment
  • Skift Research’s proprietary ranking of seven major hotel brand chains based on 13 quantitative metrics to inform hotel owners’ decisions about brand affiliation
  • Skift Research’s expectations for distribution costs, growth of independent hotels, how contracts will evolve, and how the major brands are going to respond to industry trends
  • William Fortier, SVP, Development, Americas, Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • Kristian Gathright, COO, Apple Hospitality REIT
  • Amar Lalvani, CEO, Standard International, Bunkhouse Group, One Night
  • Raymond Martz, EVP & CFO, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust
  • Sara Masterson, VP, Hotel Management, The Olympia Companies
  • Chip Ohlsson, EVP & CDO, Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Victoria Richman, CFO & COO, HVS Hotel Management & HVS Asset Management – Newport
  • Ian Schrager, Founder & CEO, The Ian Schrager Company
  • Atish Shah, EVP & CFO, Xenia Hotels & Resorts
  • Julienne Smith, SVP, Real Estate and Development, Hyatt Hotels
  • Ted Teng, President & CEO, The Leading Hotels of the World
  • Shai Zelering, MD, Real Estate, Hospitality, Brookfield Property Partners

The Top Branding Strategies for 2016

The Top Branding Strategies for 2016

As we enter a new year, many people are choosing to adopt new hobbies and resolutions to improve their wellbeing. Every new year’s resolution is designed with good intentions, but change in the new year is not merely limited to individuals. As a manufacturer, you can improve your brand in 2016 as well.

There are a lot of trends anticipated for next year. Manufacturers are going to have to improve their brand identities to cater to these trends and appease both their potential and pre-existing customer bases. A simple set of strategies can make brand improvement an easy task in 2016.

We’ve put together the top 4 branding strategies manufacturers should seriously consider for success in 2016. From brand protection to empowerment, these strategies are easy to adopt and present manufacturers with high reward potential.

Brand with Purpose

Every one of your customers has an intangible asset you can use to your advantage, and it’s called emotion. There are plenty of ways you can appeal to emotions, like with advertising and messaging. But beyond that, you can use it to improve the customer experience on your site. There are a couple of ways to do this.

Just like John Lennon, your shoppers get by with a little help from your business. By offering helpful services to your customers like Olark’s innovative live chat service, you can make their visit to your store a memorable one. They’re more than likely to remember that your store was incredibly helpful with any questions they had regarding your product.

olark-logo-01
But not every manufacturer has their own online store. Aside from advertising with an emotional message, manufacturers can help customers after their shopping process as well. Offering a phone number or website on the package of each of your products can inform the shopper that you’re always willing to help with any questions they may have once they start using the product.

Be Flexible

It sounds like a lot of work, but rebranding your company might be a good idea if 2015 didn’t provide the superb results you were hoping for. When it comes to solving a puzzle, you have to consider every piece. Your business is the same exact way, and if you think your brand value isn’t as strong as it used to be then rebranding should be seriously considered.

Look at Old Spice. After a series of zany ads circa 2009, the manufacturer successfully rebranded its business and definitely reaped the benefits. What was once a simple, complacent brand is now affiliated with loud screams, wolves and swagger. Your business can do the same, even if you aren’t as large as Old Spice.

Measuring your brand’s current standing is not exactly the easiest task in the world. One of the most feasible ways to get a measurement is to offer pre-existing shoppers a survey. Email the survey, and give a discount on your products to incentivize them to actually fill it out. The results will inform you on where you can improve your business.

Build Brand Loyalty

Loyalty is one of the most valuable assets to win from your shoppers, and for good reason. It’s much less expensive to sell to a pre-existing customer than acquiring a new one, and if you can build loyalty early then you can simplify the selling processes for the upcoming purchases. But how can you build loyalty for your brand, especially if you aren’t selling directly to consumers?

Keeping your hands out of the selling process can keep your business more focused, but at the same time it inhibits your ability to tailor the overall shopping experience. Therefore, you have to make sure you include something with your item that will keep customers coming back.

The first area you can improve to build loyalty is your product’s quality. Beyond that, your pricing, as well as your willingness to improve the post-purchase process, are other ways to improve your brand loyalty.  If your company lacks loyalty programs or perks, you should consider implementing them in 2016.

Monitor and Protect

One of the easiest ways to lose your brand value is to let a product fall into the hands of a grey market seller. Fine tuning your overall brand experience takes a lot of work, and it’s always a shame to see that hard work go to waste. Pre-established deals regarding your products’ imaging and pricing are thrown off the table when dealing with grey market sellers, so how can you make sure your products get into the right hands?

Automated price monitoring solutions can scan the web for your products’ UPCs to see where they are being sold at all times. Not only that, but they can tell you the price they’re being sold at. So if you catch a grey market seller and they’re offering the product at a price much lower than your minimum advertised price, you know you should contact them to address the issue.

You can send a cease and desist letter, or you can take it a step further and create a new relationship with the retailer, authorizing them to sell your products in the future. If the retailer’s brand is well known, this can be extremely beneficial for your brand value. Regardless of what you choose, monitoring and protecting your brand is a must in 2016.

eCommerce is growing, and it’s currently showing no signs of slowing down. After an already impressive Thanksgiving weekend and a promising holiday forecast, retailers are going to be looking to increase their product selling breadth. Make sure your brand value is continuously optimized for success with these tips.

Interested in monitoring your reseller network in the new year? Check out our MAP monitoring solution, WiseMapper, here.

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New Skift Research Report: A Deep Dive Into Operating and Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners – Skift

In the report, we examine implications for hotel owners of the major brands increasingly shifting to asset light; how independents can succeed when catering to experiential-minded consumers with a focus on technology and data; and key items to think about when choosing a brand. We provide our growth expectations for soft brands and non-branded operators, changes in management and franchise contracts, and distribution, and how these changes will impact hotel owners.

When it comes to owning a hotel, many public investors think of the less-than-stellar aspects of hotel ownership: lower profit margins relative to franchise and management organizational structures; more volatility in economic downturns against an essentially fixed cost structure; potentially lower company valuations; challenges with online travel agency (OTA) commissions and other distribution costs; costly investments in renovations, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, labor, insurance, sales and marketing, reservation and property management systems, and other expenses. The list goes on and on.

From inside the industry, however, hotel owners and developers see the opportunity to make a return on a real estate investment, “wow” guests with a unique experience, and provide a place of shelter, a space for people to meet and gather, a community. When a hotel owner appropriately positions a property by making smart, efficient, innovative decisions, the outcome can be a financially rewarding, and also a personally fulfilling, experience.
Preview and Purchase
What we found through our analyses and interviews with owners, operators, managers, franchisors and other industry experts is that there may not be one best way to own a hotel. There is no “one size fits all” operating model, and decisions must be made on a property-by-property basis. Nevertheless, hotel owners can’t be idle, and should continue to be innovative, adaptable, thoughtful. They should also be willing to push back on their managers and franchisors to produce the best results. At the end of the day, the objectives remain the same: Acquire or develop strong real estate, ensure the property is run as effectively and efficiently as possible, choose the right partners, and never lose sight of that hospitality factor. This is a people business after all.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • The advantages and disadvantages of different ownership operating models
  • Key considerations when entering into management and franchise agreements
  • How income statements differ among owners, managers, and franchisors
  • An overview of the hotel industry in terms of market shares of branded versus non-branded and managed versus franchised versus owned properties
  • Why the large brands have increasingly shifted to asset light and consolidated
  • The benefits of brand affiliation, including how loyalty programs and lower online travel agency (OTA) commissions can drive incremental revenue
  • How consolidation has negatively impacted hotel owners
  • The potential market opportunity for soft brands and non-branded operators
  • Keys to operating a successful independent property
  • How changes in the distribution landscape, from OTAs to Airbnb and Google, are influencing hotel owner decisions
  • Cost considerations for hotel owners in today’s environment
  • Skift Research’s proprietary ranking of seven major hotel brand chains based on 13 quantitative metrics to inform hotel owners’ decisions about brand affiliation
  • Expectations for distribution costs, growth of independent hotels, how contracts will evolve, and how the major brands are going to respond to industry trends

This is the latest in a series of monthly reports, data sheets, and analyst calls aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision-maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

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Branding yourself – how to be acknowledged for the superstar you are – Owntrepreneurship

So we’ve established the many benefits of having the right sort of reputation within your organization (). But how to push this reputation beyond the limits of your organization to have a regional, national or even global reputation in your field?

Before we answer that we need to see if this fits who we are and what we are trying to achieve in our career. Some professions and lines of work are simply best kept from other people (spies, criminals and elgo-traders). Others are lines of work simply don’t benefit much from being known outside their closed circle- government officials, army officer and the likes could not gain much (at least if the aim to stay in this role) by having regional or global acknowledgment. But most other professions I can think of, including the most solitary ones (CPO, computer coder) can benefit from having the right exposure and reputation. For instance, the VP of R&D at the company I work for is a women (pretty rare),and we’ve used this to get some press coverage. She didn’t like the spotlights at first, but when she received an invitation to participate in a professional panel discussion as part of an all paid, prestigious event she began to like the idea more. She now actively pushes me to get her more in front of the media, and I’m sure this exposure and added reputation will assist her in the years to come.

So how do you make yourself well known and respected, outside your closed network?

the principles are roughly the same as branding yourself within your organization. You must first develop a network, spread the message of how awesome you are and maintain it. Building a network nowadays is easier than ever- use whatever channels that are respected within your professional community- LinkedIn, industry forums, Quora etc. you need to build a large network of networks (meaning you should be connected to people who are well connected, like journalists, bloggers, social-media addicts etc.). most of these people will happily connect with you regardless of them actually knowing you in person (remember, they benefit as well from extending their network).

Than, start establishing yourself as an authority in your field. Participate in discussions, answer relevant questions on Quora, post interesting news stories. If you have a chance, blog about your thoughts (you don’t need to have a blog to do so, you can doing easily on both Quora and Medium).

Ask many questions but answer more. Be helpful- if you don’t know and answer or can’t help, find someone who does (I’ve been asked a very technical question regarding IT security. I’ve asked around the office and reverted with a superb answer)- it will be much appreciated.

Do this constantly, and your reputation will be built by itself. Do try to avoid conflict, both personal and professional. You want to be perceived as a solid, helpful chap, not a war monger.

Now the hard part begins- you need to be consistent and diligent. Keep publishing, contributing and assisting others. It will take some time but in the end it’ll pay off- you will build a community of followers, people who cherish your work and will likely to recommend it to other. And that’s when the real magic happens- when word of mouth (or, nowadays, word of the web) will start to spread about you. By that time, don’t be surprised if head hunters contact you regarding open positions, journalists want to interview you and people you’ve never met want to follow you and hear what you have to say. It is up to you how to leverage this. But remember, all this hard work can be blown away if you are careless, so be kind, use your reputation and reach to help others (for instance, help people find jobs) and enjoy the fact you have earned this reputation rightfully.

Corporate branding: to destroy or not to destroy

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Many times, when my clients have come to me for advice on their plan for corporate branding, they start by giving me an introduction to what they have already done and what their customers want and look for. And I recognise there’s a heavy burden of past glories hanging over their heads.

For years I have worked on corporate branding projects for different companies. They are all successful companies and would like to invest in branding for many reasons, such as getting higher customer engagement, creating new markets or changing shareholders, etc.

Sure, they know why it’s necessary to (re)brand. I have gotten to know each of these clients very well, having worked closely with senior management teams like a full-time employee.

During this time I have observed a universal scenario – the company is looking for changes in the branding, but is held back by hesitation.

This brings me an opportunity to share my insights to companies which are looking for better ways to (re)brand. Branding is indeed a way to break away from the past and create a new path for the company.

However, there’s a big challenge for corporates to leap out from their comfort zone. For instance, you often see anxiety about the impact on their existing core markets, being well-positioned and profitable, etc. But what’s important is not necessarily “who you were/are”, but “who you want to be”. Thus, my first duty is driving clients to explore and look beyond existing markets towards new frontiers.

I’d like to cite an economic term coined by Joseph Schumpeter, “creative destruction”, to explain the relentless advance of a free economy.

Innovations can hardly be stopped as the old is supplanted with the new, the outdated with the novel, and the stale with the fresh, all at an inexorable pace.

In other words, construction requires destruction. Instead of relying on past glories, successful branding always comes with the bravery of taking the first step to destroy, to disrupt conservative business, product and profit models, and to change and open new markets.

Nonetheless, changes of brand image cannot be sustained unless the want-to-be spirit is truly ingratiated. This brings me to my next duty, accompanying my clients to walk the path of change with strategic initiatives and integrated changes.
Everything is about cost and benefit.

There is always risk – both in being static and in changing, both for creative agencies and their clients. It’s a time of convergence, and every facet of businesses craves creativity. Are you ready to make changes? To destroy or not to destroy, that’s the question.

By Connifer Liu, director of business development, C Media Group.

Source

http://www.marketing-interactive.com/corporate-branding-to-destroy-or-not-to-destroy/