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Interbrand Releases List of 2015’s Most Valuable Brands

Interbrand has released its annual ranking of the world’s most valuable brands, and there was no surprise at first place. Apple topped the list with a brand value of more than $170 billion, with Google claiming second place at roughly $120 billion. Not surprisingly, tech companies have been dominating the list as of late, and claim 6 of the top 10 spots. To determine the most valuable brands, Interbrand examined each company’s financial performance and how their brand contributed to profits. Then they looked at how customers perceive the brand, and if the brand can cause the price of a product to be raised.

Some industries had a better year than others. The automotive industry (with the exception of Volkswagen) experienced a boom in 2015. Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Ford and Hyundai all saw moderate growth, while Nissan saw their brand grow by nearly 20%.  On the flip side, fast-food brands took a hit this year; McDonald’s and KFC were the only two from the industry to be mentioned, and they both saw about a 6% decline in value of their brands.

Lego moves in, Nintendo drops out

There were a few surprises on the list, however. Nintendo dropped off the list for the first time since Interbrand began tracking the subject in 2001. A major reason for this snub is that the game company has been slow to adapt to changes in people’s lives. The biggest example of this has been Nintendo’s reluctance to jump into the smartphone game market, which they announced they will enter in March.

One brand that made its first appearance on the list was Lego, coming in at the 83rd spot. Interbrand estimated the value of the Danish toymaker at just over $5 billion. Lego manufactured 60 billion tiny plastic pieces last year, and (boosted by The Lego Movie) sales across the world grew. Rebecca Robins, a director at Interbrand, said that the biggest reason for the explosion is that Lego is moving from being simply a toymaker to an entertainment brand.  “Lego is a brilliant example of a legacy brand that is keeping its proposition relevant by evolving the experience,” said Robins. Other first timers on the list include Mini Cooper, PayPal, Lenovo, and Moet & Chandon Champagne.

Facebook had the most growth of any single brand, growing roughly 54% in value from the year before. Interbrand Japan CEO, Yuki Wada, stated that the brands that increase their value the most are the same brands that are quick to adapt to changing trends in the market.

Every brand can learn a thing or two from the brands on this list, but the biggest thing to remember is that it is not stagnant. It is a constantly evolving part of business that must be continually tweaked and refined in order to stay relevant with your customers. While making the list of the top 100 brands may be a stretch, any company can benefit from the right brand messaging.

5 Signs It’s Time for a Website Redesign

It can be difficult deciding how and when to undergo a website redesign. Redesigning a site requires a great deal of commitment on your part; and trust in those you have hired to handle the virtual face of your business. But having a website that frustrates your visitors or drives away traffic for any reason can be costly to your business.

All websites should be designed with several principles in mind such as easy-to-follow navigation, easy-to-use layout, pleasing aesthetics, and content management, just to name a few. Websites can be used for a variety of purposes from conducting eCommerce, to simply giving your business a professional face. No matter how you plan to use your site, an interactive and user-friendly design is crucial to your brand in this day and age. If you aren’t sure whether or not it’s time for a website redesign, check for these signs the next time you go through your site.

1. Your Website is Visibly Unappealing or Outdated

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and these days your website is your first impression. Nothing will make someone click the back button faster than arriving to your site only to be met with something that looks like the Space Jam homepage (Yes, this is the original site—no you can’t play the games, you’d need Shockwave).

Speaking of outdated software, with the current trends in mobile development, Flash will no longer be supported in the future and HTML 5 will soon take its place. If your site relies on Flash, this is a good time to consider a redesign, before your search engine rankings are affected by optimization.

Another common design mistake is to spew out every bit of information you have on your subject at once on the homepage. As interesting and informational as that info may be, the fact is people didn’t come to your website to read, they came to gather info on you. Specifically, potential customers want to know, What do you do and how do you do it? Why should I select you? How should I interact with you? While you don’t want to skimp on essential details, in this situation, less is more.

2. Your Website Isn’t Mobile Responsive

The days of needing a computer to access the Internet are long gone, and the mobile device market has exploded. Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way people are accessing the web and getting their information. We now know that more than 20% of Google searches are being performed on a mobile device, and that 1 out of 4 Internet users in the U.S. only access it on a mobile device.

Having a responsive website design means that your website has been built so that the structure, content, and images of the website all appear the same on any device. This means that customers will be able to easily use your website no matter the device they are using. This is vital because recent data has shown that 67% of smartphone shoppers will switch to a competitor’s website if their eCommerce check-out process is faster. Customers want everything to be as easy as possible, and a responsive website is necessary for a user-friendly experience.

In addition to these problems, you will also find that if your website is not mobile friendly, Google will dock your search engine rankings. Google has done this in an attempt to provide a better quality mobile experience for it’s users. To check if your website is mobile-friendly, you can enter your URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly test site.

Read more…

How Content Marketing Can Benefit Your Brand

Before we get into how to benefit from content marketing, let’s first talk about what content is. It is any kind of information or experience that a user finds value in. Content marketing is creating and sharing that valuable content in a way that will appeal to your target audience.

Although content marketing has become very important in the past few years, it isn’t really anything new. In fact, it’s been around for about 120 years. In 1895, John Deere’s The Furrow was published, and it is considered to be the unofficial start of brand publications. This was a quarterly magazine that included advertisements, but it focused on articles and farming advice to educate the reader rather than trying to sell them something. Since then, content marketing has taken on new forms and has expanded to virtually every industry. Some of the most common examples of content marketing include:

Blogs – Blogs can be used as great content on their own, but they can also be used as a way to push your other information out there. If you’ve created an infographic, podcast, video, ebook, or any other kind of material, write a blog post about it.
Social Media – Social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the single most important factor of a content marketing strategy. Successfully utilizing these platforms can extend your brand’s visibility and help you deliver your content to a larger audience.
Infographics – These are the most shared and viewed type of content. They can be a very powerful way to get a lot of information across in an easy-to-read format.
Podcasts – Podcasts are one of the easiest types of content to create. All you need is a decent microphone and basic knowledge of recording software.
Videos – The great thing about video is it can be used with any type of content. It’s perfect for adding some personality and character.
Ebooks – Ebooks are a good way to generate leads and to share a bit of your knowledge with other people. Have your visitors fill out a simple form with some basic contact information in exchange for the ebook and you’ve got a new lead.
How-To Guides – Want to really show your knowledge on a subject? Teach your readers something.

This can all seem like a lot of work, so you may be asking, “What’s the value behind this content marketing stuff?”

By linking your content to other pieces of information, you can get visitors to spend more time on your site viewing and interacting with material you’ve created. Another benefit is that if you update your site frequently with really great content, your search rankings will improve. Using the right keywords for the different pieces of content will help you appear on the first page of results when prospective clients search for what you offer.

The one thing that all good content has in common is value. If your visitors don’t find value in what you have to offer, they aren’t going to use or share it. You want to offer your customers something they can’t get anywhere else. Content marketing is a great way to show your customers that you know what you’re talking about, and by simply providing information that your customers are looking for, you have already begun to service your clients’ needs.

In the end, if you want to stand out, you’ve got to create something worth sharing.

A Look at 3 High Profile Sports Industry Rebrands

These days, it seems that everyone in the sports industry is updating their brand. Whether it is a team that has been historically bad looking to begin a new era or a franchise with a storied history looking to maintain success, identity updates are sweeping the sports world. We decided we would take a look at three of the more notable sports industry rebrands of the past year to look at what was done well and what could have been done better.

University of Tennessee Volunteers—Nike


Since the announcement of the partnership between The University of Tennessee Athletics and Nike, there has been a lot of anticipation and excitement about what the sports giant would do. Nike did not disappoint when it rolled out their new logo, brand identity, and uniforms for all of the school’s sports.

Nike’s goal after the initial brand audit was to unify all the school’s teams through a slightly redesigned “Power T” logo. This included the decision to cut the “Lady Vols” nickname from all of women’s sports except women’s basketball, which met with some criticism from fans and student athletes alike. The Nike Power T is not much different, although it is slightly slimmer and a brighter orange. Nike has also created a unique Tennessee lettering that resembles the shape of the state, which will eventually be used by all sports programs to promote unity in the athletic department.

As for the uniforms, Nike delivered what has come to be expected from the sports equipment giant. The alternative “Smoky Gray” football uniforms look great, especially the helmet, complete with images of the nearby Smoky Mountains. The home and away jerseys are simple and clean, although I would have liked to see a little more design elements, maybe along the side. All of the jerseys look pretty good. You can check out more pictures of all the uniforms here.

Overall, Nike did a pretty good job with this brand update. Personally, I would have liked to see them step out on a limb a little more with the home and away football jerseys, but the Smoky Grey looks awesome and gives the fans something to get excited about. The most impressive part of this redesign was that Nike found a way to modernize Tennessee but also stick to the traditional Volunteer style.

Major League Soccer – Athletics & Berliner Benson

mls new_old

Major League Soccer has been around since 1996, and has grown to 19 teams worth an average of $103 million. The league has begun attracting older European superstars (think David Beckham) looking for the chance to dominate in their remaining years, while also cashing in on the chance to live in America. Recently, the MLS has also benefited from American success in the World Cup, spurring domestic interest in the sport.

Drawing on this recent success, MLS decided to rebrand itself, and aims to be among the best soccer leagues in the world by 2022. Their new logo looks more like a badge or a crest, and aligns the MLS, at least visually, with top European leagues. The slash through the shield represents the energy of soccer and the rise of the MLS, while the stars stand for the three pillars of MLS: Club, Country, and Community. Each club also has a version of the crest where the red and white sections are replaced with team colors.

This new crest is distinctly North American with a European flavor to it, a goal the league had in mind during the redesign. The applications of this logo look really good, especially the promo layouts the league has mocked up. The league took a chance on this design by leaving a good amount of white space, but I think it is a great combination of the league’s uniformity combined with the individuality of the teams and players that make the MLS unique. Read more…

Lead Generation Tips: Call-To-Action Placement

A call-to-action is the best way to drive traffic to your offers. But it’s completely useless if it doesn’t capture people’s attention. There are a few things to keep in mind when placing your call-to-action.

  • First, make sure your call-to-action is located in a spot where it will be easy to find and that it follows the flow of the page organically. You are trying to get people to act on something, and you want it to require as little work on their part as possible.
  • Ideally, your call-to-action will be placed “above the fold”—the area of the page that a visitor will see without scrolling down the page. Any content placed below the fold is only viewed by about half of the individuals that come to your site. By increasing the impressions on your call-to-action, you can greatly increase the amount of leads you get.
  • If you do decide to place your call-to-action below the fold, make sure there are cues leading your visitors to it.
  • Size is another thing to consider. You want to make sure your call-to-action is large enough to see from a distance, but not so large that it detracts from the rest of the web page.
  • Be sure to use contrast and/or whitespace to help your call-to-action stand out. The last thing you want is for your call-to-action to blend in with your site so much that people don’t even know that it’s there.
  • Use a “Thank-You” page to promote another offer or some different content.

Calls-to-action are placed in all manner of advertising, such as product pages, email, social media, and even display ads. The more people who see your call-to-action, the more leads you will have.

New Call-to-action