All posts by Daryll Tan

Digital Branding [Part 2]: The Results

Digital branding has its merits in producing fantastic results towards businesses both small and large. It is a means to personal branding too as we look towards an integrated digital era where work and personal ambitions combine in a unified online persona. Let’s take a look at what you can reap as you focus on digital branding.

1. PLATFORM PREPARATION

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin. We are uncertain of the future if we do not start preparing and using technologies of the future. Digital branding allows you to constantly work and massage digital assets such as social media platforms where it acts as a place for content dissemination to a ready community.

2. PEOPLE (Community)

Once you get into the momentum of preparing your social media platforms, the constant exercise of digital branding allows you to build a community of advocates that will have a higher chance of brand loyalty and communication. Content fed to them are more relevant and allows for a more receptive bunch of consumers.

3. CITIZEN JOURNALISM

A community is made up of different individuals that have their own characteristic and level of advocacy towards your brand. In the case of customer to customer (C2C) marketing, these individuals that are highly vocal; always willing to share their experience, will be your evangelists. They become your journalists to push for your brand’s promise, experience and product / service.

4. FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Building your brand digitally allows for quick feedback. First impressions online are vital to whether that lead stays or drops out. With proper digital branding and strategising, your brand has higher chances of capturing that lead with multiple impressions; curating content and a brand image that suits that lead. Make sure to constantly ensure that your brand is on-point with its overall look and messaging.

5. LEAD GENERATION

Ultimately, brands want to generate leads and convert them into customers. With a ready platform, a committed community and brand evangelists, it is almost in auto-pilot when a potential customer discovers your brand. If that lead is your target audience, proper digital branding allows for a quicker feedback and decision making from that lead. Take it one step further and capture that lead with a campaign; collect their data in exchange for a reasonable gift / prize so that they can experience your brand with a lower barrier of entry. Note: Always state clear terms of data usage, do not misuse data for mass marketing. Your brand can still run without an online presence or any form of digital branding. However, what sets your brand apart with digital branding is the headstart you have to manoeuvre through the changing times, intentionally communicate with your intended target audience and stay far in front of your competitors. Give your brand that edge and make it global.

Read Part 1 for the benefits of digital branding.

Maximising Your Time As A Startup

Time is progressive. There is a limit and you cannot get back what you have wasted. Working in a startup is fast, agile and demanding. Teams at startups work at least 40 – 50% more in a lifetime compared to an average worker. A great amount of time is spent on planning, innovating, execution and maintenance of a certain product / service / culture. As a startup, being aware of your time makes you ahead of time. Here are 5 ways you can maximise your time to stay ahead and build a progressive startup.

1. Set Short-Term Goals

Long-term goals is a point of victory. Develop shorter sprints to ensure higher intensity and regular wins. Sprinting allows for multiple checkpoints, this creates quicker decision making and assurance; pivoting if the need arises. Realise your short-term wins to fuel you; use them as your compass for the “what’s next” questions.

2. Utilise Your Calendar

Dates and time go in tandem. Don’t trust your brain to remember your appointments. Be intentional and set them on your calendar. If you have a smartphone with a calendar app, use it (find your calendar fit)! Make it a habit to create an ‘event’ in your calendar for all occasions, both work and personal – WIP meetings, interviews, team meetups, dinner dates, car wash. Use the ‘invite’ functions to ensure those attending are aware. Most importantly, check your calendar daily to ensure you do not over commit and respect each others’ time.

3. Have An Agenda

There is a saying in our company – “No agenda, no meet.”. The reason is simple and practical – if you call for a meeting, the intentions need to be clear, the achievements need to be made known so that all attendees are of the same mindset and can prepare beforehand. Since we work in a fast-paced environment, every minute counts in a meeting, make full use of it.

4. Be Productive, Not Busy

There is a stark difference between busy people and productive people. You can find a multitude of written articles about being busy vs being productive, but it all boils down to 3 keywords of a productive person – ‘focus’, ‘purpose’ and ‘executors’ (less talk, more action). So, do not be afraid to be less “busy”. Less is more, slow is fast.

5. “5-Minute Victories”

This is an effective method to maximise your time. The “5-minute victory” is simply a concept that suggest the usage of small windows of your time for smaller, less ‘brain juice’ tasks. The task may not be urgent, but rather important. For example, you will notice that in a day, you will have multiple time-outs (in-between meetings, breathers, waiting for your lunch buddies to wrap up), take advantage of these small windows of opportunity to reply quick emails, make that quick phone call, talk to that colleague that owes you a quick status update. Be aware of those small pockets of time and turn it into a win.

Owe it to yourselves, whether you are founders or co-workers of a startup, guard your time, use it to your best effort so that you can achieve so much more than what you set out to do. Remember to use your time for rest and fun too. Being in a startup ain’t just about the work – create a holistic and integrated approach to your startup career.  

Digital Branding [Part 1]: The Benefits

Branding is simple and it should be. The goal is to establish a recognisable name, symbol, design, outlook that serves as a unique identity of a product or service. It tells of your story and the experience that customers can expect. It boils down to perception. So, what is digital branding? Simply put, brands these days do not solely rely on offline mediums to cultivate their brand. Brands are leveraging on digital mediums such as websites, social media, mobile apps, digital advertisements, email and the likes, to solidify their online position; allowing a more wholesome experience.

Creating a brand perception online takes into account all the possible digital platforms that your customers are actively on. The term ‘digital’ can be broken down to 4 main elements – Interactivity, Multichannel, Virility and Progressiveness. Each of these has its own benefit towards your brand. Let’s break it down.

1. Interactivity

Gone are the days of one-way communication. Brands have to embrace a rather engaging approach to attract customers. Digital branding allows for greater interactivity where brands can choose different elements within a content to be marketed in a more engaging manner. For example, showcasing your product USPs via a GIF, hosting a live video on Facebook / Periscope / YouTube and responding to comments on-the-go, launching clickable banner ads on related websites.
Allow your customers to do something, get them in on the experience. This will create a deeper branding strategy.

2. Multichannel

Having your brand strongly vested in digital branding allows for a convergence of different platforms. Imagine your brand’s identity being unified across multiple online platforms (social media, email, online advertisements, chat applications) with different display mediums; all in unison, preaching one message yet customised to every customer.
Your brand’s content requires a channel as an outlet. Digital platforms are at your fingertips. Set them up and integrate them to showcase your brand.

3. Virality

Virality has come a long way and has been misused many times. Having your brand go viral is a post result instead of a pre-planned process. There are viral elements to potentially push your brand towards a further reach in a short period of time but there is no guarantee. The beauty of digital branding is that brands can easily pick up speed by customers’ engagement through shares, clicks, recommendations, feedbacks, dark social and so on.

Having a digital base allows customers to have quicker access to the brand’s identity; allowing them to make quicker decisions on engaging with it. The more customers feed on it, the potential to go viral is higher.

4. Progressiveness

As you continue to uphold a digital branding strategy, you will realise that it is easier to expand your brand’s appeal in order to progress in this fast changing environment we live in.

In order to progress, we need to have all our branding channels at hand. Digital allows that. It allows for versatility.
  Integrate your branding strategies. Cultivate a habit to unify your brand identity both online and offline. Digital branding is becoming a staple method of branding. Jump on board!

Read Part 2 for the results for digital branding.

5 Types of Engaging Social Media Posts

Postings = Oxygen to your social media platforms.

More often than not, content creators crack their head to produce content for their Facebook pages, Twitter and so on. No matter the struggle, it is vital for you to remain creative and craft some engaging content for everyday postings.

5 Types of Social Media Postings to keep a page running and breathing:

#1: THE VISUAL: Uploading pictures that capture attention

Visuals are naturally more eye catching. If we take a look at your Facebook newsfeed, it does not take long for you to realize that it is filled with activities and posts. With that in mind, visuals usually are more appealing and usually takes up more space in the newsfeed. Couple that with an interesting one line statement, you will have a higher chance of winning more viewers. Plus, your Facebook page name travels together with every share by your friend or a friend of your friend, it is basically getting the mileage you always hoped for.

#2: THE QUESTION: Asking questions and prompting feedback from fans

 

Fans love to be involved in your brand. When prompted correctly, they can be a tool for higher sales in the long run. Ask them questions and receive their feedback. Analyze their thoughts and utilize these feedback to improve your brand and service.

#3: THE BLANK: Leaving a blanked space for fans to engage

Allowing fans to have a say in your brand is what grows a brand today. Craft a sentence and leave a blank for fans to fill in their answers / thoughts so to increase engagement. Allowing fans to finish your sentence or write their own statuses enhances brand relation. Fans will feel more connected to the brand; remember it is all about your relationship with your customer that counts.

#4: THE BUZZ: Sharing tips related to your industry

Get on up with the latest happenings in your industry. Bring your fans up to speed by sharing with them any piece of article / information that concerns your industry. There are a few reasons why people like brand pages on Facebook, but one obvious fact is that they become fans because they relate to your brand. They are interested to know more and stay updated with latest announcements either pertaining to your brand or industry. So, share relevant news and keep your fans on their toes.

#5: THE FUN FACTOR: Incorporating humor

There is a child in every person. That goes for all your fans too. Do not limit or red tape your page’s content to only what is formal and serious. Throw in the fun! Add in a hint of humor to enlighten your fans. Having that said, do take precaution to not overstep the boundaries of fun. There are times when you are not sure of the “fun” content; one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Therefore, always run through those humor posts with your colleagues or superiors, better yet your content strategist or community manager. Above all, keep it light, clean and engaging, enough to bring a smile.

These are only a few to get you started on your everyday postings. Ultimately, you need to know your fans and craft a content strategy that suits your audience. Use the suggestions above wisely and creatively. Remember, crafting content for your social media postings is fresh air both to you and your fans. Keep it pumping!

What types of postings do you usually use and do you have any new and creative ones to share? I would love to hear from you!

How to Preserve Creativity on Social Media

Creativity derives from a world unknown to the creator.

Being creative can be tough. It is often subjective and can be interpreted differently. However, the preservation of creativity even in this growing age of social media can bear much fruit to brands and companies, even individuals. As we face the social giant head on, we must grab it by the horns and evolve around it while maintaining the ability to stay creative. It is not an option, creativity can very well be the antidote to a brand’s stagnation.

HOW CAN YOU PRESERVE CREATIVITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

#1: REMAIN STILL: Allow serenity to get the best of you

Having all the possible distractions at our finger tips, we are doomed to never see the lights of peace and quiet. We are streamlined into a world of technology that can build a robot out of you. Make an effort to unglue your eyes from the computer screen, stretch those limbs of yours, grab your keys and head out to a place only you know.

There, find the very space of simplicity and the roots of all creativity. Close your eyes and look around, shut your mind and think freely. Make time to engage socially with yourself before engaging social media. Don’t be afraid of originality, allow your thoughts to recalibrate, click the “refresh” button and livestream your creative ideas.

#2: BUILD A TRIBE: Look for and engage with creative communities

Since we are built to socialize and to have community, do just that! Preserving creativity calls for a team. A team of like-minded people to bounce off. Build a tribe, get connected to a community that has your back and will dodge a bullet for you and at the same time will shoot you with that very same gun.

Social media is fast and brutal, you as a creative individual need to find a creative hub/bank where people share resources, give constructive criticism and intensify ideas.

Explore Creativity on Social Media



    "Being creative on social media demands a wider perspective."









#3: LIVE AN ADVENTURE: Explore the vast world of all things creative

If you haven’t yet taken some pleasure in an adventure, it’s time to put on those boots and rough it out. Creativity is periodically growing; it is a risk taker. Being creative on social media demands a wider perspective. Imagine taking a rocket to have a bird’s eye view of the world; seeing the horizon of the earth and as you go higher, to witness the magnificent curvature of the earth. Explore the vast world of creativity be it online, in libraries, through other creatives or even through the lens of mother nature.

#4: BE CRAZY: Unleash your mind and think BIG, scale it down later on

We often fear the unreachable. We cave our minds, void it of limitless imagination. In order to preserve and add flavor to creativity in this social media generation, it is more than necessary to think big. Being practical is important, but generating ideas while stuck to the ground misses the point of greater heights.

There is a need to let your imagination go wild, there is a time to come back down to earth. However, let’s take off first and land later on, do not miss out on the fresh thoughts that hovers above our minds. Social media creates an avenue for crazy, big and fresh ideas.

As you can conclude that preserving creativity, especially on social media requires extra effort and intentional self-responsibility. Don’t give up creating and innovating! We need you to make an exceptional difference on social media.

Have better and additional methods to preserve creativity on social media? Go on and share your thoughts! All are welcomed.

Post header photo credit: Jonathan Fields

5 Words That Describe the Need of Today’s Gen-Social Media

Catching up with the next generation and “advertising” your brand to them requires fantastic stamina. From the late baby boomers to Gen-X and now Gen-Y, the next generation is blurred by overwhelming suggestions of terminology to describe the next generation in a boxed up category. In this digital and social media era, Gen-C may be the next most appropriate description to be carved into this rising generation. The letter “C” for “Connected”. Or GenSM, “SM” for “Social Media”. Call them whatever you like, the naked truth is that this fast growing generation stops for nothing and is highly connected to the web. It is in their second nature to receive information on the go and to plunge themselves into a world of fast paced connectivity and communication. Let us not fight to retain the next generation to an age old formula, but rather embrace and try to understand them, especially brands and companies that are trying so hard to reach their consumers in this social media generation.

TOP 5 WORDS TO UNDERSTAND & REMEMBER WHEN ENGAGING THE SOCIAL MEDIA GENERATION

#1: FAST

NOW! That’s what consumers urge for today. They don’t realize how amazing unseen transmissions get transferred by bouncing off a satellite thousands of miles away before returning to their device. That’s a menial activity, almost obsolete to them. The generation now requires speed-of-light information on the go. One may argue that it promotes impatience but t consumers, it’s viewed as efficiency. We can argue our points, but that one word, “FAST”, is only getting faster with the advancement of technology which leads to higher expectations. We need to understand the changing expectations of the social media generation and meet their needs with the appropriate social media tools to keep up with speed.

 #2:CHANGE

Change is the only constant. What an oxymoron statement that carries much truth. Due to the speed of information we receive from the web and especially social media, we tend to get bored very easily, always seeking for newer and fresher things. To target your next generation of consumers, you have to be as adventurous and daring as they are – Exploring out of the box, keeping a distance from conventional and producing fresh content and ideas on the fly.  

 #3:INVOLVE

There are 6 types of social media users but we will not go into detail for now. All of them have one thing in common, they want to be involved. Whether it be actively involved or passively involved. They all want to be included at some point and to be heard. Creating an avenue for the social media generation to participate holds much growth potential for brands and companies. Allow decisions to be shared among your fans/customers. Allow your target audience to be involved.  

#4:CONVERSATION

It is stereotype to think that the social media generation is silent and anti-social. Take a pip into their social networking world and you will find that they are far from being silent. Conversations do not only happen face to face in this age. This new generation converse profusely on social networking sites. Gone were the days where brand marketing was a one way communication. Consumers now want to have a conversation with the brand and have a 2 way conversation. Talk to them, listen to them and create a conversation instead of shoving information down their throats.  

#5:BELONG

Meeting the need for a sense of belonging from friends, family and the society will always be a carnal and an emotional desire. These people that build a community are slowly duplicating themselves on social networks. The social media generation tends to gravitate online for acceptance and a place where they can belong. Brands and companies that try so hard to build a rest stop out of their social media presence would not make the cut. We need to think community. Build a community that embodies a warmth and gentle place for all to feel they are wanted.

What do you think of the next generation? The Gen-Social Media. We would love to hear your thoughts!