apples and oranges branding

Spot the difference: Is your brand getting the right kind of attention?

Yay! Your brand has been mentioned on another website, but was it the right kind of attention? Spotting the difference should be like telling an apple from an orange. Clue: one is an orange. The Means CMO, Emily Jarvis, explains why some mentions can damage your brand.

When your brand is mentioned by another blogger or influencer, initially we all share the same reaction: “Who are they? How big is their audience reach? Let’s share it immediately and thank them for mentioning us, it’s really kind of them”.

But…hang on. They’ve spelt your product name wrong. You’re waaaay down at number 40 in the list and they’ve listed a whole load of inaccuracies about your product. Look closer and you’ll see they’ve even got your brand messaging wrong.

Build this picture up and you have an influencer that is actually damaging your brand (I would hope, unintentionally). Your messaging is not something that should be crumpled into a ball and thrown away. I mean, it was when you were writing iteration after iteration, but it’s not now. It’s something that you took years to get right and for stakeholders to get behind.

Good publicity vs. bad publicity

You might ask yourself: “Why should it matter? People will still come to our website anyway.”

Well it does matter and it should matter to you. Why? Here’s two things to think about:

1. It’s like The Butterfly Effect

Other blog sites or influencers may take information straight from this blog for their website, and get the facts wrong again and again.

Catch it early and you spread the brand message you want. Catch it too late and earlier versions of your business model and/or product will be littered across the internet as the largest bible of trash for your 2018-prospects to browse through at their leisure.

Your prospects may even mention you to their friends offline. Ever thought of that? Word of mouth is a powerful thing in sales. So are chinese whispers. This is your chance to reinforce what you’re all about and spread the right message about your business.

2. Your website becomes a small fish in a big pond

Prospects won’t make it to you. They’ll take their business elsewhere and you won’t even know they were ever a prospect because they won’t make it to your website at all. Now think about how many articles out there you’ve seen with inaccuracies about what you’re offering. Doesn’t that make you mad thinking about all the business you’re losing?

A side note…Do a Google search for “Your brand vs. your competitor”

My least favourite mentions are those that talk about your pricing and compare you to your competition. They very rarely get in contact to askwhether you want to be featured or for an up to date pricing model. They won’t even necessarily check out your website — they’ll probably just find another price comparison with your name on it elsewhere (I refer you to the butterfly effect).

The worst part for you is:

Potential customers not only frequent these websites, but they trust that the information they’re reading about your brand is correct.

It’s inconsistencies like this that really grind my gears. You can avoid too many of these seeping through the cracks by putting together a product features and pricing PDF that you can send over.

So what can you do about it?

That’s the last straw, you tell yourself. It’s time to contact these bloggers and make sure they understand your brand is of great value to you and just how hard you’ve tried to get every customer through the door for years now.

Fixing the problem (yes, I’m calling it a problem now) will depend on just how many mentions of you there are on the World Wide Web.

In any case, start with the biggies. Those you know draw a crowd.

Use services like BuzzSumo or Moz to find backlinks and mentions across the web. BuzzSumo lets you see just how many shares these articles are getting across the usual array of social media platforms. Conduct Google searches based on some of your SEO keywords to bring up the websites you should contact first.

Find contact forms and email addresses for these companies. Re-read your mention. Have your messaging/pricing/product features/general information ready to send. I like to keep a stern but fair voice with something like this:

PLEASE DIRECT TO THE EDITORIAL/MARKETING DEPARTMENT

Hi,

I am {job title} from {company name}. Thanks for the recent backlink to our website, it’s overall a great mention for our brand. However I have noticed that the information you have collected about {company name} is out of date and contains some inaccuracies.

We want to make sure that our brand is presented in the best light. {detail the changes required here}.

Please appreciate the urgency of these changes to preserve our brand integrity.

I would be grateful if you could notify me by email on {your email address} as soon as these changes are complete. That way, I can also keep in touch if we have any exciting news in the future about {company name} to share with you.

Thank you for your understanding.

{Sign-off}

{optional: contact number}

Don’t ask too much of the website vendor — your mention still has to fit within the space you’ve been allocated and cover the same points. This is about accuracy and portraying your brand in the best light.

Chase them, hound them until they’ve made the change. Build a relationship with them. But be nice. You have their email address now. Get them excited about your product so that they write about it more and engage with you directly.

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Apples and oranges

Your brand will change with time too. So that free trial you now offer may not be communicated on all those blogs you asked to be edited a year ago. The difference is, you now have a list of contacts you can mass-email about the changes.

If at this point you find yourself re-circling the “why does it matter?” question, then remind yourself of the reasons above. While you may miss a few of the oranges, you’ll have more control than ever over your brand identity across the web.

So next time you’re tagged in a post on Twitter or see a backlink pop up in your analytics, really read that post and make sure it’s saying what you want it to about your company. Maybe, just maybe you’ll turn another prospect into a lead.

We know how tough it is to get your brand right. Ours will go through many iterations as we find our feet. I’m planning on installing a small basketball hoop over the bin at The Means HQ to catch all of the balls of paper we’ll throw away in the process.

All five partners at The Means are marketers. We can tell the difference between apples and oranges.

Perhaps you never thought of outsourcing this kind of work? No problem, we’ll take care of it for you. Get in touch hello@themeans.rocks and we can talk.

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