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A regularly updated resource of information and news items.

Archive for June 2010

England woes to hit retailers

Posted Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Brands are facing a black hole in their finances as a result of England‘s lacklustre performance in the World Cup.

Marketing, 22 June 2010  
 According to the British Beer and Pub Association, each England game brings an additional £10m to £15m of revenue to the industry, depending on the timing of the match.

An extra 9m pints were sold during each of England‘s first two World Cup group matches, meaning the industry will be hit by a serious loss of incremental sales should the team go out against Slovenia today or in the first round of the knockout stages.

Supermarkets could also lose out on similar sales boosts. Asda said it sold an additional 1.3m burgers during the first two days of the tournament. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s and Lillywhites have both already slashed the cost of England merchandise.

‘In the short term, if England crashes out, it is likely a lot of this won’t sell and there will be huge discounting,’ said Ken Parker, co-founder of sponsorship specialist Discovery. ‘The success or failure of the team could have huge consequences for the economy. It could make or break businesses.’

How to Become a More Savvy Networker Online

Posted Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Building up a business network isn’t easy, but it is essential if you intend to succeed anywhere in the world of business. This is especially true of small businesses without the track records of larger, more established organizations. Personal connections can mean all the difference between profitability and bankruptcy.

Mashable, 16th June 2010

In a previous article, I wrote about ways to reignite your existing network online. In this post, I want to focus on how to use the web to make actual, lasting connections that will help you achieve your goals.

Many businesspeople don’t think of the web as a place to make connections, but rather to communicate with them. This isn’t true anymore, and in fact social media tools can be more effective than in-person meetings, especially when you’re trying to build an international network.

1. Consistently engage people you want to add to your network. If you want to get on somebody’s radar, start @replying to them on Twitter, comment on their Facebook posts, or create discussions around their work on your blog. If you’ve met them before, it’s fine to send a Facebook or LinkedIn request, although everyone has different rules for accepting or rejecting friend requests.

2. Don’t become a pest. There is a fine line between communication and harassment, and once you cross that line, there’s no going back. Don’t bombard your network with an overflow of social media messages. Use your best judgment.

3. Join online communities in your industry. There are a ton of mailing lists, message boards, and social networks dedicated to small business or your chosen field. You just have to find them. For example, many entrepreneurs regularly visit and contribute to Hacker News, a community for hackers, founders, and entrepreneurs. Find niche communities like it that focus on your field of business and get connected.

To get started, here are a few tips for connecting with other entrepreneurs via social media.

4. Don’t limit your online networking to one person or one network. There are a lot of great people to engage, but if you ignore them because you only want to use one network, then you miss out on a lot of potential engagement and potential contacts. Keep an open mind and try out new tools and new networks.

5. Bring it offline… eventually. Online communication is great, but when you have the opportunity, nothing really beats a one-on-one conversation over coffee. If you’ve been consistent in engaging your network online, then you won’t run out of things to talk about in person. Once again, don’t rush an in-person meeting. In most cases, you’ll know when the right time is to take it offline.

Consistent and meaningful contact is key to building a strong network. Be an active member in your network and keep them engaged. The network you build online will deliver huge returns throughout your career, so put in your full effort.

Kit Kat is successfully hijacking the World Cup

Posted Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Brand Republic 09-Jun-10,

Kit Kat is successfully hijacking this year’s Fifa World Cup in South Africa, despite not paying hundreds of thousands of pounds on sponsorship deals like rival Mars, according to the latest BR Video.

Following the launch of football-led TV campaigns by both Nestlé and Mars, both confectionery brands are starting to become associated with the World Cup.

But Mars, and AMV BBDO, will be disappointed to discover there was little resonance for its TV spot which resurrects John Barnes‘ rap in New Order’s ‘World In Motion’ song, some 20 years after its first airing.

The chocolate bar had better luck with Mars‘ new wrapper, featuring the England flag, which was mentioned by a number of people in our video.

However, out of the people who had seen both TV ads, Kit Kat was the clear favourite, with its ‘Cross your fingers’ concept described as “clever” and “more relevant”.

One person also preferred the unofficial Kit Kat ad because it was “very subtle”, he went on to add: “As soon as you see the red wrapper you know…  It stands out a lot more than Mars.”

There was better news for the official sports and beer sponsors Adidas and Budweiser, which were among the first names to spring to mind surrounding this year’s World Cup. Although they were joined by the likes of Nike, Foster’s and IPA, all of whom have no links with the event.

Last week, Mars and The Football Association confirmed they are considering legal action against Nestlé for a possible breach of sponsorship rules.

Mars, which last October announced a five-year partnership with The FA, is an official supplier to the England team.

The confectionery company is now in discussions with The FA about the possibility of initiating court action against Nestlé over its football-based ad campaign, ‘Fingers crossed’, created by JWT London.

They believe Nestlé is guilty of “passing off” an association with the England team, despite not being an official sponsor.

Four years ago, Mars undertook its own ambush marketing to coincide with the World Cup in Germany. It was not an official partner of the England team at the time.

Why Small Businesses Shouldn’t Take Social Media for Granted

Posted Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

It seems like social media is everywhere these days. But the 2010 Business Monitor United States report — commissioned by UPS — shows that when it comes to small- and medium-sized businesses, social media is still a missed opportunity. A mere 24 percent of respondents said they’ve received sales leads from social media, with just 1 percent citing it as a factor for business growth.

Mashable, Jun 02, 2010

The data would appear to indicate that in spite of all the positive press that social media gets and all the use cases we’ve seen emerge over the past few years, small business owners are taking social media for granted. When done right, social media can be a valuable source for customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction. Here are a few reasons to help drive the value home.
Information is There for the Taking
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the web. Ignoring, avoiding or just not looking at what people are sharing online about your small business or your competitors is just plain lazy.
Now more than ever people turn to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, Yelp and a slew of other sites to share information and make it publicly available. As such, there’s a wealth of information that existing customers, future fans and online detractors are putting into the public domain, and there are a plethora of tools to make it easy for you to follow along.
The customer that tweets about a poor experience, the guy that leaves a tip about a venue on Foursquare, or the woman that tweets about being overwhelmed by an event she’s planning, are all real humans sharing real bits of information that if ignored could translate into missed opportunities.
In the case of the person with the poor experience, if it’s your business being discussed, offer to step in and fix the problem. If it’s a competitor, offer to let the person try a comparable product free of charge. When it comes to Foursquare, acknowledge great Foursquare tips, even if they’re not for your own business. If you can help the woman who’s overwhelmed, do it, even if it is just by responding, “is there any way I can help?”
As a small businesses owner, it’s your responsibility to use these bits of public information to build relationships, improve customer service and enhance your products.
Simple Works
Finding the right way to use social media can be daunting, especially when there are so many examples of big brands pushing the limits of creativity and possibility when it comes to their Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare initiatives. Often times the big guys forget that it’s the simplest of gestures that can have the greatest impact. But simple works.
On the simple side of things, just take the time to acknowledge customers that mention you. Did someone tweet about dining at your restaurant? Did they checkin at your venue? Did they share a story about your small business on Facebook? These actions that take place in the public domain are all opportunities to connect with a current or potential customer and make them feel special.
Responding is easy — a simple “thanks for stopping by,” or “how can we make your next visit better?” tweet can go a long way and even make someone’s day. Yet, it’s something most companies take for granted. People like to be recognized, but often times they’re never presented with an opportunity to associate restaurants, stores and other venues with the people behind him. You can create that opportunity by recognizing their patronage, which in turn should help ensure that they return for a future visit.
Another simple thing you can do is post signage — on your website and in your store — to indicate that you’re social media-friendly. The Express retail chain has their chief marketing officer’s Twitter handle printed on all their bags, which works to reinforce that the company cares about person-to-person connections. Take that idea and apply it to your own business. For that extra touch, make stickers, punch cards or window decals that showcase your small business’s online personality and reinforce that you’re interested in conversations with your customers.
Your Size Works in Your Favor
Starbucks is the perfect example of an early adopter brand that understands social media, and yet their size prohibits them from engaging with every customer that walks in the door.
As a small business, your size is your friend in social media channels. Use your small size as an advantage and respond to each and every person that mentions you. Since you’re working with a smaller customer base, you can also build customer Twitter Lists to separate different categories of customers into groups, which should help you offer more personalized customer service — something the big businesses don’t have the time or resources to support.
Here’s an easy example: Who are your most frequent customers? Make a Twitter List called “Regulars,” and add your regulars on Twitter to it.
In doing so, you’re associating patronage with prestige. Your efforts could even inspire semi-regular customers to frequent your business more often just so they too can get added to the list. This tactic might also serve as a catalyst for one regular to connect with another, though you could also facilitate customer-to-customer connections with introductory tweets. So if a customer tweets for a recommendation, you could respond with something simple as, “@customer1 good question, I like the cheesecake but @customer2 really loves the custard.”
These types of personal exchanges highlight the advantages afforded to small businesses using social media.

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