A friend sent me a great link to a Mark Ritson rant in marketingweek yesterday. Mark Ritson is something of a God for many in the marketing business and sells himself really well. And so he should as he’s won more medals than Michael Phelps.
In the rant which you can read here, he recalled a recent evening in London where a friend told him how he had been ripped off by a brand consultant. Ritson doesn’t share how the friend was ripped off but goes on to outline a seven point system for identifying ‘shit’ brand consultants so you can avoid them like the plague.
The list goes something like this:
1) If the consultant mentions millennials, run a mile.
2) If the consultant offers advice without qualitative or quantitative research to back up his recommendations, run a mile.
3) The more concepts the brand consultant tries to sell you, the more ‘crapper’ he is.
4) If the brand consultant uses trigger words, he is unworthy. An example of a trigger word is Innovation. According to Ritson innovation ‘is a product orientated word and worthless as a result.’
5) Any brand consultant that mentions Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs should be shown the door – after you’ve thrown something heavy at him.
6) Likewise, if the brand consultant shows you a picture of a cow being branded.
7) And again, if they tell you reputations take decades to build.
8) If the brand consultant has a trademark attached to their special branding methodology or they use an acronym like ‘RESULTZ’ or ‘PERFORM’ then walk out of the room, but before you do write WANK on the nearest whiteboard.
9) If your brand consultant waxes lyrical about Steve Jobs and Apple and insists that what he did is relevant to your business, head for the door.
OK that’s a 9 point list but I’m only the messenger. So what do people think of his rant and list? Judging by the comments section, most of his fans agree with him. However, John Robbins of newzpoint blames ‘shit’ brand managers rather than shit brand consultants, “Although I can’t help but think the main reason there are so many shit brand consultants is because there are so many shit brand managers and the fact that you have to prepare a guide for brand managers because they generally can’t tell the difference between good and bad consultants is recognition of this.”
Robbins continues, “Try talking in realistic terms to a shit client (there are tons of them, easy to find) and most of the time their eyes glaze over because they find common sense rather tedious and prefer to listen to inflated bullshit as it excites them more. The emperors cloths continue to be sold and resold every day and no doubt will for sometime. As the old adage goes – brand managers get the brand consultants they deserve.” Powerful stuff from Mr Robbins.
Another comment from Claire who focused on the reference to the millennial segment, “I am apparently a millennial and I’m married with a kid. My brother and sister in law are technically also millennials and living it up with no mortgage in London. The idea that we are both basically the same segment for targeting is ludicrous.”
So what do I think of it? Well I think Mr Ritson is spot on really. I mean the concept of doing anything and making any recommendations without doing research is borderline criminal in my book. But the research must be focused on identifying value requirements of target markets and not be determined by age or decade of birth.
I mean, in an era when social media allows you to find like minded souls in groups on Facebook and other platforms, the concept of a ‘segment’ like 18 – 24 year olds or people born in a certain year or decade is rather naive.
Every customer is a segment now and they must be engaged with content that resonates with them. And that doesn’t have to be done through marketing. Indeed, it’s hard to do so, but it can be done when the prospect is researching the product or at the point of sale, after a connection or after a sale. If any segmentation is required, it should be separating prospects from existing customers.
Or as John Robbins said, the problem is often the client. If a client wants a brand consultant to go straight to implementation without doing any research, what is he supposed to do?
Should he walk away? Undoubtedly and many brand consultants probably do but if the economy were tanking and the pipeline was bare, who can blame them for taking the plunge? After all, the client will spend their money somewhere.
And besides, once on board the brand consultant can always try to convince the client to do the proper research.
We’re into December 2015 and this is an auspicious month. But it is not just auspicious because of the holidays, it will be remembered as the month Malaysia Airlines launched its new brand.
You only need to look at recent images of the Malaysia airlines CEO Christoph Mueller to see how stressful it is cutting 7,000 jobs from a bloated workforce, reducing the number of suppliers from 20,000, (yes 20,000) to an industry average of around 2,500, renegotiating sweetheart deals such as the one with the caterer and changing the focus of the carrier from a global one to a regional one.
But there is plenty of good news for Mr Mueller and the industry. Global passenger traffic is up 6% this year and long term, Airbus predicts the Asia Pacific region will lead the world in air traffic by 2034 with 41% of all passengers.
Meanwhile, aviation fuel, which accounts for anything from 40% to 55% of an airline’s operating cost is down more than 40% year on year. And as this saving doesn’t appear to have been passed onto passengers, Malaysia Airlines could make a profit earlier than the predicted 2018.
So with huge reductions in the cost of operations, improved efficiencies and a new brand, things are looking up for MAB. But the road to the new brand has been uneven. Reuters announced in late May 2015 that a new name, livery and rebrand would be unveiled in June 2015. This didn’t happen.
The company did change its name from Malaysia Airline System Bhd to Malaysia Airlines Bhd and this was reported by some quarters as a rebrand but it’s not. It’s actually the company’s fifth name change and besides, the company continues to be known as Malaysia Airlines.
Most recently, the CEO of Malaysia Airlines stated, “The entire brand needs a ‘refresh’ and will be like a start up with a new culture, values and ideas.” That’s more like it.
He also admitted that the airline had “fallen behind in the past three years and the rebrand would be much more than a new name and coat of paint”. He said the focus would be on ‘making the customer experience change’. OK, now we’re getting somewhere. All the talk of logos, image and refreshes was beginning to concern me.
According to Mueller, from December 2015 the airline, “will begin installing new cabin seating and improving inflight entertainment, customer service and on time performance. New technology, lounge concepts and catering would be introduced and the uniforms may change.”
Now we’re cooking with gas and I’m excited because this is more like branding and these changes are long overdue. Some of the planes I’ve flown recently, from the B737-800 to the A380 have looked tired and the business class lounge at KLIA is more like a cafeteria.
He’s banking on the new product improvements to renew customer confidence and trust in the brand. But while these upgrades are important, it will take more than a new lounge, new seating and new equipment to revive the brand. After all, these changes will only bring the brand back up to speed with the rest of the industry.
Branding success in the aviation business comes with a number of small successes at key touch points in the customer journey. And these successes are built on delivering value on the customer’s terms.
Nowadays that journey begins not with an advertisement but with the customer discovering the brand, most often online or, in the case of the lucrative but undervalued existing customer during the relationship that the airline builds with the customer once they have finished their journey.
At every step of the way, those experiences involve interactions with personnel that know how to represent the brand and deliver that value.
Having been a customer of Malaysia Airlines for over 21 years, and having flown nearly 100 times on the carrier since MH370 I can say, with some authority that the majority of staff don’t understand branding and the role each of them has in the success of the brand.
It’s not their fault because years of mismanagement have inculcated the ‘tidak apa’ (Don’t care) culture across the organisation. It’s not that the airline or its people are bad, it’s just that it has been driven into the ground in an attempt to milk it for every penny. And this has created a sense of every man for himself.
The mismanagement has created an organizational culture that lacks the required values. All of its processes, attitudes and systems have evolved to do the bare minimum required to get by. Recently, in an attempt to try and stem the hemorrhaging with the layoffs and supplier renegotiations, morale has hit rock bottom and the company is hanging even further over the precipice.
So will the rebrand make a difference? We’ll have to wait and see. My concern is that it is going to be advertising and promotion driven. A ‘big idea’ will be created and pushed out across the world in a massive advertising blitz that will make a big splash before being lost in all the noise.
Numerous personal experiences, countless anecdotes and negative reviews, comments and discussions on and offline talk about the airline not caring or negative interactions with staff.
In an era when customers not companies define brands, and they define those brands based on the economic, experiential and emotional value those brands deliver to them, the rebranding of Malaysia Airlines will be successful only if the firm gets to know its customers and staff are primed to deliver consistent, knowledgeable, exceptional, personalised engagement with each of the very diverse audiences.
It maybe that Mr Mueller doesn’t want to go this route. That the investment will be too much and his ‘start up’ will be a glorified low cost carrier masquerading as a national carrier. The ramifications of such a move on the Malaysia Nation brand will be substantial and only negative. Let’s hope that’s not the plan.
I prefer to remain positive. Today is December 1st 2015. The country and the world is watching and waiting for the new brand. I hope they get it right. My next flight on Malaysia Airlines is on December 8th. I’ll let you know if anything has changed.
The recent announcement by the Malaysian government that it will invest RM6 billion of public funds to revive Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is a good idea and one that should be welcome by every Malaysian.
The national carrier is a source of immense pride for Malaysians and so it should be. In the broader perspective, MAS has an exemplary safety record, provides direct and indirect employment for thousands of Malaysians and was profitable for many years.
Furthermore, when managed effectively and innovatively and when the importance of morale was understood, the national airline played a major role in defining the Malaysia Nation Brand as it was the first touch point for many of the more than 10 million passengers carried annually.
Moreover, through MAS, Malaysia got the opportunity to reach out to consumers with a physical product, develop a relationship with them and build a profitable business at the same time. Many of the millions of Europeans who flew the ‘kangaroo route’ from Europe to Australia and New Zealand became brand ambassadors for the carrier.
Much of that goodwill has been eroded but the brand is still intact but there is a lot of work to be done to rebuild global trust in the brand. The recovery plan that will require sweetheart deals to be renegotiated, staff numbers to be reduced and other major restructuring initiatives are just the beginning. Rebuilding internal branding and developing a strong, innovative, customer focused external brand strategy will be just as important.
While the airline restructures, it needs to continue to operate. In June 2014, when MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told shareholders that the MH370 incident had “sadly now added an entirely unexpected dimension, damaging our brand and our business reputation, and accelerating the urgency for radical change”, I was expecting, well radical change.
Externally, it looks like that radical change consists of nothing more than slashing prices!
MAS is reported to be offering cut price ticket prices from the UK, Australia and New Zealand to Kuala Lumpur in an attempt to do what regional senior vice president Lee Poh Kait termed as, “inspire and encourage customers to dream, plan and book their next holiday, and help rebuild trust in Malaysia Airlines.”
Mr Lee also told Australian news site news.com.au that, “With unbelievable savings, these deals are a very competitive offering as we build a stronger Malaysia Airlines.”
He also went on to say, “We are committed to regaining the confidence of our customers and sending them on memorable holiday experiences as a trusted five-star carrier.”
In addition to slashing prices, MAS also launched ‘My Ultimate Bucket List’ competition with 12 return flights to Kuala Lumpur and 4 iPads as prizes.
Its not uncommon for bricks and mortar retailers to slash prices in the face of poor sales and it’s a familiar tactic of low cost carriers looking to sell excess seats. The idea is you attract new customers who might not have bought from you and you get a spike in sales that will get you through the lean times. But we’re not selling soap powder, software or biscuits.
An international airline that competes in the same space as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and the increasingly aggressive Middle Eastern carriers and is reeling from two tragic events is not going to build a stronger airline or rebuild trust by slashing prices.
Slashing prices gives the impression the project is cheap, something MAS cannot afford to do. It also smacks of desperation and lowers the value of the product to that of a low cost carrier and may well cause customers to lose not rebuild confidence in the airline.
Furthermore, by slashing prices, MAS is throwing away all of the pricing power it has built up over the past few years, power that will take years to win it back.
The regional senior vice president also said “We would like to thank all our travel agency partners and passengers for their relentless support during what has been a difficult period.” I understand that MAS has also doubled the travel agent commission rate to 11% till mid September.
At the same time as this seat sale and travel agent incentive is launched, the MAS frequent flyer programme (FFP) Enrich is sending emails out to 14 year olds offering them the opportunity to earn extra air miles if they book a hotel with the MAS hotel booking partner. Not many 14 year olds book hotels.
Enrich marketing is sending out up to 8 emails a month asking members to play golf at the Mines, get double miles when they fly with Firefly, take advantage of a sale at shoe shop Lewre and various other offers.
After flights, the airline is also sending an email to travellers asking them to complete a survey that asks questions such as “At which airport did you board/leave this flight?” and “Class of travel” as well as questions that the answers might be good to know but don’t identify causes of dissatisfaction or provide any real actionable data.
Meanwhile, while MAS offers travel agents double commission on bookings, MAS loyalists who have flown more than 20 times since MH370 went missing in April 2014 haven’t received personalized communications from the airline thanking them for their support or an offer of free air miles, upgrades or other shows of appreciation.
Based on this evidence, it would appear MAS has essentially ignored its existing customers and frequent flyer members and instead gone out and offered special deals to all and sundry in the hope that enough of them will take the bait and fly the airline.
This discounting approach will do little to regain trust or repair the battered brand. Here are 6 tactical initiatives MAS should be doing to rebuild trust before slashing price:
1. Existing customers are more likely to buy than those who haven’t bought before
Right now a focus on gaining new customers or market share is a misguided approach. Yet MAS, like so many firms is attempting to do just that whilst ignoring its existing customers. The MAS FFP Enrich is rumoured to have more than 1,000,000 members. The database of Enrich members is a potential gold mine of revenue that needs to be cleaned and leveraged properly and quickly with a well planned and implemented programme.
2. All data is important
OK, MAS probably doesn’t need to know the name of every FFP member’s pet but it does need to know enough data to know what products should be sold and to whom and how to increase share of wallet.
Consumers are willing to share more information than ever before and MAS needs to start collecting data and sending the right offers to the right people. Sending invitations to book hotels to 14 year olds is sloppy and shows a lack of professionalism and that will do nothing to rebuild the brand’s reputation.
3. Leverage the power of social media
Each customer’s experience is defined by the economic, experiential and emotional value of each ‘moment of truth’ when interacting with the brand so mass advertising campaigns either online or offline and slashing costs are not going to rebuild the MAS brand.
There is a great deal of sympathy out there for MAS and a bright, real, transparent, honest and consumer driven campaign on social media about real people travelling on MAS will inspire more people to develop a relationship with the airline (and relationships are the goal, not selling seats) than any seat sale with a weak call to action.
4. Branding is about experiences and relationships, not one off sales
Few consumers are going to develop a relationship with a brand based on a one off sale. And besides, legacy carriers can’t compete with LCCs and the moment MAS tries to increase prices, those customers won on price will go elsewhere. MAS must start building relationships with its customers and leverage those relationships to increase sales.
The success of those relationships will be determined at every touch point which means the website booking engine, check in staff, customer service representatives, ground and airport staff, cabin crew, in flight entertainment, comfort and service, baggage operators, communications, helplines and more must be all be ‘on brand’ and on top of their game at all times.
5. Stop being lazy and start re building the MAS brand
There is no short cut to rebuilding the MAS brand. It is going to take a lot of effort strategically and tactically. Slashing prices and flooding the Internet with forgettable, price driven ads won’t turn the company around. The MAS website has been a mess for too long. No matter what the cost, funds must be made available to fix the booking machine and fix it quickly.
It’s also time to retrain front line staff as they currently do not have the skillsets required to deliver a premium brand that can compete with the aggressive ME carriers.
6. Think customer not customers
The customer is only interested in one thing, what’s in it for me (WIIFM). Yes many of them care about the airline but they aren’t about to risk their lives or those of their families.
Every single customer flying MAS in these difficult times has to be made to feel special (this should be part of the brand strategy but is particularly important now).
Those customers flying MAS now are the saviours of the brand and must be nurtured to become brand ambassadors and brand advocates who will be talking loudly about the fact that they are flying the airline now.
Make the experience a memorable one and they will talk loudly and for longer and do more to rebuild trust that any corporate driven advertising or PR campaign.
None of this is rocket science but these 6 top tactical tips will lay the foundations for the rebuilding of the Malaysia Airlines reputation quicker and more effectively than slashing prices.
If Malaysia Airlines (MAS) makes it to 2015 and beyond, 2014 will probably be remembered as an annus horribilis for the beleaguered brand. In fact it may go down as an annus horibilis for the Malaysia Nation brand but we’ll discuss that another day.
Certainly the first half of 2014 has been desperate for MAS with missed revenue targets, ineffecitve advertising campaigns universally mocked by the industry, reports of alleged sabotage, police investigations, negative press about the customer experience and of course the tragic circumstances surrounding MH370 and the subsequent weak handling of the global media by the airline.
The once mighty airline, an early poster boy for national carriers is struggling on a number of fronts with two big questions 1) Can MAS survive and 2) should it be allowed to fail? being asked in coffee shops, boardrooms and even in schools.
The answer to 1) is yes, and to 2) is no.
But to survive, someone is going to have to get very, very tough because MAS is in a mess. Since 2007, MAS has made 3 cash calls to the tune of RM7 billion (US$2.1 billion) and over the last 3 years has accumulated losses of RM4.1 billion (US$1.2 billion). Whatever they are doing isn’t working.
Morale is low, bookings are down especially from normally busy and profitable routes to and from China, the unions are throwing their weight around even though the airline is terribly over staffed – you only need to go to KLIA to see so many staff sitting around doing nothing and I heard one story recently of a new person who arrived to find someone asleep (with a pillow) at his desk.
Just to get an idea of the situation, Singapore airlines (SIA) has a fleet of 104 aircraft (MAS 107), flies to 62 destinations (MAS 61), has revenue of RM36 billion (MAS RM58 billion) and is staffed by 14,000 people (MAS 20,000) and yet in 2012 made RM1.150 billion ( during the same period MAS lost RM400 million).
SIA is flying to the same amount of destinations, operating the same amount of aircraft and using at least 6,000 less employees to do it. It turns over only about 60% of what MAS turns over yet makes an impressive profit.
MAS needs a new strategy but cutting costs is not the way forward. In the interests of nation building and to ensure morale and belief in Malaysia doesn’t plummet further and to turn MAS around quickly, the firm needs to carry out a number of key initiatives immediately starting with
1) All suppliers have to accept that their existing agreements must be cancelled and be given the opportunity to submit new proposals that are acceptable to the airline. If they cannot agree terms, new tenders must be issued.
2) Moving forward, all procurement activities must be done transparently.
3) The unions have to understand that 5,000 staff must go. The government must underwrite any redundancy packages for 12 months to encourage staff to leave and reskill these staff to ensure they find work immediately.
4) Training of staff, especially front line staff has to be ramped up because these people are key to the success of the brand and at the moment their customer engagement skills are simply not good enough. But training providers must be recruited transparently.
5) MAS must review it’s sales policies, processes and systems. Right now they are not leveraging effectively on key opportunities such as the Enrich database.
6) MAS marketing and advertising is stuck in a time warp of mass media mediocrity. It needs to stop wasting huge amounts of money (I was told RM400 million in 2013) on irrelevant advertising campaigns and review it’s marketing approach now.
7) MAS must understand that customers build brands not advertising departments. The new strategy must focus on the customer and delivering economic, experiential and emotional value to its customer segments and on their terms.
8) MAS appears to have 3 brand identities at the moment. It’s a mess and needs to be revamped quickly and there has never been a better time to do it as the MAS brand identity is tired and old and associated with MH370.
9) Successful airline brands today are innovative, creative, nimble and move fast. I remember being in discussions about updating the uniform in 2003. 11 years later it is essentially the same.
10) Years ago MAS aggressively marketed it’s Enrich programme and encouraged anyone to sign up. But the programme is antiquated and a mess. Children get offers to sign up for credit cards, there is limited segmentation and personalisation and opportunities to reward and leverage brand loyalists and identify and nurture influencers are missed.
There is an obsession at the moment that cutting costs is the way to make MAS profitable. It is the wrong approach. However by understanding the importance of branding and spending money on the right brand strategy and integrating that brand strategy with the corporate restructuring plan, significant savings can be made and crucially, those savings (obviously) save the company money but will also generate more income by negating the competition, increasing share of wallet and allowing MAS to increase not decrease ticket prices.
My inbox is overflowing with ‘invitations’ to attend numerous conventions, exhibitions, masterclasses, seminars and so on. I don’t know where these guys get my email address but I must be on every mailing list from Malaysia to Mexico.
I’ve trained my junk mail filter to send most of them to the trash without me having to do it manually but somehow, quite a few still get through. One company is particularly good at getting around my filter and I find myself actually reading the subject line or even some of the copy, especially when I can’t find anything with which to self harm which is what I would prefer to do.
Normally I just swear at the sender, make a note of the company name and promise myself that I will never, ever attend one of their events and then just trash the email. But I thought I’d share this one with you so that if you are in the event or seminar business, you might learn something.
Here is a section of their most recent email
Of course her earlier email was included so I’m going to share part of it with you
You can draw your own conclusions from this farcical attempt to get the head of boiler operations at a brand consultancy to attend a seminar, the benefits of which are according to the email, “boiler efficiency, improved water strategy and analysis, better understanding of modern boiler burner operations as well as easier identification of its failures, by reducing cost and increasing safety and finally better understanding of legal requirements of Dosh”
Tosh more like. If you must use email campaigns to try and drum up business, here are 5 top tips for an email campaign:
1) Give recipients an opt out from your list. This email doesn’t even allow me to unsubscribe, which may well be illegal.
2) Segment your list or risk destroying your brand. You’ve collected information, use it properly. Failure to do so may see you embarrassed on a blog.
3) Make your subject line creative, short and sweet.
4) Less is more. Trust me, the more emails I get, the more determined I am not to attend any of the seminars listed.
5) Track your customer activities. If they don’t respond to any emails, get in contact and find out why.
There you are, despite annoying me I’ve given you some sound and free advice. I shall be sending this post to Anna. Feel free to send it to anyone who keeps sending you irrelevant emails.
This article asks a really pertinent question related to branding today – Should influencers be paid? The answer is an unequivocal yes however you need to be able to deliver on the promises you make otherwise such a tactic will come back and bite you.
As content marketing has risen, so has the value in attracting and securing the attention of brand influencers in your market. These people can often hold considerable sway in their particular niche, and as a neutral and impartial voice can be particularly…
For whatever reason, a guy in the UK called Richard Neill posted a comment on the Facebook page of Bodyform, the manufacturer of female hygiene product Maxipad.
Richard complained that Bodyform had lied to him through their advertising. Apparently Richard watched Bodyform commercials on a regular basis as a child and young man and couldn’t wait to get his first girlfriend to experience all the wonderful experiences shown in the commercials.
Alas it wasn’t as portrayed and he took it out on the company on their Facebook page. You can read his short rant here. The comment has so far got over 100,000 likes and nearly 5,000 people took time to post a comment.
Bodyform could have left the story to fizzle out but they decided to respond with a clever video that featured an actress in the role of CEO Caroline Williams who apologized to Richard and went on to say that they needed to protect men.
The video has received nearly 5 million views and over 8,000 likes.
There is a lot of chat online about how good was the response from Bodyform. What do you think? Did the company do the right thing? Was the content right? Were they right to use an actress or should the real CEO have engaged Richard? Was it just a bit of fun between a company and a consumer?
Personally I think it was a clever use of social media by the company and reflects how to engage consumers on a more personal level. The company has engaged with the writer, and the millions of people who have dropped by to see what all the fuss is about in a like minded way. No airs and graces, confident and light hearted. My only minor criticsm is that the real CEO should have presented the video.
Of course the major question now is “How can the company leverage its new position in the minds of consumers?”
A fascinating insight into the social media and mobile shopping habits of consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore has just been released by SDL in the UK.
The survey size is a little small – 4,000 people in four countries – but the results unearth new data on how social media and mobile are influencing how consumers interact and build relations with brands.
33% of respondents from all four countries have acted on promotions seen on social media.
58% of respondents have shared positive experiences online and have sought advice from friends and family when talking about brands on social media.
U.K. respondents are more likely than respondents from the other four countries to complain about service on social.
When respondents express feedback, Facebook is the most popular platform to do this.
Showrooming (visiting a physical location to evaluate products and services even when you know you will buy online at another time) is increasingly prevalent as 77% of participants showroom.
62% of the participants use a mobile device when in stores to compare product prices.
69% of respondents from all four countries expect a brand’s online store, mobile app, and physical store to offer the same pricing, discounts and sales.
What can brands learn from this thought provoking survey?
They need to understand their relationship with consumers and what resonates with those consumers.
Brands that ensure parity in pricing and products across multiple channels will have to place greater emphasis on the customer experience and experiential branding if they want to win and retain business. Those that compete on price alone will soon be out of business.
Department stores and other retail outlets that represent multiple brands will have to work harder to engage consumers and ensure a positive brand experience otherwise they face the prospect of losing customers, possibly forever.
Mobiles are changing the way consumers research and learn about brands.
Brands that take the time to build relationships with core fans or brand evangelists will see their brands promoted to thousands of fans for minimal financial investment.
Those brands with digital brand strategies that go beyond tactical campaigns online are increasing sales through loyalty and advocacy.
Brands that try to control content and manage corporate driven messages and ignore consumers are unlikely to last very long in the consumer economy of today.
Telling the brand story online should be done across Facebook and other popular platforms with the ongoing development of corporate and consumer content.
We’re involved in the development of the Asean Social Business Summit to be held in Kuala Lumpur in May 2013. You can read more about the event here and visit the official site here
But there is a lot of confusion over what is and what isn’t social business. Social Business refers to enterprise collaboration & innovation that uses social technologies to boost corporate, customer and social value. Social Business does NOT refer to social marketing (PR) or social entrepreneurship (helping rural businesses).
This video argues businesses are still stuck in the Industrial Revolution and need to change and change fast. Importantly, it goes some way to explaining what is social business
More and more firms are using effective email campaigns in association with their social media initiatives to build brands. This is because an email campaign allows you to know who is opening your emails, which links they’re clicking on and how many of your them are forwarding your emails to their friends. The right product also means you will only pay when a recipient clicks through to the offer.
Malaysian firms are slowly waking up to the benefits of a good email campaign. Let me put that differently, Malaysian firms are waking up to the fact that email is an effective marketing tool. Which is good timing because according to a recent report from MarketingProfs, email returns the highest return on investment (ROI).
The problem is that too many Malaysian firms are trying to do their email campaigns ‘on the cheap’. often they do it inhouse or if they do outsource, they outsource to the cheapest company.
This means they often send out poor quality emails that can damage the brand. it is important to get the email and the content of your email right. Because this is the first interaction a potential customer will have with your brand. It is a great opportunity to make a good impression and start building the foundations you need to earn their trust and eventually make a sale.
Unfortunately, it is also a great opportunity to make a bad impression. And once you’ve made a bad impression, it is very dificult to build trust with a consumer who is already forming a negative opinion of you and your brand.
Not only should your email campaign resonate with your target markets, it also needs to be well written and to the point. If it is full of poor English or grammatical errors, you will create a bad impression with the recipient.
Below are two examples of emails I received recently. Although I haven’t included the subject line, take it from me they were almost as bad as the copy.
How to create a good email campaign
When you prepare an email campaign, the subject line is the most important element of the exercise because this is the first thing the recipient will see.
If there are spelling mistakes in the subject line, the reader will not have any faith in what you say from there on in. If you make outrageous claims in the subject line, the email will go straight to the trash.
Finally, if the subject line doesn’t state its point concisely, it will be ignored. Accept that it is impossible to include content in a subject line that will appeal to everyone on your mailing list. It may take more time but it is better to break up your database and rewrite different subject lines and body copy for different segments.
Once you get to the body of the email, a good rule of thumb is that less is more. Don’t waffle on and on about how great is your product or use textbook marketing jargon that confuses the reader and drives them away from the product.
Keep the email simple. Remember, you are not trying to make a sale, only get the recipient to interact with your brand. Explain what you have to offer, where the recipient can get it or gather more information, who you are and why they should buy your product or service.
Finally and most importantly, focus more on the benefits of your product not the features.
Get the message right, and email is an effective and inexpensive way to make sales, grow your customer base and build a valuable, profitable brand. Used wrongly and it is a complete waste of your time and the recipient’s time and instead of making sales and building your brand you will actually damage your brand.