Welcome To The BLG (Biggest Little Group)

For the past six years, I’ve dedicated myself to the craft of branding in all its elaborate definitions and executions.  SmartBrand (and this blog we’ve called SmartBrandBlog,has been my passion and focus throughout those years, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with truly talented people for some amazing clients.  Throughout my experience, it became apparent that my clients really all wanted one thing: a single source, turnkey effort for their communications through marketing, advertising, pr, web and social channels.

The problem was, quite frankly, within the term “brand” itself.  For me,  a “brand” is your business and personal communications strategy.  The same kind of detailed planning and strategy a competent attorney or accountant would bring to your business; you need for your integrated communications as well.  Branding is  strategic planning, competitive positioning and creative consistency that lives in every aspect of your business, from both personal and business perspectives.

Where does your brand reside?  Not on a well designed piece of paper;  but in the minds and hearts of your customers and prospects.  Their perception is really your brand, and not simply how you want to be perceived.  Branding is, at its very core, about building your own community of loyal fans and participants: people who love what you do; and why you do it.  Branding is so much more than graphic arts, media, or photography – yet it is at the core of all those, and so much more.

As a collaboratively structured company, SmartBrand assembled a pool of amazing freelance teams to meet client’s goals and needs; and we were pretty darn successful at it.  Still, the many individual interpretations of the term “brand” simply didn’t communicate the scope of our work and focus to a majority of our client roster.

Which leads me here today to BLG (Biggest Little Group).  A new, fresh, small, talented agency that singularly addresses and solves your brand’s communication needs.  A full service, turn-key, kick-butt group of professionals who have already worked together as partners.

I hope you’ll continue to check back with our blogsite as we talk about the many people, places, events and images we help our clients create and celebrate.  And certainly, please return to contribute to the love we feel for this amazing community – our Biggest Little City In The World.

Because you, the good people, amazing places, engaging events and lively discussions of northern Nevada – are at the very core of our agency brand.

So You’re Using Social Media…Now What?

Some surprising data has come from a recent study οf 100 companies reveals that many of the companies studied are literally “flying blind” with no strategy to back-up or measure their efforts.  Conducted by Digital Brand Expressions, the study reports that 78% percent οf corporate participants said their company is engaged in social media, but only 41% acknowledge that they have a strategic plan backing their efforts and investment.

So what could this mean?  In short, 41% of companies (both large and small in size) are having conversations with their customers and prospects through social media channels – but don’t know why and haven’t connected it to their company’s brand strategy.  For those companies who self-identified themselves as having a social media strategy, nearly 94% of them said that public relations were part of their equation, and 55% of them noted that they use social media for sales primarily.

Even more concerning, of those companies who said they have a social media plan, just 29% of them have a policy in place for their employees.  If your company is allowing your employees to have conversations via social media with the public, they have not guidance and can literally say anything they want – whether it’s related to your business or not. Better news was that 71% did say they were getting prepared with policies and protocols for social media communications, including how to handle both positive and negative comments.

Restricting your employees from engaging in social media may be your only choice unless you have a company policy in place.  Not enabling them to engage with the public could also mean that you’re missing a key opportunity to attract new, loyal customers to your product or service.

So much for the discouraging news.

The good news is that the study also showed that nearly 69% of respondents have metrics in place to track and measure the return on investment, with 71% saying they will monitor their brand’s reputation across several social media channels.

Does your company use social media internally as part of your communications plan?  If so… how are you handling the task of helping to control the communications with your employees?

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