The News Chair
  1. What’s in a Name? Delivering Your Brand

    November 17, 2014 by Christopher Lloyd

    name

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    –William Shakespeare

    Though I doubt he meant it in that way, ol’ Bill Shakespeare may have been history’s first marketing branding guru.

    His famous couplet from “Romeo and Juliet” alighted upon the truth that people respond more favorably to something when its name is pleasant or familiar. Would roses really have become the go-to bloom for romance if they were called strunkbiddles instead?

     

    Coming up with the right title

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    One of the most exciting things we get to do from time to time here at Coles Marketing is help launch a new brand from the ground up – including coming up with a company name, tagline, logo, vision and mission statements, etc. We’ve done it for multi-billion-dollar international companies, hometown mom-and-pop stores and individual products and services.

    It’s an exhilarating process, but also a daunting one. The key challenges are finding a company name that’s catchy, accurately describes what they’re all about, and — here’s the rub — hasn’t been taken yet.

    Recently while brainstorming ideas for a new client, I came up with a name I thought was just perfect — and even better, the business owner loved it, too! But there were several hurdles we had to jump before locking it in.

     

    What a name may cost

    These obstacles included:

    • Checking the proposed name against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see if anyone had already filed for use of the name. No one had, so we were good.
    • Searching a Web-hosting service like GoDaddy.com to find out if the preferred URL address — e.g., www.thesitename.com – was available. It was!
    • Conducting a detailed Web search to see if another business was using the name.

    Unfortunately, we failed this third test. Even though the other company hadn’t trademarked the name, was using a different website address and was located in another state, it was too similar in name and mission to take the risk of a lawsuit.

    As the Wall Street Journal and others have noted, start-up companies often face legal troubles in selecting a moniker — from simple cease-and-desist letters from attorneys to long, protracted court cases that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. This is an area where you really want to be on solid ground.

    With so many pleasing combinations of existing words already taken, more and more it’s become common to just invent your own word — think of Zillow.com, Twitter, Verizon, Cialis and many more. Hey, once upon a time “Google” was total gibberish, but now it’s one of the most valuable brands in the world.

     

    Is your label one that sticks?

    Martin Zwilling has some good advice over at Business Insider on coming up with a killer name for your company. It should be unique and unforgettable — “stickiness” is the trait you’re looking for — easy to say and spell, and offer some kind of clue to what goods or services you offer.

    Also check out this article from Entrepreneur.com on things to avoid when naming your business or product. Among the best advice is avoiding names that tie you down to a particular geographic location, which can hurt when the company starts growing. That’s part of the reason Kentucky Fried Chicken is now just KFC.

    Looking to give your brand extra “stickiness?” The Coles Marketing team can help!

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  2. Stats and Substance of Online Content

    by Tiffany Whisner

    content

    For online content, how long is too long? What number of words — or characters — is the ideal length? The answer is: it depends.

    The Internet Is a Zoo: The Ideal Length of Everything Online” from SumAll and Buffer says, “Every piece of content should be as long as it takes to convey the message, and no longer.”

    There may be no perfect length and no guarantee on the most engaging content for consumers.

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

     

    Your online presence: by the numbers

    But there are certainly some scientific guidelines to lead you in the right direction, including:

    • Facebook: 40 characters. Posts with 40 characters receive 86% more engagement than posts with a higher character count.
    • Twitter: 71-100 characters. Tweets shorter than 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate.
    • Email subject lines: 28-39 characters. Email subject lines containing 28-39 characters get an open rate of 12.2% and click rate of 4% on average.
    • Domain names: 8 characters. The best domain names are short, easy to spell and remember, don’t have hyphens or numbers, and have a .com extension.
    • Blog headlines: 6 words. People tend to only read the first and last three words of a headline. Make every word count.
    • Blog posts: 1,600 words. Overall, 74% of posts that are read take less than three minutes to read, and 94% take less than six minutes.
    • YouTube videos: 3 minutes. The average length of the top 50 YouTube videos is two minutes and 54 seconds.
    • Podcasts: 22 minutes. Podcast listeners won’t tune in any longer. After 20 minutes, attention and retention rates crash.

     

    A content breath of fresh air

    But maybe it’s not the length of your online content that’s the problem. Maybe it’s the content of the content itself.

    Are you having trouble coming up with new and exciting ideas for blog posts? Are you getting lazy with updates to your social media platforms? It’s time to put some pizazz back in your posts!

    Here are some ways you can reinvigorate your stale online content, courtesy of Neil Patel with the Content Marketing Institute:

    1. Stay consistent. Content marketing can be slow-going and has a hard-to-define ROI. But stick with it, and you’ll emerge on the other side with more inspired online content.
    2. Ramp up your content production. Increased output can convey your business is renewing its commitment to online content, help you reach new audiences and spur more feedback. You can add to your output with more frequent and longer blog posts as well as adding in images and videos.
    3. Focus on doing one thing exceptionally well. Increase your output but only in the one content type you feel the most confident about working with, whether podcasts, email marketing, free resources, blogging or another medium. Choose the medium that best connects with your target audience.
    4. Narrow your focus. You might be trying to cover too many topics in your online content efforts. Usually, when you narrow your focus, you have the ability to go deeper and into more detail on the topic.
    5. Change your focus altogether. Instead of blogging into a black hole of zero traffic, shift your focus to a topic that might have more search traffic or a wider appeal overall. You can still stay in your niche, but just choose a different angle of approach.

     

    If you are still struggling with your online content marketing, contact us today! We’ll help you develop and distribute the content to get your brand noticed.

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  3. Content Creation: Is Less Still More?

    September 18, 2014 by Christopher Lloyd

    Coles Marketing Less is More

    No matter what your vocation, from Hollywood actor to marketing executive, you’ve no doubt heard the advice that “less is more.” The phrase, first attributed to poet Robert Browning, has evolved into an almost universally-accepted truth

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    that audiences appreciate a simple, subtle presentation over a loud, brash one.

    Nowhere is this more prevalent than in marketing and websites, where we’re constantly being told people don’t want to see a wall of text on a homepage, or wade through tons of content before getting to the information they came for.

     

    Simplify and streamline

    Jason DeMers at Forbes sums it up well: “We’re faced with increasing evidence, statistics, and research findings indicating that consumers are tired of being bombarded with extraneous information, which distracts rather than assists them in their buying decisions.”

    In his article focusing on the marketing success of Apple, DeMers argues consumers want us to simplify the decision-making process. The best way to do this is by giving them the information they need to know — and leaving out the rest.

    He also includes some salient data, like only 16 percent of website visitors read every word on a page, and the average American sees anywhere from 250 to several thousand ads or marketing messages every day!

     

    Less>more? Still?

    But is “less is more” really the right approach for EVERY circumstance and outreach platform?

    After all, the great movement in marketing these days is “brand journalism,” in which companies bypass traditional media and tell stories directly to the audience. Also called content marketing, the goal here is not to just sell, but to provide useful and/or entertaining information that will lead them back to the company’s products and services.

    For instance, one of the things we often do at Coles Marketing is create articles for a client’s website or newsletter, such as gardening tips or planning for the new Medicare investment tax. In this case, a well-researched column of 500-600 words, including attractive photos and useful links, would seem to fall under the definition of “more is more.”

     

    Spare on top, thicker below

    And in some audience engagements, people really do want more information than a superficial outline. Medical care and financial investment are two areas that immediately spring to mind.

    If you were looking for an OB/GYN or someone to help you plan for retirement, who would you choose: someone with very vague rah-rah type of content on their website and messaging, or a company or organization that demonstrated its deep knowledge base?

    Also, Google’s latest algorithms favor lots of subheadings and links, so more content is often better for SEO purposes.

    Our take is your initial engagement with an audience should be simple and direct, but give them a pathway to discover more in-depth information about who your company is and what you do. The strategy should be like male-pattern baldness — spare on top, but thicker below.

    For example, we recently created an entire new website for a healthcare provider client. Their homepage and navigation are models of elegant simplicity. But you can also go deeper into the subpages and find a wealth of knowledge about various medical conditions.

    So in short: give them less, but offer them more. And Coles Marketing can help!

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