Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Covid Brand Pivots, Marketing and Twitter

While many users left Twitter since Elon Musk took over, I chose to remain to continue to participate in discussions about brand marketing, leadership, and customer experience marketing as well as other interesting topics – and also to learn from fellow marketers and business leaders. And of course, there’s no better place to discuss Super Bowl ads in real time!

Do you recall what happened on this date in 2009? If you’re a Twitter fan, you’ll recall the race between actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN to be the first to reach a million followers. Ashton Kutcher became the King of Twitter by reaching that milestone on this date in 2009. Today, he has over 17 million followers.

Last year, I connected with Suzanne Huber from Toronto, Canada, and we had a Q&A about branding, marketing, and reading. The link is provided at the end of this post, and recently, we continued our discussion. Highlights follow a brief introduction.

Suzanne Huber is an award-winning digital strategist who has helped hundreds of companies and nonprofits attract new customers while growing brand awareness. She's a trusted advisor to entrepreneurs and executives growing their companies with a proven track record. Today, her company creates marketing strategies and provides outsourced digital marketing solutions that drive fast client acquisition. Suzanne also works with and trains small and medium-sized companies to launch their own innovative marketing campaigns that take their organizations to new heights. Her passion for driving results has made her sought after by business leaders actively growing their organizations.

QUESTION: You appeared here on my Blog in September 2022. I asked you then to share your three favorite brands with reasons why. Now, three years into the Covid pandemic, which three brands have pivoted during the pandemic and stand out from their competitors?

SUZANNE HUBER: This Is a hard question to answer. I will refer to industries and categories that are coming out on the other side since I am stumped on specific brand pivots. There are certainly some winners and comebacks that seem to be apparent.

Cruises in general have seemed to be bouncing back, likely not to where they were, but people are traveling on them again, which I personally think is wild given that they could not port in many countries, and this isn't technically over yet.

Baby formula is top of mind as well. As a new mom of twins, it's unbelievable how difficult it has been to source the last few months. There is high demand out there from all of the new babies that came to be during the pandemic.

QR codes are a winner too. Mass adoption for menus would not have happened without the pandemic – now users are asked to scan the QR codes to read menus.

The last category would be related to fitness/workouts. You can really source just about any kind now virtually. The pandemic forced the industry to go digital, and that can become a permanent fixture/revenue stream even though people are going back to gyms and studios in person now. Personally, I finally was able to work out consistently in my home (because I had to!) and will favour this approach moving ahead to save time going to and from the gym.

QUESTION: What are your favorite aspects of marketing?

SUZANNE HUBER: My favorite aspects would be starting and maintaining relationships with an audience of potential buyers by creating engagement with good content. This really allows you to scale yourself from a sales perspective. This is especially the case if you can generate interest and intrigue from an audience. It's technically selling at scale. Some sales professionals may disagree, but marketing really facilitates the sales process, and if your content isn't helping to bring buyers further down the funnel, then it isn't working for you. Marketing also provides the opportunity to stand out and be different with your positioning. Who you serve and how you connect with them. I love the creativity and ways to resonate with your ideal buyers through content.

SHARE THIS: Marketing provides the opportunity to stand out and be different with your positioning. ~SuzyHuber #Marketing #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: You Tweeted, "Is it normal to prefer some of your Twitter friends to your real-life ones?" Seriously, based on the chaos surrounding Elon Musk and Twitter, is Twitter still an important part of your digital footprint and social media marketing?

SUZANNE HUBER: It is. I still get decent engagement on my content and find new people to connect with. That said, the changes to the algorithm definitely have impacted the content on my feed, and I certainly miss the people who I am used to engaging with on the platform.

It is different now. I do periodically see some of my people stream, and I engage on their content, so I can see them hopefully again. I am not going to change my profile to private though, and I consume less news on there these days. I miss the good old days for sure, but I am also not leaving just yet either.

I have noticed, as well, that the people that Twitter suggests I should follow aren't really aligned with my interests, and they already have huge followings so not sure what props up that feature as the networking seemed to be more organic/authentic in the past versus growing existing large accounts by recommending them. Harder to reach people where you are at.

That said, I love my existing followers and people I follow, so I will stay in touch there for now and hope the algorithm gets some more tweaks in the days ahead.

QUESTION: What does this quote from @StorytellerAgcy mean to you? "Give something of meaning to your audience by inspiring, engaging, and educating them with story. Stop marketing. Start storytelling."

SUZANNE HUBER: People connect with stories as it is a way to absorb information by connecting with emotions, someone's perspective, and experiences. Stories help the reader to understand the underlying message more clearly as well. It is a great way to establish rapport and transmit valuable information to potential buyers by being engaging. The hero's journey, the challenge, the villains, can all be relatable to anyone reading, and it also allows the reader to get to know the brand on a deeper level. Personally, I am not the best storyteller, but I recognize their value and importance. Social proof really helps to influence and persuade as well as it is about customers sharing their personal experiences with products and services.

QUESTION: What do you think will be the central focus of our marketing discussions a year from now in early 2024?

SUZANNE HUBER: Artificial Intelligence has definitely hit the mainstream this year and will continue to integrate in how we live and work in the days ahead. We will be talking about how to use it as a tool while still maintaining creativity and personalization. Given the nature of how disruptive these changes are, there is currently a lag for regulations and the ethics of using AI. Personally, I believe in using tools and market innovations to get ahead and not be left behind. We are in the wild, wild west and like crypto, we will see how this new paradigm will be structured in the days ahead.

Also, another area that is still attracting a lot of attention is the changes in the workforce. With all of the layoffs taking place right now in tech and other sectors, more people will turn to self-employment. Viewing themselves as a personal brand/solopreneur. Companies conducting layoffs and how they are handled will impact their overall brand’s public perception in the days ahead, so it will be interesting to see how the concept of profits versus people evolves.

My gratitude to Suzy for sharing her marketing and business insights.

Image Credit: Rupert Britton via Unsplash.

Q&A featuring Suzy on September 12, 2022:
“Branding and Marketing Build Businesses”

Connect with Suzy at these links:

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