Posts tagged ‘google’

Capitalize on your brand equity to gain market share

Frank Sinatra had a Vegas-inspired song called “Luck Be A Lady.” One of the lines in the song is:

“Stick with me, baby, I’m the guy that you came in with.”

In many ways, marketing is like Lady Luck that ol’ Blue Eyes is singing about, especially when it comes to branding. This is one of the trickier subjects to explain to someone new to marketing. In a nutshell, branding is the sum total of experiences and perceptions that a company has with its customers, competitors, and marketplace. The tactical elements of marketing — websites, brochures, advertising, etc. — are physical manifestations of branding. There’s also something called brand equity, which is not only a perceived value of a brand, but it can also be a tangible value. In fact, many organizations carry their brand as an asset on their balance sheets, with an actual dollar amount attached to it. Google has the highest brand value in the world, which is estimated to be worth more than $100 Billion. Software giant Microsoft has the second highest rated brand in the world, worth over $76 Billion.

There’s a reason why I mention these two examples together. You’ve undoubtedly noticed the “Bing” logo at the top of the entry. You may also be asking yourself, “what the hell is Bing?” As it turns out, Bing is the newest incarnation of Microsoft’s search engine, renamed from Windows Live Search. In my opinion, Microsoft made a big mistake and squandered a golden opportunity. They took one of the most high-profile aspects of the Internet (search engines), went up against the 800-pound gorilla, and didn’t take advantage of the Microsoft brand equity. Even worse, when you go to the Bing home page, the Microsoft name is nowhere to be found, so they can’t springboard their new brand off the established Microsoft name. How can you realistically pit a $100 Billion brand against a brand with zero equity? Frankly, you can’t. Microsoft doomed Bing to the ash heap of history before it even launched, just like another one of their infamous failures. The rest is just an exercise in futility.

What’s the lesson here? The Microsoft branding team should have told the Bing team, “stick with me, baby, I’m the guy that you came in with.” The only thing left is a roll of the dice and the hope that Lady Luck is on their side. I wouldn’t bet on it.

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June 15, 2009 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

Your website is your strongest sales tool

Aximum Marketing's home page

Quick… when someone is trying to find out about your company’s products and services, what’s the first thing they do? Grab the newspaper? Ask a friend? Pick up the phone?

Nope. Chances are they either Google you, or go directly to your website (which is basically the same thing, if you’re engaging in good Search Engine Optimization practices). Your website is without a doubt the most recognizable and most tangible manifestation of your company’s value. Is it sending the type of message and image that you want it to?

For those that have been reading my posts for a while, you know that I’m a marketing consultant. I focus my consultancy efforts on branding, messaging, lead generation, social networking, and public relations. I designed my website with a specific audience in mind, providing a clean, colorful, sharp, Web 2.0-ish experience. Can you imagine if my website, which is supposed to be a shining example of what I can provide prospective clients, looked like this (yikes!) instead of this? All my credibility would fly out the window, with good reason.

Take a look at your current website and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is our website sending the right message to our future customers?
  • Was our target audience the main motivation for its current design?
  • When was the last time we redesigned our website? (Hint: if it’s been longer than 3 or 4 years, it’s time for a redesign.)
  • What is our website supposed to do: provide information, sell products, generate leads, develop communities, something else?
  • If I asked 10 prospects to assess our website, what would they say?

Make your website your strongest sales tool and it will make your life a whole lot easier. If you think it’s time to do something about it, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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May 14, 2009 at 2:24 am 1 comment

David’s 2009 predictions – part 1

I see... yes... wait...

Yes, I know that 2009 has already begun, but I also realize you were probably tired of reading predictions from pseudo-pundits back in December, so I decided to wait a few weeks before publishing mine. Do I have greater prognosticative abilities than anyone else? Probably not. But I am a keen observer of human nature (being the third of three boys, I needed to stay on my toes or risk getting slapped in the head by my older brothers), so I believe these predictions will come true. At the very least, I will try to provide an entertaining read.

We shall revisit these next January to see how close I got. In the meantime, here’s Part 1 of my 2009 predictions:

1. The recession will end by the late spring.

Most economists agree that the recession actually started in December 2007, not in the fall of 2008. There have been 10 post-WWII recessions which have lasted an average of 10.4 months, the longest lasting 16 months. If the current economic downturn lasts 16 months, we’ll be back on the road to recovery by April. Chin up.

2. MySpace is so 2008. Twitter is so 2009.

Can Twitter change the face of social networking, 140 characters at a time? Perhaps. So far, I’ve had very good initial success with using Twitter as a supplement to other marketing activities. Its appeal is the ability to enable personalized, instant communication between customers and companies. Sure, you can’t engage in deep, content-rich conversations, but that’s not the point. You can always link to other sources for that. If you’re looking to join Twitter, create an account and follow me – I’ll walk you through it.

3. Microsoft will buy Yahoo!

Conditions are a lot more favorable now for a purchase of Yahoo! than they were when Microsoft made its initial bid in mid-2008. In hindsight, I’m sure Steve Ballmer is thanking his lucky stars that CEO Jerry Yang turned down his $44.6 billion bid. The current market value of Yahoo! is 60% lower than the bid value, and the company continues to struggle keeping up with Google. Combine a lower stock price, lower market share, recent layoffs of 1,500 employees, and the ouster of Yang (undoubtedly for putting his ego ahead of his stockholders), and it’s more a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.’ Sorry, Yahooies, but as much as you hate Redmond, you’ll call it home in 2009.

I’ll bring you Part 2 of my predictions next week. Have a great weekend!

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January 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment


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