Six Branding Lessons Learned Live #NMX 2013

Getting to spend a few days is Las Vegas is always a pleasure, but the experience is all the better when you’re surrounded by some of the best and brightest minds in the content creation world today. I’m in Vegas having attended the New Media Expo (NMX) 2013, which is billed as the world’s first industry-wide tradeshow, conference and media event geared exclusively for content creators. And I’m going to post update with insights from the expo’s experts in blogging, podcasts, web and video innovations, and social business.

branding lessons, NMX convention

Two of Sunday morning’s keynote speakers discussed the importance of maintaining a human face when communicating with customers. I’ve compiled some highlights from presentations given by Stan Slap, CEO of Slap, an international consulting firm that seeks to maximize employee, manager and customer commitments, and Amy Jo Martin, founder of Digital Royalty, Inc, who has worked with dozens of celebrities, athletes and sports teams to develop online presence.

1. A brand is not about advertising.

Stan Slap, branding lessons mentorStan Slap spoke about the importance of developing a “brandable customer experience,” rather than simply making your intentions known to the world through glossy advertisements. That’s because companies don’t have an exclusive lock on what they sell. Instead, they are branded on how they sell it.

Why is having a brand important? Slap says branded companies have essentially transferred the sustainability of the company to their customers.  Customers will not only serve as branded companies biggest advertisers, but they will protect the company if a misstep or attack occurs.

2. People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

To start the branding process, companies need to determine why they do what they do, Slap said. A simple desire to make money isn’t enough to garner a loyal and devoted following among customers. And, companies must ensure they can sell its passion for innovation to its own employees. Otherwise, there’s no way customers outside the company will buy into the brand.

3. You need to connect with people who believe what you believe.

Amy Jo Martin, branding lessonsBefore you start marketing online, find your own audience. Your goal is not so sell what you have, but to connect with people who really care about your brand and share your values, Amy Jo Martin pointed out. Those customers will be your fans and will able to support you during hard times when you are attacked.

4. Customers want to engage with a human, not with a logo.

People want to communicate with real individuals but not with a faceless corporate branding. And it’s really important to show people behind your brand. In order to succeed, you need to:

  • show you real faces and voices, constantly communicate with your fans and increase your audience;
  • be social. Since “social media is a dialogue, not a monologue”, it won’t work just to broadcast the message you want to deliver. You need to engage with your customers to let them feel you are real.
  • deliver value when, where and how your customers what to receive it. Find out platforms your customers spend their time on and be there with them.

5. You need to be creative and innovative to take every opportunity you are given.

Amy’s story about Dana White, CEO of Ultimate Fighting Championship, accidentally tweeting his phone number to his millions of Twitter followers and then creating a “fan phone” so fans could call White with their picks for an upcoming pay-per-view match is a great example of how a social media snafu was transformed into an opportunity to win favor with fans. Fans loved the experience and the number of people who bought the televised match increased.

6. You can measure social affinity and engagement.

Today there are many ways to track your online activities, and you shouldn’t ignore the opportunity to find out which activities work the best for you. While it may seem difficult to monetize social media presence, Martin’s company has created a way to measure how social influence translates into dollars. Impressions don’t always convert to revenue, but influence does. Since everything is trackable online, you can follow a conversation all the through to a financial transaction. And using a formula called Revenue Per Available Fan and Follower (Rev Par) companies can arrive at the actual value of each social media fan and follower.

These are just some of the great insights and ideas presented at NMX 2013. More will come in other posts as the conference welcomed dozens of content creation professionals who were sharing their innovations and research findings. I'll be posting updates from the expo later.

Helen Nesterenko, branding convention