Secrets of the 10 Most-Trusted Brands

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There’s no better way to dissect the how-tos of branding than to dig deep into the companies everybody knows and trusts. To accomplish this, Entrepreneur teamed with The Values Institute at DGWB, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based think tank that focuses on brand relationships, on a consumer survey that explored the reasons some brands manage to stay on top.

What became clear: Though they may not have the biggest sales or market share in their categories, today’s most trustworthy brands have created relationships with Emineo Media entrepreneur2consumers through experiences that trigger a visceral response.

“We’re seeing more of an emphasis on brands building emotional relationships with consumers because it’s powerful and it works,” says branding consultant Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer of Procter & Gamble and author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies. “When you do it, you have a much stronger affinity, a much stronger business, much stronger growth and much stronger results.

“When we looked at brands [at P&G] that had a very, very strong emotional benefit vs. our competition,” Stengel adds, “our shares were much, much higher. And the margin of growth vs. our competitor was much higher than those that had just a functional superiority.”

Here, a look at the tactics used by America’s most trustworthy brands to connect with consumers–and ways you can put them to work for your business.

1. Get personal: Amazon

2. Sell happiness: Coca-Cola

3. Live up to your promise: FedEx

4. Keep it cool (and fun): Apple

5. Design an experience: Target

6. Stay consistent: Ford

7. Can-do attitude: Nike

8. Forge connections: Starbucks

9. Serve up the quirky: Southwest Airlines

10. Focus on the customer: Nordstrom

About the survey: The Values Institute, which conducted the study, identified five values that influence trust in a brand: ability (company performance); concern (care for consumers, employees and community); connection (sharing consumers’ values); consistency (dependability of products/services); and sincerity (openness and honesty).

A total of 1,220 U.S. consumers were asked to rate each trust value on a five-point scale, from “very unimportant” to “very important.” Additionally, five consumer perceptions were measured for each value; these included statements such as “They respond to feedback about their products and services,” and “They value my business and reward me for the loyalty.” Each respondent rated two randomly selected brands; those who felt strongly were also asked to provide individual comments. The result is the “Trust Index,” a composite score that indicates the level of trust respondents had with each individual brand in relation to the other studied brands.

Source Entrepreneur

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Marketers Targeting College Kids Should Stick with Search

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Students search online for everything—even when they know other sources might be more trustworthyEmineo media College Kids

These days, college students who need an apartment head straight to Google or another search engine. Even sites such as apartments.com or apartmentguide.com are becoming an afterthought to this demographic.

According to a survey conducted between December 2011, and February 15, 2012, by residential and student marketing agency Catalyst, 53% of college students surveyed ranked search engines as the most important source in helping them find a place to live. They pointed to friends’ and parents’ recommendations as second- and third-most important, at 37% and 27%, respectively. Google was not just students’ top resource for apartments; 98% listed Google Search as the place they seek any information online.

Indeed, another recent study showed that when doing research for coursework, college students first went to Google or another search engine. An ebrary study indicated that in 2011, 85% of college attendees worldwide turned to Google to gather information for class assignments, up from 81% who did so in 2008. A somewhat smaller percentage of college students (79%) used print books for this purpose.

It’s no wonder that college students are heavy users of search engines. eMarketer estimates that nearly 83% of all US internet users will use a search engine at least once a month during 2012, and a Pew Internet & American Life Project study found in May 2011 that younger and better-educated US internet users used search engines the most.

While the popularity of Google is undisputed, one surprising element of the ebrary report is that, in 2011, students worldwide chose Google as a resource over printed books, even though they said that they viewed print as more trustworthy than any electronic resource. This was also the case in 2008.

“Students know that electronic information is transient and easy to produce compared to the product and processes of print publication,” the ebrary report said. “The barriers to print publication afford an intuitive impression of higher integrity.”

For search marketers, however, this means they can count on college students turning to Google and similar sites for the widest range of purposes, from lifestyle decisions to academic research.

Source eMarketer

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Mobile Marketing and More: 5 Effective Marketing Moves for 2012

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Are you ready to revamp your marketing mix for 2012? Check out Practical Ecommerce’s picks for five smart marketing tactics to try now. Emineo Media Smartphone Marketing

Text marketing: With more Americans using mobile devices and texting, text messaging (also called SMS) is going to grow in importance. One way it will be used is to target offers to customers more specifically by finding out exactly what they want. How would it work? For example, a clothing retailer could text customers an offer for a $5 off coupon if they answer the question, “What’s your favorite clothing item to shop for?” If the customer answers “Shoes,” you’d know to send them special offers for shoes going forward. You can also use SMS to send limited-time offers such as “flash” sales.

Mobile commerce: We saw during the holidays that mobile commerce is hot and getting hotter. The growth of tablet sales will only accelerate this trend. Even if your website is optimized for mobile use (and many still aren’t), there is more to be done, especially for e-tailers. Practical Ecommerce advises e-tailers to “integrate up-selling, cross-selling, and similar online merchandising into the smartphone-friendly versions of their sites.”

Subscription sales: Subscriptions aren’t just for magazines and newspapers anymore. The subscription model, in which consumers or businesses pay a pre-set monthly or annual fee for products or services, is great for businesses because it means a recurring income stream. Setting subscriptions up to renew automatically unless the customer turns them off can lessen attrition. While most of us are familiar with and use subscriptions for things like cloud storage services or cell phone minutes, the trend is moving into different arenas. Practical Ecommerce cites the example of Manpacks, a company that lets men subscribe to underwear, socks, shirts and shaving kits delivered at regularly scheduled intervals (kind of like an “underwear of the month club”).

Triggered emails: Triggered emails, which are sent in response to a certain customer behavior or interaction (such as abandoning a shopping cart), were a hot tactic in 2011 and promise to continue strong this year. You can trigger emails for all kinds of events, such as emailing customers offers for discounts on their next purchase if they review a recent purchase.

Video content: I’ve been reading about the importance of video content for a while now, but many small businesses still aren’t taking advantage of this marketing method. With YouTube the second most popular search channel after Google, and the average American watching 20 hours of online video per month, the demand is out there. Videos help your site rank higher in search engines and are popular on social media. Consider a video that demonstrates your product, shares your expertise or spotlights your loyal customers.

Source Grow Smart Biz

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