Staying Connected with Coworkers in a Hybrid or Remote Workplace
Despite recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become the new norm for many. For some professionals, remote work has created a disconnect between them and their coworkers or employer. When taking this into account, it’s easy to see why disconnected coworkers are more likely to be less productive and motivated.
Connected coworkers have an increased sense of community and are more confident in their work. Fostering professional relationships opens career opportunities and creates an environment that welcomes and encourages everyone. By putting intentional effort into your interactions, you build camaraderie and trust with your coworkers. Here are six ways you can keep in touch with your coworkers—no matter the distance.
How to Stay Connected
Even remotely, there are plenty of ways we can strengthen our connections with one another.
Engage in Slack Channels
Our team channels allow us to ask questions and offer support, but casual Slack channels encourage conversation about things outside of work. Asking a daily question like, “What do you listen to while working?” or “How do you spend your free time?” is a great way to get to know your coworkers. A direct message on Slack allows you to speak privately with a coworker, giving you the opportunity to get to know each other.
Join a Virtual Coffee Chat or Happy Hour
Hop on a virtual meeting to chat over an AM coffee or PM cocktail. Starting conversations with unfamiliar coworkers has the potential to expand your network and get acquainted. Virtual chats don’t have to be just for introductions, though. Try reconnecting with office friends, too.
Find Things You Share in Common
Discovering a shared interest is an easy way to network. Whether you love watching football or spending your free time reading mystery novels, there are plenty of hobbies to strike up a conversation about. Sharing common interests gives you and your coworkers something other than work to bond over.
Encourage One Another and Give Praise
If you have the chance, give a teammate a shoutout! Compliments go a long way, especially when someone has been working hard to achieve goals. Praising your coworkers makes them feel appreciated and can boost their morale.
Coordinate Schedules with Your Team
If your team feels disjointed, schedule days throughout the month for your local team members to come into the office. These coordinated days can be held for team meetings, 1-on-1s or just to reconnect with your team members.
Keep in Touch with Your Hybrid or Remote Coworkers
Active listening, empathetic thinking and thoughtful communication are all small steps we can take to build meaningful connections with our team members. While staying connected may take some creativity and effort, you and your team will feel more engaged with your work and each other.
Brand Strategy vs. Marketing Strategy: What’s the Difference?
Letting potential consumers know who you are and what you stand for is important when trying to differentiate your brand from competitors. A brand strategy can be your guidepost when crafting new messages. Just as it’s important to develop your brand’s personality, it’s also valuable to use a marketing strategy to get prospective customers to perform your desired call to action (CTA).
In this article, we’ll share what a brand strategy and marketing strategy are, see how they compare and advise when to use each strategy.
What Is Brand Strategy?
Brand strategy is a long-term plan used to shape your audience’s perception of your overall image. It lets potential customers know who you are and why your company exists.
For instance, a fast-casual South American restaurant prides itself on being a grill that offers affordable, healthy, delicious, fresh food. When creating a brand strategy, they may highlight that their arepas use local ingredients to help solidify their overall mission in the type of food they serve.
A brand strategy helps distinguish your brand from your competitors and paints a picture of your unique aspects. It’s what gives your audience an emotional experience and leaves them wanting to come back for more.
Components of a brand strategy include:
Brand voice and personality: If your brand were a person, what characteristics would it have?
Brand purpose: What does your brand stand for? Why do you do what you do?
Brand values: What standards will your brand follow to achieve your mission?
Brand vision: What do you hope to achieve in the future?
What Is Marketing Strategy?
Companies wanting to encourage action (buy, subscribe, etc.) often use marketing strategy, or the process of reaching prospective customers. This strategy is important when trying to meet a particular goal and can help get the attention of potential consumers.
For example, the same fast-casual South American restaurant may send mailers with a coupon to encourage the public to order their food. Another potential marketing strategy they could implement is posting a Facebook ad that promotes their BBQ grilled chicken arepas to a target audience.
Marketing strategies are how a company delivers its brand message and includes both digital (social media ads, podcasts, etc.) and traditional (print ads, billboards, etc.) marketing efforts.
Components of a marketing strategy include:
Goals and objectives: What is your brand trying to accomplish through marketing?
Target audience: Who would you identify as likely customers for your product or service?
Communication strategy: How do you plan to distribute your key message to your target audience?
Key performance indicators (KPIs): What measures will you use to track your campaign’s progress?
Competitor analysis: What are your competitors doing successfully? How could they improve?
Key Similarities Between Brand Strategy and Marketing Strategy
Brand strategy and marketing strategy are complementary strategies that rely on each other in order to be successful. A brand strategy without a marketing strategy struggles to reach a target audience, while a marketing strategy without a brand strategy lacks direction. The following are some connections between these two processes:
Set Similar Goals
Brand strategy and marketing strategy share similar goals. They both help develop brand loyalty and retain customers. Companies can use these processes to create awareness about what they offer and build lasting relationships for return purchases.
These two strategies help attract customers so that you can stand out from competitors. You can use a marketing strategy to share your unique qualities and show the value your company offers. Once you obtain attention through your marketing efforts, a branding strategy allows you to keep this attention and foster it into the desired conversion. Having a unique yet relatable brand that prospective customers can connect with can lead to lasting loyalty.
Match Market Trends
Both brand strategy and marketing strategy consider market trends when developing communication tactics. These help you see what your audience values and can help you separate yourself from similar companies.
Key Differences Between Brand Strategy and Marketing Strategy
Since brand strategy focuses on informing others about “who” you are and marketing strategy focuses on the “what” and “how” to do this, they vary in the tactics used. A brand strategy’s main purpose is to create an identity for your business, whereas a marketing strategy promotes your products or services to a predetermined target audience. Here are some ways brand strategy and marketing strategy differ from each other:
Have Distinct Focuses
When conducting a brand strategy, you focus more on your company’s visions, goals, and other traits that make you who you are. Conversely, a marketing strategy includes creating your message and brainstorming the best way to distribute it.
Change At Different Frequencies
While a marketing strategy may change based on related factors (budget, the success of your campaign, seasonality, stage in the marketing funnel, etc.), a brand strategy rarely changes. Brand strategies only change if your destination is no longer the same. For example, if a cereal company decides to promote that they now use all organic ingredients, they may change their branding to represent them as a cleaner option for breakfast.
Produce Varying Results
Another way these two strategies differ is the outcome they produce. The brand strategy makes people feel something, and the marketing strategy makes people do something. In other words, brand strategy leads to emotional connectedness, and marketing strategy leads to a specific call to action, such as scheduling a consultation.
When is Each Strategy Needed?
Knowing when to use each strategy is helpful in guiding you on what steps to take to reach your goals. Brand strategy is best when working on long-term objectives, and marketing strategy is better for short-term ones.
Some instances when it’s helpful to pursue a marketing strategy include:
Launching a new product or service
Looking to grow your social media followers
Increasing your brand awareness to a specific audience
Some instances when it’s helpful to pursue a brand strategy include:
Starting a new business
Rebranding or looking to change the image of your company
Identifying your goals and vision
Refining your brand’s audience
Does Brand Strategy or Marketing Strategy Occur First?
A brand strategy typically occurs first, since it involves making an audience aware of your company. Having a solid brand strategy as a starting point can help guide you when distributing information about your company. It points you toward the messages that match your values and who could benefit from your products or services. In later stages, use a marketing strategy to pique interest in your product or service and lead to a conversion. By this point, you’ll have a clear definition of your brand and know what you want to bring to the marketplace. This is when you likely have a buyer persona developed and are keenly aware of their wants, needs and pain points.
Digital Marketing Professionals: What Do We Actually Do?
By Caroline Watkins, Senior Content Writer
Industry insiders know that digital marketing isn’t always the easiest to explain—or understand. And in an age where the Internet is more prolific than ever, digital marketing professionals have seen their roles evolve in reach and complexity alongside an ever-limited awareness of what we do.
So, just what do non-industry folks know about digital marketing? TriMarkers turned to their friends and family to find out. Let’s take a look at how closely their beliefs about our work align with the reality of digital marketing.
“None of my friends know what ‘content’ means. It’s like Chandler from Friends‘ job to them.” — Cameron Sutton, Content Writer
Let’s start with the basics: content is any digital element of an online platform through which a consumer is drawn in and communicated with. Whether text-based or graphic, video or interactive, content gives website visitors a reason to visit and interact with your site and service. Well-crafted, multi-platform content can give you access to new audiences, expand brand awareness, strengthen brand loyalty and drive sales.
It is the content writer’s job to understand your goals as a business and use them as a foundation for any publishable work, whether that’s website button copy or an educational blog post. “Content” may be a vague term, but consistent, authoritative content couldn’t be a more important part of your business’s marketing strategy.
“I’ve been asked, ‘Do you create those ads that follow me?’ a few times.” — Jonathan Hoy, Paid Search Strategist
Ever browsed for the perfect summer shoe online, decided to save your money just this once, and abandoned your cart—only to find an ad for those same strappy sandals has followed you to another website? This is an example of a retargeting ad, and while they are part of any comprehensive paid search strategy, they aren’t the whole story.
Paid search advertising allows businesses to pay search engines for higher ad placement on a results page. While paid search strategists can use retargeting ads to focus on consumers closest to the point of purchasing, their work also involves the use of keyword research, location settings and more to filter for consumers who are interested in more information. Paid search strategy isn’t about following you around the internet; rather, it’s a cost-effective way to connect businesses directly with the most interested potential customers.
“I was on a date once, and I told him I worked in social media marketing. His response was, ‘That’s cute. Sounds like an easy gig.’ He didn’t get a second date…” — Jordan Nowlin, Director of Paid Social
Jordan’s Clueless Date, this one’s for you! Social media marketing may sound fun and fairly simple—after all, the no-know-how-required element of social media is part of what makes it such a success across a diversity of users. But social media marketing actually requires a great deal of intention and strategy, from creative development to consumer communication and response monitoring.
Social strategists are involved in conceptualizing social content, researching key audiences, determining post timing and frequency, monitoring social platform guidelines and evaluating post performance to better inform the next round of marketing.
At TriMark, we take our social media strategy one step further and offer community management services. Our community managers liaise with online communities to better understand their needs and concerns as consumers, informing future content and helping build brand loyalty and a positive brand reputation online. Social media marketing isn’t an easy gig, but it is a rewarding effort all around.
Get To Know Us
Interested in learning more about what we do and how we do it here at TriMark Digital? Discover how we’ve built custom marketing solutions for businesses like yours in our case studies!
The Best Brands on TikTok
By Hali McKenzie Reese, Social Media Strategist
The app that swept the nation at the pandemic’s peak is now many consumers’ most beloved app and businesses’ most bewildering phenomenon. Trending dances, sounds, filters, and a mysterious algorithm have users scrolling for hours on end.
So how can brands make sense of it all, and how can they organically promote their products without getting lost in a sea of content? It’s not an exact science, and some of it might be pure luck, but a few brands are riding the TikTok wave successfully. Let’s explore what some of the most popular brands on TikTok are doing and how you can make it work for your brand.
Dunkin’ was one of the first brands on TikTok to utilize influencer marketing when they partnered with TikTok superstar Charli D’Amelio. During this partnership, Dunkin’ launched several new menu items and collaborated on various videos. Dunkin’ saw a 57% increase in app downloads and a 20% boost in sales for all cold brew coffees after this partnership.
Influencer marketing has many benefits, including more user-generated content that can be utilized on brand channels and creating a positive association of your brand with an influencer and their audience. However, you don’t have to partner with a TikTok megastar for this to work for you, as relevance is more important than reach. Micro-influencers often have the highest engagement rates with their audience compared to bigger influencers, giving you a better bang for your buck. Look into partnering with influencers who have a niche audience that aligns with your own.
The Consumer Approach
ESPN is already a popular brand across social media, so it comes as no surprise that they have gained a large following on TikTok. ESPN’s social media strategy is specialized for each platform. If you want news and updates, follow them on Twitter. If you want highlights, check out their Instagram. For TikTok, however, they have discovered that people just want to be entertained, so their content features mostly user-generated content and memes, like this epic compilation of trick shots…
Develop Your Own TikTok Presence
Determining how to showcase a different side of your brand in a way that relates to the content your target audience already consumes is a great first step in developing your presence on TikTok.
TikTok videos flourish with music, and Milk Bar knows this well. The bakery chain does an extraordinary job of using trending audio in their videos.
Viewers enjoy seeing brands join in or put their own spin on a TikTok trend. TikTok’s algorithm prioritizes content that participates in the current trends on the app, delivering those posts to users who are interested in those trends. Joining in on these trends can increase visibility and engagement with your brand. If you’re unsure where to find the latest trends on the platform, check out the TikTok Discover page for inspiration.
Know your Niche
The Washington Post was one of the first brands to utilize TikTok, but it’s not the content you would expect from such a notable brand. The newspaper actually uses TikTok to post comedic skits about the latest breaking news. WaPo knew that its intellectual journalism would not be easily digestible on the platform, so this comedic approach helped them attract young readers who want to follow the news but struggle to digest their traditional long form written content. The Post was able to leverage its existing content in a way that was appealing to the app’s target audience. Even their bio is simple: “We are a newspaper.”
There’s no way to know for certain what will bring your brand to the top of the TikTok charts, but these four content-creating techniques are a great place for all brands to start.
See you on our For You page!
Introducing TriMark’s New Intern Program
By Caroline Watkins, Senior Content Writer
TriMark is proud to announce an exciting initiative for the summer of 2022—our new intern program! Developing marketers will participate in eight weeks of training designed to provide them with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to thrive in today’s digital marketing landscape.
Spearheading this initiative is TriMark’s Kelly Ebert, SVP of Marketing Strategy—hear from Kelly about her plans for the program and more in our Q&A!
Q: What was the impetus behind the program beyond additional support for our various departments?
Smart, hungry entry-level talent has been a difference-maker in our business over the years. Having a focused internship program is something we’ve always wanted to do, and this summer, we decided it was finally time.
Lots of things impacted our decision—like moving into our new office, which has ample space for training, collaboration and teamwork. We also think it’s an important way to support the local marketing community; when this first class of interns graduates, they’ll enter the workforce with a strong foundation and hands-on experience.
Q: What is your hope for the first group of interns participating in our program?
Our hope is that we can give our interns a well-rounded, top-to-bottom understanding of our business. We want them to learn new things about new areas of marketing, discover new interests and ultimately graduate with confidence in the direction they want to take their career—and we hope that’s at TriMark!
Q: How do you think the program benefits the broader TriMark community?
Some of our most seasoned veterans at TriMark started as interns or as entry-level talent. We know how valuable eager, hungry minds can be. We’re also pretty different from most other agencies, in both the work we do and how we do it, so we appreciate the opportunity to train employees our way.
Q: What does TriMark offer developing marketers that other agencies do not?
Our goal is to provide our interns with a real sampling of everyday agency life. In addition to their weekly formal training sessions, our interns will actually be working together as the main project team for a client account. They’ll be creating the strategy, executing deliverables, evaluating performance and communicating with the client—all of it.
They’ll be creating the strategy, executing deliverables, evaluating performance and communicating with the client—all of it.
Meet our 2022 Intern Class
We’re thrilled to welcome six bright and creative young professionals to the TriMark community. Get to know our interns below!
Bella joins us from East Carolina University with a degree in Communications and Public Relations, prepared to support the Organic Social and Content teams. She loves the fast pace and ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing and is excited to learn more about TriMark’s diverse client base
A recent graduate of the North Carolina State University School of Business, Ashlyn also operates her own freelance business and provides content writing, graphic design, social media strategy, consulting services and more to a network of clients.
Another North Carolina State University School of Business graduate, Felicity completed both a digital marketing and integrated brand marketing practicum. Her previous agency experience in SEO and PR services and her interest in creative trends make her an exciting addition to the Content team.
Hannah joins us from the University of North Carolina School of Journalism, bringing experience in program management, email marketing and more. She is excited to grow her relationships with TriMarkers and client teams and will provide support for our Program Management team.
Mariel comes to us from the North Carolina State University School of Business, ready to be challenged and prepared to support our Paid Social team. She has experience in content creation and currently volunteers her marketing know-how to help Saving Grace Animals for Adoption.
Kam brings his degree from the North Carolina State University School of Business and marketing experience with NC State Athletics and Trophy Brewing to support the Paid Social team. He is excited to be part of a growing industry that emphasizes teamwork.
Measuring Influencer Marketing Campaigns? 12 KPIs You’re Missing Out On
By Hannah Freyaldenhoven, Senior Content Strategist, Team Lead
Influencer marketing is a long game. It is often one of many touchpoints that ultimately drives a lead or generates a purchase. This can make it a challenge to assess the impact of your content creators—especially when looking for a direct sales attribution. However, by building a strong community of influencers and content creators, you have brand ambassadors operating at every stage of the marketing funnel to keep your brand top of mind.
In this post, you’ll find 12 key performance indicators (KPIs) from the attract stage to the advocate stage that will help you:
Clarify your marketing objectives
Evaluate the success of your creative assets
Optimize your strategies
Show the value of your partnerships
Assess the impact of your campaign
Let’s explore what you can measure at each stage of the funnel.
During the Attract phase, you are working with your influencers to increase awareness of your brand and generate demand for its products and services. Depending on the content creator you have partnered with, your first touchpoint could be through a variety of organic content shared on the creator’s social profiles. This original content might be shared on any combination of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, or blog. Your marketing strategy, as well as the influencer’s stats, should direct which of these platforms your content appears on.
New Followers: Benchmark your profiles’ follower counts before your partners publish content. You’ll want to note any upticks in follows that your social accounts receive after an influencer tags you in their content.
Consumer Sentiment: Use the conversations happening in the comment section of social posts and blog posts for social listening and insights. You’ll quickly be able to tell if the content your influencer created is resonating with their followers. Note any positive or negative sentiments that you observe. Utilize these insights to pivot your messaging or craft new content pillars. You’ll even notice FAQs that could indicate a gap in your current content strategy.
Blog Performance: Ask your influencer to report on their blog posts, including information like page views, time spent on the page, and click-through rate to your brand site. You can also check for referral traffic from the influencer’s site through your own Google Analytics.
To capture the demand that you’ve generated through organic influencer content, consider amplifying the posts as branded content ads on Instagram and Facebook. This allows you to serve the post to a broader audience while maintaining the look and feel of organic content. You’ll also be able to see cost per impression (CPM) and cost per click (CPC) metrics.
KPIs to consider during the Capture phase:
CPM: We’ve seen branded content generate a low CPM, which makes it a strong top-of-funnel tactic for generating awareness.
CPC: Monitor the CPC. It may be a bit higher than you see with your other paid social ad versions since it is geared toward generating awareness rather than conversion at this point in the customer journey. Note what creative works best to lower the CPC and use these learnings to shape lower-funnel messaging.
From an organic perspective, it’s helpful to have long-term partnerships with your influencers to keep your product top of mind after the initial exposure your brand receives. Once the influencer introduces the product or service, they can continue to share at relevant times, which helps nurture those who might be interested in buying. Utilize the same KPIs from the attract phase on these follow-up posts.
Building your creative library is another key benefit of influencer marketing during the nurture phase. Not only does it save costs by reducing the number of styled photoshoots needed, but it also allows you to incorporate different types of lifestyle creative into your website, email, and paid and organic social content. A wide variety of creative can help you determine what selling points best resonate with your consumer. Test this creative as you remarket to your audiences and study what performs best.
KPIs to consider during the Nurture phase:
Website and Email Performance: Note which pages on your site utilize influencer creative, from blog posts to product pages. Assess how this creative could affect time on page, email sign-up goals, and beyond. Consider running an A/B test with renderings or stock photos to see if influencer imagery is more effective and inspiring. Similarly, test using your influencer content in emails.
A/B Test Imagery for CPM and CPC: If you are curious about how your influencer creative could improve your paid social and display ads, run an A/B test. Our clients have seen some of their lowest CPCs for display when swapping renderings for lifestyle shots provided by influencers.
The Convert stage is the most challenging stage for measuring the impact of influencer marketing. Remember, many of the top-of-funnel influencer strategies likely assist in converting a purchase that is ultimately attributed to a lower-funnel tactic like email. Still, there are ways to trace conversions, whether that is a lead or a sale.
KPIs to consider during the Convert phase:
Goal Completions: Whether you have your influencers send traffic to custom landing pages or your main website, be sure to create clear goals in Google Analytics. From there, you can measure goal completion rate for influencer-driven traffic compared to goal completions for general traffic. We have seen that influencers drive highly qualified traffic that is more likely to complete a goal on a brand’s website. While you may not be able to show a purchase, this gives evidence of purchase intent.
Sales Increase: If possible for your product or service, provide influencers with promo codes to use at checkout or when completing a form. This allows you to attribute those leads or sales dollars directly to your influencer.
One of the most compelling reasons for creating an influencer program is to build a community around your brand. As brand advocates, your influencers serve as ambassadors for your products and services. They can play a key role in creating loyal fans of your brand.
KPIs to consider during the Advocate phase:
Number of Reviews: A glowing review on your brand’s site or retailer sites builds trust with potential customers. Benchmark the number of reviews you receive from your partners and ask them to leave reviews on all possible platforms.
A/B Test Messaging for CPM and CPC: Once you’ve received these reviews, it’s time to amplify them. Consider adding reviews to your paid social and display ad creative. Then A/B test against other messaging, comparing CPM and CPC metrics to versions that do not feature a review.
As influencer marketing becomes a more common piece of integrated marketing plans, we expect to see our measurement tactics evolve. We hope this has sparked new ideas for illustrating the value of your influencer marketing programs at every stage of the funnel!
For more information on setting goals and building your influencer marketing program from the ground up, read our previous post.
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