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The Chinese market is massive and whilst American and European brands are actively pursuing it, Chinese companies are also actively courting this interest.
In this post, I’ll give some examples of brands that have moved into China, selling directly online. I’ll also detail moves from Chinese companies such as Alibaba, which is encouraging US retailers to sell into the country, as well as Chinese brands partnering with US brands with both parties benefitting.
To start with some context, Ernst & Young estimate that by 2030, China’s ‘middle’ will number 1bn and represent two thirds of the world’s middle.
And despite this burgeoning demand in China, home-grown brands are lacking. As China’s twelfth five-year plan comes to end (one of its tenets is aimed at encouraging national brands, not just designers), there are an increasing number of international partner brands in China, and some Western businesses have been bought, too.
What about us little guys, huh?
One of the surprising results of brands adopting social media as a marketing channel is the creation of an unpredictable little corner of Twitter known as ‘that weird thing that happens when brands talk to each other’.
As a child of the 80s and therefore a survivor of the Cola Wars, it feels inexplicable that two corporations would even acknowledge each other’s existence, let alone engage in friendly banter with each other in a public setting.
Bitter rivals, divided by capitalism, hurling rocks at each other from behind the safety of multi-million dollar television ad campaigns is what we’re used to.
Brands invest a lot into creating TV ads so it's not surprising that marketers want to get as much value as possible out of the content they've created by using them in digital advertising campaigns.
However, marketers are often repurposing and using TV ads online in pre-roll or mid-roll spots. The ads launch automatically without the device user having any choice in the matter and the TV ads are generally out of context with the content around the ads.
Anyone watching on-demand TV content knows that this is a frustrating ad experience, and it’s even more of an intrusion on the smaller screens of tablets and smartphones.
A study from our R&D department shows that eight out of ten people are annoyed by ads which self-initiate on their handheld devices.
Consumers’ acceptance for interruptions on their digital devices is far lower than on TV, and the ad is considered a significant intrusion to their content consumption.
Here are the top 25 US brands of 2013, according to YouGov's BrandIndex.
This is based on brand perception, acquired by conducting approximately 2.5m interviews a year and asking the question "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"
It seems the most popular brand of 2013 in terms of positive regard is Amazon.com, which has overtaken Ford as America's corporate sweetheart.
90% of data in the world today was created in the past two years. Using social media, brands have an unparalleled opportunity to hear what their customers and potential customers think and feel about them.
Brands have always monitored what is written about them, but social listening is something different.
Listening is active. It usually requires you to do something as a result of what you’ve heard: spotting issues early, righting wrongs, surprising and delighting customers, marketing in real time, and gathering insight and intelligence to help you develop better products.
It’s easy just to focus on the influencers, and ignore the small voice in the crowd. But this can be a mistake. US insurance company Harvard Pilgrim didn’t respond to a customer complaint, first offline, then online, when the customer published a blog post about the problem.
Although the readership of the blog was barely in double digits, when the post was tweeted it went viral and 1,000 people read the post.
Wikipedia has been one of the success stories of the internet, growing rapidly to become the de facto reference site for many people.
There are more than 4.4m pages in the English language edition alone, and it is still growing at the rate of 771 new pages every day.
How can its impact benefit digital marketers?
Amazon has the most shares of its products on Pinterest than any other US retailer, though it seems to put less effort into curation than most of its rivals.
According to SearchMetrics, products from Amazon.com currently generate the highest average number of pins per week (16,360) on Pinterest, followed by Walmart (5,778) and Apple (3,871).
So is Amazon doing anything especially well on Pinterest, or is this due to the sheer ubiquity of its products?
For larger retailers, is it worth the effort, or should you let your 'fans' do the hard work?
Harper Collins and its business development team are a great example of how publishers are adapting to the business of content, not simply bound sheaves of pulped wood.
In an indicator of how service-based the UK economy has become, Harper Collins now sums up its business as following:
"We create bespoke content based on products and campaigns for our clients."
"We work with content, not just books, across print, digital, mobile and more."
"Our editorial expertise, content and creativity enable clients to communicate brand identity and values."
One of the areas of the publishing house where this is most evident is Harper Collins Children’s Books. I decided to find out more about its business model.
I’ve possibly never had so much fun writing an Econsultancy blog post. For an hour or so yesterday, I was listening to ‘old’ in-game radio adverts from the Grand Theft Auto computer games, handily available here.
Whilst they are hilarious, in aping existing companies they also use many of the ad man’s techniques to sell a product.
I’ve tried to succinctly describe these techniques in this post. I hope you enjoy the fake product names and slogans as much as I did, and aren't put off by the some of the products' slightly poor taste. Thanks to GTA Wiki, where I grabbed the crazy product images.
As a small business owner you're in a great position to start exploiting social media for all its worth, adding much sought after personalisation and relevance at an integral stage of your development.
Although social media can be a fairly time consuming practice depending on how many platforms you choose to use, it's also the key way for a small business to develop awareness, raise its profile, gauge its market and interact with existing and future customers.
As the UK is celebrating its first Small Business Saturday on 7th December 2013, here is the second in a series of posts that takes a look at each individual social media platform in turn (last week we looked at Twitter for small businesses) and highlights how you can achieve the best from each one.
This week: Pinterest.
There’s huge creative potential when brand advertisers and media owners choose to collaborate. It’s astonishing how scarcely it seems to happen, especially given just how memorable such collaborations have typically been.
Take the first episode of zombie thriller The Returned on Channel 4 earlier this year. The programme was aired in its original French, with English subtitles, a first for mainstream drama on television.
With a brilliant touch, the first commercial break was also in French with English subtitles, and included spots by French brands such as Renault, Boursin and L’Oreal.