Tag Archives: branding

Jo Malone London and Coach. Two Brands, One Winner

Jo MaloneI have a very sweet and thoughtful husband. He makes me work really hard at birthdays and Christmas to ensure I – at least – equal his thoughtfulness in the gift-giving department. I’m a lucky gal. For Christmas, he designed my very own perfume at Jo Malone London and he got an absolute winner. It is the perfect fragrance and I wear it every day.

Steve told me (after I opened it) that he had an absolutely fabulous experience at Jo Malone London and is keen to take me there so I can experience it as well. A good endorsement for a brand – especially in Asia where it can be a bit hit and miss.

However, following his Christmas shopping foray, he also received a handwritten letter thanking him for his custom. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time a commercial exchange resulted in something so personal. And guess what? Steve and I are both delighted.

Jo Malone

Customer service excellence from Jo Malone

On the other hand, I wrote to Coach in 2013 following the Bangladeshi building collapse that resulted in more than a thousand deaths. A friend challenged me to understand where my ‘brand of choice’ sourced its products after I blogged about a new handbag purchase. I’ve been a Coach fan ever since I lived in Boston in the late 90s, when I first discovered it.

It’s simple, elegant and perfectly suits my style.

Getting back to Bangladesh. This disaster upset and infuriated me. But the thing that angered me most was big global brands – who have been benefiting from low cost labor in these countries for decades – standing back and washing their hands of it, or worse, pulling out all together.

Apparently, rather than fixing the problem or taking some responsibility, they think it’s better not to be associated with it at all. I personally believe that global companies have a responsibility for the quality of their products, as well as the safety of the humans making these products. This counts if the products are made in-house, outsourced once, twice or a thousand times. Ignorance is not an excuse – not today.

CoachNow it’s very important to mention that I do not know if Coach is making its products in Bangladesh, because when I emailed Coach HQ to ask where the individual products were made, I got a reply suggesting I speak to the Singapore helpline. I replied that this was not a question the Singapore helpline could handle and asked HQ for a response to my very simple question.

I never got a response, but worse, Coach Singapore has added me to its marketing list. I now get both SMS and eDMs from Coach on a regular basis, however since this incident, every time I receive marketing outreach it absolutely infuriates me. It infuriates me because they did not answer my question yet believe I will continue to be interested in its products?

I’ve been loyal to the Coach brand for more than 15 years, but now they have lost me and I will not buy Coach again. That is what happens when a brand does not listen to a customer and answer the customer’s question. That is what happens when a brand does not distinguish between the types of communication a customer sends in. Coach did not identify that this specific request was not an opportunity for marketing. Coach did not recognize that a loyal customer had some very valid concerns and wanted it addressed. Coach got it wrong.

This is the world we live in now. I’ve had a bad experience and I’m writing about it. I’ve also had an excellent experience and I’m writing about it.

Therefore, has what I’ve written influence your attitude towards either brand? Would you walk into the next Jo Malone London store to see if they delighted you as well? Or would you bypass the next Coach store based on what I said? I’m curious to know.

It doesn’t take much to lose a customer these days, but it’s not about single customer losses anymore. One voice can impact thousands, or can it? Perhaps it’s only the Kardashians who have that sort of power?

What do you think?



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52 Tips on Content and Community From the Top New Media Experts

If you are in a marketing, communications, digital media, or any other role within the marketing mix, I can recommend downloading this eBook entitled “The New Media Rat Pack – 52 Tips on Content & Community From the Top New Media Experts.

52 Tips on Content and Community from the Top New Media Experts

Launched by Top Rank Marketing in advance of NMX 2013 (formerly BlogWorld) – an event that was held in Vegas early January 2013 – it’s a worthwhile read. Essentially it’s a top level overview of all of the new (and some old) marketing solutions available today, and includes commentary from 52 of the world’s experts in this field. It’s not deep content, and the focus (including the research) tends to be focused on the US, however by reviewing each of the sections, it gives you the opportunity to assess what is of interest to you, and then you can dig deep.

I think a lot of marketing folk in Asia Pacific could benefit from this eBook and the ideas shared, as in many areas, we remain in our infancy in regards to embracing the real business opportunities these solutions offer. B2B or B2C – it is relevant for both.

The topics covered include:

  • Branding
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • New Media Law – everyone needs to understand this!
  • Mobile
  • Content Marketing
  • Video
  • Podcasting
  • Websites

One of the great aspects of the book is the research shared. As I said, much is US focused, but here are the highlights that stood out for me.



  • 95% of consumers now use at least one social network
  • 44% more likely to purchase based on positive brand exposure
  • 44% consumers more likely to recommend the brand to a friend

Source IDG Group



  • 92% of companies who blog several times per day have acquired a customer from their blog
  • The average budget spent on company blogs and social media increased from 9% in 2009, to 21% in 2012

Source HubSpot

  • Over 65% of business blogs haven’t been updated in a year or more
  • 81% of businesses agree having a blog is useful or critical to their business
  • But less than 35% blog more frequently than once per month

Source Jeffbulla.com

Social Media

“Social media is helping brands build trust, loyalty, and brand recognition.”


  • 92% of global consumers say they trust earned media above all other forms of advertising
  • 58% of [respondents] trust [the] message on company Websites
  • 50% find content in emails they consented to receive to be credible

Source Nielsen


In Asia Pacific, mobile penetration is significantly higher than the rest of the world, so this is a core focus area for marketers moving forward in this region – a mobile marketing strategy must be a top priority. Check out this blog “Tablet Strategies for Content Marketing” based on the IDG Connect white paper entitled “iPad for Business Survey 2012” I published last year to get an idea of the figures in AP.


  • The average response time to an email is 90 minutes. The average response time to a text message is 90 seconds
  • 61% of people said that if they tried to access a website that wasn’t optimized for mobile, they would visit the website of a competitor
  • 1 out of every 8 smartphone users will search for better pricing on a product or service while at the store

Source Social Media Tips

Content Marketing

A subject after my own heart, this chapter covers four key areas:

  1. Blogs
  2. Social channels
  3. Press Releases
  4. Email marketing

However it also extends to mobile apps, events, gamification and more.

Top quote – “92% of US adults read content online, spending more than seven hours per week looking for content.”


Top B2B Content Marketing Tactics:

  • 87% – social media
  • 83% – articles
  • 78% – eNewsletters
  • 77% – blogs
  • 71% – case studies

Source Content Marketing Institute

Top Goals for Content Marketing:

  • 51% – lead generation
  • 38% – brand awareness
  • 34% – thought leadership
  • 77% – sales
  • 71% – customer acquisition

Source BtoB Research Highlights 2012

And an important point to remember

“83% of all learning is visual,” John Meyer, Lemon.ly


“Americans viewed nearly 11 billion video ads in October 2012”


  • 70% of B2B content marketers use videos
  • Use of video has risen from 52% in 2011 to 70% in 2012
  • 58% rate videos as the most effective content marketing tactic

Source Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs



  • The podcasting audience has migrated from early adopters to more mainstream media consumers
  • Podcast consumers prefer content on their desktop, but mobile phone media consumption is surging
  • Those consuming podcasts index [was] very high for social networking

Source Edison Research


The only statistic worth noting here is this:

“97% of websites fail at user experience, according to Forrester Research.”


“A great website design must cater to the needs of the user.”

Further Highlights

9 common ecommerce Website usability issues:

  1. No cost estimate before checkout
  2. Too much info for registration
  3. Missing auto-fill on forms
  4. Absent left rail filter
  5. No instruction for input format
  6. Poorly optimized search
  7. Messy top navigation
  8. No user reviews
  9. Registration required to purchase

Source measuringusability.com

There you go. If nothing else and you don’t read the eBook, the stats could provide useful information if you need to sell the advantages of any of these ideas to your bosses.

Like I said, this book doesn’t go into great depth – as that is not its goal. Its goal was to tantalize the reader into attending an event, and if I was in the US, it would have worked. But it does give a broad-view of the new marketing solutions available today and the core focus areas for anyone in marketing. Furthermore, I enjoyed another aspect of the book – it consistently linked the story back to the original Rat Pack of the 1960s – a group of entertainers most of us know and love to this day – which made it a delightful read as well.

I thought my peers in Asia Pacific would appreciate being aware this book is available and hope the above homework I’ve done helps as well. Let me know what you think if you read it?



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Your Personal Professional Profile is Vital

In today’s social world, one thing I’m not seeing enough of in Asia Pacific is people investing in their own personal professional profile in social media-land. I certainly have some connections that do a fantastic job at this – consistently focused on building their profile as experts in whatever field they are in – and I hope to be considered amongst this gang in my own personal investment in the medium. However, I have to say, the majority of professionals I know in Asia Pacific do not do a good job here – still approaching social media in voyeuristic fashion.  I am curious about this, because why aren’t people taking care of themselves? Are they shy? Don’t know where to start? Overwhelmed? Don’t understand the importance of the investment for their career potential? What is it?

Professional social media profile

The idea for this blog came to me recently when I was speaking with a lovely young lady who is the daughter of a friend. At 24, she’s incredibly bright and talented, has a very successful career already, and has some big goals and clear ideas she’s working towards. So I said: now is the time to get going on building your professional social media profile – make it known who you are and what you represent in your industry. She responded that she’s already doing social media for her employer, running the Website upgrade project, etc, etc, etc… BUT this wasn’t what I was talking about. I was talking about her, and that has nothing to do with her employer at all. Let’s face it, long term employees are rare these days and employment security more-so.

We’ve all got to take care of ourselves, and in the future, what you do in social media will count a lot. Therefore, for young people just starting out this is a massive opportunity, but it’s equally important for those a little longer in the tooth.

A first step

Do a Google search on yourself – are you on the front page? If you’re not, you need to be, although if you have a name like Dan Brown you might struggle. I appear on the front page, along with an American actress and another lady of the same name who recently killed herself – a sad story. But if I search for Andrea Edwards SAJE or Andrea Edwards content marketing, I own the first page. You’ve got to get to that point, because future employers will search for your presence.

Next divide your presence on social media into professional and personal. Facebook is my personal space, where I connect with people I’m close to. I share anything here because it’s my community and people know me. LinkedIn is totally professional, Google+ is a mish-mash for its SEO, Twitter isn’t my hot spot but I still have three handles, and my Pinterest account is getting more attention, with a SAJE board, as well as lots of other personal boards. As such, if someone wanted to check me out online to “know me” from a professional point of view, it’s all there and it could go for or against me, but being true to myself remains a priority.

It’s definitely important to segment yourself and be conscious of what you share and where you share it – for example it’s not wise to bitch about your boss on LinkedIn, save that for Facebook if you must. Segmenting your personal and professional presence is necessary today – especially if you’re in a conservative industry.

Now you’ve done this, what can you do to build your own professional profile? Easy…

  • Launch a blog – I’ve got to start with the obvious because it is so powerful! Blogs are not easy for some, but it is one of the BEST ways to establish yourself as a person of knowledge and worth in your field, whether you’re a musician, scientist, marketer, or brain surgeon – it doesn’t matter. Aim to write something once a week minimum and you can write detailed blogs (like mine typically are), or go for a more Seth Godin short-sweet-sharer-of-wisdom-kind-of-blog. How you blog is up to you and your growth in readers will tell you if you’re getting it right. So what do you share? Well, what do you care about? Get a focus, come up with some content ideas on what you’d like to do and get going. You don’t even need to share your blog straight away if you’re feeling shy. But get going, build your confidence and you’ll have a great career tool behind you I promise. With blogging, remember:
    • Create a blog theme on the career path you want to follow, so if that’s not what you’re currently doing, that’s OK – it will help you get on the path you want
    • You do have something to say – everyone has something to say – so spend a couple of weeks observing your professional life, your thoughts, your frustrations, when people respond positively to what you say, etc… – this will help you get direction
    • Be positive. Criticism can be positioned positively too, but there’s no need to be critical and you won’t succeed if you are
    • Unless you’re in a gossip industry – aka Perez Hilton – don’t bother with unnecessary gossip, unless that is the career path you want to take, and if so, gossip away
    • Can’t write? Do video logs or VLogs, or take photos and put a couple of sentences under each. If you’re an artist, photograph your art and write a small explanation with the image. A designer the same. Many people are trying to define the blogging “rules,” but think of a blog as your space to share your knowledge in whatever way works for you. Also define the rules yourself, because the reality is, much of what will be possible in the future isn’t even known yet
    • Find bloggers in your field and look for inspiration. If there are none, start your own revolution because your “competition” will soon be looking to you for inspiration

I could go on and on, but every professional has something to say – seriously – so create your own online presence and get cracking.

However, blogging is a massive investment in time, thoughts and emotions, which not everyone has the inclination to do, so here’s some easier ways that won’t take as much effort.

  • Share knowledge – as a simple rule, follow five great publications or blogs that really resonate with you and every time you read something you agree with, share it on your social media channels – LinkedIn, Facebook, G+, Twitter, etc… If you don’t agree with an opinion, that is equally valid to share, just keep the criticism sweet and explain why you don’t agree – this will gain respect. I follow Hubspot, Content Marketing Institute, Jeff Bullas Blog, Eloqua, and Forbes as a general rule. There are others, but these are my top five that I share on a regular basis. By doing this, I am establishing myself as a B2B content marketing expert. Trust me, if nothing else on this list, you can do this
  • Support your mates – one of the most important things you can do to build your profile and lend a helping hand as well, is support your friends who are active on social media – especially bloggers. I wrote a blog about this recently, because business people in Asia Pacific are not as supportive of each other as professionals in other regions, especially North America. There are so many talented people in this region, sharing awesome information, so why not support them and build your profile too? A final important point here – if you help others, they will help you when you go public
  • LinkedIn Groups – if you’re like me, you’re probably swamped with LinkedIn Group emails. I find it hard to manage all of them, but my suggestion is target two groups that really hit the spot with you and participate in the discussions. This will help to build your reputation within a targeted community that reflects your career aspirations. Additionally, if there is no relevant group in your sector, why not create one? As a side note: LinkedIn has changed a lot recently, and you can do a lot more now to elevate your own profile and your colleagues. It’s worth investing the time in
  • Twitter discussions – I’m not a great Twitter user – it just doesn’t jive with me, but I use it to an extent and know I could use it a lot more. My suggestion is do more than me, join the conversation, and maybe join two Tweetchats a week on a regular basis. Tweetchats are another way to build your profile (and following) within a targeted community
  • Google+ chats – the same goes for Google+ chats or “Hangouts” although, again, I am not doing this, but you can’t do everything
  • Support your competition – I know right? But this is a really cool thing to do, because let’s face it – it’s all coopetition these days anyway. If someone from a competitor company shares something really terrific, why not praise the content and share it? They could be your boss one day or a future employee on your team

Just a few ideas, but I was inspired to share these thoughts because I don’t think people are taking care of their professional careers in the way they can these days. The reality is, if you don’t do this, others will and when it comes down to the top five candidates for a job, the person who has invested in their personal professional social media profile is going to win, because that’s the world we live in today.

What other suggestions do you have about enhancing your digital professional profile? I’d love to hear some more, because this is only scratching the surface.

And finally, just take care of yourself OK? That’s the main thing I wanted to get across here.



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If Your Company was a Person, What Sort of Person Would it be?

What is the image of your company?Would it be young and trendy, mature and sophisticated, elegant and chic, or fun and sporty? It’s an interesting question to ask and you’ll often find the company you’d like to be is nothing like the company you are. Don’t worry, many companies are in the same boat, but you can become the company you want to be, it just takes focus and a little effort.

Consider some of the global brands. Virgin is a messaging machine – definitely a young and trendy person, or perhaps adventurous and dynamic? Or out of the box and doesn’t follow the norm? I personally admire this brand tremendously and appreciate how true it has remained to its message for many years.

I watched a video of Richard Branson speaking in Malaysia recently. Before he came out there was a corporate video. The terms and phrases that appeared on the screen were:

  • Be different
  • Challenge the norm
  • Adventurous
  • Amazing achievements
  • Love the limelight
  • We’re about people
  • Champion our customers
  • We innovate
  • Do business like there is no tomorrow
  • “Screw it Let’s Do it”

And it’s all true right? Virgin embodies these words.

Let’s look at another example – Microsoft. They started down the consumer path, have grown across all sectors of the business community, and have been a leading business for the last 20 years – but what sort of a person would they be? A slightly nerdy but successful person usually dressed in chinos and a company polo shirt? Would HP be a bit dowdy? IBM all business suits and serious? Apple – a person in the prime of their life, cool and funky? Accenture a twin set and pearls with a plumb in their mouth kind of person?

You get the gist. All companies have an image, a brand, the way the world views them, and the question is – how do you want to be viewed?

It all begins with your messaging and positioning. This is the words you use to describe your company and products/services. It is both the written and the verbal words attributed to your organisation, and if you get this right, you’ll really be talking business.

Business evolution

Many companies evolve over time, starting with a clear direction that changes rapidly in the first few years of operation – this evolution is important as you refine your business plan, get in line with your customers’ needs and create a successful business that meets a requirement in the market. Alternatively, many businesses reach a point where they need to change their perception in the market as they have been around for a long time, and as the market they serve is changing and evolving, so they must keep abreast of changes in a rapidly modernising world.

You cannot remain static for too long in any business sector. Change, evolution and progress is the order of the day – so are you leading the pack or following?

The importance of messaging

The message you take to market about your company has never been more important. It is no longer about marketing professionals getting the word out in a controlled way. With the advent of social media, every person in your company is taking your companies’ message to market. Your spokespeople include every employee with access to the Internet, and every influencer who has an opinion about your company or the products/services you deliver. Being clear about the type of company you are is more vital than ever before, something many companies are struggling to grasp right now.

Most companies go to market long before they have a consistent message. The reality is, in the excitement of launching a new business; executives just want to sing it from the roof tops. It’s an exciting time, so it’s fair enough. However, the challenge is most executives think they can talk about their company because it was their passion that got the company to where it is today. That’s when you’ve got to step back and say – am I communicating in a way that makes sense to everyone I need to influence? Now that is the challenge.

Many C-level executives I have worked with have brilliant ideas, but are unable to talk about these ideas in a crisp, clear way that ensures complete understanding of their value. As a simple guide, if you can’t explain your business and/or product/services in a way your mother understands, then why presume anyone else will? You must communicate across multiple audiences – customers, prospects, partners, employees, the media, analysts, etc… and your message must resonate with all the target audiences and be relevant to each of their needs.

What are the benefits of effective messaging?

  • Provides a core foundation for spokespeople
  • Presents a unified front to the market
  • Clarity and consistency internally and externally
  • Extends beyond the media and enforces credibility
  • Provides measurability – is the message resonating with your target audiences?
  • Helps you to differentiate and create a competitive hurdle
  • Consistency is key and helps to maintain context
  • Credibility and validation of your company
  • And after a merger or acquisition, it’s a valuable process to get all companies’ aligned

Messaging needs to have an overall impact, but the next layer is to target your message for each audience. For example, when communicating with customers, focusing on their needs and problems, as opposed to what you can do for them is more important. You’ll always have a chance to tell them what you can do for them, but demonstrating that you understand their business and the challenges they face is what really opens the door to sales. So remember, in customer communications, show them you understand how your solutions will make their lives easier. It is the same for business partners – how can you make them more successful? That is the cornerstone of all communication with partners and if you communicate with this vital audience correctly, it will gain loyalty, and by extension, sales.

In all messaging strategy there is a simple guideline to follow – your messaging to market must be compelling, credible and consistent.

Simple objectives around defining your company’s messaging include:

  • Formulate top level messages that go down through all levels of your company – executive team, sales team, marketing, product development, and admin – remember, everyone has a voice these days
  • Define your overall messaging and then separate messages by the different audiences you need to influence
  • Get everyone in the company brought into the messaging to ensure they are all “singing from the same hymn sheet”
  • Messaging should be seen as the precursor to formulating your strategy for going to market – if you don’t define exactly how you position your company in advance, how can you go-to-market effectively?

It’s important stuff

I can’t emphasize enough how important messaging is. Great messaging means that you will be understood in the market. Great messaging means you’ll have a consistent message circulating out there in the stratosphere. Great messaging means your target audience understands what you can offer them because you’ve tailored it in a way that meets their needs. Great messaging defines the personality of an organisation – remember the Virgin example?


  • A clearly defined corporate and product messages ensure that a company is represented accurately, consistently and in the best possible way
  • If agreed messages resonate with customers, influencers and partners, then your messaging is strong and will be reinforced by external audiences
  • Once a messaging hierarchy is defined, the messages will be threaded through every aspect of communication – internal and external – this includes items such as sales collateral, presentations, marketing collateral, press releases, Web content and now, social media content

As a final point, here is a typical influencer diaspora. These are the audiences you need to reach and all require their message in a different way to meet different needs:

Audience segmentation

Audience Diaspora


Most companies need to reach all of these audiences, however if you are, for example, a manufacturing company in the civil engineering products field, your audience extends to specifiers, industry experts, testing institutions and academics. Every business sector has different audiences to influence so don’t forget the other important people that need to be in this circle.

Additionally, in the specific case of social media, your influencer circle grows even more. If people are writing blogs that impact your sales, make sure you appropriately share your message with them. When I say appropriately, it is no longer about press releases and brochures – make sure the right people in your organisation are talking to them, online, bringing up relevant topics on discussion boards/open forums and gently get your corporate message across. But that’s a whole other discussion.

The fundamental goal is get your messaging and positioning right before you go-to-market and you will know success.

I’ll talk more about how you can do this in another blog.

In the meantime, if you’re wondering what sort of person SAJE is? We’d consider ourselves honest, trustworthy and loyal, but definitely not conventional, no no no. What you see is what you get, but we’re nice people with it, just trying to live life in a different and less conventional way than the norm – that about sums SAJE up.

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