If you’re like us, you like to keep up with companies, news and opinions across the web. And, we’re probably like you in that we offer different ways of communicating what’s going on and what we deem as relevant. To help you sift through the delivery vehicles, I’m providing an overview of each one. Then you can choose one or two that fit your needs best, or simply follow the links and sign up for all of them.
Follow: brandthunder http://twitter.com/brandthunder It’s company insight and more. Patrick must be the speed-reader in the company. He gets through more blogs, articles and newsfeeds in a morning than I can all week. If you want a grasp of the best of Internet business news, his take on current company activity and the occasional compelling gadget – following us on Twitter is a great way to go.
Another easy method to keep up with company news and activity is to sign up for our email newsletter at http://brandthunder.com/stormreport. What I appreciate and respect about the newsletter is that it’s news, when it happens, and not on a schedule. We’re not going to put something in your mailbox until there’s something worthwhile to put there. No clutter, just the goods.
Our blog continues its evolution. We’re on a publishing pace of once or twice a week. What you get is a range of news and information about the company, insights into our industry (which I view as interactive marketing, but am open to feedback and requests for information) and some insights into the life of a company in the midst of its early growth stage. You can always read it on our site, and visit our Gallery while you’re here to see the latest browser Boom!, or get the blog in your favorite reader with this URL: http://brandthunder.com/feed/.
Another easy way to get the new news bits… become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/brandthunder. It makes us happy and it’s guaranteed to impress your friends – or something equally good (I need to check my legal disclaimers). :-)
I hope this helps, and we hope to see you in more places.
Brand Thunder is a proud member of the Mozilla community, so you can imagine the honor we felt when they asked us to do work for them.
In its support of the UKs CyberMentors program, Mozilla had Brand Thunder deliver an Add-on featuring a custom theme and an integrated toolbar allowing users quick access to the key content and tools that are core to the CyberMentors program. You can see the work here.
Our branded Firefox experiences are designed to drive interaction and engagement between an organization and its end user. Compelling design plus useful content and functionality can go a long way to achieving that, and it’s something people will adopt in droves. We saw this early in our history when we launched the Washington Capitals and helped double the Firefox usage on their site. You can see the attractiveness to both the organization and the end user.
Now, consider for a moment, CyberMentors is a Beatbullying project. Its goal is to give victims of bullying (or bullies wishing to stop) a place to go and get help from people their own age. CyberMentors is young people helping and supporting each other online. With that kind of role, don’t you want to do everything you can to help? We did too.
We’re grateful to Mozilla for the vote of confidence in our work and for letting us play a part in such a meaningful program.
Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It is a commentary over at MediaPost. Guy Maser gives some simple and straightforward ideas to help you better serve your existing customer. The fundamentals often aren’t that complex. His suggestions are geared for a certain type of business, but his premise is applicable anywhere – do something for the benefit of your current customers.
I’d take it a step or two farther. What can you do for your customer today? How much of your time was spent working on tasks focused on revenue for you as opposed to experience for them? When was the last time you focused on figuring out what would “wow” your customer? Do you have a daily “to-do” task that focuses specifically on the customer?
Questions like these drive a set of behaviors that can benefit your customer and ultimately your business. Just picking up the phone and calling a customer can have a very positive impact as well as offering a chance to get first hand feedback. Reviewing message boards and comments, on your sites and sites related to your product can be very insightful, but also give you an opportunity to respond and learn. I found a comment in Mozilla’s Add-ons that warranted a reply, but Add-ons doesn’t offer a reply option. Fortunately, this member had an email address in his profile and I was able to reach him. I can’t vouch for this instance, but in the past, these extra steps have gone a long way.
Think of all the other touch points available through the Internet. What if some of the viral-video energy went into service videos? Pictures and text also works. I completely disassembled my laptop to fix a cracked solder joint and couldn’t believe the number of parts. I found a step-by-step guide, however, that allowed me to do it myself in about the amount of time it would have taken just to drive it to a repair shop. It was awesome.
We mention frequently the items we often include in our browser Booms! News feeds, RSS, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and more. These are all easy to implement touch points with your consumer. Some of these elements get the news to your customers as effectively and more timely than any email campaign can. You don’t even have to do the bulk of the communicating at sites that offer a dialogue. Listening goes a long way, but you will have to say something, just so your customers know you’re there.
The list can go on and on. There’s no one path to earning your customer’s loyalty, but it clearly requires pursuing some path.
Marketers are perpetually trying to break through the clutter and gain the attention of their audience. Consumers, on the other hand, are getting more adept at tuning out the noise. If you’re in online marketing, you know they’re blind to it as well.
It’s creating that blindness we want to avoid. Visitors to your site learn where they can find the information they want. For site owners, it can be tempting to use some of the more valuable content locations for advertising to increase revenue. Any content real estate, however, reassigned an advertising role will quickly see the click through in that location drop. It also takes longer for that space to regain its value once that space returns to offering content. The consumer is quick to learn and slow to forget.
Consumers realize that the ads are a primary reason the content is available, so they’re accepting if its presented respectfully where value is being provided. Viacom is touting they’ve solved the riddle for online video ads. That’s also why the leaderboard banner at the top of many web pages has had such a long tenure. It’s accepted as “the ad I must see before I get to what I want” and the eye passes over this space on its way to the content.
Fortunately, it’s not a blind eye. These placements are guaranteed a certain level of awareness and therefore interaction because the payoff is moments away. Simply by knowing where the eye is going, and where the user is interacting with the page puts odds in your favor. It’s easy to see the fascination with heat maps as they detail specifically where your user’s eyes travel on the page.
Focus on the value your content creates, then integrate the ads in its vicinity. That’s the mix that will keep both your content and advertisements visible to your audience and best serve your business needs over the long term.
Ben Elowitz made a compelling argument for brands connecting with its fans in his Online Media Daily commentary. He details examples of how brands have created sites that engage their user base and create a dynamic exchange. It’s by serving these fans that the majority of brands will see their success in social media.
I’m thrilled to see this kind of discussion because Brand Thunder plays an enabling role in this scenario. When you have an engaged community with a steady flow of news, information and discussion – the best thing you can do is keep that community aware of the activity going on. Fortunately, there are a number of methods and tools that help brands maintain that connection. I’m biased as I think we have one of the better ones.
When you have the connection to your end user in the browser, it’s a persistent connection within the primary vehicle for interacting online. The results of mixing a tool like a customized browser with the exciting news and events on a brand’s community site can be staggering. We’ve seen an 8x improvement in visits by users of our product over the average visitor to our client’s site. Most of the products that contribute to these gains can be implemented with a low level of effort by the brand.
There is a promised land for brands in the social media world. There is an engaged audience that a brand can appeal to and create the desired connection. When you think of these sites and the destination they can become, don’t overlook the vehicles that will help deliver that audience on a frequent basis.
Brand Thunder’s Euro Football Boom! secured the company’s first corporate sponsor — bwin International Ltd. Given the international appeal of Brand Thunder’s products and the fervent betting that occurs with soccer fans worldwide it was a natural integration for this division of Vienna-based bwin Interactive Entertainment AG.
Sponsorships have been a part of our vision for a long time. A custom browser Boom! serves a self-selected, targeted audience – very appealing to advertisers. Each Boom!, however, is designed to deliver an immersive experience whether its for a team, a site or a topic. Additionally, you’re dealing with the extremely high visibility and extended exposure of an open Internet browser. What is functional and acceptable within a web page is not necessarily what works within the browser. The goal is to respectfully deliver placements that honor the user experience.
Depending on the brand, sponsorships may need to be overt or integrated. No one would be surprised to see several ads on a NASCAR vehicle and a sponsor program for that Boom! may offer one series of options. A sponsor treatment for the unofficial Office Boom! may need to be more integrated and contextual in its presentation.
Despite the appropriate audience of international soccer fans, placement within the browser design would have created a visual disconnect. Instead, we worked with bwin to introduce them to the user through the download page for the Boom! and within the header of the video sidebar (pictured above). While more traditional in their style and placement, these integration points were the right ones for this client and Boom!.
The capabilities and opportunities continue to grow for creating welcome experiences from sponsors to end users and across Booms!. And, if you’re in the market for reaching a targeted audience, we would welcome hearing from you.