Are Your Employees Brand Ambassadors? Why Not?

April 22, 2015

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent at Sonnhalter

Osborn

Photo Courtesy of Osborn

Do your employees know where your products are used? Do they know the applications the parts they make make possible? Are they aware of the history and critical nature of your company? There are many simple, cost-effective ways to increase productivity and morale by implementing a program that lets them know.

To land new business, you’re always told to “Tell Your Story” well. It’s just as important to tell it internally. Why?

It makes employees feel like part of the plan – Let them see the big picture and where you as a company fit into it

It helps them see the long view, not just their day-to-day part in it – There’s a plan, not just a daily task

It builds internal networks – If Engineering tells their story to Customer Service, everyone sees people and faces, not silos

It allows them to be brand ambassadors – If they know the story you want told, then that’s the story that gets re-told

So how do you reach them? That’s the easiest part—the same way you reach new customers:

Host an Employee Open House – Let them show off to their kids, and see what goes on in other departments

Giving a tour of your facility? Engage employees – Don’t treat them like an extension of the machine they’re working, but have them describe what they do, and the cost savings, quality assurance or other aspect of their work

Start an internal newsletter – It’s a great place to either post external press releases, or develop case studies for outside use

Cover the Walls – Advertising blown up as posters reinforce your brand internally and when guests tour your facility

Let them hear & be heard – Have a quarterly or monthly meeting of non-managerial representatives from every department, and allow for an open exchange or ideas, complaints and stories

Highlight your company’s history whenever possible – Old ads, press clippings or photos give a sense of pride and place

Have a mission statement – And stress it internally. Print it on business cards, coffee cups in the vending machines; anywhere it will be seen regularly

You don’t need to be told that Manufacturing has gotten a bad rap. For years it’s been the butt of jokes, seen as a “dead end” and been declared all but extinct in this country by countless talking heads.

Well those people are wrong. And the house they left to get into the car they drove to the studio where they made their comments is testament to it. And it’s time your employees knew that too.

I once heard a really cool story about the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. It has a unique elevator that kind of side-steps its way up to the top of the arch. Well if you look into the arch, instead of out at the view, along the way you’ll see large welder-generators. They’ve been there since the Arch was built in the mid 60’s. Because of the way the arch was made, it was impossible to move them, so they just left them, placed another (which also got left behind) and kept building.

As a former employee of that welding manufacturer, I think that’s fascinating, and if I could ever get over my nagging fear of heights, it would be the best part of the trip up. To know that something that was made in the same building I worked in was instrumental in a project like that, it just boggles the mind. All the “ordinary” people, doing their “ordinary” job at factories all across the country added up to a modern marvel like that. Inspire that sense of awe in your employees, and they’ll help do the heavy lifting of establishing a brand.


Why PR Should be a Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

January 21, 2015

Everyone today is so focused on Content Marketing that they may overlook an old standby, PR, that could help in getting that all-important content out there. Content marketing drives long-term thought leadership goals. PR can help you short-term to meeting these objectives. After all, both disciplines are working toward the same goals.

Here are a few reasons to use PR in conjunction with your content marketing program:

  • PR builds corporate credibility  Foster good relationships with key editors in your field and let them tell your story.
  • PR increases brand awareness – Use your new content to attract focused audiences and new leads.
  • PR makes your content team focus on your public – Instead of selling features and benefits, use fresh insights and angles on how others have solved similar problems. Be relevant and timely on issues.

If you like this post you might like:

8 Tips for Media Interviews

The Scary Side of PR


Do’s and Don’ts of Content Marketing

August 6, 2014

So everyone knows what content marketing is. But do we know how to get the best results out of it? I know I’ve been doing this for over three years now and have hardly touched the potential of what is available. I’ve been to webinars, seminars and summits on the subject and continue to learn new ways to capitalize on content marketing.

I recently read Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content Marketing. As usual, Joe does a great job explaining how to use and integrate into overall marketing plan.

epiccontentmarketing-pulizzi

This is a good book for the beginner or for those already engaged to reinforce the right way of doing things. It’s easy to read, has lots of examples, from defining your strategy to developing and managing content to marketing your stories, and I’m sure you’ll get tons of useful tips on how to get more out of your content marketing.


2014 Report on B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing in North America

May 22, 2014

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs recently released their fourth annual report on the content marketing practices of business-to-business (B2B) marketers working in the manufacturing industry.

In this report you’ll find answers to questions such as: What percentage of manufacturing marketers have adopted content marketing? What tactics are they using? How does their approach to content marketing differ from that taken by other B2B marketers?

This report also looks at how manufacturing marketers approach content marketing when compared with a wider group of B2B North American marketers representing a range of industry segments.

Here are some key highlights from this most recent study on manufacturing marketers and their content marketing efforts:

  • 86% have adopted content marketing
  • Only 30% say they are effective at content marketing
  • Use the same number of tactics (13) as other B2B marketers
  • 81% use YouTube to distribute content and rate it as the most effective social media platform
  • Cite different goals for content marketing when compared with other B2B marketers
  • Top challenges faced for their content marketing programs: 1. Lack of time, 2. Producing the kind of content that engages and 3. Producing enough content
  • 46% plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months

Click here to read more details and download the full report.


The Secret to Going Viral

May 15, 2014

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter

You’ve probably heard the word “viral” in relation to online marketing before. If you’re not quite sure what it means, here’s a very brief definition:

Vi-ral:

Adjective

: becoming very popular by circulating from person to person, specifically on the internet.

If something “goes viral” that means it has been shared a great number of times; there is no threshold number of shares to be reached before something can be considered viral, but in general you know when something has gone viral by the way it is talked about.

So here’s the secret to going viral:

The one aspect that every viral thing has in common is that it is a quality piece of content that resonates with your audience. Content that goes viral is often in the form of blog posts, pictures or videos.

Content can resonate with your audience in many ways, most of the time viral content resonates through humor. Content that is controversial or sparks a debate, as well as timely, helpful information will also resonate.

In our industry, content doesn’t often achieve viral status, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t resonated, sparked conversation or been effective.

As marketers, we cannot make content become viral. Content can only be made viral by your audience(s) – they have the power. Marketers and brands do not have the power to make anything viral.

Image via Scott Cresswell

Image via Scott Cresswell

If you’re disappointed that you know the secret to viral but can’t do anything about it, don’t lose heart!

The goal in any marketing initiative should not be creating viral content; it should be on creating quality content.

Marketers and brands have the power to create quality content that will resonate with audiences. If that content goes viral, then that is just a happy side effect.


Manufacturers: Why Are You Using Content Marketing?

February 18, 2014

I just saw a stat this week that over 90 percent of B-to-B companies are now using content marketing. I wonder if you asked them why, what the answer would be. Hopefully it’s not because everyone else is using it! If you’re using content, you know how much time it takes you and your team to develop and place good content.

Whether it’s content marketing or any other tactic, there should be good reasons for using it and a detailed plan of action – what to say, where to use it and how to measure it. I recently read an article by Heidi Cohen, Why Use Content Marketing – 7 Reasons that I thought would help us all in not only reviewing what we’re doing, but more importantly, evaluate and possibly refocus our efforts on those activities that are working.

We all have different reasons and priorities, and from a manufacturer’s point of view, here are three things you may want to consider when using content marketing:

  • Build your brand – this should be true in any type of promotion, but building good content helps set you apart and builds your reputation.
  • Attract new customers – Give customers what they want pre- and post-information that will help them through the sales cycle. Good content will sell itself.
  • Support existing customers – with updated product/installation information, handy apps or other tools that will make doing their job easier. Remember, existing clients are your best repeat customers, so continue to engage them.

Why are you using Content Marketing and what tactics are working best for you?

If you like this post, you may want to read:

Manufacturers: What Are You Trying to Accomplish with Your Content Marketing?

Smaller Companies are Doing a Better Job with Content Marketing

What are you Doing to Improve your Content Marketing Performance?

Content Marketing: Have a Strategy and Be Relevant.


How Sales and Marketing Can Get the Best out of Their Content Marketing

February 5, 2014

Although sales and marketing are getting better at working together, there is always room for improvement. Together they can make sure they deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.

But in order to accomplish this, they need to work together. Here are some tips to help maximize the results of the collaborative efforts:

  • Know your audience – different people buy for different reasons. By sales and marketing working together, they can define the different personas and identify the prospects’ perspectives and content needs.
  • Have a sales retention plan – We’re all so focused on getting a lead and making a sale that once that’s completed, we forget about them until the next sale. Now that they are a customer, it’s easier to help them. Start a nurturing program and engage them, and with appropriate content, that will help with the next sale.
  • Have a plan – By working together with sales, set objectives to get the right content into the hands of your customers. Realize the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t going to work.

By working together, sales and marketing can determine the right content, whether it’s for leads, brand awareness or thought leadership.


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