How a pandemic has shaped the future of business

The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people around the world into lockdown and social distancing to help control the spread of the virus. This public health crisis is also driving businesses to implement remote working to ensure business continuity.

While adjusting to a new way of working, businesses are embracing technology and employees are learning new skills, as they look at digital tools and platforms to stay connected and productive.

Webinars are essential in today’s environment, as they put back the human connection and assist in enhancing collaboration that many people crave while working remotely.

“Marketers may be in crisis mode right now, but the benefits of webinars present a new tactical opportunity,” said Michael Gullan, Managing Director of G&G Digital. “All you need to do is move fast and get your webinar strategy in order to replace the revenue you were generating from areas that are no longer an option,” he added.

Webinars have a myriad of performance enhancing benefits that include the ability to engage with small to large groups, interact with the audience in real-time, record sessions, as well as reporting and analytic tools. Whether a virtual team building, onboarding of new employees, launching a new product or service, or a product demonstration, webinars are a powerful tool that can assist organisations strategically.

Here are four ways webinars add value.

  1. Encourage open dialogue
    Webinars allow for real-time questions from the audience, no matter where they are. Presenters can easily weave audience questions and comments into the presentation and provide real-time feedback. As webinars are live events, they are more conversational as presenters can ask the audience questions, encouraging engagement.
  2. Position organisations as industry experts
    Inviting experts to join in, organisations can expand their reach to other businesses and potential customers, as they position themselves as leaders in their industry.
  3. Soft selling
    By using webinars effectively, businesses can teach and sell their products or services at the same time, in a more organic way. And the registration process allows organisations to build a database, along with an opportunity to attract new customers.
  4. Gaining insights

    Although webinars are live events, they can be recorded to review and use in the future. These recordings offer opportunities to gain insights into attendees’ behaviour and inform future topics. And if used successfully, analysing questions asked during webinar sessions, can also help inform an organisation’s content strategy.

“With tradeshows, conferences, and events cancelled for just about everyone, the new coronavirus COVID-19, is forcing businesses everywhere to pivot many of their marketing plans and strategies overnight,” said Gullan.

Webinars are much more than a product launch or demonstration. They’re an excellent marketing tool that offer organisations an opportunity to convert attendees into customers, all while being cost-effective to deliver an essential marketing role. With an opportunity to expand the business and stay top of mind, webinars are the beginning of a new way to engage organisations and take your business to the next level.

How brands can be there for at-home consumers

By Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted everyday life, as millions of people worldwide are practicing physical and social distancing. Adapting to this new way of life means embracing teaching, learning, exercising, shopping, and working from home through online platforms. Spending more time indoors, and alone for some, means people are welcoming new ways to keep their minds active and healthy. This presents the perfect opportunity for savvy brand professionals.

As the new normal sets in, people are spending less money on non-essential items like makeup and outdoor activities, and more time and money on consuming online media. It is important for marketers to understand this shift in consumer behaviour, and to adapt quickly. By understanding and analysing at-home consumer behaviour, brands can meet consumer marketing demands. Here are three insights to consider.

  1. So much time
    For millions of people, the first few days of lockdown were structured with established routines and schedules, however as the days turned into weeks and months, time started to blur and schedules became a thing of the past. Consumers started craving routine amid heightened anxiety and uncertainty about the future.

    Smart brands should be using this time to build deep relationships with customers. By engaging with consumers about their interests and helping them with their challenges, brands can remain top of mind. Whether sharing a secret recipe or helping consumers with their at-home exercise routines, brands that create structure, fill the void and add value via useful and relevant content, will get share of mind and build loyalty.

  2. Working from home
    The president requested that organisations able to work from home, should. This presents a challenge for business owners and team leaders who need to keep their teams motivated and productive. It also presents an incredible opportunity to use digital solutions like never before, from digital team-building exercises, skills development, and new online learning solutions, such as continuous learning, and advocacy programmes.

    Understanding consumer’s online behaviour, advocacy programmes are strategically designed to offer content in bite-sized chunks, at the right time and place. This microlearning methodology provides highly interactive content, presented in multiple and effective ways, assisting audiences in retaining their newly acquired skills.

  3. Consuming more content
    Consumers digital habits are also changing, as they spend more time consuming content all hours of the day.

    This can include downloading audiobooks, streaming series, movies and motivational talks, or engaging with tutorials on self-improvement. This, again, is creating new opportunities for brands and businesses to connect and engage directly with their customers or their advocates.

    Marketing professionals that offer useful information about your brand, product, and services through innovative digital learning platforms, that offer interesting content in rich-media formats, will inspire and shape behaviour.

This shift in consumer behaviour creates new opportunities for brands. Consumers are embracing new channels to fulfil their needs, whether learning new things or staying connected with colleagues and family, while at home. By adapting to this new consumer behaviour, brands and business can elevate themselves, showing they’re ready to meet their consumers in a new world.

Enhancing brand value through advocacy campaigns

By Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital

Brand advocacy is a powerful marketing channel at the intersection of e-learning, loyalty and incentives. Leading local and global brands are recognising its value and including brand advocacy in their strategies, with proven results.

A Deloitte survey indicates that 71% of Millennials are comfortable with technology, embracing its benefits, feeling positive about using digital devices and expecting results. This and other insights into e-learning, social media consumption, the psychology of word-of-mouth referrals, loyalty and incentive marketing, layered with people’s digital behaviours informed G&G to develop a bespoke technology Advocacy platform, unlike anything else in the world.

The platform delivers slipstreamed and highly effective advocacy programmes designed to assist B2B, B2C and B2B2C businesses to not only meet, but exceed, their business objectives.

Here are four reasons why G&G ADVC™ is breaking through.

  1. Market tested
    G&G’s ADVC™ solution has assisted local brands in a highly regulated sector to surpass their business objects in the midst of radical staff and budget cuts.
  2. Hard-working platform customised to brand objectives
    Using front-of-wave technology, G&G’s ADVC™ platform is customised to deliver on our client’s strategies, by delivering bespoke content to the right stakeholders and taking them on a journey to understand, integrate and apply their knowledge to becoming powerful brand advocates.
  3. Rich, micro-moments
    G&G’s team of strategists and content creators develop a smart-working content strategy and execute on that strategy to ensure our clients’ target audiences receive the most appropriate, informative and engaging, rich and diverse content and experiences. Through G&G’s ADVC™ platform the content is then delivered at the optimum time and pace to nurture powerful brand advocates.
  4. Data, insights and performance
    At the heart of the platform is a reporting engine, empowering agency and client with granular information on each user’s behaviour, allowing us to draw insights, push users through a learning journey, make optimisations, and, most importantly, achieve business outcomes and prove a ROI.

Advocacy is the smart channel for brands looking to get real results beyond the traditional spray and pray techniques of a website, paid search, social media, digital PR and search engine optimisation. Advocacy delivers crucial information to key stakeholders and builds a force of loyal brand advocates who will go to market and recommend and refer your brand on your behalf.

Brand advocacy – the most powerful route to market growth

By Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital

As marketing communications becomes even more competitive, it’s more difficult for brands to stand out. Many smart brand professionals are incorporating strategic advocacy programmes into their plans. Advocacy is the process of transforming customers and internal stakeholders into brand advocates.

What is a brand advocate?

Brand advocates should not be confused with influencers. They are individuals who,

    • Elevate your brand through word of mouth and recommendations
    • Give positive reviews about your brand
    • Refer new customers.

While on the surface, this may seem to align closely with influencer marketing, it differs vastly in that brand advocates aren’t compensated for recommending your brand. Instead, they do so based on information, experience, loyalty and a strong belief that your product or service offering is positively life-changing.

Five groups of people who make effective brand advocates

Ideally, anyone that supports your brand and your business’s growth can become a brand advocate. However, for best results, these are the five people to focus on for your next advocacy campaign,

  1. Customers or end-users
  2. The strongest brand advocates aren’t affiliated with your brand. Instead, their support is genuine and deeply influential. 92% of customers seek recommendations from friends, family, colleagues and other customers before trying a product.

  3. Your customer’s customers
  4. A typical example of the B2B2C route to market, where fellow professionals such as doctors, pharmacists, dentists, brokers and sales teams recommend your brand to customers. These advocates may not be affiliated with your brand but based on their position of authority, they are powerful brand advocates who can influence end-users.

  5. Employees
  6. They are familiar with your brand’s culture and everything there is to know about your offering. They can be influential based on inside knowledge, making them ideal brand advocates. It’s important to nurture your internal advocates with ongoing internal advocacy campaigns.

  7. Branches and franchises
  8. Due to their deep-rooted knowledge of your brand and the culture behind your products or services, branches and franchises affect purchasing decisions based on being part of the bigger network. Again, a strong advocacy programme will ensure your business is getting the best out of these potential advocates.

  9. Business and brand partners

Comprised of charity organisations and other companies affiliated with your brand, these brand advocates are loyal because your brand has always been loyal to them, allowing them to recommend you to a larger target audience.

The above five groups of powerful advocates are best positioned to influence your target market, meet your marketing objectives and increase market share. Research by Forbes shows that 76% of people are more likely to trust information and recommendation by ‘normal’ people. This makes brand advocacy one of the most effective channels in any B2B, B2C or B2B2C marketing strategy.

Why should you consider brand advocacy for your company?

The right advocacy programme offers brands many short- and long-term benefits that are highly targeted, effective, build loyalty and brand recommendations. Advocacy programmes are proven to obtain a higher ROI on your marketing budget, and the benefits include;

    • New customer acquisitions
    • Build loyalty amongst existing customers
    • Communication with existing clients in a more tailored and personalised approach
    • Ignites learning and interest about your brand and its values
    • Encourages advocacy amongst internal and external stakeholders
    • Data insights gives you a deep understanding of each user and empowers you to optimise and improve results.

To find out how you can harness the power of brand advocates, talk to a team that’s leading the way with advocacy programmes for local and international brands.

Digital trends changing advocacy and CRM in 2020

By Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital

The year 2020 once seemed so far away — with flying cars, robots, video calling and even smart homes. Well, the future has arrived, and hasn’t changed much.

Especially in business.

No matter the sector or size, businesses rely heavily on customer loyalty. Loyalty can best be achieved by listening to customers, acknowledging their value and solving their needs.

Advocacy and Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) are smart strategies to create loyal customers and will give businesses the edge over competitors.

Here are three digital components that will give your advocacy and CRM strategy an extra boost and help take your business to the next level.

  1. Data
    Business can collect a vast amount of data on a single customer. Data has no meaning unless it is accurately mined for insights. And then using those insights to create new opportunities, that add value to customers on an ongoing basis. This will build brand love, affinity, loyalty and ultimately advocates.
  2. Artificial intelligence
    Artificial intelligence (AI) can enhance advocacy and CRM strategies. By integrating AI with advocacy and CRM, customers receive information on their device of choice at just the right time to add value to their lives.Effective AI and automation delivers personalised content triggered and delivered just when your customers need it most. A proven effective way to boost brand engagement and loyalty.
  3. Quality content
    Producing quality and authentic content is key to any CRM and advocacy marketing. Using the same insights mined from your data to inform engaging content creation then build that brand customer relationships by delivering content that adds real value.Adding to that, it’s essential for businesses to interrogate their content performance, and surprise their customers with what they’re not expecting, while at the same time always learning and refining their content process.

Technology will continue to impact businesses, and when used effectively can significantly assist businesses in achieving their objectives. Advocacy and CRM will become your most effective tools as they would embrace 4IR.

How content marketing creates advocacy

By Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital

In a digital age, with fleeting customer loyalty, businesses and brands are finding new ways to engage with their customers, while keeping them loyal to their products and services.

Loyalty cards are no longer enough.

Customers want to engage in a multi-dimensional and interactive world aligned with their brands of choice. Brands should take this opportunity to replace their loyalty card with an advocacy marketing platform, which gives them the perfect platform to engage with their customers.

When offering customers valuable and quality content on these platforms, they’re more likely to share this with their colleagues, friends and family, which opens brands up to new customers.

It’s essential for businesses and brands to engage and listen to their customers throughout the brand customer relationship.

An effective way to achieve this is through quality content marketing that ignites loyalty and advocacy. With a good content marketing strategy on an integrated platform, businesses can engage with current and prospective customers. By creating quality content, there is also a great opportunity to increase the sales base.

Content marketing is helpful as it also provides businesses with an opportunity to gain valuable insights into their customers. These insights can help enterprises to create tailored content for their customers, making them feel valued and gaining their trust.

With a mix of visual and text content, quality content marketing can include any of the following:

  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Case studies

Here are 7 ways in which content marketing can help you build brand loyalty with your customers:

  1. Create content that entertains and informs customers, build trust and an emotional connection with customers.
  2. With the right advocacy platform, and supporting channels, build a community where customers can engage with each other. They can share their successes, thoughts and experience with the business and its products and services.
  3. Reward customers for engaging with your brand, through giveaways, special promotions and invitations to events. Tailor these rewards to what your customers enjoy, based on the insights gathered through content marketing.
  4. Content marketing is a valuable way to position the business as an expert in the field.
  5. Brand advocacy offers a strong return on investment and increases brand value.
  6. It also gives a business a voice and personality.
  7. Word of mouth. Customers will share with friends, family and their social following when they come across great content marketing. This endorsement adds to a business’s brand integrity.

When it comes to advocacy, it’s not one size fits all. Not all content marketing types will work for your business. You’ll need to define what will work for your business and implement a cost and time effective strategy.

This strategy must suit your business needs and help meet the business objectives.

Integrating digital strategies with traditional advertising

By Samantha Fletcher, Client Service Director at G&G Digital

In the digital era, there is often a disconnect between traditional and digital strategies, resulting in mixed messages. This can impact negatively on the ROI of a campaign.

To avoid this, it’s essential to bridge the gap between traditional and digital. As more marketers see the value in a well-integrated campaign, they expect their creative ideas to transcend mediums such as out-of-home, TV and radio to social media, websites and streaming services.

How can your brand make this crossover?
While digital is instant, measurable and relatively cost effective, it is important to note that audiences have their channels of choice. To create effective campaigns that transcend digital and traditional, follow these insights.

  1. The active and passive approach
    When using traditional and digital channels, it’s essential that your brand remains relevant to different audiences, which often means younger audiences are reach via digital platforms, while still keeping in touch with core audiences through out-of-home and print advertising. Utilising a combination of traditional and digital platforms allows you to reach more potential customers through immediate digital communication, (which is active) and create brand awareness through traditional channels (more passive). But you must bridge the gap with a single-defining-idea central to all channels.
  2. Multiple channels of communication
    Instead of placing all your communication eggs in one basket and hoping for the best, it’s vital to split your communication through different channels. This allows for different media formats such as video, static and print, but also reaches a larger audience through their preferred platforms. For instance, digital platforms will attract a new market as consumers prefer to do their own research on your brand, whereas traditional platforms cement the legacy of your brand through smart and effective creative.
  3. Make it better, but personal
    In an era of fast-fashion, fast-food and instant messaging, your brand needs to set itself apart through personalisation. Consumers aren’t interest in mass-marketed, mass-produced content. They want an experience tailored to them that feels exclusive and personal. Digital allows marketing professionals and their agencies to interrogate data, understand user behaviours and personalise outputs based on insights.

By integrating these core insights into your marketing strategies, you have the ability to own and earn media, communicate directly with your audiences and create kickass campaigns that communicate with different generations.

To harness the power of integrated traditional and digital communications for your brand, get in touch with the team that knows how to take your brand from billboards to borderless devices.

What the future of PR means for brands

By Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital

Public relations has changed considerably the past few years and is presenting exciting times for business and brands.

This change is primarily driven by technology and how content is consumed by audiences rushing towards digital platforms for information that interests them.

With the power of mobile devices, the idea of sending out press releases is simply behind the times. Younger audiences are all about instant gratification – wanting what they want, when they want it.

Traditional outward-bound PR is outdated, and brands should meet audiences where they’re consuming content. This will ensure marketing professionals are one step ahead and futureproofing their brands for today’s digital tech-savvy consumer.

Here are 4 steps to ensure your brands are ready.

  1. Tell stories
    Engaging storytelling is key. In an era of fake news and consumers increasing mistrust of businesses and brands, good storytelling is vital. Share well-structured, authentic and engaging stories that consumers are interested in, and ensure your content reaches the right audience at the right time to have maximum positive impact.
  2. Add value
    There’s no better time for your brand’s PR to incorporate all types of media into your strategies – paid, earned, shared and owned. This provides the opportunity to address all brand touch points and keep track of reach, frequency and conversion, calculating return of investment and offering meaningful value to your brand.
  3. Manage reputations
    A brand crisis can happen in the blink of an eye, and through social media, reputational damage can spread in a matter of minutes. It’s important for marketing professionals to be ready to address any PR fall-out as soon as possible. This means a smart and strategic crisis communication plan and upskilling staff with the tools to address any crisis, in all channels immediately.
  4. Influencer marketing
    The impact influencers can have on brands should not be underestimated. It’s important to cultivate win-win relationships with relevant influencers, who can provide access to their target audience.

With the Internet of Things and other game-changing technology, the future of PR is uncertain in terms of how it will continue to be affected by technology and social trends. That said, the future is exciting and the opportunities for brands to breakthrough with smart digital-savvy PR strategies has never been better.
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Why businesses are shifting their training to digital

By Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital

Think of the world’s most successful businesses, not only do they pursue growth through innovation, they constantly evolve through adopting modern techniques to upskill their employees.

Does this mean the trusted tradition of long in-classroom presentations and training programmes are now defunct?

The answer is a resounding yes. Digital online learning platforms are replacing impractical and expensive training lessons. It not only saves on costs, but also appeals to millennials, who, according to a recent study by Forbes, will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020.

What’s more, millennials are inclined to learn better through interactive platforms that include video content and gamification, easily accessible on their mobile devices.

Here are 4 reasons you should go digital with your training.

  1. Personalisation
    As with retail and on-demand services, millennials seek content and products that are personalised for them. This echoes the old adage that not everybody absorbs information the same way.
    When it comes to employees, each brings a different skillset to the table, it makes sense that complete educational content should align with their role in your organisation. Personalised learning goes a step beyond digital teaching. It allows employees to consume information that is meaningful and relatable, much like online shopping tailored to search algorithms.
  2. Update content faster
    There’s nothing more annoying than learning from content that hasn’t been updated in years. The content you teach, should be relevant to the growth you wish to achieve. Through eLearning, you’re able to update content regularly and inexpensively as the world evolves and keeps up with trends.
    This saves your business money, time and creates a team of employees that are in tune with the progression of your industry.
  3. Performance tracking
    In the past, the performance of employees was tracked through exams or seeing the learned skills implemented in your organisation, so how do you know if your digital training is successful?
    Digital, by its nature, is measurable with built-in analytics, you’ll be able to receive reports on the following:
    – Percentage of employees that have completed the programme
    – The amount of time spent on training material
    – Which sections were difficult and easy
    – What the reasons for abandoning their training was
    This data allows you to further improve your digital training programmes and ensure employees obtain the most from them.
  4. Millennials hate traditional learning programmes
    As with everything else millennials have strong opinions on, what works for them and how learning programmes should be adapted.
    Ignoring feedback poses a tremendous disservice to your organisation, simply because millennials are the future. When they’re not working, they’re absorbing information from a variety of platforms or devices and will switch between types of mediums at least 25 times an hour.

What’s vital with online learning is to create learning content that is interactive, diverse and includes videos, gamification and even a small amount of traditional content. This keeps them engaged and results in information being absorbed at their pace.

Before your organisation gets left behind, digitize your training and benefit from a team that is perfectly skilled to perform at their best so you can achieve organisational results.

Why customer relationship marketing is vital for business

By Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital

The average person is bombarded by 5000 or more advertising messages every day, which is why it has become important for brands and businesses to focus on personalised, highly targeted communications that talks to individuals and not target audiences.

At G&G we’re seeing a need for more Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) and proactive communications in the B2B, B2C and B2B2C space.

People (not target markets) want to know their brand understands them and notice it when their brands talk to them, not at them.

CRM is essential for improving customer satisfaction and to build relationships which is better done by the following,

  • Analysing data and insights to understand customers and potential customers
  • Dramatically improve communications
  • Hyper-individualisation so customers feel valued and appreciated because their brand understand them
  • Learn more about who your consumers are and what they want, making it much easier to communicate with them on a more personal and direct manner.

CRM is vital as consumers continue to embrace digital and new technologies. Consumers are very decisive and selective when it comes to the content they consume and the purchases they make online.

Here are four reasons why you should make CRM an important part of your marketing strategy.

  1. Target the right user at the right time
    Personalised, rich and useful content will not only improve customer experience but also assist in turning the user into a paying customer, and for better taking care of your customers. A happy and satisfied customer is more likely to continue to trust you AND recommend you to others.
  2. Retain customers
    Use the information customers provide and their behaviour to predict their next interaction with your brand. CRM can do this and when applied correctly encourages customer loyalty and builds long-term relationships.
  3. Use data to your advantage
    CRM is data rich and using that data, marketing professionals and their agencies can understand how customers and potential customers interact. These reports indicate what works efficiently and what elements need improvement. Knowing this and making the necessary optimisations will make the customer experience with your brand more enjoyable.
  4. Use education and information to your advantage
    CRM and online learning programmes are an excellent tool for B2B and B2B2C brands who can inform, convince and create strong advocates for your brand.

With so much content marketing out there, you can make your brand breakthrough with more optimised, targeted customer relationship marketing, by ensuring your customers and potential customers value their experience when interacting with your brand. With CRM you can nurture valued experiences, nurture relationships with your brand and create brand advocates. The result? Happy and satisfied customers who return to your brand for the long term. After all the cost of acquiring a customer is usually so much more than keeping on.