Two years, one flood, some jelly and 100 blog posts.

Two years, one flood, some jelly and 100 blog posts.

When I started this blog two years ago, social media was still perceived as a narcissistic time-suck rather than a useful tool for engaging with customers and prospects. Putting up a website was a one-time event instead of an ongoing process. Blogging was just beginning to be seen as a viable publishing platform for business. Since I didn’t really know where this blog would go, I named it “Lucid at Random,” to cover my butt. And I just started writing. The first post, “Jelly! We need more jelly!” was about how Facebook and Twitter connected people during an epic flood; I drank the Kool-Aid on social media then and there. Since then, it has become a combination of marketing tips, critiques, and the occasional rant on bad writing and bone-headed business practices… sort of a magazine in small, sometimes cranky installments. Most people would rather have minor dental work done or clean the garage than write for business. I happen to love writing and (please, dear God) have gleaned some useful knowledge in over thirty years in the marketing profession. The tools have changed; when I started, newspapers were being assembled on art boards and corporations could control the spin. Now, anybody with a keyboard has a platform, and consumers get to talk back. It’s an exciting time. But there are no magic bullets in marketing. (Here’s where you either bail or go get a fresh cup of coffee and read on.) It takes planning, investment, and consistent effort; it takes energy. Truth be told, I spend so much time helping other people with their marketing that I often neglect my own; some prospects and even some customers don’t really know what all I do, and that’s my fault. So, here are some “back issues” of Lucid at Random that show that in a deeper way than portfolio shots can; if you find anything of value, please subscribe via email or RSS (look to your left). And please do comment. Advertising: What’s In It for Me? | The #1 Biggest Mistake in Advertising | Simple is Hard Blogging: 5 Reasons to Blog for Business | 10 More Reasons | Branding: A Perfect Brand Falls from Grace | How Well Do You Guard Your Brand? | 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Kill Your Brand | Brand Bullies Business Practices: Why Bartering is a Bad Idea | When to Fire a Client | It’s All Marketing Business Writing: Without Further Adieu | How to Write Killer Headlines | How Twitter Can Improve Your Writing | 3 Fastest Ways to Cheapen Your Writing Content Management: Content is King | Freshness Counts | 7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Leave Content Management to the Intern Social Media: I...

Read More

Five reasons content management shouldn't be left to the intern.

Five reasons content management shouldn't be left to the intern.

Most companies hand off their social media, blog, e-news and other web content to the most “tech savvy” person in the office – usually the youngest, maybe even an intern. That person becomes the de facto brand manager. But being fearless on the internet isn’t the only skill required for the job of content manager, or even the most important one: branding experience is. People who grew up in an all-digital age are so comfortable with the technology that they sometimes have trouble separating themselves from the persona of the company they work for. Living online removes certain barriers (like needing a library card to find information), but the lack of boundaries and no experience with maintaining a strategically crafted brand “voice” can spell disaster. It may not result in a monumental customer service fail, but it might. The more likely scenario is that managing online content without guidelines simply erodes the investment made so far in the brand. What Your Online Content Manager (Brand Manager, Really) Should Consider The Voice of the Brand – Who is speaking? Is it one clearly identifiable person? Why, or why not? And to whom are they speaking… donors? moms? video-gamers? Tone & Style – Is your brand fun and funky, cute, or corporate and buttoned-up? Spelling & Grammar – Mistakes erode credibility. Every time. Subject Matter – A nonprofit group that serves the homeless really doesn’t need to talk about the best Super Bowl ads. Decide which four or five topics make sense to your readers and stick with those. Legal Issues – Are your reposts done with proper attribution and link-backs? Do the images you use come from paid-for or uncopyrighted sources? Are there proper disclosures and disclaimers for every post? Good internet skills are, by now, the bare minimum for employment and don’t qualify someone to manage a brand. If you need help putting together guidelines for content management for your staff, there is...

Read More

Your customers are missing you on social media.

Your customers are missing you on social media.

When it comes to social media, business owners often wonder, “Am I posting too much?” If your followers and “likes” are increasing, the answer is no. In fact, you may not be posting enough, especially if your customers use your social media channels for customer service. HuffPo reports that 78% of consumers believe that social media will either replace other customer service avenues or become the dominant one. And, 50% of everybody interacts with a brand via social media. If your business has a social media presence, it has a customer service channel. It is an open door, and sometimes unhappy customers walk through it with a bullhorn. That’s an opportunity. Don’t take down negative comments; show how well you handle complaints. (Taking down negative comments destroys credibility.) If all the complaints are negative, you have an opportunity to fix something that’s seriously broken. Now that you’ve given your customers — and prospects — a way to interact with your business, stay in touch. Post relevant, useful information that makes them happy. We can help you keep the conversation going. Join us on Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter @LucidKim |...

Read More

Branding, from the mouths of babes.

Branding, from the mouths of babes.

When 3-1/2 year old Lily Robinson noticed that the “Tiger Bread” at Sainsbury’s looked more like the pattern on a giraffe, her mom helped her write a letter to the UK grocery chain to ask why the name didn’t fit the product. Her mom also put up a Facebook page to campaign far a name change. The chain listened, changed the product’s name, and sent Lily a gift card for her suggestion. This isn’t just another story about the power of social media: it’s about how a company listens to the consumer. Sainsbury’s listened, changed a brand, and gained tremendous goodwill… and a marketing opportunity. Isn’t this how marketing should always...

Read More

Splash! Concrete Network does email marketing right.

Splash! Concrete Network does email marketing right.

Concrete may not sound like a very interesting subject; the word fetches up images of cold, hard, boring grey – but not the way Concrete Network talks about it. Their newsletters make what seems to be an industrial material into a warm, colorful, fascinating thing. The content is fabulous, full of gorgeous pictures of creative uses of concrete. The newsletters are personalized, and they come at just the right frequency. There are links to all kinds of useful information, and this month’s issue has a seasonal theme. The writing is snappy, and it’s easy to share and to subscribe. The whole newsletter feels like a mini-website. This is the way to do email marketing. For help with your email marketing, click here. | Join us on...

Read More