Trust and Places: Do People Really Notice?

I believe people DO notice the places/destinations that inspire trust. In fact, they reward those places that emit an aire of trust with brand loyalty in their decisions to come to your place and to spend money there, and brand advocacy in their social networking interactions.

Continue Reading April 4, 2014 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

5 Questions Every Place Must Answer to Stay “Alive”

by Rob Wolfe – Connected Places Global

The goal of any place or destination – city, neighborhood, venue, or recreational spot – should be to create excitement that motivates and includes all the right people to engage them in making and keeping your place vibrant, distinctive, and inviting.

5 Questions Every Place Must Answer to Stay "Alive"
Photo Source: Deluth, Georgia Community Page

Simply put, the primary goal of any place is to keep it “alive.”
Your desired outcome should be social appeal that:

  • Attracts and retains visitors, residents, and/or businesses
  • Enables them to create unique personal experiences and lasting memories every time they interact with your place
  • Nurtures their loyalty to your place through an ever-evolving emotional connection, and
  • Makes your place a top-of-mind destination of choice.

By collecting several quotes related to places and people (and the feelings that inspire people), and by interpreting from those quotes five significant placemaking concepts, I’ve come up with five questions that I believe every place must answer to remain relevant, unique, and connected to the people who matter most.

I propose that ongoing development of your strategy and your tactical placemaking initiatives should always be focused on answering these questions, whether through periodic formal meetings to reach consensus on the answers and establish an action plan, or through informal gatherings of your stakeholder groups to maintain the bonds among people and ensure unstoppable collaboration.

  1. Is our place “illuminated brightly” with art, music and events to keep people coming back?

    “Life is a lot more interesting if you are interested in the people and the places around you. So, illuminate your little patch of ground, the people that you know, the things that you want to commemorate. Light them up with your art, with your music, with your writing, with whatever it is that you do.”
    ~ Alan Moore

    “Every place is given its character by certain patterns of events that keep on happening there. The more living patterns there are in a place…the more it comes to life as an entirety, the more it glows, the more it has that self-maintaining fire which is the quality without a name.”
    ~ Christopher Alexander

    “The arts can play a vital role in revitalizing neighborhoods, using and improving vacant space, bringing new jobs and new sense of opportunity, and improving public safety by generating more foot traffic and more eyes on the street.”
    ~ Gavin Newsom

  2. Do our streets, public areas, or venues have an “inspirational vibe”?

    “Streets and their sidewalks, the main public spaces of a city, are its most vital organs.”
    ~ Jane Jacobs

    “I’m greedy about cities – I like to form my impressions of them on my own, and on foot as far as possible, looking and listening, having conversations with bridges and streets and riverbanks, conversations I tend not to be aware of until a little later, when I find myself returning to those places to say hello again, even if only in memory.”
    ~ Helen Oyeyemi

    “We can make our cities diverse, inspirational places by putting art, dance and performance in all its forms into the matrix of street life.”
    ~ Antony Gormley

  3. Are we providing cultural vessels in both our new designs and our reinvented spaces?

    “I think you need to, as an architect, understand the essence of a place and create a building that feels like it resonates with the culture of a place.”
    ~ Moshe Safdie

    “A true architect is not an artist but an optimistic realist. They take a diverse number of stakeholders, extract needs, concerns, and dreams, then create a beautiful yet tangible solution that is loved by the users and the community at large. We create vessels in which life happens.”
    ~ Cameron Sinclair

  4. Does our place enable people to create their own experiences & stories to tell?

    “I’ve been a big fan always of getting my camera in different places and trying to seek the unusual vantage point.”
    ~ Joe McNally

    “Most of the places I’ve been, I’ve been a main piece of the puzzle.”
    ~ Eric Davis

  5. Does our place keep its promise to the people who matter most to us?

    “The thing about tourism is that the reality of a place is quite different from the mythology of it.”
    ~ Martin Parr

    “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”
    ~ Ken Kesey

    “That right relationship between people and the places where they gather and inhabit offers the potential for transformative action.”
    vv~ Powers of Place (powersofplace.com)

PLEASE JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION:

  • Do you agree that answering these five questions are valuable for helping any place establish focus and direction for their future planning?
  • Do you think there are other equally important or more important questions that any place needs to answer to stay “alive”?
  • Do you have any advice to offer to build upon any of the placemaking concepts covered by these questions?

 

June 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm Leave a comment

5 Ways to Use ‘Story Power’ to Connect People With Your Place

by Rob Wolfe – Connected Places Global

 “Whoever tells the best story wins.” – John Quincy Adams

Story Power
There is a non-stoppable and growing trend of collaboration between places and their “fans” who help create stories for and on behalf of the brand to promote awareness and growth. Stories are among the most powerful brand elements that must be present to establish your place’s personality and reinforce your brand’s promise. Through storytelling, people share their experiences related to your place, those experiences trigger emotions from and a connection with other people, and the snowball effect of that connection invites and draws more people to your place.

While this may not be a new revelation for you, are you really doing all you can to make the best use of truly valuable storytelling in your Placemaking initiatives?

  1. Let the people tell you WHY.
    Destination marketers must play a pivotal community leadership role by collecting and sharing the best stories of WHY, not just WHAT. Rather than focusing on telling your target market what make’s your place so great through your own marketing messages — on your website, in your marketing collateral, or in your social media postings — let them tell you THEIR stories. This will allow you to connect with people through your shared passions about why your place is special, their personal experiences with your place, and will ultimately help you build lasting relationships with them. It can also create ideas and momentum to drive your marketing campaigns.
  2. Co-create new stories about your place with the people.
    According to Mark Lightowler, site author of Storytelling To Create Impact Brands, the best way of creating relevance for your brand is to ensure your brand plays a part in your target audience’s personal story. It is not just about you creating a great story for your brand, but about knowing your audience and their story and how your brand fits into that story. He suggests that you engage with your clients [residents, visitors, businesses] to create a new story together. This new co-created story is the one that gets told by the people in your target market to their networks, getting your brand closer to even more people.
  3. Let peoples’ stories drive innovative Placemaking.
    Build resident and visitor communities on your website and social media sites to encourage the exchange of stories and ideas from the people. Post polls/surveys to get their opinions about the positive and not-so-positive aspects of your place to generate discussion and reveal the areas on which your Placemaking efforts should focus. Establish contests to invite residents, visitors, and businesses to propose projects that can boost the image of your place as a whole or of a particular ‘hidden gem’ that just needs some creative attention.
  4. Listen and respond in your social media channels.
    Encourage all stakeholders to participate in the discussions about your place, its activities, and what it offers. Let them know you care about their personal experiences and ideas and how you can apply them to improving your brand and building a destination of choice. This will result in establishing the critical emotional connection with the people who matter most, enable you to achieve likeability among them, and strengthen their loyalty to your place brand.
  5. Harvest the enthusiasm of local hearts and minds.
    Many places have experimented with “community journalism”, with publications and local news outlets encouraging and even hiring locals to help develop and serve their communities. Some of these initiatives have not been as successful as hoped, but I believe community-member ‘journalists’ are capable of capturing the true essence of a place and what’s going on there. Places just need a well-established plan for managing these news sources, and ensuring the appropriateness, credibility and accuracy of the information reported. They also need well-developed and reliable public relations and risk management plans for addressing public response to these home-grown stories that can potentially either portray the positive realities of a place or otherwise tarnish its brand identity.

Do you agree or disagree with the potential value of any of the ideas I’ve presented here? Do you have other suggestions for using story power to connect people with places?

October 8, 2014 at 10:42 am 1 comment

5 Tips to Ensure Your Place Brand is Of the People, By the People, For the People

by Rob Wolfe – Connected Places Global

[This article was originally published on PlacesBrands.]
5 Tips to Ensure Your Place Brand is Of the People By the People For the PeopleAbraham Lincoln’s unforgettable 1863 Gettysburg Address speech ended with the words “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” I assert that this notion also applies to place branding for your neighborhood, community, or city. Here, I provide 5 tips for people-focused branding, which is vital for destination branding success and for ensuring your branding initiative does not perish.

Place branding is not about coming up with a catchy logo or slogan. Ultimately, destination brands are about PEOPLE. Every single visitor and the population that lives and works there now—those are the people who make your destination what it is.

  1. Involve ALL key stakeholders who can impact your brand identity.
  2. At a minimum, your key stakeholders should include your destination’s local residents, local business owners, current loyal visitors, cultural/special event organizers, DMOs/local tourism groups, economic developers, and other local government entities (because of the potential economic impact of branding your community). While the great diversity among stakeholders makes the all-inclusive approach more complex because of probable fragmented stakeholder relationships, questions such as who are we, and what are other people’s perceptions of us, what promises do we make, and what sets us apart from other places are questions that have to be answered by and agreed to by your place’s core stakeholders.

    Two critical principles are Partnership and Shared Vision. The stakeholders need to work together using a partnership approach, to ensure buy-in and brand credibility. They must also share a vision, be committed to it, and take co-responsibility for the future of the place in order to formulate a clear brand strategy.

  3. Don’t just view your place and your brand from your own internal perspective.
  4. Avoid just promoting a perception that YOU have of your place. Consider how you view your place versus how your target market views it. Through market research, have potential clients (both internal and external) identify in their own words their most important motivational factor(s) for visiting, residing in, or setting up shop in your community. Gain an understanding of any issues they think currently exist for your brand. Get tourist/visitor perceptions of your destination, and opinions on what your brand stands for in their minds.

  5. Include stories and experiences from visitors, residents, and local businesses, and embrace the experiences shared by others about your place on social media and travel rating sites.
  6. Ask both locals and visitors to help shape the story of your place and your brand image, crafting a story about the reality of your place’s reputation, and making them an equal part of the story…because today destination authenticity is designed organically on the street. It’s the collective stories that make-up the experiences of the people in a community that are the real, enduring brand essence…the ones that people will build a reputation monument to.

    Greg Robeson, in his article Destination Branding: Find Your Unique Voice, suggests having locals and visitors wander the streets with a camera/video recorder, getting lost like a first-time visitor might. Have them record what they see, and not necessarily in the usual visitor spots or hangouts. This will tell a deeper and richer story of your place.

    Also, collect written and audio/video testimonials and pictures from insiders and outsiders that can help sell your place and its hidden gems by demonstrating authenticity and differentiation. Get connected with social travel review sites, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc., which allow clients of your destination an opportunity to spark authentic conversation about your place based on their perceptions and experiences. Be sure to monitor these conversations and respond to the people who review your place to foster real engagement and to build trust with your brand.

  7. Make sure that locals live the brand and take pride in your place.
  8. Don’t underestimate the value of locals in co-creating a brand identity that matters to them. Involve them as much as possible and they will become ambassadors for your place, spreading the word and making your place more attractive to outsiders who you wish to draw in.

    Internal selling of your brand is necessary to ensure they are 100% behind the eventual brand vision and are enthusiastic supporters of their own brand. Also, make sure that the community (its people and businesses) use similar, consistent, and compelling messages to deliver the brand promise. Finally, be aware that outsiders visiting your place are attuned to the behavior of your current citizens and the way they treat the non-locals in their home community.

  9. Make an emotional connection with your target market, which should include the local residents and businesses you want to stay to maintain your place’s distinct identity.
  10. It’s all about delivering an exceptional experience that is memorable and emotional to the proper niche. It’s also about crafting a unique picture of your place at every level of interaction with the people you target. Destination branding initiatives often fail because leaders try to turn a place into something that is everything for everyone.

    In his book, Destination Branding for Small Cities, Bill Baker suggests that it’s better to target and attract the right people from the beginning, as opposed to trying to attract everyone and not delivering for some of them. Identify markets (visitor, resident, business) that fit the existing destination experiences and align with existing community values. Create a brand that truly uncovers what makes your destination special, so potential clients feel the emotional connection both in the marketing messages and through the experience they have when they’re in your place.

The actions of people speak louder than words – and speak louder than any logo or slogan.

Do you agree or disagree with the principles of any of these tips about who to include or why? Do you have any other suggestions for making a place’s brand people-focused?

January 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

Collaboration is Vital to Brand Consistency: Snapzen to the Rescue!

by Rob Wolfe – Connected Places Global

[This is a review of what I believe is an effective, free brand management product that you should check out today – Snapzen.  I feel it’s a product that can add great value to your branding efforts, when combined with a well-developed collaboration plan that includes all the appropriate stakeholders for your brand.]

Snapzen for Brand Consistency and Collaboration

A simple example of how Snapzen comments can be used to spark discussion as part of the collaboration process to ensure brand consistency. (Click on image to view larger version)

How is your company being characterized in articles, blogs, and social media conversation? What are clients/customers saying about your brand? Is your brand communication and messaging consistent across all marketing and social channels? How does your brand compare with your competitors’ brands? What are the current trends or hot topics in effective branding? How can capturing, evaluating and discussing relevant articles news content published on the web help you to grow your brand? These are questions you must visit and respond to on a regular basis. Brand collaboration, which is vital to your brand’s consistency and success in building trust and loyalty among your client/customers, must be an ongoing, real-time collection of observations and discussions involving various groups within your business as well as external clients or stakeholders.

According to Libby Gill, author of the book Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow:  The key to providing consistent [brand] value…is to build a culture of collaboration. If you stick only to your inner circle to discuss challenges or to brainstorm possibilities, you are likely to get answers similar to the ones you’ve come up with in the past. But by broadening the collaborative circle and inviting opinions from people who might offer dissenting views or new information, you’re a lot more likely to enterprise new solutions for your clients. Once you’ve opened the pipeline of rigorous conversation and idea sharing, you’ll want to capture all the great insights you’re having. Put the proper tools in place, or you risk losing all that great brainpower.

With Snapzen, you can avoid losing those conversations, ideas, and brainpower that Gill refers to because it enables teams (including both internal and external stakeholders of your brand) to arrive at conclusions and develop action plans together. With Snapzen, your brand stakeholders can share in an ongoing process of learning and thinking about the brand within the context of trends, shifting markets, and competition. So when it comes time to take action with your branding or brand positioning, stakeholders already share a common perspective of the status quo and the sparks to fuel consideration of alternatives to help grow your brand. Delivering and maintaining brand consistency becomes an ongoing collaborative effort.

Snapzen,  a free product currently available for use with Google Chrome (extension), allows you to engage in brand collaboration using a few simple steps:

  • Brand stakeholders take web page Snapshots and add highlights and comments right from the browser.
  • Simply invite team members to share in discussion and respond to your comments and let Snapzen take care of participation with automated reminders and dashboards for participants.
  • Review snapshots, highlights, and comments together, gathering opinions and ideas from everyone who has a stake in your brand’s success.
  • Form conclusions together on which branding best practices to follow and how to fix brand inconsistencies. Teams rally around your branding initiatives since they are actively part of the discussion.
  • Snapzen publishes the conclusions with snapshots for easy access to action items to help you and your team ensure the consistency and credibility of your brand.

Benefits of Using Snapzen for Brand Collaboration and Consistency

I feel that using Snapzen for true ongoing collaboration will benefit your business by: involving all stakeholders (both internal and external) in your branding discussions, differentiating your business by giving your brand an identity and personality that matters to your clients/customers, and bringing new perspectives and fresh ideas to your branding process by using visual cues to fuel comments and discussions and help your team develop meaningful action items based on the collective wisdom of all your brand’s stakeholders. Branding and brand consistency are much more than about the use of your logos or colors, the look of your website or social media sites, or other marketing collateral. What’s crucial is that clients/customers have the same brand experience regardless of the touchpoints at which they have interactions with your business. Brand consistency can help build brand loyalty and trust between you and your clients, and can ultimately lead them to advocate or recommend your business to others.

Marc Sachnoff, Founder & CEO Modern Wisdom Systems, has this to say about Snapzen, “The best way to build a great website and brand is to carefully study what others are already doing. This includes potential competitors, trend-makers and informative examples from complementary industries. Snapzen allows our team to engage in a deeper level of dialogue on the relative merits and features of brands and websites.”

I asked Andrew Olivares of the Snapzen team what he believes makes this product unique: “We are unique in that we combine BOTH the visual content curation AND communication aspects to create a simple one stop collaboration product that drives conversations with visuals.” He added that the team feels that what may seem like competition for Snapzen are email, file sharing, and other screen capture tools. I asked specifically about some tools that could potentially be used for capturing content for branding discussions, such as Scoop.it, Snagit, Pinterest, and Smartimage (which markets itself as a tool that can be used for ensuring brand consistency). Olivares commented that their team considers Smartimage as more of a file sharing product that connects the marketers to the designers through image galleries, and that Scoop.it and Snagit are more for content curation and not deliberate brand collaboration. I agree with the Snapzen team that their product’s real collaboration features make theirs a unique alternative to the useful but otherwise straight content curation tools currently available.

In addition to collaboration for brand consistency, Snapzen can also be used for collaboration for brand asset management, marketing analysis, product management, competitive analysis, website review and design, and advertising analysis. You can follow Snapzen on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

December 11, 2013 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

2014 Marketing Conferences and Branding Conferences: Stay on Top of the Trends

by Rob Wolfe – Connected Places Global

2014 Marketing Conferences and Branding Conferences
[Updated 1/12/2014] Bookmark this page and check back regularly, as I am periodically updating it to add new 2014 marketing-related conferences & events as I become aware of them.

Last year, I published a list of 2013 Marketing Conferences for you to check out. It turned out to be one of my most viewed articles of the year, which made me realize marketers are always looking for marketing-related conferences to attend or follow.

So, here I provide a listing of marketing- and branding-related conferences planned for 2014 in the U.S.–a set of exciting professional gatherings with relevant and diverse content, perfect for motivating you and your marketing department to help drive success for your business in 2014, helping you stay abreast of current and expected trends in areas related to marketing, and providing opportunities for connecting with other ambitious business leaders.

Note: This listing is in no way comprehensive. There are many other important marketing events occurring during 2014.  Please feel free to comment on this post to provide info for any other marketing conferences, including dates and URLs, that readers should consider attending or following in 2014.

January 2014

New Media Expo – NMX 2014
January 4-6, 2014 | Las Vegas, NV
http://nmxlive.com/2014-lv/

The media world has changed a lot in recent years. Blogging, podcasting, web series and other online entertainment platforms have taken over. Where once they were a niche market, they are now standard forms of communication and even business. NMX celebrates them all, while connecting people involved in the industry with one another. Content Creation, Distribution, Monetization, and Networking. Plus the New Media Expo Trade Show.

Social Media Insider Summit
January 29-February 1, 2014 | South Seas Island Resort, FL
http://www.mediapost.com/socialmediainsidersummit/

Succeed right now in your social media marketing efforts. Hear case studies from leading brands who have been able to turn social media campaigns into results, how to be an always-on brand, what to do with all that data, plus the latest tips and tricks for running branded communities. Build relationships with top-tier brand marketers and industry innovators in social media.

AMA Leading the Marketing Planning Initiative
January 30-31, 2014 | San Francisco, CA
http://www.marketingpower.com/Calendar/Pages/2014_ts_Leading-the-Marketing-Planning-Initiative—San-Francisco.aspx

  • How can you lead and influence the success of your organization’s marketing planning process?
  • Who are your critical organization partners in planning, and how can you motivate their participation and cooperation?
  • What is the current thinking on key elements of a marketing plan, and how and why is each element critical to the process?
  • Where can you source information for the various parts of the plan?
  • What should you leave in or leave out?
  • How should you “package” the plan for upper-management and broad organizational buy-in and action?

ISBM Fundamentals of B2B Marketing: Building a Marketing Plan
January 30-31, 2014 | Pittsburgh, PA
http://isbm.smeal.psu.edu/professional-development/business-to-business-marketing-a-201-overview

Built on significant B-to-B cases, this event provides a complete overview of the entire process, tools, and practice of business-to-business marketing. Following the ISBM “Value Delivery Framework,” this course begins with a foundation on understanding value: in your markets, in your customers, in your firm. Tools and techniques for quantifying the total value of an offering in a market, and pricing to value are introduced and illustrated with B-to-B case examples. It then moves to cover value based segmentation – approaches for selecting and targeting the most valuable customers for your firm. And… how to build offerings that serve their needs, and position your offerings distinctly from those of competitors. Communication and delivering value – approaches to Integrated Market Communications and Brand Management in business-to-business markets are part of the course. Managing business-to-business life cycles are covered: product lifecycles, customer lifecycle, market lifecycles.

February 2014

Social Media Strategies Summit
February 4-6, 2014 | Las Vegas, NV
http://socialmediastrategiessummit.com/las-vegas-2014.html

  • Gain insights into what leading brands are doing within the social media space
  • Meet valuable business contacts and network with leading industry experts
  • Topics covered include: Social Media Strategy Development, Latest Social Media Management Tools, Social Marketing and Sales Strategies, Emerging Technologies and Social Media Innovations, Customer Engagement Strategies
  • Tweet and engage with other attendees while you work – a truly social summit
  • Keep up with industry trends

MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Summit
February 17-20, 2014 | Las Vegas, NV
http://www.meclabs.com/training/marketing-summit/email-summit-2014/overview

The world’s longest-running research-based email marketing event. A full slate of sessions aimed at overcoming your top email challenges with live optimization, case studies, quick-win clinics, bonus sessions, expert panels and more:

  • Live Testing & Coaching Clinics: All attendees will participate in an email test, including treatment designs, test launch, results tracking and analysis. Take advantage of our unique one-on-one coaching clinics where you can receive a personal consultation and expert advice on your own email program, including new ideas, quick-win suggestions and more.
  • Professional Certification Workshops: Email Messaging Certification, Lead Management Certification, Landing Page Optimization Certification
  • Roundtable Discussions: Join your peers from around the world and subject-matter experts to discuss critical topics including what is and isn’t working email marketing today

Online Marketing Summit – Tech Marketing 360
February 18-20, 2014 | Dana Point, CA
http://www.onlinemarketingsummit.com/

Discover the most current and cutting-edge innovations and strategies to drive marketing success. Topics include social, mobile, big data and analytics, content marketing, leadership, bridging the gap between traditional and digital, identifying the new decision maker, and more. Attend educational sessions across five tracks, hear inspirational keynotes, meet with top industry sponsors, and engage with your peers at special networking receptions.

2014 ANA Brand Masters Conference
February 26-28, 2014 | Hollywood, FL
http://www.ana.net/conference/show/id/BIC-MAR14

Will bring together leading CMOs and marketing thought leaders to share inspirational approaches to brand building that drive sales, profitability, and return on investment. Top marketers and industry experts will reveal how they navigate through customer insights, data analytics and technology to engage customers and grow their business. You will also have the opportunity to network with your peers and walk away with actionable tips to take back to your organization.

March 2014

AMA Analytics with Purpose: Behavioral Insight to Advantage
March 2-4, 2014 | Coronado, CA
http://www.marketingpower.com/Calendar/Pages/analytics-with-purpose-II.aspx

Analytics with Purpose will discuss not only Big Data, analytics and where it’s going, but more importantly, to reveal how leading practitioners are making data actionable for uncovering behavioral insights that lead to business advantage.

  • Making Social Media Actionable
  • Web Analytics
  • Online and Field Experiments
  • Marketing Analytics Essentials
  • Using Big Data to Tell a Story
  • Text Analytics
  • Own, Paid and Earned Media

BRITE ’14 Conference: Brands, Innovation, Technology
March 3-4, 2014 | Columbia University, New York City
http://www.briteconference.com/BRITE14/

BRITE provides attendees with engaging presentations that will stimulate their thinking when they return to the office to work on strengthening their own brands. Our speakers come equipped with inspiring stories, creative content, and universal insights that show how innovative strategies and tactics can help build all kinds of brands, whether they are people, places, products, services or ideas.

SMX West – Search Marketing Expo
March 11-13, 2014 | San Jose, CA
http://searchmarketingexpo.com/west/

SMX West content is so compelling, you’ll want to implement what you’ve learned before leaving the conference. Dramatically increase the number of people who come to your site with ROI enhancing paid search advertising and search engine optimization techniques and best practices. Personalize your SMX West experience. Attend any of the more than 50 sessions and keynotes that suit your needs and maximize your investment. There are sessions just for you – whether you’re new to search or an experienced internet marketer, employed at a Fortune 500 company or run your own business or agency.

Loyalty360 Loyalty Expo
March 17-19, 2014 | Orlando, FL
http://loyaltyexpo.com/

Presented by Loyalty 360 – The Loyalty Marketer’s Association, Loyalty Expo is a true Voice of the Customer-driven, best practice-focused customer loyalty and reward conference. By attending, you’ll have the opportunity to network with hundreds of your fellow marketers and hear how they are reaching their customer relationship-building goals. Market leaders will be sharing their experiences and insights on customer retention strategies and trends. Attendees will leave Loyalty Expo with an understanding of new research, technologies and solutions to aid their organizations on the customer loyalty journey.

Social Media Marketing World
March 26-28, 2014 | San Diego, CA
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/smmworld/

Join 2,000 fellow marketers at the mega-conference designed to inspire and empower you with social media marketing ideas—brought to you by Social Media Examiner. This is a historic opportunity for you to connect face-to-face with the top social media marketing experts while breaking bread with like-minded peers from around the globe. You’ll pick from 60+ expert-led sessions covering social media tactics to content creation to social strategy. Plus, hear from many top brands.

April 2014

eM14: eMarketing Association Conference
April 15-16, 2014 | San Francisco, CA
http://emarketingassociation.com/events/em14/

Every year for the last decade one of the most valuable conferences for marketing professionals has been the eMarketing Association SFO conference. If you are looking to learn, network and share best practices, this is the conference for you. For 2014 the eM14 conference will be better than it has ever been with top speakers from the Social Media, Analytics, Online Advertising and Search Engine Marketing ecosystem.

FUSE 2014 – Brand Strategy and Design
April 15-17, 2014 | Chicago, IL
http://www.iirusa.com/fuse/fuse-home.xml

“One Collective Voice.” The world’s most respected conference in the brand strategy and design community, FUSE explores design as a strategic lever and invaluable asset in building better brands and more meaningful relationships with consumers. Lauding a more collaborative approach to building brands, and uniting design bests and brand geniuses, we’re curating stories about fusing strategy and design to ignite brand passion and growth.

May 2014

The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
May 6-7, 2014 | Miami Beach, FL
http://www.theblakeproject.com/un-conference/360-brand-strategy-changing-world-miami-2014/

The Blake Project and Branding Strategy Insider have designed a brand education experience unlike any you have ever attended. It’s not the typical conference format of talking heads and distance between you and the experts. The walls are down. There are no podiums or stages. The hierarchy is eliminated. These two days are interactive working days where you will take a deep-dive immersion on the most important aspects of creating innovative brand-building strategies – all presented in a unique and competitive-learning environment where the uniform is jeans. You will work side-by side with your pre-selected teammates. You will get to know them, learn from and with them. Through a blend of unique simulations, engaging and fun ‘Brandingo’ game elements and exercises, you will make critical decisions that result in consequences for your team, while gaining valuable insights you can take-away to aid and inspire you in building the future value of your brands.

BMA14 Global Conference
May 28-30, 2014 | Chicago, IL
http://www.marketing.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=6055#.UtKnh_RDuWM

Glean and take back actionable insights on the latest in B2B marketing thinking, trends, best practices, success stories, technology and tools and more. Over the past five years, BMA’s global conference has become the largest annual b2b marketing event anywhere in the world. Here are just some of the dozens of highly relevant topics BMA14 will address:

  • Global media and social media trends
  • Latest trends in content marketing
  • Comparison of competing marketing automation systems
  • Consensus b2b buying trends
  • New research on the emotions behind b2b buying
  • Effective brand positioning and messaging
  • Excelling at sales messaging and enablement

June 2014

SMX Advanced – Search Marketing Expo
Jume 10-11, 2014 | Seattle, WA
http://searchmarketingexpo.com/advanced/

SMX Advanced is the only search marketing conference designed exclusively for experienced internet marketers. Sessions are fast-paced, Q&A-packed, frequently controversial, always informative…and don’t stop to cover the basics. Fluent in search engine marketing? Come to SMX Advanced and engage with others who speak your native language. And there will be plenty of learning and sharing. The most accomplished search marketers in the world will present cutting edge tips for driving traffic and increasing conversions from paid search advertising, SEO, social media marketing, and more.

July 2014

Marketing World 2014
July 14-17, 2014 | Boston, MA
http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/summits-details.pag?eventid=281436906

A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange. An unbeatable opportunity to spark killer new ideas and next strategies, and a great forum to find out what others are doing to keep their companies ahead of the game and grow their business. Whether you are looking for education from
industry leaders, intimate networking opportunities with your peers, or new ideas to bring back to the office, this event offers something for everyone! Learn from industry leaders about what current strategies are working, and what’s not! The content is expressly relevant to your 12-18 month business needs.

September 2014

Content Marketing World 2014
September 8-11, 2014 | Cleveland, OH
http://contentmarketingworld.com/

The largest content marketing event on the planet, produced by the Content Marketing Institute. Content Marketing World is the one event where you can learn and network with the best and the brightest in the content marketing industry. You will leave with all the materials you need to take a content strategy back to your team – and – to implement a content marketing plan that will grow your business and engage your audience.

October 2014

DMA2014: The Global Event for Data-Driven Marketers
October 25-30, 2014 | San Diego, CA
http://dma14.org/

DMA2014 will give you a 360° view of data-driven marketing by providing you with:

  • Inspiring ideas from our Keynote Speakers and Thought Leadership Series leaders
  • Special programs like, Master Class, Spotlight, Fast Forward, Market Intelligence Modules, B2B Symposium, Nonprofit Day, Spotlight on Privacy and Strategic Summit
  • Insights from case studies on global data-driven marketing best practices from business visionaries, top brands, and small business executives
  • Ask the Experts Roundtables, where you can discuss the issues at hand and you’ll be able to share your experiences and get personal advice too
  • 1:1 Guru sessions, where you’ll get the advice you need. Our Gurus are at the top of their fields and would normally charge thousands for the consultation you can get for free
  • Specialty Pavilions, that provide you with a more in-depth look at what the most innovative companies are doing today – and planning for tomorrow
  • Grand exhibit hall that is packed with the latest technologies, solutions, products and services from some of the most respected names in the marketing world.

The Market Research Event: Connecting the Best in Insights From Around the World
October 20-22, 2014 | Boca Raton, FL
http://www.iirusa.com/research/event-home.xml

TMRE delivers more proven value than any other event of its kind. The annual meeting place for career researchers. Budgets are precious. Spend smarter with TMRE – the brand that delivers NEW value every year…making it the best investment for the future of both yourself and your company.

Note: This listing is in no way comprehensive. There are many other important marketing events occurring during 2014.  Please feel free to comment on this post to provide info for any other marketing conferences, including dates and URLs, that readers should consider attending or following in 2014.

November 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

Destination Client Loyalty Tied to Engagement

by Rob Wolfe – Connected Places Global

Destination Loyalty Tied to Engagement

Note: I’ve taken it upon myself to change references to “customers” to be “clients.” Read my Client vs. Customer: Your Mindset Matters article to discover why. I’ve also taken perspectives provided about interactions with companies or businesses and applied them to places, since these same principles are just as relevant to destination client loyalty.

“In today’s crowded marketplace, creating loyal, engaged clients is more important —- and more challenging — than ever,” says Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty 360 – The Loyalty Marketer’s Association.

I say the challenge is comparable to a competitive game of tug-of-war, where you may be aiming to pull your target clients in one direction but they may have an edge in pulling your loyalty-building initiatives in another direction.

Johnson predicted 11 key trends would dominate the Loyalty Marketing Industry a couple years ago . I’ve highlighted two that focus specifically on client engagement, and are relevant to visitor and resident engagement:

Relevancy will be a key driving force of client loyalty, engagement. Today’s clients want loyalty programs to be “about me” — individual, relevant, meaningful, etc. Personally relevant deals are the second most frequently chosen reason for spending more with a company [or at a destination], mentioned by 48% of people, according to new research by Ipsos Mori and The Logic Group. Data collection and usage is extremely important in building relevancy.  Brands need to use the information they collect strategically to show clients they’re listening and give them what they’re asking for.

Goal of client loyalty initiatives will be to engage clients. Marketers now realize that although spend and number of transactions are important, client engagement is the holy grail for loyalty initiatives. Because with engagement comes loyalty, advocacy, trust, passion —- the soft side of the client relationships that directly impacts the bottom line.

Knowing why your audience cares is as important as knowing what they care about, feels Erica Friedman, President of Yurikon LLC in New York, creator of “Microniche Marketing” (TM), a process that harnesses social media by finding your audience – engaging your audience – rewarding your market , and author of SocialOptimized. “Be the resource for info and perspective in your field,” she says.

In 2011, Mike Cholak, consulting practice executive at Convergys, provided his Top Ten Customer Engagement Tips.  “What we’ve learned about delivering a superior customer experience in the past year is well worth building upon in the coming year,” said Cholak.  He provided ten tips gleaned from their proprietary research on the client experience, and their client management work with Fortune 500 companies in the communications, technology, banking and financial services, retail and e-commerce, and health care industries.”

Here, I’ve selected four of Cholak’s tips that I feel are most relevant when branding places:

  1. Listen to the voice of the client and amplify it throughout your organization or destination. Your employees and destination stakeholders need to be as sensitive to the current state of service as are your clients.
    77% of clients said that in the past year the quality of client service provided has stayed the same or gotten worse, while 50% of employees [stakeholders] at those companies providing the experience think service has improved.
  2. Aggressively promote the fact that you want feedback. You want to know when you get it wrong. And, make it easy for clients to contact you.
    41% of clients who did not bother to report their bad experience (34% defected without saying a word) said they did not bother because there was no convenient way to report it to the offending company [ or place].
  3. Listen to and engage clients on social media.
    80% of clients who had a bad experience took their story to the court of public opinion, and 12% used social media to amplify their voice. On average, an individual using social media reached 45 people with their individual tweets or postings. And, for those clients who could recall reading about a friend or colleague’s bad experience, 62% said they avoided doing business with or stopped doing business with that company [or place].  Social media will play a greater role in client care as the Millennial generation and those who follow it increasingly gravitate to this communication medium to create communities, share their experiences, and express their opinions.
  4. Invest in the experience and don’t lose clients, because you likely won’t ever get them back.
    Only 16% of clients who left a company [or place] after a bad experience said they would be willing to do business with [or visit] that company [or place] again if some effort were made to win them back. Don’t burn the bridge by not providing the best experiences, and don’t focus so much on diverting your clients from helpful agents that you damage the relationship.  Millennials are the most forgiving (40% willing to reconsider), while Gen-Xers (16%) present some opportunity and offended Boomers (4%) and Seniors (2%) are nearly impossible to sway and incentivize.

Sharon Bailly, Owner at TWP Marketing and Technical Communications in New Hampshire said in a LinkedIn group discussion a couple years ago, “Too many companies [or places] think they are communicating with the client when they are merely knee deep in a monologue about how wonderful their company [or place] is.”  Listening to and engaging with your target audience is key when trying to establish loyal clients for your business or loyal visitors, residents, and businesses when building loyalty for your place or destination. It’s not about what you think or how you want to say it, it’s about what’s being said about you and how you respond to it.

Do you agree that these tips and principles for fostering business loyalty are equally applicable to fostering destination loyalty? Do you have any other suggestions for better client engagement when it comes to building client loyalty for places?

photo credit: jasoneppink via photopin cc

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November 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm 1 comment

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