Monday, February 12, 2007

Brand Advertising, Part II

Not withstanding my comments about why I don't spend advertising dollars building brand
here is a list of 5 things marketers should do to manage and nurture consumers to help (build) your brand. They are simple but often forgotten:

1. Focus on what makes your product exceptional - don't accept mediocrity
2. Have a memorable name that supports #1.
3. Have memorable logo/marks that support #1.
4. Focus on what makes your product relevant to consumers needs today.
5. Deliver consistent value. Make your customer look good when he promotes you!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Barack Obama, Nice website!

Wow, there are a lot of impressive things about Barack Obama's new website, especially the social network functionality . The site does a super job of using web functionality to help Obama supporters connect locally, as well as to giving them a voice to blog and a means to help contribute and fund-raise. I even created my own profile.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Brand advertising

"A great brand raises the bar -- it adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience, whether it's the challenge to do your best in sports and fitness, or the affirmation that the cup of coffee you're drinking really matters."

- Howard Shultz, head of marketing for Starbucks

Branding (not confused with brand) is just a word used by advertising people for taking your money without any accountability to measurable results.

A great brand is the result of a consistently great product or service. It is a reputation built by consumers.

Of course results driven advertising works much better with strong brands. But branding or brand-building through PPC, through banner ads, through superbowl spots, through (gasp) a Second Life island, I'll pass.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bank of America Online tries SEO

We all know, thanks our friends at Did-it, that organic search engine optimization is not rocket science. But it is quite a mess of an undertaking if you are mid level search manager at Bank of America.

A recent article published in Target Marketing talks of the efforts taken by Dawn Pasfield-Blevins with agency iCrossing. I don't envy her challenge:
One of the complexities the search team faced in designing a comprehensive SEO plan was taking into consideration the communication needs of eight different lines of business that comprise the bank’s products and services. They are: consumer real estate, deposits (checking and savings), cards, small business, global wealth and investment management, insurance, loans, and specialized banking services.
No wonder ex-BofA employees complain to me that all they did was sit in meetings, unable to take action with massive coordination.

You'd think that with a PR8 site, 144k solid backlinks in Yahoo, Alexa of rank of 285, that Bank of America could put up any content and rank top ten immediately for whatever they want. Here's BofA's plan:

Bank of America broke its plan of attack into a phased approach to cover the optimization basics, such as title tags on its Web pages, before moving on to deeper modifications to the sites, such as keyword density and the addition of content that will attract searchers in all stages of the buying process.


The results? Well for their efforts, Yahoo is showing 12,400 or so pages indexed, as they have made their first level directory navigation friendly. Beyond that, however we get into nasty cold fusion(.cfm) operators and other stuff that SEs will choke on, on some of their most important content. For example, just to enter their mortgage section, you're looking at url similar to this:

"http://www.bankofamerica.com/loansandhomes/index.cfm?template=lc_mortgage&statecheck=NY".

This is basic stuff that would make a huge difference. Instead of iCrossing, maybe they should give a call to SEOEgghead or read his great new SEO book.

The Alexa history on the site is also not very encouraging, although to their defense only they know how much of their overall volume comes from search, and how accurate Alexa really is.

For what it is worth, Alexa says that Bank of America's present volume has dropped to less than half of what it was a year ago.




Dawn
Pasfield-Blevins at Bank of America: I'm sure you probably know all of this, and I sympathize with your efforts to swim against the current. I'm sure there are many out there fearing what would happen if BofA and other giants and PR8 authorities fully embraced search marketing. Thankfully for you, I'm not sure that will be any time soon.