Good Design Is Invisible

Here’s a story you might be able to relate to:

You’re heading to the supermarket, telling yourself that you’re there to cross things off your shopping list and get out ASAP.

In the first five minutes, you’ve got what you came for. Bread, butter, milk? Check, check, check. Time to go. 

And then, it caught your attention. You stopped right in the middle of the aisle and made it hard for other shoppers to get around you, but it didn’t matter to you. 

This thing that stopped you dead in your tracks gave you a warm fuzzy feeling, and you loved it.

Before you knew it, you grabbed it and added it to your trolley, happy to spend the money on this thing you had no intention of buying. 

What could it be that held so much power over your decision-making process? 

The answer is good design. Allow us to explain.

Every step of your journey to the supermarket was designed. The concept of shopping in itself was a relatively new invention that rose to prominence as the middle-class emerged. Today, we shop without giving it any second thought. Shopping is like looking at our phones to unlock it, expensive dinners on Valentine’s Day, and buying a particular brand of milk even when all brands taste the same.

If you had known about this before, you would be able to stop yourself from such temptation, right? Inevitably a magician’s trick becomes its downfall when performed a second time.

Smart brands and their agencies know this. That is why they carefully craft their packaging to work in the shadows, hidden behind walls of short-term campaigns, paid and organic media, and new iterations of their products based on consumer data.

In other words, good design is invisible. It works best when you don’t even know why it works. But the same invisibility is also why businesses only realise its absence when sales are dropping or, “something just doesn’t feel right”. 

So, back to your intuitive purchase (not impulsive, we don’t like that word). What can you learn from this experience to apply it to your business? Let’s use the shopping experience as an analogy:

The Presentation Is The Message.

Looks do matter. As long as the product works as expected, most consumers will buy whatever looks best. A well-designed logo and packaging will help you sell far more than a DIY logo set in Comic Sans (yuck!). A competent agency will tell you what should go on your precious paid ads, and what shouldn’t. Many brands make the mistake of bombarding their consumers with facts that they can’t relate to, but smart brands? They say little, and the little they say is what prompts you to pull your wallet out.

Branding Is Selling

“Branding” is a term often used but rarely understood. It’s not about your fancy business cards or a sum of impressions – it’s your reputation and the gut feeling your consumers have at the mention of your brand’s name. Branding includes all of the aesthetic adjustments needed to appeal to them and an evaluation of your value proposition and why your current customers care. It’s not a cheap exercise, but if a $100,000 solution can solve your $10 million problem, wouldn’t you do it?

Positioning, Positioning, Positioning.

Source : Pexels

Positioning is the invisible force that turns your well-designed brand into a memorable one. That’s why smart companies like Nestle, Google, and Apple spend generously to craft earworm jingles, put their products on eye-level on supermarket shelves, and rent the biggest billboards right in the middle of New York City. The same companies also allocate vast chunks of their budget to tweak their communication materials every year to keep up with consumer trends. You win the game when you occupy mental and physical spaces.

So the next time you get that warm, fuzzy feeling when you look at a product, just remember that the invisible force tugging on your credit card is called “good design”. The entire experience is planned, and you can employ the same strategy with your business as well because, if you can’t win them, join them, right?

Want to make some “good design?” Talk to us at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to Build an Authentic, Purpose-Driven Brand

In the midst of the pandemic, brands that operate with the consumer and community in mind are the ones that stand out. Companies everywhere have pulled tone-deaf ads, while some have pivoted their business to develop essential products. 

An underlying purpose of what makes a brand relevant to its customers should be at the core of every brand’s vision and mission. This is particularly true in a crisis where consumers weigh their purchase decisions in this economic climate. 

Why? Because it makes business sense 

Profitability and purpose are not mutually exclusive. Kantar’s Purpose in Asia report found that “90% of consumers want brands to get involved in the issues they care about, meaning that an authentic brand purpose is now an expectation not a bonus”. 

But what’s the harm in not having a purpose? 

Well, according to Accenture, businesses lose up to half their customers, with 17% never coming back to brands that don’t serve a larger purpose. Earning brand loyalty is not as simple as giving away free products or making a one-time donation. 

5 steps to build a purpose-driven brand

Start from your brand DNA

Your brand purpose shouldn’t be disconnected from your core business. You should know how your products and expertise can create an impact on your consumers – and this should be a long-term strategy, rooted in a deep issue or opportunity that’s impactful (such as sustainability, education) or identifying specific communities to champion over the years. 

Pick issues that matter to your community

Listen to what’s being said on the ground. If a brand is not actively listening and refreshing how it’s helping the community, then its well-meaning activations could backfire. 

This is a good way to champion local causes and initiatives, particularly if you’re part of a global team where the broader corporate social responsibility goals may not directly impact your markets or region. Find a local nuance that makes sense for your community. 

Inspire your team

Start inspiring and engaging your own employees. If a brand is only seen as helping the larger community, while ignoring or mistreating their own, there is a huge disconnect. 

Your employees are your brand advocates, and being part of a purpose-driven brand attracts, motivates and retains employees. Outside of being proud of the impact they create, an engaged team could also lend their own creativity and ideas towards giving back to society and further driving your purpose. 

Take action 

Once your brand is ready to take action, don’t forget to continuously engage the benefactors and track your performance over time. 

Take a look at your user journey to see how you can activate your own consumers to drive awareness of the impact your contributions have made. Better yet, rope in your consumers so they also feel like they’re making a difference. 

As an example, Trouble Brewing, a local brewery in Singapore, launched an Adopt-A-Pub initiative that gives 10% of their proceeds to the consumers’ favourite bar, pub or restaurant at no additional cost. All it takes is a click at check-out for folks to give back to the Singapore F&B community. 

Communicate & learn

It’s important for brands to communicate with the right stakeholders on the right platform – and to avoid being called out as self-serving. Remember, you’re not doing good to drive publicity. Instead, when employees, customers and even benefactors spread the word, it’s a lot more impactful than sending out a press release. 

Companies also need to listen for feedback – and tweak their approach to remain relevant. 

At Mutant, we’re proud to help our clients engage and help our communities. Here is an example of how our team in Malaysia activated a much needed initiative within a record timespan.

How Kimberly-Clark Malaysia helped 16,000 families 

Kimberly-Clark, a brand that’s rooted in global social responsibility guidelines, wanted to make a meaningful contribution to help ease the burdens of Malaysians who have been affected by the pandemic. As residents were not allowed to venture past their neighbourhoods, they were reliant on donations for food and essential items. 

Mutant connected with the Federal Territories Ministry to identify communities that would most benefit from 1 million RM worth of essentials including diapers, feminine hygiene products and tissues. Kimberly-Clark was able to coordinate the delivery of the donations within a week, fulfilling the urgent need of the donations.

The Deputy Federal Territories Minister YB Dato’ Sri Dr Santhara Kumar shared a message of thanks to Kimberly-Clark, opening up doors to future collaboration.

If you’re keen on developing a brand purpose, or need help localising a global mandate, we’re here to help. 

Need help with messaging and connecting to the right stakeholders?  Drop us a line at hello@mutant.com.sg anytime – we’re here to help.

When Is It The Right Time To Do A Rebrand?

I’ve managed to find my way around the Internet a fair bit during the lockdown. Videos, podcasts, articles and tutorials; you name it, I’ve seen it. Lately, I’ve been discovering random facts and I’ve concluded that Mother Nature is the best source for the weirdest facts. 

For example: a caterpillar can eat up to 27,000 times its bodyweight in its lifetime.

It will consume everything it can, make itself ready for adulthood, and lay eggs, because as a caterpillar, it only has one job to do: survive.

I read this random fact and was reminded of something else I saw at a café in rural Australia. 

It was one of those cheesy inspirational quote signs, you know the ones. Deep and thoughtful, it was perched above the coffee machine and written in a hipster font. It read:

“In order to become a butterfly, you’ve got to give up being a caterpillar.”

The conundrum of the caterpillar is a particularly apt analogy for brands in the age of COVID-19 – and it hit particularly close to home for Mutant, as we’ve been thinking of refreshing our own brand image for a long time. It was a decision between staying the successful caterpillar we were or becoming a butterfly.  

Truth be told, we tussled with the decision. Our current branding is what has allowed us to grow for the past eight years, winning lots of new clients and bagging us multiple awards

Why should we give up what we are, when it has been proven to be successful?

In the end, we decided it was time to change. We needed to unveil who we have become as an agency, while still maintaining what we started out as, all while showing what we can offer businesses in uncertain times.

As our name suggests, it was time to evolve. 

So, when it comes to rebranding and updating your communications strategy, here are a few key questions you should ask yourself:

Does your branding reflect who you are now? 

Businesses evolve, and so do their offerings. What you may have started out as might not be indicative of your present state. If that’s the case, you should objectively examine what your brand says about you visually. 

Mutant started as a PR agency in 2012. Some of our first clients were corporate and tech names, and our muted, toned-down branding reflected that. Since then, we’ve built up one of the best content teams in SEA, as well as branding and digital marketing functions. 

The brands we work with now are diverse, including clients across the lifestyle, consumer, and back to our roots, in tech and corporate verticals. Upon further examination, we realised our branding just didn’t match up to our current identity, and that had to change.

Does it look good?

This sounds like a stupid question, but it’s a perfectly valid one. Imagine your brand as a sports car. It is perfectly tuned, efficient, and performs well – but if the paint is faded on the outside, people will never look at it twice. 

Mutant’s original branding was faded (literally, the green had a murky yellowish/green tinge to it). It simply wasn’t communicating the vibrance of our stellar team, and attitude towards work.

Is your branding flexible enough to grow?

Brand equity is something that a lot of people believe comes from consistency in applying your brand, making sure you don’t mess around with logos or colours – that sort of thing. And for the most part, that’s correct. 

However, consistency doesn’t mean having to use the exact same branding or logos until the end of time. Brands refresh themselves in order to ensure they remain relevant and are able to future-proof themselves. Over the past few years, we’ve become an international agency with an awesome team in Kuala Lumpur. So we wanted to ensure that if we were to expand across Southeast Asia, our new look should be able to incorporate any sub-brands or new offerings that might come about.    

Is now really the right time to do a rebrand?

In short, yes. Now is the best time to do it. Research shows businesses that pour more love into their brand and communications (whilst adapting their business model) will be the ones who come out the other side of COVID-19 stronger than ever. This rings true whether you’re a brewery fundamentally changing its sales model, or a PR company trying to conjure a brand identity that captures the full breadth of its services. 

Eyes are on screens, the audience is captive (literally!) and people are consuming information like never before. In a sea of uncertainty, your brand needs to be bold to stand out and communicate its updated identity proudly, loudly and effectively. 

Unless, of course, you want to stay a caterpillar. 

Ask us how we can help your branding efforts by contacting us at hello@mutant.com.sg

Want to Sell More? Focus On The Sizzle, Not The Steak

You might have come across two types of advertising – the one that aggressively displays a product and its attributes, and the one that have a story to tell. While there is a time and place for being a braggart, telling a story is how you can emotionally connect with your audience. This is usually a better option than shoving your product down people’s throats.

Elmer Wheeler, arguably the greatest salesman in the world, rightly said, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

How do you know when your neighbour is preparing a prime cut of the juiciest meat available? When you can hear the satisfying sound of fat rendering on the grill. People make purchases because they want to feel a certain way, and that’s exactly what this meaty metaphor is about – sell the promise, not the product.

But us (always hungry) Mutants aren’t the only ones who believe in this the power of storytelling. If you’re looking for examples of campaigns that not only resonated, but drove success, here are three of our favourites hat successfully sold the sizzle:

Think Different (1997)

Watch closely, and you will notice that Apple never mentioned the names of their products in any of their ads. The TV commercials featured 17 icons who very much aligned with Steve Jobs’ definition of the “crazy ones”, but never directly talked about a Macintosh. Instead, Apple aimed to target those who identified as non-conformist, radical or free-spirited. Think Different was the winner of a campaign which propelled Apple Inc to technological and cultural greatness.

Unsung Heroes (2014)

Do you remember sobbing countless times to Thai ads, which consistently proved to be tearjerkers? Because we sure do. And we’ve usually always shed tears to what seemed to be a heartbreaking tale, only to be revealed as something completely unexpected. In Unsung Heroes, nearly three minutes are dedicated to portraying an emotional story that compels viewers to delve deep into their lives and themselves what it is they desire the most in life.

Smell Like A Man, Man (2010)

Can you believe this brilliant Old Spice campaign is ten years old already? Here’s the best part – instead of targeting its intended audience (straight men), it speaks to the women in their lives. The ads focused on highlighted the macho vibe associated with the product, but never the actual product itself.

Experts prefer to focus on selling the sizzle because it gives them the opportunity to reach a wider, hungrier audience. While you still have to present them with an actual steak, your audiences will be salivating, ready to tear into anything you serve.

Want to make your brand irresistible? Talk to us at hello@mutant.com.sg

Honey, How Does My Make-Up Look?

Rebranding is merely about getting a new logo and a new website. Or is it?

Let’s say you’re starting a new business. Your new business needs a face and identity – a basic kit of deliverables that define what your business looks like. These usually consist of a logo, business cards, letterhead, a website. But where do you find them?

Others who have pondered this question and taken to the internet to find answers have  likely bought their “branding kit” off a stock image site, or hired a freelance graphic designer. Much to the horror of designers, some have resorted to the infamous Microsoft Paint, or worse, Comic Sans!

Lo and behold, branding problems: solved! Time to focus on the real business.

Or so you thought.

It’s not uncommon for companies to “rebrand”, even if they have gotten their branding right from the very start.

Here’s the truth: changing your logo or using a different colour for your website is merely makeup – it doesn’t do much for your brand on a deeper level. Branding involves more than just switching up your aesthetics: it includes how you interact with your audiences. Before you consider any course of action, here’s an important question you need to ask yourself : what, exactly, is branding?

To understand branding, we must understand what exactly a brand is. Here is a quote from branding expert, Marty Neumeier:

“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company…In other words, a brand is not what YOU say it is. It’s what THEY say it is.”

Branding is the marriage of business strategy and creativity, a process which transcends the superficial. When you know what your company stands for, its core values, and what it has to offer, you have on your hand, a strong brand. Zero in upon this before externalising them as logos, websites, or other materials.

Many companies often look to agencies for their expertise in creating or revamping a brand. A good agency will do a full, thorough audit of your company before making any suggestions, aesthetic or otherwise. Established, charismatic brands do not do makeovers unless their business changes dramatically. After all, branding should be iconic enough to stand the test of time.

Answer these three fundamental questions before deciding to build your brand, or do a complete rebrand:

  1. Who are my customers?

Like a regular health check up, this foundational question is worth revisiting every once in a while. Discover more about who your customers really are – their hopes, dreams, and motivations. Learn more about them, and you will learn much about your brand in the process

  1. Who should be my customers?

“Everyone”is not the right answer. Your brand and products cannot please everyone – frankly, trying to do so is futile and nothing but a waste of your precious time and resources. Zero in on a primary target audience, and work hard to attract and retain them into being long-term customers. Who is your dream client and what do they look like? If you can find out more about their interests, motivations and propensity to purchase, you will be able to reach them faster.

  1. What makes me unique?

Distinguishing yourself from your competitiors could either be as easy as examining what’s already working for your brand, or as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Branding experts will deconstruct your brand, stripping it down to its bare essentials until nothing remains but the truth about itself. From there, your agency will work with you to create a brand that sets you apart from the competition and appeals to your target audience.

Rebranding can be a challenging process, but when done right it will align what you have to offer with your customers’ desires.

Aesthetically-pleasing design is a valuable tool, but can only do so much to enhance your brand, which must be built upon a solid strategy. Despite being a challenging experience, rebranding will help align your company’s offerings to your customers desires.

Ready to win over new customers?  Write to us at at hello@mutant.com.sg!

Promoting Sincerity: The Marketing Power of BTS

“Do you know BTS?”

The oft-repeated line began as a question that Jin, one of the members of K-pop group BTS, would ask random people during the group’s early days, when few outside of South Korea were aware of them. But now, Jin asks this question semi-ironically, knowing many people around the world know exactly who the group is. Which is to say, if you don’t know BTS, you haven’t been paying attention.

Since their debut in 2013, BTS has been making headlines, topping music charts, and breaking linguistic and cultural barriers across the world in a way that no other Korean act has. In 2018, BTS’ popularity boomed worldwide, and in Singapore, tickets to their 19 January concert at the 55,000-seat National Stadium sold out in four hours. Demand for tickets to watch their documentary, Burn the Stage: The Movie crashed the Shaw Theatres website for hours and they were the second most listened to artist on Spotify in Singapore.

But what is it about these seemingly normal young men that draws in the masses and turns everything they touch into marketing gold?

  1. Sincere messaging and communication

The group’s popularity is largely thanks to the socially conscious lyrics they often pen themselves, their brotherly group dynamics and their impressive stage performances. But their use of social media and passion marketing are factors to their success that cannot be ignored – and that we can all learn from.

Passion and sincerity are important elements of any marketing and social media strategy, but it can be hard for these to come through in execution – especially because consumers can sense when a brand is faking it. But brands that are successful in communicating their passions genuinely will find that an audience is more willing to engage with and support them; a fact that BTS can attest to. Their savvy use of multiple social media platforms, including Twitter, Weibo, and VLive, allows them to communicate with their fans, known as ARMY, and provide them with content that both functions as added value and extends their messages.

  1. Unique and relevant storytelling

Since the group’s debut, they’ve used their songs to critique the society they grew up in through lyrics that decry South Korea’s education system; reject the idea that Millennials and Gen Z are lazy; and denounce socio-economic hierarchies in South Korea. The group’s progressive views are what initially attracted many fans – they found BTS to be not just talented, but resonant. For example, in their Love Yourself series, BTS explores how the journey of self-love is complicated and difficult, if also joyous and ultimately worthwhile – a poignant cause for a group from the nation with the second highest suicide rate in the world to champion.

Beyond this, BTS and their parent company, Big Hit Entertainment, have created a complex fictional universe – known as Bangtan Universe, or BU – in which the unchronological story of seven friends is told. What’s unique about this storytelling is that it’s gone beyond music video content and short films, spilling over into printed content called “The Notes” that came bundled with the Love Yourself albums, but that are also sometimes released via Twitter, and through a webtoon, launched on 17 January.

This combination of inspirational yet relatable lyrics with multi-platform storytelling has not only gained an audience, but hooked them.

  1. Use of free content

All seven members of BTS regularly take to Twitter to share their lives with their nearly 18 million followers. Big Hit Entertainment also provides BTS photos and videos – ranging from teasers and music videos to behind-the-scenes footage and even things like 100 seconds of a BTS member eating snacks – on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

The majority of this content is provided for free. ARMY has even confounded the music industry by purchasing music they can obtain for free. The support for the group and the belief in what they communicate means their world tours sell out, their feature film-length documentary saw global box office results of over S$25 million, and their label is estimated to be valued at nearly S$3 billion. Where other brands struggle with translating a social media following and free content into sales conversions, Big Hit has yet to face that issue.

Of course, this sort of loyalty isn’t won overnight, but brands can learn from BTS’ unwavering dedication to the cause and constant stream of relevant content to drive and nurture their audience’s affection.

The power of passion

In the end, it isn’t flashy outfits, catchy beats and multi-tiered marketing campaigns that fuel BTS’ truly impressive global presence – it’s relevant messages of change, sincerity, love.

Though these messages are genuine, they have also worked as brilliant marketing tools and content pillars, skyrocketing the group to international acclaim. It is through this that BTS and Big Hit have succeeded in demonstrating passion marketing at its finest, positioning the group as thought leaders and voices of their generation. But more importantly, they have created genuine reciprocity between BTS and their ARMY.

How to get the most out of your relationship with your marketing agency

A client-agency relationship is more than just a business transaction. It takes more than charismatic account management and savvy sales pitches to make the relationship really work. What many agencies and clients miss, is in the on boarding process– from the business objectives to the culture. Here are 5 key points to help you kick-start an awesome partnership with your marketing agency:

Invest some time

Given that you’re trusting this agency with the reputation of your brand, you need to feel confident about the ability and reputation of the team. Plus,  actually getting on well with the people you’re dealing with has a huge impact on your relationship – so don’t be afraid to explore the company culture, values and, of course, technical expertise. Developing authentic, trusted connections with your customers is at the heart of marketing; similarly, you need to feel confident in your relationship with your agency. The best way to do this? Invest some time when it comes to finding out a little bit more about the agency, whether it be heading over for a lengthy chemistry meeting, going out to lunch or arranging a happy hour.

Agree to a communication plan

At the start of any new client relationship, a communication plan should be mutually agreed upon from day one. 

Some tips to consider when agreeing to a clear communication plan:

  • How often and how you’ll catch up, whether it’s in person or over a call
  • Your point of contact – Knowing exactly who your liaison is saves a lot of time and effort when you’re in need of a prompt  response
  • The agreed goals and objectives for your business and what you expect from your agency.
Set measurable key performance indicators (KPIs)

In order to keep up with and evaluate the performance of your campaigns, your agency will need to provide you with specific metrics against which to benchmark success. These should be based on business goals and expectations that were set out at the very beginning of your relationship. Reviewing them thoroughly will allow for greater productivity moving forward, and will also signal when there needs to be a change in strategic direction as well.

Make your meetings count

No matter how often or seldom your meetings occur,  preparation will enable you to get the most value from your meetings with your agency and negate the need for continuous threads of emails or calls outside your regular meetings.

Tips:

  • Agree upon an agenda before each meeting. This will give you the opportunity to include topics that are a priority
  • Have objectives clearly defined before the meeting
  • Ensure all relevant people are present to allow decisions to be made
Make the most of your agency’s expertise

You know your brand and industry the best. Similarly, your agency will know the latest developments and technologies in their industry best. In order to optimise your campaigns, they should be able to anticipate twists and turns, and should have the ability to adapt quickly when things don’t go as first planned or when new opportunities arise.

Your agency should always work according to your agreed plan and scope, but flexibility is crucial to the success of your campaign performance. Not only does this benefit your outcome, but its encourages your trust in them to be able to deliver on outcomes that matter to you.

At the end of the day, your agency contains a wealth of knowledge and expertise, so use it! Explore all the ways you can learn from them;  whether it’s downloading guides, reading their blog or regular newsletter or simply asking questions your agency can help you grow your own skill set.

Want to talk more about how an agency of experts could help your business? Drop us a line at hello@mutant.com.sg

4 PR Takeaways from the Winter Olympics 2018

The frozen mountains of South Korea have seen much action over the last two weeks, as Olympians brave the freezing temperatures and unforgiving landscapes to bring glory to their countries. As the 2018 Winter Olympics draws to a close, here’s a few PR lessons to consider:

Relatability is key

Brands should take a page out of teen virtuoso Chloe Kim’s book- even in the middle of competition, the Olympic gold medalist shamelessly tweeted about her dog, being “hangry” and her eyeliner. Her sincere and heartfelt posts won over netizens, making her one of the most popular athletes in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

While we don’t suggest that your brand blog about everything under the sun, it is necessary to speak the language of consumers. Chloe Kim became everyone’s best friend almost overnight because she came across as a regular teenage girl to her peers despite being an accomplished athlete. Similarly, your brand should engage with your target audience in a way that feels authentic, relatable and honest. Speak the language of your consumers, and encourage two-way dialogue wherever possible.

Switch things up

Historically, figure skating costumes have been always been gendered. This year, Hungary’s Ivett Toth, France’s Maé-Bérénice Méité and Latvia’s Diana Nikitina were amongst the few women skaters who challenged status quo by ditching the usual skirts and dresses in favour of embellished bodysuits. Ivett Toth’s leather-and-AC/DC routine made her an instant internet sensation.

Similarly, the PR industry has undergone massive changes in the past century. Digital disruption and the emergence of a new generation that perpetually lives online presents a new set of challenges to brands. To keep things fresh and interesting, your business must come up with unexplored ways of reaching out to potential consumers. Amp up your communication game by daring to go where your competitors have not ventured before — and, your customers are bound to sit up and take notice of you.

When the spotlight is on you, shine

For two weeks, South Korea had the world’s undivided attention as top political leaders, elite athletes, tourists and journalists congregated in PyeongChang to experience the 2018 Winter Olympics. While South Korea has consistently engaged in a display of “soft power”, courting the international community with entertainment and technology,  the last few years have been focused on their diplomatic squabbles with neighbour North Korea. The success of the Winter Olympics will not only bring long-term economic prosperity to South Korea, but will also give the country a chance to shift its narrative from disgruntled neighbour and producer of K-Pop to an influential player in the international community.

If your business is thrust into the limelight, even unexpectedly- do not shy away from the opportunity to take control of your narrative and create goodwill. Embrace the attention and use it as a springboard to propel your brand to the forefront of your consumers minds’.

Don’t talk unless you have your facts in place

Recovering from a massive “foot-in-the-mouth” moment is much harder in the age of technology and social media and is likely to set you back by a few millions in damage control. American Broadcasting Network NBC is still reeling from their coverage of the Winter Olympics, where a supposed “expert” on Asia made insensitive remarks about the Japanese occupation of Korea. After angry netizens swooped in, NBC was forced to fire the commentator, apologised to the organising committee and read their apology on-air.

The internet has the memory of an elephant and little mistakes can be blown out of proportion. A single gaffe could cost you heavily, which is why it is wiser to subject public statements to several rounds of editing before they are sent out. An embarrassing typo or a glaring factual error could end up as internet fodder, propelling your brand to infamy if you aren’t careful enough.

Want to speak more about your PR campaign or media training? Drop a note at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to get your brand heard in a new market

Venturing into new markets with your brand may be a daunting task. If it’s done wrongly, you could sink vast amounts of financial capital. Succeeding with a market entry, your brand could acquire new revenue streams and new customers at the same time.  

So, what are the things you need to keep in mind when preparing to enter a new market?

Understand your market
  • Do your research. Never assume that you know what your target audience wants. You need to have the facts and research to back it up. Take a close look at the market and find out what the most pressing needs, issues and desires of your target audience are. It will help you to position yourself as the answer they’re looking for.
  • Where do they get their information from? There’s a plethora of platforms for content consumption – both online and offline. But how will you actually reach them – through blogs, newsletter subscriptions, newspapers or social media? Focusing your efforts on the appropriate channels will ensure that you get the most mileage out of your resources.  
  • Tailor your content. Something that works in China may not necessarily see the same success in Singapore – or vice versa. Localising content helps to shape your messages in a way that your customers can relate to.
Know your competition
  • Make a competitive analysis. Walking into a new market it’s important to identify the factors contributing to the success and failure of existing brands. What has the market leader done so well that elevates them to their current position? Why can’t other brands find their footing? Learn about the methods your competitors use and find out which they are not using.
  • Differentiate your brand. At the same time, there is also great value in making sure your brand stands out. But what are you offering the market that differentiates you from others? Moving into a new market and immediately trying to compete with everyone else in the industry is not a task to be taken lightly. Carve out your own niche and communicate it to your target audience. Operating in a specific niche will reduce the number of direct competitors your brand has to manage.
Have an eye on the market
  • Spot trends. Depending on what industry you are in, markets tend to move fast today. Trends are insightful and a powerful source of information. Keeping up-to-date with the latest trends allows you to understand the current interests and wants of consumers, which will help you to capture the attention of broader audiences.
  • Network the industry. Smart business leaders know to always be on the lookout for emerging trends and be prepared for what comes next, so they won’t be left behind. However, not all trends start online. Get a feel for the industry by attending networking events in your field.
Look for media opportunities
  • Owned media. Build a communication strategy for your brand. Make sure you are consistent in what you say and how you describe your brand. Using your own media channels, such as your company blog, social media or thought-leadership pieces on LinkedIn, are an easy way to spread the word. Just make sure that you are on brand.
  • Earned media. Earned media is often the aim of a brand’s PR and social media efforts, including media coverage, social media posts, reviews, and blog mentions. As the average consumer is bombarded with countless advertisements daily, earned media is one way to stand out from the masses.

The following questions will help you when looking for brand-appropriate earned media opportunities:

  1. Is there something unique about your organisation that might interest local, national, or trade-related news outlets?
  2. Do you have existing customers who are possible brand advocates?
  3. Are they willing to tell the world why they’ve had a fantastic experience with your brand?

Why is earned media so effective? It’s simple – customers trust the opinions and experiences of other customers more than any other source available. The road to success may be a bumpy one, but take these tips into account to smoothen your journey as much as possible.

Trying to break into a new market? Drop a message to hello@mutant.com.sg

 

How young brands can create content

Is your company still at its beginning? Nobody really knows who you are? A content marketing campaign is the way forward. The question, however, is where and what kind of content you should create. Your options include thought leadership articles, industry reports, creative infographics, white papers, press releases, consumer guides and a growing stream of publishing platforms. With an increasing amount of content choices, it’s hard to pick the right one.

If no one has ever heard of you, it’s important to make a good first impression. Creating content for your brand is the best way to trigger and control the impact you want to make. Here are a few questions you need to consider when creating content for your still young and unknown brand:

1. What platform to use?

Social media has seemingly made it easy for brands to reach far and wide, but the truth is that it’s increasingly hard to break through the noise, especially if you don’t have a sufficient following yet. As there are a large variety of platforms to explore, you can’t be everywhere simultaneously. Not even the most established companies are present on all social platforms. The trick is to concentrate your efforts. But where?

If you know your business and customers, you probably have a good idea where you might find the right audience. If you are an e-commerce business trying to reach consumers, you want to be on Facebook and Instagram. But if you are a B2B company, you will have better chances of promoting yourself on LinkedIn and Twitter. When you have decided on a platform, you should explore its various features. Don’t get distracted by toying around on other platforms. Although it’s recommended to have profiles on multiple platforms and repost content there, your primary content creation efforts need to be concentrated on one platform only – at least in the beginning. After conquering one platform, you can attempt to dip your feet elsewhere.

2. What kind of content to create?

Choosing the right platform for your business is just the first step.  Next, you need to think about the type of content you want to produce. No matter the industry, it is ideal to use a variety of content types. That said, content works differently across industries. While no one will pay attention to your white paper if you are in the e-commerce space, everybody will take notice if you are a data analytics company.

Here are a few questions to get you started on finding a content match for your company:

  • What are other companies in your industry doing?
  • What can you do better?
  • What is your expertise that differentiates you?
  • What value is your content adding to users and consumers?
  • What highlights your business best?
3. Where to begin?

Content marketing has become hugely popular, but often brands don’t think through their strategies enough. Before blogging and posting like there is no tomorrow, you need to define what you want to achieve. Most companies want to increase awareness, generate leads, drive conversions, collect emails or achieve similar goals. All of which are reasonable goals, but you need to define a goal that is aligned with your business objectives.

Before creating your very first post, you need to ensure that your website is up-to-date, mobile-optimised, offers a simple way to contact you and depicts your company in the best way possible. Why is this important? Imagine your content goes viral and plenty of traffic and leads come to your website, but your contact form doesn’t work or your website appears clunky on mobile – all of your content efforts go straight out of the window. Therefore, before creating any content, make sure you are ready to receive the traffic and leads it will generate.

4. Can you do it yourself?

One blog post per month is not an effective content marketing strategy. If this is all you have time for, you might as well not do it. You must remember that you are not the only one fighting for consumers’ attention. Once you have assessed your content needs, you need to be dedicated to executing it.  

While some brands begin their content journey with freelancers or in-house, others work with content agencies right from the get-go. It’s not a one size fits all approach. Think about what is most effective for your company. If you are a B2B company, you might want to ask an agency to create content, but handle the direct engagement on Twitter yourself. Take on what you are confident with. If your company and an e-commerce and consumer-facing, content is even more crucial for your traffic, brand awareness, and campaigns. Depending on the size of your business, you might want to consider an in-house content team. If that isn’t possible for you yet, you can hire a content strategist, who can orchestrate the creation of content with agencies or freelancers.

Need help with content creation for your brand? Drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to Millennial-Proof your Content Marketing

Millennials are often described as confident, liberal, lazy and even indecisive. But, now more than ever, this generation of 18-34-year-olds is recognised for their spending power, which is predicted to reach about $1.4 trillion annually in 2020. No surprise then that every brand wants to catch this generation. But getting and holding their attention is no small feat – especially when it comes to online behaviour. Millennials react differently to trigger points because of the overwhelming presence of technology in their lives (think Snapchat and Instagram). It also makes them the most informed generation!

Effective content marketing starts with a great storyline, so in order to connect with this generation, you need to find a story to tell. So how does one intrigue this bunch and hold their attention?

Here are five tactics that can help with your Millennial content marketing:

Don’t curate, create original content

Creating original content gives your brand unique value online. Initiate the conversation! Original content, in the form of an e-book, infographics or blogs, also works exceedingly well as a lead gen tool, especially to drive traffic to your landing page. Better still – Google loves original content especially if it’s useful and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly!

Optimise content for social

Social is the new SEO, driving the most significant traffic back to brands. Invest a chunk of your marketing budget in optimising content for social platforms. Short captioned videos need to grab their attention in the first ten seconds. Make sure you keep it crisp, as Millennials don’t wait around to watch long and boring videos!

Lean on data

Using data to analyse the performance of your content can give you an insight into what kind of content potentially turns readers into customers. Use tools like Google Adwords keyword planner to help find relevant keyword phrases that people search for. It will help you to come up with exciting and relevant blog ideas. Similarly, use Google Analytics to track and measure whether your content resonated with your audience and how it performed.

Stick to authenticity

Millennials can spot an ad from a million miles away. So keep your communications, advertisements, and content as authentic as possible. Share real, actionable tips, be transparent in sharing and keep adjectives to a minimum. Most importantly, know your authentic voice and use it effectively to connect. Don’t just market to them.

Make it Insta-worthy

Each piece of content should be designed with Millennials in mind. Feature items that are instantly shareable – both in real life and online. Do also partner with key social media influencers (who breed authenticity) to help spread your story. Brands should prioritise influencer campaigns when marketing to Millennials. They relate to the authenticity of influencer content and prefer the no frills, real, up close and personal nature of the medium the influencers use. When creating content for Millennials, keep in mind what they value as well as where and how they consume content.

Like what you’ve read? Drop a note at hello@mutant.com.sg for a customised content marketing plan for your brand!

 

Let’s talk branded video content

From online TV or subscription services like Netflix, to free video on platforms such as YouTube and social media, folks in Asia are consuming more video content than ever before. You’ve heard this all before – and while brands now have a robust video strategy in place, creatives are still far from perfect.

Here’s our 5 key takeaways on creating effective online ads for branded video campaigns:

Optimise video for mobile

Mobile is already the primary device for accessing the internet in APAC, yet, brands still choose to produce glossy 30-second TV-type ads that do little to hook mobile users. Because content is consumed differently on mobile devices, brands need to ensure their videos capture attention and emotion from the get-go.

Make a sentimental pitch

Video tech company Unruly’s data shows that sentimental storytelling ads are the best performers for 18-34 year olds, a key audience segment for many brands. The study showed that millennials have a stronger reaction to emotional content like this 2014 campaign for Thai Life Insurance.

 

 

Make it work for sound-off

According to Unruly, 80% of millennials mute a brand’s video ads. To engage this audience, advertisers need to create content for a sound-off experience. Avoid dialogue and use text and graphics to draw consumers in

Tailor video for specific social media

YouTube users hold phones sideways to consume content, while Facebook videos are best viewed upright. Majority of Facebook video is watched without sound, while YouTube is always played with full sound. Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter come with their own peculiarities. Brands that stand out are the ones that are tailoring social media content for each channel and country’s internet speeds.

Think beyond views

When it comes to measuring a video’s success, views aren’t everything. Whether it is to increase awareness, consideration, or influence sales, it is important for advertisers to establish marketing goals for their campaigns, and then come up with a set of KPIs to track and measure campaign success.

 

Let us help you create effective content – drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg