Presenting Remotely: 5 Pro Tips To Keep Your Webinar Audience Engaged

(Hint: It’s got (almost) nothing to do with making sure the technology works properly)

In our new, virtual work environment webinars, Zoom conferences and meetings have become the new constants. But keeping your audience engaged (especially when they aren’t in the same room) is the probably the toughest part of any live webinar. I mean, how often have you tuned out of the virtual meetings you’ve been in? 

Mastering the art of hosting engaging online sessions while being an impactful communicator isn’t easy – especially when people can simply switch off the cameras and disengage at any time. Fortunately, being in the business of communications, we’ve got a few tips to help you nail that next virtual session like a pro.  

Think about your audience

Always start your preparation by understanding the profile of your attendees. Why should they give up an hour (or more) of their day to join yet another virtual session? While webinars are a great tool to promote a new product or idea, or to drive potential leads, focusing too much on selling vs. engaging may run the risk of attendees dropping off or tuning out too soon. 

Content is key

Nobody likes the idea of sitting through long, boring sessions, filled with slides full of texts to read. So, don’t just wing the webinar – deliver informative, snappy and sharp content that resonates with the audience. Keep people engaged in your webinar by sharing information creatively and clearly. Using different content formats (GIFs, Video, Infographics) is also a great way to keep your attendees hooked to the screen. 

Extempore…is not a good idea

If you’re planning to conduct the webinar by reading off the slides you’ve prepared, please don’t. People will turn off quicker if you simply do what they can do themselves. Writing a clear narrative helps you structure your key points while also ensures you’re delivering the message in a tone that speaks to your audience in an easy to follow and engaging way. Don’t be afraid to chat and improvise in line with the points you’ve listed – trust us, it will result in a much more engaging talk.

Don’t just present, tell a story

People listen and react to stories. In a live presentation, your body language and facial expressions are key to keep your audiences engaged – and if they can’t see you, you need to put even more thought into your tone of voice! Share personal anecdotes, relevant data and case studies or ideas to enliven the session. Remember, timing is everything!

Make it fun and interactive

With our days filled by Zoom meetings, it is not a bad idea to experiment and switch things up a bit. Perhaps start the webinar with an icebreaker question. You could also conduct polls or a short quiz at the beginning of the session. Always pause after a couple minutes to ask questions. This is a great practice to ensure attendees are still on the same page.  

Lastly, stick to the basics so the key elements are in place. Check your camera and audio and always test the full set up a few minutes ahead of the webinar. Ensure you use the right technology and platform to fully engage your audience. 

Need help with your upcoming Zoom conference? You can count on us : hello@mutant.com.sg

5 Design Tips To Make You Seem Like A Pro

Have you ever wondered if there’s a design cheat sheet somewhere to guide you on conveying your digital marketing materials effectively, and making things look prettier?

While there’s no magic answer to becoming a design whizz, there are quick tips and tricks to help you better design for online consumption (even if you’ve never been to art school). Luckily for you, us Mutants know a thing (or five) about designing great content: 

Have a purpose

Before we play dress-up, the ultimate goal is to tailor the form of your design to its purpose. Beyond defining your target audience and content strategy, be laser-focused in determining a clear CTA (call-to-action) for a successful acquisition – after all, a pretty design means nothing if it doesn’t connect to the action intended. It’s akin to completing a jigsaw puzzle when that last piece satisfyingly clicks into place. Remember, good design decisions are the result when your project goals are objectively met.

Maximise your layout

Always start with the relevant dimension to ensure your visual content is pixel-perfect. With the ever-changing social media landscape, knowing the right sizes is imperative to uphold your reputation. Depending on how much space you have, be mindful of information overload to ensure high visual prominence. Remember that the average person is not going to sit and focus on your content all day – it’s only a matter of seconds before they move on.

Command with hierarchy

Never underestimate the power of a well-structured visual hierarchy. By laying out information strategically, we are influencing users’ perceptions with various visual cues to help inform, impress and persuade. The most important elements on the page should be the largest.

Experiment with typography

If tone and manner captures the spirit of your voice, then typography works as the face of your character. But too much of a good thing can be bad – especially if you’re using a variety of display fonts to be ‘creative’. While it isn’t necessary to stick to one font, a trick that tends to be overlooked is mixing font variants (e.g. Helvetica Regular, and Helvetica Bold). Even though these fonts are in different weights, they appear consistent when used together because they’re from the same family.

Contrast with colour schemes

From monochromatic to eclectic colour combinations, determine the visual message of your piece and then stick to a colour palette to evoke your desired emotional response. Colour schemes are handy in defining the tone of your brand voice – be it harmonious or contrasting palettes, treat colours as an accent in your work to give emphasis and enhance aesthetics.

Still with us? Congratulations, you’re now a bona fide designer! Well, maybe not quite. While these considerations serve as a solid foundation for good design principles, sometimes you still need an eye for design to create compelling content using the power of visuals. 

Talk to us about your digital marketing plans at hello@mutant.com.sg – we’ll breathe life into it.

How To Keep Content Available During COVID-19

It’s 2020 and the rules have changed. Due to the global pandemic, content that may have worked for businesses last year may no longer work this year. Events are now highly restricted or banned, business travel is curtailed, and face-to-face meetings are discouraged, pushing many businesses into unusual circumstances. 

The economic disruption may also tempt some companies to suspend all marketing activities and “go dark” but this would be is a mistake. According to a survey of 25,000 consumers globally by Kantar, only around 1 in 10 consumers think brands should “go dark” during this time. And brands that do disappear from view saw a decline in awareness, posing an additional challenge of regaining lost ground.

With that in mind, here are a few ways your business can keep a stable content pipeline as we grapple with the new normal. 

Prioritise health and safety

People who engage your brand want to know what’s being done to keep them safe and healthy. 

Prepare a list of concerns people are likely to raise and address them right away. For example, you can share about additional steps your employees are taking to ensure customers’ safety, changes to your operating hours or processes, or actions you will take in case of an outbreak linked to your business. 

Include this in your social media posts. Place it on your website’s landing page as an FAQ section. Mention these health and safety guidelines in your brochures, videos, and other marketing and communications collateral. Assure people they have nothing to worry about. 

Update stakeholders on how you’re helping and adapting

Inform people how your business is making a meaningful difference in the community during this difficult time. It can be about how you’re sharing company resources for free, discounts and concessions offered to customers, or how you’re providing support to your own employees. 

Alternatively, you may also have products and services that can help make people’s lives easier during the new normal. If so, share how your products and services are making a meaningful difference and being a solution. 

Regardless of the format it takes, remember to show empathy and compassion. It’s a sensitive time for many people, so avoid any action or content that can be seen as trying to take advantage of a difficult situation.

Share insights about the new normal

Amid all the changes this year, you or your business may have gained new insights. Why not share it with your stakeholders? Businesses and consumers constantly want to know how the landscape has changed from last year. You might have discovered a radical approach to a unique challenge, statistics about new customer behaviour, or an observation about a specific industry. 

Raise awareness about your business by collecting and analysing these insights and sharing them with your stakeholders. Use what you’ve learnt to tell a story, be it through case studies, narratives, or facts and figures. 

Realise that 2020 is not just about COVID

While the pandemic has been a constant background presence this year, an overemphasis on this issue may result in COVID fatigue. Help people take their mind off the pandemic by focusing on non-COVID current issues or life after recovery. 

For example, as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, many companies have begun to lead conversations about promoting workplace diversity and inclusion. You can also inspire your stakeholders to think about and start preparing for life after the recovery phase. 

Collaborate with others

Consider finding a trusted partner to help extend your reach, complement your weaknesses, or develop synergies. For example, you can partner with firms that can help you establish an online presence and build up your digital capabilities. It doesn’t have to be limited to just companies: Partnerships can happen with known personalities, non-profits, and government agencies.

Want to build a steady content pipeline of content and do not know how to go about it? We can help — write to us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

What’s in a Name? How to Differentiate Between Types of Content

It happens all too often – a client says they want a blog, but when a blog is delivered, they ask why it’s so short, or why the tone is so casual. Or, they say they want an op-ed that can be pitched to a top-tier industry publication, and then don’t understand why their company’s newest product isn’t specifically mentioned or detailed in the piece.

While it’s wonderful that this client knows content will help them boost their brand and generate leads, if they don’t understand the difference between types of content, things will be frustrating for both the content team and the client. Because, unlike a rose, an op-ed by any other name is an entirely different piece of content.

When communicating with the content team you’re working with, it’s vital that you are on the same page when it comes to the types of content they are producing for you – otherwise lots of time, energy and effort will be wasted. This is because different types of content are geared for different audiences and are meant to reach different goals.

For example, if you’re hoping to increase your CEO’s profile, a social media campaign is likely not the answer – thought leadership articles are. Likewise, if you’re launching a new report and want to extend the coverage of all that data you analysed, you’ll need more than press releases – you’ll want op-eds, blog posts and maybe an infographic or two.

If all of this has your head spinning, don’t worry – we’re here to help dispel the confusion surrounding different types of content. So let’s dive in, shall we?

Social Media Copy, Explained


Oh look, a Facebook post.

Pithy, punchy and to-the-point, social media calls for short-form copy (Sometimes, extremely short-form. A tweet, for example, is a maximum of 280 characters that is attention-grabbing, informative and creative (yes, emoji are completely acceptable and hashtags are a must – they help with discovery). It should be written in your brand’s voice and have a personality that resonates with your audience. 

Though there are several different types of social media platforms today, the platforms most often used for business are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. While similar messaging can be pushed out via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, LinkedIn is a professional network that is better suited. for business goals such as brand or product awareness and communicating employer brand messaging,

Getting the tone right for each platform is an important part of crafting social media copy, so understanding how different platforms operate and which platforms your audience prefers or frequents is crucial. After all, if your target demographic spends most of their time scrolling Instagram and you’re only on Facebook, you’re missing a huge opportunity to speak directly to and engage directly with them.

Thought Leadership Posts and Articles, Explained

When it comes to thought leadership, LinkedIn is the platform you want. Your company’s executives likely all already have LinkedIn profiles in order to network and keep up with industry news. And since the platform caters to professionals, it’s the perfect place to share thoughts on the state of the industry, general business news and the thought process behind your company’s latest developments.

There are a couple different ways to publish thought leadership on LinkedIn: the first is through a post. This is short-form content – anywhere from a line or two to a paragraph – where a professional shares a quick thought about a relevant business topic or a news article they link. Though quick and efficient, these posts do provide insider insights and help to build a personal brand.

The second option is to write and share an original article on LinkedIn. This option allows more freedom and space for an executive to really delve into a topic through a longer-form piece – usually around 400–700 words – providing followers, connections and other professionals a look into their thoughts about a particular event, industry trend or piece of global news. 

In addition to positioning executives as experienced, authoritative, thoughtful leaders with a unique perspective, these pieces could also lead to greater networking opportunities, speaking engagements or even business partnerships.

Blogs, Explained

Behold, a blog post.

The goal of blogs is to communicate your company’s messaging, be it reiterating your vision, launching a new product or report, providing updates to your customers, or releasing a statement in times of crisis. These pieces are where you can not just promote your company and your products, but explain them in-depth and provide behind-the-scenes information or looks at innovation.

Often, blogs and social media work hand-in-hand: you can use your social media pages to promote new blog posts by giving readers a quick taste of what’s to come in the blog and enticing them to click the link and go to your website. 

Op-Eds, Explained

When it comes to pitching articles to the media, it’s generally an op-ed – short for ”opposite the editorial page” (if you want to invite us to be on your pub quiz team, we understand) – that you want to pitch. These should be thought of as thought leadership pieces because an op-ed will include a company spokesperson or executive’s name as the author and will be written in their voice, from their perspective.

But unlike writing for a company blog or for LinkedIn, an op-ed that is pitched to a publication should be long-form – usually 600–1,000 words, depending on their guidelines – and should communicate your company’s vision or leader’s thoughts without specifically selling the company or its products/services. 

This is an important distinction to make, and one that is easy to misunderstand. The reason why the company’s vision or product cannot be specifically detailed or mentioned is that if it is, the publication will consider the piece as an advertorial,  which is, at the end of the day, an ad. And you have to pay for ads.

Op-eds, however, do not cost your company anything if they are accepted to publication and they can not only boost brand reputation and brand awareness, but will establish your business and leaders as a trusted voice in your sector.

Infographics, Explained

A combination of copy and design, infographics help to tell a story or explain events or systems visually. These can be very effective when communicating complicated ideas that are often difficult or confusing to explain with only copy, and are great to share online on any platform.

If you’re unsure about what type of designed content it is that you want, that is completely fine – feel free to provide examples of designed content you like and the content team can help you figure out what will work best for you.

Hopefully this content primer helped shed some light on how different pieces of content operate. However, if the event you head into your next meeting with your content team and you can’t remember the difference between a blog and an op-ed, don’t tell your agency you want five blogs and five articles, hoping they’ll figure out exactly what articles mean to you. Instead, explain your business goals – your content team should be able to help you narrow down what will work best for you. 

Unsure what type of content works best for your brand? The Mutant content team is here for you. Send us an email to hello@mutant.com.sg

How to Choose the Right Content Agency

It’s fair to say that “content” is one of the most misunderstood and overused buzzwords of all time. Don’t believe me? Then let me paint you a (slightly exaggerated but still accurate) picture that I’ve mashed together based on dozens of conversations with potential clients over the years:

Potential client: “Hi. We need some content marketing, please.” 

Agency: “Alright. What are you aiming to get out of this for your business? What does successful content look like to you?”

Client: “I think we need blogs. My CEO needs a blog.”

Agency: “We can write blogs, but I’d like to know why you think you need them. What’s the goal here?”

Client: “We need more eyeballs on our website. But actually, can you create more snackable content? And make it go viral.”

Agency: “Um, I have lots of questions.”

Client: “We’ll send you all the information you need. But can you also do influencer marketing? I think that’s the best way to create awareness. Can you provide content for that? Just talk us through a typical content strategy. And give us some examples of social media content that has worked.”

Agency: *head explodes* 

Here’s the thing – content is lots of things. But it can also be absolutely nothing because “content” and all it embodies has become a broad umbrella term, reduced to a catch-all phrase that ignores or pushes aside the intricacies of everything within it. 

If you don’t know what your business needs from “content”, you’re not going to get very far – or many results.

So, before you approach an agency to “do content” for your business, consider the following points so that you know what to look for, what to ask, and what to be wary of:   

Know what you want from an agency 

I’m hitting this point again because it’s worth it. Different businesses (and people) have different definitions of what content means. To one, it will be a constant churning out of new tblogs, but to another it means planning, creating, amplifying and measuring social media posts. Then, to a third, it’s about providing a full content marketing strategy that includes everything from content creation to amplification and lead generation. 

So before you approach an agency, you need to have the answers to a few key questions: Why are you even approaching an agency for content in the first place? What are the business goals you need to achieve with said content? How can an agency provide the right type of work to get you the results you need? This should be your starting point. 

Oh, and pleasehave a budget. Content comes in all forms, which means the cost does, too. We want to help you – and we can – but we need to know how long that piece of string is to be able to offer the most cost-effective solution for you. 

Know what to look for in a content team 

While many agencies have beefed up their content capabilities, what you want is a group of people who can actually write well. And not, “oh yeah, I have a food blog in my spare time,”kind of writing. You need professional, qualified and experienced former journalists, editors and content leads who can pen a research piece on renewable energy one day, and deliver compelling social posts to launch a new perfume the next. 

The members of a fully-fledged content team should work across content creation, marketing and public relations (yes, PR people should have strong writing capabilities) and be a mix of strategists, writers, editors, digital marketers, social media experts and more. 

Ask about their storytelling capabilities. How do they figure out how to tell the right story? At Mutant, we hire former journalists, so we know how to probe and get all the juicy titbits of information we need to create a compelling piece. And because we are also PR experts, we know which juicy details to leave out. 😉 This integration across PR and content is absolutelykey, and will always provide stronger results overall.  

Find the right fit

When you hire an individual in your company, you want to ensure the culture fit is right – the same goes for onboarding a new agency. Do a chemistry test with the entire working team for your account. Meet in person, see if you get along, talk about things other than your jobs. 

Throughout this chemistry test, make sure you gain an understanding of the agency’s processes and turnaround times. How do they handle a high volume of work on short notice? How do they adapt to writing with different tones and styles (which shouldn’t be a problem for a bunch of former journalists), and how would they handle certain situations that are likely to crop up. The best results are produced in a partnership, so make sure the agency will really slot in with your team while having your best interests at heart. 

Be wary of agencies that outsource everything  

If it sounds too good (ahem, cheap) to be true, then it probably is. And it’s probably being outsourced somewhere with fewer checks and balances – and therefore way more difficulties and frustrations at your end. 

At the end of the day, do you want something done cheaply, but that needs multiple rounds of edits to fix tone, grammar and spelling, all while dealing with people who don’t really understand your business? Or does it make more (financial) sense to increase your budget to get things right the first time around? Remember, you get what you pay for. 

Ask about results

If an agency can’t share tangible results with you about the content they have produced, this should be a red flag. Results should always be the main driver behind any content – otherwise what the hell is the point? 

How they will measure your business success with the work they are creating should be a key factor in choosing an agency. Not only will it help get management on board at your end, but it also means the strategy will actually work. Which, you know, is sort of important. 

And there you have it – some key considerations to help you choose the right content agency. 

If you have any further questions about content and what it means, feel free to drop me a line at rebecca@mutant.com.sg.

3 Ways To Infuse Life Into Your Content

While creating content may seem like a simple task, consistently keeping your audience hooked is a different ball game. Blog posts and articles are often the first thing which come to mind, we talk about content. While this is true, content exists in other forms such as videos, infographics, e-books or audio. Thanks to social media, short-form video content is all the rage – all you need to do is scroll down Instagram, Facebook or YouTube, and check out the staggering number of views that some videos manage to clinch.

Want to keep your content alive, so audiences always keep coming back for more? Here are three tips:

Re-use, re-purpose, re-cycle

Great advice not only for the environment, but also the content you have generated so far. Most of which is probably timeless, so don’t let it go to waste. Posted a blog on your website two years ago? Give it a fresh lease of life, and repurpose it for a different platform. Trending topics tend to be cyclical – a specific topic you wrote about a year ago could be relevant in the present moment.

For instance, events such as the Oscars, the Super Bowl, and the prominent Fashion Weeks never fail to be a yearly occurrence. If you wrote a listicle about the major looks sported at celebrities at the Golden Globes, or penned an insightful op-ed about fashion and sustainability, why not rehash the content by giving it a fresh new twist and sharing it across your socials?

Reel them in with an irresistible headline

Putting time and effort into creating your content is great, but it’s the headline that will compel people to click on whatever you have put out. Writing a good headline involves balancing the right amount of information to let people know what to expect, yet being mysterious enough to pique their interest. Clickbait is annoying, and will only turn your readers away – be genuine with your headlines, and you will earn the clicks you deserve.

Make it personal

Customers nowadays are all about authenticity. Thanks to the Internet and social media at large, people want to see the “real” you. They want to know your story so they can be invested in it, and hopefully get to know you and talk to you (just like dating).

Give people what they want. Share stories about the team working behind the scenes to help your brand or product come to life. Hop onto Instagram or Facebook Live, or record a “Storytime” video for your YouTube audience. Social media allows for two-way communications, where your customers and fans will tell you what they think of you and your product in real-time.

Let your customers in, so they can see you for who you really are. Tell your brand story with flair, and make it human. Instead of turning it into a hackneyed old sales pitch, show people what you and your brand can do. Your content strategy should leave people hungry for more.

Want to give your content a fresh lease of life? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg

Why More Brands Should Jump On The Livestreaming Bandwagon

In 2019, Singles Day broke all retail records with sales hitting more than $38 billion in the 24 hour period. In fact, merchants and brands participating in the online retail festival earned as much as 20 billion USD from livestreaming alone, selling furniture, apparel, beauty, and consumer electronics.

Livestreaming’s roots can be traced back to live television shopping shows such as QVC and Home Shopping Network, where people could shop for, well, anything under the sun. The faces of these shows were enthusiastic individuals who hoped to make the audience believe in the brand and product. Decades later, we have influencers, actors and other social media stars doing the same thing – only this time, we get to carry them around in our palms and pockets.

In China, livestreaming has become a source of entertainment, with many brands and influencers using it as a tool to launch and quickly sell their products. On livestreaming platforms such as ShopShops, luxury brands and independent re-sellers alike have found themselves a dedicated audience that is quick to lap up their offerings.

But just because a bunch of brands are jumping on the livestream bandwagon, should you? Here are some compelling reasons:

To woo your Gen-Z audience 

Young audiences want quality content at their fingertips, and they want it now. Tune in to Instagram, Facebook, Twitch, Periscope – any platform which facilitates livestreaming and it’s easy to see why.

The scope for consumer engagement and interaction is unlimited – people can ask questions, make purchases, receive updates on their favourite brands or insider information about exclusive launches, and send the host love and appreciation in the form of react buttons and stickers. What’s more, all of this occurs in real-time on people’s handphones.

Beauty brands favoured by millennials, such as Fenty Beauty, Glossier and Sephora have been innovating with their usage of livestreams, where they regularly invite influencers, makeup artists and celebrities to create looks and conduct tutorials. Rihanna herself has regularly taken to livestreaming to promote and educate consumers about the latest products.

To showcase your brand and start a conversation

Why fork out precious marketing dollars for a promotional video campaign, when you can just as easily and effectively leverage live-streaming at a lower cost, and ensure that you reach a wider audience. With livestreaming, you can kickstart a long-lasting conversation with fans and customers, and build credibility by having professionals display and vouch for the quality of the products.

Announcing new products and offering exclusive packages and deals during a livestream is also an excellent way to gauge demand for it.  However, live-streams should be more than simply getting your product to fly off the shelves. You want to connect with people emotionally so they keep coming back to watch you.

To increase authenticity

There is also something inherently raw and realistic about live-streaming, which comes across as intimate and authentic to fans. While polished video campaigns highlighting new products in detail are undoubtedly appealing, the spontaneous and uninhibited nature of a live-stream draws in people easily.  

There is no scope for editing, deleting or revising parts of the content — all the action unfolds before the viewer’s eyes. Sometimes, live-streams do not even need to be in a professional studio with perfect lighting. Influencers and indie brands will often film a session from the comfort of their homes. This makes viewers feel as though they are being included in the private world of an Internet personality.

As a brand, you would want to make yourself accessible to customers at all times. Why not turn to a tool which will help you reach a wider audience, and lend you the visibility to grow?

Want to make livestreaming a part of your media strategy? Write in to hello@mutant.com.sg and we’ll make it happen!

 

Content Localisation, aka How To Be Relevant To Different Audiences

You’ve heard it before: what speaks to me might not speak to you. This is the overarching idea behind content localisation,  a buzzword in content marketing, which is – just like content marketing – often misunderstood. Officially defined as “the process of making something local in character or restricting it to a particular place”, localisation is often only talked about in the context of different markets or languages. This isn’t wrong, but it does ignore a full scope of what the term means.

So what does content localisation mean, then?

Localisation isn’t just about translating text into another language, exchanging images to make the people them look like ‘local’ people or changing certain keywords to make your content more searchable in different countries. (Although that part of localisation is important, too).

Localisation means relevancy. The basic question brands need to ask themselves is this: how is my business / offering / content relevant to a particular audience?

Content localisation doesn’t just apply when moving across borders, but  when appealing to different audiences in the same market. A brand’s product or offering may be of interest l to both young millennials and baby boomers, but not in the same way.

For example, the reason why Gucci has recently risen in popularity among millennials and teens is not the same reason why celebrities and more affluent older generations love wearing the fashion brand. They like it for different reasons. The brand is relevant to them in a different way. As a result, Gucci markets, or localises, its brand differently to these two audiences. 

Fashion labels in particular are a great example of how a brand can be perceived differently across borders. The American brand Coach, for example, is considered a premium designer label in Southeast Asia, but has a somewhat more ordinary positioning in the U.S. 

So here comes the next question: is it great content localisation if a low-quality beer from Germany is sold in Southeast Asia as a top-shelf premium import brew? I would say: yes (although slightly misleading in this case). 

After all, the positioning of a brand changes with different audiences and markets depending on what else there is. (Reader: Are you saying Southeast Asia offers such bad beer that it makes other low-quality beer seem premium? Me: I would never say that.)

Let’s remember that localisation isn’t just changing imagery and translating social media copy – it’s about branding and positioning, finding a new audience, discovering a different value product. For Gucci, it was finding a way to appeal to a younger audience. For the German beer, it’s insinuating that a beverage imported from a country renowned for beer is a more informed, more high-quality choice than what is available locally.

What can content localisation look like?

  • Adapting your visuals to resemble your target audience (regardless of the market)
  • Using the right tone of voice and language complexity that will speak to and resonate with a particular audience
  • Be aware of cultural and political sensitivities across customer segments, generations and markets

Create a flexible content strategy, instead of following a yes-or-no, black-or-white, brand strategy. Remember what is true for your brand in one market, or with a certain customer segment, may not be universally true. Rolling out a localised version of a global brand campaign is not an oxymoron. 

What’s the ‘local’ channel?

The localisation of your content extends to considering which channel it will be published on. While Facebook and Instagram enjoy great popularity in Southeast Asia and across different demographics, other markets may also have other more popular channels. 

For example, if you are planning to venture into South Korea, you’ll want to be on KakaoTalk, on WeChat in China, or on Line in Japan. Crossing borders doesn’t just require translations – brands also need to adapt their content to each new channel.

The same applies for different target audiences. While young millennials and Gen Zs may scroll through the TikTok and post on SnapChat, older millennials and Gen X tend to dig through Reddit to consume content.

Finding the right channel for your message is important. So do your homework and find out where your audience plays online.

Here is your content localisation checklist:

  • Market Research: Find out as much as you about your new market and audiences. Is there a need for your brand? What are consumers looking for?
  • Brand Research: Who are your competitors? What’s their positioning? How does your brand fit in the market?
  • Cultural Considerations: What sensitive topics should you avoid? What major events and trends can you leverage?
  • Content: Revise your text, images, videos, reports and more. Translate, transcreate, adapt and curate new content.
  • Audiences: Find new audiences that you may have not considered previously. Test and learn about who you are talking to.
  • Measure: That’s the only way to find out what actually works. Make sure you measure your activities and campaign.

Get lost in translation? Don’t worry, it even happens to Bill Murray – and he’s great. If you want to talk about how to upgrade your content to cross borders or find new audiences (or chat about Bill Murray over some Suntory), send us a message to hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

Is product placement right for your brand?

Remember that epic selfie Ellen DeGeneres took at the 2015 Academy Awards ceremony with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3? That tweet not only broke the record for retweets previously set by President Obama, but also caused Twitter’s servers to crash.

At this year’s Golden Globes, Fiji Water attempted a similar stunt by hiring model Kelleth Cuthbert, who spent most her time photobombing stars on the red carpet while holding a tray of Fiji Water bottles. The stunt worked: the hashtag #FijiWaterGirl trended on Twitter, and earned 98.9 million impressions on the platform.

As far as product placements go, Samsung is still the one to beat – but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for successful product placement. Brands are often torn between seamlessly integrating products into the broader narrative, or making it apparent enough to trigger a viral moment on social media.

So, how do you decide what’s right for your brand?

Start with a goal
The goal of any product placement is to reach your target audience, but having precise goals is key to ensuring success. Do you want to drive brand awareness? Is it higher recall you’re after, or are you aiming for greater brand loyalty? Answering these questions will not only inform your strategy and approach, but also help identify the metrics you use to measure success.

Whatever your objectives are, public relations can play a crucial role in reaching your desired audience, and then sparking and shaping conversations with them. There are many ways a strong PR strategy can do this – and tied with a content marketing approach it can go beyond awareness and actually drive leads for your business that you can track and measure.

Make it believable
Pulling off a product placement tie-in is only successful if it is believable. When deciding on a partnership, brands need to identify whether it’s a good fit and in line with its own tonality and values.

Don’t force your brand into a piece of content where it doesn’t feel right – because you will get called out. Reebok’s association with Jerry Maguire is a great example of product placement gone wrong. Reebok paid production company Tristar $1.5 million to feature its products, but the company somehow ended up being portrayed as a villain because of its refusal to sponsor Cuba Gooding Jr’s character. After some legal back and forth, the two companies reached a settlement, which included an ad for Reebok in the film’s credits.

Consider different content types
For most marketers, TV shows and movies are obvious product placement choices. But increasingly, we’re seeing brands experimenting with other formats, only to reap rich rewards. Coca Cola and Subway have both used video games to promote their brands, while musicians like Lady Gaga and Kanye West have seamlessly included brands in their music videos. For instance, brands such as Miracle Whip, Polaroid and Virgin Active made conspicuous appearances in her “Telephone” video, while West’s video for “Wolves” doubled as a promotional ad for fashion house Balmain.

As a marketing tactic, product placements can work incredibly well or backfire spectacularly – so be savvy and cover all your bases when considering a new association.

Want to put some cool products in your ad? We’ll tell you how to go about it when you email us at hello@mutant.com.sg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to grow your business with content marketing in 2019

The year is in full swing and marketing strategies are being rolled out… but maybe you kind of haven’t started yours yet? Don’t worry, it’s not too late to begin – especially since content marketing isn’t solely about driving leads, but the stories you want to tell.

Based on our content marketing experience with brands across Singapore and Southeast Asia, we have put together a few tips and techniques you can use to beef up your efforts this year, regardless of whether you have done your marketing homework or not.

#1 Quality over quantity

Although a regular content output remains important, the quality of each piece is more important than ever before. With thousands of posts, articles and newsletters being published and pushed out every single day, the sheer volume of available content is overwhelming. Simply rehashing your competitors’ communications won’t be convincing or engaging, to say the least.

If you are going to create content in 2019, make sure it matters to your audience and feels fresh. Whether it’s your own opinion posted to LinkedIn, your next company blog or a product-related post on Facebook, give it substance, a point of view, and ask yourself if it adds any value. Also, don’t simply produce content for the sake of it – instead publish content when you have something to say.

Want to know more about how to take a stance as a brand? Read this.

#2 Email marketing doesn’t rely on algorithms

If you are worried about social media advertising algorithms messing about with your budget, then it’s time to revitalise your email marketing strategy. Email is one of the only channels that doesn’t rely on ever-changing algorithms.

Whether you already have a solid database or are just starting out, an email marketing strategy is a worthy investment. With great visuals, quality content, and an opinionated subject line, you can grab the attention of the people that matter.

Tip: Don’t overload your newsletters with too much content. Have a topic that ties back to your business for each newsletter.

#3 Influencers? Yes, but…

It’s the age if the influencer… including the ‘fake’, wannabe inauthentic ‘influencers’ that pop of everywhere claiming to have a phenomenal reach. There are just as many ‘fake’ influencers promoting their services and reach to any brand that is keen enough listen as there are real ones, and so it comes as no surprise that Instagrammers look to buy followers or use other shady tactics. Just last year, Singapore-based Daryl Aiden Yow was exposed for passing off stock images as his own, offering his photography services at the same time.

To identify influencers who actually add value to your business, take a deep look into their feeds. Look critically at their engagement and comments. If it seems legit, it’s time to meet them – if not in person, then at least over a quick call. Their personality and attitude will often provide better insight into whether they are in it for a quick buck or if they are passionate content creators worthy of investment.

#4 Merge quality with measurement

We can’t say it often enough – create, measure, analyse and optimise. While this may sound straightforward, these simple steps divide content teams everywhere.

There are two camps in content marketing: On one side are the editorial purists, who polish each sentence until it could win a literary prize. On the other side are the SEO-minded Google Analytics marketers, who tend to produce conglomerations of keyword that will make great use of checklists and algorithms.

Who’s the better content marketer? Well, they both are, if they work together.

The truth is that the most common concern regarding content marketing, especially among SMEs and startups, is related to their return on investment (ROI). Be it brand awareness, website clicks, conversions or leads, setting KPIs and measuring your content rigorously is important. But it’s equally important to craft well-written and informative pieces that people actually want to read.

#5 Don’t forget about employer branding

Content marketing is not only a way for brands to create awareness for their products and services, but also to attract and recruit highly-skilled talent.

While a lot of brands successfully market their offerings and attract customers, they are often not so great at telling their story as an employer and engaging the right people to work for them. Though client work always comes first, remember that without the right people working for your company, you won’t be able to offer the highest quality work or grow your business.

Ensure you communicate across different channels, highlighting aspects of your business that matters to the audiences on each channel. While your company blog is a great way to showcase your expertise and express thoughts more freely on a variety of topics, Facebook and Instagram should highlight the fun side of your company in a way that’s as visual as possible. Both LinkedIn and Glassdoor are not only platforms to post jobs but are great for communicating company news to a professional audience. However, don’t forget to leverage marketing and HR titles (or other trade titles) to express your thoughts and opinions on the wider industry.

Need help with some or all of the above? Just say ‘hi’ at hello@mutant.com.sg and we’ll talk.

 

Why Celebrity Endorsements Still Work

Celebrities are immensely powerful people. Whether you believe their power stems from genuine talent, notoriety or even the Illuminati, one thing’s for sure – they hold massive sway over their enthralled fans – including how their fans spend money.

In the latest example of celebrities flexing their muscles, the likes of Rihanna, John Legend and Taylor Swift have been using their influence to get people to vote in U.S. elections. Having recently broken her political silence, Swift took to the American Music Awards to encourage people to vote and shared the same message to her 112 million-strong following on Instagram. Within the next 24 hours, more than 166,000 people registered to vote, nearly half being Millennials.

Given that a single Instagram post from a celebrity can move people to leave their homes, fill out a government form, and flock to cast ballots, it is hardly surprising when eager crowds queue to lay their hands on Yeezy drops or a Balmain x H&M x Jenner collab.

So, what is it about celebrity endorsements that make us open our wallets?

The rise of accessible visual social platforms

In years past, you had to actually switch on the telly to catch a glimpse of your favourite A-lister selling you a fancy appliance. But thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and social media, these stars effectively live in our pockets. Given the amount of time we spend scrolling through our social feeds, we can’t help but be inundated with images of the new eyeshadow palette or sneaker they’re posing with.

In the 21st century, a celebrity’s star power, coupled with social media is a  formidable pairing. By keeping up with personalities we admire via social media, we feel a strange sense of familiarity and solidarity. Suddenly, the stars we adore don’t seem so inaccessible. The distance between ourselves and these inaccessible stars is greatly reduced. And given that celebrities are finding caché and more opportunities to make money due to their online engagement numbers, following them on social media now includes not just seeing what they ate for lunch or how they spent their Sunday, but being updated on every single one of their paid partnerships.

We can’t get enough of a familiar name or face

Would we buy products emblazoned with the faces and signatures of a popular figure? The answer is yes, absolutely. Marketers understand our obsession with recognisable faces. Celebrities have become more than a comforting and familiar escape. They feel like our friends, even though it’s likely we’ve never met.  We laugh with them, celebrate their successes and hardly think twice before double-tapping on their (probably) carefully photographed  “candids”.

But brands are not limiting themselves to A-listers. Independent content creators with a sizeable following on Instagram or Youtube are also endorsing a variety of products, ranging from appetite-killing lollies to charcoal toothpaste. Given that social media plays a hand in determining our decision-making process, we’re bound to be tempted to buy whatever it is our faves are posing with.

Being featured in the same space as a figure of international renown has worked well for little-known names such as Fashion Nova, Supreme, and Boohoo, which were propelled to the forefront of public consciousness by mere association. The coveted Adidas x Yeezy collection attained cult status solely because of its association with Kanye West.

It’s all about credibility, baby

When a household name tells us what to buy, wear, and eat, we sit up and listen with rapt attention, because of our conviction in their opinion. By consuming the products   they endorse, we experience a bump in our social status and feel a kindred connection with them. Most of us trust the quality of a product or a service which is backed by a celebrity’s testimony. We believe that they want the best for their fans, and would be careful as to never sell us anything that doesn’t align with their personal set of values. In this aspect, it is refreshing when public figures explain why they decided to collaborate with, or turn down a sponsored partnership with a brand or business.

The celebrity’s public persona and reputation matters greatly, too. You won’t see brands rushing to sign Lindsay Lohan as the face of their products anytime soon.

Furthermore, if a public figure promotes a brand directly related to their line of work, we are compelled to take their word for it. Do we believe that Rihanna is a chemist who labours away in a lab, painstakingly churning elixirs and formulas in a quest for to create foundation  for every skin type? Not at all. But as a performing artiste with impeccable personal style, it is hardly surprising when her eponymous makeup line sells like hot cakes. We trust her to provide high-quality cosmetics and to educate us on how to groom ourselves.

There are several factors that play a role in determining the success of an endorsement: the celebrity in question, their past reputation and social media persona, credibility of their advice and testimonial, and the quality of work they produce in their line of work.

But for a celebrity endorsement to truly succeed, the personality – and their audience – need to be a perfect match for the product. So when considering engaging an influencer to hawk your wares, do your due diligence about not just who you like, but who your target audience likes, and go from there.

Endorsements are not miracle making tools. Brands must still be aware of possible ramifications of using such a tool and use it wisely, lest they become another case study on what not to do.

Need a beautiful person to influence others to buy your products? We can help: hello@mutant.com.sg

Cover photo: Pinterest