Make the Effort to Build a Credible Brand

By Cristiane Namiuti

Building a credible brand takes a lot of time and effort. While large multinationals like Apple and Nike seem to make it easy, they’ve invested significantly into building brands that people can identify with easily. As a business manager, building to that type of level is a worthy goal, but you have to know that it’s all about making the right moves. As someone looking to establish a strong brand, consider the following aspects.

What’s unique about you?
In a competitive marketplace, you will be constantly battling other businesses for the market’s attention. Some brands have found ways to set themselves apart from the competition. Many other brands, however, have resorted to copycat techniques to survive.
Recognizing what makes you unique is important if you want to remain distinct from the competition. Figure out what it is about your product/service that’s different from the rest, what sets you apart.

What kind of message do you convey?
Unknowingly, many brands engage in “strings attached” kind of messaging. Messages to the tune of “I’m the best in the market, buy from me only,” or “All the other folks don’t know what they’re talking about, I do,” and so on, are more about sales than communicating value. Sure, you want the target market to purchase from you, and it’s a good way to generate business, but it doesn’t have to be the message all the time. Rather, distribute useful and informative content that will spur the audience to know more about you.

About the author:
Cristiane Namiuti is a brand marketing professional who has successfully launched dozens of consumer brands and products. Her projects have generated business growth for small business, startups, and large corporations like Unilever.

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The Benefits of Mobile Technology

By Cristiane Namiuti

Cristiane Namiuti is a brand marketing professional who has a strong interest in mobile technology and its impact on our lives. She believes that mobile technologies are changing how consumers interact with businesses. Indeed, the use of mobile technologies and devices is shaping consumer preferences and behavior. The massive adoption of these technologies has led many business managers to rethink and recreate their ways to position their brands for maximum benefit.

As a result, mobility must be part of a brand’s technology agenda in current time. In a business context, managers have to think through the context and complexity of information required to be accessed through mobile technology. Mobile technology is fast-moving and requires a constant update of information that is published. This fast-paced environment has made it essential for brands to work on content creation and optimization.

The use of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet computers, and laptops has made it easier for workers to collaborate and for the business to communicate with employees, vendors, and customers. Additionally, mobile technology has allowed staff to work remotely. Whether it’s answering email from home or submitting a report while traveling to a meeting, mobile devices have made it easier to keep in touch and be productive.

Lastly, mobile devices have the ability to change the way a company does business. New technology can foster innovation in products and services, efficiency in the workplace, and boost overall value to clients.

Cristiane Namiuti has more than 10 years of experience in building and managing top consumer brands. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and holds an MBA in entrepreneurship from Babson College in Wellesley, MA.

Growing Your Small Business

By Cristiane Namiuti

Being a small business has some advantages: You can adapt quickly to changing market trends, and decision making is faster, probably because only a few people have this responsibility. You’re also autonomous, as there’s no large corporation that drives your agenda. You may not be attracting the same number of customers as a household brand is, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t look every bit as professional as they are.

Here’s how to make your business grow and look professional

Have a website (or update it!)

It’s disheartening when you consider that only about a half of small businesses have a website. In this age of online shopping and transactions, it’s imperative that a business maintains a presence on the web. Consumers are more likely to shop for products and services online. If your business doesn’t have a website, you’re more likely to go unnoticed.

The good news is that it’s quite easy to get a website up and running, especially one that can support mobile access. A good number of people with mobile devices use them to access the Internet, and even a search engine like Google supports sites that function well on mobile devices. Additionally, there are many low-cost tools available that can assist in creating a website.

If you already have a website, you should update it to the latest technology by enabling responsive design. There are even templates to choose from, which should make your work easier. And remember, even with a good website, relevant content is key.

Have a marketing budget

While you may not have the billions to spend on marketing like multinational companies, you certainly have to set aside a percentage of your budget towards marketing. Your product/service offering may be good, but it won’t “sell itself.” Marketing is an integral aspect to the success of a business, and you need to budget for it.

Setting aside resources for marketing means you have to ensure the budget allows for it. If you don’t have the resources ready, consider looking for external funding or partnerships that can sell your business. Other than traditional modes of advertising, consider partnering up with other small businesses to increase the visibility of your offerings.

Work on your social media presence

The need to establish and grow your presence on social media is crucial since it’s more of a necessity for businesses now. You need to figure out which social media platform works best for you. If you’re more of a professional services business, LinkedIn might work. If you’re a pizza shop that’s looking to show customers your good food, give Instagram a try. Look at what the brands in your industry use, and let that guide you.

About the author:

Cristiane Namiuti is an experienced marketing professional who’s knowledgeable in brand strategy and marketing for both large companies and small businesses. She has expertise in innovation and building brand equity, which ultimately leads to increased revenues.

Four Main Fears That Hinder Success

By Cristiane Namiuti

To succeed in life, you have to learn how to overcome your fears. In our minds, some fears are bigger than others. The nasty ones can even hinder your ability to put your best foot forward. To attain success, you need to find the strength to face them head on.

The following are some of the common fears to overcome:

1. Fear of aging

Fear of old age can be harmful when someone is making a major career change. The thought process at such a time can be something like this: “I’m 50. How do you expect me to learn about marketing if I’ve been in law all this time? It has to work out well, otherwise, I won’t be able to meet my obligations.”

At the end of the day, however, how old you are matters less when you have confidence in your ability to deliver.

2. Fear of criticism

Many people are afraid to express or live their dreams out of fear of what family, friends or colleagues will say about them. There are countless tales of young graduates wishing to take career paths far different from what their parents expect, but often hold back for fear of what will come of such bold moves.

Fear of criticism is common among many people. Making decisions based on what others think, however, will hamper you in life. Rather, think about what these people will say if you were to achieve success.

3. Fear of failure

This fear often takes the form of the “what if” question in our lives. Only that it’s phrased in a negative way like: “What if my idea doesn’t work out? What if there’s no market for my business” What if I fail?”

You are asking the wrong questions. Instead of conjuring up all the different ways you may fail, focus on the way you can succeed. Even if you encounter obstacles or make mistakes, you will have an opportunity to correct and learn. Failure is part of the process, so accept that it may occur and focus on giving it your best shot. Just like that famous quote: If you manage to learn from every failure, your failures will ultimately build your success.

4. Fear of success

Far too often, people are afraid of reaching their full potential. They’re afraid of becoming what they envisioned, which is a real success. They look at others and think, “I wish I could achieve that too.” In reality, however, they are afraid of being their true selves and reaching the same level of success.

Many people operate on a belief system in which becoming successful is out of reach, so they never push themselves. They believe that things will always stay as they are and there is nothing they can do to change their lives. This is a very limiting assumption, one that you should counter by believing you are capable and have what it takes to achieve your goals. We are much more likely to succeed when we truly believe in what we are working for.

About the author:

Cristiane Namiuti is a brand marketing professional with a strong background in marketing for consumer goods and brand strategy. She has managed multiple leading brands for large multinational companies like Unilever and Bare Escentuals. Cristiane holds an MBA from Babson College and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Advertising from ESPM in São Paulo.

Brazil Among the Most Miserable Nations

By Cristiane Namiuti

The Cato Institute just published its annual Misery Index ranking of nations. Professor Steve H. Hanke of Johns Hopkins Universitycalculated the indexesbased on data from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Misery Index calculation follows a simple formula:

Misery Index = (unemployment + inflation + bank lending rates) – GDP’s percentage change.

The highest indexes are associated with the most miserable nations.

According to Hanke’s Misery Index for 2015, Venezuela continues to occupy the first place as the most miserable nation for the third consecutive year.And Venezuela’s situation in 2015 was much worse than 2014: the country’s Misery Index went from 106 in 2014 to 214 in 2015, increasing more than 100%.

Ukraine rose two positions, going from fourth place in 2014 to second in 2015, with a misery index of 82.

Brazilearned a Misery Index of 67, appearing as the third most miserable nation in the world1 (after Venezuela and Ukraine) and second in the Americas2 (after Venezuela). The Brazilian economy has been deteriorating over the last few years. The country is struggling with a high level of government debt, high inflation and very high interest rates. Most of these aspects directly affect the country’s Misery Index.

Cato Institute’s Misery Index scores for 2015 were only calculated for nations with up-to-date data at the EIU. Some countries, like for example Syria, were not included because they did not have current data available.

You can check the latest Misery Index rankings here:

Most Miserable Countries in the World
http://www.businessinsider.com/misery-index-cato-institute-2016-1

Misery Index Scores per Region
http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/economic-headwinds-big-players-regime-uncertainty-misery-index

 

 

1Bender, Jeremy.“Most Miserable Countries in the World”
BusinessInsider.com Jan. 2015.
<http://www.businessinsider.com/misery-index-cato-institute-2016-1>
2Hanke, Steve H.“Economic Headwinds: Big Players, Regime Uncertainty and the Misery Index”
Cato Institute, Feb. 2016.
<http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/economic-headwinds-big-players-regime-uncertainty- misery-index>

New Technologies are Redefining our Way of Life

New Technologies are Redefining our Way of Life

How the ZMOT Has Transformed Marketing

By Cristiane Namiuti

Today, the ubiquitous presence of the Internet and the massive adoption of mobile technologies are changing the way we relate with the world around us and redefining how we consume (anything and everything): brands, products, services, information, entertainment etc. Today we have immediate access to all types of information. This is a new paradigm that has transformed, and still continues to reshape, what once was the “Traditional Marketing”.

 

When we, consumers, are interested in a product or service it is just natural to go online, usually on our mobile devices, and do some research about it. This way of researching before shopping is so common for us that we can hardly remember that not that long ago, when there was no Internet, consumers had different shopping habits. For a very long time the mental model of marketing was based on three critical moments: stimulus, first moment of truth and second moment of truth. Today; however, the ZMOT –  Zero Moment of Truth – has transformed that mental model.

Three-Step Mental Model of Marketing

For a very long time the mental model of marketing was based on three critical moments:

1) Stimulus: advertising that a consumer would watch at home, generating awareness about the product and an interest in trying it

2) First moment of Truth: the moment when the consumer goes to the store, finds the product on the shelf and decides to buy it

3) Second Moment of Truth: when the consumer uses the product and experiences its benefits

Consumer goods companies like Procter and Gamble and Unilever used this three step mental model to plan and execute their marketing and communications campaigns for decades. These companies used to build demand for their brands/products by investing mostly on traditional advertising and trade marketing activities in order to influence their consumers during the “stimulus” and “first moment of truth” steps:

Advertising, mainly TV and print media – to build awareness and stimulate interest during the “stimulus” step, ideally stimulating this consumer to go look for their product at the store

Trade marketing or point-of-purchase activities such as in-store promotions and shelf materials (ads, coupons etc.) – to attract attention and persuade the consumer to buy their product during the “first moment of truth” step.

However, over the last decade, technology has transformed the way people shop. With the advent of the Internet, consumers adopted new habits, and the mental model of marketing had to be adjusted accordingly.

Today, after watching a commercial – instead of going directly to the store, like it used to happen in the past with the three step model – consumers use their computers or mobile phones to search for all the available information about the product. This new habit changed consumers’ decision process, and was added to the mental model of marketing. This new step is called ZMOT: Zero Moment of Truth, because it happens after the stimulus from advertising, and before the first moment of truth at the store. The ZMOT empowers consumers by giving them invaluable information they can use to make better buying decisions, even before entering a store or talking to any sales person. Companies need to make sure they consider the ZMOT when they launch new brands and products. So they can create and distribute relevant content to answer their customers’ questions while presenting their brands in the best possible light.

Providing potential customers with great ZMOT experiences is crucial to positively influence and stimulate them to move to the next step: go look for the product at the store.

ZMOT is a concept largely promoted by Google. You can download the ZMOT e-book here.  Click here to watch a video from Google about ZMOT.

Ilustration by freepik.com