Posts Tagged ‘Brand’

An industry growing up: The 5 emerging social media areas of expertise

Posted on: February 19th, 2013 by Fransgaard 2 Comments

I have touched on roles specialisation within Social Media before. In some ways it seems contradictory to the whole ethos behind Social Media of breaking down silos and hierarchical boundaries to allow easier communication and collaboration.

But at the same time I think it is a symptom of an industry growing up and finding its feet much like web design did in the 90s.

Here are my thoughts on how Social Media as an industry is specialising itself.

Marketing & PR

Using Social Media as part of an Advertising or PR campaign was probably the first commercial use of Social Media. It was, and still is, a cost-effective way of reaching potential customers. It also allows companies to get closer to their customers with direct and personalised communication possibilities.

Customer Service

Social Customer Service allows customers to connect via their channel of choice when they want to. With social listening tools it can also provides customer support services before issues escalates to problems… or even become issues in the first place. It can also facilitate peer-to-peer support between customers themselves and as such reducing cost and even crowdsource product innovation.

Social Workspace

As private people, employees have adopted social media, and increasingly they expect the same flexible toolset of their working environment. Social Workspace adopts consumer social media behaviour and tailor it for professional use for both employees and partner organisations. The benefits is a smarter and more collaborative organisation and an company that can more easily retain (young) talent.

Sales and Recruitment

I have previously touched on how Social Media can help job seekers but it works the other way as well. For sales (including recruitment) Social Media helps identify business opportunities, leads as well as insight into prospects. And sales endeavours can be supported by user-generated content such as reviews, either via their own channels or directly on to the company’s product pages.

The Social Brand

And finally The Social Brand. All of the above naturally feed into the brand perception. A Social Brand embraces the key learning from above: Customers really are in charge now but they still love brands. Make sure they can share that love with their friends and feel the love back from the brand.

“Click here” is not bad for your usability

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by Fransgaard 13 Comments

I want to cover a commonly held misconception and a good example of why having a little User Experience Design knowledge can be counter-productive.

Using the words “Click here” in a link is not bad for usability!

… but using them alone is. Let’s break this down:

From an accessibility point-of-view the rule is quite clear: Always provide link labels that can describe where the links are linking to if taken out of context. In other words if you have a sentence that looks like this:

Click here to book your holiday.

Take the link out of context and it just says “Click here” with no indication as to why a user should do so. This is bad.

However, from a click-through-rate point of view using: “Click here to book your holiday.” will most of the times result in more clicks that simply using “Book your holiday.” What do we do to keep both accessibility buffs and marketing heads happy?

The solution is quite straight forward

Make the whole thing a link:

Click here to book your holiday.

And with CSS you can easily decide only to style the “Click here” bit as a link while leaving the whole string as a link for accessibility purposes.

Click here” from a brand point of view

Phrases like “Click here”, “Read more”, “Download now”, “Sharing is caring” etc all encourage the user to participate and do something. They may seem garish but they work!

But that’s not to say they work with the brand message you are trying to convey. Different brands have different visual designs and tones-of-voices. Similarly calls-to-actions, buttons as well as links, need to be treated in a way that works with the tone-of-voice and the look and feel of the brand.

Make sure to multi-variant test calls-to-actions with your target audience. Test both labels and styles to get the best solution with most click-through rate that suits your target audience.

User Experience Design in a Social Enterprise Environment: A Consistent Experience

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by Fransgaard No Comments

The original version of this article can be seen at the award-winning Capgemini – Capping IT Off blog.

In the previous article User Experience Design in a Social Enterprise Environment: Connecting The Dots I covered how to look more holistically at the building blocks of a Social Enterprise to make it a single coherent experience.

In this article I will be looking at how to create consistency that extends beyond the corporate firewall and into the public web.

An equal brand experience for all

A difficult aspects of all social media initiatives is keeping a consistent brand experience in customer-facing environments. One of the more visible proofs of failure are employees posting something unfortunate via their personal social profiles or even via a corporate account.

But there are more deep-rooted issues as well:

  • How can the visual identity be delivered through a Facebook page that only allows a minimum of graphic changes?
  • How can a customer be sure the corporate Flickr account indeed IS the official account?
  • How can customer expect the same consistent experience every time they get in contact with the company?

Brand education and corporate values are there to provide support to the marketing, PR and other customer-facing professionals so they can communicate the right message and shape the right brand perception, but it is no longer enough.

Today we all work in PR

Historically this type of brand training/ support was only relevant to people expected to interact with customers, but the world has changed and today every employee represents the company, not just the ones with job titles that say they do and not only during work hours.

It is the future of how we work. The lines of when we are at work and when we are not are increasingly being blurred and representing the company we work for everywhere we go is becoming part of our lives.

Some companies require employees to state on their personal social profiles that they represent personal opinions and do not represent the company, but this legacy clause do not face the reality: Everything an employee writes reflects on the company, disclaimer or not.

But without a sufficient understanding of the brand and the corporate values, how can employees be expected to convey the brand message accurately and consistently?

A brief introduction to the corporate values during the induction is no longer enough.

The Social Enterprise as the brand tutor

The Social Enterprise, being an ambient entity, can facilitate brand education like no other organisational structure can on an on-going basis. But in order to do so it is important to create a consistent user experience that conveys a unified company:

  • Don’t settle for the default interface designs of the different systems. Modify it to create a coherent user experience across all systems.
  • Apply the corporate visual design uniformly as much as possible across all systems.
  • Ensure the design looks profesisonal and that it is consistent with the customer facing web presence of the company.
  • Reinforce the corporate values, not just by slogans, but by getting senior management engaged with the employees. A simple “like” on a post from a VP or the CEO is a powerful steer.

Ongoing brand awareness education across all levels of the organisation is key to a great customer experience because all employees are familiar and comfortable with the corporate identity and can convey the brand in an accurate and confident fashion.

But what do you think?

Please share your thoughts and feel free to suggest a subject for the next article on how to make a desirable and productive user experience across the social enterprise.