marketing

LVM President + Renowned Author and Concordia University Professor Educate Millennials on Personal Branding and Thriving in Today’s Market

Stacey from TEOC event
La Voz Marketing President, Stacey Kaszton Jones, was invited to speak at
The Elite OC’s May Educational Schmoozer, alongside Dr. Chip Espinoza of Concordia University.  The two speakers educated over 100 attendees on personal branding and thriving as a millennial in today’s market.  Dr. Chip Espinoza is the co-author of “Millennials@Work: The 7 Skills Every Twenty-Something Needs to Overcome Roadblocks and Achieve Greatness At Work” and “Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce.” He is also Academic Director of the Organizational Psychology program at Concordia University Irvine.

The Elite OC, with the support of Concordia University Irvine, hosts quarterly Educational Schmoozers that offer information about relevant topics. This quarter attendees listened to Stacey Jones talk about the power of personal branding and how one can establish and fortify their personal brand to achieve greatness.  Dr. Espinoza spoke about thriving as a millennial in the workplace, and how millennials can stand out among their peers and excel in the workplace alongside Baby Boomer and Generation X colleagues.

As part of its mission, The Elite OC raises awareness and donations for a local nonprofit organization at each event.  LVM’s client, the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation, was the highlighted charity for this event.  The Foundation funds valuable library resources and programs –– engaging the community in cultural and intellectual adventure through the sponsorship of diverse public programs and cutting-edge library enhancements.  Aside from funding the library’s Media Lab, the Foundation also funds plenty of educational community programs, such as the Witte Lectures and Library Live series, the monthly Medicine in Our Backyard, book discussion groups, financial workshops, and children’s events and programs.TEOC Image

The Foundation relies on its members’ support to fund the programs at the library that support education and culture in our community. If you’re interested in giving to this organization, click here.

The Elite OC has monthly schmoozers where attendees get the opportunity to network with like-minded young professionals while giving back to the local community. You can find information about upcoming events, how to become a member or about the organization’s partner charities on their website.

If you have any questions about personal branding or about millennials in the workforce, email us at info@lavozmarketing.com.

Instagram Announces New Update

Instagram logo“People miss on average 70 percent of their feeds,” Instagram states in a recent blog post announcing its newest update. “That means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.”

To try to solve the problem, Instagram will be stepping away from chronological timelines and implementing a change to the order of posts that show up in a user’s newsfeed. The algorithm that dictates the order in which posts appear will be based on the likelihood of a user’s interest, the timeliness of the post and a user’s relationship with the person posting.

Although Instagram assures users, “all the posts will still be there, just in a different order,” this change can negatively affect small businesses’ content by potentially burying it in followers’ timelines. This can result in not only a drop in engagement, but also in customers and sales.

So how can you be sure your content doesn’t get buried? Many company accounts have started asking followers to turn on their notification settings, so users can see their content more easily; however, many followers have only gotten upset with the influx of pages asking for this, causing a negative effect.

According to Business News Daily, businesses will have to stay competitive and target their followers with relevant, high-quality content. Despite the negative possibilities, however, there is a benefit to those companies that stay competitive with targeted content. “All those accounts with purchased followers, low-quality content and the ability to post every 30 minutes will not have an advantage with the new algorithmic feed,” branding and social media consultant Emmelie De La Cruz said. “It is going to separate the fakes with purchased followers and trash content from those with great and truly engaging content.”

Be sure that your posts are coming up toward the top of newsfeeds by buckling down on your strategy before the change happens – post high-quality, targeted, timely and relevant content.

If you have questions about Instagram’s new update and how your business can prepare for the change, email info@lavozmarketing.com.

Women in Business – Women’s History Month

 

Women in business2We are at the end of Women’s History Month. La Voz Marketing is a woman-owned firm, and we pride ourselves in how far women have come in the world of public relations and marketing. Business isn’t just a “man’s world” anymore – we are making our own footsteps. According to All Business Schools, as of 2015, women make up 60% of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree recipients, and 44% of master’s degrees in business and management (including 37% of MBAs). To celebrate Women’s History Month, we would like to take the time to remember and celebrate some of the business milestones made by women throughout history. Here are a few:

1914-1918 – During World War I, women took on many industry and public service jobs, expanding increasing the views of what women could do. This was important because these advancements lead to increased support for women’s suffrage.

1920 – Congress passed the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote.

1939-1945 – During World War II, millions of women filled the job positions left behind by men that went to fight in the war. Women worked in defense plants, factories and more, acquiring more skills and opportunities.

1963 – Katharine Graham takes control as the President of The Washington Post. She becomes CEO of the paper in 1973, making her the first female Fortune 500 CEO.

1999 – Carly Fiorina became the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 company when she took control of Hewlett-Packard.

2013 – General Motors named Mary Barra CEO, making her the first female CEO of a major automaker.

According to Business Insider, women make up about 47% of the workforce, but only hold 14% of executive positions in Fortune 500 companies. Women also own about 40% of businesses. We have come far in history, but still have a long way to go in the business world.

For more information about our woman-owned business, and information about startups, contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com

 

Video Marketing Rises in Popularity

Video-Marketing1Online content is getting shorter as attention spans decrease. Videos now serve as bite-sized content that keeps viewers interested.

According to an article by The Guardian, video is the best way to engage with consumers and to increase awareness of your brand.

Video will account for 69% of all online consumer traffic by 2017, according to Cisco. YouTube already receives more than 1 billion viewers per month, which is more than any other channel except Facebook. It is becoming a great tool for marketing, as its influence grows and becomes a factor in how consumers view a company. A study showed that seven out of ten people viewed a company more positively after viewing its interesting online content.

Video is an excellent choice for keeping consumers engaged because it holds one’s attention span longer than a still photo. Video content is also a very affordable method for small businesses and start-up businesses, as production costs are decreasing. It’s also increasingly easier to create content using apps, such as Vine and more. This means it could be a smart investment for your company. Nielsen says that 64% of marketers are going to be increasing their video budget and investment. Currently, about half of the market in the UK are using video to connect with their consumers, with this number expecting to increase dramatically.

Here are some tips to using video marketing successfully:

  • Think of your audience. Make your video relevant to them. If it doesn’t make sense to use video for your audience, don’t. Don’t waste time or resources.
  • Do not ignore social media. A large percentage of sharing and viewing happens from mobile phones – maximize that sharing and viewing potential by posting videos to social media.
  • Finally, be creative with the videos you make. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and be interesting.

If you have any questions about video marketing, please contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com

Re-Evaluating and Renewing Your Brand for 2016

NewYearGoalsIt’s a new year…so perhaps it is time to reinvent and think about those resolutions. It’s also time to evaluate the past year and move forward with those new ideas that you shelved. Setting new goals and resolutions for your business and brand is just as important as setting those personal resolutions.

Looking back at 2015, what efforts and campaigns did you execute? Did they work for your brand? These tips will help you to re-evaluate or re-invent your company’s brand to appeal better to your audience. If your resolution is to finally launch that business you’ve been dreaming of, then these tips are great tools for you to make it a reality in 2016!

1. Know your audience
What services/products does your business offer and who are you targeting? Asking this question is a good first step to understand if you’re appealing to the right group. All marketing tools and tactics that you employ will need to be relevant to your target audience, so you don’t waste your efforts. Learn about the interests, needs and concerns of your audience. Surveying your audience is a great way to get to know them and get feedback directly because you can ask questions about what they want, what their preferences are, and what you as a brand can do to fulfill them.

2. Ask yourself what goals you would like to achieve.
Are you looking to increase awareness, increase sales, or a combination of the two? For any campaign, it’s important to have a goal and a plan in mind. Listing your goals will help keep your company’s view and messaging focused. Getting to know your audience will help you define what goals are most realistic. Then, moving forward, keep going back to that goal to ensure you’re staying on strategy and on message.

3. Ensure your messages align with your brand’s voice.
Your brand is the personality and essence of your company. In Forbes’ article “Why Branding is Important,” Scott Goodson says, “Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise mark as opposed to a trademark. Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products.” If you develop your brand with the proper messaging and audience in mind, it will expand and grow over time.

Researching and knowing your audience, again, is key in this realm. If your target audience is a younger demographic, you might want to adjust your brand’s voice to appeal to that target group. The use of images appeals to all audiences, but especially to younger groups. If you’re just launching your startup, you’ll want to develop your brand properly. Create a mission statement and a voice that conveys what your business does and why you’re doing it.

4. What channels does your brand use to communicate?
Surveying your audience first can help you determine the best ways to communicate. Ask them if they use Instagram. Ask yourself if that medium is an appropriate tool for your brand to use. You don’t need to be present on all channels of social media, but if you’re going to be on a channel, do it well. Use the media that best appeals to your brand and audience. Plan your posts ahead of time. Tailor your posts to what your audience wants to hear and decide what is relevant for you to share. There are so many ways to reach your audience, from snail mail and email to Instagram and Periscope – the proper connection is key.

5. Tell stories, share experiences.
Consumers are valuing experiences more and more, and the social tools available are making it easier than ever to appeal to that. With apps like Periscope or Meerkat, you can live-stream an event and share it with your consumers. With Instagram, you share your brand purely through images. This can help build a connection between the company and the consumer. In Psychology Today, Pamela B. Rutledge Ph.D., M.B.A. said, “When organizations, causes, brands or individuals identify and develop a core story, they create and display authentic meaning and purpose that others can believe, participate with, and share.”

Starting a company blog is another way to share your message, while giving consumers insight into your brand. You can share stories about impacts your business has made, for example. A blog is a great way to build a connection with your audience and your company. Consumers don’t want to interact with a big corporation; they want to feel the personalized, intimate connection of a small start-up. They want to share your experiences and understand your brand.
If you’re looking to start your business or make a change to your brand this new year, contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com

2015 – Year in Review

Livestreaming

As 2015 comes to an end, we look back on the top marketing tools, trends, campaigns and more. Building a connection and sharing experiences with consumers, peers, businesses and more were some key themes we saw coming out of the marketing realm in this year. Here were some top trends from 2015.

Video Marketing and Live Streaming:
Live streaming has revolutionized marketing because it allows a company to connect with and learn more about a company, as well as share their experiences with their friends. Apps like Meerkat and Periscope lead the way in live streaming this year, and allow users and followers to share experiences and connect one another. This can help a brand by building a connection with users by sharing experiences through live video. Snapchat expounded on its marketing capabilities by creating the Discover options for brands, as well as allowing users to experience snaps and videos from around the world.

Technology:
Technology is always growing and getting better at anticipating our needs, which means that it anticipates the needs of a company and its consumers as well. According to Nielsen, Facebook, YouTube and Facebook Messenger take the top three smartphone apps. In addition, their study says that Android OS holds a higher market share in the United States with 52.7 percent, while Apple iOS only holds 42.8 percent.

Marketing Campaigns:
According to Entrepreneur.com, the top three marketing campaigns for 2015 are Apple’s “Shot on an iPhone 6” campaign, Glade’s “Museum of Feelings” campaign and Barbie’s “You Can be Anything” campaign.

Apple’s global campaign relied on consumer-created content to show the professional-looking images that the iPhone 6 can capture.

Glade’s pop-up museum started as a Facebook event page promoting “the first museum that reacts to emotions.” The museum and its website had mood filters that users could easily turn into a profile picture on social media channels. The mood filters suggested the best smells for a user’s mood, which made perfect sense when it was revealed that the “museum” was a campaign by Glade. The campaign came under scrutiny for being a “Secret Corporate Art Museum,” but also managed to garner 120,000 impressions, including the mood-based selfie filters. The museum closed on December 15, 2015.

Barbie’s campaign was created to connect with millennial parents. The campaign features a video of girls in various career settings. The videos are unscripted and have hidden cameras to capture how those around them would react, and the careers were chosen based on what the girls wanted to be at the time of filming. The video followed young girls as they became a professor, a veterinarian, a soccer coach and a museum tour guide for the day. The video states: “When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.” The brand also introduced dolls with more ethnic diversity earlier this year.

Emojis:
Emojis have taken the texting world by storm. With the launching of multi-ethnic emojis and the hard-fought battle for a taco emoji, these little images are allowing younger-targeting businesses more opportunities to connect with their consumers. Domino’s Pizza, whose digital orders make up about half of its overall orders, announces a “tweet-to-order” system that will allow users to tweet the pizza emoji to @dominos, and an order will be placed! Emojis even made their way into our lexicons. Oxford Dictionaries announced that the 2015 Word of the Year wasn’t a word at all, but was the “laughing with tears” emoji .

Social Media:
Social media connects consumers to their brands and to each other.
Images are ruling communications methods, which put social media channels, like Instagram at an advantage. Businesses should be using these social channels to connect with their followers. Social media is also the easiest and quickest way to get feedback from consumers and engage with them.

Twitter hashtags changed with the breaking news stream. Here are the most-used Twitter hashtags of 2015:
1. #jobs
2. #Quran
3. #ISIS
4. #PrayForParis
5. #LoveWins
6. #CharlieHebdo
7. #JeSuisCharlie
8. #BlackLivesMatter
9. #地震 (Earthquake)
10. #SandraBland

Emails:
Email has continued to be one of the most direct methods that businesses can use to connect with their consumers. Emails help a business share data, deals and information with consumers.

What do you think 2016 will have to offer?

Are you interested in getting started with these marketing tools and trends? Contact La Voz Marketing at info@lavozmarketing.com.

The Basics of Branding Your Startup

The Basics of Branding Your Startup

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), about half of startups survive five years and only one-third survive ten years. Although the economy has been improving, new businesses are still at risk of failure. New Business Incubators are on the rise, especially in California, and are a great way for businesses to gain mentorship and industry connections. However, they are not a sure-fire way to create a successful business.

Entrepreneur Gareth Forde from the startup “Tiny Kicks”, a product that measures the movement and number of kicks within the womb to help mothers and doctors track fetal health, spoke to the OC Register earlier this year about his acceptance to the EvoNexus business incubator in Irvine.

“The overwhelming reality of being in an incubator is it’s only as good as how engaged you are,” he said. “It’s probably one of the biggest drivers of success, the level of work and commitment of (your) team.”

Another key driver of business success is branding and engaging your audience through messaging.

Without a consistent, well-developed brand, a business can fail to reach the proper audiences or fail to accurately engage the intended audience because of incorrect messaging.

One important step to developing your brand is to ask the key questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? – not quite in that order.

What: What is your business? What is the problem or issue your business is aiming to solve or address? Your business should be trying to say something through its products. What is it trying to say? What is the message?

Who: Who is your target audience? Who will be interested in your business or product? Who are you intending to reach? What is your target audience like? Are they young, old, professionals, parents? Audience demographics are key in determining how to market your product and create the proper messaging.

Why: Why is your business or product important? Why is it different than other similar businesses? The truth is, there are very few original ideas anymore…so why should a client or customer pay attention to your business over the competitors?

How: How will you develop your business’ voice and personality? Will you use social media to engage your audience? Will you have a website? How will your website’s design, logo and verbiage convey your message?

Where: Where will you reach your target audience? Is it best to reach them at trade shows or online? Are mailers effective? Understanding where your audience engages is key to ensuring you are heard.

When: When are you launching your business? It’s best to understand your brand and develop it before you launch your business. Developing a timeline can keep you organized and keep your message on point.
Asking these basic, but important, questions will help you develop a strong company brand. Your brand is the essence of the business – it’s your unique differentiator, your mission, your personality and more.

If you have any questions about the key branding and marketing steps to starting a business, please email info@lavozmarketing.com.

Meet Generation Z

students-99506_640-2Marketers have been interested in gaining younger mindshare with Millennials for years. Millennials, more properly known as Generation Y, are currently the largest generation in the workforce and have become the most researched generation in history.

Now, meet Generation Z. They were born between the years 1995-2015 and are still growing with each birth (a growth rate of approximately 361,000 babies each day, according to census data). Currently, they are the largest generational group in America, making up just under 26% of the total population.

Why should we care about Generation Z? They are just barely entering the workforce, but they are important for companies to understand in order to get a grasp of the future of marketing.
Based on the article “Millennials are Old News — Here’s Everything You Should Know about Generation Z,” by Hayley Peterson and considering a study by Sparks & Honey, a New York-based marketing agency, we can see the influence Gen Z will have on the future. Here are some of their key characteristics and takeaways that could change the future of marketing:

1. They are activists. According to the study, 60% of them want to have an impact on the world (compared to Millennials’ 39%). One quarter of them volunteer, which shows that companies wanting to connect with Gen Z should take part in the activism.

2. They value independence. Being the first group to grow up completely immersed in technology (including YouTube and the internet), they are natural researchers and they are often self-taught through tutorial videos and more. They are accustomed to finding out information about products on their own.

3. They use technology extensively. While millennials grew up using technology, they didn’t have full access to it. Generation Z, however, is growing up completely immersed in it. According to the Sparks & Honey Report, Gen Z-ers can work and multitask across five screens (compared to three screens used by Millennials). This means that content needs to live across platforms and technologies.

4. They have a short attention-span. With the instantaneousness of technology and the Internet, Gen Z-ers are used to receiving an abundance of information at the click of a button. For this reason, it has become difficult to keep their attention on one thing. It’s important to break up content into bite-sized pieces.

5. They speak with images. Emojis and emoticons are taking over their text language and serving as an underlying conversation. This image-speak makes sense to Gen Z-ers and is another reason why Instagram and Snapchat have grown in popularity. If you want to tell a story to Gen Z-ers, make sure to tell the story through images.

If you have any questions about communicating with different audiences and generations, please email info@lavozmarketing.com.

The Human Side of Conversion Optimization

Increasing conversion rates is a common goal for retailers as most websites have a conversion rate less than 4%. Here are some helpful insights from WebCongress’ 2015 Digital Media Conference about conversion optimization:

Understand how people work physically and mentally

Who is your audience? What is their attention span? The concept of limited attention span is very important. Attention is like a laser beam; it focuses on a very narrow area. You need to be able to capture attention as quickly as possible to keep them on your website.

Understand how people process information

Visual perception is the ability to interpret the environment by processing information based on our backgrounds.  We can all see the same object, but the mental representation that we have is different for every person. Every visitor that sees your product, service, or content will have a different mental representation. Take that into consideration when you decide to utilize visual content on your website.

Everything is a conversation

Whether you have a complicated or simple product, you need to establish a conversation. How do your visitors think? How do they make decisions? What do they need to know about your product or services? It’s important to build answers to their questions. Conduct research instead of making assumptions about who your visitors are and what they need.

Every web page is a script

Based on the research you have gathered on your audience, you can develop a strong script outline. Map out the thought sequence you want people to have as they visit your web page. After you’ve developed the outline and the order of importance, you can work on the design elements. The purpose of design is to manage the attention and guide people through the key points of the story line. Drive the audience to a call of action.

If you have any questions about conversion optimization, content development or web design, please contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com.

LVM + BisNow OC Construction and Development Conference

bisnow

La Voz Marketing recently attended BisNow’s 3rd Annual OC Construction and Development Conference.  The event attracted industry leaders and newcomers alike, all ready to discuss what it takes to get a new project off the ground in the current market.  The panelists shared insights on unique strategies behind creative renovation and repositioning of existing assets.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Creativity is being rewarded in the current market, whether for design or how a deal is structured. The best marketing for a project is the quality of its design and brand.
  • From a demand standpoint, there are large differences in the tenant/buyer mix between the current cycle and the last cycle. From 2004 to 2007 most of the industrial development projects in Orange County were smaller buildings driven primarily by SBA financing. During the recovery and expansion cycle, however, demand has been most prominent in larger buildings.
  • Developers have to pay close attention to their basis to generate their desired return. Ever-increasing land costs, higher fees and an increase in construction costs leave developers with no other option. Many new projects require substantially higher equity contributions for the investor/developer to get started during the last cycle.
  • Investment capital is coming from overseas and from other sources. Investors are competing with users for small or large vacant buildings. Chinese business owners and investors are buying most of the industrial buildings.

Just as creative design is being rewarded, creative branding for properties and developments helps drive demand as well.  La Voz Marketing specializes in creative branding and marketing for office, retail, commercial and industrial properties.  Contact us at info@lavozmarketing.com for more information on our real estate specific services.

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