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I Crossing Connected Brands Primer
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I Crossing Connected Brands Primer


Connectedness is marketing philosophy. It is a framework for, and a measure of how intimate a brand is with its audiences. It’s a characteristic of a brand, a ‘state of being.’ Connectedness is a way …

Connectedness is marketing philosophy. It is a framework for, and a measure of how intimate a brand is with its audiences. It’s a characteristic of a brand, a ‘state of being.’ Connectedness is a way of thinking about how successful brands do marketing...

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  • 1. ConneCtedness a new way of thinking about brands
  • 2. what’s happening in marketing?
  • 3. old media wanes Traditional marketing is no longer as effective as it used to be. Developing and launching an ad campaign, then waiting for the results to see if the campaign made any difference at all, as if we were Mad Men…well that whole approach is nostalgia now. We still watch TV, but less so, and in a much more fragmented way than we used to. Today it takes more than 120 primetime ads to reach most Americans. In 1965 it took only three. And every other traditional media (radio, print, newspaper, etc) has today it takes more than declined even more. 120 primetime ads to reach most americans. 3
  • 4. new media Comes into its own What works are the interactions that support our desire to connect with each other and the brands we care about — and today, many of those connections happen in digital spaces. Why? Because digital channels enable us to effectively find what we’re looking for, interact with content and functionality we care about, and participate in conversations that matter to us. For marketers, digital works because it’s where their customers are, it is more trackable and customizable than traditional media, and it can drive directly to measurable transactions. 4
  • 5. marketers need help The problem with digital marketing has been the lack of a cohesive approach. How do you make sense of your investments in the space? How do you know if, on the whole, your website, banner ads, emails, search programs and other digital programs are working together for maximum benefit? How do you connect the digital dots, then integrate them with all the offline marketing you are still doing? How do you know if the competition is beating you? Most importantly, how do you know who your customer is, where your customer is, and what your customer wants? What do they search for when they are shopping? Do they use comparison- shopping engines? Do they want to be your Facebook fans? Do they respond to behaviorally-targeted ads or do they feel like it’s an invasion of privacy? Do they read user reviews? Do they expect to buy online and return in the store? Do they expect customer service through Twitter? These are the questions marketers face every day. And, they are radically different we have no choice: than the questions from a few years ago, our approach must let alone decades ago. As a result, we have no choice: our approach must change. change. 5
  • 6. opportunity exists for brands to lead Few brands fully leverage the digital networks where customers participate to benefit their business. Few have captured the amount of visibility they deserve. Few have figured out how to be as useful as customers want. Few have made themselves easier to do business with, or wowed customers to want to return. And very few have figured out how to participate in honest, two- way dialogue with customers who want to engage the brand. The brands that will win in this space are the brands that choose to lead. Will you lead? brands that will win in this space are the brands that choose to lead. 6
  • 7. the ConneCted brands story
  • 8. what is ConneCtedness? Connectedness is marketing philosophy. It is a framework for, and a measure of how intimate a brand is with its audiences. It’s a characteristic of a brand, a ‘state of being.’ Think of it as a Zen stage in brand evolution. After all, a brand needs to be a living organism in today’s marketing world, not an object, not a loudspeaker yelling at people. Connectedness is a way of thinking about how successful brands do marketing: focusing on audiences, not targets; engaging in dialogue, not shouting; and developing trust that is Connectedness is meaningful and lasting. a way of thinking about how successful brands do marketing. 8
  • 9. how do we know when a brand has it? We know a brand has reached a state of connectedness when it demonstrates a better awareness of its audiences, agility in its customer- facing infrastructure, and real activity and interaction with its customers. We see connectedness and measure it by looking at a brand’s visibility to its audiences, its usefulness to those audiences, its usability (the ease of doing business with the brand), the brand’s ability to create desire, and finally, its level of engagement with its customers. 9
  • 10. what is a ConneCted brand? A connected brand is simply a brand that exhibits a high degree of connectedness. It is a brand that knows its audiences extremely well (aware), is nimble in its ability to market to them (agile), and creates products and services they actually want while participating in conversations with those customers (active). We measure the brand by how visible, useful, usable, desirable and engaged it is. Brands that score high against these categories are considered connected brands. the Connectedness framework Visible usable engaged useful desirable aware agile aCtiVe 10
  • 11. what is ConneCted marketing? Connected marketing is what we do. It’s the practice of helping build connected brands. It’s using iCrossing’s Connected Brands framework to organize, execute, integrate and optimize marketing programs for brands. It means helping brands increase their visibility in networks through search marketing, display advertising, social media and other media formats. It means helping brands improve the digital experiences they provide to their customers by creating better content and functionality, improving way-finding and navigation, and building emotional connections with those customers. It means striking up digital conversations with customers, to educate them on products and services, to listen to what they have to say about their experiences, to provide them with useful customer service, and to motivate them to be a positive multiplier of your marketing Connected force. It means making these tactics marketing is work hand-in-hand to provide seamless journeys for our clients’ customers. what we do. 11
  • 12. building a ConneCted brand
  • 13. how do we measure a brand’s leVel of ConneCtedness? iCrossing has developed a diagnostic tool called the Connected Brands Scorecard. The Scorecard measures brands across five key categories (visible, useful, usable, desirable and engaged) by capturing data across at least 65 data points. All data points are calculated into a score for each of the five categories, as well as into an overall score. These scores are then indexed against other brands to provide measurement benchmarks. The higher the score, the more connected a brand is, and ultimately the higher its level of intimacy with its audiences. The more intimate the brand is with its audiences, the more opportunity it has for success. 13
  • 14. methodology The methodology used by iCrossing to evaluate brand connectedness is aligned with the visible, useful, usable, desirable and engaged framework. The methodology evaluates each brand using core metrics defined by iCrossing to evaluate competencies related to connectedness and each brand is given a score for each of the connectedness framework elements, and given an overall score. Sources for the evaluation included, Yahoo! Site Explorer, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TweetStats, Twitalyzer, Reddit, Digg and Del.ic.ious. sCoring Scores for visible and engaged are created using a scale ranging from the minimum and maximum values for each brand and categorizing scores accordingly. For useful, usable and desirable, scoring metrics are determined based on the ideal state defined by iCrossing, starting with our standardized website review methodology as a basis and scores are assigned to brands according to these standards. Brands are given a score for each of the connectedness elements and scores are combined to create an overall Brand Connectedness Score. 14
  • 15. metriCs: Visible Visible metrics represent two areas, offsite and onsite. These are used to measure the connectedness of a brand with offsite communities as well as how well those tactics work at bringing users to the site. In addition to client data, we used publicly-available metrics, which include: offsite: • Official Flickr Account • Official YouTube Channel • Official Facebook Group • Official Twitter Group • Existence of company blog onsite: • Number of Unique Visitors • Number of Referring URLs • Overall Reach • Number of Inbound Links 15
  • 16. metriCs: useful, usable, and desirable iCrossing has created a framework to measure each brand’s website for usefulness, usability and desirability based on standardized website review methodology. By defining user goals for each brand, iCrossing is able to evaluate each brand’s landing pages, content, functionality, privacy and security policies, performance, navigation, search functionality, legibility, formatting, site layout, brand positioning, and interaction between brands and consumer across each site. Questions we ask each site reviewed include: useful: usable: • Does the landing page(s) provide • Are menu category and subcategory names clear and evidence that user goals can be com- mutually exclusive? pleted? • Do menu categories immediately expose or describe • Is essential content available where their subcategories? needed? • Are content and function classified logically? • Is essential function available where • Is the task flow efficient? needed? • Is the wording in hyperlinks and controls clear and • Are essential content and function informative? given priority in the display? • Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and • Does the site present privacy and precise? security policies in context? • Does site content use language that’s easy to • Do location cues orient the user? understand? • Does site functionality provide clear • Does the site use graphics, icons and symbols that are feedback in response to user actions? easy to understand? • Is contextual help available at key • Is text legible? points? • Does text formatting and layout support easy scanning? • Does the site help users avoid and • Do layouts use space effectively? recover from errors? • Are form fields and interactive elements placed logically • Does the site perform well? in the display? • Do interactive elements behave as expected? desirable: • Does the site’s content support brand positioning in a manner that is consistent with other channels? • Does the site’s functionality support brand positioning in a manner that is consistent with other channels? • Do the site’s language and tone support brand positioning in a manner that is consistent with other channels? • Does the site’s imagery support brand positioning in a manner that is consistent with other channels? • Does the site’s typography support brand positioning in a manner that is consistent with other channels? • Does the site’s layout support brand positioning in a manner that is consistent with other channels? • Does the site communicate brand attributes that are meaningful to target users in a manner that’s relevant to target users? • Does the site have high-quality production values? • Does the site elicit an emotional response from the user - does it deliver a positive memorable experience? • Are the uses of technologies both inspiring and pragmatic? • Is the site interactive and participatory, does it facilitate a dialogue between user and brand and between user and user? • Does the site give the user a reason(s) to come back? 16
  • 17. metriCs: engaged Engagement metrics are also split into two categories of publicly-available data points. These categories are advocacy, used to determine how willing users are to promote the brand, and actions, a measure of how well the company uses offsite visibility to communicate with consumers. Metrics include: advocacy: • Number of YouTube Friends • Number of Tweets about the brand • Number of shared/recommended content links on • Number of shared/recommended content links on • Number of social bookmarks on Del.ic.ious actions: • Visits per person • Average stay • Page views/visits • # of Flickr contacts • # of Flick discussions • # of Flickr posted items • # of Flickr photo search results • # of YouTube subscribers • # of YouTube channel views • # of Facebook fans/friends • # of Facebook discussions • # of Official Twitter accounts • # of Tweets per Day (average of all accounts) • # of Twitter followers • # of Twitter following • # of inbound links to blog 17
  • 18. get ConneCted If you would like to learn more about iCrossing’s approach to building Connected Brands, then join the conversation at, or contact us. Call us toll-free at 866.620.3780 Follow us at Become a fan at