In Clear Focus: Audio Branding and the Spoken Word

In Clear Focus this week: audio branding and the rising popularity of spoken word audio entertainment. Twenty-two percent of the US population now listens to an average of seven different podcasts each week, but what lies behind the growing numbers of podcasts and listeners? Voice artist Jodi Krangle believes the medium itself may hold the answer. In this episode, we hear why Jodi considers audio branding the hidden gem of marketing, and how she launched her own podcast.  

You can listen and subscribe to Jodi’s new podcast about audio branding at: http://audiobranding.buzzsprout.com/

In Clear Focus: Audio Branding and the Spoken Word

In Clear Focus this week: audio branding and the rising popularity of spoken word audio entertainment. Twenty-two percent of the US population now listens to an average of seven different podcasts each week, but what lies behind the growing numbers of podcasts and listeners? Voice artist Jodi Krangle believes the medium itself may hold the answer.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant:     You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising. Produced weekly by Bigeye. Hello, I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, VP of insights at Bigeye. An audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency, Bigeye is based in Orlando, Florida, but serves clients across the United States and beyond. Thank you for choosing to spend time with us today. In today’s show, we’re going to talk about an aspect of marketing that’s getting a lot more attention as a consequence of the fragmented media environment and use of digital devices for entertainment. While all marketers are likely familiar with visual branding – the use of images, colors, logos, and typefaces – it’s also possible to create a palette of sounds and music that align perfectly with a brand’s attributes. Now, while jingles immediately come to mind, audio branding – also referred to as sonic branding – can be more than a catchy tune heard on a TV or radio ad. We’re talking about the use of auditory elements to reinforce a brand identity, just as you might use certain colors or words. These auditory elements can extend beyond advertisements and be incorporated within digital apps or interfaces – think of sounds associated with a smart speaker, when a computer starts up, or for different controls in a car. And there’s another aspect of audio branding that is maybe less obvious than music, but no less important. A couple of weeks ago, National Public Radio released their Spoken Word Audio Report. This study, conducted by Edison Research, found that the share of time spent listening to spoken word audio in the US has increased 20 percent since 2014 – while time spent with music across the same time period decreased 5 percent. This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices, especially among those aged between 13 and 34. About half of the US population – 51 percent – have listened to a podcast at some point, but 22 percent of the population listen weekly for an average of six hours, 37 minutes – to about seven different shows each week. So it’s in this context that we’re joined today by a guest who has a unique perspective on the business of audio branding for advertising and the growth of spoken word audio. Jodi Krangle has been a voice actor since 2007 and has worked with clients from major brands all over the world in industries including healthcare, charities and nonprofits, and the hospitality and travel market. But it was quite a journey to get there – from selling computers at a time when not many women were doing that, to teaching herself about the Internet and the world it opened up. In 1995, Jodi created an award-winning songwriting resource website called The Muse’s Muse, and began a business of her own, doing SEO and Internet marketing. When Jodi switched to voice-overs, she was well prepared for the new world of online promotions and getting her own work. Jodi is also a singer: in 2015, she put out her own album of jazz, blues and traditional tunes. And over the years, and doing what she does, she’s learned a lot about sound and how it influences people. Fittingly, Jodi is about to launch a new podcast called, “Audio Branding: The Hidden Gem of Marketing.” Now, since this is a podcast, we’re going to take advantage of the medium and listen first to some of Jodi’s work. 

[Audio: Jodi’s commercial demo]

Adrian Tennant:     I love that! Welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS, Jodi.

Jodi Krangle:       Thanks!

Adrian Tennant:     Quite a bit of variety in that clip reel.

Jodi Krangle:       Thank you.

Adrian Tennant:     What percentage of your work is coming from traditional TV gigs, like voiceover narration for spots and shows versus newer formats such as streaming audio ads?

Jodi Krangle:       You know, it’s, you’d think that it would be skewing towards online a lot more. AndI’m seeing the trend going that way, but I’m still sort of seeing television and I’m still seeing a lot of corporate narration but for internal presentations or for their own website or for their own YouTube channel. So yeah, I guess that’s online. So yeah. It’s, I’d say it’s it’s probably 50/50 right now, but I can see it going really skewed in the other direction. Streaming media particularly, you know, like Pandora and iHeartRadio and that kind of stuff.

Adrian Tennant:     Now you say on your website that, and I’m quoting, “The voice you use for your commercial campaign can either make you sound world-class or have your listeners fleeing,” end quote.

Jodi Krangle:       Uh-Huh.

Adrian Tennant:     Explain why that is. Why is the voice so important?

Jodi Krangle:       Well, I think it has a lot to do with audio branding. So it depends on what your brand is and what kind of voice would fit with that. If your message is different than the voice sounds, people are going to be put off by that and they’re not going to maybe realize why. I don’t necessarily think this is a conscious thing with a lot of people. But if you hear something that is so different from the branding you’re expecting in the voice or the music or even the sounds within a certain advertisement, for some reason it’s going to rub you the wrong way. And you may not even understand why, but you won’t want to listen to it again.

Adrian Tennant:    So you’re saying it’s kind of working at a subconscious level?

Jodi Krangle:       I do think that, yeah.

Adrian Tennant:    So in a previous life I was in network TV production and I regularly had to direct voice artists at sound facilities back in the UK, in London’s Soho district. Now, in those days, voice artists, they had to be at the studio in person. So everyone working on a TV spot really worked in close proximity to each other, collaborating on edits to the script, revising timings based on picture edits, that kind of thing. Jodi, tell us, how does the process typically work today?

Jodi Krangle:       Well I know that in the UK there are people who hire off of the demo a lot more often than they do in North America. So these days, a lot of what I end up doing is auditioning. So once you’re chosen for a project, you know, it really depends. It depends on if you were dealing with the end client or if you are one person in a chain from an ad agency. It really all depends. But generally there’s a lot of emails exchanged. There’s a script passed along. Pricing is figured out, whether that’s through my agent or through me. And then the script is sent my way. I have a look. If there’s anything that I have questions on, I’ll send those questions through. We’ll decide on a day and time. And typically I work out of my own five-by-four booth here and I have things like ISDN and SourceConnect and ipDTL so that I can remotely connect with anyone around the world.

Adrian Tennant:     Now, do you typically speak to a picture edit or do you prefer to record without seeing the contents, so an editor then marries your sound to the picture later? Do you have a preference for the process?

Jodi Krangle:       I really like working what’s called, “wild.” So I guess that’s without having the picture in front of me in the moment, I can watch that video previously to getting in the booth and recording. But seeing it at the same time, hmmm, it’s a little distracting. And in the case of some of my jobs, it can actually make it impossible for me to speak. And I say that because I’ve had to do some really moving commercials PSAs, calls to action for charities and that kind of stuff that are just heartbreaking. And if I watched that video both like while I was doing the job, I’d never be able to complete a sentence. There’s just no way.

Adrian Tennant:     Well, that’s interesting. You know, you work out of a home-based studio these days, which I know is where you’re joining us from today. What are some of the things that you enjoy most about working from home, if I can put it that way?

Jodi Krangle:       Well, I really like the idea of not having to drive anywhere and spend half my day in the car, getting from one place to another.

Adrian Tennant:     Right!

Jodi Krangle:       It just means that I’m more efficient with my time. It means that I can book a session, you know, one after the other instead of having to drive to some other place and leave a buffer of say, two hours. I can go from, you know, with a buffer of a half an hour, I can do more jobs on a day. And that doesn’t always happen. I’m not always going to have five jobs in the same day, but it certainly does make for more efficient working.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. what are some of the challenges about a home-based studio as opposed to say, working in a dedicated facility?

Jodi Krangle:       I think it depends on what type of a worker you are. If you are able to buckle down and get your, your work done in your own space without needing prompting, then I think it can be less of a challenge. If you’re someone who needs someone looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to complete something to get it done, then you may not like the whole home environment thing. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been either telecommuting or self-employed since probably 1999. So I’m a little used to this now,

Adrian Tennant:     Right. I mean, some of us like the interaction with work colleagues in a physical environment and clearly…

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah. And it can get lonely. Yeah. It can definitely get lonely. I’m sitting here talking in a padded room. I mean like that’s what I do all day long, so…

Adrian Tennant:     A little bit of cabin fever there, perhaps?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     Okay. Well, look, I want to play some more examples of your work and then I want to interrogate you about some of these jobs.

Jodi Krangle:       Okay, sure.

[Audio: Jodi’s TV narration demo]

Adrian Tennant:     Again, a lot of variety in those clips. Jodi, tell us, how do you modulate your performance to match all those different types of content?

Jodi Krangle:       I think you kind of need to put your head into the space of where that is happening and what the pictures are going to be. I think you really have to have a good imagination. That’s really key here. Acting is learned. You know, like some people have an innate talent for it and all the power to them. I think a lot of people need to learn it. It’s like a muscle. You need to exercise and a lot of that muscle is exercised by your imagination just by being able to put yourself in a situation that would warrant using that voice. And I think that music helps a lot with that too. As a musician myself, I know that a particular piece of music can get me into the tone that I need to use for a particular spot really quickly. So that has a lot to do with it.

Adrian Tennant:     Jodi, I know that you are also an accomplished singer. You’ve put out your own album and how does that sort of musical background play into your role now as a voice actor?

Jodi Krangle:       It really helps with the musicality of a script and the beats of a script, I guess. So every script that I look at really has notes and beats. You know, you don’t want to be too samey throughout your speaking, but at the same time you don’t want to be too sing-songy, you still want to sound like a real person. So it can, it can be a challenge and it does take coaching. But the musicality of it really helps a lot. I can recognize the downturns and the upturns and where a certain thing should be more staccato or where it should flow. And a lot of those are musical terms and emotions, I guess. So it helps a lot. Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody describe a script, almost like reading a music score. That’s really fascinating. So I hate to ask this one, but you know, I’m going to, so can you, can you recall a situation, Jodi, when things didn’t quite go to plan?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah, I totally can. In the very beginning of my career, I was doing a PSA for a company that was asking for donations for a particular program that they had and they were asking me to work to video and it was one of my first jobs and I had never worked to video before and wow, that was definitely a learning experience. And it took a lot longer for everyone concerned than it should have. I mean, nowadays a session, if it goes longer than 20 minutes, it’s usually, you know, that’s 20 minutes. It’s usually 20 minutes to an hour. It depends on how many takes the client wants. Then of course, you give the client what they want, but generally it lasts around 20 minutes for a commercial script. And this probably lasted almost four hours.

Adrian Tennant:     Whoa!

Jodi Krangle:       It was, it was really painful. And I mean for everyone concerned, you know – that’s kind of the first traumatic experience that I had working to video.

Adrian Tennant:     Okay. Now was that working remotely or is that working in a facility in those days?

Jodi Krangle:       That was actually in a studio. Yeah. I was face-to-face with these people and not giving them what they wanted. And that was, that was hard.

Adrian Tennant:     And I do remember the feeling of being on a time crunch and literally time is money and all of those people are there by the hour and you’re paying for them and there’s probably another client waiting to come in right behind you… Oh yes. I can relate!

Jodi Krangle:       It’s hard, yeah. I mean I’ve had experience since, because I’ve done some in-show TV narration and that’s kind of a similar deal, but it’s a lighter atmosphere, I guess, maybe? This was, this was pretty, pretty deep dark. So yeah, it was hard. It was really hard. I mean this business is a complete learning experience from start to finish. Like if there’s just, there’s always something new.

Adrian Tennant:     Well that’s why we love being in the creative industries, right? Because there is always something new,

Jodi Krangle:       Exactly, yes!

Adrian Tennant:     Now I don’t want to go all meta here, but for our more technically-minded listeners can you tell us what equipment you have in your studio?

Jodi Krangle:       My equipment’s pretty simple. I have a five-by-four sound-treated booth and I say sound-treated, not soundproof because soundproof would cost a lot more money and I would need like six-foot concrete all around me to really be soundproof. But it does a great job. It, it produces a nice dead sound so that the person on the other end gets audio that’s clean and they can add whatever color they want to put to it. That’s kind of the point. And I’m using a Sennheiser 416 shotgun mic, which is fantastic for the voice industry because it lets the voice pop a little bit. It’s typically used in film on booms, but many years ago, I guess the promo people in voiceover decided it was a great alternative and started using it and the rest is history. And yeah, it’s just a great mic and it’s a workhorse too. I mean, I could drop this and it would be totally fine. Not that I want to, but yeah!

Adrian Tennant:     I think if listeners have ever seen a film shoot and somebody is holding something oblong, that looks a little bit like a blimp – typically, that mic is inside of that blimp, correct?

Jodi Krangle:       Uh-Huh. Yeah. And other than that, I just have an audio interface. It’s a Motu Microbook. And it’s a pretty simple little interface. I’m actually using PC here, so no Mac stuff.

Adrian Tennant:     No Mac stuff? Oh my gosh. And you’re in the creative industries with no Mac? Tsk tsk!

Jodi Krangle:       You know what? I, like I said, I sold computers when the 386SX was new. And that’s quite a number of years ago. And I remember DOS, so I am so used to PCs that I just can’t consider using anything else.

Adrian Tennant:     I started this show introduction with some statistics from the new NPR/Edison Research study. Talking really about the growth in podcasting, which is really about spoken word. How do you, how do you feel about that growth?

Jodi Krangle:       I think it’s fantastic. Podcasting is not quite like radio because it’s a little more personal. It’s what I love about it and it’s a very creative medium where you can pretty much say anything you want to say. And you know, the only censorship you’re likely to get is people tuning out if they don’t like it. Right? You can’t make something for everyone, but it is a very personal type of way to reach an audience. Even more personal than radio and radio unfortunately, isn’t all that personal anymore. So I think people are just trying to fill that void.

Adrian Tennant:     Yeah. I noticed one of the stats suggested that those people who are listening to podcasts on a regular basis, weekly, I think I subscribed to six podcasts, but actually listen, listen to seven different shows each week. And did that, that number seems sort of in line with your own experience as a podcast listener?

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah, actually it seems pretty similar. I listen to a lot of podcasts that are voice-over-specific and I’m maybe atypical in the fact that I listen on my desktop computer instead of on my phone. Because I don’t tend to be traveling in my car long distances all that often. So I listen at home on my computer and doesn’t mean I don’t listen, but I’m not listening in the way that most listeners seem to be these days.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. And certainly one of the through-lines for that report was that it is actually the obviously use of mobile devices, which seems to be really powering this, this renewed interest in the spoken word for sure.

Jodi Krangle:       Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     So I also, I also mentioned at the top of the show that you’re about to launch a new podcast of your own called, “Audio Branding: The Hidden Gem of Marketing.”

Jodi Krangle:       I am. Yeah.

Adrian Tennant:     What motivated you to do that?

Jodi Krangle:       I wanted to talk about how audio influences us because that’s what I do every day. It just, it makes more sense to talk about what I know. So yeah, I just thought it was an interesting topic and I’ve come across quite a lot of very interesting examples of this in my own research and it’s really interesting and it’s amazing how much money big companies are spending on this kind of thing too. You’d be really surprised.

Adrian Tennant:     So, you know, the name of our show is IN CLEAR FOCUS. What does having a clear focus mean to you?

Jodi Krangle:       That is a very good question. I almost think of it as having a goal in mind, knowing where you want to be in a certain amount of time and following that path. Not to say that that past can’t change. But knowing what you want I like to equate this to just life in general, knowing what you want in life because if you don’t have some kind of clear focus on what that is, you don’t know what you’re working towards.

Adrian Tennant:     Well said. Jodi, if listeners would like to know more about you and your work, where can they find you?

Jodi Krangle:       They can find me on my website that’s at voiceoversandvocals.com or just JodiKrangle.com will get you there too and if they’re interested in the music then JodiKrangleMusic.com is where the CD is. Well, CD… Album, no one listens to CDs anymore.

Adrian Tennant:     Jodi, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today. I know you are literally a very busy lady and time is money to you, so we appreciate your sharing your insights into the industry. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

Jodi Krangle:       Thanks so much for inviting me. I appreciate it.


Adrian Tennant:     Thank you. So, three things that stood out to me from the conversation with Jodi: it was really interesting to hear Jodi express the idea that, for her, podcasts offer a more personal form of media. I also found it interesting that Jodi was able to talk about the emotional power of the human voice as a kind of counterpoint for very emotionally-engaging visuals, perhaps even distressing visuals. And uniquely, Jodi’s approach to a spoken word script as a music score and being able to perform and adjust her expression accordingly. Thank you to our guest, voice artist Jodi Krangle. You’ve been listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising, produced by Bigeye. If you have questions or comments about the content of today’s show, or have ideas for topics that you’d like us to cover, please email us at info@bigeyeagency.com. Don’t forget to check out Jodi’s podcast – and you’ll find a link to that in the transcript of today’s show on our website at Bigeyeagency.com under “Insights.” To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to IN CLEAR FOCUS on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher, and other top podcast players. And if you like what you hear, please give us a rating. For IN CLEAR FOCUS, I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Thank you for listening. And until next week, goodbye.

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How to Make Brand Videos That Move Audiences

If you aren’t taking advantage of the power of brand video, then you’re ceding an important edge to your competitors. Here’s what you need to get started.

Let’s say you’ve got an exciting new product and you want to introduce it to consumers in the most impactful way possible. How would you go about it? If you’re not immediately thinking “brand videos,” then we urge you to keep reading.

Why Brand Videos Have Become an Indispensable Marketing Tool

Right now, you’re reading a blog — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Blogs are a tried-and-true medium for short, informational content. Yet the blog should be merely a single arrow in your quiver. Audiences don’t always have the time or inclination to read, yet they can almost always find time to watch a short video — provided it reaches out and wrests their attention away from the other dozen things competing for it.

That’s one reason you’ve likely been deluged lately with explainer videos and all other sorts of branded video content. Videos simply work. People engage with them at higher levels than seen with ads or written content.

There’s another factor motivating the brand video proliferation: The learning curve and production costs associated with professional video creation have declined radically in recent years. This means that brands have no reason to avoid joining the revolution.

So How Do I Tell My Brand Story Through Video?

Here’s the good news: Connecting with audiences via video is relatively simple, provided you can follow a few smart practices. When creating brand videos, here are some key things on which to focus:

Story is paramount — and so are people. Creating brand videos simply because “everyone says people prefer video” won’t accomplish much. You still need a compelling narrative that audiences will relate to. Think about a simple yet effective way you can frame your brand story around human characters. Any newspaper editor or photographer will tell you that images of static buildings or landscapes don’t reach people or move copy. As humans, we are naturally drawn to each other, and this extends to our engagement with photos and video. Forego the facts, figures, and product features (or at least consign them to secondary status) and put people front and center in your videos. By focusing on one person, brands can make larger and more complex issues more relatable.

Our Approach

Take a deep dive into how we approach our work. Learn about our creative thinking and our strategical approach

Forge an emotional connection. Savvy brands have long known that a true emotional connection with audiences is the gold standard in advertising and marketing. Nothing converts and builds long-term loyalty like sparking a visceral, emotional reaction. Fortunately, brand videos are a fantastic format for forging these kinds of connections. By using images, dialogue and music to full effect, a great brand video can tell an emotionally resonant story in as little as 30 seconds.

Reach for the original. Remember how we mentioned that proliferation of video? That’s why it’s essential that you take creative risks and push for something original. Audiences today are extremely savvy and cynical about brand messaging. Yet you can penetrate their defenses by delivering something that delights or inspires. Here’s one great example. It’s important, however, to understand your limitations — nobody is looking for an avant-garde HVAC brand video.

Maintain your messaging. Your brand videos are ultimately an extension of your overall brand messaging. They should speak with your voice, project your values, and be calibrated to appeal to your specific audience. While it’s important for your content to reach for creativity and originality, this must still occur within the larger context of your brand messaging.

Don’t skimp on video production. This one is easy — there’s no excuse for a cheesy (unintentionally, at least) or cheap-looking brand video. The cost and skill needed to produce respectable content has plummeted.

The Benefits of Working With the Right Brand Story Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at both brand story and video production, and we can help you take your brand videos to the next creative level. Contact us today for more information. 

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Next-Gen TV Trends and How They Can Impact Your Brand.

Next gen TV, also known as ATSC 3.0, is redefining traditional broadcast TV by breathing new life into the aging medium.

So now we answer the first question, what is ATSC 3.0? It’s the update that broadcast TV has been severely lacking. This new system will leverage current technologies to enhance picture, sound, framerate, and overall range of the medium without losing a moment of your favorite shows. ATSC 3.0 technology enhances everything about broadcast to bring it into the digital age. This will reinvigorate traditional TV, and dramatically increase its value as an advertising medium.

What will Change

The short answer? Everything. But let’s start with picture. The current—let’s call it classic, broadcast system caps out at 1080p. Next gen TV will span all the way to 4K! Making the new ATSC standard an HDTV over the air experience. Raising the quality of the experience without adding cost, the ATSC 3.0 system will drive conversion like never before.

Furthermore, next gen TV is designed to be an ever-evolving technology. Building on the concept of technological adaption, ATSC 3.0 is designed for easy integration as new technologies develop. This way, broadcast television will not fall behind as time passes. Allowing room for future growth is an incredible capability for any technology in this day and age. This system will entice users who want to get the best service over time without paying to switch hardware or service providers as technologies evolve.

This broadcast method will also have a stronger, wider range. Meaning that every user will receive more channels in higher quality without the need for a large antenna. The system will even allow mobile devices to access broadcast shows. By building in capabilities across devices, broadcast TV is broadening its scope and making itself a far more advantageous advertising tool.

The Impact

Next gen TV enables stronger geo-targeting capabilities than cable or satellite TV. As over-the-air TV is intrinsically contained in a specific geographic area, it is a medium that lends itself to area-specific messaging. This makes next gen TV the perfect platform for local businesses such as community banks, mom-and-pop shops, and more to reach their target market without breaking the bank.

How it Works

This system is able to achieve its unique capabilities by connecting on more than one front. The classic broadcast system is accessed simply by an antenna while the next gen TV system uses both an antenna and a wi-fi connection to strengthen the quality and broaden the service range; This is also what allows it to be accessed across devices.

Not only is ATSC 3.0 perfect for geo-targeting, but by enabling tracking as well as use across devices it presents as both a traditional and digital media. With next gen TV, experienced advertisers can reach their audience on a whole new level.

The Takeaway

Broadcast TV is getting a much-needed facelift that will skyrocket its importance both as a service and as an advertising medium. Paying attention to this change now will open up avenues for effective, low-cost campaign strategies that will reach the right people, at the right time, for the right price.

When you’re ready to enhance your advertising strategy reach out to our innovative channel experts today!

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How Pier 1 Increased Consumer Response Through Data Strategy

It’s time for a more data-driven approach, so let display advertising services take the wheel of your marketing strategy.

Here’s an astonishing statistic: CMOs spend 20% of their budgets on creative, yet 71% of them don’t believe creative actually drives results. It’s a statistic that points to a much larger crisis of confidence within the marketing realm.
So how are brands that are unwilling to accept this state of affairs responding? By taking a more numbers-based, scientific approach to marketing through display advertising services.

How Pier 1 automated its marketing messaging

The creative process in marketing is largely unchanged from its early history. People use a mélange of assumptions, guesswork and qualitative data to inform their creative approach. It’s art and science – a mix of intuition and information. Sometimes this approach works, but more often it results in work that’s too broad or somewhat misaligned with the audience.

In recent years, however, new data tools have been developed that allow for the creative process to be guided by fact rather than supposition. Today’s machines can analyze robust data sets with extreme precision, uncovering actionable insights and learning as they go.

Pier 1 offers an interesting example of this trend toward data-driven marketing. The company partnered with Persado to optimize the language used across customer marketing content. The technology involved in the campaign has the ability to alter the language seen in display ads in accordance with an individual consumer’s preferences.

Using the Persado platform & display advertising services, Pier 1 was able to compare customer engagement and response levels for various sponsored ads, each with different photos, captions, hashtags and headlines. The impact of each ad and its constituent elements is measured in real time to see how well or how poorly they resonate with customers.

In essence, the technology is a sophisticated form of A/B testing that includes a machine-learning component that composes new marketing messages guided by real-time feedback. All of it is based on linguistic science. The underlying technology analyzes millions of language variations to create an optimal message. The natural language processing algorithm used by Persado is designed to understand a brand’s specific voice and replicate it across all channels.

Why a data-guided approach is smarter

Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages. If they deign to give you their attention, you can be certain that concession will be almost instantly revoked if the message they are experiencing isn’t immediately compelling. Because of this, presentation is critical.

Data-focused tools such as the algorithm deployed by Persado & proper display advertising services can play a critical role in helping brands quantify audience response to messages. These tools play an equally important role in helping brands optimize their messages by incorporating this feedback and making informed adjustments in real time.

That doesn’t mean that marketing is now purely a science. As far as machine learning has come, it remains limited in many key respects. The optimal approach for most brands involves working with an agency that integrates data-based tools and human insight into one holistic marketing framework.

Partnering with the right consumer insight agency

Our display advertising team believes a data-forward marketing agency is your best bet for understanding and connecting with the right audiences. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn how we create modern campaigns that are rooted in human insight and executed with advanced digital tools.

How Can Small Banks Compete Against Large Banks? Supercharged SEO

Supercharge your SEO services and launch your community bank into the future with these key digital marketing strategies and concepts.

The banking industry has been consolidating for 30 years, dropping from 14,000 banks in 1985 to fewer than 5,000 today. With smaller players being swallowed by industry heavyweights, it’s natural for community banks to wonder how well they can compete against national lenders. Fortunately, there’s one simple tactic that can help even the playing field: Well-executed SEO services grounded in a deep understanding of local buyers.

How community banks can gain an SEO edge

Community banks are, at their core, local businesses. While they might not be capitalized at the level of the big banks, they can instead compete on responsiveness and understanding of the local market.

A local SEO strategy also pays dividends. Banks should give each of their local branches a dedicated web page rather than having each branch listed through a simple location finder. These pages should include information about each branch and its neighborhood and should be optimized for SEO. This means taking commonly searched phrases relating to banking in that area and incorporating them into the body and metadata of branch pages.

The power of the public’s endorsement

Adding customer reviews for each local branch to individual pages is also a smart tactic. Reviews play a critical role in establishing credibility and are a key cog in the conversion process.

This also extends to external entities such as Yelp! and other directories. Establishing a presence on these outside sites does more than allowing you to bump your online review count. Sites such as Yelp! validate your bank’s address, phone number, and name with Google’s search algorithm, giving your site a rankings boost. Linking with high authority publishers is also key. Inbound links coming from high authority publishers is perhaps the most consistently effective tactic in the SEO playbook.

Staying on top of local search terms

It’s also critical to give extensive thought to the kind of questions prospective customers are searching for in your region — everything from “how to open a checking account” to “nearest bank to me.”

These are the kind of questions for which community banks want to rank, so it’s important that they are addressed somewhere within your online presence. You can address them both on your sites and within the content you publish.

Stressing your competitive advantages

Community banks should play to their strengths when marketing. Larger banks tend to be viewed as faceless monoliths who treat their customers like a number on a spreadsheet. Community banks, on the other hand, are in a position to establish personal relationships by properly utilizing SEO services.

This may not affect whether a customer qualifies for a loan, but it does impact how customers feel about their experience. Community banks should underline the closer, more responsive nature of their relationships with customers in their marketing messages.

The takeaway

Small banks can neutralize the advantages of larger competitors by highlighting the benefits of a more personal approach and pursuing a smart SEO strategy. If you’d like to hear more about the impact of high-level SEO services, reach out to our banking experts today.

How to Build Trust Through Community Bank Marketing

Leverage the unique opportunities of a small bank to drive effective community bank marketing strategies that will turn your small branch into big business.

Many agencies and marketers like to think that finance is a big mystery—an animal all its own with completely different rules. In some ways it is, but in most ways, it isn’t. Effective branding gains attention and keeps it; just like it does in every other industry. Community bank marketing is very similar to small business marketing, it just calls for a more sophisticated twist.
Here are 3 key concepts for building trust in small banks:

1. Get personal, to an extent

Small banks have the unique opportunity to build strong interpersonal relationships. To not just become a brand or company name, but to become Sammy, the helpful man at the front desk, who can help you get what you need. He knows your name and asks about your son’s baseball games.

Let empathy drive your services so that your consumers feel valued. Show them directly how your customer relations can brighten their day while your services exceed every expectation. Leveraging expertise and friendly service, you can turn your brand into a mentor for each and every customer.

Find an agency that understands the delicate differentiators’ in voice and branding to craft the perfect balance for your community. Drive real results with community bank marketing that cares just the right amount.

2. Leverage digital effectively

Digital is invaluable to community bank marketing because it’s a great way to establish one-on-one interaction and build strong relationships. Digital marketing for banks works a lot like digital marketing for anyone else but should be held to a higher standard. For example, a clothing company or salon should have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts; while banks should be on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but never Instagram. It’s just too casual.

The right digital strategy in banking is all about finding your line of sophistication and building that ever-important trust. Use digital in conjunction with strong branding to build effective consumer relationships. Post community views and common local phrases to evoke nostalgia and build understanding. Using effective bank marketing strategies, your brand can become a community pillar.

Represent your brand as a member of the community and follow through. Post photos and short videos of the front office team to build a connection before a customer even sets foot through your doors. Show the management team doing community service and attending local events, embody your brand through human interaction. Demonstrate a neighborly connection to develop a real personality.

3. Embrace ever-evolving technology

Maneuverability is a great advantage that small banks have over large institutions. Every day enhanced technology is being developed in all aspects of every industry—including banking. Due to the security necessary throughout the banking process, it can take years to implement any one new process across an entire large bank. For a community bank, that same process can take just a few months.

Incorporate cutting edge technologies into your services to provide convenience as well as modernity for your customers. Leverage your agility and technological know-how in your brand’s bank marketing ideas. This will draw in young consumers looking for a better way to the bank as well as the older markets that simply enjoy the advantages offered by new technologies.

More than a novelty, technology can cut your company’s operational costs while allowing for more personal service. Incorporating a one-on-one, on-demand experience for consumers to interact with your brand without having to walk in. Utilize effective customer service in combination with technology to add value to your services. Remember, it’s nice to like your bankers but your bottom-line is built on trust, experience, and results.

The takeaway

Small banks have a lot more going for them than meets the eye. Make sure your brand’s target audience understands all that your company brings to the table through genuine connection built the right way, digital that effectively reaches consumers and furthers that connection, and unique offerings that only smaller institutions can accomplish.

It can be a lot to manage yourself. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an advertising agency that understands the demands, opportunities, and limitations that your company faces. When you’re ready to market your bank on the next level, get in touch with our community bank marketing professionals.