Meet Anna Haraldsson, our happy intern!

Anna Haraldsson, intern at Ode Agency.

Hi Anna! What will you be doing at Ode?

– I’m proud to say that I’m Ode’s first intern – ever. So: I’ll be doing anything they’ll let me! Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute to the creation of lots of great content, developing strategies and plans for different projects as we go along.

What’s your background?

– I’m an amateur photographer who became a bouncer (yes!) but dreamt of studying. Luckily I ended up at Lund University studying Strategic Communications, now at my senior year.

What do you think is the main challenge for marketers today?

– Cutting through the loud noise of our time. I think that really reaching the right people, connecting with them and creating trust can be problematic if you don’t have the right tools or true understanding of your audience. Also, keeping up with and staying ahead of your competitors can be tough.

And the most common marketing or communication mistake that companies make?

– When you’re deeply involved and invested in a project it’s easy to become attached to it and lose objectivity. This means you have to critically analyse everything you communicate to your audience. If you overcomplicate things you won’t be able to reach people the way you want to.

What do you do at work, when you think that no one sees you?

– Dance to loud music, of course. Who doesn’t?

Where do you find inspiration?

– In other people. People with good energy and a great mindset, that want to do good things and to do things differently.

 

Are you thinking about taking your brand into new territories? Looking to expand the venture and increase the revenue? Content marketing is a great tool in conquering new markets – here’s why.

If you decide that sales to current customers and markets have been maximized, market expansion is an attractive strategy. But this comes with major challenges, when the objective is quick uptake and your brand doesn’t have a lot of exposure or familiarity with the target audience.

You need to find a way to sell your products to your best advantage, taking in the differences of culture, business practices and language. How to do that?

When it has been set what territories you want to expand into, consider what role content marketing can play in this strategic move. Content marketing is an essential part of growth and market expansion, because you get to know your new potential customers.

It can make you ’own’ the new field, make your brand an authority on the new market where nobody knew your name before. Here’s why – and how it works.

How content marketing will speed up your expansion

Digital communication allows for feedback. It means you can identify and understand your customers’ attitude and get to know their needs and demographic better.

With digital marketing there is enormous opportunity for companies to reach consumers that were once unreachable because of differences in geography and language.

By sharing unique content you can build a new community of customers who are loyal to your brand which they now have chosen to follow. You give them a reason to invest time in the newcomer brand.

By implementing the following tactics, you can use content marketing as a tool in growth strategies and market expansion.

When in Rome, understand the local context

Local knowledge is needed to adapt your strategy to the local market. Local expertise also makes it possible to create engaging stories to captivate the target audience and build confidence in the brand.

When in Rome …?

Understand the cultural differences of other countries and regions. It is key to value the local point of view. Take into consideration cultural differences. Seemingly minor mistakes might alienate your audience.

Pay attention and take ear to details such as colors, holidays, religious references, fiscal years, and even superstitions — missteps will signal you are an outsider.

Do your market research

Successful content marketing begins with knowing how to find your target audience. Don’t start creating content before knowing who your audience is.

First do some market research to assess the following:

  • Local gaps in the market
  • The interest in your product/service
  • Current population trends of the targeted customers
  • What have local competitors done in the target area?
  • Has potential competitors tried to enter this market before? What obstacles did they face? How did they approach the new market? What can you do differently?

Create buyer personas based on the new area/market. Buyer personas are extremely effective tools to help a business define a new target audience.

They are a representation of your ideal customer and growth segment. So identify the type of person you can help most with your content and the types of information you will provide through that content.

Make your brand speak the same language

72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language
. 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. Also, less than six percent of the world’s population speaks English well enough to manage and conduct business.

Translating content is expensive, so you want to ensure that the content you choose for the process provides the optimal return on investment. Make sure you
 have native speakers in your team or network.

Does your team have the needed lingual capabilities to enter a new market? Working with content marketing in different countries requires cultural as well as linguistic competence.

A Common Sense Advisory study shows that languages affect consumers’ buying behaviors to a large extent. Therefore:

  • Measure and monitor your content to see what works best with the local readership
  • Have separate websites and landing pages for the different markets
  • Engage local experts to review everything before publishing

6 steps to get going with your content marketing

Beginning content creation before your expansion is crucial, because when an unfamiliar but interested customer hears about your brand, they will head online to seek further information.

So when you absolutely, positively understand the new market your expanding into:

  1. Find out what the objective of your marketing initiatives is
  2. Determine the best form of content
  3. Create a pattern of frequency
  4. Tailor the style to your audience on the new market
  5. Focus on keywords your audience searches for online
  6. Make sure your audience knows what to do once they have consumed your content

Read more:

Here’s the next big thing in marketing

”Traditional PR doesn’t work in social media”

Why content marketing may be your best decision in 2017

Do you want us to find your stories for you? We offer content marketing as your blog, newsletter or social media editors – read more about these services here.

Effective sustainability communication can deliver great business value. Get it wrong and the results might be minimal – and at worst the reputational damage might be costly. Here are the key strategies for success.

Sustainability communication in social media - ode agency

There was a time when nobody wanted to bring up the subject sustainability. When listed holding groups with legal requirements on sustainability reports were so reluctant that they let the enforced work of a few minor companies represent the whole group just to get away.

The advantages of sustainable development seemed few and risks were high. It was either ’too expensive’ or ’threatened to damage the brand’. Companies felt like they had to choose between being sustainable or ’sexy’, which left them afraid to communicate sustainability on a brand level.

That is no longer the case.

Are you sustainable or sexy?

Today sustainability is no longer only of interest to niche stakeholders, but has taken a hold in corporations around the world. Nine out of ten consumers expect companies to do more than profit – to also operate responsibly in environmental and social areas.

A sustainable business and a successful business are one and the same. It’s simply crucial for any brand to instill trust in its customers, and get significant value beyond financial return. Companies should integrate sustainability into all business areas and let it guide the decision-making as part of the business planning process.

And they do.

A majority of executives consider sustainability important, and the majority of companies are integrating sustainability principles into their businesses. They are also increasingly communicating their initiatives. Today it is sexy to be sustainable. Brands make efforts for better products, better conditions and better communities – and they want to show it to the world.

How to get the attention you deserve

But doing something doesn’t mean it’s done well. Companies increasingly highlight their sustainability activity, but do the messages and results reach the audience and get the attention they deserve? Are the initiatives given a real chance to create the biggest possible value for the community and company?

Instead of (only) publishing reports and white papers, or sending out press releases, on impacts and values, companies should use digital platforms and editorial approaches in social media. Digital content creates great opportunities to reach a wide and engaged audience in a compelling manner.

When used in the right way, social media can be an amplifier for the transparent, competitive advantage that business sustainability delivers.

Social media has been a change driver in how sustainability is communicated. But how to do it? How to harness the power of social media to create business sustainability value? Below we discuss what is and isn’t working for brand-level social media communication and explore key components for success.

Be a publisher

First of all, companies should view all social platforms as what they really are – publishing channels. Consider:

  • What your audience cares about
  • What you’ve got to say that’s in their interest
  • Where they want to get their information
  • What you do well and how to be useful with it
  • How to be transparent

Choose your digital channels wisely

Social media platforms have made companies ’publishers’. Great news for organizations that wish to share their sustainability efforts with consumers and other stakeholders. But your choice of channels must align with your communication strategy.

To develop a strong editorial voice in social media, and to be able to spark a sustainability dialogue among your employees, media, investors, NGOs, and consumers, you need to really handle the channel. Sustainability messages also seek to reach specific audiences. Needless to say then that those messages should be communicated through the audiences’ preferred channels.

Start a two-way conversation

’No man is an island’, wrote John Donne. You’re not the only one here.

Don’t just show off initiatives and results on a brick wall. Online there’s a huge potential audience to influence change. Engage people, make them a part of your journey. People obviously care about the topic, so create a two-way conversation.

Be your audience’s guide and collocutor.

By empowering people with the feeling that their voice matters and makes a difference, you get new input, increase reach and make people engage with your brand.

Focus on the big picture

We live in an over-communicated society where we’ve got seconds before the next wave of messages hits the audience. Be concise and send out clear, simple messages. Don’t be technical or get too much into detail. Instead of facts and figures – show a map of your journey.

To make your communication work and resonate outside the offices, it has to resonate with an audience that’s not used to hearing the technicalities. Show real results, in a simple way.

Down to earth – get off your high horses

Sustainability processes are complex, and it’s your task to demystify this subject and to speak a language that people understand.

Be personal and discuss issues that are closer to home – friends, family, nature, food, health and fitness – issues that affect people’s everyday lives. Social media is ideal for that purpose.

Sustainability work purifies and simplifies the world, which is something we all desire. Show that your initiatives, your improved business and products contribute to that.

Use imaginary motors

How much does the audience really care? Companies should make their sustainability journey something people care about and engage in. We need to be motivated. Use imaginary motors to get people going, to encourage action and participation.

  • Engage in your community. People love that.
  • Be adventurous and exciting. Focus on the adventure. Talk about traveling, new horizons. What’s cool.
  • Happiness is always a driving force.
  • Eternity. Sustainability work purifies and simplifies the world, which is something we all desire. Show that your initiatives, your improved business and products contribute to that.

Be genuine 

Don’t greenwash. It can and will seriously damage your brand. Don’t do and communicate sustainability work because there is a USP in it for you. Don’t do it because it sounds good, because everybody else is doing it or because it improves your reputation.

Do it because it’s in the interest of your business to have a positive impact and influence on your community. Because you genuinely care about that community, and that wanting to improve your world is integrated into your business strategy. Because it’s easier to operate in prosperous surroundings.

You’re not sexy because you do sustainability work. You’re sexy because you’re sustainable.

Be the story

It’s all about the story. By telling the story of corporate sustainability goals, actions, and performance in a compelling way, companies have the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and audience in more meaningful ways.

But how to be a good storyteller, you ask?

If you are doing a good work, you have a good story to tell.

 


Read more:

Here’s the next big thing in marketing

”Traditional PR doesn’t work in social media”

Why content marketing may be your best decision in 2017

Do you want us to help you in your strategic planning? We offer this as part of our communication strategy services – read more about them here.

Meet CEO and content specialist Anna Sandahl, who explains why most companies still fail in social media.

anna sandahl

Hi Anna! What do you do at Ode?

– I’m the CEO and manage the creative work. I founded the agency last year and spend about 50% of my time writing content for websites, newsletters, press releases and social media, and 50% managing projects and sales. A couple of times a month I give seminars, courses and workshops on writing for the web, both for businesses and as external lecturer in digital media at universities.

What’s your background?

– I like exploring new fields, so I got a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Linnaeus University, a good way to learn how to do quick research and turn complex things into something more sexy and interesting. I worked as a news reporter and freelance magazine editor for more or less 10 years, delivering content to publishers like Aller Media and Egmont Publishing. I am TV-trained by SVT (Swedish national television) and radio-trained by SR (Swedish national radio).

I also studied sustainable tourism at Linköping University, language philosophy and Spanish at Lund University and media activism at Södertörn University. I co-produced a documentary about Kilimanjaro in Kenya with Engineers Without Borders and co-founded the publishing house Grönegatan Förlag, websites/magazines Spring and Matkärlek (now part of TheDietDoctor.com). The last five years I’ve been working as a copywriter and content manager.

What do you think is the main challenge for marketers today? 

– To cut through the noise and to actually convert new customers. Companies tend to be present on Facebook, Instagram or communicating through websites and newsletters, but they don’t see any actual results. It’s because it’s not enough to just publish stuff, you need to produce something of high quality that’s useful and therefore will go viral and drive sales.

– I understand that it’s hard to stay up-to-date with social media algorithms and updates, they’re constantly changing – but good content is pretty much timeless and will live on.

And the most common marketing or communication mistake that companies make?

– They may have switched from print to digital channels, but I still see a lot of companies doing traditional advertising and PR, which simply doesn’t work. It’s also quite expensive. New channels require new ways of communicating. You don’t reach your customers anymore – you need to focus on making them find you. This is what needs to be the focus of every post, text, image or video.

What do you do at work, when you think that no one sees you?

– I take pathetic selfies where I try to look professional with my laptop. I always fail.

Where do you find inspiration?

– I’m inspired by businesses that have the courage to make fun of themselves. Parody and satire will be great for marketing campaigns and messages in 2017. Situation-based storytelling like the posts of Humans Of New York, or long blog posts that go viral because they use great formatting and narratives, headlines and tonalities like Wait But Why, inspire me.

Meet Petter Andersson, content writer, who claims that the filter bubble is real and dangerous.

 

Hi Petter! What do you do at Ode?

– I produce quality content, scout trends and fiddle around with WordPress.

What’s your background?

– I studied sociology and cultural studies for some years, before I decided to become an Information architect. When I graduated, I had already started my career as a copywriter and Mixed Martial Arts journalist. Along with my writing I also built websites and worked as editor in chief for MMAnytt and Söderåsens miljöförbund.

What do you think is the main challenge for marketers today? 

– To deal with the fact that people really don’t like ads or commercials. It’s regarded as visual or audio noise, and that’s why they install pop up-blockers, turn off the volume on the TV and spend a good amount of time mocking the ads on Facebook, caused by different not so sharp algorithms.

Another tough nut to crack is the problem with two major companies pretty much controlling the traffic on Internet. The filter bubble is real, and it’s dangerous. The short-term advantages with customized information are small compared to risks: the credibility of companies, newspapers, science and politics.

petter-andersson

And the most common marketing or communication mistake that companies make?

– To assume that companies should cure bored or indifferent consumers by being funny or somewhat ‘crazy’, when they really should be focusing on providing real value for their customers. The old saying: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half”, is still oh so true.

That’s why any modern company should:

  1. Produce relevant, useful and truthful information, i.e. content.
  2. Measure: collect and evaluate data, to make sure their money is not going down the drain.

What do you do at work, when you think that no one sees you?

– Squats. Sitting is the new smoking.

Where do you find inspiration?

– In good journalism, books and George St. Pierre’s meticulous work ethic.

 

Meet copywriter Linnéa Gudmundson, who says today’s marketers should use the 80/20-rule – and never forget that their clients are in fact very much like themselves.

 

Hi Linnéa! What do you do at Ode?

– I’m a copywriter and strategic consultant, and co-founded the agency last year. I help our clients in making strategic decisions about communication and PR, create strategies and plan marketing activities that align with the brand’s message and concept, so that they bring both long-term and short-term results.

– I also develop the tone-of-voice, visual guidelines, slogans, copywriting for websites, ads and other types of advertising and communication platforms.

linnea-gudmundson

What’s your background?

– I have quite a mixed background … I studied journalism for three years at the University of Gothenburg, copywriting at Berghs, screenwriting at Biskops-Arnö and visual communications at Malmö University. I also studied film and video and have produced and directed a documentary that was launched at Gothenburg Film Festival.  

– Since I moved to Malmö in southern Sweden I’ve worked as a communications officer at Nordic Aid and copywriter at South Communication and Dynamic Dog. I did my internship at KAN

What do you think is the main challenge for marketers today? 

– To realize that it’s the soft values that generate the hard ones. We easily forget that our clients are in fact very much like us. We’re all humans with our different problems, who dream of true community, to belong and feel that we have a purpose. 

– I think we need to remind ourselves about that more frequently, when analyzing target groups and shaping strategies, so that the marketing really lasts, reaches the right people and feels genuine. Otherwise, no one remembers it.

And the most common marketing or communication mistake that companies make?

– So far, I’ve never met a company that works according to the 80/20-rule: Let 80 % of your communication be about the things that interest your customers. Then they will automatically listen when you talk about yourself, your services and products the remaining 20 %.

– Actually, most companies do the opposite. Even the ones with a solid plan and strategy that produce great, valuable content that their customers want to share – their marketing is still 80% focused on themselves, which gives the customers or prospects no reason to engage, interact or share anything whatsoever.

What do you do at work, when you think that no one sees you?

– I take off my shoes and listen to Dire Straits! But please don’t tell anyone. 

Where do you find inspiration?

– I’m inspired by brave people who think for themselves and have a sense of humor. I read new bloggers and thought leaders almost every day, but the most recent thing I shared on LinkedIn was a post by Fast Company, who always gives relevant insights from other marketers in an easy way, while looking ahead.

– In general I’m inspired by companies that invest in building their brand through CSR. One example is IKEA, who just built a replica of a Syrian home, bombed and with torn mattresses on the floor, as part of their campaign ”Where life happens” by Åkestam Holst. A win both for the brand and for society, and a campaign in line with their concept. It’s also viral and shareable in all different kinds of channels and social media, and possible to re-use in future campaigns.