What’s next for MDC? The industry weighs in

Now that MDC Partners has said it’s exploring options, including a potential sale, the industry is speculating about what happens next.

The possibilities are many: MDC agencies might buy themselves back from the holding company. Consultancies like Accenture Interactive or Deloitte Digital could swoop in and purchase the whole thing or cherrypick shops. Private equity could come in and restructure MDC’s operations. Or other holding companies might consider snatching up some MDC agencies, which include 72andSunny, Anomaly, Crispin Porter & Bogusky and Forsman & Bodenfors.

Major agency holding companies have gone on the block only a handful of times in recent years. Last year, Vivendi bought Havas, formally bringing together two firms that already were connected through the Bollore family’s share holdings. U.K.-based Aegis Group, parent of Carat, was acquired for $4.9 billion in 2013 by Dentsu Inc., forming what is now the Dentsu Aegis Network. Back in 2001, IPG acquired True North Communications, parent of FCB.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

9 Powerful Tactics in Reputation Management SEO

A company’s reputation can go south quickly, both from a traditional PR perspective and digitally. There are few things worse than when a bad piece of press or an article containing a scathingly poor review of your company makes page one of the SERPs for your target search terms.

Ian Lurie, EVP of Portent, a digital marketing agency in Seattle, in his white paper “Digital Marketing Strategy Done Right” calls these events “digital chaos factors” and says that’s it crucial to plan for them. He says that a proper digital strategy can either make or break you — and you can’t rely on just one tactic, or one channel on your team to combat this digital chaos. Preparation, and prevention, he says, can go a long way in softening the impact.

So how do you use SEO to manage your reputation? These nine powerful tactics will help you do just that.

1. Craft Unique Content In-House

During the wild west of SEO, the name of the game was volume at any cost. Many digital marketers equated creating content as executing a strategy. With enough volume, the gurus said, your brand would get all the traffic it needed. But content, Lurie says, “has become the zombie movie of digital marketing. If two zombies make a good plotline, five hundred thousand must be better.”
Too many marketers tried to do this, and now we’re in a content glut.

We should have always been creating strategically-crafted content for our audiences. But some marketers tried to cheat by outsourcing our brand messaging — this doesn’t work anymore.

To establish a brand identity that works, you need to craft unique content. This can’t be content cheaply produced for the sake of having it; your content must reflect your team’s unique expertise, be informed by real customer behaviour, and be data-driven.

It’s hard, and most firms don’t do it well. That means those of us who can execute effectively have a great opportunity to beat the competition.

2. Create Your Own Personal Brand

People love to do business with people, not with companies. Even B2B companies can anchor their branding around individual keywords that describe their brand.
For example, what unique services do you offer your customers? Are there search terms associated with your industry that your customers use when searching for solutions? Once you’ve identified these things, see which specific terms you can leverage in both your personal branding and SEO efforts.

One of the best examples of combining personal branding and SEO comes from Joanna Wiebe, the first “conversion copywriter.” Early in her career, she coined the term “conversion copywriter” to describe her niche. By using that term as her main SEO keyword, she dominated the “conversion copywriter” search results.

screenshot of copyhacker

By marrying her personal brand and SEO keywords together, Joanna has created a highly-successful company.

There’s “conversion copywriting” in every industry – you just have to find yours.

3. Respond to Reviews

One survey reported that positive reviews make 73% of customers trust a local business more. Additionally, 85% of customers trust online reviews just as much as they’d trust a friend’s recommendation.

More importantly, legitimate user reviews can affect your site rankings. The more users see good reviews, the more they’ll click through and share your site content. Search engines see this and reward your hard work with higher rankings. On the other hand, bad reviews – or worse, no reviews – can harm your ranking.

So how do you ensure reviews contribute to your SEO instead of harming it?

  • Appreciate good reviews: When someone takes the time to give your business five stars, show your gratitude. A simple “Thanks for the good review!” is enough to merit goodwill.
  • Clarify errors in bad reviews: If a customer claims something negative about your business, politely correct them without dismissing their feedback.
  • Apologize for bad reviews: Even if a customer is being unreasonable, apologizing for their bad experience shows other users you’re fair, polite, and worth giving a second chance.

Responding to user reviews properly seems easy – when you’re not doing it. In the moment, when someone personally insults your employees or makes an unfair comment about your business, responding well is a challenge.

4. Concentrate On Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction has a direct impact on your reputation and site ranking. Remember how we mentioned massive amounts of content used to help sites get higher search rankings? That all changed because Google figured out how to measure user satisfaction.

If a search result delivers on the promise, users spend longer on your site. This signals to Google that your content is high quality and delivers on what users are searching for. This, in turn, increases your site ranking.

That means you need to focus on giving value to your audience on every page you rank. Like planning content, you should rely on your site analytics to let you know what customers really want from your site. What pages are they visiting? Do you have insights into the kinds of search terms they’re using? How can you add more value to your organic traffic user experience?
Taking the time to consider these questions as you develop your site experience and content naturally results in a better reputation with customers and higher rankings.

5. Conduct Online PR

From pitching stories to distributing press releases, conducting online PR can be a cost-effective way to expand your brand reputation. Not only does this coverage build your brand, but it also provides your site with high-quality, trusted backlinks – that’s a recipe for great rankings.

Depending on how in-depth you want to get with PR, there are tools to identify opportunities for press coverage and guest blogging opportunities.

Just make sure to optimize those press releases for SEO before you send them out.

6. Deal with Copyright Issues

Google doesn’t like pirates. It regularly removes search results due to DMCA takedown notices. These happen when a copyright owner files a complaint stating a website is unlawfully sharing intellectual property.

google's page removal message

Since Google has a legal requirement to respond to DMCA notices within a certain time frame, the search engine often errs on the side of caution. To avoid getting slapped with a copyright infringement penalty, respond to DMCA takedown notices quickly if you receive any. If you serve user-generated content on your site, create an easily-accessible link in your footer.

7. Brand Advertising

Though organic SEO can deliver a remarkable ROI over time, paid advertising lets you immediately gain brand awareness. Remember, your brand doesn’t actually have to be big to feel big. If you’re everywhere around the web through brand advertising, your potential customers will be much more aware of your brand than if you relied exclusively on organic awareness.

For example, you can retarget website visitors with cost-effective brand advertising to reinforce your message. Here’s an example from Birchbox:

birtchbox-remarketing ad

(Image via Unbounce)

In a simple ad, Birchbox reinforces its brand image, audience, and positioning.

Here’s another example of brand advertising from Monday, the project management tool:

Facbook ad by monday .com(Via Hubspot)

In this ad, the brand proposition from Monday is clear: it’s a visual project management tool designed for Mac users.

Brand advertising has another upside besides awareness: paid social boosts SEO, so you’re getting a double-benefit through your brand advertising. While you wait for your SEO work to kick in and start attracting organic traffic, create a brand persona and make it more familiar with the world (with examples).

8. Monitoring Brand Activities

The key to managing your reputation is responding quickly to your brand mentions. Positive mentions are an opportunity to leverage new relationships and grow your presence. Negative coverage should also be dealt with and resolved quickly before issues grow into bigger problems. But often, you don’t know if your brand is being discussed at all unless the dialogue is happening on channels you own. That’s where tools like mention.com, Google Alerts, and Brand24 help.

With these tools, you can receive reports whenever someone across social and web channels mentions specific keywords – including your brand. This makes it simple to spot mentions early, helping with your reputation management.

For example, say you find an influencer is mentioning your brand and saying how much she or he is a fan. You might send this influencer a thank you gift to build your relationship, and possibly earn more social links in the future.

Remember, social signals affect rankings. Spending the time to monitor and engage with brand activities can have a direct effect on your search rankings.

9. Dealing with Negative SEO Attacks by Competitors

If your site suddenly drops in search rankings, it’s possible you’re experiencing a negative SEO attack from a competitor. This is when a site owner deliberately points spammy, low-quality links at your site with the intent of having your site penalized by Google.

If you’re using a tool like SEMrush to monitor your site’s backlinks, you’ll probably notice when you’re under attack fairly quickly. A sudden influx of backlinks from low-quality sites is a good indicator something’s up. Other times, you may receive a manual penalty notice. When this happens, you’ll need to use Google Webmaster Tools to manually disavow any bad links. This in-depth article from Ahrefs discusses how to detect and fight negative SEO in detail.

The days of focusing on a single aspect of digital marketing – such as content or keyword optimization – have ended. In order to build an organic, relevant audience for your business, you need to consider all of the above methods for SEO-based reputation management. Lurie points out that planning for this digital chaos can prevent a lot of heartaches and work down the road. Call out your potential digital chaos factors, then create a plan for each one of them.

To learn more about the importance of reputation management and SEO, call TechWyse Internet Marketing at 866.208.3095 or contact us here.

The post 9 Powerful Tactics in Reputation Management SEO appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

Toyota agrees to add Android auto in its cars

Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to add Android Auto to its vehicles, according to a person familiar with the matter, ending years of resistance to the Google infotainment software due to safety and security concerns.

For the first time, Toyota will allow Android Auto devices to connect directly to its cars, after announcing compatibility with Apple Inc.’s CarPlay in January. Previously both platforms could only connect with Toyota vehicles using SmartDeviceLink, a telematics system developed by Ford Motor Co. that controls how Android Auto and CarPlay look on the dash and limits their access to car data.

The addition of Android Auto may attract customers who had stayed away from Toyota vehicles because of the lack of connectivity. More than 80 percent of smartphones use the software from Alphabet’s Google, with the rest using Apple’s iOS system, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. An announcement could come as early as October, according a different person familiar with the plans. The people didn’t want to be identified discussing information that isn’t yet public.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

The importance of brand in a changing talent landscape

This article originally appeared in Media Post

A brand is more than a logo — it’s a promise. In today’s talent landscape, organizations must use the power of their internal brand champions to remain relevant in a competitive job marketplace.

Today’s talent pool is different than previous generations, but what accounts for this transformation? Three major shifts have changed the way top talent navigates corporate America, leading to a rise in new demands on company culture, growth development and purpose.

Shift 1: The Mindset Shift

It’s no longer just about a paycheck, but, instead, a holistic employee experience that encourages people to bring their whole selves to work. Traditional benefits are now table-stakes, giving rise to a new normal in which employees seek dynamic work environments, creative company culture, and inclusive work communities. How this experience comes to life across an organization is critical to a brand’s reputation and its ability to retain top talent.

Shift 2: The Technology Shift

Digital channels have fundamentally changed the recruitment process. The new status quo resembles a virtual employment shopping mall where talent can peruse, consider and shop for their next gig. While you may have once found job inquiries in the local newspaper, it won’t be long until we see talent swiping right for their next big break.

 Shift 3: The Generational Shift

While past generations were steadfast in their loyalty to companies, newer generations’ loyalty to their craft supersedes loyalty to employers. This shift creates a macro climate in which employees are willing to change companies for better growth opportunities where they have the ability to create impact. Engaged employees who reap these benefits are more likely to become brand champions, who are 35% more likely to feel productive on a typical workday and 40% more likely to look for ways to improve their work. 

Companies that embrace these shifts leapfrog the competition to retain top talent. Case in point: Google which prioritizes culture, growth, and purpose to attract top talent.

Culture: Google has fostered a clear and distinct company culture that champions uniqueness and rallies behind those who break barriers and defy the status quo. This further reinforces Google’s brand promise to be the world’s number-one source of information for its customers, employees and stakeholders.

Growth: Google reinforces its information for everyone mission through personalized employee growth plans. With an emphasis on personal development, Google exemplifies its brand promise to enable knowledge expansion.

Purpose: By empowering team members to solve the world’s most pressing problems, Google provides its employees an opportunity to have a global impact.  This opportunity to make a difference gives deeper meaning to work and aligns team members toward a higher purpose that ignites innovation and unites team members toward a common goal.

By aligning team member initiatives with brand strategy, Google has changed the conversation about talent. Employees are Googlers, each celebrated for their unique googliness. If you’re a programmer and loyal to your craft, you can be a programmer anywhere. But, if you’re a programmer at Google, you’re a Googler first and a programmer second. And you can only be a Googler at Google.

Cultivating Brand Ambassadors

Brand experience is cultivated from within an organization. Creating and living up to an employee value proposition that empowers, entices, and invigorates team members is critical to a brand’s success. By cultivating a strong culture, companies can empower ambassadors that will excite and delight customers, in turn, driving business performance and positive brand perceptions.

Joanna Komvopoulos is a senior brand strategist at Siegel+Gale

The post The importance of brand in a changing talent landscape appeared first on Siegel+Gale: Brand Consulting, Experience, Strategy, and Design.

Internal GOP poll: ‘We’ve lost the messaging battle’ on tax cuts

A survey commissioned by the Republican National Committee has led the party to a glum conclusion regarding President Donald Trump’s signature legislative achievement: Voters overwhelmingly believe his tax overhaul helps the wealthy instead of average Americans.

By a 2-to-1 margin61 percent to 30 percentrespondents said the law benefits “large corporations and rich Americans” over “middle class families,” according to the survey, which was completed on Sept. 2 by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies and obtained by Bloomberg News.

The result was fueled by self-identified independent voters who said by a 36-point margin that large corporations and rich Americans benefit more from the tax lawa result that was even more lopsided among Democrats. Republican voters said by a 38-point margin that the middle class benefits more.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Performics Wins U.S. Agency of the Year at the Bing Agency Awards 2018

Performics has been awarded 2018 U.S. Agency of the Year by Bing. The Bing Agency Awards recognize the innovation, passion and work of advertising agencies and technology partners from across the Americas, celebrating individual, team and agency talent. Saturday Night Live alum Vanessa Bayer hosted the awards event at Capriani in New York.

“We’re thrilled to be honored as Bing’s U.S. Agency of the Year. Bing has been an incredible partner to Performics in 2018, in the U.S. and across the globe,” said David Gould, Performics Global Brand President. “Bing helped us celebrate our 20th Anniversary with clients, and collaborated with us on research in the Performics Intent Lab, where we uncovered the power of search query language as a behavioral insights machine. We thank Bing for their continued support, as well as their commitment to helping drive performance for our clients.”

Kyle Jackson, SVP Group Director, Spark Foundry Performics Practices Team, also took home the honor of 2018 Executive of the Year, which recognizes the agency executive who has done the most exceptional job championing search marketing, and partnering with Bing Ads. “Kyle is an embodiment of the ‘demand performance’ spirit of Performics and beloved by his team, clients and partners alike,” said Scott Shamberg, CEO, Performics U.S. Overall, Performics was nominated in seven categories this year.









The post Performics Wins U.S. Agency of the Year at the Bing Agency Awards 2018 appeared first on Performics.

Synthetic rhino horns are supposed to disrupt poaching. Will they work?

Are synthetic rhino horns an ingenious conservation tool–or a misplaced idea that will make things worse?

When 1,028 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2017–8,000% more than a decade earlier–most of their horns were smuggled into Vietnam and China, where some pieces of horn end up at parties, ground into a powder that hosts give to guests to mix into drinks in the mistaken belief that the horn prevents hangovers. Others are made into traditional medicine or carved into decorative objects and jewelry.

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