Category Archives: branding

How to Conduct a Social Media Competitive Analysis – For Free

It’s important for every business to conduct a competitive analysis to find their niche in the marketplace. But how do you analyze your competition on social media? How can you compare a big brand on Facebook to a small brand on Twitter? 

The good news is that you can conduct a fairly thorough competitive analysis using sites and tools that are completely free. Here’s how:

Basic Social Media Metrics 
First, see if your competitor promotes their social channels on their website and their blog — if they even have a blog.  There’s a big difference between tiny icons at the bottom of a website and big “Follow us” buttons at the top.  

Then, look at their social profiles to see how many likes they have on Facebook, how many followers they have on Twitter, etc. These raw numbers alone don’t tell the whole story, but they’ll be crucial to determining other statistics. 

A great place to start is Wildfire‘s Who’s Winning in Social feature, which lets you compare follower growth of three brands (including your own) on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ over a range of time, from the last seven days to the last two years. 

Wildfire’s “Who’s Winning in Social” interactive app




Simply Measured offers a number of free reports aimed at specific social channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram, with Pinterest coming soon. For Twitter, the report tells you how influential your followers are, the top keywords in your followers’ profiles, and even a breakdown of followers by time zone.

A few social channels themselves offer free information on your competitors. Facebook lets you create “interest lists” that allow you to see your competitors’ latest content and what type of content is resonating with their followers — in real time. Be sure to set your lists to “private” so your competitors won’t know you’re watching them!

Content Metrics
Now you know your competitor’s numbers, so it’s time to determine what type of content they’re posting. You can start with a quick scan of their feeds. Many brands start with text and links. More advanced brands add photos and videos. Expert brands also post polls, contests, and games. 

For a deeper analysis, you can use Infinigraph to see what type of content your competitor is posting, along with the most common days (and time of day) to post different forms of content.  You’ll not only discover a competitor’s content strategy, but you may find that different content is posted on different sites; for example, food and design photos do very well on Pinterest.

Engagement Metrics
Lots of followers is good, strong content is great, but how is your competitor’s audience actually responding? Engagement is really the most important metric of all.

Rival IQ shows your competitor’s content within the last 90 days, sorting the content by the type of engagement per each post.

Rival IQ’s “Competitive Landscape” feature












Why is this important? Take Twitter. When someone favorites a brand’s tweet, only the brand sees it; but when someone retweets a tweet, that person is actually sharing the content with all their followers. Pinterest and Facebook make similar distinctions between approving a post and actually distributing it.

It’s also very useful to see the tone of engagement. Is your competitor posting a lot on Facebook…because they’re responding to numerous customer complaints on their timeline? Are followers associating the competitor with good things or bad things? SocialMention lets you see the ratio of positive comments to negative ones

Putting It All Together
Armed with this information, you can determine what types of content generate the best types of engagement for your competitors and learn what opportunities you have to stand out from the crowd.

Did you find a social media opportunity but aren’t sure how to exploit it? Brandemix has a great deal of experience in social media marketing, branding, and recruiting. Contact us and we’ll work together to put your findings to good use.

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Branding, Marketing, and Web Design Trends

With the holidays fast approaching (such as Thanksgivukkah in just two weeks!) we thought we’d share some of our professional predictions for 2014 branding, marketing, and web design.

Branding: Clean-Slate Brands
According to Trendwatching, new is good, less is more, and sometimes true is better than tried. Consumers are seeking greater control, choices de-simplified, and upstarts on a mission. 2014 could be the year of the entrepreneur with a great product and an inspirational mission.

Web Trends: Start with Small
Begin your design phase of every project with an eye on how it will look on a mobile device. Then branch out to tablets and PC’s. It will help you frame your content by what’s important and build an architecture based on best-practice. Less is more. Just as we saw above, the trend is moving to simplification: large images, parallax effects, and one-page websites organized into blocks of content inspired by Pinterest. The only thing that will get more complex is the choice of web-friendly fonts you can use.

Video is surging in popularity. A June 2013 survey conducted by AOL showed that almost three quarters of marketing professionals plan to increase their spending on branded video content or video ads in 2014. Same rules apply: keep it short and simple, and make it good. 

Social Media Marketing: Diversify Your Strategy 
As we saw from investors’ show of support for Twitter’s IPO, social is only getting bigger and more relevant. As choices expand and audiences fragment, it gives marketing professionals the opportunity to create meaningful content that creates affinity for your brand’s voice. Once you build out a brand framework and architecture, drill down your value proposition for each audience and demo you’re looking to reach.

  • Google+ will continue to grow in size and influence and should no longer be thought of as a second-tier site. Delete that joke on the famous “Donut List.”
  • Image is everything and make it fast. Think Vine, Instagram, Pinterest. The popularity of these sites shows us that appetite for bite-sized chunks of content is growing. Say it in 6 seconds – and go! 

As always, it’s best to have a strategy and never too late to download our free Social Media Marketing Strategy Guide

What are your marketing predictions for 2014?  We’d love to hear them. As an agency that specializes in branding, marketing and web design, we love staying ahead of the curve. 

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Internal Communications Best Practices from Thomas Cook

Jason Ginsburg, Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix, show how organizations can use Thomas Cook’s philosophy in engaging employees during a re-branding.

To learn how Brandemix can help you with employee engagement and internal communications, visit our website.

Five Things You Can Lean About Internal Communications from the Thomas Cook Re-Branding

Thomas Cook is the world’s oldest travel agency. But after surviving wars and natural disasters for 150 years, the company was in real financial trouble in 2011. 

Marketing magazine listed the problems: “Emergency loans, travel-agency closures, job cuts and profit warnings,” and about $786 million in losses in 2012. The company closed 200 of its agencies and shuttered its publishing arm, which had produced 300 travel guides.

But with new CEO Harriet Green, Thomas Cook reorganized and stabilized. And then it needed what Head of Communications Vicki Burwell called “a face and personality to the body that we have worked so hard to make fit and healthy again.” That is: a new brand.

With input from stakeholders across all its divisions around the world, on October 1 the company changed its logo from a blue sphere to a “Sunny Heart” and trimmed its lengthy tagline from “Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it” to simply “Let’s go!”

Thomas Cook logo change

But how to roll out this new branding to 27,000 employees at offices all over the globe — some of whom worked at home? What followed is a case study in smart internal re-branding. Here’s what Thomas Cook did right:

Supporting managers first
“We first unveiled the Sunny Heart to our Leadership Council, 140 senior managers from across the Group,” Burwell told All Things IC. “They then owned the rollout to every single employee over a two-week period” in the run-up to the official launch. Rather than a single directive from the CEO, which wouldn’t have been customized to each division, Thomas Cook let managers lead the way. And even better  they gave the managers a launch kit with videos and slide shows to communicate a consistent message across all departments.

The importance of employee buy-in
Thomas Cook could have rushed or overlooked the employee roll-out; after all, the branding was already done, so who cared what the workers thought? But Burwell saw that it was crucial to have employees on their side: “For them to understand why this is so much more than a new brand image, and the role that they have in our ongoing transformation, is vital for them to deliver our all-important brand promise.” Spoken like a true brand advocate!

Employee trust
The agency unveiled the branding to employees first, so there were 14 days where one leak, anywhere in the world, could have diminished the public unveiling. “We trusted them with all the detail and asked them to keep it under wraps until launch day so we could maximize impact,” Burwell said, “and it really paid off.”

Thomas Cook employees heart

A “carnival” kickoff
Anticipation and secrecy made for a very fun day when the branding finally went public. Burwell said, “There was quite a carnival atmosphere on launch day. Lots of people chose to come to work with heart or yellow-themed clothing and there was a lot of social media activity with photos and reactions being posted on Facebook and Twitter. There was a great sense of anticipation and much celebration on the day. When employees are actually celebrating your brand, you’ve done your job.

Maintaining momentum
The launch is over, but the excitement goes on. Burwell explained how the internal communications team is keeping employees engaged and involved: “We’ll be using [a re-branded intranet] as a primary channel to keep the brand alive and to encourage even greater ‘Groupness,’ a term we’ve adopted across the company over the past year. We’ve asked for feedback and ideas on all the Sunny Heart activity and will be using this to help further shape our ongoing plans.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Through all phases of this transformational initiative, Thomas Cook did everything right. Take a look at their new website and see for yourself.

Is your organization looking for a new brand and greater “groupness”? Let Brandemix be your travel guide.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: The Importance of One Brand

Jason Ginsburg, Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix, explains why it’s important for organizations to integrate their employer brands with their consumer brands — and shows how to do it right.

To learn more about employer branding, download our free strategy guide or contact us.

One Brand: Part 1. Extending Your Brand Through Internal Communications

Does internal communications matter to consumer branding?

You bet it does. Are you a retailer rolling out a brand positioning about knowledgeable salespeople helping customers navigate a myriad of product choices? Better make sure your knowledgeable salespeople stay that way.



Branding for financial services? A Forrest research report reveals that mergers and acquisitions have hurt customer relationships and advises a refocused attention on customer service. You better bring some TLC to your call centers.

What about an admired airline promising an incredible experience and having it come crashing (sorry) down when the baggage is stolen, lost, or delayed through poor handling? 

While there are a variety of factors that influence public brand sentiment, your communicating to your consumer brand  to your employees is one that is easy to get right.  

1. Roll in your brand.
Let your employees in on the big reveal before you launch your new campaign. 

2. Show the relevance.  
Now that you have articulated your brand values internally:

  • Who needs to do what differently?
  • What do they need to change?  

3. Communicate your brand inward.

  • Look at your internal communications and the audiences you reach.
  • Where are the best places to infuse your positioning? 

Think about hosting a brand training event so sales people know what the customers will expect from them. Recognize and reward great customer service, and encourage testimonials from happy customers. Make sure your employees know how they are responsible for the success for your business and reap the rewards from a singular brand outside and in.

We welcome your input and are here for your help.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Decoding Social Recruiting

Jason Ginsburg, Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix, reveals surprising insights from the 2013 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey.

Download our free Social Media Strategy Guide for Talent Acquisition here.

Register for our free webinar, Employer Branding Boot Camp.