Ran Mullins By Ran Mullins • March 10, 2016

The Clear and Present Inbound Brand

When the Summer Olympics come around every four years, the pageantry and global conviviality starts building in the months prior in the news and through advertising. Perhaps no brand is more tied to the modern Olympic tradition than Coca-Cola, which has been a sponsor for a staggering 88 years.

Their corporate partnership has given them unparalleled marketing visibility to be sure, but the success they’ve achieved because of it also has every bit to do with how they use that position. Through thoughtful content and a knack for adaptation and agility, Coke's brand presence has become interwoven with the arrival of the Olympic Games and a major facilitator of the global conversation surrounding them.

Presence is a key word in effective inbound marketing. An inbound brand can produce content ad nauseam and publish it to every known social media platform in existence without having the presence necessary to entice people to strike up a relationship with that brand.


The meaning of presence in content marketing

Inbound marketing is in some ways a reaction to the heightened cynicism the public has about traditional advertising. People have more respect for brands with aims other than simply selling to them. As such, content marketing has developed to offer information, entertainment, inspiration and education through the content a brand produces, creating a mutual benefit for both person and brand before a purchase is even made.

Those offerings are examples of what presence means in the context of inbound. When a brand understands what fulfills the general public or a specific type of person, it can create content directly for them as opposed to for the sake of producing more content.

As such, presence comes from content imbued with a confident brand voice and the awareness of what the people you’re trying to reach need in order to engage with it, rather than passively view it.


How to be in the right place at the right time

This year featured a Feb. 29, and many businesses used Leap Day as an occasion for a pop-up one-time-only sale. It was an easy way to participate and try out some creative marketing for the occasion.

You can learn what content will fulfill potential customers by simply keeping an eye on the news or calendar. Presence involves timeliness and relevance, so finding things going on the world that can be directly or tangentially tied to your brand can make your company an active part and facilitator of the conversation surrounding it, much like Coca-Cola and the Olympics.

This also entails hosting the conversation on the right channel. In-the-moment content does very well on Facebook and Twitter, more academic fare belongs on LinkedIn or guest posts for industry websites and visually-engaging material has a home on Instagram or the multitude of platforms like it.


The measurable efficacy of brand presence

Real brand presence turns interactions into legitimate conversations. The content isn’t a one-way street—it opens a topic up for discussion among the various people who view it and the brand.

Creating such content has the potent ability to spread positivity about your brand. Customer reviews and peer recommendations are the most powerful motivators in people’s purchasing decisions. Again, this ties back to that wider cynicism about traditional advertising—everyone values a real person’s opinion on a product, service or company over a company’s own word.

The bonus is that those results are measurable and allow you to make adjustments in your content and brand voice. If people begin to talk independently about your brand or its content, you’ll hear it and can gauge what worked to cause them to do so. Ideally, the social chatter is positive. Either way, though, you can follow a trail from publication to social mentions that will tell you more about what you’re doing right and wrong.

To keep things positive, circle back to the first point of this article. Be genuine and have people’s needs and interests in mind. With inbound marketing, coming from an honest place—one where you hope to make a real, human connection with people—will get you noticed and endear your brand to those who encounter your content. Rbookend2.jpg