Building an eCommerce business from scratch is always a great experience to have in your lifetime. Starting from the manufacturing and distribution of the product to getting that to the actual customer, you will enjoy every phase of your customer journey.
To enjoy the journey, you need to set a solid foundation for your marketing team. And of course, the brand building.
Every business needs to build a brand around whatever solutions you’re offering and the core vision statement.
This week we’re bringing in a great conversation with Danielle Trombetta on brand marketing.
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Hey, what’s going on everyone? Welcome back to another episode, and I’m your host, Shiva Kumaar. Our guest today is Danielle Trombetta Director of Brand Marketing. I’m really excited to get her on this show for this episode. Welcome, Daniel. How you doing?
Good. How are you today?
Yeah, I’m doing good. So how do you usually start your day, I mean, interesting books to read or?
For me, the way I get going in the morning is just waking up and doing a quick workout. I, you know, pretty much workout at 5.30 in the morning. And that’s the way I kind of start my day. And then I look at my schedule and dive right in.
Okay, perfect. So just to give a quick background to the listeners that can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure. So I started my career working at an agency and then, you know, went into a publishing company doing campaign management. And then from there, I spent most of my career at Canon USA, as people will refer to them as the camera company. But they are more than just cameras. So I spent 12 years there. And then I moved on to a Mattress flash betting company. So that’s pretty much. So I’ve been in multiple industries. But my primary industry has been consumer electronics.
Good to hear. So one of the interesting thing, the moment I looked at your profile as brand marketing. I mean, I really wanted to understand from someone who’s been into this brand marketing for at least over a decade. So can you tell us a little bit about you know, what is brand marketing? And how does it actually, you know, differ from the regular marketing leadership role?
Sure, so, it’s really interesting, because a lot of people there is, you know, a lot of people do see that there is overlap, which there definitely is. So, but for brand marketing, specifically, it really is promoting the company’s brand. So that’s basically their values, the corporate culture, the, I guess, like the personality and the identity of the brand, while you know, marketing itself, yes, there you are promoting that brand and that identity, but you’re usually using the tools, marketing tools. So if you’re using it through SEO, if you’re using it through, you know, just a digital campaign, a social media campaign, you’re really using different tools in order to promote that brand marketing, you know, that brand. identity. So, yes,
so does branding starts with the logo, typography. And website design, because you know, every every time when we talk about branding, so this is the thing we can keep on getting at least from the marketing team, or from from, you know, the design team.
Yeah, so most people do think it starts with the logo. And I’m a firm believer that it does not really need to figure out especially let’s just start from the ground up. So let’s just say you are a completely new business, new company, you don’t even have a name yet, you’re just, you know, what you want to do, and you’re out there. So what you really need to do is really understand who your brand is, like what you want to be to the audience out there. So it’s actually doing some research initially, and really seeing just research, you know, your competitors, if there are any in your field, and basically trying to figure out what your niche market is going to be, or just what your niche in general is, you know, going to be to your target audience.
So from there, then I would have to say that you really just need to focus on what your personality wants to be. And also going into what type of, you know, starting to think about your logo, but also really just your mission statement, your slogan, start to develop that. And then then you would start leading into your logo development and typographic. And really, before you even get there, it’s you know, some people there’s two ways of thinking it you can develop your logo and then think of the different color variations or incorporating color into it. But some people just Start with, you know, do I want to be a bold company, you know, in my colors, and fonts, or do I want to be more traditional, and you know, then you would start designing your logo and having your typography to coordinate with that. And then after that, you really are just applying those, all of that into your messaging to your target audience. And, you know, I kind of forgot that even within that early on, you really have to even decide what your name is going to be for a company. And you actually have to do research on that as well.
So, let’s say if someone is just getting started, so what is the most important thing in e-commerce business needs to you know, focus on while creating a brand marketing strategy,
There are many things that you can actually focus on. But you know, you want to focus on in my opinion, the user experience, the customer experience, basically, so the user experience when they get to your website, or if it’s a brick and mortar store, whatever that is, but it is really important to have a very positive experience. And as we all know, the customer’s always right. And from that standpoint, you know, it’s just really to focus on that. But even beyond that, my opinion is really to just focus on the brand consistency. So let’s just say you are at a brick and mortar, you know, establishment, you know, make sure your brand is the same, that it’s translating the same on your website, and any other communications you may have.
I mean, it could be even a simple if you’re like a restaurant, just on a simple thing, like a menu, you know, just make sure there is that consistent look and feel, there’s so many brands that I see out there, that don’t remain consistent. Even just something as simple as their logo, like their logo may have changed over, let’s just say, in five years that changed. And they didn’t update their website yet. They didn’t update, you know, a sign that may be out there, you know, so it really is important. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s expensive to make those transitions. But it really is important to just remain consistent and make sure your values your company values are translating consistently to your audience. So you don’t want to stand for something today. And then the next moment you’re flip flopping to something else, and vice versa. So
So does this differ based on the business size? I mean, let’s say how how you would actually approach a small e-commerce business compared to an established, you know, hundred million dollar company.
So I don’t really, I mean, yeah, I know, people can make an argument that it is very different. But for me, I guess for a startup, if you are a startup, you really need to tell your story, it is really important for you to actually explain to your audience, you know, why you develop the name that you have, you know, your ABC company? Why did you come up with that name, if there’s some kind of meaning behind it, you know, people want to hear that same thing, you know, why you started the brand, is it, you know, something happened to you personally, and you develop the brand, or you just felt that there was a need in the world for, you know, your company, and your mission, it really explained that to your audience, as a startup, and you can do that very easily on the website.
You know, just as simple as you’re in your About Us page. So, you know, that really is important. If you’re 100 million dollar brands, e-commerce brand, I would have to say that it also for them, it’s really just staying true to your brand. And, again, the consistency of it. I mean, you just have to understand that, you know, users usually, sorry, your users want to see what you’re doing. Also what you’re doing to, you know, help the world be a better place. I know, that seems a little cliche, but it you know, people want to see that, especially the generations that are coming up, you know, growing today, that’s what they want to see, they don’t want to see that this company is making millions of dollars, and they’re not, you know, doing anything with it. So, I think that there’s similarities, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a startup or 100 million dollar brand. But, you know, it really is, from a startup standpoint, you really just have to establish yourself more.
But at the same time, if you were a brand that’s been around for a while, sometimes you need to reinvent yourself, and you need to do that, you know, at the e commerce you know, basically under websites You know, so. And basically, I would also say, if you’re a well established brand, there’s always room to grow and change something. So maybe your customer service needs help, you know, you know, that’s important as well to your brand. So you’re always looking to find ways to improve.
So, coming back to one interesting thing, let’s say if I talk to a company, they usually say 40%, the edge of the inbound inquiries is actually from organic, and then the rest of them, like 60 are from the paid advertisement. So comparing that to brand marketing activities, I’m actually curious, like, I mean, let’s say if we have to compare it with the organic versus paid ad was advertisement. I mean, what at what personally, should we invest in, you know, paid ads compared to the typical marketing activities? And how do you actually sort of like measured that and convert that to, you know, like, brand, brand building?
Sure. So I would have to say that, I really think it just depends on what you want to spend money on. So organic is great. You know, word of mouth, referral, marketing, stuff like that, it really is great. Even if you have influencers that are out there, that maybe you’re not paying as much to or some might just not, you know, expect any kind of compensation. But, and they just have a great following. But, you know, at the end of the day, I really do think that it is more than just, you know, organic is very important. But I really do think that having a strategic paid program, like campaign is very important to have, and you’ll be able to really measure things better, and establish what your metrics are going today. And see if you’re hitting those KPIs each, you know, for each campaign.
Yeah. So it’s not just about the number of inquiries that you’re getting on a weekly basis, or the sales that you’re making for this specific product. It’s all about the brand visibility, right? So what you’re going to get for the next six months or 12 months?
So from the branding perspective, I mean, what would a consumer look for when they get into an e-commerce website? I mean, what helps an e-commerce store, create that brand identity, so the consumer will remember them, you know, even after they leave the website?
Yeah. So I would have to say that it really is the overall look and feel you have to have a very clean website, it cannot be too busy, it has to be really user friendly. And I know people hear that all the time. And they’re like, okay, yeah, I have that. But it really is important to test it, test it with someone that you know, even within your own company, you know, design a website and test it among, among your employees, you know, because you can get someone that’s very tech savvy in your company, like a developer or IT person, and then you forget someone that maybe just isn’t as tech savvy, and he or she may be confused and can’t find, you know, the navigation isn’t clear on your website.
So you don’t want to bury anything. And then it really is, you know, a way to just try to see what people like more. So would you rather people, you know, see the About Us section if you’re, you know, a startup. So you might have that front and center. Some companies might want to have, you know, an offer, you know, a discounted offer on their website that’s front and center. So you really just have to find out what your, you know, goal really is. But as a startup, I really do feel that yes, having a discount is important or some kind of offer, but at the same time, it really is important for you to establish your brand and help, you know, the traffic that’s coming to your website to really, you know, stay on your page as long as possible and catch their eye and you can do that from a visual standpoint as well, though, yeah.
Mm hmm. So, let’s say if a typical marketing team is actually looking to hire someone for the I mean specifically for the brand marketing, a brand marketing manager director, so where do you want them to you know, start Are you know, Who should we How should we actually you know, hire them Who should we actually hire them? How does the you know, this team will actually where does this you know, team will actually begin?
It depends by company. So, I have been, you know, I worked for small, medium and large companies and you know, even at canon I started at, you know, it’s an over an 80 year old brand and even when I started there, they did not have Have a brand new department, which to me was very shocking. So with that said, you know, it really just depends on where you want this department to fall into. So in some companies, it could fall into your corporate communications area, it could fall into just a subset of a marketing department, it can even be under, you know, internal communications, it really could be under anything. So, it depends, it’s going to be case by case for each company where you want it to live.
But the person, you know, could also wear many hats. So a smaller company, you know, that person may end up, you know, being, you know, doing brand marketing, but also overseeing the logo guidelines and the brand messaging for that brand, but also overseeing partnerships, let’s just say, you know, because they may not have the resources that have a designated, you know, partnership type of department. And, you know, that also is important, I do feel that most of the time, it is just a subset of a marketing group. But, you know, because a lot of marketing teams also could have some, you know, levels of product marketing teams. So, for instance, you know, my time at cannon, cannon didn’t have a centralized marketing department, which is probably shocking to some people, but they don’t. So each product marketing group, you know, each product line had their own marketing team. So it really is also important for that brand person, that brand marketing person, to reach out to each of those product groups to make sure the brand messaging is consistent, and they’re not deviating too much. You know, which is also a challenge for that person. But overall, I do feel that the person should really live under marketing, but it really just depends on the structure of the company, as well as the size.
So where does you know, this person will actually fit into the marketing team? Or is this more like, like a man, let’s say, if they’re content marketers, and then there are like designers and a couple of other marketing people over there, right? So how does I mean, how does the work actually been aligned together, and we put them into, okay, so this is what this team has to handle, or this is what this department has to handle on things like that.
So, I mean, this person would also have to work with creative, their creative director, their creative team very closely, because this person will have to make sure the message is, you know, clear, but also just consistent. So it is something that that person would have to work closely with. And also just, you know, they’re working, I do feel that this brand marketing person has to work with everybody they are working cross functionally, because they’re also even working with a PR department, you know, is also, you know, public relations is so important for a brand and communicating that out properly.
So, it really, the person really is touching, like, every point, I mean, even, you know, this sounds a little crazy, but you know, brand markers, or even working with like an accounting team or HR, because what is their message, you know, how is that being communicated even something like letterhead or an invoice going out, you know, all that is very important. So, the brand marketing person is really, you know, they can be all over. So, the fact that, you know, some people might, you know, I would say put this person underneath a corporate communications division, that does make a lot of sense, because they do have to touch so many areas, that sometimes just putting them under marketing isn’t always enough, you know, so that person definitely has to be very versatile, and also not afraid to speak to other departments, because they are going to have to work with them closely, especially HR, you know, onboarding process, and just their communications when they’re trying to recruit, you know, employees and stuff like that.
So, you’ve been with Canon for almost 12 years and with bed gear for close to two years, right. So can you tell us a little bit about your brand promotional activities over there? I mean, can be successful campaign, and then the other one, that actually didn’t work, but you had a very good learning from there?
Sure. So I would say a cat in one of my most successful campaigns, which was one of my most challenging was a campaign that we did for currency impossible. And it’s the whole see impossible campaign with many different stories. Some spots that we did. And the one that I primarily worked on was, there’s two of them, but one of them was actually see beyond darkness, and it was an underwater shoot with one of our camera technologies, basically, uh, not necessarily underwater camera, but a camera that actually could see pretty well, in very dark areas. And, you know, we went to a very remote location in the Solomon Islands, and I had to go on that video shoot, but as you can imagine, there’s many challenges with that, because going to a spot that we couldn’t do a site visit for prior, we are also hoping to accomplish something that has never been done before. And capturing.
You know, basically a turtle, I know, it sounds crazy, but by a fluorescent turtle, and, you know, hoping that the turtle cooperates underwater, and it was a night shoot, there are so many different factors. But I mean, it was a great experience, being on site, and, you know, really working with our, you know, video team, you know, production team to get this accomplished. But again, it’s just, you know, afterwards, putting it all together, it was very successful. You know, it did, a lot of people did enjoy it. I mean, granted, it wasn’t necessarily a camera that we were going to sell, because it’s a $20,000 camera. So not everyone, you know, will be in the market for that.
But it really was exploring and showcasing the technologies of Canon that a lot of people probably maybe weren’t aware of. So it was almost a brand awareness campaign, just from a technology standpoint, but also, you know, product as well, a product marketing campaign. So that was very successful, we had some really good engagement with that, and, you know, press on it. So which was great. From a maybe this is more of an internal thing, but with that same idea of our see impossible campaign, because it kind of never really had a strong slogan in the US until the impossible came around. And I have to say that one of the downfalls that we ran into was not really educating our employees first, which is super important. So our employees didn’t know that, you know, they really weren’t privy to the see impossible campaign. I mean, they kind of knew about it, but it really wasn’t, you know, we didn’t really train on it that well, before.
So a lot of people were seeing an ad, you know, let’s just say in the New York Times, or whatever media outlet it was, and people were like, what, what’s this, you know, so it’s really important for brands to really understand getting their employees up to speed, because, you know, they could run into someone just walking on the street, or just someone mentioning it on social media. And that employee, you know, may not be able to answer it, because they’re just not privy to it. And they weren’t trained properly on it. So I’m not necessarily saying it was not a successful campaign. But that’s more from an internal standpoint, that was a challenge for us that I think we missed the boat on a little bit. Which, you know, lesson learned. So it’s always good to learn from your mistakes.
Yeah, yeah. So this is something I’ve been hearing, especially, you know, the internal marketing. So I’ve seen drift done that in the past, let’s say if someone like, I mean, who’s in the B2B space, or e commerce business owner, who’s in the b2b space, sometimes, like you said, you know, they may not be aware of, you know, what’s going on with the operations team or the marketing team? So what would you actually recommend? I mean, let’s say if you have to tell them, Hey, this is what you have to do to make awareness to all those, you know, like, hundred and 50 or 200 employees, so what would that be? Do we have to have some sort of like, you internal communication channels like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter?
Yes, I 100% agree with you. So yes, you would have to, I mean, there’s different ways that you can go about doing this. I mean, for my for my experience, the best is to get everyone in a room or a zoom meeting or whatever it may be. Get as many people as you can, and you could do this in different groups and segments if you need to. But really update everyone. So I would start with your the people that would be affected immediately. You know, it could be a marketing team or marketing department, which you would think that you know, they may already know it, but it’s good to just give a refresher, update them.
You know, same thing with your PR team, your communication team, they all really need to know about this. And then you can start expanding that to the broader company, to everyone, you know, your operations team, or even your, you know, accounting team, HR, everyone needs to know about this. So it really is important. The other thing that I would suggest, some people think that just notifying a division head is enough to communicate, you know, whatever you may be doing, you know, if it’s a slogan change, or the logo changed, or whatever, you know, a new marketing campaign, whatever it may be, it really is important to send out communications to all employees, and you know, that some employees will not read the communication, as we all know, but, you know, find different areas on do you have an intranet, you know, portal, that you could put a message up an email you can send out, you know, to your point, if you have a LinkedIn group, for your employees, whatever it may be, definitely, to basically use every outlet possible.
So just in case someone does miss it, at least you use seven different outlets. And, you know, hopefully, they read at least one of them, and then word of mouth will just start traveling anyway. You know, so don’t be like, Oh, we have a new logo, or whatever, you know, it may be. So that is really important. To your point, you know, it is so important to make sure your employees are up to speed before you launch anything. And it’s not easy, I understand that. Timing is not always on our side, but is really important to have employees know that. You know, as soon as you can communicate it, if it’s not confidential in any way, you know, if it’s like a new product or something, you know, really just educate your employees and train them as much as you can and just keep them in the loop. They want that full transparency. You know, your customers want it but your employees want it as well.
Yeah, yeah, the team has to spend the same amount of marketing efforts that they’re doing for, you know, the outside of the company, they have to do the same thing for the internal as well.
So what’s, what’s one thing you would like to change in marketing right now in 2020?
Great question. So there, I don’t know. Marketing is so tricky right now, just because of the situation that we’re in with a pandemic. But I have to say, one of the things that I wish didn’t happen, but being a marketer, I have a love hate relationship for it, is, you know, everyone, we have email marketing, it’s been around for quite some time, but now more companies are doing text messaging, so text marketing, and I actually don’t necessarily love it. Because, you know, it’s one thing you know, back in the day, when you got cold calling, you know, when someone trying to sell you something on, you know, on your house phone, and it translated into your, you know, moved onto your cell phone, that you’re, you’re getting, you know, spam.
And then now, you know, your emails are getting, you know, your, your inbox is getting flooded with emails, and now, I feel that a lot of companies are starting to go towards text messaging. And now I feel like my texts are getting, you know, my phone’s being flooded by text messages. So, you know, not as many people are doing that. But I do think that’s going to increase in the next year, depending if they feel it’s working. But that’s one thing I think I want to change. You know, and, again, everyone’s trying every outlet to get their message across or sell a service or product. So but for me, I just wished that sometimes, and again, I’m at fault for it, too. But I just wish that some people would just take a break from Marketing at sometimes like, you know, just because, you know, now text messaging, I think it’s gonna get crazy, you know, you know, you start blocking it, you unsubscribe from it, it’s just, you know, it’s just another avenue that you have to worry about when, you know, in the past, it was just a phone call or an email.
Okay, good. So before we wrap this up some quick questions. So who’s your favorite? CMO? in B2C? B2B?
A good question. I don’t really have one. I’m going to be honest. I know. That’s not the answer anyone wants to hear. But I think there’s pros and cons to every CMO that’s out there. And sometimes I don’t even think that there is a great not that there isn’t a great CMO. I just think that so many CMOs just move on. But right now, I don’t have a favorite CMO. And I’m not trying to take the easy way out. I just I really I just don’t. I feel like you can learn from every CMO out there. Which is good.
Okay, Okay, perfect. So since you’ve been around with more of consumer base background for the past couple of years, I just want to have this question as well. So what are those DDC companies that does tele marketing in 2020.
So a company that I think has just been doing a consistent job in general, is Bombas, their sock company. And, you know, I just feel like their mission has always been great. So every, you know, paradoxal, they give back to the community, which I think is, you know, amazing, and you know, their world, they’re not the first brand to do that. But I think they were one of the first brands to really get their name out there, that they are doing that. And they’ve just been really consistent with that. And their marketing, I feel, you know, even in 2020 has been very consistent, their brand messaging has been very consistent.
And I just feel that that is super important. And I know I keep you know, I probably sound like a broken record. But the messaging has to be consistent for brands, you know, you can’t Yes, you can refresh your brand, you can change your values of what you believe in and your stand for. But just make sure that being translated properly to your audience, and consistently. And also keep your logo. There, don’t keep changing your logo, keep it around for at least five years, and see how it’s doing. Same thing with your slogans, don’t keep on changing your slogan, like every year, because it will confuse the customer, or whoever your target audience is. So that is really important. So Bombas is one of the ones that come to my mind pretty, you know, front and center.
Yeah, the moment you talked about logo, and then the colors to two companies that comes into my mind is Coca Cola, Coke and Facebook, I would say they I think they had the same especially Facebook, they had the same colors. Is that correct?
Yeah, to my knowledge, yes, they have and Coca Cola, as you know, they’ve had that same logo for, you know, since I think they started. And you know, it’s strong. Same thing with, you know, look at Nike, you know, their slogan, just do it, you know, they had that for so long. And I know, some people were just like, Oh my God, if I see that, you know, a commercial one more time for Nike or that slogan, one more time, it’s, you know, it’s annoying. But that’s when you know, it’s working when, you know, an audience is like, Oh my god, I’m seeing this again, that slogan over and over again, you now know that it’s sitting within your audience’s, you know, mindset, which is really important.
And hopefully that will be top of mind for them the next time they’re in the market for whatever your product or services. So, but just you have to test it, you know, see, I mean, if you’re testing and you know, it’s just not working, it’s not resonated, because there are definitely companies that have created slogans, and they’re a global company, and then they never tested it in a different market. So it didn’t translate well in a different language, or it meant something different. So that’s also important. You know, to remember, if you are a global company, whether you’re planning to go, you know, be a global company, make sure whatever you’re creating a logo, your messaging, whatever it is, make sure it is, you know, it’s going to work in other markets, you know, do your research and test it.
Awesome, Dan. So where do you want the listeners to go,
Um, I don’t know, I want everyone to just, you know, enjoy, enjoy brand, marketing, enjoy it, it’s fun. Marketing is a lot of fun. It’s, it’s a lot of work it, you know, but it really is, branding, in general, is very fun. You know, you can be creative, you can use both sides of your brain. It’s, it’s great. So for me, overall, I would just, you know, I’ve said this a bunch of times, but, you know, enjoy the process, enjoy building your brand, and really be consistent and true to your, you know, values. Don’t, don’t feel ever pressure to change your company values, because the markets telling you to do so that’s what you stand for. Be confident in that, you know, you know, unless it’s really affecting your brand in a negative way, then you know what you’re going to lose, you’re going to lose an audience, but you’ll also gain audience. So, you know, customers really do fluctuate. But if you have a strong brand and a strong message and you’re transparent with your customers, then they’ll stick around.
Perfect. All right. I think there was a great conversation. Thank you so much for joining this episode.
Great. Thank you so much for your time.
Cool. Yeah. Take care. You have a good day, bye.
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