AN online branding seminar slated for next Wednesday and Thursday, November 11-12, at The Landings St. Lucia is being touted as a great opportunity for businesspeople.
The seminar is being organized by Sara Burnett, Founder/Editor of Burnett’s Boards and Hanna Fitz, CEO/Brand Strategist of Seashell Consulting Group, who will both be facilitators.
The seminar runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day and some of the topics to be discussed include blogging, branding and search engine optimization (SEO).
Fitz said the idea to host the seminar stemmed from recognizing the challenges faced by many local businesses in maximizing the opportunities available on the Internet, particularly via social media. As she tells it, many businesses are still trying to figure out how to use the technology.
“They don’t really understand how to use it and that has been a problem. They don’t understand what each social media platform is for and what it’s supposed to do for their business. Many people see online marketing as something that takes up a lot of their time and doesn’t really bring them any money,” Fitz told The VOICE.
Fitz, also a business coach and author, will be combining her skills with Burnett’s to show how companies can take their offline image and build a brand on the Internet and a following for that brand. Fitz said the time had come for businesses to improve on the past. For example, she believes companies depend too heavily on email marketing.
“They’re using email marketing solely for sales and there’s no inbound strategy of staying connected with their audience constantly even when they’re not trying to sell something,” Fitz explained.
For many years now, the Caribbean has been faced with the issue of although having many superior goods and services than those offered outside the region, proper branding remains a challenge for many companies. Fitz said some companies are getting the concept wrong.
“There’s a misunderstanding of what branding is,” Fitz stated. “I think people still believe that branding is having a logo, the right colours and packaging. However, branding is a science and on the Internet it’s now even more important than ever before.”
Burnett, who is also a professional blogger and online influencer, said her background as a former high school teacher gave her the experience to integrate technology into schools. After learning how to incorporate blogging into the classroom setting, Burnett started her own blog three years ago focusing on weddings. After teaching herself how to code the website among other key skills, she said she eventually quit her teaching job and took up her blogging business full-time.
“I believe in organic reach and content marketing,” Burnett said. “If you don’t have content to market, then what are you marketing? So it’s a combination of figuring out who your audience first and then figuring out how to market to that audience using content you’ve created specifically for that audience. It’s also about studying your analytics to determine what works and what doesn’t.”
Burnett said her blog operates like a magazine, marketing all of the things that are sent to her that she chooses to publish. She said she’s done some marketing here for The Landings, designing wedding editorials and putting them online via various platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The target market for the upcoming seminar runs across industries, which is why the facilitators have decided to host the seminar over two days to separate the market. However, Fitz and Burnett said they’re looking for people from the hotel, retail, financial institutions, government organizations, and so on: basically anyone who has a brand and wants to get it out there on the global market.
The facilitators said each day promises to be one involving intensive sessions with registrants receiving an e-workbook that consists of checklists, templates and other information.