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There were mixed reactions on Thursday morning when Adobe announced it had acquired Figma.

Excited press releases extolling the benefits of the “collaboration” followed the news. Dylan Field, founder and CEO of Figma, said: “There is a huge opportunity for us to accelerate the growth and innovation of the Figma platform with access to Adobe’s technology…”

The reaction from the design community has been a little less enthusiastic.

The problem for the design industry is that we’ve been here before. The acquisition of Macromedia followed a period in which Adobe tried to compete, failed to update its legacy code, lost the battle, and purchased the victor. You only need to look at the number of former Macromedia products in Adobe’s stable (zero) to see where Figma’s heading.

Figma has grown faster than any of its rivals in the last eight years. It is, of course, easier to grow when you start at zero. But there’s no denying Figma is a well-managed business and probably a good investment — if not worth the $20bn that Adobe reportedly paid.

Figma’s technology will give Adobe a leg-up in the collaborative design stakes, where it is clearly lacking. And Adobe’s resources will iron out some of the kinks in Figma, especially around typography, which is, if we’re honest, a bit hacky in places.

Adobe will provide a good home (we hope) for the Figma team, who will have the opportunity for career advancement in a much wider pool of development teams.

And, of course, Figma’s annual revenue will begin to trickle into Adobe’s vault — although it may be some time before it makes a dent in that $20bn hole.

But Adobe didn’t buy Figma for its business model, collaborative technology, team, or revenue stream. Adobe bought Figma’s users, all four million of them.

Adobe‘s approach to design software is upselling. It lures you in with free apps, and when you’re engaged, it integrates them with other parts of its ecosystem until suddenly, without meaning to, you’ve agreed to a Creative Cloud subscription.

Adobe was losing customers to a competitor. And more importantly, due to Figma’s free-use approach for individuals, it was losing young customers to a competitor. If it hadn’t bought Figma, Adobe would have needed to invest heavily in its own products while providing them to freelancers for free; that isn’t viable for a company with as many commitments as Adobe.

Yes, it is entirely accurate to say that competition drives innovation, and with fewer competing apps, there is less need for companies like Adobe to build high-quality, reliable products. However, it is also true to say that a lack of competition creates opportunities for new apps.

Somewhere out there, in a dorm room, or a basement, or on a kitchen table, someone is working on Adobe’s next big acquisition. It’s probably an AR design app; we need a few more of those.

For Figma, the next 12 months will be bright as Adobe works to retain the customers it’s bought. Within five years, you’ll probably need an Adobe Fonts subscription and a Photoshop plugin to use Figma. In ten years, it will be stored in a code archive next to Freehand.

Some designers will turn to Sketch; others will turn to Affinity; some will shrug and keep using Figma; others will shrug and keep using XD.

If an app is intrinsic to your design work, it’s probably time to switch apps. Your skills are transferable. I’ve switched apps many times; some I loved, some I just needed. I’ve never encountered an app that improved my work, although plenty have improved my mood while working.

Figma took a great approach and will continue to be great until it isn’t. Tools come and go, Adobe’s acquisitions team, it appears, is eternal.

 

 

Featured image uses photos by Afrika ufundi, Andrea Piacquadio, Andrea Piacquadio, Anna Tarazevich, cottonbro, fauxels, Ketut Subiyanto, Mikhail Nilov, Moose Photos, Pavel Danilyuk, Pavel Danilyuk, Polina Tankilevitch, Tima Miroshnichenko.

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Milvus is an open-source vector database for AI applications. It provides a variety of installation methods, including building from source code and installing Milvus with Docker Compose/Helm/APT/YUM/Ansible. Users can choose one of the installation methods depending on their operating systems and preferences. However, there are many data scientists and AI engineers in the Milvus community who work with Python and yearn for a much simpler installation method than the currently available ones.

Therefore, we released embedded Milvus, a user-friendly Python version, along with Milvus 2.1 to empower more Python developers in our community. This article introduces what embedded Milvus is and provides instructions on how to install and use it.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Web design is often stagnant because designers look at the same work and follow the same trends. Unfortunately, algorithms promote work that is liked, and designers produce content to get likes, which leads to a self-feeding cycle.

We’ve been talking about the dribbblization of design for years, but Behance is just as guilty of promoting and encouraging homogenous design.

It’s not that Dribbble and Behance don’t have value; they are both excellent resources for designers. But they’re victims of their own success, and it’s healthier for them, designers, and the industry if we broaden our sources of design inspiration.

And so, today, we’re presenting this list of the best places to find design inspiration for web designers that aren’t Dribbble or Behance. (OK, you can check them out too, if you really want to!)

Awwwards

Awwwards is the top site for web design inspiration. The best agencies in the world post here, and a ‘Site of the Day’ award is a coveted accolade. So if you’re looking for design inspiration, this should be your first stop.

Admire The Web

Admire The Web is an excellent collection of curated sites. It’s more selective than sites like Awwwards, so you don’t have to dig through so much to find the best web design.

One Page Love

One Page Love is one of the best resources for designers seeking inspiring new ideas. It’s devoted to one-pagers, which means it leans towards apps, tech start-ups, and smaller independent projects.

Godly

Godly is another excellent collection of web design inspiration. Godley uses animated thumbnails, so you can get a sense of a site before you look at it in detail. As such, it’s perfect for animated landing pages.

Hoverstat.es

Hoverstat.es is a collection of curated websites that often finds little gems other sites miss. Unlike most roundups, it doesn’t go into much detail on each site, and new sites are infrequent, but it’s always worth a browse.

Siteinspire

Siteinspire is one of the most established design inspiration sites. The collection is carefully divided into different styles; if you find your own site listed, you can add your contact details.

Land-book

Land-book is a curated collection of the best sites on the web. The site does a great job of presenting screenshots clearly, and the similar sites feature is great for browsing a particular mood.

Savee

Savee is a fantastic site for browsing all kinds of design inspiration. It’s like Pinterest for designers as it leans towards art direction and photography. It’s easy to scan for mood boards.

UIJar

UIJar is a nicely designed collection of hand-picked websites. Unlike most other sites on this list, UIJar also features a collection of branding that’s great for identity designers.

Brutalist Websites

Brutalist Websites is the perfect inspiration site if you’re a fan of the Brutalist design trend. There are plenty of designs that show why Brutalism is so popular right now, but the site itself is probably short-lived.

Minimal Gallery

Minimal Gallery is a collection of sites that embrace minimalism. Like Brutalist Websites, the quality of the collection is very high, but the site’s lifespan is probably short-lived thanks to being tied to one trend.

Ello

Ello is a platform for showcasing excellent design work. It’s solid on illustration and artwork. There’s also a great deal of photography on show. You’ll also find regular opportunities tied to creative briefs.

DeviantArt

DeviantArt is still the largest, and arguably the best, showcase for illustration, with dozens of styles from Anime to classicism. It’s easy to lose a few hours browsing DeviantArt.

Figma Community

Figma Community is a collection of the best work from the Figma community. But you don’t need to be a Figma user to grab some inspiration from the UI work on show.

Lapa

Lapa is a collection of 5000+ landing pages. The collection is headhunted from around the web, so if you only have time to check out one site, Lapa could be a good choice.

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With the amount of data produced on a daily basis continuing to rise, so too do the number of data points that companies collect. Apache Iceberg was developed as an open table format to help sift through large analytical datasets.

This Refcard introduces you to Apache Iceberg by taking you through the history of its inception, dives into key methods and techniques, and provides hands-on examples to help you get introduced to the Iceberg community.
Source de l’article sur DZONE

Personalized marketing is when you attune your marketing efforts based on customer data. This data can be anything from the first and last name to purchase intent, concerns, and history.

Personalized marketing has revolutionized the way businesses market their product and service to their audience. It brings value to people’s lives, spiking the sales graph for brands and businesses. So it’s a win-win situation for both the company and the consumer.

Even big companies do this for their campaigns. They do so because it gives them great results and ROI for their marketing initiatives. If these multinational businesses do this, it’s a good idea to incorporate this strategy and learn from a top resource on digital marketing.

This article aims to explain every nook and cranny of personalized marketing. By the end of this 5-minute read, you will know the impact of personalized marketing on our lives. And how you can integrate this into your marketing strategy to benefit your business.

What Is Personalized Marketing?

Have you ever encountered a business that knows what you’re going through? Or did you see an ad online that you closely relate to? Chances are, you were one of the target markets of those marketing materials. And if you could associate yourself with the ad, their marketing strategy worked.

That is what personalized marketing does to your audience, market, or particular demographic. This style of advertising leverages personalization in your marketing materials. The details of your marketing content are tailored to a specific audience and address the issues or real-time problems of a particular segment in your market.

Personalized marketing has become popular because more people demand it from businesses. Once the people have experienced what it felt like, they want to feel more of it.

To objectively see the demand for personalization, here are some statistics to back it up.

Accenture reported that 91% of consumers are likelier to shop with businesses that offer them relevant content. This shows that the right product recommendations can increase the chances of shopping with you.

Salesforce mentioned that 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their individual needs. This statement proves that a generalized way of marketing isn’t as effective as before. The consumer mindset has already developed, and they demand more personalization from businesses.

A striking piece of data from Statista showed that 90% of consumers in the US find the idea of personalization appealing. If that figure is accurate, almost all businesses should start incorporating this into their strategies. There’s no reason for them not to try this out.

Given the high positive demand for personalized marketing, it’s no secret why more and more businesses are doing this. However, not every company out there is doing this right. A wrong way of doing this can bring a loss of clients and a negative ROI.

To help you go on the right track of using personalization in your marketing, read up on the next section of this article.

Know These 6 Tips To Correctly Do Personalized Marketing

You’d agree that knowing your customer’s first and last name is essential. But with the dynamically changing strategies, personalized marketing is going beyond that. It’s actually about understanding what your targeted consumers need, merging with a way to convey the message that your business is the solution.

To help you achieve this, take note of the things below:

1. Leverage Your Customer Data

The foundation of personalized marketing is laid on customer data. The best marketing professionals and strategists emphasize gathering relevant data if you want to scale. Excellent digital marketing courses will teach you that customer data will help you build a solid foundation for your content and campaigns.

Consumer behavior has always been the most important detail for target marketing. With every click, it has become easier to gather data about individual customers, their interests, hobbies, purchase history, buying behavior, and more.

You’ll be able to get this information if you’ve practiced data management and collecting customer data throughout the years of your operation. However, it’s not too late to begin if you haven’t started with this yet. There is a lot of marketing automation software that aids marketing teams in doing this. For example, many businesses use lead scoring software to gain insight into their clients’ needs and categorize them appropriately.

For your personalization efforts, you can use questionnaires, surveys, and feedback forms to capture personal data on the internet. A customer will happily fill out a survey form if a reward in return entices him. This reward can be in any form– a voucher, a first buy discount, free shipping, or more.

This initiative will help you get more data in a shorter time frame.

2. Understand Your Customer’s Needs

Hoarding data will be a complete waste of marketing efforts, capital, and efficiency if you do not extract consumer behavior from it. When you have access to a rich set of data, you have the privilege to understand your customers’ trending needs deeply. After gaining insights from the data, create a marketing strategy based on those findings to target your audience.

Doing this doesn’t just apply to B2C; it also works for B2B companies, which is why the demand for custom software development, tailored services, personalized packages, and B2B data providers have been on the rise in these recent years.

It is a two-way road. While you are on the lookout for your target market, at the same time, the customers expect businesses to know what they need. The market you’re currently serving expects you to know what products or services are fit for them.

So this is where it gets crucial: you have to dig deeper into your niche and find the specs of your audience’s needs. Having a general idea about the needs of your target audience and personalized marketing usually don’t go harmoniously.

Planning a better-personalized marketing strategy will not be a piece of cake but will be much more rewarding for every aspect of your business. May it be sales, return on investments, customer relationships, or personalized marketing campaigns.

3. Personalize Every Stage Of The Customer Journey

The first rule of business is convincing the customer that you are their best friend. Now that you know what they want, you pledge to provide them with whatever best you can. Limiting personalization to marketing is not the solution. You have to be vigilant in meeting these individual requirements at every stage. And remember that consistency is the name of the game. That is how you bring your business into the running.

You can integrate CRM automation, email marketing tools and deploy other content marketing strategies to help make this process a lot simpler. Personalized live chat and chatbots, such as those offered by ThriveDesk, allow businesses to personalize their offerings and build their brand reputation.

As a customer, my requirement would be reading content, browsing, and experiencing products that would hit home. A personalized experience is what every consumer demands. And this is what makes them want to go back and do business with you again.

By creating helpful and relevant content, recommending the right products to them, and giving out convenient payment options, you are setting your business apart from the rest. Doing this allows you to have personalized every touchpoint that your customers do with your business.

4. Present In An Engaging Way

Consider customer engagement as absolutely necessary. Having the best data set and knowing what your customers want is not enough. In the competitive space of business and marketing, everyone is trying to get the attention of one another. And this is what you are supposed to do. This helps in building consumer-brand relations.

When a consumer engages, meaningful things happen. Engaging content pushes the consumer through the funnel and hence promotes conversions. Your content should be creative and eye-catching.

Engaging content blended with personalization boosts the brand experience. Increased loyalty, trust-building, and improved customer experience enhance the conversion and sales speed.

A great way to use personalization in an engaging manner that most businesses overlook would be through exit-intent popups.

5. Be Where Your Customers Are

This is an element that some businesses miss out on. They have created excellent social media marketing content but only distributed it on the wrong channel. For personalized marketing to be effective, it needs to be seen by people.

Are you questioning your marketing techniques because all you see is stagnancy? You have set up an engaging online store on Shopify or Wix, collected all the relevant data, your content is engaging enough, and your marketing strategy is top-notch. But you are still unable to reach your clientele.

You start wondering what you are missing out on. Your content and your strategies will not be prolific if you are on the wrong channel. Remember: the message of your content has to reach the right people for it to be effective.

Should you be on social media? If so, which one? Do you get more traction with email campaigns? Or do you have more engagements on forums?

Find out where your market is, then spend your focus there. Now the next step is how to know where they spend most of their time?

This is where we go back in the loop. And hence we again emphasize that data collection is the foundation of any great marketing strategy.

6. Improve Marketing Content

Don’t rest on your laurels when you’ve gotten everything down to a tee and have attained your desired marketing analytics behind your personalized marketing content. Always think of ways how you can improve.

Evolving at every step will keep you in the running. Don’t be misguided into thinking that your work is done if you feel like you have reached the pinnacle. Keep looking for ways to get better. Set bigger goals and status for your business.

Always go back to the drawing board and brainstorm with your team on how you can change and strive with the dynamically changing world and mindsets. In the end, all you want is to build better relationships with your customers, new and existing.

For enhanced productivity, your marketing team should always look for new strategies. This is how fresh and great marketing ideas are made.

See How You Can Benefit From Personalized Marketing

Irrelevant information can waste energy and time for both customers and the business. Personalized marketing hits the bull’s eye 99% of the time. It brings immeasurable value to the company as well as the customer.

Here are some of the top benefits of personalized marketing:

1. Better Engagement

The first target personalized marketing aims at is grabbing an individual’s attention. And this results in better engagement eventually. If you are presenting your customer with something that wows them, needless to say, it will grab their attention.

This will help bridge the gap between your customer and your brand. Identifying customers’ needs and then giving them what they want will help improve customer interaction with your brand.

It can even be enough for them to follow your call to action. The next thing you know, they will be checking your website, signing up for a list, or even purchasing a product right then and there.

2. Higher Conversions

Are you there for your customer at the right time and place? One-on-one marketing provides easy solutions to customers because you hit them with just what they are looking for at the right time.

When potential customers realize that you understand what they’re going through and provide the solution, most won’t hesitate to try your business out.

Personalization isn’t just focused on content. It can also be integrated into your processes. This results in aiding the increase of higher conversion rates.

3. Improved Customer Experience

Offering personalization will significantly improve the user experience. Once you provide the products, services, and content that meet their needs, their opinion of your business automatically improves.

Considering the statistics about personalized experiences, it is evident that consumers demand personalization strategies from companies. And if you offer such an experience, you increase the chance of making them do more business with you. Personalization helps businesses in reducing cart abandonment rates, better customer journey, increased customer satisfaction, and many more.

4. Customer Retention

Retaining persisting customers is equally important to your business as bringing new ones. Most businesses face low customer retention. It’s also a factor that some companies overlook. You must understand that it’s not all about converting prospects into paying customers. Your focus should also be on retaining those customers to make them loyal advocates of your brand.

One of the major benefits of consistent personalization is an improved customer retention rate. Consumers tend to stay with a business that understands their needs and provides solutions to their problems.

Once you can transfer a customer to a loyal advocate, you can also receive a ton of benefits. These are people that are going to defend your brand from critics. These are the same people who will give you free marketing via word of mouth and positive reviews.

5. Better Customer Relationships

Personalized experience leads to customer retention, eventually building better relationships with your nurtured customers. These entities are connected in a loop.

Customer relationships are an aspect of business that significantly helps with scalability and higher revenue. So connecting with your customers and building a relationship with them is as important as the product you are selling. This is why strengthening customer relationships should be a top priority for businesses.

Personalization makes you an expert on your target market trends. You get to know your audience deeper, which helps you build a foundation for creating a great customer relationship. And this requires marketing and customer experience teams to work together in a symphony.

For this, you can use team collaboration software which aids in the optimization of content and your approach toward the market. You’ll have a better strategy in getting their attention, providing what they want, and recommending things they’ll be interested in.

All of these things help in building customer rapport. When a customer feels that you treat them as more than just a paying customer, their customer loyalty goes to your business.

Best Examples Personalization Marketing

To inspire you to integrate this marketing strategy into your operations, below are different personalization marketing campaigns done exceptionally by various businesses. Grab inspiration, ideas, and motivation from these examples.

1. Coca-Cola

We all know the most basic form of personalization is addressing your customers’ names, but Coca-Cola took this simple idea into a massive global campaign. Their “Share a Coke” campaign started in 2011, wherein they printed different popular names on their Coke bottles and cans.

It seemed like a regular campaign at first, but it started getting traction as more customers wanted to get the name of their family, friends, and themselves. Coca-Cola said the campaign’s purpose was “to create a more personal relationship with consumers and inspire shared moments of happiness.”

The soft drinks giant used personalization and tied such a strategy with its mission: to bring memories and happiness to its consumers. You, too, can do the same – combine your mission and personalization strategy to create a unique campaign.

2. Spotify

Spotify leverages user data in its marketing strategy. They have several campaigns that make users want to use their application more often because it gives out a more tailored experience.

Other than their year-end campaign( #spotifywrapped), where they show the most played songs and podcasts their users listen to (which was a viral hit), they now also have an #OnlyYou campaign that shows your unique listening taste partnered with a musical astrology reading.

3. Nike

Nike has consistently been recognized for authentic, personalized, and heartfelt ad campaigns. This personalization always makes them capture an audience who can relate and those who start connecting to the brand. So Nike isn’t new to personalization. Their aim is robust community engagement.

Their highly inspirational campaigns with real-life heroes induce inspiration in their audience. Nike is great at converting people because of its excellent storytelling ability while adding personalization to the mix.

Nike’s just launched a new app that offers personalized content and rewards for committed fans. They tackle challenges and issues head-on, but they always make their marketing messages relatable to their audience. That is why they “just do it.”

Conclusion

Personalized marketing is the secret sauce to thriving businesses in the world today. However, incorporating this marketing strategy and finding success is not as simple as you might think. You will face challenges, but with enough perseverance and brainstorming, you can surpass them and successfully create a great campaign.

Remember, this marketing approach can be a hit or a miss. The first step to making it a success is relevant data collection followed by judicious implementation. This isn’t an overnight activity that you can do. It requires months of diligence in the right direction with the proper guidance. And you can gain valuable insights into this guidance via the content marketing strategies outlined in this article. But remember, once you start rolling, there is no looking back.

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WordPress 6.0 has been released, and another niche jazz musician will be enjoying extra Spotify royalties next month.

WordPress 6, named for latin-jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill, is the realization of a change of direction the WordPress Foundation adopted several years ago.

All versions of WordPress now power around 42% of the web. That’s approximately 810,000,000 sites. If you looked at each site for a single second, without pausing to blink, it would take you over 25 years to see the home page of each one — of course, if you factor in how long a typical WordPress site takes to load it would take well over a century.

Some people (i.e., me) have been predicting the decline of WordPress for so long that sooner or later, we were bound to be correct. And, despite its astonishing reach, there are some signs that its market share may now be in decline. Even the W3C abandoned it in favor of Craft.

Of the 1,930,000,000 sites that currently make up the web, only around 400,000,000 are active. WordPress’s long-term dominance, coupled with a stalling market share, means that a disproportionate number of abandoned sites are WordPress. With site builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify taking huge chunks of WordPress’ share of new sites, WordPress is facing something of a cliff edge.

What the ill-informed naysayers (i.e., me) hadn’t counted on was that WordPress had already seen the writing on the wall and formulated a plan…

WordPress’s problem has always been its legacy code; supporting out-of-date ideas and a spaghetti-like codebase has meant a great deal of work to do anything new. As a result, the last few releases have seen great ideas stifled by labored implementation. Even the most loyal WordPress user has to admit that Gutenberg, while filled with potential, doesn’t work the way it should. However, with WordPress 6, all the work may be starting to pay off.

With version 6, the block editor in WordPress is starting to feel like a design tool that, if not perfect, is at least usable. Editing content no longer feels like you’re fighting against the UI. Most importantly, the bar for creating a site is much, much lower. WordPress 6 also offers improved performance and accessibility, both areas that have traditionally been lacking. Security is still something of an issue, but that is mainly due to the ROI for hackers that massive market shares generate.

WordPress, it seems, has arrived at two conclusions: its main competition isn’t other CMS but other site builders. To maintain its market dominance, it needs to cater not to professionals but to amateurs.

Don’t get me wrong; the WordPress ecosystem will benefit from WordPress 6, at least reputationally. New sites run by amateurs eventually become established sites run by, if not professionals, then at least knowledgeable amateurs.

OK, so WordPress probably isn’t a good choice for enterprise sites. And there are certainly better options for ecommerce. And as for SEO, well, probably best not mentioned.

But in WordPress 6, we have a free, open-source site builder that lowers the bar for making a new site. It’s a credit to the community that has persevered to produce it.

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When you hear the word “leadership,” do you think of a particular person?

If you’d been asked that question anytime before the 1900s, chances are you’d think of an accomplished politician or a battle-tested general. These were the people leading society for most of recorded history. Today, you might have someone else in mind.

Since the industrial era, the US has birthed a pantheon of founders who’ve arguably led our society as much as any statesman or president. We put Rockefeller and Ford right next to Lincoln and Jefferson. Think about it; these guys haven’t just changed the US; they’ve changed how the entire world lives and does business.

Founders of successful companies today command even larger amounts of capital and power than JD and Henry. With the rise of social media, they are often thrust to the forefront of their brands and the public, whether they like it or not. Some manage the responsibility better than others.

In my opinion, the best businesses use all that capital, manpower, and name recognition to do more than simply make a profit. By leading with authenticity, inspiring positive action, and influencing their brand’s vision for innovation – they try to make a change.

I wanted to take a minute to reflect on some modern founder-led brands I think are doing a killer job of creating unique, world-changing businesses and company cultures. I also want to discuss the lessons I have learned from them.

Elon Musk – Tesla

When talking about founder-led brands of the 21st century, it’s hard to pass over electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla and its outspoken CEO, Elon Musk. Love him or loathe him, he belongs in any conversation on influential founders.

While Musk isn’t technically the founder of Tesla, he is one hundred percent responsible for the company’s direction over the past decade. I think two of the strongest leadership points for Musk are his focus on branding and innovation.

Tesla created showrooms and charging stations long before his business had the sales to justify the expense. People saw the name Tesla everywhere, got curious about it, and now that’s paying off big time. Tesla today is at the forefront of the EV industry while all the other car companies play catch-up.

Behind the scenes, Tesla was also early to create a vertically-integrated supply chain – giving it almost complete control over its product and logistics. That’s another feature with a hefty upfront price tag but paid off when the pandemic hit. Now the biggest automakers in the world are rushing to copy that model.

Musk arguably even convinced China to deregulate foreign ownership of automotive companies. That’s hard to prove. However, China changed its rules around foreign ownership of EV companies shortly after he refused to enter the country.

Arguably, Tesla today is one of the frontrunners in redefining how traditional companies run. Musk is known to hate bureaucracy and traditional hierarchies. He hires other people to take care of bureaucratic processes for him.

Musk is also known for hiring relatively young, hard-working employees into high-power management positions in the company and letting them prove themselves. That inspires extreme loyalty from his employees from an early age. Musk’s focus on efficiency and rejection of traditional hierarchies has sparked a small revolution in tech companies.

Finally, I respect Musk because he has goals beyond showing year-over-year growth to shareholders. That’s hard to do day in and day out.

Sara Blakely – Spanx

Sara Blakely is an example of a founder with her hands in every part of her business, from product creation to sales. Most importantly, she created an authentic company culture with values she felt the business world lacked.

For those who know her story, Spanx very nearly didn’t happen. Blakely pitched her slimming undergarment to multiple women’s brands run by men. Most told her it would never work.

It might seem silly now, but men used to think they knew women’s fashion better than women. It wasn’t until one executive gave Blakely’s product to his daughters to try out that he agreed to start stocking Spanx. It’s a great example of how businesses can make a lot of money by listening to their customers.

Besides founding a women’s clothing company that sells products women want, Blakely strived to bring “feminine energy” into the workplace. I saw this poignant quote from her in an article:

“Twenty-one years ago when I started Spanx, I ended up in the paper in Atlanta, and I was at a cocktail party and a couple of guys came up to me and they said, ‘Sara, we read about you. Congratulations! We heard you invented something.’ And I said, ‘Yes I did, I’m so excited.’ They said, ‘Business is war,’ and then they pat me on the shoulder and they kind of laughed at each other. I went back home to my apartment that night. I was 29 and I just thought, I’m not going to war. I’m going to do this very differently. I’m going to honor a lot of feminine principles — intuition, empathy, kindness. Just allowing myself to be vulnerable through this process. And of course, a lot of the masculine energy has helped me also — it was a balance. But I wasn’t going to do it by squashing the feminine.”

Blakely worked hard to create a sales-oriented company culture that was purposely welcoming from that point forward. She regularly scheduled “oops meetings” where employees could stand up and say how they messed up and turn it into a funny story. At Spanx, it was okay to make mistakes and learn from them.

Blakely wanted everything about her product to be fun, including the way it was sold. She created a mandatory boot camp for salespeople, which, among other things, requires employees to perform standup comedy. Little things like that resonated with people and made Spanx synonymous with “fun.” Even famous actresses were flashing their Spanx on the red carpet.

The lesson we can all learn from Spanx and Blakely is that fun and positive energy are great marketing tools for any business. Many companies try to push a fun culture publicly without any authentic leadership that genuinely exemplifies that narrative, they won’t have the same effect. Blakely’s story of Spanx is not just a story of the brand but a story of her life and the experiences that shaped her vision and goals.

Jack Dorsey – Block (FKA Square)

While better known for founding Twitter, Jack Dorsey has recently been in the news for his move to solely running payment processing business Block. I admire Dorsey because he radically encourages his teams to think differently about how they work.

Dorsey is known for optimizing ways to stay productive and focused throughout the day. He manages through unconventional tactics like communicating only through voice memos on his phone that he runs through transcription apps. He says this prevents him from being sidetracked by distractions on his computer. I think that kind of mindfulness is necessary now more than ever.

Dorsey tries to bring this level of focus to his interactions with his employees too. I saw a great quote from him in this article discussing computer-less meetings at Block.

“When phones are down and laptops are closed, the team can discuss any issue at hand without distraction. We can actually focus and not just spend an hour together but make that time meaningful — and if that time is 15 minutes, then it’s 15 minutes and then we move on with our lives.”

Besides limiting distractions, Dorsey is known to walk five miles to work daily, theme each day, and create detailed agendas and goals for each team meeting. In his former company, Twitter, the culture was frequently described as a space where employees could speak freely to management about things they wanted to change.

On that subject, Dorsey has been known to push hard for employee control in his companies. Perhaps ironically, he was also quoted saying he wants Twitter to break away from its co-founders’- vision and control, calling founder-led companies “severely limiting.” However, it still seems he has some sort of vision for the world that he wants to bring around via Block.

His business goals are visionary, pushing the boundaries of innovation in the financial world.

Dorsey is a known cryptocurrency enthusiast but had pushback from the Twitter team, including his CFO, about making a crypto-centric product. His move to payments processor, Block, seems to be a bid to follow his passion and exert his vision on the world.

Block has since made headlines for being extremely bullish on cryptocurrencies, while many have expressed doubts. Dorsey even changed the business’s name to Block to better reflect its focus on blockchain and famously purchased $50 million worth of Bitcoin in 2020. All the while, Dorsey has been quietly creating arms of his business in the hopes of improving BTC’s usefulness. That may pay off down the line.

Melanie Perkins – Canva

I identify strongly with Melanie Perkins, co-founder of graphic design SaaS, Canva. Besides being roughly the same age, we both came from nondescript beginnings with no background in entrepreneurship or tech.

Canva is an excellent example of a business created by becoming intimately familiar with a customer problem and executing. Perkins spent years teaching people how to use design platforms like Adobe Creative Suite because they were so complicated. Taking that knowledge, she started a simple product to help customers create high school yearbooks. That expanded into a super app covering every aspect of design.

This super-app has unlocked a way for millions to learn design and produce high-quality content at any skill level. The cost to use Canva is many times lower than anything else on the market.

While Canva is an amazing product, what I like most about Perkins is that she believes business serves a higher purpose than maximizing profits.

When she was suddenly thrust into the limelight with a $40 billion valuation, people were even more impressed by Perkins’ philanthropic goals. She vowed to donate a 30 percent stake in Canva to a charity dedicated to eliminating poverty (about $12 billion). She is also known to regularly fundraise for 25,000 different nonprofits through her app. She doesn’t just inspire people with words, but by actions, she’s actually taking.

Canva is very public about its ethos. I like their values because they are general yet avoid the jargon many companies fall into. They are:

  • To be a force for good and empower others;
  • Pursue excellence;
  • Be a good human;
  • Make complex things simple;
  • Set crazy big goals and make them happen.

Besides revolutionizing how modern businesses design and harness goodwill marketing, Canva was also one of the forerunners of the remote work trend.

Most of Canva’s “Canvanauts” worked from homes worldwide even before the pandemic. Canva showed a lot of tired old businesses that you could still run a successful company without having employees in the office 24/7.

How I Try to Learn From the Best

Finally, I want to talk about what I am trying to contribute to my team and society with my current business, startup acquisition marketplace, MicroAcquire.

As I’ve mentioned, I think it is very much on myself as a founder to set the tone of my business – and that starts with who I hire. When I’m searching for new employees to join the “#Micromafia” I not only look for productive workers, I look for people I genuinely enjoy spending time with. It’s the best feeling in the world to go to meetings where you leave thinking, “That was really fun.”

Besides creating a great team, I’ve tried to address another problem I see again and again at major tech companies: employee burnout. There’s a reason the average tenure of a tech employee is three years.

I love working on startups. It’s like playing a video game for me, and it’s probably why I’m a founder. That said, I know my employees don’t always feel the same way. As CEO, I make sure my team knows I want them to live their lives outside of MicroAcquire.

On the business side of things, I take cues from the best. Like Musk and Dorsey, I want to preemptively create features that I know our customers will love. I knew people wanted an easy way to sell their startups because I wished I’d had one back when I was doing it.

Like Spanx and Tesla, I also strongly believe in the power of innovative branding – and I make sure we spend in areas that will give us significant returns down the line.

For example, we’ve made it easy to get MicroAcquire merchandise online completely free. The extra exposure we get from tech people rocking MicroAcquire t-shirts is more than worth the cost. We also created our own media publication Bootstrappers.com to tell the founder stories we thought major publications had missed. That’s been a huge hit with our customers, who also happen to be founders. These people traditionally have had to spam inboxes and pay for press because they didn’t raise billions in funding.

Finally, like Blakely and Perkins, I also want to actively listen to customer feedback and make sure we create a necessary and desired product. That’s why I make sure we’re constantly engaging with our community both on our website and social media. Many of the features we’ve added are just things we’ve heard mentioned multiple times from customers.

So far, I love the community we’ve created online and in the office. I don’t claim to have the winning formula, but I feel we are making a real difference out there. We’re lucky to live in a world with so many smart people getting their ideas out and making a positive change in the world.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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In web development, no one is surprised when a new framework or library enters the stage. Implementing complex functionalities and creating UI elements from scratch only using the powers of a specific programming language is not always the most optimal way. Instead, developers either rely on the existing frameworks or create their own for internal use. In the case of programming languages, the situation is a little more complicated.

A fairly large number of coders are unhappy with the limitations of the programming language that they use every day. Therefore, from time to time, we can hear about the new programming language release. The question is, will the development community adopt it as a replacement for well-established technologies? As an example, we can take a look at Dart. It was initially released in 2011 but remained quite unpopular until the Flutter framework was launched in 2017.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Most of us are concerned about our public image, right? It matters a lot how people see and think of us. Export the same sentiment to a brand instead of a person. That’s what brand reputation is all about!  

Yes, it’s that simple – the public’s perception of a brand constitutes its brand reputation. And since the internet plays a significant role in public perception nowadays, a brand’s online reputation essentially drives brand perception.

If we come at it from a slightly different angle, it’s the sum of all ideas and emotions a customer or client associates with a brand while interacting with it at any stage. It includes everything, from what kind of customer services they get when purchasing goods or services to after-sales services the company provides. Reputation management is usually done via social media, emails, and online chats.

(Remember, you shouldn’t confine brand reputation only to a brand’s customers or end-users. It includes all stakeholders’ opinions of a brand. It can be anyone from customers to retailers and shippers to manufacturers.)

In short, brand reputation is the most vital intangible asset for any organization striving to make it big in today’s cutthroat market.

What’s The Importance Of A Strong Brand Reputation For Today’s Businesses?

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that nothing affects every stage of the marketing and sales funnel, like a brand’s reputation. Whether it’s awareness, interest, evaluation, commitment, sales, or reputation, a strong brand reputation will only supplement it.

Recent research reveals that about 94% of consumers say that their likelihood of frequenting a business increases if it has positive reviews. Conversely, 92% say that their chance of patronizing a business decreases if it has negative reviews.

Now, let’s look at various factors that make working on your brand reputation important.

Market Trust

Strengthening brand reputation earns your business the trust factor, making your brand a more viable choice for existing and prospective customers. It helps them place their faith in you, believing that your brand is here to thrive and fulfill any promises it makes.

Moreover, it’s a fact that people prefer buying goods and services from a brand that enjoys a solid reputation, especially if people in their social circle use its products.  

Higher Sales

You can’t be far from the truth if you believe brand reputation only yields intangible business gains. It lends you tangible improvements as well, most importantly, in the form of higher sales volume, which translates as higher profits.

All this can’t be achieved without the push from a strong brand reputation, helping the brand carve a niche for itself amongst tough competition.

Customer Loyalty

When a brand succeeds in earning a higher trust level and a positive reputation, the customers are more likely to remain loyal. And, will continue to buy products and services from it, refuting various incentives by the competition, such as discount packages & low prices.

Customer loyalty also leads a brand to a host of other fringe benefits, i.e., demanding a premium price after some time.

Competitive Edge

One thing is for sure, the level of competition in the market is always going to soar higher and higher. And it’s almost impossible for a business to make its way through it without a competitive edge. That’s where a positive brand reputation can make a business’s life easier.

Having the edge over the competition means your potential for catching new customers increases exponentially, helping your brand claim more of the market share.

Word of Mouth

Happy customers remain one of the most significant assets of a brand, especially in this digital era. They serve as brand ambassadors, and if they’re happy and satisfied, they’ll pass the word on, advocating for the brand for free.

It not only leads to increased brand awareness in the market, but it also paves the way for a business to improve its sales and profit margins over time.

What Are The Best Strategies For Managing Your Brand’s Reputation Online?

We’ll keep our focus on the ones proven to be the most effective, starting with:

Staying Ahead of The Curve

Being proactive is among the primary requisites for today’s brand managers. They should be thinking ahead of their competitors and the target audience. While branding online, the margin of error is relatively low, and any slipup can lead to a ripple effect in nullifying the brand’s positive image.

The best way to cope with such a situation is to embrace the mistake quickly and be upbeat enough to resolve the issue immediately rather than have a wait-and-see attitude.

Be Specific About The Deliverables

Social media has played a phenomenal role in educating today’s customers, making them very intelligent and demanding at the same time. It has opened up infinite mediums and channels to get alternatives for almost everything.

That’s why brands need to be very specific in delivery time and after-sales services to avoid earning themselves a bad name in the market. Most experts recommend the “under promise and over deliver” approach to avoid disappointing your customers.

Establish Yourself as An Authority

If you have complete faith in your offerings as a business, knowing that you’re the best in the market, you better be loud and clear about it. It will help you catch immediate attention from your target audience, increasing your brand awareness and your potential to bag more sales and revenue.

Let’s talk about the quality of the product as an example. If you believe that the quality of your product is the unique selling prospect, you must let people know about it. Flaunt this factor with full force, vigor, and authority.

It will help you establish your brand in the market as an authority, and your target market will start looking up to you for the best and the latest on it.

Be Consistent and Assertive

As they say, consistency is the key. If you do it right, your brand reputation will go beyond the lifespan of your brand. People will relate to your brand positively even after your business shuts down.

However, this demands the next level of consistency from your business. You have to make sure you deliver your best in all aspects of branding your business, from the quality of the products and services to the level of customer service you offer.

It doesn’t work well if you outperform your competition by miles for the first time and then step back from delivering those high service standards. You roll your sleeves up and get to compete yourself if you believe you’re outdoing your competition so well.

Deliver on Your Promises

You cannot overstate the significance of delivering on your promises if you want to make the most of your brand reputation. Nothing brands your business better than a bunch of happy and satisfied customers.

And, delivering on your promises consistently is the least of what you need to do to win over your customers to the level they turn into your unofficial brand ambassadors.

Value Feedback

It would be best if you realign your thinking this way. 

Who are you producing your products/services for? Your clients/customers, of course!

What if it’s not working well for them?

Redo your product/service to the requirements and likings of your customers. Otherwise, your business will earn you nothing but a bad name in the market.

You have to realize the importance of listening to your customers, gathering customers’ opinions about what’s not working for them and what areas they would like to see improved. 

Learn to accept and respect your customers’ grievances, praises, issues, tips, or any feedback they give you about your product or service.

You’ll upscale your brand’s reputation considerably if you start doing this.

How Can Influencer Marketing Help You Grow Your Brand’s Reach

Influencer marketing is the concept of branding your business through influential people and opinion leaders in the industry rather than engaging your business directly in doing so. They also brand indirectly, setting a practical example rather than advocating verbally for it.

Research reveals that 94% of marketers using influencer marketing find it highly effective, potentially increasing the ROI 11% times higher than conventional marketing.

Brands that indulge in influencer marketing associate themselves with influential personalities resonating with their message, driving it across their target market in a manner that a large number of people develop an affiliation toward it.

Influencer campaigns help brands tap into an existing community comprising their influencer’s dedicated followers, compelling them to tilt toward a brand they use. Most of us have observed how renowned YouTubers, Tiktokers, and bloggers proactively advertise different brands to their followers.

The increased penetration of a rapidly growing number of social media platforms also helps the influencers garner a solid following and significantly impact the communities that follow them.

They are like a part of the family for their followers, who value their opinion and try to imitate them in what they do and how they do it.

Conclusion

With the competition getting steeper every passing day, earning the trust and business of your target market is becoming a challenging task for most companies. It makes branding even more imperative.

Make a great customer experience your top priority, also keeping a focus on the customer and employee retention and customer feedback to establish yourself as a customer-centric brand. 

Though it might take some time, it will surely help you grab your target market’s attention and respect in the long run. Once you achieve that, you’ll see sales and profits soaring accordingly.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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