Why Columbia Sportswear Has Mastered the Art of Online Brand Management

Image result for columbia sportswear

I recently did an activity for class doing a Google alert for the company Columbia Sportswear. What this did was use keywords that would be important to the brand and put in a search to see what the results on Google are. This is important, so companies can see what results they are getting from specific searches and manage what they have to. I also thought about the question Is it right or wrong for a business to try to hide negative information online? I will dig deeper into this question later in the post.

The goal of this experiment is to understand Online Reputation Management (ORM). Companies should be using ORM to see what is being said about them on the internet. Knowing if there is positive results or negative results about the brand is important and is the core of developing company management.

I chose Columbia Sportswear because I am familiar with the brand and have family that work for the company and their marketing department. I know they have built a strong and trusted reputation, but wanted to see if they got the search results they would be looking for. If Google searches resulted in positives for the company or negatives.

For my searches I looked up Columbia cold, because they are known for having heavy duty weather proof clothing. The results lined up perfectly with what I was looking for and brought me to their winter clothing options. Next I tried Columbia fishing, because that is another focus of the company. Again the results lined up with what Columbia would want consumers to see. It brought up Performance Fishing Gear which is the main fishing line under Columbia. Last I tried searching Columbia sale. This brought me to the main Columbia home page as the top result. The other results were sales on Columbia products at other stores such as Macy’s, Khols, and Zappos.

I think Columbia does a great job with their brand management because each search led me straight to their home page or the page with the exact equipment I was looking for. Because there is Columbia University, there was some expectation to get mixed results. However, Columbia Sportswear was all I got for the top Google search results which is exactly what the company wants.

Is it right or wrong for a business to try to hide negative information online?

In my opinion, it is wrong for businesses to try and hide negative information online. While companies clearly don’t want negative information about the company online. It is important to not hide it and stay transparent with the public. This will help keep trust with the consumers even if something goes wrong. There are many instances where companies try and cover up negative things they have done and they always end up getting out to the public and making the situation worse. In todays technological world it is very difficult to keep things secret, so it is better for a company to not hide things and stay transparent with everything they do.


“Chapter 11: Online Reputation Management (ORM) ” Digital Marketing Essentials, by Jeff Larson and Stuart Draper, Publishing by Edify, 2018.Scheff, Sue. “How Negative Publicity (Shaming) Can Impact Your Company and More.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 20 July 2017,

“Columbia Sportswear Expands Global Digital Marketing Footprint to Include 24 Localized E-Commerce Sites Spanning 12 Countries.” Columbia Sportswear Company, 12 Oct. 2011, https://investor.columbia.com/news-events/press-releases/detail/20/columbia-sportswear-expands-global-digital-marketing.

Personas In Marketing

What Is a Persona?

The basic definition of Persona is the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others. In marketing however, a marketing persona is slightly different. The definition given by Ardath Albee is “Marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience”.

How Many Persona Do You Make?

It is recommended that you make three to five personas to represent your audience. This number is found to be large enough to cover the majority of your customer audience, yet small enough to still carry the value of specificity. There are many templates to easily make a persona. You want to know who the person is, what they value, and how best to speak to them. A quick overview of a persona would go as follows. Have the name of the persona, the job title, demographics, goals and challenges, values/fears, marketing message, and elevator pitch. You will also want to include additional information specific to your customers. This could be things like hobbies, real quotes from interviews with customers, computer literacy, where they get their news, and blogs they read.

How Do You Create A Marketing Persona?

There are many sources of information on your audience, from the small details logged away in your site statistics to actual conversations with real-life customers. So here are the 3 main places to look for information.

  1. Check Site Analytics: Inside your analytics, you can see where your visitors came from, the keywords they used to find you, and how long they spent once they arrived to the site. This data is very helpful for personas as it can reveal the desires that led your audience to your site as well as what tools they used to get there.
  2. Involve A Team in Creating Profiles: Assemble a team together. Not only for marketing purposes, but for customer service, growth, development, and much more. This is helpful because the more people interact with customers the more insight you get on what others may think makes the consumer tick.
  3. Social Media Research: Social Media is another good way to conduct research. it is extremely popular in today’s society and can be helpful with gathering information. Use social media listening to find your potential customers asking questions or airing problems your product can solve on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, Snapchat and Instagram.

How Do We Use This Information About Personas in Email Marketing?

Now that data has been collected on potential customers, we can now start to work on the email marketing. It is well-known that some of the greatest results can be gained by combining personalization and persuasive architecture to deliver what the customer wants. By using the information gathered it is now possible to personalize these emails based on different personas. For example if you send out 3 emails you may use three different personas. By doing this, the types of offers and deals via email, are being personalized towards the experience for them and by combining personas with merchandising personalization they receive an increase in sales.

Bringing It All Together

Marketing personas will help you identify with your audience and better solve their problems. And when you solve their problems, everyone wins. Personas are very helpful in order to reach the intended audience desired. It may seem confusing at first trying to come up with 3-5 different persona, but using templates provided on the internet and the information given in this blog it should become much easier. It is a tool that can be extremely helpful in marketing but does require some research. Be sure to assemble a quality team in order to get the best information and different perspectives on how customers may think. A good way to get direct information is also through interviews and surveys this gets answers straight from the source and how they are thinking. Still like stated above, checking the analytics from your site and using social media are also great ways of gathering information to create solid personas. Hopefully this blog post gave you some useful information on what personas are and how they can be helpful in marketing emails. The results will be a better experience for the customer and a more engaged user for your business.


Carter, Joanna, et al. “Using Personas for Email Marketing.” Smart Insights, 5 Nov. 2013, https://www.smartinsights.com/email-marketing/using-personas-email-marketing/.

Lee, Kevan. “The Beginner’s Guide to Creating Marketing Personas: Buffer.” Buffer Marketing Library, Buffer Social Blog, 30 Nov. 2018, https://buffer.com/library/marketing-personas-beginners-guide.

Is Online Advertising Dangerous?

The Internet has become integrated into people’s everyday life for many years now and it only continues to grow. The internet can do so many things that benefit people it is one of the greatest inventions ever. However, is everything that happens on the web good? The answer to that question is no, not everything that happens is good and throughout this blog post that will be explained.

Advertisements may seem like nothing but an annoyance on your screen, but in fact they are strategically put there to subconsciously affect purchasing decisions. This is done through an algorithm that bases the ads being shown on previous searches, previous interactions with ads, types of websites visited, and other activity done online. This can be further explained through the platform YouTube. Have you ever watched a video on say cooking, and the next video was again on cooking? This is because YouTube takes that you watched a certain video and has an algorithm that puts a similar video in the watch next queue. It then remembers this and even if you go on YouTube a few days later, the first recommended videos may again be on cooking. Techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci has a great TedTalk that further explains this and the experiment she performed. In short, she was watching presidential videos on Donald Trump, as a result she got more and more white supremacy videos getting more and more extreme. Then when she searched on the democratic side, she got more and more extreme liberal videos because of the YouTube algorithm.

These algorithms that Google, YouTube, etc. use have now become a privacy issue. People are now wondering if they are getting too much information on people and are they using it the right way. Companies have been able to subconsciously have an affect on consumers purchasing decision with the information they gather and the ads they show on the web. This can be very dangerous and is something that consumers need to be aware of so they can get back their privacy and limit the power these companies have over them. From a scale of 1-5 on how dangerous the current model of online advertising is for society I would give it a 3. We are at a stage that the internet heavily influences everyday life. However, people still have the ability to make their decisions and not be as affected by these advertisements. Still there should be some changes in the privacy everyone has while searching the web. It is scary how much and how fast things are learned about an individual just through what they search on the web. At times it can be helpful to have ads targeted at things that interest an individual, but when a single search on diapers results in tons of baby ads, there needs to be a change.

Here are 8 code of ethics for digital marketers to follow:

Be honest: Be truthful with what you want and what you can do for the consumer. Don’t be shady and try to hide things to make yourself look better.

Know your target: Know the audience you are trying to reach. Do research on what their interests are, dislikes, demographics, etc. Learn about them so you can better connect to that audience.

Learn about the competition: Learn what others are doing and what has been effective for them. Get to know the competition and try to be better than them without slandering their business to try and get ahead.

Find the customers needs: Figure out what the customer really needs and find a solution for their problem. Don’t push products they don’t need just to try and get a sale. Know what they need and get them that instead.

It’s not all about money: Just because it may be a job doesn’t mean its all about the money. Make real connections with consumers and build lasting relationships that will make it easier to sell to them later on.

Have the best interest in the customer: Don’t be a selfish person. Your job is to supply a solution to needs consumers may have. It is about them and what they need. Be caring and put them first.

Build the brand: Raise awareness of the brand. Show that it is a trusted brand that customers can rely on. A brand that will be honest, have respect for the customer, and show integrity throughout the process. This will help build a strong relationship with customers.

Know the product: Know what you are selling. Have facts to back it up, but show that you actually care about what is being sold to the customer. If you show no interest in it, than neither will the customer.


“Ethical Guidelines – Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice.” Thedma.org, https://thedma.org/accountability/ethics-and-compliance/dma-ethical-guidelines/.

Tufekci, Zeynep. “We’re Building a Dystopia Just to Make People Click on Ads.” TED, https://www.ted.com/talks/zeynep_tufekci_we_re_building_a_dystopia_just_to_make_people_click_on_ads#t-20847.

“Why You’re Seeing an Ad – Ads Help.” Google, Google, https://support.google.com/ads/answer/1634057?hl=en.

What To Do When Your Webpage Doesn’t Rank

Everyone wants their webpage to be the top result of a Google search. Consumers are most likely to click on the top few webpage results, so it is important to get your webpage on that first page by having it highly ranked. It needs to be in the top 10 SERP results. SERP stand for search engine results page. This is done by SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.

Start With a Strong Foundation

If the website has a poor structure and information architecture, it doesn’t matter how strong the SEO is. If your website is difficult for users to navigate and Google to crawl, your rankings are likely to suffer. Think about “usability first” on a mobile platform. That is the pathway to success. Mobile searches have become the most common, so if it is user friendly on mobile devices it is set up to succeed on computers as well.

Strong Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other sites to yours. They are one of the most heavily weighted Google ranking factors. Incoming links to your website content from high-authority domains show your site’s authority, bring in traffic, and improve your search ranking. Don’t abuse forms of links, spamming links can ruin the webpage. If it is relevant than use it.

Keyword frequency

When a certain keyword appears more frequently than all others, it serves as a relevancy factor for your content. Having a primary key word and a set of related secondary keywords that will help move the consumer to your webpage.

Optimize Images

High-quality images on your business website not only enhance customer experience, but Google considers images when indexing. Since computers only read words, make sure Google can find your photos by using keyword-rich titles. The descriptions of on-page images send important signals of relevance to the search engine as well.

Optimize Speed

The search and loading speed is important for consumer satisfaction, but also for improving SEO. This can be done with browser caching and script handling. Browser caching stores these resource files locally on the users’ computer. That way, when a user navigates to a new page, those resources need not be loaded again. Script handling can be done by minifying your files by stripping comments, for instance, to keep things running fast. If it’s possible to merge several scripts into a single file then do it. That way, there will only be one retrieving call to the server to load all the scripts.

“Chapter 4: On-Site SEO” Digital Marketing Essentials, by Jeff Larson and Stuart Draper, Publishing by Edify, 2018.

Price, Chuck. “5 Proven Ways to Increase Your Google Rankings.” Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Journal, 9 Oct. 2018, https://www.searchenginejournal.com/improve-google-rankings/246483/#close.

“15 Reasons Google Doesn’t Rank Your Site (And How To Fix It).” BuildFire, 28 Mar. 2018, https://buildfire.com/reasons-google-doesnt-rank-site-and-fix-it/.

5 Ways to Increase Landing Page Conversions

Lets start of with what conversion means in this context. Companies use a landing page, which is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result, marketing promotion, marketing email, or an online advertisement. Which these landing pages is where the conversion part comes in. Conversions are the desired action that the company wants a consumer to take on the landing page. In the this post I will go over 5 ways that someone can increase their landing page conversions.

  1. NBALPWACG. This acronym stands for Never Build A Landing Page Without A Campaign Goal. Basically, the company needs to have a goal set before they try and create a landing page for consumers. There needs to be a direction, needs to be measurable, and understandable goal set. This is important so the landing [age can then be created to reach these goals. The landing page is looking to get desired actions, so it is important to know what those desired actions are on that landing page.
  2. Testing. It is important to know how effective your landing page is. Conduct tests to see what things work and don’t work for the page and make adjustments to get more conversions on the page. Ryan Osman at Obility, has done this by testing with short-form and long-form landing pages. Learning what consumers find more appealing specifically and will spend more time on the landing page is important. Through testing the landing page will become more refined and become the best possible landing page for getting the desired conversions from consumers.
  3. Attention to Ratio. Many pages try to put in too much information and overwhelm the consumer. The ideal ratio is 1:1 or as close to that as possible. Keeping the pictures and wording to a minimum is important. Get the consumer to easily locate links such as “Get Started”, “Apply Now”, etc. will increase the conversions on the website. White space isn’t a bad thing. It can make a web page easier to navigate and follow without getting lost. When the consumer can’t find what they want quickly they will leave the page and look somewhere else.
  4. Mobile Friendly. It is very important to have the landing page be mobile friendly. In todays society, almost every single person has a smartphone that can do web searches. After being equal in searches with desktops in 2013, mobile search visits are almost double the amount of desktops in 2018. Make the landing page easy to use of a mobile device and easy to read even on the smaller device. Ease of use on mobile devices will create more conversions as there is more search traffic through that avenue nowadays.

5. Use Existing Media Channels. The more traffic going to the landing page the more conversions will occur. If the company already has social media pages such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, add links to the company landing page on those media pages. It will increase the visitors to the site and more visitors will create more conversions. Media is a great way to spread word about a business and working on increasing a following with these channels will help as well.


“MRKT 484 Ryan on Testing Landing Pages.” OSU MediaSpace, Oregon State University, https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_j1xoorhb.

“Mobile Vs. Desktop Usage (Latest 2019 Data).” BroadbandSearch.net, https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/mobile-desktop-internet-usage-statistics.

Wishpond. “7 Landing Page Call-to-Action Formulas for Higher Conversions.” Wishpond, Wishpond, 6 Aug. 2019, https://blog.wishpond.com/post/85225114134/7-landing-page-call-to-action-formulas-for-higher.