Make Your Brand’s Graphics Click with Customers

downloadToday, a name isn’t enough to grab a customer’s attention and help them connect to the company brand. A brand’s graphics should click in more than one way with the customer’s than just the logo. Of course a logo is the most important representation for a brand-it’s what customers notice and register with the company when they see it each time. But a company should consider using graphics to represent their brand with animated graphics, motion graphics, and informative written pieces related to their industry and grab a consumer’s attention.

Amp up Your Logo

A logo may go through five different focus groups with about 8-10 people in each group. A good logo design tends to be simple and different methods of psychology are used to choose colors that coordinate with the connection brands want to make with their customers. For example, red is an excellent color for a restaurant for a lively atmosphere and blue is popular for technology brands. Consider what your company and logo already says to your customer and what message your future logo could represent.

Teach with Animation

Whether you decide to use it in your commercials, online video blog, or through another message, animated and motion graphics are becoming more popular as a way to demonstrate a product or service and share a message to consumers. Popular animated infographics are a great and simple way to explain something about your company and anything related to your industry. Animated infographics can be a timeline or a process of how a product is made or a service completed.

Connect with your customers by teaching them how to use your product at home with a step by step guide or try to do something that is not entirely related to your company but is in your industry. For example, if your brand is a food chain or a local cafe, create a step by step illustrated guide to how to cook a certain recipe or if you are a boutique, teach your customers how to design a scarf or a shirt.

Not only do infographics inform, but they can present two different sides by comparing and contrasting two different views. Political parties and product comparisons such as PC versus a Dell have used infographics as a way for a person to easily read and compare the facts side by side. This helps a person better understand the two different sides so that they may be able to see with which side they agree with the most or which is better suited for them.

Inform with Motion

Motion graphics can be shared in video forms to further tell a short story with music in the background. One example of a great motion graphic that told a story and promoted the brand is Chipotle’s Mexican Grill video that promoted the food supply industry and the use of family farms in place of factories for sustainability.

A company can do so much more than just update their logo to make their brand stand out and be memorable. Meet up with your team of graphic designers or consult with a freelancer about what you can do to make your brand click with customers.

Marianne Ross is a freelance writer and guest blogger who is interested in marketing and different promotional techniques.

 

The Ideal Ways to Brand a Company in 2013

 BrandWhen a business decides to take the plunge into the evolving and extremely competitive economy, decision makers are tasked with deciding exactly where in public they want to instill their brand image. This task requires calculated decision making, as the marketplace in 2013 is different than ever before.

Modern leaders tend to lean very heavily on social media and internet technology, but traditional methods are still viable when it comes to brand outreach. Below I discuss the main areas of society that company leadership should use as platforms for the marketing of their service or product. If you are the one calling the shots for your enterprise or small business startup, these areas can be used to complement any existing strategy.

 1.     Radio.

Radio is a dated form of media, but dated does not necessarily equate to something becoming ineffective. Many people still listen to the radio each and every time they drive to work, and this is a prime platform for getting your brand out there. Voice over advertisements or company launch announcements slide easily into a radio program and can increase visibility in high volumes.

Main benefit: Radio offers a relatively cheap way to market and advertise a product or service. This traditional form of media is great for high volume, general business outreach.

2.     Print media.

Various forms of print media offer a straight forward and old-fashioned approach to imprinting a brand on the public. Whether it’s a magazine, newspaper or other publication the opportunities are relatively cheap and create immediate visibility. While it’s important to not rely on print to get your company exposure, it is a great supplement to a multifaceted scheme.

Main benefit: Although print seems to become more dated by the day, people will still read the newspaper and see content promoting your business. Circulations will continue, and as long as they do, it should be part of your marketing portfolio.

3.     People.

To truly instill your brand within your target demographic, you need to utilize the public. You can make a bigger impact with multiple touch points. They will see your message in print, and hear your message on the radio, but they’ll feel your brand when you offer promotional items printed with your message. You can introduce this aspect of sensory selling by offering promotional giveaways at events. They encourage engagement, add interest and offer a tangible touch point for your message. If you are able to provide an item like a customized tote bag, not only will the people receiving the bag feel appreciated, but they will become inherent brand endorsers each time they use your promotional tote after the event. This offers two valuable branding opportunities. You’re building brand loyalty with event attendees and reaching the public every time they carry your message. This can really imprint your company image in areas of the public that are much less accessible through traditional media and marketing techniques.

Main benefit: Providing promotional items introduces your products or services to a finite group of the public, and amplifies your message among the general public, offering a virtually infinite number of ad impressions with each use. Recipients become proponents of your company, whilst simultaneously marketing your image to others.

4.     Social media and internet.

A general platform of communication that cannot be ignored in any modern marketing strategy is the internet. Whether your approach includes banner ads or simply social media like Twitter and Pinterest, the internet is nearly mandatory in 2013. The volume of internet traffic and the creative possibilities involved with the World Wide Web offer too much to be excluded.

Main benefit: When coupled with traditional techniques, the internet can have a large impact on the branding of a company. Like any other business out there, it should be included in your marketing plan.

American business has and will continue to be successful as we push forward as a nation. However, to accomplish this it’s imperative that decision makers understand that the combination of both traditional and modern branding strategies offer an interdisciplinary outreach plan that is becoming increasingly necessary in this economy.

Hayley Scott is a writer and graphic design aficionado that loves Thai food, specifically green curry. When she’s not sketching a new logo design she writes for HALO Branded Solutions, a leader in personalized tote bags and other promotional items.

 

 

Internal Branding: Get the Inside Right So The Outside Falls in Place

BrandingEveryone has a brand. The problem is, most people don’t realize it. Many people associate “personal branding,” with movie stars, high-profile executives or athletes. They don’t realize that whether they are a stay-at-home mom, a budding entrepreneur or a mid-level executive, their personal brand is just as relevant (if not more so) than those people they are reading about in magazines.

Why? Because your personal brand, also known as “reputation,” is the gatekeeper between you and higher income, key opportunities and ideal clients and promotions. Have you ever heard the saying “your reputation precedes you?”

It’s true. When you are the best, people know it. All of the sudden you find “opportunities literally falling in your lap.” But the truth is this tends to only happen when you take 100% responsibility for how you are perceived.

But how do you build a Fierce Personal Brand when you don’t feel worthy? When deep down the “stories you tell yourself,” aren’t the stories you would want others to here?

I often tell clients, if you don’t believe it, neither will we.  However, there is one caveat. You can learn to strategically “fake it.” To act “as if” until it becomes so.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Design a Personal Mantra: Write a series of mantra’s and/or affirmations that declare your magnificence to yourself. These will help you begin to embrace the “you that you are stepping into.” Then, make sure that you read them several times a day. Get up in the morning, light a candle, close your eyes and repeat them several times. Visualize what you are saying and begin to embody the feeling that is behind it. For example: I am the leading authority on personal brand strategy. People search out my expertise from near and far, because I continuously deliver insightful strategies that elevate my clients and deliver the results they are seeking.
  2.  Collect Testimonials: Dedicate one day to pulling together every positive email, testimonial, “thank you note,” congratulations, article, and praise, award you have received and put them in a centralized location. The goal is to have a place you can turn to so you can see how fierce you really are. Often, we forget what we have done that make us so good. But in order to transition that inner dialogue from negative to positive, we need to set up constant reminders.
  3. Invest in Personal Development: Are you truly investing in yourself and if so, what does that look like? Place first things first. If you want to build the fiercest brand, you must be the best. That means you must read every book, take every class you can get your hands on, volunteer, get certifications, and study your craft so you know it as intimately as possible. Sally Hogshead, once said you are your best 401K. Remember that.
  4. Look the Part: The moment you step out, you should exude having “already arrived.” Dress for the role you want. Dress “as if.” Most people dress the opposite. If they are “Struggling” they look like they are. They exude an anxious energy. One way to shift that is to Uplevel your attire. This trick will instantly give you confidence. Help you stand taller and begin to own who it is you are “trying to be.”

Don’t look at these strategies as magic bullets. They are simply designed to serve as working strategies to help you get close to believing in yourself and your abilities, so the entire world can do the same.

Jennifer Ransaw Smith is the CEO and Chief Brand Strategist of Brand id|Strategic Partners, a full-service personal branding agency that helps entrepreneurs and executives leverage their skills and talents to become industry rock stars. You can contact them at http://www.brandidsp.com.

How to Build Loyalty to your Brand

Untitled1Strong brands are household names that have been built over the years. And, customers purchase products of such brands without even thinking about this twice. Yes every business wants to have this kind of loyalty. But loyalty is something that is built upon relationships as well as the existence of an emotional tie. Now such relationships occur because there is trust and this stems from ongoing conversation, great customer service, easy access to desired product/service plus a reliable check out. Also, brand loyalty is present in various forms and can be seen in different industries. So as we consider tools whether social media or traditional advertising, which we can make use of in creating this loyalty there is a need to examine ways in which brand loyalty can be created.

Six Ways of Creating Brand Loyalty

1. Be the best in your chosen field. Doing the best that you can might not make you number 1 in your industry. However, assessing your performance and actually doing better than before based on customer/opinion leaders’ feedback will place you in this top position or at least closer than you might imagine. Also, being the best is about improving on your performance and not resting on past glories. There will always be room for improvement.

2. Deliver. One aspect of brand loyalty or that is critical to its success is when you are able to deliver on your brand promise. Credibility breeds trust. Doing otherwise is giving customers the opportunity to consider the opposition (competitors). Now continuously delivering on your promise will be as a result of constant practice.

3. Belonging. Creating a community that your customers will identify with goes a long way in breeding loyalty. Provide your customers with an opportunity to identify with you through a “community” that is exclusively your brand. In other words, provide them with a reason for them to put on your badge.

4. Connection-ability.  Connecting well with your audience is also critical to your success in building brand loyalty. Learn to talk just like them or go ahead and teach them the way you would want them to speak about you. To achieve this, brand messages as well as tag lines are widely used. However, sometimes brands take on a fresh “language” that is audience-driven. Accept this and identify with it as long as this is in line with your brand identity.

5. Accessibility. This is similar to having a sense of belonging stated in point three above. People just want to be in a position where they can say I know the CEO of this company or the president of so and so company spoke with me yesterday. It involves having access to such people, which makes them feel like part of the business and consequently this leads to brand loyalty.

6. Make them feel special. Most likely the excellent way in building brand loyalty is in giving something back. Whenever a client has taken time out to be one of the people that likes you on Facebook or be one of your followers on Twitter, you should endeavor to make them feel not just good, but special. Exclusive samples, discounts or competitions should work wonders. Other ways this can be done is to provide them with inside information about what is currently happening at your business, or an opportunity to purchase a new product before any one else.

Lastly, brand loyalty goes beyond the product. Yes, although your product needs to perform well, better than its competitors there is more to this with respect to brand loyalty. In this regard, you should ask yourself questions like, why should consumers buy into your brand? Doing so and finding answers to such questions will bring about the loyalty that you seek.

Author Bio: William Taylor is the author to this article. He is a great businessman and always thinks to move upward from his position. For more information about his business please log on to his site.

 

Ultimate Entrepreneur-Trifecta 2012: Live blog Feed

The room is full of women, except for the one man on the front row. Maybe that’s because the conference is being put on by three women, or maybe it’s because there are just a lot of ambitious women in this town. Either way, there’s going to be a lot of women entrepreneurs ready to take their business to the next level after this.

We are starting off by listening to Rebecca Servoss. Rebecca is a graphic design and branding guru who is going to walk us through branding for our businesses.

Branding speaks for a company through images, through words, and through text. Find out upfront what the message is which gives your branding a roadmap to send the right message.

We are going through the branding lingo right now. It’s something that might seem elementary on the surface, but it’s the building blocks. The foundation. Try outlining the following for your business:

My promise

My identity

My image

My process

Branding=putting all of these things together.

So what’s the point of branding?

Well, it all started with the cows. People started “branding” their cattle with hot iron stamps. Today, we do the same thing with our businesses. We give a promise with our brand. When someone sees our logo or name, they will associate this promise and brand with that. So, we must make sure to be clear and concise.

The branding process:

Decide-research-position-define-identify-launch-manage

We are going through each of these, step by step. We are deciding who we are selling to and why we are running our business. It’s important to figure these details out before we can correctly brand ourselves and our products.

Have you ever thought about how you can offend your consumer? If we create literal brands, we can seem condescending and elementary. Make sure you know who your audience is so as to create a brand that peaks curiosity and draws customers in.

So, once we’ve figured that all out, it’s up to us to care for and feed our brand. This allows us to more effectively elevate our business. Our reputation is HUGE. 89% of people say that reputation is a tiebreaker between equal products. Thus, we want the better reputation to bring the highest traffic of consumers in.

We are talking about re-branding now. Gap and Tropicana both had recent flops when they changed their logo and packaging and customers revolted. AOL is doing it the right way by bringing the consumer in as part of the experience and offering a whole new package along with the new logo.

___________________________________________________________________________________

And with that, we are moving on to the next section: Marketing. This part is hosted by Michelle McCullough, managing director of Startup Princess.

Part 1:

To start off, we are asked if we think marketing is important. We all agree that it is. Thankfully we are all on the same page and we can move on to the good stuff.

Marketing is sharing the right messages to the right masses through the right mediums so you can make money. Consistently.

Our home court advantage is our website or store/retail site. This is where we can create a powerful promotional outlet. Our goal is to bring people home. We need to get them from where we are marketing, to our home court advantage. Get people to our website or blog or store.

Be the expert. Continue to put out information that leads to you becoming the expert in your field and creates a space for people to keep coming back for more. And on that note, we have to make sure to be consistent. Post an article on your blog once a week or update your Facebook page a few times a week. This gathers trust from your readers and consumers and creates a community.

Marketing Campaigns=a campaign carefully defines the step-by-step marketing actions you will take so you can get your prospects to take informed action. We first must make sure to research. A successful marketing campaign cannot be carried out without doing the work at the front end and figuring out who to target and how to go about it.

Create a customer loyalty KIT. Keep in touch. Make sure to follow up with your customers to get their feed back, send thank you notes, and find ways to show you really care. This will create trust and loyalty.

We are finishing up section one of marketing by talking about email lists. How do we grow them? How do we use them? It’s an easy way to bring people back to your “home” by sending out newsletters, deals, and links to e-books or downloadable PDF’s.

Part 2:

We are back from lunch and ready to jump back into marketing. Michelle is starting us off by talking about strategy. We would be smart to create a marketing map that plans out the next 3 months in detail and the next 12 months on a more broad scale.

  • Define our budget. Figure out your scale for advertising and learn where to place ads and where you can afford to spend the money on those ads.
  • Always make sure you are putting out QUALITY content.

Schedule and write out all of your social media content. Create your tweets in advance and sales should be less than %15 of your tweets. Use Twitter to build your email list, give promotional value, motivate, and inspire.

Take action-give yourself a deadline for finishing certain tasks and stick to it.

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Moving on to our last presenter today, Tiffany Peterson of The Lighthouse Principles is talking about sales.

We start with a brainstorm about what are our challenges in sales?

  • fear
  • too much information
  • confidence
  • money

We acknowledge that we are afraid of making people feel uncomfortable, being too pushy, or being obnoxious about our business. So she asks us this question:

Am I willing to be uncomfortable to have the results that I want?

And then she says: “Your life works to the degree that you keep your commitments” –quoting Warner Earhart. We all felt a little uncomfortable after that, because we all know it’s true. A little hard love is necessary for results.

Rather than looking at ourselves as “sales people” we should see ourselves as a “solutions provider”.

Tiffany just talked about a really great point, that people buy and promote those they trust. We must remember this in networking and building relationships. It is worth taking the time to follow up after networking and conference events. Take time to schedule in a relationship nourishment hour into your week. Send a few handwritten cards or heart felt emails that will build your relationships.

It costs twice as much to recruit a new client as it does to maintain a client relationship. If you take care of your clients, your clients will take care of your business through reputation and referrals.

“Stop having million dollar dreams and $10 efforts.” Now that one cuts deep.

Now we are talking about interactions. She just gave us this big statistic: 60% of all business transactions (sales) takes place after the fourth interaction with you, your brand, or business. This plays back into relationship building, as well as marketing. We have to keep putting ourselves and our products in front of people.

When looking to make a sale, ask questions of your prospective clients that will have them contemplating and answering their own questions. This allows you to not have to by “salesy”. You don’t have to pitch anything, rather they are being drawn in to what you have to offer.

That ends the instruction part of the conference. I’m off to ask questions and chat with the amazing women in the room!

Book Review: Breakthrough Branding

Today we are featuring a book that we know will be a huge resource to anyone looking for help with branding. This is one of those things that can be extremely daunting and often it’s hard to know where to start. Catherine Kaputa addresses this issue in her book Breakthrough Branding and gives mini case histories of dozens of brands to demonstrate what makes a brand thrive.

The book provides tools and steps that will help you mimic tactics of brands such as Red Bull, Groupon and Trader Joe’s. It shows how successful companies begin with three things: an entrepreneur, a winning idea and a smart brand strategy.

With the help of this book you can learn how to narrow the focus of your product or service, standout from other brands, create a company personality and place yourself as superior to your competition. All of this can be done with the right banding strategy.

Daniel H. Pink, author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND, also read the book and said, “Whether you’re dying to launch your own company, or are more of a reluctant entrepreneur, you face the imperative to build your brand. Catherine Kaputa has made this challenge her personal and professional study, and in this book she shares secrets worth many times the cost of admission.”

Breakthrough Branding truly has something for everyone and teaches you tactics that are up to date with the latest social media strategies. Take it from us, this is a book that is worth reading.

So, if you find yourself wanting to rebrand your company or if you are just starting out, check out Catherine’s book.

Elevator pitch tips and tricks

So you’re in the elevator and in walks the person you’ve wanted to talk to for months. The person that could give you the advice or resources you need to take your business to super-stardom. In this moment of truth, what do you say?

This situation of off-the-cuff networking can happen at any point and you want to be ready. There are times where you will have just 30 seconds of someone’s attention to tell them about your business and get them interested. This is why an elevator pitch is so important.

Here are some tips for making your elevator pitch unique, engaging, and effective:

  1. Keep it simple. You only have a few seconds and so you need your message to be clear. Get straight to the point, don’t waste time talking about things they may not understand or care about.
  2. Be unique. Find something about your business that is different from anyone else. This will peak the interest of whomever you are talking to and possibly lead to more time with them if they want to hear more about it.
  3. Be consistent. Make sure that everyone in your company is saying the same thing and make sure you are consistent when speaking to others as well. You don’t want to create confusion about your brand. It may help to write it down and practice.
  4. Solve a problem. When you show how your business helps solve a problem, people will want to know more about your services. You make it easy for them to want to work with you.
  5. Be passionate. This is what you do for a living. You need to show how passionate you are about this business every time you tell people about it. It will get them excited and want to know more.

Following these steps will help you create an elevator pitch that is sure to hold the interest of whoever you end up talking to, whether in a large group, on the bus, or in an elevator.