Archive for the 'Brand' Category
Following our discussion earlier this week about the cost of owning your brand, I thought it best to look at best practices to build that brand personally. In order to understand what is important to your business its imparative for you to understand who and what you are as an entrepreneur. Pulled from the Globe and Mail’s article, ”Ten ways to build up your peronal brand“, the key points to retain are the following:
1. We are faced with an influence economy. Social capital is the new goodwill. Tools for measuring social capital are rapidly evolving, based on metrics such as quantity and quality of friends and followers and the ability to influence actions among them. Tweets and retweets, shares and likes, being circled and adding +1s are the currency of the new influence economy.
2. Pay attention to influence metrics, but don’t obsess. While there are tools, like Klout and Hootsuite that are trying to quantify your brand in terms of engagement, influence, expertise and trust. These scoring schemes are getting smarter. That being said, do not to ignore nor obsess about them. Build your personal brand on quality content and personal engagement and you will be well-served in the long run.
3. Filter quality content to express your unique brand. By investing the time to find and share what you consider the best information in your area of expertise, you provide a valuable service to your social network and cast your brand in a positive light.
4. Be a giver and a helper. Social media is predominantly based on the collective sense of helping others. Adding value to online discussions and helping people to discover new ways of understanding evokes a reciprocity in them. Blatant self-promotion or selling is easily filtered out. If education is the new marketing, then helping could be seen as the new selling.
5. Your personality is your greatest asset, feel free to share it. Personality is the distinguishing factor in many human interactions. But be careful: you still need to filter and decide what is appropriate to share and what isn’t. Sharing personality is different that sharing private information. Understand the difference.
6. You can outsource lots of things, but not your voice. Your brand is the product of your interactions, contributions and engagements within your social networks. That is not to say that you can’t enhance your personal brand with external advice, strategy and services. But don’t think you can hire someone to create your voice for you – any more than you can hire someone to go to the gym and workout for you.
7. Be knowable, likable and trustworthy. Conduct yourself with civility and generosity toward others and, generally speaking, try to be a liker not a hater. Be credible, reliable and personable, while keeping your selfish instincts in check.
8. Invest in thought leadership. Sharing your proprietary intellectual capital is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise and leadership. But, how do you build a business on something you’ve given away for free? If sharing your knowledge grows the market for your services and your leadership within that market, then there’s more to gain than lose.
9. Personal brands compete with corporate brands. Social media has empowered individuals to build a direct audience through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, email direct marketing, etc. And there’s increasing evidence coming from online influence measurement to suggest that personal brands actually exert more pull than established corporate brands in the social media space.
10. Like it or not, you are a personal brand. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, whether you’re in sales or marketing or you’re a business professional, if you are engaged in an occupation in which you rely on your reputation you probably should be thinking seriously about your personal brand. Everyone else is.
There is no argument that in today’s economy it is important to differentiate and value a company’s brand. But have you considered how much your brand is worth to your company? The Globe and Mail’s Bryan Borzykowski tells the story of an Ontario based company looking to protect its corporate image at a very high price.
Sean Brophy, the owner of Spaces Self Storage Centres Inc., in Kingston, Ont., has plans to take his company across Canada. This goal has cost him at least $25,000 to protect his brand name and is more complicated, expensive and challenging than he’d ever considered. Now Sean finds himself in a bind, trying to determine if there are alternatives to trademarking the brand that could save his business thousands of dollars.
Some experts in trademarking weigh in - their advice and the full article can be found here.
These past few years we’ve seen our fair share of companies that have let down stakeholders due to poor practice and loose ethical standards. Today’s featured article comes from Fast Company: The Future of Ethics In Branding.
We could all stand to learn a thing or two on how to be the very best at what we do both professionally and personally.
Read the full article by Martin Lindstrom here.
Some of the fastest selling products don’t even require a sales person at all – especially when it comes to the vending machine, probably the most well known example of consumer impulse buying. Well, I’m not sure how impulse it is to purchase 1g of gold for $40 from a vending machine, or even a pet roach – I think those would need some serious thought, but I probably would buy a can of coke from a walking robot! To check out all the weirdest vending machines in the world presented by Fast Company, please click here. What would you buy?
In a time when there are numerous companies competing, trying to sell virtually the same product, how does a consumer differentiate and decide which product to purchase? One great way to differentiate your company above and beyond competitors is to give back to the community. I have two favourite examples of companies that I believe give their image a boost by showing how they give back. Tide offers a program called “Tide Loads of Hope”, and this program supports families affected by disasters by washing the families’ laundry. Nabob is a partner in the Rainforest Alliance, which is concerned with improving biodiversity and the quality of life of local people in the environment where the coffee beans are harvested. Giving back is a great way to attract positive publicity and consumers, so what are you doing to better the communities around you?
We’ve all heard the phrase “what you see is what you get”, and in business that phrase really rings true when potential clients view your work. I really noticed the impact of this concept while I was driving and a company truck in front of me was advertising aesthetic work to created suped up vehicles – and the truck’s back bumper was falling off!! Why would any car owner pay the advertised company to aesthetically touch their vehicle if the company vehicles don’t look good? One of the first insights that a potential client has into your business is seeing how owners and workers take pride in the products sold. So, what kind of image does your business emit?
Just read a great article – Making Hay in A Hailstorm – written by the experts at Herrainco Brand Strategy + Design.
We’re in the last quarter of 2009 – your last chance to bring in some strong revenues for your business for this year. If you find yourself wondering what to do given the current economic climate, then read this article. Learn what consumers are still buying, find out the number one way to build customer loyalty and get some great advice on building a strong brand.
Then take some action.
I love the practice of branding – it’s my absolute passion. It allows me to answer the call to do two things in life – to create a better visual environment and to connect to people – to have influence.
The shift in the visual environment is the low-hanging fruit, but it gives me a real kick whenever I can make an impact. Poor design is a nearly-physical irritant in my world – it’s like a rattle in a car – it doesn’t matter what it is – something’s just not right and it grates on me until it’s fixed. Why a company wouldn’t care about its visual brand is beyond me. A company’s objective performance is paramount – you have to be all that your brand promises, but would you buy a car with a rattle?
But what really matters to me is the second part.
Emotional influence is the real value of brand. Powerful branding does more than take the rattle out of the car – it changes the whole car because it changes the human experience. Brands help customer, entrepreneur and employee emotionally connect to their experience.
I’ve seen the branding process empower employees to create new environmental solutions in their business. I’ve seen brand create real employee engagement, as people find a ‘flag’ to rally around that brings a purpose to their days. And I’ve seen brand strengthen the bridge between customer and company by capturing the essence of what started the customer relationship. Brand creates meaning and value.
Take away the outdated, the redundant, the misleading, the generic brand! Bring in the accurate, aligned, powerful brand. Great branding is taking a stand, claiming a position, showing up. It’s a conscious way of doing business that allows people to bring their passion to work. And that is a better world.
Here is the follow up to my previous post providing more key points that customers must consider in order to create a successful Internet brand:
3. Brand Impact:
The top portion of your website is the most important area – it’s the first thing visitors see when they click through to your site: use it to your advantage and make sure what they see has impact. The company logo should be displayed prominently here along with a short tagline that describes concisely what you do. Content should be clear and concise and should quickly get to the gist of your offering. This makes it obvious to prospects immediately that they have come to the right place (or not as the case maybe) saving them time and effort.
4. Keep it simple and clear:
Many companies make the mistake of trying to put too much on their home page making it look busy and all that results is information overload – visitors are confused as to what the company actually does. Bear in mind that the most successful Internet brand is Google (link to www.google.com) whose classic website is plain white with the Google logo prominently displayed then the simple search functionality â€“ it seems stark, but it really works.
5. Your domain is part of your brand too!:
Your domain or url should either reflect your company name or your function exactly: I don’t know how many times I have come across a company in a magazine or newspaper article and have tried to find them on the Internet using their company name but to no avail. When I do finally track them down it turns out that their domain is completely different and has no apparent similarity to the corporate identity. Had these organizations chosen a domain that encompassed their company name or at the very least one that describes concisely what they do it would have been so much more obvious and easy to find.
The keys to building a strong Internet brand include consistency, impact, simplicity and clarity – make sure that the look and feel are consistent with existing marketing efforts; that your message is obvious and apparent; that your brand has impact and your domain is obvious and as a result, your organization you will avoid potential pitfalls, ehance brand awareness and build more brand loyalty.
When creating a web presence, many companies think of technology and web design first with marketing as an afterthought when in reality, their major concern should be the latter: after all the web site is often the first point of contact you have with your potential customer. It’s imperative therefore to consider marketing (and branding in particular) a priority when creating your Internet presence. If you don’t, you could risk damaging this substantial asset considerably. In part one of this two part series I provide some key points that companies must consider in order to create a successful internet brand:
1. If your brand is already working well for you, there is no need to reinvent the wheel:
In most cases companies have already made considerable investment in building brand awareness. Don’t discard this; rather use it to your advantage. Always extend your existing brand image to your on-line presence so that people who are already aware of your brand recognize it easily on the web.
2. Consistency is key:
The company brand should be consistent across all touch points. Use existing corporate logos, taglines, fonts and colour schemes on your website to mirror the colours you use in your letterheads, signage and tangible marketing materials (or vice versa). Always include the internet domain or home page on existing corporate materials because driving traffic to your website will serve to further enhance your brand.