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Category Archives: Branding

Is your content a commodity? Why you need to think like a producer.

By | Branding, Content Marketing, CRM and lead generation, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

“Marketing is broken. Social media won’t save it. Online ads won’t reinvent themselves. Google’s acquiring. Public relations is changing. The music industry is reinventing itself. The movie business is struggling. Newspapers are dying. Your email inbox is full. Your mobile device is always on. Your DVR is recording. Your iPad apps are updating. I don’t need to tell you that the media business is in flux.If you’re going to survive in a world where everything’s changing, you’re going to have to think differently.” Hard to argue, right?

As Andrew Davis book Brandscaping is a very interesting take on how we should approach marketing. Rather than the current fad of creating loads of content much of which is seen as a commodity he states we should all be acting more like producers and try to find the right content for our audience. “Brandscaping is bringing like-minded brands and their audiences together to create content that increases demand or drives new revenue for the products and services you sell.” I really like this approach because it is based on supporting those who actually create the content that your audience will love and support them.

There are four  great reasons why I love this approach. 

1. Most of us aren’t brilliant writers. Let’s face it we don’t run a copywriting business. So it makes sense to focus on what we do really well which is our product or service offering.

2. I don’t think outsourcing this to a marketing team or copywriter is the answer either because often they are good writers but don’t understand our business or don’t have the passion or creativity for sustained engaging content.

3. By aligning your business with a someone or an organisation that is already providing content for the audience that you serve. Support them. A perfect example of this is Ducttape Marketing support Hubspot because they create a lot of How too documents. The opportunity to build a brandscape is to position your business with a undiscovered talent that can create content to drive demand for the products or services you sell. Think like a producers not a marketer.

4. Just because you are creating content don’t assume your audience is consuming it! In fact if you create poor quality content it could have the opposite effect to consumption. The amount of information created is created at an unbelievable pace. The key is to find the most effective channels for reaching your own particular audience and to get them to consumer on a regular basis. You want a relationship, so focus on reach and quality and relevance.

I ask myself this question: If I stopped by blog today would anyone notice?

It would be fair to draw the comparison between films like the latest Bond Movie Skyfall and their obvious product placement to sell more of a brand but the distinction Davies makes is that the alignment needs to be authentic and have the same set of values for the audience to buy into the partnership and for the association to work as a marketing tool.

So if you want to leverage content as an asset rather than an expense. Creating content relationships and sharing audiences, tapping into multiple niches, pooling your resources with other brands that value the same audience makes sense.

Davis describes three elements to a successful brandscaper:

1. Confidence to back the content of others with a belief in them and their audience no matter how small, is valuable.

2. Show humility by understanding that your customers care more about just your products and services.

3.Willingness to pool resources and share your audiences will allow your marketing budget to go further.

I will add one more

4. Choose your partners carefully. Think “what would your customers also like.” Align around values.

Some potential partnerships:

Nespresso store in Chadstone and Apple. They both have the same audience and could work together around topics like convenience, design and quality.

Dan Murphy could have a wine TV show like Gary Vaynerchuk’s.

Business Bank with Marketing Critique of small businesses plan as a TV channel (just putting it out there!)

Lorna Jane fitness clothing  and chef Justine Schofield

How to make a start

1. Join a LinkedIn group that your audience is participating in and contribute frequently.

2. Seek out the best tools or resources share them with your audience. (name the source and get permission always)

3. Brainstorm a good hook. It could be critiquing something, creating interviews with industry experts, 10 top tips.

4. Identify and explore content holes in your market.

5. Look for a great idea to serve your market. Someone might have built and app your audience would love. Share it, promote it. Underwrite it. A start-up looking for a partnership?

6. Who already owns our audience?

7. Where does our audience live online?

8. What sort of talent can we work with to make our brand more relevant, more often?

9. What content does our audience already have a relationship with and how can we embrace it?

10. What products/ services do our customers buy before they have a need for us?

 

Packaging is a key differentiator that creates success!

By | Branding, Packaging, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Small businesses can undersell themselves by not presenting a cohesive well thought through look and feel to their business and  just not packaging their offering very well. I am not just talking about the immediate branding, but also the way you present an idea so your client or customer can understand it, and feel that it is tailored solution just for them.

This packaging assists the sales process and leads to increased conversion rates, that means they buy more readily!

Packaging is something I have been investigating and am very passionate about. I love great packaging, because so few companies do it really well. Moo.com sent me some mini cards a few weeks go and I still sprout about their packaging. From the Yay! sticker on the outside to the beautiful presentation inside. It is so different and unexpected. A delightful experience.

Why don’t more service businesses package their offering to attract prospects and give a delightful experience?

Why don’t  more accountants package, hairdressers, in fact any service provider or professional service? And I don’t mean just list what is in the package but present it with personality. It takes such little effort, but can make a huge different to the uptake of your offering, especially if you create an introductory or free offering. I started using Wufoo as a free forms tool and upgraded because it provided value I couldn’t live without. Not only did they provide value but they did it in a fun way. How can you package your offering to make it more attractive and easier for your potential customers to buy?

 

Branding Basics

By | Branding, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Do you know what makes up a brand identity?

This summary has been taken from Liquidagency a thoughtleader agency in branding.

Branding is ultimately about whether someone will pay more (or less) for a product or service from one company (brand) over another.  The most valuable brands in the world can and do charge a premium price and customers go out of their way to find and buy that particular brand.  (It’s not just about the logo!)

Branding is what people think (believe) about the reputation of a company, product or person (it may not be accurate)

A brand identity is the sum of many parts:  the logo and tagline, the brand personality, messaging and the visual elements (font, colors, graphics) for how the brand will be presented.  Learn what’s involved to create and update a brand identity. Each of these items (and more) help create differentiation from the competitive alternatives, while projecting the personality of the brand. And, when done right they can help create preference for the brand.

Brand Strategy

Without a sound brand strategy, you can’t deliver effective branding programs. That’s why we help companies articulate the fundamental essence of their brand, by clearly defining the brand purpose, value to its customers and personality.

Positioning

Positioning is about finding the key differentiators and making sure they are relevant, sustainable and defendable. We conduct workshops, execute research, evaluate the competitive landscape – and ultimately we help companies uncover what gives their brand an edge over their competitors.

Architecture

As brands grow, things can get complicated. Sometimes due to acquisitions, other times to a proliferation of products…or relationships with other brands, sub-brands and brand extensions. We work with our clients to define brand architectures that make order from what can be a chaotic landscape.

Messaging

Messages must resonate with different audiences. We develop detailed brand messaging documents that help brands be fluid enough to connect with various types of audiences in different marketplaces, and cultures.

Naming

The right name can make the difference between a memorable brand, and one that goes unnoticed. We help determine whether a name should be descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, or fanciful, and we develop corporate names, product names and entire naming architectures.

Logo

A brand is not a logo. That said, a well designed logo is a fundamental component of a successful brand identity. Our award-winning design teams know how to design memorable and meaningful icons that make an impact worldwide.

Visual Language

Successful brands develop a unique visual language that reflects the qualities of the brand. We’ve helped many companies find their voice and sense of style, and build image libraries that enables them to create marketing materials that are always on brand.

Style Guide

A brand is an asset, and it should be managed carefully. We know how to build a wide variety of tools, from logo usage guidelines to comprehensive brand guidelines.

Packaging

Packaging can take many forms, from boxes to clamshells. We’ve worked on many diverse packaging projects, and we understand how to leverage packaging to showcase the brand, stand out on the shelf – and ultimately have people take the item to the cash register.

Materials

Brochures. Annual Reports. Catalogs. Newsletters. Posters. You name it…we’ve done it. These days lots often literature takes the form of a PDF. We still design our fair share of printed pieces, and love doing it, but we have also mastered the art of designing literature that is distributed digitally.

Advertising

Today, advertising has become one of the components of an integrated approach to brand building. We are just as comfortable developing a print campaign as well as online banners…or billboards, for that matter. And think it’s best if it all works together.

Workplace

Corporate environments are an important extension of a brand. They are opportunities to influence the way that employees and customers perceive and interact with the brand in a very tangible and experiential manner.

Retail

POP solutions, and merchandising programs. And, whenever possible, we like to integrate interactive elements into the retail experience.

Web

Websites have become one of the most important elements of any branding program. From idea to design; from user experience to SEO practices; from content development to programming we ensure that the digital brand experience is the best it can be.

Digital Online

The digital world has transformed the way that brands communicate with their audiences. Interactivity and engagement are more important than ever. That is why we develop demos, email marketing, e-newsletters, microsites, and online advertising programs that extend the brand experience online.

Technology has changed radically the way that brands are built. It is no longer sufficient to launch a website to enter the digital realm. Today it is necessary to consider the impact of social networks, mobile media, viral marketing, search engine optimization, widgets, blogs, etc. A comprehensive digital strategy, may include:

  • Websites
  • Intranets
  • Mobile
  • Widgets
  • Viral
  • Social Media
  • Video
Video
Video used to be prohibitively expensive, but new technologies have made it possible for brands to use it much more extensively. We’ve helped brands develop high level brand videos and online shows, from educational to inspirational. It’s a great way to communicate!
To learn more about our branding workshop visit here.

Businesses are from Mars and customers are from Venus

By | Branding, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

A major issue all businesses face is that of changing their internal measures and focus from that of what they need to be successful to that of thinking like their customers so they can solve their problems better and deliver a superior experience. These mindsets are in conflict and the internal pressures of running a business often give way to only thinking about costs and sales which creates less visibility to trying to innovate, look at customer aspirations and developing a truly differentiated experience.

It is really a catch22. The more internal a company becomes, the more internal measures then I propose the more likely they are to deliver a vanilla or commoditised customer experience and as such likely to resort to cost cutting. On the other hand the more innovative, customer centric and in-touch with their customers a company is the more differentiated and likely they are to create memorable experiences for customers and thus the more they can charge. This video featuring Lior Arussy, Strativity Group President explains it well.

How do we reconcile the external forces of running our businesses and being customer centric?

Sample: Principles of Customer Experience from Strativity Group on Vimeo.

Understanding and mapping out the customer buying path or touch points with your team is a good starting point.

Are you talking all about you, AGAIN?

By | Branding, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

When I look at your website can I tell that you get me? I mean if you really understand my needs, or is it all about you? I am not interested in all about you. The problem with the majority of websites and I dare say most marketing materials, is  that they shows a distinct lack of understanding and insight about two things:
1. The ideal customers that they are trying to attract
2. A way of positioning the value that they offer to that customer group so it is effective.

Maybe this lack of insight  that is resulting in this swell in demand around research, buyer personas, geotargeting, consumer panels, crowd sourcing, social media mapping, branded communities and more.

Larger corporates are leveraging any means possible to provide insight into product development, positioning, sales touch points and refining their brand footprint. As a small business we can take a more immediate and simple approach but it is useful to stay abreast of the technologies used to discover real-time insights.
Some examples of companies in this space are:
Panelportal.com makes it easy for companies to deep dive into what customers think about their brands in real-time using a cutting-edge, socially inspired branded member community website. In real-time you can get feedback from the community on any idea.

Usamp -With 9 million panelists. Usamp combines self-service, mobile ap on demand audience, branded panel.

Gfk.com is a retail research company that has been around for ages but has adapted its research to take in more social media and mobile tools.

So what is the take away for us. Well as a small business ask your customers for their opinions. It might be as simple as having a suggestion tab on your website or doing a yearly survey using wufoo or survey monkey. The direct approach sometimes works well. Is there anything I could be doing to serve you better. Ask for recommendations in LinkedIn and read what they have to say. Do a poll on Facebook. Great a persona of your ideal customers and check it against who you are attracting.

Look at your marketing materials from your customer’s point of you. Are they written to them or more about you? It is not just about your customers but also your employees. Do you ask them for feedback about how they feel about working with you? They often have some good insights for better ways to serve your customers.

Tools

Content Mapping. This Barbara Gago Persona Mapping pdf is a great tool for mapping out your content strategy using the buying cycle and a persona profile template to profile your ideal customer.

Identify your ideal customers: who are those people you serve best and love to work with. Focus on these. This template helps you narrow your focus and allows you to be more purposeful with your marketing strategy.

If you don’t control your personal brand, Google will!

By | Branding, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Changes in how people communicate, research and connect have created the need to own your digital footprint or personal brand. To do this effectively you need to follow a few steps. I have researched personal branding and come up with my checklist. Hope you find it useful.

“Your personal brand is comprised of your character, competence and charisma. It’s who you are, what you do and why you’re special. You have to create it, claim it and then make sure everyone in your network knows about it!”

“The fundamental unit of the new economy is not the corporation but the individual” Tom Peters

Process- BRAND YOU!

Below is a process will you need to address to create your personal brand. Google yourself? Do you come up? Control what is being said about you, how you are represented and seen. If you are not online you are invisible.

1.Planning Stage Why: Your goals for branding yourself? 

“ Vision is a love affair with an idea.” Clarke and Crossland.

  • Visibility, Preference, Credibility, Engagement, Influence, Perception

Who? Who is your audience and who do you want to influence? Choose a Niche or target Audience (make branding easy) “

“It is easy to decide what you are going to do. The hard thing is to decide what you are not going to do.” Michael Dell

  • Key stakeholders
  • Influencers
  • Niche

2.Extract and Get and External View Point

What is your current brand identity? Identifying brand You. Me Inc.

This involves looking at yourself and your attributes in a brutally honest way. It takes guts to unflinchingly take stock of the details of your life, personality and achievements.

Like Improve upon

 

External Feedback – current reputation

  • 360 reach – online tool
  • What words would you use to describe me?
  • Listen to how you are introduced.
  • What am I good at?

“All the worlds a stage. I love the Brand You idea, the brand you life. It is my life. My love. My art. My craft. My performance.” Tom Peters

40 yrs 11000 days to go! Life is short, play more…

 

 

Your personal ethics: What you stand for? 3 Brand rules: clarity, consistency, constancy. One core message.

“Create a cause not a business.” Gary Hamel

What do you want it to be? Own your brand.

  • Work out what traits you want to scrap and what you want to profile.
  • What is the pitch? Take a position. What do you want to be known for?

3. Express Stage – Getting your message out there How to we reach your right target market of people you want to influence? Choose the right tools!

“We are CEOs of our own companies: ME Inc. To be in business today, our most important job to be head marketer for the brand called you.” Tom Peters

Using collateral: your look feel style – evaluate your touchpoints

  • Positioning Brand Statement – attach and idea to yourself
  • Elevator pitch – express your essence in a sentence
  • Profile
  • Portfolio
  • Biography
  • Press Kit
  • Cover letter
  • Social Media profiles; Linkedin Profile
  • Recommendations
  • Success stories
  • Your brand identity system – Name in font, tagline, colour, thank you notes
  • PR
  • Domains
  • Website
  • Email accounts and signature
  • Phone message
  • Texting
  • Pictures
  • Events
  • Office environment
  • Personal style; (reflect your brand) grooming, clothing, posture, communication style
  • Forums – On and Off Line
  • Networking Associations

End game is a media/communication plan for me.

4. Ongoing Measurement

  • Google
  • Google Alerts
  • Network expansion
  • Projects
  • Recommendations
  • PR
  • Vizibility

If you are not branding yourself, you can be assured that others are doing it for you!

Resources:

Reach – Online branding

Selfbrand Catherine Kaputa

Colin Wright – How to be remarkable

Jump start your personal brand

Tom Peters the brand you 50 – Amazon

Dan Schawbel – Personal Branding Blog

Personal Branding Slideshare – Kristian Andersen

Your brand surey – Brand You

Online ID calculator

Personal Branding Summit in itunes

Online Johari Window – your key attributes

Visibility.com

Personal Branding

about.me/yourname.

 

“Personal branding is all about soft power. It’s about knowing how you add remarkable, distinctive, measurable value,and being able to communicate and market yourself and your ideas. The reason most people don’t succeed is not because they lack business or technical skills. It’s because they lack soft power skills: the ability to communicate well, to influence and persuade, to build a powerful network of business associates, and to plan a career strategy the maximizes your strengths and the realities of the marketplace.” Katherine Kaputa

 

Contact: Danielle MacInnis to do a Personal Branding workshop today. Download this article here.

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