Monthly Archives: February 2014

9 Branding Tips

 1.Understand the mindset of your customers and you win, every time.

As marketers, it is important for us to be able to empathise with multiple, diverse audiences. We need to understand their mind-set, their goals, their challenges and their lifestyle in order to shift perceptions and to help our clients’ brands resonate.

2.Branding creates value for your business

Branding has the potential to build incredible value for your business because it creates a connection between your offer and your customer and that makes your brand ultimately more valuable than anyone else’s. Every contact with your brand is a selling opportunity.

 3.Competition demands you brand

Branding is an integral part of a company’s overall success in any highly competitive marketplace. To grab attention and build a desire for purchase, you have to have an offer than is competitive and relevant at all times.

4. Stand out from the crowd

To brand your business is to differentiate it (or make your company stand out) from the rest.

5. Branding builds loyalty

Brand awareness can lead to brand loyalty, so your goal should be to create a group of followers or “fans” who not only recognise your brand, but also trust it and are loyal to it.

 6. Trust in your brand gives you a voice

Once people trust your brand, you have a “voice”, or become an influential authority in your industry and in the overall marketplace. This will enforce you as the ‘go to’ brand or place and set you apart from other brands. Customers like being with the most credible brand.

7. Build your online presence and you build your leadership

To increase your company’s online presence and become a recognised leader in your industry, brand building is a fundamental stepping stone in the journey to online success.

8. Strategic branding leads to consistent positioning

When you ensure that all of your marketing initiatives, both online and offline, are consistent with one another, and that they reinforce each other, you build a strong, motivating brand over time that engages customers for more than one time.

9. Branding builds identity 

A brand is the identity of a specific product, service or business. It can take many forms, including a name, sign, colour combination or symbol. This then encompasses the personality of a product, company or service.

Every contact is an opportunity to build an experience and connect consumers with your brand.

Uncover, communicate and nurture your personal brand

In developing and managing your personal brand, the most basic marketing principles apply.

In today’s engagement oriented environment, the most successful business leaders are those who understand the value of marketing and apply to themselves those principles that companies have used for years to successfully sell their products.

Those principles are:

  1. What brand are you- how do you present?
  2. What do you want to be known for-what reputation elements are you wishing to display?
  3. How do you build awareness of yourself, and then reinforce that awareness so you become more top-of-mind and relevant to your business?
  4. Where do you voice your brand (you)?  What ‘media’ channels?
  5. How do you measure your success?
  6. Are you willing to change/evolve according to the reception and success you’re achieving?

There are 3 key things to consider before you begin the personal branding journey:

  • Are you willing to be yourself – to put who you are into what you do and how you do it?
  • Personal branding is based in authenticity, not in creating an image for the outside world. – can you be authentic?
  • Can you bring your self – your best self to every customer experience?

Building a strong personal brand isn’t about telling people how great you are,

it’s about showing people how great you are, or better still, how easy it is for them to relate to you and respect you , as pertinent to your business building.

Messaging-Tone/Personality/Style

If you are a brand, then your clothing is your logo. What impression is your wardrobe giving to those around you?

Consider how you present yourself.  Think about what impresses you when you meet people for the first time. Things such as Personal Style,  Colour Choices, Hair and Make-up. How do the individual components represent your personality and the impression you wish to convey? Do you want to leave a lasting impression, or be instantly forgettable?

They say ‘first impressions count’ well,  it is a well-documented fact that the way your present yourself creates an impression is the first 7 seconds!

How do I best initiate contact with my customers?

There are numerous ways to initiate an approach when seeking to grow yourself and your business:

  • Cold Calling – tough for most people, but sometimes you get lucky this way.
  • Networking – again, tough for some people, but an absolute ‘must’ at any stage of business building and progression.
  • Scour LinkedIn Groups, and other social sites for the right places to interact and comment, or answer questions – that is, to get noticed!
  • Join relevant Associations and Member organisations.
  • Speaking events and attendance at the right events yourself.
  • Take up advertising opportunities through any event or association that budget allows.

Which is the most important  “personal distribution” channel?

Most experts agree that networking is crucial to a successful business growth strategy. Networking means developing a broad list of contacts – people you’ve met through various social and business functions – and using them to your   advantage in your enterprise activities.

Building an online presence

Today, no personal brand can be built without acknowledging and understanding how to utilize the online space that surrounds our every day lives.

One of the first things you can do is to create an online portfolio. Find out if your personal domain name is available. If it is, purchase it!

I recommend building and designing your online portfolio using a free content management system, such as WordPress.

On the homepage, include a welcome message to visitors which can be a similar, more generic version of your cover letter.

Then, include separate pages for your resume, portfolio, contact information and a link to your professional blog (if feel comfortable with this).

What are the biggest personal branding mistakes job seekers make?

  1. Not controlling content. Many sites—such as Facebook or Twitter—have ‘private’ settings for personal information. If your customers  won’t think it’s appropriate, take the content down or make your profile private.
  2. Not knowing what makes you unique. Show customers how you will fit with them and their needs, and why you, and therefore your brand, will be an asset.
  3. Not taking advantage of technology. Along with LinkedIn, Twitter and other sites for networking, you should also create an online portfolio. Sites such as VisualCV or webs.com allow you to compile your own portfolio and show them to others.
  4. If you have a visual business, and are a visual personality, then use Pinterest or Instagram to enhance the experience of your brand with your customers, and heighten engagement.suz

I like to remind people that Google is not a search engine. It is a reputation management system.

Online your reputation is quantifiable, findable and totally unavoidable.

Linked in is a

  • Professional social network
  • Way to research business and individuals
  • Professional “Branding” opportunity

Facebook advice:

  • Watch the photos you upload
  • Create a business page and a friends site separately
  • Watch wall posts
  • Join relevant Groups
  • Publish anything you write, any article written about you and any links to relevant industry pieces. It is about building a profile and enhancing awareness of you out in the larger world.

Online is one of modern day’s networking tools. Never underestimate its power or its influence and the impression it leaves. It has become part of your “grooming”…as important as the clothes you wear.

If you follow these tips, and remember you are the brand, then you will find that over time you will do all these things as part of your second nature, and there is actually no major effort required, other than being conscious of how you continually reinforce “brand YOU”!

 

Revised for the Aust Businesswomen’s Network, Her Career Blog Post Oct 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media and Topicality

Shock-Horror ! The 2013 Superbowl is not something I am usually interested in, however, I AM always drawn to it for its fame in the advertising world. Its fame stems from it being the most expensive, yet highest reach event for any single ad each year. This historically has seen ads such as the ’1984 Apple Macintosh’ commercial reach incredible levels of celebrity which then continued for many years.

The beauty this year was the way in which a very short blackout was capitalised on with such speed and relevance by two brands, Oreo and Tide, but Oreo got in first.

As the lights went out during last night’s Super Bowl, the electricians scrambled, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers tried to keep their muscles warm, fans dug into some 47 layer dip and Oreo jumped into action.

With a mission control room full of ad executives the Oreo management team spun into action and completely capitalised on the nimbleness that social media offers. The ad features the caption “Power out? No problem” reminding Oreo eaters that you can “dunk in the dark.” The timeliness and pithiness made the pitch funnier, more effective and undoubtedly millions of dollars cheaper than Oreo’s actual Super Bowl commercial.

So it made me reflect about how much more effective social media can be when it is executed in a really timely manner, and when it capitalises on a relevant, interesting topic or event.

Most of us don’t have the budgets, resources or physical capability to pull off campaigns on the scale of Oreo, but we do have the capability and capacity to be aware of topics which provide us with social media fodder to leverage our brands against. Every brand has subject matter, outside the obvious, which has a relevance to that brand’s market place. It is crucial that the brand owner sets out and follows these topics constantly.

Some questions to consider when thinking about where to search for these adjacent areas of interest:

1. Where are your customers looking and what are they reading , when not with you?

2. What special seasonal or event-based subjects could provide interesting additional material for you to review, comment on, or merely pass on to your customers?

3. How might you maximise special events or topics?  Plan for them ahead of time, so when they come up, you’re ready. You don’t need an Oreo-style mission control room to throw it together at a minutes notice.

4. In a service industry, perhaps it’s modern version of “issue management”, and not necessarily from a crisis point of view. What issues are appropriate for you to curate for your customers?

In other words, create a list of these topical opportunities. Think about your brand from a more holistic viewpoint. Consider your customers and their behaviours. Consider your competitors and how and where they play. Sometimes you’ll even find some idea you can steal or improve upon in your competitive landscape.

Find subjects and events, schedule them into your plans, develop the message you want to present, and stand ready to push “post” as soon as each respective occasion arrives. Stand at the ready on these occasions, like Oreo, to capture moments for your brand.

The final question is where do you do it. Oreo chose Twitter as a priority…fast, effective, pithy, and far reaching in their case. Their simple and surprising ad was retweeted more than 15,000 times in the first 14 hours.

For your brand…where are your biggest audience numbers interacting and how do you reach them with speed? Multiple platforms are acceptable, but make a splash when you do it – speak in the right voice and make your point in the right language, and whatever you do, don’t over complicate it. Oreo didn’t mention the blackout, they merely mentioned “dunking in the dark”…if you ultimately let your customer finish the thought you will deliver a most effective communication.

 

 

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