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The Power of Branding (Infographic)

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Do you need your business to flourish? Then, apart from a great product, you must harness the power of branding.

Unlike most people think, branding is not just for the big companies with bigger budgets. If small businesses want to thrive amongst cut throat competition, then they need to embrace branding too. At first, branding for small business might be daunting. However, once you know your audience it can help you set the tone for all your communication to that audience. Get your audience to relate to your content and your message. Then the creation of this organic connection is valuable for your business and services.

For more info and tips, see the infographic below. 

the-power-of-branding-infographic Infographic credit: Missdetails

Designing The Best Logo For Your Brand (Infographic)

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The key to successful design in 2016 is simplicity of the communication of a brand’s message.

Minimalism puts an emphasis on carefully curating a design that speaks to users. Simple design is not the lack of imagination; moreover it is the result of extremely considered choices. Do you want to know how to design a unique and unforgettable logo for your brand? Take a look at the following infographic for useful tips and tricks to design your own special and personalised logo.

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Infographic credit: SoThink

Protecting Your Brand In Online World

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Why are you in business? What sets your business apart? What’s your unique idea?

Most of the time, major businesses are not making products by hand and selling them face-to-face to customers. Most new businesses are distinguished by their intellectual property, which means their ideas and how they put those ideas into practice. Most businesses are promoting and selling products or services online, which gives you both opportunities and intellectual property risks.

Intellectual property (IP) is vulnerable issue in the online world. It is out there and easy for another business to take. Before the Internet, a competitor may have to physically come to your store to see your intellectual property. This considerably limited access. Now they just have to log on to your site from anywhere in the world.

In the past, many an Australian business’s customers may have been in Australia, so Australian law clearly applied. In a world where even the smallest business can now have international clients, you cannot rely solely on Australian (or any other country’s) law protection.

So how can you protect your intellectual property online? Here are two fundamental tips you can try.

1. Incorporate Your Company and Register Your Business Name

You may operate your business as a sole trader, company or possibly a trust or partnership. The entity needs to have the right company name and own the business name that you will trade under. What rights does this give you? It gives you the right to use that business name. Does it mean you can stop others using a similar version? No, you have limited rights, and can have stronger rights if you register your business name as a trademark.

2. Secure Your Domain Name

A domain name is your business’s online address. Each website has its own domain name which distinguishes it from other sites. What rights does this give you? When you register a domain name you get a license, so you have the exclusive right to use the domain name for a specific period. For ‘.au’ domains the period is two years. How else can you protect your brand online? Choose a brand that is clearly distinguishable from your competitors. This can be easier to protect and defend.

Have website terms that set out the rules for using your site. Your website terms apply to every visitor, regardless of its location. Your website terms should include your intellectual property rights and set out permissible and prohibited use of your site and content. Consider registering variations of your main domain name. There is no restriction on the number of domain names that a registrant can license, as long as you follow relevant policy.

Finally and very importantly, register your trademarks with IP Australia, including your business name. This gives you the exclusive right to use this trademark as a brand name for the products or services specific in your registration. This is Australia wide protection. The outcome of following these processes are your online strength, protection and success.

4 Fabulous Tips To Build A Wonderful Brand

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Building good reputation for a brand is challenging. After all, branding defines the core message and values of your organisation, product or service, and it supports and directs all marketing and sales efforts.

The brand is what customers and potential customers think of when they hear the name of your company. Effective branding conjures both positive factual and emotional associations to your products and services. The following tips will help you successfully launch your new brand:

1. Get on the Same Page

One of the keys to successful branding is consistency. Everything your business does, from your logo to your products to your personal interactions with the public, builds and reinforces your brand, for good or bad. Therefore, it is extremely important for the team tasked with launching a new brand to have the same information and materials, and for each member of the team to understand the efforts of all other members. Using a globally accessible cloud service for all marketing materials ensures your documents and designs are accessible to all members of your team at all times. The cloud also helps you avoid losing important materials with any employee turnover.

2. Define Your Brand

Before any communication with the public, you must first define what you want your brand to be. Defining a brand you should develop a clear vision of your mission, the benefits and features of your products or services, an understanding of what customers and prospects already think of your company and what qualities you want consumers to associate with your company.

It is imperative to understand and learn the language of your target market. By identifying and knowing your audience, you can build a brand they identify with and will help promote. Consider both the demographics of your target market (age, gender, location, income level, etc.) as well as the psychographics (personality, lifestyle, values, hobbies, etc.). Your marketing team should have a clear picture, based on market research, of who they want your audience to be, and then your team should define your brand based on what appeals to that audience’s needs and lifestyle. At the end of the brand defining process, everyone on your team should have a shared understanding of who you are as a business, what you want your brand to communicate and who you want to communicate to.

3. Create Consistent Content

With your brand defined, it is now time to develop materials that consistently communicate your brand to your target audience. Create a logo that will serve as the visual representation of your brand. Write a tagline or a short statement that communicates the essence of your brand. Develop brand standards for all marketing materials, such as a consistent color scheme, visual style and tone. Make sure all written communications, from advertising to tweets, reflect the same voice.

4. Spread the Word

For a new brand, social media is one of the most effective ways to build an initial following. Interesting and engaging content that is useful to the target audience is more likely to be shared, which helps create a base for your brand. While your message must be consistent, your marketing team also must understand what types of content are effective on each social media channel. For example, on Twitter and Facebook, content with pictures are more likely to be viewed and shared, as is content about real-time events. Whatever channels and methods your team chooses for marketing, the bottom line in brand building is consistency.

SAB Miller: Abraxas Interactive Print Ads

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A unique way to present your ad is always welcomed among customers and marketers.

In today’s post, we present a nice print-ad play powered by the LED light on your Smart Phone, with SAB Miller’s Abraxas Ad that challenges you to turn on your light, running it behind the page, to unveil the story as your phone directs light through the page in any given area. It’s nice, simple and no app needed. Definitely a cool campaign!

Created by the crew at Wunderman Phantasia PERU.

Adapting The Brand To Follow Modern Lifestyle (Infographic)

A good brand should be flexible enough to adapt with the market’s needs.

Almost 81 percent of educated people nowadays prefer to skim online content instead of read it thoroughly. Meanwhile the other 20 percent is all that people remember from reading text without visuals. The fact is 84 percent of communication will be visual by 2018. The way humans think and consume information is changing. How can brands evolve at the same pace? Take a look at the following infographic to find out the answer.

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Click to Enlarge

Infographic credit: Webdam.

Five Important Tips To Improve Your Brand Relationship With Customers

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Building a brand’s relationship is similar to that of a budding romance between two lovers.

Many global brands have shipped in and started up their loyalty schemes, but then failed to follow through with any type of ongoing brand romancing. It’s all rather like a quick holiday fling, and then a drifting goodbye.

If you want to get a successful result, you need to take your step carefully. Here are five tips for getting a blooming loyalty scheme right:

1. Never over-complicate things

It’s not always possible to get rich, accurate transactional data across every purchase point to give dynamic tiers and segments. So take things slowly and get the basics right, such as a welcome message, sent within a week of a join-up, and at least an ongoing quarterly contact. Remember, nobody likes to be left hanging after a first date.

2. Involve staff during the sign-up

A well-trained ground staff can make all the difference. A bit like a big brother or sister, they can either make a relationship smooth and enjoyable, or make sure it never gets started. Make sure they know the ins and outs of the program, and keep interest by recognizing and rewarding staff who deliver quality as well as quantity of members.

Try to create a complete creative revamp both in-store and on e-communications and reward your best performing shop staff on a regular basis. We guarantee you will see an increase in member sign-ups and of course an ongoing “brandmance” in no time.

3. Give consumers an emotional hook

It sounds obvious that we should make our customers about feel special. The fact is, more often than not, we forget. It’s not all about discounts and rewards. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the success. Make sure loyalty members are the first to know about important news, product previews, early chances to buy, launch party invites, etc.

4. Be creative

Forget the baseball caps, the key rings, pens, T-shirts, and please keep the thermal mugs. These are lazy rewards and none of them are romantic. Try and think of rewards that will set your brand apart and hit an emotional chord. With some commoditised products or services such as fuel, or travel, the rewards have to work even harder.

There are many loyalty relationships that offer start-up gifts, which by virtue of economics, are less than exciting. What if instead of a lackluster gift, a small donation could be given to a charity, and then ongoing rewards could be donations to that same chosen charity? This might provide the kind of emotional relationship attachment brands find hard to create. People like to feel good about doing good things.

5. Consider your platforms

Finally, you’re in a relationship. Still, the hard work is not over. If you don’t communicate, things can go wrong pretty swiftly. Maybe you have the right things to say, but the message is literally just not getting through.

We can push messages out via a multitude of channels: email (probably around 80% remain unopened), SMS (not very creative), or direct mail and telephone (both expensive). Try using your budget with impact. Mix around the channels to maximise the chances of getting the message through. Consider using Facebook’s target audiences product to reach consumers who didn’t open their emails. At the end of the day, keep communicating, or it could be a silent divorce.

How To Develop An Effective And Everlasting Brand Voice

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Brand voice is one of the fundamental pillar of a good, successful company.

When you imagine your brand voice as being at a dinner party, the way you speak to a roomful of strangers reflects your voice and identity. However, it’s only in that isolated condition. What if instead of a dinner party, you’re in your living room with your closest friends? Your identity and personality don’t change, but the way you communicate does. You adapt to the new context, and change what you say and how you say it based on the norms of the situation.

This is similar case when you are approaching multiple-channel content. You don’t speak the same way in a white paper as you do in a tweet, but the the voice remains the same. The core identity and message should stay constant. What changes is the context.

Accomplishing this kind of segmentation is easy in some ways—turning blog or microsite content into newsletter content doesn’t involve reinventing the wheel when it comes to tone. However, when you add Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Medium, Reddit, and numerous other platforms to the mix, things start to get haphazard.

Each of these social media platforms has its own style, intricacies, and audience. The context is always changing, and you have to adapt to each setting, or else you’ll face two possible outcomes, both of them bad: 1) Your brand voice will sound at best diluted and weak, at worst schizophrenic; and/or 2) You’ll get hit with the dreaded accusation of tone deafness, a charge reserved for brands who tragically misread the norms and contexts of digital platforms, and then shove their feet in their mouths.

So how do you maintain some level of tone/voice continuity across all of these different settings? Well, it’s a wholly subjective endeavor that involves constant judgment calls—much like creating content itself.

The best practice to make cross-channel continuity as seamless as possible is to establish a strong foundation for your voice in the first place. One of your initial tasks when creating a content strategy is to produce a Style Guide that outlines what the voice is, and what it isn’t, in as much detail as possible. What words or phrases would your brand never use, if any? What headline would it never run? On a broader level, why are you creating content in the first place, other than to create touch-points and lure people into your funnel and all those other business objectives that have little to do with whether or not someone actually wants to read or watch a piece of content?

Another important tool for voice continuity is a workflow . Once your content strategy is established and executed, chances are high that the person writing every blog post is not the same person writing every tweet or the same person publishing every thought leadership article. So the question becomes: How do you have multiple people all communicate with the same voice/tone?

One obvious answer is: Only hire people who care deeply about content. Make sure that the people you task with creating your content actually enjoy doing it and are talented at doing so. Beyond that, make sure that you only staff people on your content team who truly “get” the brand voice.

Conclusion

Finally, content isn’t about perfection. You don’t have to wring your hands over whether every tweet is a perfect representation of your brand’s voice. Still, you do need a strong foundation and a team that understands it on a deeper level, so that they’re capable of doing a gut-check to determine if something, or anything, is really off. It will irk your audience if your brand sounds like one thing one day and something entirely different the next. Making it something you have to avoid at all costs and be consistent!

Tips to Improve Your Website in 2015

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Now that the holiday is over and a fresh new year looms ahead, consider it a great time to give your company’s site a facelift. If you want to improve your site’s performance, now is the time to attack this challenge head on.

1. Improve the Design

Minimalism is the way to go based on current design trends. Gone are the days of animated gif and scrolling texts that do nothing but eat bandwidth and distract the user from the main content. Flat designs are replacing the old habits. This means eliminating the gradients and the shadows and replacing them with bright minimal color for better user experience. This also help pages load faster and conserve bandwidth.

2. Mobile Responsiveness

The Internet is no longer monopolized by desktop pc users. To assume that most users still use fancy desktops every time they view websites is a very unproductive assumption. A great number of users are now using their smart phones to surf the Internet. These users demand content that is viewable in their small screens. To neglect mobile responsiveness is to turn away a huge number of potential customers. To adapt with the mobile revolution, make sure that your website is responsive.

3. Improve Your Layout

Imagine a homepage brimming with information overload, information that is otherwise presented in an overwhelming manner to create “relevance” or at least a projection of it. What is the usual users’ reaction? The user’s usual initial reaction to a busy homepage is to leave. The user’s brain and patience can only take so much information. Overloading the user with content will just force the user’s brain to shut down and refuse any more information being offered. Add the fact that the user is most likely using a smartphone with a small screen, the content overload is just too much to take. Consider placing your content in a manner that enhances user experience rather than overwhelms them. Consider placement of white spaces to give the user breathing rooms. This is particularly useful for mobile users.

4. Social Media

Most companies nowadays use the social media to engage users and build brand recognition and credibility. The purpose of engaging in social media is to get people to visit your site. This they do when you engage them enough in the platform where they feel most comfortable, which is social media. If your company has no presence in social media, then it is losing potential customers simply because the customers are on social media while your company is not. Having a website is not enough. An effective social media presence is what drive the users to visit the site.

5. Content Is King

In this age of SEO, page rankings and link exchanges, nothing delivers more traffic and conversion than true and relevant content. The key to website performance is the delivery of fresh and unique contents that would make your users voluntarily share them to other users. The promise of a high-quality content would make the users return to your site repeatedly. This is what gives a site better page ranking and hence, higher conversion rates.

Five Great Ways To Build A Personalised Brand With Social Media

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In today’s digital era, having an excellent service is not enough. You need to establish a trustworthy, personalised brand for your business.

Internet and social media have given numerous businesses the chance to promote themselves beyond the traditional way.  They can be the perfect place to showcase your products, skills and attitude to millions of people all over the world.

A personal brand is very important for every serious business, especially those in the digital industry. The question is, how to do it? Here are five ways you can utilise Internet and social media to pump up your personal brand.

1. Clarify Yourself

One of the worst things you can do on social media is to have half-completed, dormant profiles lingering around on the Internet. It makes an impression that you’re not taking your personal brand seriously.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with your most recent work history or upcoming projects and that your other profiles such as Google+, Instagram and Twitter are up-to-date, relevant and full.

2. Show Off Your Skills

Whether you’re a designer, social media manager or video editor, there are plenty of platforms to showcase what you can do on without the need for a website to host your portfolio. LinkedIn Publishing is a great way of showing off your writing skills, YouTube is useful for show reels for animators and video editors, and the likes of Pinterest and Instagram are handy tools for graphic designers to promote their work. Pick the right social media platform and showcase your business.

3. Be Active In Discussion

The great thing about social media lies on its social ability. Engage yourself in discussions within your particular sector can be a great way of getting yourself out there and promote yourself. For example, if you’re a budding SEO Manager, taking part in chats about SEO techniques will raise your profile. Search for LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities or Twitter chats that are relevant to your industry and take part in or start your own discussions with fellow professionals. This will increase your authority and build your audience at the same time.

4. Provide Useful Content

Once you’ve got more followers on social media, how do you keep them interested and place yourself as an influencer/authority?

The answer is simple: you need to find useful content related to your industry and skill set, then share it with your followers. Being useful for others is essential. Check out industry blogs, YouTube channels or publications for great content. However, only share content you’ve read it yourself and think it of high-quality.

5. Have A Distinctive Characteristic

During the process of utilising Internet and social media to build your brand, it can be very easy to become stuffy and dull. To avoid this, include some funny content or posts as well. It would be better if you can share some personal, light-hearted content on your social media profiles. However, always make sure the content you’ve shared is appropriate in both prospects and customers’ point of view.