March 9, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Branding: A Series – Identifying Your Target Audience

When thinking about your branding your first thought may not be your target audience, but it is a critical element in the development of your brand. It’s the identification of your target audience that aids in determining some of the elements of your brand. For example if you are targeting high end clients, you want to make sure your copy has a tone that resonates with them, that your images are relatable. These images and the voice of your copy is not going to be the same if you switch your target market to young adults who are just out of college, or to new parents in the middle class.

Target Audience Ppersona WorksheetI have a free download to help you start to build your Target Audience profile.

Simply complete the form below & you’ll be emailed a link to download the Target Audience Persona Work Sheet.  This worksheet will help you identify the characteristics that make up your target audience and allow you to personify them into a composite that will make it easier for you and your team to relate to when developing materials.

[contact-form-7 id="692" title="Download Your Free Target Audience Persona Worksheet (email)"]

March 4, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Branding: A Series – Touchpoints

There are a variety of ways that our brand reaches out to our prospective clients.  These touchpoints help to develop our relationship and influence current and prospective clients on how they view and feel about our company or organization.  We are not able to control all of these points, however those we can we need to be proactively monitored and managed.

Some touchpoint for a brand are what some consider to be "the brand" the logo, the stationary, the signage.   True these are all elements of the brand but there so many other ways in which we reach out to our current and prospective clients: products, social media, news stories, videos, person-to-person interactions, events, sponsorship, websites, and print materials to name a few.

As I mentioned the last post, the receptionist for your organization is the first person to person touch that someone may have, and this can either be a strong positive moment or detrimental to how you want your organization and your brand perceived. Personal experiences can be somewhat controlled through training and policy, but people are people and they don't always do what we, or the organization, would like so you may need to have a damage control plan in place to help make sure that you can turn a negative experience back into a positive one.

The exposure doesn't stop there it's in the marketing materials that you create and send out, the Twitter feed, Facebook page, your Instagram - and all your social media.  You need to be aware of the tone of the conversations that are being had in these outlets so that you may support the positive and do damage control if something negative goes out. Remember you have control of YOUR accounts but the rest of the world gets to comment and hashtag about you to their heart's content.  So your goal is to make sure what's trending about your organization is in alignment with your brand and company values. The best plan is to have happy clients, and employees, adhere to your organization values and not get associated with anything that could be negative, but if you're unable to make that utopian concept a reality, have a damage control plan to help mitigate any situation that may arise.

The thing that I want you take away from today's post is that your brand is more than a graphic, a logo, a set of colors.  It's the people, the experiences, and the perception of who your organization is.  It's not all in your control, but what you can do is make sure that where you come in contact with people in general that you are keeping those interactions in alignment with how your organization wants to be seen,  It's the accumulation of all those, sometime insignificant, moments that will create the public's perception.  Wonderful graphics, images, and whole new re-branding campaign are pointless if your product doesn't do what it's suppose to, your sale people are rude, or no one returns a phone call.

 

February 28, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Branding: A Series – Brand = Reputation

Welcome to the next post on Branding.  Today I want to discuss the concept that your brand = your reputation.

As I touched on last week branding is about the people involved, their interaction and purpose.  Let's take this a step further and look at how those interaction and stated purposes can be supported or undermined by the reputation that is developed by the people and the organization / company they represent.

If your prospects and clients call in and are greeted by a pleasant and helpful receptionist. They start their interaction with you organization on a positive footing.  If the next person they interact with is helpful and courteous then this positive feeling continues.  Although they may have heard some buzz (good or bad) about the organization - they people they interact with have started to shift or reinforced their positive impression.  This scenario creates a stronger and more positive brand for your organization. The next time they hear about or interact with the organization they will reflect back on this experience and promote it in a positive light.

However, if your prospective client calls in and the receptionist has had a really bad day and is short tempered and rude, this can immediately create a hostile response in the caller.  Now, even if the next person they talk with is helpful, it may still not be enough to overcome the negative impression.

Obviously, the more positive exposures a person has with the organization — be it with person-to-person interactions, products, marketing materials (that are sincere and ring true to the persons experience ans perception) — the more easily it will be able to overcome the occasional "bad day".

Ultimately it is the cumulative collection of these experiences that will make up the reputation of a person, a company, an organization, even a movement.  The more people talk and share their experiences, the quicker a reputation grows.  If it's positive, everyone is happy, but it can just as quickly been torn down if you / your organization are not living up to the promises that you give your clients, or the public.  This is especially true in the world of social media that we now exist in. Unhappy clients, disgruntled employees, even the competition all have a readily available platform from which to strike and an ever growing audience to hear their complains.  This is why if you want a strong brand you need to also be managing your reputation.

February 23, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Branding: A Series – Misconceptions

Common Misconceptions

Many people have the misconception that a brand is a logo, stationary - or Corporate Identity. Corporate identity is part of branding, but it is not branding. Good logos are developed to reflect what the brand stands for.  They create a consistent visual mark that causes an emotional  or psychological connection to the brand.

Branding is difficult and expensive. Only if you make is so. Branding can be done without large amounts of money - Marketing, which can be part of brand activities, can be expensive, but branding doesn't need to be.

Branding is for big companies. Branding is something that companies large and small can do.  Branding is not even limited to companies, organizations have brands, as do individuals.

Branding is the domain of the Marketing or PR Department.  No branding is the responsibility of everyone in a business or organization.

Branding is about people.

Branding is the story of the people of a company / organization, why and how they have created their products and services. Their motivation and purpose. It's the story of the people who buy those same products and services. Why they like them, why they don't. We may think it's the story of a product or company but when you really look it's how the product or company as touched people's lives. Ultimately brands are all about people.  People create them. People maintain them. And, in the end people destroy them.

 

February 18, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Branding: A Series

We live in a world where terms like branding and brand awareness are tossed around on a regular basis. Unfortunately, these terms are rarely clearly defined, let alone explained  how they impact a business and what you as a business owner can do to understand and manage your brand.

Over the next few weeks a series of articles will be posted here to hopefully help with the understanding of the complex and ambiguous concept of branding and how a brand is developed and managed.

You may wonder who I am to provide this information to you. Well, I have a MFA in Media Design which included branding for both print and digital media formats.  I have worked for an international firm as part of their brand management and graphic services in the Americas, and have developed branding packages and guidelines for a number of profession service providers. Overall, I have been in the design field for 16 years and working with branding for nearly a decade.

A new post will appear about every five days. At this time commenting will be enabled for a the week after posting.  If you have a question or comment after that time please you the sites contact form to submit your question.  All relevant questions / comments will be responded to.

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