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Entries in branding (4)

Tuesday
Jun282016

Are you a mompreneur? 4 Ways to Brand Your Business on a Budget

There are seemingly limitless different options for creating brand recognition and effectively marketing your business.

While some branding and marketing strategies are very specific to certain industry niches and wouldn’t work well in others, there are a few ideas that are more universally effective, easily crossing market and speciality boundaries. Similarly, some marketing tactics can cost a lot of money, but others are inexpensive yet still effective.

Here are four tried-and-true branding strategies that won’t break the bank but will accomplish your goal of spreading the word about your business:

1. Memorable, distinct design

With all the possible options available for creating your own website, business cards, emails, and every other type of communication you can think of, it’s easy to get carried away and vary your look on every channel you utilize.

Although hiring a professional graphic designer to create a logo, develop a color scheme, and update your image across all digital and real-world channels sounds ideal, there is cost involved, which may be prohibitive if the budget is tight.

With some planning, effort, and the use of a few free or inexpensive tools, however, you can accomplish the same goal on your own with beautiful results.

For example, Canva is a powerful web-based graphic design tool that’s free to use and charges nothing to very little (even just  $1) for pro-quality photographs and graphics to supplement the huge library of free templates and fonts it makes available. By simply creating a logo/brand design combination you’re happy with, then applying that design to the multiple templates on their site, you can develop consistent branding for your website, all your social media channels, business cards, print marketing materials, and much more, all for little or no cost.

2. Consistent voice and tone in content

Although the idea of “branding” tends to make us think about logos and visual elements that we associate with a business, the voice and tone of a company’s marketing content is just as much a part of that brand as the logo is.

Again, hiring a professional writer to create your website, social media, and other marketing content can have excellent results, there’s usually a significant cost involved. That’s why most mompreneurs running their own small businesses tend to handle this aspect of their marketing themselves.

Just as with the graphic design elements noted above, making a concerted effort to develop your own personal voice and tone in content, and maintaining that consistently across all channels, will have a unifying and trust-building effect. A consistent content tone makes customers and visitors get to know you more easily, and inspires them to join in the conversation as they feel a part of your community.

3. Developing a “social brand”

Social media is such an ingrained part of our personal and professional lives today, it comes second nature to many of us. However, learning to benefit from social media for your business is very different than sharing news or pictures with friends and family.  Social media for business requires a strategy, which will help you meet goals and grow your business. Without a plan in place for determining the channels where your audience is, the type of content that will interest them, and the frequency at which they want to hear from you, you could likely waste valuable time and resources, which as a small business owner, you don’t have to spare.

Fortunately, there are many resources that can help you focus on social media for business best practices and how to develop targeted how-to information, including the site you’re on right now. Focus on separating your personal and professional social media activity (without losing the personality that your customers have come to expect from you) so you can maintain the consistent voice and tone described above across all the social channels you choose to use for your business.

As an added benefit, this strategy frees you up to be yourself on your personal Facebook or Instagram accounts without second-guessing every status update, worried your customers may take exception to what you say.

4. Personalized gifts and giveaways

One excellent option with great creative possibilities involves using custom personalized gifts and giveaways that include your business name, logo, contact information, or another branded message. Whether you’re an independent service professional, the owner of a manufacturing company, an Etsy-based eCommerce entrepreneur, restaurant owner, or high level business consultant, personalized branded gifts and promotional items can easily fit into your marketing strategy.

A few ideas think about:

  • Branded T-shirts, sweatshirts and other apparel

  • Personalized office supplies

  • Custom branded drinkware

  • Branded totes

  • Custom branded magnets

  • … and so much more.

These gifts are inexpensive, useful, memorable, and can be customized to perfectly reflect your company’s personality. The list of possibilities above barely scratches the surface, so don’t assume any other fantastic giveaway ideas won’t work for you and your Mom-owned business!

As a small business owner, always be on the lookout for new and creative ways to market your business, improve brand recognition, and spark interest in your prospects and customers alike. While there’s value in investing in this type of marketing, there’s plenty of valuable work you can do on a very tight budget as well.

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Friday
Oct022015

How are you branding YOURSELF on Social Media?

How are you branding YOURSELF on Social Media? Sure, you have probably read everything about getting exposure for your business and taken countless trainings on how to market your company, BUT how are you branding yourself???

Ok, so you are probably thinking, I spend all my time working on my business, why do I need to brand myself on social media. My business is the most important thing.

Let me pose this question: Are you reaching ALL your potential customers with your company’s social media pages? Odds are, probably not. You could be paying for ads that aren’t reaching your ideal customer. And if you aren’t paying for ads, then are you getting the engagement you want on your page? If not, the algorithms are not playing in your favor and exposure is low which means your page is not very effective.

As a small business owner, it is your responsibility to represent your company in all facets of social media. You need to be the brand and face of your business. Since many entrepreneurs are in charge of their own social media, you need to be embracing your personal social media pages as well.

Let me paint a picture for you: people are loving your brand, they are loving the product or service you are providing and then they go to do a little more research on the company especially the person behind the curtain.

They start Googling you and find amazing articles and interviews that show how awesome other people think you are. Curiosity sinks in and they start following your personal page on Facebook or Instagram. It turns out it’s not quite what they thought it was going to be. There is a strong disconnect between your business and your personal brand. Your page is full of unoriginal posts, shared posts, game requests, candy crush scores out the wazoo, political rants, obscene pictures of you getting wasted at a family party or worst yet it’s ONLY posts about your company.

All of a sudden the brand they loved is something they are questioning now. All they wanted was to get to know the owner and with this, they really are seeing a side of you that is incongruent with the message your company is putting out there.

Enhancing your personal brand on social media is going shift the whole landscape of your business. It will open up a brand new network of customers that might have never even come into your scope because you chose to forget a major outlet that you were unaware of tapping into.

How do I do this without turning my friends away but instead turning them into paying customers or even better REFERRALS!!??!!

It’s all about authenticity and giving them a peek into your amazing life without flat out selling or pushing a product 24/7. Think about it, when you log onto Facebook in the morning, do you sit down at your computer and say “hmm, what am I going to buy from Facebook today?”

NO!

You are going on to see what your friends are doing: who had a baby, who went on an amazing trip, who ate what and basically being a voyeur into their lives. It’s fun and that’s what it’s all about. You like and you comment because it’s interesting not because you want to buy something from your friends.

Let me let you in on a formula that has worked well with my business. If you go onto my personal page, you can easily figure out that I do something in the health and wellness field, but that’s what I do, it’s not who I am.

Who I am is a positive person, pouring motivation and inspiration into others, a mom who loves posting pictures of her kids, a woman who shares her travels and adventures and how she incorporate fitness and running into her busy life!

This is a general formula I use when planning out what I will post during the week:

10 lifestyle posts: meaningful posts with pictures of your family, your amazing life and all over positive posts. No political rants or negativity on your page.

4 posts somewhat inferring about your business: giving your friends a glimmer of what you are doing. Are you traveling somewhere fun for your business? Can you take a picture with your product placed in the background? You are looking to post something nonchalant about what you do without pushing it into people’s faces.

1 power post: this is a post where you share a deal you have going on, a new product you are launching, or a new service you are offering. You can put it all out on the table with this one post during the week.The point of only doing this once a week is so that people do not get annoyed with how many times you are posting about your business and in turn will probably unfollow you. They are also more likely to purchase this particular offering if you are only bringing it up once in awhile. What’s better than free marketing?

The point of doing it this way is to create curiosity but to not overwhelm your friends with your business either. By using this method, people will start asking questions like, “oh, are you still doing…?” or even better “what do you do? I have to know because your posts are amazing!”

Remember you are the person behind your company so project the persona in your personal social media pages that will make people know, like and trust you equaling more revenue for your empire!

Abbey Fatica is a busy mom of four, a runner and loves to travel. She is passionate about helping others transform their lives by become physically and financially free. She loves helping other moms feel comfortable in their skin and be able to dream again. She is a Life and Business Coach working with entrepreneurs who are wanting accountability and increase productivity to balance both their business and their personal life.   She is on a mission to help families create their healthiest life, full of financial and time freedom, so they can live out their passions with a strong purpose! Connect with Abbey Fatica on Facebook today!

Thursday
Jun042015

How to create the right look for your brand

By Monika Labbé

Successful brands have branding at the heart of their business, it permeates from the inside out. It’s prevalent not just in their look but in their verbiage as well. It’s in everything they say and do.

So how do you define yourself or your business? Is this the same as business identity? When you have a strategically defined brand and customers can connect with it on an emotional level, it means they have the same values and beliefs of your brand. This then gives you an ideal platform from which to extend your offerings because at this point your clients feel loyal to you.

First you need to pinpoint your space in the market, and research the emotional needs and concerns of your clients. Think of your brand as a person. When your building your brand consider your own character, will it be the same or different from you as person? It’s vital to create trust with your brand, and you do that by not breaking promises and delivering more than expected. Let your clients know exactly what to expect from your product or service so there are no surprises.

Most important your brand is different from any other so copying from the look and feel of other similar chains is counterproductive. What you need to be is different, not the same. Clients want someone original and they crave authenticity. Do a competitive analysis and find out what other companies are offering, then decide how your brand is different. Finding that special something that sets you apart is essential. Clients today have so many choices that you need to stand out in order to be recognized.

Just putting your logo on everything will no longer work as the marketplace is rapidly changing. Clients want to engage with your brand at every level, they want it to be a personal experience. Give it to them. The clients of today are highly intelligent so respect that intelligence by generating some intrigue about your brand, allow them to find out more about you on their own. This is how relationships are built after all. Clients today will share their great and not so great experiences with their friends, family and even strangers so creating loyalty is more important now than ever before.

When choosing a design theme you will need to make sure you match the tone and language of your brand and its mission. Your look needs to be synchronized across all the mediums, website, product, brochures, etc. A great logo helps you to embed yourself in the clients mind. Hiring a professional is a must as your logo should be distinctive and well designed.

Research and choose colors that will represent your brand, remember to keep it simple. You want the brand you create to be easily recognizable and come to mind quickly.

Try offering more rather than offering discounts. Promotions are opportunities to further enforce your brand. Consider nostalgia to build your brand, people feel connected to things that remind them of childhood and carefree times.

It’s a good idea to copyright any visual branding or distinctive tag lines. Remember the personal connection you have with your clients is what will ultimately make your company successful.

Having been a professional photographer for over 13 years, I feel very blessed to have been published in numerous books, magazines, and websites. For me, seeing how my photos touch others, whether they bring a smile, a chuckle, or a tear, is what I consider truly priceless. I welcome the opportunity to bring that to you and your family. For more information regarding photography services, please contact me through my website,or email me directly. ~ Monika Labbé, Visual Storyteller

Thursday
Apr242014

What is your brand?

By Monika Labbé

As more and more people create products and services the word “brand” has almost become synonymous with the word trademark. The company’s branding is what distinguishes or differentiates it from others. It’s similar to the way cattle ranchers branded their cattle over 100 years ago, to distinguish which group belonged to whom.

Question is, what does this really mean, and why is it important for me and my business? Years ago when a now famous soda company was getting started, it needed a way to stand out from all the other soda companies out in the marketplace. If we broke it down to the bare bones, we could say that a brand is simply a non-generic name for a product that tells us the source of the product. In years back, we referred to these non-generic names as brand names. So then is there a difference between a brand name and a brand? Is there more to the perception of distinctive products and services than their names?

It is my belief that business owners create a specific perception in the mind of it’s customers concerning the qualities and attributes of their specific product or service and then call it their “brand.” Simply put, your “brand” is what your customer or perspective customer thinks of when he or she hears your company’s name. It is everything the general population thinks it knows about your name brand and what it offers, whether it’s factual (it also comes in canary yellow) or emotional (it’s authentic).  Your “brand name” exists objectively, but your brand exists in someone’s mind.

So, it’s safe to assume that when a customer has a real relationship with your brand and feels comfortable around it, you can start to see your brand growing stronger. Customers will sometimes have nicknames for your brand, just like in real life people sometimes create nicknames for those they feel a fondness or affection for. This would be brand reinforcement. Sometimes though, these perceptions can have a negative effect. Like, for example the retailer Whole Foods, which has been known and called “whole paycheck” by loyal shoppers.

The best way to be remembered is to be first in your prospect’s mind. It’s no accident that brands have become synonymous with their function. What tissue do you use? Kleenex. What coffee shop do you frequent? Starbucks. People love to remember and be loyal to things that have been around a long time. It’s no accident that they were also the first. People also love what is new, they can’t help themselves. Why do you think People magazine was named “People”? Yes, for its readers.

It’s no coincidence that people can remember the names of the Olympic Gold medal winners but not so much the silver or bronze. People are naturally drawn to firsts. So instead of copying a business idea, or someone else’s vision or mission, why not pick a different perception so that you can be sure to be the first one in the customers mind. This is when knowing your competitor comes in handy. Remember those wars between McDonalds and Burger King or Coke & Pepsi? Same products, different approach. McDonalds was fried but Burger King was flame broiled. Coke was Classic but Pepsi was the choice of a new generation. If you can successfully sidestep the old perception and firmly establish yourself as the go-to place or person for your product or service with what makes you different, that would be “new”.

So then ask yourself, what is the purpose of your branding efforts? What is it that you are trying to achieve? Is your product or service distinctive? Simply asking others to buy your product, is just not enough. Remember that every product has something unique about it. Do you know what your unique is? Is it very different than your competitor? Customers now have so many choices and need some way to distinguish among them. They really are looking for you to help them decide. It’s essential to educate your clients on the difference they are getting from you. This really comes down to knowing who your ideal client is and what specific thing about them would link your product or service together.

Sometimes we get so bogged down with running our business that we forget what the real purpose was of what we were trying to achieve in the first place.  Is the purpose of your branding efforts helping you gain more clients? If not, it might be time to take a really hard look at your brand.

Having been a professional photographer for over 13 years, I feel very blessed to have been published in numerous books, magazines, and websites. For me, seeing how my photos touch others, whether they bring a smile, a chuckle, or a tear, is what I consider truly priceless. I welcome the opportunity to bring that to you and your family. For more information regarding photography services, please contact me through my website,or email me directly. ~ Monika Labbé, Visual Storyteller