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Your Brand is Your Promise! (So What Are You Promising?)
When people mention the word "brand" they usually mean a well known, well defined company. That's why consumers frequently mention names such as Target, Rolex, Apple, BMW and others who have done an excellent job in crafting an image and sticking with it. Buyers know what to expect from these companies, and as long as these companies meet that expectation, they will continue to imprint their brand in the minds of our their audience. It's pretty simple really, if you just keep in mind these two principals.
Principal One: Know your promise.
As amazing as this may seem, most companies don't really know what it is they are promising their clients. That's why they have weak brands. They may have mission statements, and can spout off why everyone should use their product or service, but really it's just a rambling list. Out of fear of losing audience, most companies will try to compete on price, quality and service... and that's a recipe for disaster. Who wants to buy a watch from the Discount Overnight Rolex store? If you try to go after all three areas you end up muddied in the mind of the consumer, who is trying to put you in a box. And in this case... that's a good thing!
A mental "box" is not that different from a set of mail room boxes. The customers gets all these incoming "messages" and has to sort them all day. The easier you make it for them to sort your company, and put it in a category, the easier it will be for them to recall it when needed. Try this... think of a fast place to eat. How about the best tasting food? And finally, the place you go if you really want to impress someone? You can probably think of each of these categories rather quickly. And chances are, these companies are more than happy to fill that niche without trying to become much more.
Take a moment and write out in two or three sentences (more if you're feeling inspired) exactly what your brand promises. It will usually fall under three main categories... quality, service or price. But there are nuances. Ben & Jerry's image contains both a quality message and a social message... one of comittment to the community and environment.
Principal Two: Never violate Principal One.
Once you have firmly established your promise in the minds of consumers, make sure every move you make conforms to that promise. Coke was fine to come out with Diet Coke, Cherry Coke and a host of other flavor variations (brand extension) but they completely missed the mark when they introduced NEW Coke. People believed in Coke, identified with Coke and it was a part of their history. New Coke was seen as a betrayal of the brand itself, a vote of no confidence in their core product. "What's wrong with the original Coke?" was the immediate question that popped up in most minds. That's why is so important to know what it is, and why it is, that people buy from you and believe in you.
Know your promise and keep your promise. Pretty simple? Yet it will go a long ways toward making your company resonate with your customer on a deep and lasting level. And that's a promise.
Phil's life goal of "creating environments where people thrive" reflects his desire to assist in personal, professional and business growth. Phil founded and ran a full service ad agency for over 17 years and now works full time as a business naming and branding consultant. He has authored numerous articles on naming and branding as well as addressing groups nationwide. Phil resides with wife Michelle and four energetic offspring outside Asheville, North Carolina. His web site can be viewed at http://PureTungsten.com or you may reach him by e-mail at Phil@PureTungsten.com
Extreme Makeover ? Small Business Edition
Have you ever watched one of those home makeover shows? You know the scenario. The homeowners have decorated or remodeled their house all by themselves. After awhile, they realize that what they did is unprofessional, it doesn't work, it's not what they want, it's not what they need, it's ugly, or they just flat out despise it. So, they hire an expert designer to help.
Logo Design Tips
Logos can be described as visual icons that provide a unique identification element to a business or product. Logos provide quick visual recognition of a Company which in-turn builds branding. Business owners and overly enthusiastic artists can often go astray in their efforts to design the perfect logo. There are too many examples of logo designs that look uninspired, overtly abstract or seem to be nothing more than whimsical art. Many of these logos are designed without forethought into usage, application or even cost impact upon a business. So how do you create a logo that makes business sense? Consider following a few simple guidelines:
Hummer is an Excellent Brand
What size is your Hummer? Hummers Come in All Sizes; Tiny, small, medium and large and of course the most popular of all; The Oh My God Size. They make matchbox size Hummers, Tonka Toy size and adult size. Are you quite sure you know your hummer sizes. Marketers of the Hummer Brand want to be omni present in your life and it is working. For instance here is a toy hummer you can buy online
Not So Stationary Stationery
The elements and functionality of the basic stationery system is changing. With the advent of email, fax, web and cell phones, stationery systems must be adjusted to meet the needs of today's business.
Brand Boring or Brand Buzz?
I heard an advertisement on the radio the other day that surprised me, not because they were saying anything noteworthy, but because it was so banal. It was a national company's ad. They pay an ad agency to write and produce their commercials. There are so many words at their disposal, so many descriptions, so many emotional statements to attract customers, why would they use the trite phrase, " knowledgeable, friendly staff to serve you"? Even if they couldn't think of anything exciting, they could have used, "if you've got questions, we've got answers", "we specialize in providing answers"?"specializing in premium products and effective solutions"."Try and stump the staff with your questions, they love a challenge". "We don't have all the answers but we'll help find solutions"
Trade Journals in Franchising
As many people know Industry Trade Journals in America have gone through a tough time in recent years due to slowing of advertising dollars. In franchising there is no difference. They use to give away subscriptions to Successful Franchising on franchise web sites; unfortunately that magazine was unable to weather the storm. They stop publishing in October of 2001. Now we see a re-emergence of Franchise Times, who has hired a new salesman, who is going to all the franchisors and telling them to advertise.
Brand Value Plan - Brand Identity Guru
Developing brand value is critical to every organization and when professionally executed, delivers a clear and measurable competitive advantage to your firm. It does so by helping you establish a positive connection and value-relationship with your customer, which, over time, will build brand equity and increase brand value.
How Much Is A Great Business Logo Really Worth?
A great logo can help a business project a positive image while a bad logo can bring a negative impression about a company. For many companies, a logo is the only identifiable mark a potential customer may ever see, so it needs to be memorable, descriptive and easily recognizable. If a logo is the company spokesman, how much is it really worth?
Articles: The Perfect Branding Tool
If you own a web-based business, you're probably aware of the need for things like link exchanges, lead-purchasing, SEO copy, banner ads and all of the "traditional" ways to get exposure on the World Wide Web.
Brand equity can be defined in many different ways. I have developed a simple, yet powerful, definition of brand equity. For a brand to be strong it must accomplish two things over time: retain current customers and attract new ones. To the extent a brand does these things well, it grows stronger versus competition, and delivers more profits to its owners.
The Top 10 Strategies for the Positioning of Success
Many businesses of today are often driven to compete striclty on price, quality, and features of their products and services. Companies who prosper over the long term don't simply offer the best deals, the best quality, or the most impressive bells and whistles. If you want to win big in today's cutting edge world of business, you have to begin by thinking differently and by challenging the status quo. Whether you are a new or an established business owner, these ten powerful strategies will position your company for big success.
New Uniforms Could be the Gold Charm for the Golden Arches
New designer uniforms could be the gold charm McDonald's needs to connect their new hip marketing campaign to their fast-food restaurants. This possible gold charm for the fast-food chain has the ability to let the actual fast-food restaurants reflect the image they are portraying in their advertisement campaign. The new "I'm lovin' it" marketing campaign has attracted a youthful audience to the fast-food chain. However, when this trendy younger crowd comes to McDonald's, they do not see the same fashionable place that they saw in the commercial. Instead, they see the same thing that they would see at just about any fast-food restaurant. McDonald's hopes to further entice this target market into their restaurants by updating their restaurants with new employee uniforms.
The Positioning of Success
Many businesses of today are often driven to compete striclty on price, quality, and features of their products and services. Companies who prosper over the long term don't simply offer the best deals, the best quality, or the most impressive bells and whistles. If you want to win big in today's cutting edge world of business, you have to begin by thinking differently and by challenging the status quo. Whether you are a new or an established business owner, these ten powerful strategies will position your company for big success. (1) Adopt the philosophy of "Givers Gain." In 2003, the members of Business Network International (BNI) passed over 2 million referrals to each other. Founded by CEO Ivan Misner, BNI is a business and professional networking organization that offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and most importantly, referrals. Misner founded BNI based on the philosophy of "Givers Gain," which is the belief that in order to get business, it is important to first give business. One of the critical factors in achieving success rests in the ability to develop reciprocal relationships where two parties naturally refer business to each other on a consistent basis. "It's not what you know but who you know" has never been so true as it is in today's competitive world of business. For more information on Ivan Misner and his philosophy of "Giver's Gain," access an interview here: http://www.cvcommunity.com/utility/showArticle/?objectID=1452 (2) Focus on Soft Innovations In today's competitive marketplace, the old equation of spending more on advertising to increase profits it not working as it once did. In his latest book, Free Prize Inside, author Seth Godin, makes a strong case for using soft innovations as a way to get noticed in this crowded and noisy world. Soft innovations are the small yet insightful ideas that can take your product or service from good to remarkable. They are often hidden, and they usually solve a problem that is " peripheral to what your product is ostensibly about." At first glance, you think the soft innovation does not mean much, but once you have it in place, it becomes an essential part of your product or service. Examples of soft innovations include Starbuck's Cards, Dinosaur-shaped pasta for kids, and Amazon.com cutting its ad spend and offering free shipping with the money saved. For more information, read an interview with Seth Godin in Today's Coach here: http://www.cvcommunity.com/utility/showArticle/index.cfm?objectID=1524 (3) Re-groove! How do you operate when the heat is on? How do you respond to chaos? When new skills or new behaviors are needed, how do you respond? Knowing what to do and how to do it is one thing but being able to respond effectively and to keep your cool under pressure and on a consistent basis is a very different ballgame. As leaders in today's world, it is crucial to learn how to work differently and how to be able to shift and bend to meet expectations which here one day and gone the next. The half-life of a great idea or a new product or service has never been shorter, and it is up to you as a business owner to become masterful with reshaping strategies, adding new perks to old products, and to stay on top of your game in the face of dramatically changing circumstances. You may find that your strength of achievement was required to get your company up and running but that same strength is now squelching the creativity of your team. It's time to Re-Groove! It's time to unlock the incredible potential that is inside of you that is required to get the job done under present day demands. If you are dedicated to re-grooving (getting past the old worn out grooves of your past conditioning,) it is essential to work with a coach or trainer who can coach you through the new behaviors quickly and in real time. By learning to re-groove, you will be able to create incredible opportunities for your company and for yourself. (4) Make your brand a "state of mind" Are you winning when it comes to style, a smart and accessible mix of products and services, and first rate customer service? If so, Bravo! However, this is just a part of the equation of what it takes to truly succeed. In order to create a brand that is truly memorable, it is crucial for you to live an inspired life and to make your brand a "state of mind" for your customers. This state of mind could be a feeling of trust and confidence, a sense of well being, or a state of knowing that you are buying from a company who has your best interests at heart. This state of mind cannot develop behind the confines of the walls of your business. It grows and develops when you are in the middle of your potential buyers?in restaurants, traveling, checking out the competition, playing sports, tinkering with a hobby, having fun and lots of it! If you are living fully and in relationship with others, you will be re-energized every day and you will give your customers a vision of what an inspired life actually looks like, because you are living one! Your brand will become much more than your trimmings...it will become the connection that others feel when they think of you as a valued person in their lives. (5) Become masterful at mobilizing resources The ability to galvanize resources, both human and monetary, and to build effective and efficient projects with them is a critical component of success in today's marketplace. We are quick to look first at the monetary costs of a project and quickly get cold feet, when the reality is that we have valuable resources hidden in our personal and professional lives which may not cost a dime. Social capital is one resource that is one of the most valuable assets available to business owners of today. The term social capital emphasizes that very specific benefits are made available from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. The value of social capital is that people can draw on the wisdom of each other to solve common problems, especially as it relates to money, time, and resources. (6) Buck conventional wisdom In 1971, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher decided to start an airline that you might say?was different and a little bit quirky. They began with one simple notion: If you get your passengers to their destinations on time, at the lowest fare possible, and make sure they have a fantastic time doing it, people will choose you over a competing airline. This is the story of Southwest Airlines, who chose to move beyond the status quo by offering services and a sense of style that bucked conventional wisdom. With their focus on fun, games, and "Love Southwest Style," Southwest has made its mark with its strong focus on stellar customer service and conveniences such as allowing customers to proceed to their departure gate without stopping at the ticket counter, skycap, or self-service kiosk. Most importantly, Southwest has honed in on searching for important personal qualities in those they hire-- the perfect blend of energy, humor, team spirit, and self-confidence to match its famously offbeat culture. Southwest was once dismissed as a maverick, as their strategies seemed strange to the "airline powerhouses." These same powerhouses are now looking in awe at what this "maverick" has built. The strategy of originality worked?It had the sticking power required for success. (7) Become a Talent FarmWhen recruiting new employees, what are you looking for? Raw talent? Raw communication skills? Intellect? Athletic ability? Commitment? Skills? Flexbility? What about all of this and more? If you are a company who wants to operate at the leading edge, where change is the greatest and success is the goal, you will want to recruit the most talented group of people you can find?those people who are self- starters and who are living boldly in the world. By developing a "talent farm" culture, you can instill a mindset of excellence from the top to the bottom of your organization. This culture encompasses a deeply held belief that having high caliber people is crucial to your success. With this "talent farm" approach to recruiting, your company will also be required to recruit great talent every day. Successful businesses and organizations have a strong sense of what they are looking for, and they are always on the look for new talent and ways to retain them for a lifetime. (8) Embrace your core values What is it in life that you most value? Do you value beauty, leadership, creativity, stability, or family? You can choose to orient your life around your wants and needs or the list of things you feel you "should" be doing, but if you embrace your core values and build your life around them, you will find experience inspiration and joy at a level you never thought was possible. Whole Foods Market is one of the fastest growing supermarkets of today, because its commitment to fresh, nutritious products is a value that keeps customers coming back for more and employees happy, hard working, and committed. When you focus your business on doing what feels right and what fulfills you, you will have no regrets, because you have been true to the very core of your being. (9) Become a "white hot center" of influence A "white hot center" of influence is an organization or group that you most want your company to be aligned with tightly and in a relationship which is reciprocal. One connection into a strong center of influence can position your company to attract a stream of qualified opportunities. (Example: You are an interior designer, and you want to be in the middle of Southern Accent or Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.) In order to attract a "white hot center" of influence, you have to become what you want to attract. Be well educated, highly skilled, experienced, trained and innovative in your product development. Fill your network with other business owners who are up to big things in the world and who are experts in their respective fields. Attract talented people into your company, and tap each and every talent and skill available in your company. As you begin to raise your bar in all areas of your business and enhance your network, you will eventually become a "white hot center" that will attract others by the thousands. (10) Just Begin! Start where you are, and begin today to create success in your life. Drop the excuses, reasons or people to blame, dis-empowering attitudes and behaviors and get on with the business of living the life you know you were born to live. Do what you know you want to do, and do it with passion. Begin today to create the tomorrow you want. As Peter Drucker said, "The best way to predict the future is to create it"
How to Write Classified Ads that Get Results Now.
SELLING DIRECTLY FROM A CLASSIFIED AD
Branding Junk Removal - He Did It, Can You?
What does it mean to be remarkable?
Types of Logos
There are three basic types of logos: text, symbol, and combination logos. The type of logo that will work best for your company depends on a number of considerations, such as the size of your company, the uniqueness of your name, and a variety of other factors.
Branded Email: Email Branding is the Next Generation of Email
All You Need is Branded EmailOrAlways Branded Email There to Remind Me
Are You Brand Worthy? Are You Brand Worthy?
Branding is a one hot topic, although it is wildly misunderstood. To make things even more confusing, branding is often tossed in the same basket as marketing which makes its application to an entrepreneur or sole-practioner even more unclear.
Brand Extension; Going from Consumer to Commercial
As more and more home pressure washers are sold at leading retailers such as Wal-Mart, Sears, Home Depot, Cosco, etc. We are seeing companies offer products in brand line extension to service this niche. Armor All is the newest company to offer it's brand name customer loyalty to sell these products. They of course have been heavy into the Car Wash Industry with National Networks of Distributors in Canada and The US and Europe for tire cleaners and protectants, now they are offering a concrete cleaner for home pressure washer do-it-yourselfers.
The Big Uneasy: Clearing the Clouds of Guess
People often come to me to assist them with developing their brand because they are unable to accomplish the business success they desire. They're experiencing what we call the Big Uneasy--the state of being when things are hard. They are stuck in an idea, unable to make it happen, and dreams are unfulfilled. Life is heavy, there's a lack of flow... the Big Uneasy has taken over.
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