Better Branding

Why You NEED a Business Plan for Your Brand—and Where to Start

01.14.2014 Better Branding
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It’s pretty much common knowledge these days: having a business plan for your brand will help you not only set goals, but it’ll also help you reach your goals successfully. In fact, the MOST successful brands out there very likely have very detailed business plans. They may have rewritten their business plans several times throughout the course of their business. They may even be creating a new business plan right this very moment!

Point being: to even think about reaching brand and business success—you NEED a business plan.

But before we delve into exactly how to develop your all-encompassing business plan to build up your brand, let’s take a look at why many new business startups tend to miss the mark, and sadly, trip themselves before they can even get out of the gate.

Why Startups Fail

Startups most often fail due to a lack of demand for their product or service. Makes sense, right? If there’s no market for people to buy the product you produce or no reason to purchase the service you provide, then why would any customer spend money at your company? How will your company make a profit?

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Happy New Year—Now What? SMART Brand Goals

01.07.2014 Better Branding
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2014 is YOUR year! This is the year you’re going to ramp up your brand and your business and really show the world your stuff. You’ve probably received a bunch of email offers for New Year business specials—but where do you even start? The next few weeks we’ll be exploring everything you need (SMART goals, a business plan, a marketing plan, and a brand plan) to take your business to the next level this year and GROW in 2014!

After all, 2014 will bring many new opportunities, and if you expect your brand to get better traction than it did in 2013, you’ve got to MAKE that happen. Even if 2013 was an incredibly good year for you (which I hope it was!), you’ll still want to improve your business and your brand in 2014. That’s the real key to success: continual growth and improvement.

So, how can you guarantee continual growth and improvement with your brand in the New Year (and every year to come)? Well, it all comes down to setting goals. (And some goals are just SMARTer than others.)

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Prankvertising: Worth the Risk for Your Brand? (Part 2)

11.19.2013 Better Branding
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By now, you should know what prankvertising is and why big brands use it to garner attention. Yes, it’s true that prankvertising really gets people’s attention. After all, if you were (unknowingly) part of a prank that involved a violent scene of two men fighting each other in an elevator and subsequently watched one of those men slip a noose around the other’s neck, pulling it tight, you’d probably remember that pretty well, wouldn’t you?

That’s exactly what the marketing firm Thinkmodo was banking on when they orchestrated this stunt to promote the 2013 movie “Dead Man Down.” But, when we consider the outlandish nature of a prank such as this, the real question becomes, how far is too far when it comes to scaring the daylights out of people in the name of advertising?

Are the costs really worth the potential negative effects of prankvertising? Big brands with big bank accounts might have the flexibility to hire a team of lawyers, should a lawsuit pop up as the result of a misguided prank, but what about a small business?

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Prankvertising: How and Why the Big Brands Pull off Master Pranks, Part 1

11.12.2013 Better Branding
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Forget about April Fools’ Day. The days of anticipation, of knowing when the pranks were coming and where they were coming from, are long gone. Watching your back is no longer a suggestion; now, it’s a way of life. That is, if you want to get through the latest stream of big brand advertising spoofs with your head still on straight. What on Earth are we talking about, you ask?

Prankvertising.

It sounds just like what it is: prank-advertising. But, in some ways, prankvertising has become its own animal, especially with respect to how the big brands are using it to garner attention in mainstream media.

Try this analogy on for size: if prankvertising were a spit-ball, the target advertising market would be the teacher. No matter how gooey and gross that spit-ball is, when it hits the teacher’s leg, he or she is most certainly going to pay attention to the brand who threw it.

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The Branding Scoop on LinkedIn Company Pages

11.05.2013 Better Branding
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What’s one of the best places to showcase your brand, build audience trust and encourage positive interactions, making the conversion from potential customer to client? LinkedIn, of course!

LinkedIn Company Pages* are quickly becoming a preferred and trusted medium for potential customers looking to research and engage with a business. In fact, LinkedIn has found that “50% of LinkedIn members are more likely to purchase from a company they engage with on LinkedIn.” That’s a pretty big deal.

Here’s the scoop…

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Value Your Brand: How to Decommodify Your Business

10.29.2013 Better Business
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Remember the good old days when things like McDonald’s cheeseburgers and cans of Coca Cola were a special treat? I remember being as excited for the 4th of July fireworks as I was for Santa’s arrival each year. Just the thought of either one of those incredible events was enough to make me squeal with anticipation.

Why were these items and occurrences so special to me? Today, it seems like every holiday on the books gets a celebration of over the top fireworks and the like—and for most people, cheeseburgers and Coke are as everyday as soap and water.

These days, many people just purchase their own fireworks and set them off from their own backyard.

Though they’re still beautiful, the feeling you get just isn’t the same as it used to be.

So what’s changed?

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10 Ways Tradeshow Sponsors Can Use Twitter To Boost Their Brand

10.22.2013 Better Branding
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Savvy tradeshow sponsors know that using social media is a great way to boost their brand presence before, during and after the event. But you can’t just sign up for Twitter or Facebook and hope for the best. You have to implement a smart strategy to reap the benefits of social media success, no matter what industry you’re in.

So as a sponsor, what’s the best way to shift your tradeshow or conference presence into high gear and increase your booth attendance while boosting brand engagement?

Tradeshow sponsor, meet hashtag.

Since 2009, Twitter users have been utilizing hashtags to link tweets about the same subjects together so they can be viewed easily in conjunction with one another. Not only is this a great way to connect with people who share similar interests, but it’s also an incredibly handy tool to group tweets together at events. Especially at large events, like tradeshows and conferences.

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Howdy, Partner! Top Co-Branding Partnerships That Work

10.01.2013 Better Branding
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Co-branding might seem like an industry buzzword for new marketers, but tried and true professionals know that partnerships can be a great opportunity for both companies to boost brand recognition, inspire consumer confidence and increase overall sales. Yes, we’ve talked co-branding before—but hey, there’s more! Co-branding isn’t just for the big boys (corporations and big businesses)—and it’s not only useful for brands with similar product lines. Almost any and every company you can think of, from large to small and across a variety of industries, could potentially benefit from a co-branding partnership with a like-minded business.

So let’s delve into the world of co-branding partnerships and take a peek at some of the most unique, fascinating and downright memorable brand partnerships out there today.

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Branding Basics from ‘Breaking Bad’

09.17.2013 Branding Basics
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Back in 1996, when I started my freelance business, I rarely ran across a small business owner who actually understood the meaning of the word “branding.”

“I don’t need any branding. I don’t have any cows.”

Yea, I’m not kidding. I’ve heard that.

I believe it was around 2008 that I began to hear the word “branding” used in certain “in the know” circles. Nowadays, the word—and especially the concept—are understood well enough that even mainstream entertainment is teaching us lessons on branding.

Who’s a Fan of Breaking Bad?

Did you see last week’s episode? Did you catch the branding references?

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Protect Your Brand with a Strong Social Media Policy

08.27.2013 Brand Presence
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Chances are most of your employees are using social media. Many of them are using social media at work. Some of them are using social media from work every day. Are your employees clear on what constitutes appropriate use of the Internet during business hours? Do you have a policy in place that clearly outlines how employees can and cannot use social media?

If not, read this—because the time is now to get that social media policy in place. The integrity of your brand is at stake!

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