Your Creative Team

Get Creative NOW! 8 Great Tips to Get Your Brain in Gear

08.26.2014 Better Business
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Whether you’re busy running your business, bumping up your brand reach or trying to come up with creative content marketing ideas, like many creative types, you occasionally hit the wall. Uh oh. It’s the dreaded Brain Drain! Sometimes we all need a creative boost to brighten our day. Here are some tips to get your brain back on track and moving forward to a more productive, creative workday.

1. Game On!

Playing games isn’t just a waste of time. The right kinds of games can shift your focus, allowing your higher creative functions to take a break while you cruise through some spatial or math based games. Try games that claim to boost your brain through science, like Luminosity or Fit Brains. After a 10-minute bout of brain games, I feel refreshed and ready to begin my next project. (Heck, try one of our branding quizzes—they’re fun!)

2. Step Outside

It’s the tail end of summer, so get outside and sweat a little! Physical activity is a great way to clear your head. Even a short walk can provide a lot of benefits. If your climate or schedule doesn’t allow for running out the door whenever you feel like it, be sure to schedule time at the gym several times a week to keep your brain and your body in tip-top shape. Try yoga at home to improve physical strength and flexibility, as well as mental stamina.

3. Stay Up Late

While it may sound counter-productive, night owls boast higher IQs—and that can’t hurt creativity. You can argue whether this is a causation-does-not-equal-correlation issue or even whether it’s a chicken-or-egg scenario, but regardless, there’s something to be said for staying up late!

4. …or be the Early Bird

Another study says that early risers are happier and more productive. So which one do you choose? I know there are a lot of people out there who will never be happy before 10am (and are downright murderous before their coffee!), but I also know that morning people love the air at dawn.

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Fast-Growing Franchises: Why Consistency is SO Influential

06.03.2014 Better Branding

Here at The Branding Spot blog, we like to talk about consistent branding.

What is a consistent brand? A consistent brand presence means that your logo, your brand colors, and the look and feel of your business is consistent across ALL of your marketing collateral and present in every way your customer interacts with your business—from website to tradeshows to business cards and so much more. We like to call this Brand Alignment.

Why be consistent? Brand consistency is hugely beneficial for your business. The more consistent you are across all your brand elements, the more recognizable your brand becomes. When you see fire engine red and mustard yellow “McDonald’s” probably pops into your head, automatically—probably even subconsciously. Consistent branding is just one reason the McDonald’s brand is so easily recognizable and memorable.

The Business of Consistency

Across-the-board consistency is the key to the overall success of any franchise. One of my favorite business books, The EMyth talks at length about this phenomenon. While not all successful businesses need to be franchises, the principle behind the franchise is what makes these businesses work.

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Value Your Brand? Educate Your Audience

03.18.2014 Better Business
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The world is always changing, and nowadays it’s changing faster than ever. The good news is, since the advent of a more accessible Internet, today’s educated and curious consumers are regularly hitting the Web to research and discover the benefits of continuously emerging products and services. This is a huge opportunity to market your business and your brand—but there are quite a few tricks of the trade you need to know to best cash in on this opportunity and build your brand in process.

Ask yourself the following questions and you’ll be on your way to educating your target audience, building your brand identity, and seeing more sales in the long run.

Where’s My Untapped Niche?

Chobani tapped into the yogurt market by advertising their new product as not just another yogurt, but instead, a Greek-style yogurt. While most people had never heard of Greek yogurt before, they were immediately interested in exploring this “new” yogurt style that offers less sugar and more protein than traditional yogurt. The Chobani brand was launched in 2007 and in a few short years Chobani became the top-selling yogurt in the United States. (Read: they don’t just top the Greek yogurt charts—they’re THE top-selling yogurt in the entire country, and they became a billion dollar business during a period of economic downturn to boot!)

The Lesson: To educate your audience, first identify your niche.

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Your 2014 Content Marketing Plan – A 3 Step Guide

01.21.2014 Better Marketing
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“Where do I even start? I’m overwhelmed!” …is this you?

Even if you understand how content marketing is crucial for the ongoing success of your business and your brand, actually creating a content marketing plan for 2014 can be a totally time-consuming task. You might envision creating a slew of blog posts, eBooks, eNewsletters, new website content like articles and whitepapers, social media updates, and more. Now that takes a lot of planning—and that’s just the written content marketing pieces!

So if you’re serious about launching a real content marketing strategy to extend your brand reach this year, there’s just NO way you’re going to be successful without a workable plan in place.

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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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Can’t Miss Brands: The 4 Most Influential Brands of 2013

12.10.2013 Better Marketing

Whether completely over-the-top, controversial or just plain marketing genius, we’ve seen a lot of brands creating a lot of buzz over the last year. Brand advertising now comes at us from every possible angle: online, on TV and in print. Because of that fact, if you set out to advertise your brand in this day and age, you’d better have something pretty incredible to offer, lest be left in the marketing dust.

Truth is, properly branded products most often make it to the shelves of our local stores and become household names. But influential branding isn’t always about big names and corporate money. Sometimes, even little brands can make a BIG impact in the marketplace.

Today we’re going to take a look at the brands of 2013 that stood out as most memorable, despite all obstacles.

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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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3 Easy Ways to Track ROI on Print Ads

10.15.2013 Better Business
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With the advent of the Internet, measuring your return on investment (ROI) for your print advertising is easier than ever before—you just have to know the ropes. For the most part, the secret is to tie your print campaigns in with an online marker that clearly indicates performance—but there are other interesting ways to gather insight into your ad performance and your potential customer demographics.

Try these tips and tricks for measuring your ROI on your next print advertising campaign. You won’t be disappointed!

Offer Up a Unique Phone Number

When your ad contains a unique phone number, measuring ad response is easy: Simply count the calls coming in from that number and use a smart CRM system to track the results from lead to closing the deal. Want smarter analytics with more detail and/or for multiple campaigns? Try a paid system like Marchex. Set up your number and they do the legwork for you. Pretty handy. If you’re a smaller business or just starting out, pick up a free number plus voicemail from Google Voice.

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