brand messaging

Wearable Tech & the Changing Narrative of your Brand

10.07.2014 Better Marketing
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Wearable tech is here and it’s not going anywhere. From Apple’s recently announced iWatch, to wearable fitness bands like Garmin’s vívofit® and UP by Jawbone™ to “reality enhancing” eyewear like Google Glass—the world (and the way we see and experience it) are changing quite rapidly.

…and we’re about to experience a huge culture shift in how we engage with brands, inspired by this disruptive technology.

From Staged to Sincere

Just as royalty used to pose for hours so an artist could capture their essence in paint, the same frame of reference carried forward in our shift to photography. From paint to film to print to digital and everything in between, we’ve been capturing everything from personal to professional moments in a “say cheese” manner.

That is to say, we’re big on staging the scene.

SELFIES. Need we say more?

But our most beautiful, honest moments as humans aren’t staged at all. That’s why we gaze in awe at the candid brilliance of a professionally taken photograph. The average person isn’t able to capture that kind of intimacy.

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3 Secrets to Landing More Leads with Great Branded Site Content

08.12.2014 Better Marketing
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Your website is your window to the world because it’s your potential and current customers’ window to your business. That means your website is one of your strongest marketing tools—so everything you put out there on the web must be in line with your awesome, consistent and memorable brand. Everything from your graphics to your brand voice must be aligned and working together with all of your offline and online brand components to effectively draw in your potential and current customers.

All your website content should play nice with your brand, while working for your business to attract new customers and to impress loyal, repeat customers. But how do you know what to put on your website to showcase your brand in a meaningful way and to draw in new business? Though the answer may vary a bit depending on your industry, here are 3 great ways to convert more leads with super-killer website content and online presence.

Homepage Heroics

The trick to an engaging homepage? Stop trying to sell, sell, sell! Instead, concentrate on making a fabulous first impression. Again, be sure your brand is on display. Your brand should be working for your business to draw in potential customers—if it’s not, it might be time for a brand refresh. (And it’s the perfect time of year to start! You’ll have your new and improved brand up and running before the holiday rush or in time for the New Year.)

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No Brand? Looks like a Scam! Crafting Better Emails for Your Business…

07.15.2014 Better Marketing
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Considering the importance placed on email as a communication tool, it never ceases to amaze me that I still receive poorly worded, unprofessional, unbranded emails. All business owners should know: every email sent out by your company is a representation of your brand. Bad email practices by business owners and team members alike are detrimental to brand integrity and therefore, business success. Email’s a big deal!

I received the following email from someone looking to help me with my online marketing. What do you think? If you received this exact email, would YOU go out of your way to contact John Smith*? (*Name and information changed to protect the guilty.)

Subject line: Best Content Writing Services !!
To: nora@ndrichardson.com
From: SEOJohnSmith@gmail.com
Dear Web Owner,
I am John Smith.
We are an Online Marketing firm with over 4 years experience in the domain. Content in any Online Marketing Campaign is one of the most crucial factors to make the campaign a success. However, in most cases the content is not good either in terms of user perspective or in terms of search engines. Allow me to offer you our Web Copywriting Services. We work hard to deliver a hassle free and time bound copywriting service to our clients so that they don’t have to wait forever for a content piece. Do let me know if your views are in line with mine and you are facing such a situation with your current service provider. I look forward to your response….
Kind Regards,
John Smith

While most businesses aren’t quite this bad, this is, in fact, a real email from a company looking to attract more customers. (Much to my surprise.) I would normally just stop there and delete this correspondence because it appears suspicious.

But we can learn a lot from John Smith’s mistakes.

Let’s dissect John Smith’s email…

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3 Painless Ways to Use Data to Up Your Brand Reach

05.13.2014 Better Branding
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Data is all around us, and it’s easier to collect than ever, so it’s no wonder you’re likely hearing terms like “big data” and “measurable marketing” as they’re thrown around from the C-level down to the IT department. Leading marketing companies are using a proactive approach, collecting data to predict brand success on the front end and to measure marketing efforts on the backend. While a lot of businesses hire external agencies for this sort of exploration (not to mention accountability), that’s not always an option for smaller businesses.

Does data collection, measurement and analysis seem like a huge undertaking? Well, I’m not going to lie: It definitely IS. But there are a lot of great ways even small businesses can use data to their advantage. Here’s how…

1. Collect & Care

First things first, if you’re not collecting basic customer data at every interaction, it’s time to get on that. Your best bet is to start with a simple, well-built customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Nowadays, most of the best CRMs are web-based and relatively simple to learn and use. Try Less Annoying CRM or Insightly—both are very affordable. (And hey, take your time finding a CRM that works for your team and your business. This is important. Most CRMs offer a free trial, so go for it!)

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Company Culture vs. Brand Personality—Does Your Company Measure Up?

03.25.2014 Brand Presence
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Your brand is the whole package. Or is it? We talk a lot about brand alignment on The Branding Spot blog. A great brand must be consistent across the board to be unique, memorable, and thus: effective. This means your website, your marketing collateral, your logo, your brand colors—everything that says HEY! This is my company! needs to be uniform to get the full effect. Heck, at Spot-On Branding, we even offer our popular Brand Alignment Package to help business owners create a consistent look, feel and flow to their brand online and off.

But what about your company culture? Does your company culture actively represent your brand personality, inside and out? Not sure? Here are some areas to focus on:

Your Team Members

Aside from providing excellent customer service (which can truly make or break a brand), is your team actively representing your brand every day, in everything they say and do?

If your business strives for a professional by-the-numbers appearance (let’s say you’re an accounting firm) and your logo, colors, look and feel illustrate these themes, be sure that attitude extends into your each of your team member’s attitudes. Each of your employees should have a standard, professional phone greeting and voicemail, and a standard, professional email signature. When it comes to their company’s financial future, your client is going to want that consistent reassurance that their money is in good hands.

Whatever your industry, your company handbook should outline how your team members are expected to interact with your customers. This might include always mentioning signature services under their full trademarked name, or, for example, always listing three amenities when a potential customer calls to book a stay at your hotel.

Your Office or Store

When a client, customer, or potential customer enters your office or brick-and-mortar shop, are they greeted with an atmosphere in line with your branding? Let’s say you run a surf shop. You want to be sure your brand extends to your store, creating a fun-in-the-sun feeling with every customer, even if they’re just browsing. If your shop prides itself on custom-made surfboards, be sure your shop environment offers potential buyers every opportunity to ask for more information about your sweet custom boards.

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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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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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It’s Grammar Game Time!

09.10.2013 Branding Quizzes & Games

With the start of football season signaling the fast-approaching fall weather, we thought we’d offer you guys a little grammar game to exercise your brains this week.

Typos and grammatical errors are bad for your brand. Period. Grammatical mistakes make you look unprofessional and inexperienced, and show poor communication skills. Now that’s definitely not the way you want the world to view your business and your brand, is it?

See how many of these grammar and spelling mistakes you catch right away!

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What the Pocket Fisherman Can Teach Us About Branding

09.03.2013 Better Marketing
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Recently, I ran across old pictures of my parents out fishing with the Ronco Pocket Fisherman. I had myself a good laugh. The old commercials came to mind, so I checked out YouTube—and lo and behold, I found them! Yes, the commercials are a little silly, but something dawned on me: I can totally see why my parents and other people bought the Pocket Fisherman in the 1970s and 1980s.

Those Ronco commercials! They’re so cheesy, but so enchanting. They’re the products you never knew existed, but now you can’t live without them. Hey, I’m not a big shopper, but even I can’t resist some of those Ronco products. I’m a beer drinker and I love entertaining guests—how cool would it be to be able to instantly frost my glasses with the Ronco Glass Froster? (Sure, with some forethought I could have easily put those glasses in the freezer, but the Ronco does it instantly, like magic!) See, now you could insert ME right into the infomercial.

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Another Great Brand Slogans Quiz

02.26.2013 Branding Quizzes & Games

Do you have a great tagline or slogan for your business? Never underestimate the power of an excellent slogan! The following taglines have been around for years, and many have truly stood the test of time. When you find that perfect slogan that’s both unique and memorable, you’ll find your target audience will be much […]

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