target market

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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6 Great Ideas for Branded Content

09.16.2014 Better Branding
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Your brand should be unique enough to be memorable to your target audience. But to get even that first glint of brand recognition, you need to get your brand out in front of people. Creating great branded content, as part of your overall content marketing plan, is a fantastic way to expand your brand reach. Here are some ideas to get you started…

1. Brand your Infographics

We already know visual content marketing gets a lot of attention and people just love, love, love infographics these days. These beautified bits of information get read, shared, saved and referenced all over social media and the web. Be sure your logo is stamped in a clear, readable place and use your brand colors to really showcase your branding throughout.

2. Brand your Inspiration

Your brand identity manager or a skilled graphic designer (who is familiar with your branding, of course), can create cool, funny and/or inspirational quotes on a background of your brand colors, stamped with your logo. Choose quotes and themes that interest your target market. Post your placards on LinkedIn and Facebook to get more brand attention.

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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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The Power of VISUAL Content Marketing

07.01.2014 Brand Design
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If color is your brand’s superpower, then businesses that understand the importance of incorporating visually interesting content into their marketing are superheroes to their target audience. Seeing as 65% of consumers are visual learners and visual data processes 60,000,000 times faster than text—you can’t really afford to have so-so branded graphics or a text-only content marketing strategy.

Check out these great ways to get more visual with your content.

Always Include an Image

Blog post? Email newsletter? Always include an interesting image, whenever possible. Get creative! We’ve all seen the same stock photos over and over. Look at your content from a different angle and see what kinds of clever images you can find that fall in line with your written theme.

Brand Best Practices: Whenever possible, include a unique, branded image in line with your overall brand image/brand personality. Sure, you might not have the time, the budget, or the know-how to create a new, branded graphic every day, but you can shoot for a unique branded image at least once a month. You can also have your brand identity manager or brand designer create a graphic you can use over and over again as a sort of branded signature!

Spice Up Your Landing Pages

Creating landing pages for downloadable free content is a great way to collect customer/lead information, measure the success of your marketing efforts, and gain important insights into what your target audience really wants. To nab more leads and nudge that potential customer toward your content, add interesting images—or better yet, add video—to back up your downloadable freebie.

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Are Your Customers Hatin’ On Your Brand Online?

06.17.2014 Better Branding
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There’s a new restaurant down the street. Great! It’s been open a few months and you have yet to try it, so you go online and look up the menu, then probably pop over to Yelp to get some first-hand customer reviews. Sound familiar? If you don’t have a close friend who’s raving about the restaurant to you in person, you know that you’d better do your homework or you might be in for a disappointing evening. Hey, you’re tired of learning the hard way.

…and you’re not alone.

Almost 80% of American consumers say online reviews influence their purchases. A whopping 93% say they look at online reviews before shopping or dining. NINETY-THREE PERCENT.

That’s no small potatoes, people! If you’re not paying attention to what your customers are saying about your business online, you might be in need of some major brand damage control. Yelp is about to launch a new tool to upload short video reviews, and we’re only going to see more cool tools like this one in the next few years!

Clearly, if you’re not managing your brand’s online presence—the time is NOW. So what’s your company doing to monitor and manage your brand’s online presence?

Creating a Positive Online Brand Presence

If your business or your brand is totally new, you’re in luck: You might be able to fight the customer crowds and establish yourself online before someone beats you to it. If you’re already knee deep in customer reviews, you can follow these steps to boost your brand’s reach and inspire positive customer relationships with your brand…

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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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5 Tips for a Better Branded Website

04.29.2014 Better Marketing
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Spring is here! Well, mostly. If your corner of the world is warming up nicely, it’s time to throw open your windows, brush off the dust, and get started on spring cleaning…spring cleaning your website, that is. If the winter blues kept you from getting a fresh start for 2014, then there’s no time like the present to finally ramp up your website—and ramp up your brand in the process!

1. Skip the Overselling

Your website is a great place to showcase what you do. A great website with a consistent look and feel will either entice people to buy right away—or at minimum, create a lasting impression that will bring that customer (and their friends) back to your website for more. The trick here: Don’t oversell, especially on your homepage. Don’t get me wrong; you should definitely make it easy for your customers to inquire about and purchase your products and/or services. However, today’s educated consumer wants to learn more before they buy and to feel in control regarding their purchasing decisions. Above all, you want to be memorable: a memorable brand keeps leads and customers coming back for more.

2. Be Present

If your website hasn’t been updated since the Hamster Dance was the most popular thing on the Internet, you’re going to want to invest in something new…now. Yes, we’re exaggerating—but it’s true: if your website is out-of-date or obviously hasn’t been updated in a year or more, it’s time to refresh your brand and your website. When you’re happy with your website’s modern new look, then it’s time to ramp up your online visibility. Add new branded content every week (like a blog post or an eBook) to entice your target market base, engage potential customers, and nudge them toward the sale. Being present is about communicating your message, but it’s also about building a relationship of trust between your company and your target market.

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Product Packaging: For Your SERVICE-Based Business

04.08.2014 Better Marketing
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When you’re marching down the supermarket aisle, there are plenty of products that really stand out because of their brand-centric packaging. It’s almost automatic: you know to grab the orange-red Tide® bottle, your white Lean Cuisine® boxes with the orange font, the flaming-red rooster bottle of Sriracha hot sauce. You know your favorite brands by sight—so well that shopping for them is almost automatic.

Did you know you can induce this sort of brand loyalty by creating brand-centric packaging for your service-based business?

Here’s how it works…

Go with the Flo

We all know Flo from the Progressive® Insurance commercials, with her signature white outfit, red lipstick and blue headband. Flo is a personification of the Progressive brand—but she’s just one brand tactic the Progressive marketing team uses to get their (insurance-with-a-personalized-touch) message across. Here’s one of our favorite Progressive commercials, Let’s Get Ready to Bundle.

As you can see, Progressive takes their service-based business a step further by creating television commercials set in a physical, supermarket-type atmosphere. Each pick-your-price insurance package is rendered as a physical cardboard box in line with the company’s branding. Furthermore, these physical products can combined to produce a bundle.

We think this is ultra-clever. Consumers watch these commercials and see these insurance services as a consumable product—one we can scan at the counter and take home with us, just like it’s in our local grocery store.

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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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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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