Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Spice of Distinction: Get a Brand or Die Generic

Now come to think about it, why should your boss like you when you give him just what every other person in the office can offer? Why should your agitation for career step-up be approved when there no grain of difference between you and others in your workplace?

The reality is that career growth is all about professional differentiation. By this I means stepping out of the queue, differentiating yourself from the ordinary. No one is honestly going to admire you if you have precisely the same characteristics as them – if you have nothing more to offer than they do. If they admire you in such a context, it is artificial – it is sycophancy.

Across my career, I have come to the realization that being “nice” and “okay” takes you through your career (in terms of career growth) at bicycle speed while being “strange” and “unique” takes you through at jet speed. Understandably, you can’t drive through a crowded road at full speed. This is why you need to come out on your personal lane and drive up your career at breakneck speed. This is what personal branding is more about.

You have to establish a characteristic novelty as emblazoned in your personal brand. The personal brands I have seen to work best in typifying the individual are those which pour in fresh solutions. You must be able to drive uncommon results even in the most unsupportive circumstances. You must have that knack for “delicious weirdness” and an urge for adventuring beyond the perimeters of the normal – for doing the extraordinary! This is the only way to beat the abundance of genericness loitering around. This I emphatically explained in my Fresh Passion book.

To make it more practical, let me demonstrate the need for uniqueness with a story from the book Fresh Passion: Get a Brand or Die Generic. It is about myself. By the age of 15 when other kids were bubbling away in the exuberance customary to the teenage phase of life, I was already in the act of creating a personal brand – giving uncommon value to customers. I was already peddling sweets and candy and strategically grew my fragile business from one of $40 a day to about $300 – $400 a day. This was by delivering exponential results to my customers – even more than they could get from the concession stand.

Now after synthesizing your personal brand, you still have to sell it. This is the phase of self-promotion. As I put in my book Fresh Passion – Get a Brand or Die Generic, “self-promotion is an art, not a science”. Here you have got to craft the interpersonal skills of evangelizing your brand and winning “souls” for your brand in terms of admirers. More especially these admirers best serve your upward growth if they are your superiors. I personally don’t advocate shinning your light from a “static candlestick”. Rather be mobile, move around and let the people that matter see your value. This is about building a nourishing network and selling your exponential value around.

Watch it here, I didn’t say you should be an over-aggressive salesperson. Make contacts intelligently, expand your reach and your professional territories. As I put it in my book, nobody will hire you if they don’t know you in the first place. In most cases, you have to meet them. This is kind of nomadic self-marketing. But most especially, you must proffer fresh solutions – show them what you have got, that they have not got on their team. If you can successfully pitch your uncommonness to them such that such uniqueness possesses high economic value, you are hired!

Michael D. Brown, MBA is a sought after motivational speaker, management expert and consultant, and best-selling author. Through Michael’s signature programs and commitment to delivering results both through and with people, he has helped a number of Fortune 500 companies create and deliver world-class experiences that led to double-digit growth to their bottom lines.

The Right Reasons for Rebranding Your Business Logo

Thinking About Changing Your Marketing Graphics?

Over time, your business will grow and evolve. You may offer new services or products, enter different markets or target another demographic.

If this happens, you might need to consider changing your marketing graphics.

However, you need to be careful you’re not undoing all the hard marketing and branding work that you’ve done, and that you fully understand how to rebrand for the most effective results.

Your brand tells a powerful story, and you don’t want to dilute that by fixing (or breaking) something that doesn’t need fixing!

Here are a few times when rebranding your business logo is a bad idea:

1. You’re tired or bored of the colours, image or font and want something new. You may have built up a lot of brand equity, which refers to the value of having a well-recognized name and reputation.

By not rebranding your business logo for the right reasons, you could dilute all this equity you’ve accumulated. You need to take a look at your ideal customer and data before you make any big decisions.

Here’s Gap’s “old” look on the left and a new one they tried to roll out in 2010. The negative feedback was so overwhelming that they soon reverted back to the classic one.

2. Customers don’t understand what you do. Before you start working on your graphics to clarify what you offer, take a step back. Is there something unclear in your positioning statement, mission or website copy that’s confusing people?

Sometimes a picture isn’t worth a thousand words-you may need to figure out how to rebrand your written marketing materials rather than your imagery.

So, when should you think about rebranding your business logo?

I’m going to use a really personal example! We are going through a change. We originally chose the Emperor Penguin after Daniel and I went to see March of the Penguins.

We realized that these majestic creatures were the symbol of qualities we stand for: Strength, Endurance, Pride, Dependability, Commitment, Loyalty, Togetherness and most importantly, Nurturing.

We are built on nurturing our clients into success and being the support system a company needs in this technical day and age. The Emperor Penguin was the perfect symbol to portray these qualities.

So why change it?

We want to appeal to our existing demographic plus a new demographic: people who are leaving the corporate world for the exciting world of entrepreneurship plus micro-businesses who are looking for outside help to achieve their goals.

As we move forward targeting a fresh market, we wanted to showcase our services better and modernize our imagery.

Starting with our logo, we recently posed the question to our Facebook followers: which one do you like best?

We had some interesting responses: those who knew us and what we do tended to gravitate towards the most familiar design (A). Others didn’t see a penguin in some of the designs or saw a woman’s face and hair in others.

While we’re now back at the drawing board so to speak, this was an incredibly valuable exercise. If we had picked the one we liked best and threw it out there, we could have alienated and confused the very people we want to attract.

Once our logo is finalized, we’ll then move on to updating our website and other marketing materials.

Some other reasons why changing your logo and marketing graphics can be a good idea:

• You need to better differentiate yourself from another company-your colour, imagery and/or font is too similar.

• If your look is outdated, it could be turning off clients. I did say that tweaking things up for the sake of change can be a no-no, but if your 1980s colour palette or ancient font type is making you look bad, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your marketing materials.

• You’re in the middle of a merger or acquisition and need to balance two companies in one design. When United and Continental Airlines merged, their creative did too: you see the word UNITED with the globe that came from Continental Airlines’ collateral.

• Your organization’s personality has changed. Maybe you were a start-up on a shoestring budget when you began your journey, and now you’ve grown your profits, clients and employees.

Investing in your look and feel may be a necessity if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

There are many situations where you should switch up your creative. But you must focus on why you’re doing it or you could be damaging your reputation, brand equity and revenue. The best way to go through the process is to hire a professional marketing company to do it.

.

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

Are you trying to build your brand online but aren’t happy with the results? Building a business online is quite difficult so we put together a great marketing training program aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs interested in growing their businesses.

Personal Branding Tips to Boost Business Success

Never Forget: You’re the Face of Your Business

If I asked you what you could do to be more successful as an entrepreneur or small business owner, you would probably list off things like advertise or network more, improve your website or marketing materials and close more sales, right?

Would your answer include personal branding? It should, because it absolutely impacts your success.

First, it’s important to clarify we aren’t just talking about big brands. It’s the personalities that represent them that help these companies create a brand.

Why Branding is Important

When you purposely create a brand representation for your business, you’re incorporating several factors, including:

• How others see you

• What sets you apart (your USP)

• Your values

• Your expertise

• Your personality

• How you represent yourself in person and online

If done correctly and consistently this builds trust, loyalty, leads and sales.

Why else should you care?

• Research from Nielsen shows that only 33% of buyers trust messages from a company while almost 90% of customers trust recommendations from someone they know.

• 53% percent of vendors have lost orders based on information found or not found about them online. (Source: Kredible)

• 77% of all discussions on social media are folks seeking advice, information or help. This is much easier to answer and interact as an individual as opposed to a company. (Source: Mention)

How to Incorporate Branding into Your Marketing

Firstly, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you need to know your target audience. These are the people you want to appeal to and have on your side.

Let’s say you’re a career coach who is trading the corporate world for entrepreneurship. Your target audience may be other professionals who are leaving corporations to fly solo. From your marketing materials to how you present yourself on social media, you always want to keep them in mind.

Here are 3 other ways to create a successful brand and stand out from the competition:

1. Share Your Expertise

You want to be an expert in your field. Stay on top of the latest news and trends, understand who your competitors are and attend events. Use what you know and learn to educate, inspire and mentor others whenever and however you can.

The more visible you are the more people will associate your face with your product or service and trust what you’re selling.

2. Choose the Right Platforms

First, having a website is important! With any of your online marketing efforts, your goal should be to drive traffic back to a website that represents your brand positioning well. If your website falls short of this, your target audience will not resonate with your business and will leave.

Next, find out where the people in your target audience spend their time.

Let’s say that career coach I mentioned earlier targets professional women between the ages of 35 and 55. If research shows her target audience uses Facebook much more than Instagram, she should focus a large chunk of her efforts on creating Live videos and stories as well as participate in targeted Groups on Facebook.

3. Be Yourself… to a Certain Extent

Don’t be afraid to show your personality and use your own voice when creating and sharing content or meeting people.

However, be cautious about sharing content that is political, religious or some other topic best avoided at dinner parties-unless it is part of your persona and/or mission and values.

It’s also important to always be honest as the face of your organization, as vegan influencer Yovana Mendoza Ayres is finding out. She was recently filmed eating fish in Bali, which caused a huge uproar among her plant-based fans and followers.

You can’t neglect your personal brand if you want to grow your leads, sales, loyalty and reputation.

It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. People no longer look to big businesses to tell them what to buy; they want to see a face and personality that represents the product or service.

If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to an effective strategy. From your logo to your website to your social media presence, find the expertise to help you market yourself and your organization today and in the future.

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.