What does a marketer do & why your business needs one

According to BusinessDictionary.com, a marketer is

A person whose duties include the identification of the goods and services desired by a set of consumers, as well as the marketing of those goods and services on behalf of a company.

So far so good. Except it’s nowhere as easy as it sounds. It’s like in those memes with sections like what the world thinks I do, what my friends think I do, what I think I do and what I actually do. The lucky ones who get to lead departments stick to planning and make sure those plans are implemented according to their vision. The rest of us do anything and everything, from establishing a strategy to setting a budget to designing and collecting branded materials. It’s a hands on approach that benefits us personally much more, because we can develop a wide range of skills. Some days can be tougher than others, and our to do lists look a lot like children’s lists to Santa, but in the end it feels great to know you’ve accomplished so much.

A marketer is first and foremost a strategist who adds value to a business. We build the bridge between our clients and their customers. As Seth Godin sees it,

Our job is to make change. Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”

We will learn everything there is to learn about your business, understand the way it works, then spread the word about your company, your products and services and do it without being too obvious about it. Instead of stuffing products in the customers’ faces, we will raise their interest and attract them to you. Marketers aren’t sales people, we don’t spend our time ringing doorbells or making phone calls at any given inappropriate time.

We will define your brand and create or refine your visual identity. We will research and analyze the market to see where you can best emerge. We will create fabulous content and visuals to be shared on social media or your website. We will do everything in our power to provide your customers with relevant info that will weigh in their purchasing decision.

Although it may sound a bit presumptuous of us, we work for both our clients and their customers. Since the buying behavior has suffered radical changes, leaning on research and recommendations now more than ever, we have adapted our ways. We have to leave our selves at the door and put on the shoes of the buyer. Apart from offering information, we should pique their interest and emphasize the benefits they can have if they choose the product or service we are marketing. We should be level headed enough to do that using their own language and way of communicating instead of choosing jargon and a formal tone that nobody appreciates.

You may offer the best services and products, but only a handful of people would know about them if it weren’t for marketers. For a business to succeed, potential customers need to know about it. Marketing takes care of a wide range of details, from advertising and PR to promotions and sales. A marketer’s priority is to create awareness among potential buyers, to get the word out, with the final purpose of increasing sales. Because whether we are willing to admit it or not, it’s all about higher sales volumes. Happy customers will always spread the word about the amazing new product they’ve bought and how much easier it makes their lives. Of course, that’s an ideal case, and it does not apply to every business. But you get the drift. Through branding, a marketer will also help a company establish a reputation, which in turn will transform one time buyers into loyal customers who adhere to the same values.

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5 reasons why you should repurpose content & 5 ways to do it with great results

You reap what you sow. Let’s face it, we don’t always have time and inspiration to create brilliant content on a roll. Good content can be transformed and reused. Less favored content can be spiced up. You can reach new audiences. The possibilities are endless. It’s like your own diy project where you can get as creative as you want. Repurposing content is a great way to support your other marketing efforts.

Also, you should keep in mind that people are equally attracted by content in visual, audio or video form, so this can be a great way to reach all potential audiences. While the most common ways to repurpose content are infographics, videos, and presentations, the palette is way larger and it also includes reports, articles, whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, etc. You don’t have to go for all of them, experiment and see what your audience likes best. Be careful though, not all content can be repurposed. Don’t fall into the redundancy trap. Remember quality should always be above quantity.

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should repurpose content

1. It saves you time and effort. Don’t forget people are looking for different things. Some are doing research because they want to buy your products or services, others just want to make a comparison, while others simply need info or an expert’s opinion on something. The same content will appeal differently to them according to their varied needs. Instead of creating different pieces of content for all of them, you can create just one piece and remodel it as needed. You already have the foundation, all you need is to give it a new shape. As a bonus, you can focus on more urgent matters, like creating new content or other aspects of your marketing strategy or your business.

2. Diversified posts and mediums lead to an increased online presence. That translates into more traffic. It can be a little confusing, since everyone is preaching consistency when it comes to content and marketing in general. But it certainly doesn’t mean you should stick to just one medium and communicate everything through it. After all, you wouldn’t enjoy eating the same food again and again every day, would you? Another perk of repurposing content is improved SEO. It sounds flamboyant, but it’s actually a simple and logical process. More quality content from your website helps search engines recognize it as a trusted, credible source of info and give it a higher ranking. This can also happen when other people share your content. Everyone is aiming for a strong online presence, because that means your brand is visible, people know about you, you can create a loyal audience and so on. The chain will eventually end with having more customers, which is what you are striving for.

3. It helps you reach a wider audience or new readers. Chances are you gather more knowledge or new info is released over a period of time and you can add more interesting points to articles you’ve already written, thus making them more valuable to your audience. In time you gather new readers, and they probably won’t dig as far as what you published a year before. But you could turn that great post into an infographic or newsletter, and bring it to their attention. Your most recent followers will certainly appreciate it. And maybe sometimes it’s all about timing. A lot can happen in a few months, and a subject that wasn’t well received because it was ahead of its time might become viral later.

4. More types of content mean more expertise for you. Marketers need to be jacks of all trades. We can write good copy, but we should also master compelling images, interesting audios and riveting videos. It’s all part of the larger game. Different strategies lead to different results, and to a broader palette of skills for us. As I was saying in a previous post, jobs aren’t limited to grids anymore, they have multiple requirements and the lines are blurring. The best thing you can do is be as versatile as possible, to adapt on the go, and for that you need to have know-how.

5. It sends your message more strongly across different channels. When you use different mediums to communicate your content, it doesn’t make it redundant, but diverse. Your followers will definitely connect the dots between channels and mediums, and realize there is a common theme, and you are good at more than just one thing. Maybe they’ll care little about your latest blog post, but they will love the flatlay you just uploaded to Instagram and click on the link in bio anyway.

And here are 5 ways you can repurpose your content

1. Social media posts. This is by far my favorite way to reuse content. It’s incredibly easy, and it saves me the trouble of brainstorming for more or less inspired captions. On the plus side, it helps me establish myself as an expert by providing useful info. Whether you share the main points or the outline, snippets of info, quotes, statistics, make sure to link back to the original post. This way you can raise the interest of those who haven’t read it yet.

2. Infographics guarantee instant success. Images get more views and shares than text, that’s a fact. Another fact is that people are more likely to understand info better in this form, because it breaks complex notions into simple elements. Make sure you choose the most relevant points. The thing about infographics is they have to be very concise, so turning a 1,500 word article into a structured image is a challenge.

3. Sharing across different platforms should be a rule you follow by heart. And here I don’t just mean social, but also LinkedIn, Medium, Steemit, you name it. It has to do with building your online presence and reaching your audience wherever they are. Creating great content doesn’t mean anything unless you promote it to the right people.

4. SlideShare. Don’t you just love how you can go through a well thought and built presentation and learn so much? Why not create your own? You can divide your post into an outline or main points, add images and there you have it. Generally presentations should have little text, but this is a special case since the people will read it instead of hearing or seeing you deliver it. Don’t go overboard, but don’t be scarce either. Find the middle way.

5. Spin-offs. When you start writing, you start getting all these brilliant ideas that don’t fit the respective theme or are too extensive to cover in the same article. The natural thing to do is treat them separately, offering them their due importance. You won’t need extended research, since you probably already came across a few details you can incorporate. If you’re like me, you’re always left with extra info when you write, so try to make the best use of it for future articles.

I only chose 5 ways to repurpose content because these are the easiest and most common. Regardless of the form, you should always keep in mind what you want to transmit, what you want your audience to do and always link back to the original article or your blog or website. Take small steps and learn what your followers best react to. And don’t forget to have fun while at it.

Bran Castle: how to create a tourist gem with great marketing

Last week we went on vacation to Bran and stayed at our usual spot, Club Vila Bran. One of the things I love about the place is that you can sit on the terrace and have a glimpse at Bran Castle. As I was sipping my latte and planned the next blog post, it dawned on me that my subject is right in front of me. What better lesson in marketing than Bran?

Bran offers a valuable insight into how a fictional character can turn into a branding landmark for a country and it can revive an entire area. With so many tourists visiting, you wouldn’t expect the roads to be in such poor conditions. Yet they are, so you have to drive carefully if you want your car to still be in one piece at the end of the trip.

The village is equally divided between homes & tourist accommodations, and the nearer you get to the castle, the more languages mingle. I feel like laughing every time I hear someone speaking enthusiastically about Dracula and wish I could also see their face after they visit the castle. The truth is that the entire region lives through tourism, and it has adapted accordingly. The authorities haven’t moved one finger, but smart people are taking advantage of what is known as Dracula tourism.

There are 2 connections between Bran Castle and the story of Dracula. One is through Bram Stoker’s novel where he depicted the fortress without actually having seen it. The other happened thanks to a group of American tourists who begged their guide to show them Dracula’s castle. Since there was no such thing, the first idea that crossed his mind was bring them to Bran. Everyone was happy and the “pilgrimage” was born. Coincidentally or not, Bran Castle holds the 1st place in American tourists’ positive associations with Romania, and 4th place for international tourists.

Let’s talk about fiction and truth first. The place gained its fame after being identified as Count Dracula’s abode described in Bram Stoker’s novel. Count Dracula is often overlapped, intentionally or not, with Vlad the Impaler, ruler of Wallachia. What enthusiastic tourists conveniently don’t know is that Stoker avoided to tie his characters to real people. The count is entirely a product of his imagination. On the other hand, Vlad, the real person, spent at most a couple of months at Bran Castle, according to the most recent historical evidence.

The gothic castle is on top of a small hill, near a pass in the mountains. The dense woods surrounding the valley create a picturesque landscape, and there is absolutely nothing spooky about it. Well, except for the street market full of tasteless knick knacks near the entry. The castle looks much better from the outside than on the inside. The visitors are mostly people from Western Europe and the US who come to learn about Dracula. Instead, they are offered a tour with long explanations and historical truths which bore them.

In spite of the most recent renovations and improvement efforts, the place is still overcrowded, full of replica furniture and poorly costumed people. What attracts tourists is the legend, and the cobbled stone, the narrow passages and staircases contribute to it. There are no howling wolves however, unless someone plays an audio, nor are there any bats. The area is actually very quiet and peaceful, and many are disappointed because they can’t distinguish between fiction and reality.

Last year Airbnb organized a competition where a couple won a sleepover in the castle. The event included a carriage ride, it was hosted by one of the descendants of Bram Stoker, a self-proclaimed vampire expert, and it culminated with going to sleep in velvet trimmed coffins. That’s a little extreme, but the lengths someone would go for promoting their business depend. For a few years now, Halloween tours and parties have been organized here, all in partnership with important sponsors. Apart from mass tourism, private events held here increase the fame and probably pave the way for the idea of an exclusive accommodation.

At present, it makes a tidy profit, but in the right hands it has the potential to generate far more revenue than we could ever imagine.” Mark Meyer

When you leave the castle, you simply can’t escape the vampire paraphernalia at the gates. It has everything you can’t imagine, from plastic vampire teeth dripping blood to witch masks to purple, blue or green puppies whose eyes lit. Those are more scary than the whole vampire myth. There are also a lot of so-called traditional products, all imported from China. A few hundred meters away, there are a couple of small shops where you can find authentic Romanian products, handmade by the locals.

Like I said earlier, the valley thrives with the help of tourism. There is an abundance of B&Bs, but the best place for accommodation is by far Club Vila Bran, which offers plenty of entertainment. The restaurant is open for visitors if you want to try traditional food, for all the rest you have to be a guest. The locals are very friendly and helpful, and they are famous for the smoked cheese they make.

Image from here 

7 easy steps for a successful Instagram post

Instagram is one of the hypes of social media. Everyone wants a piece of it, however small, because everyone wants followers, right? Gone are the days where you would see a cute puppy in the street, take a pic, throw in some hashtags and share. People want quality content these days. Content they find relevant and useful. If you manage to woo them, they’ll be coming back for more. Here’s how to rock posting on Instagram.

1. Think about what you want to share. You’re feeling happy, or sad, or excited, or you’ve just been on a shopping spree. Think about what you want to transmit and find the proper image. Or take a pic yourself if you’re feeling creative.

2. Choose your image. It’s best to have at least 5 images at hand. Use different angles, rearrange the objects, compare the full pic and the close-up. In this particular case, more is better.

3. Edit the image. This is a vital step in the process. Make sure it fits with your overall style. Check your grid of pictures. If you use a preset, that’s great. If you don’t have a coherent style, it’s high time you change that.

4. Think of the best caption that goes with the pic. They say longer captions are better, and sometimes it might be true. However, Instagram is primarily a photo sharing app, not a story sharing app, and not everyone will have the patience to read your post till the end. Aim for a caption which stirs a reaction or a feeling. Write down the caption in Evernote or Keep or whatever other app you’re using, then proofread it. Make sure it’s just a tap away so that you can copy it anytime.

5. Choose your hashtags. They’re the thing that will spice up your pic and help it get found. Be creative, but don’t forget to check out which popular tags might fit. Now, there’s a whole charade around tags. Some people add widely used tags to gain views, without the pictures actually having anything to do with them. That’s cheating, and the viewers will sanction it sooner or later. It’s up to you what you use. Write the tags down the same way you did with the caption.

6. Copy the caption and upload your pic. If you use an Instagram filter, apply it, if not, go forward. Paste the caption and publish. In the past I would add the tags to the caption, but I’ve learned it’s better not to make it too stuffed.

7. Go to the hashtags and copy them, then paste them in a comment to the pic ASAP. Don’t let too much time pass between publishing and adding the hashtags.

That’s it.

How to make your profile pic work for you

We all browse social media much more than we should. And let’s face it, we fawn or feel envy over some people’s profile pics, while others make us cringe. When we are specifically looking for a person or a business across social media, their profile pic is the first thing we see. Keep in mind that first impressions are almost always visual. If that image is not catchy enough, our first perception will certainly not be positive.

Before smartphones and digital cameras and all these gadgets nowadays were invented, taking a picture used to be a special occasion. People dressed up and prepared for the event accordingly. Go back to that. Think that your picture will be spread across several social networks and a quality image can build trust. That trust will at some point materialize into revenue. So invest time and effort into this.

I have seen lots of accounts with a logo in the place of a profile picture, I have used that tactic myself. The truth is, though, that people want to see the person or people behind the business, not a lifeless logo which doesn’t say anything. So don’t be afraid to show your face. Just make sure you show your own face, not that of someone else. I remember a PR workshop where a client proudly informed the audience they had their dog’s image as profile pic. And another client asked whom he should expect to meet if he set an appointment, the dog or him. That was a good lesson for everyone in the room, and it’s well worth sharing.

People do not treat profile pics with the attention they should, they use pictures of their family, of their children, their pets and whatever else you can think of. Or they use pictures which are 20 years old. They have a very poor sense of identity, and extremely limited knowledge of social media etiquette in general, which is surprising given this day and age. Don’t fall into that category.

Going back to the subject, you should start by choosing an outfit and a background. Make sure they match, the coast is clear (no pile of dirty clothes or dog photobombing) , the background is simple enough so the focus is on you, and there is plenty of natural light. You can ask a friend to help you out or you can take the shots yourself, just make sure you are armed with plenty of patience and with a selfie stick or tripod. I would recommend using one of those tools because the camera shouldn’t be too close to your face to reveal all your imperfections, and, most importantly, you don’t want your hand sticking out in an obvious selfie attempt. Always aim to be subtle. Try to make it seem like you didn’t take the picture yourself.

Exercise various poses and mimic in the mirror until you find what you want to transmit. Taking 20 shots in different angles might seem exaggerated at first, but if you judge critically, you will be lucky to have 3 good shots to choose from. Smile even when you don’t feel like it, a full smile does wonders. I had a photoshoot on a very dreary day of my life, and the fact that I smiled completely transformed my mood. I was on the brink of a meltdown, but in those pics I look happy and incredibly at ease and enthusiastic.

Once you have managed to decide on a pic you will use across all social networks (because you want people to remember you), it’s time to edit. Try to crop your image into a close-up showing the upper part of your body, from the chest up or from the elbows up. That should be visible enough even for small sizes. As a tip, bright images fare way better than dark ones. Make sure you have a high resolution and the image is not blurry. Think that even though you are editing on a large scale version, it will be shrunk online, so make sure all the details are still visible and they look fine. Lately, I have noticed that Facebook tends to lower the quality of images, especially low-resolution ones. Check the size of images for each social network and adapt your image to each of them, it’s much better than allowing networks to shrink and crop your picture. I know how frustrating it is to have your image cropped in a weird manner, so try to avoid that.

When you’re done editing, it’s time for SEO. Image SEO is as important as text SEO. Don’t leave the name at IMG1234.jpg, instead use yourname.jpg or yourbiz.jpg. That way, when people are looking for you, they will come across your picture. And don’t forget that Google has image search included.

What other recommendations can you make? I’d love to hear them.

How to create a mood board & how to put it to its best use

Just throw some pics together and there you have it. Just kidding. Or not quite? The main point is to collect images you like. Whether you use Pinterest for digital images or a wall for magazine cuts and prints it’s your decision. I feel way more comfortable with anything digital, and I’d rather take a pic of a printed magazine and add it to my collection rather than start putting stuff on the walls. But that’s just me. After you’ve collected your fair share of photos, patterns, fonts, textures and color samples, you will eventually have to stop. I know that’s difficult, but enough is enough. Sometimes too much inspiration can do more damage than good.

Once you’ve gathered everything onto a huge board there comes the difficult part. You have to be tough, watch with a critical eye and eliminate. You probably have a lot of duplicates or similar picks, so it’s time to choose between them. Repeat the process a few times if it’s necessary, until you get a coherent board. Or close enough to coherent. Try not to be subjective. If you like something but it doesn’t fit with the overall style or aesthetics, you should throw it away without second guesses.

When you’ve finished the curating process and you’ve made up your mind about the final images, start moving them around until they are a perfect fit. There is no definite order, put your creativity and your gut at work. You can use Photoshop or any image editing app you’re comfortable with. What I recommend is to pick samples of up to 5 matching colors. You don’t know it yet, but this will be a lifesaver later. When I started out, I kind of forgot this little detail and I would always have to go back and color sample text. Rookie mistakes, I’m telling you.

You can find a lot of templates out there which you can use if you want. Or you can create your own layout if you feel inspired. And try to come up with 2 or even 3 alternatives which are completely different. That way your choice will be more decisive. Whatever you choose, I’m sure it will be great.

How to use a mood board

As I was saying in the previous post in this series, mood boards are means of communication. They can help a designer share their creative vision with the client or a business share its creative vision with clients. The initial reaction is everything. As designers, we’ve all lived that moment when we finally get to showcase our hard work and we’re biting our nails waiting for the client to offer their feedback.

Mood boards are also points of reference which help illustrate the general aesthetics of a brand. And remember that unless you actually speak about your vision the others might not get it and might reject your ideas because they don’t know the motivation behind them. These cues will help create the visual identity of the brand. You will always go back to them when you create other elements.

Always be ready to start again from scratch. It took me a while to get used to the idea, but the first attempt is always just a draft, no matter how fabulous you think it is at that moment. A month later you will agree with your client that there was place for a lot of improvement. The 10th version, well, that’s infinitely better. Just remember if you work hard & you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

What is a mood board & why your biz needs one

Remember those panels made from cork or any other material we used in our adolescent years to compile pics we would cut from magazines, pieces of fabric and whatever else we thought pretty and loved to watch? That was our way of getting inspiration back then. Now we have grown more sophisticated, and so have they. The more complex version of those panels are mood boards. And the best thing about them is they can be digital.

By definition, a mood board is a collage of images, text, patterns and textures. I would say they are the abbreviated version of a brand book. They are the visual representations of the style someone intends to adopt. That’s why you should have one before launching your brand, not after. It’s easier to create a guide and follow it rather than use 10 styles and try to make things coherent afterwards. Been there, done that. It’s no walk in the park, trust me on this one.

Mood boards are channels of communication with your audience and the means of expressing yourself and your feelings. They are a white canvas you fill with your imagination’s touches. They are like the wrapping paper that embellish a present, so they should be paid a good deal of attention and effort.

Why you need a mood board

Well, let’s just say your mood board is the business card you show to people who can’t meet you in person and realize how awesome you are. Every brand needs coherent visuals, and the mood board covers exactly that aspect. It is the first step to creating the brand, and you can work on it as much as you can, you can play around until you get the exact results you’re looking for.

As someone who’s had hours of work deflated by a simple “It’s … good, but not quite how I imagined”, I have understood that communication with the client is everything. A mood board allows the client to offer their input, and it helps identify and express their vision the right way, without the headache of having your work rejected straight away for silly reasons like “I hate red.” The most difficult thing in the world when it comes to creating for others is to lose yourself and become their ghost. It’s not about what we would use or say, it’s all about authentically impersonating the client.

Aesthetics is the key to conquering a world that mostly lives (and buys) based on imagery. While mood boards establish general guidelines, they are not supposed to be followed in detail. Their versatility makes it easier to make changes and to collaborate with others. They can be used across any medium and device, and that in itself is a great feature.

Practically one creates a digital library of images, patterns, fonts and textures which can be used by everyone working on the design of a brand not only at the moment, but also in the future. They are extremely useful when it comes to creating the brand book, the website, the printed materials and all other elements you can think of. Business owners give them little importance, but us designers know how much hard work goes into them.

11 steps to an authentic brand that will convince your audience

Beast: I want to do something for her… but what?

Cogsworth: Well, there’s the usual things: flowers… chocolates… promises you don’t intend to keep…

Lumiere: No, no! It’s got to be more something more special than that!

That, my friend, is the essence of branding. Branding is supposed to spark a feeling. Of course, there are two kind of brands: those that put on a facade, or a mask, and those that are honest. Aim for the second one. Because while the former might make your business more appealing at first sight, customers will eventually see through it and sanction you accordingly. Honesty is a value that never goes out of style.

A brand is all about the way you make the customer feel. Whether it’s nostalgia, excitement, pride, joy, it’s what will ultimately influence their decision to buy your product or service. Let’s be honest here, how many times can you reinvent the wheel? Notice how I used honest again? What you’re offering your customers is not really unique, there are hundreds of other businesses offering the same thing. You can make a difference in the way you are offering it. And that is where your brand steps up.

1. Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. How many times have you heard that? It should be the main guideline for creating your brand. You want it to reflect yourself, your values and perhaps your personality. Most experts advise to think of the brand as a person and use a few words to describe her. It will help the whole process tremendously. Creating a brand is like giving life to a completely new character. At this point, you should also define the purpose that drives your business. Defining a business mission does not come easy, trust me when I say this. I have been working on a dozen mission statements and desperately tried to make them sound different from the stereotypical empty language.

2. Consider your audience next. Define the exact segment of people your product or service address and do some research. Think like them, put yourself in their shoes. What are their needs, what do they like? Think of your own buyer experience. What makes you buy a product and not the other? What makes you go back to a brand? Aim to establish long term relationships with your customers. Create a brand they can relate to.

3. Pick an original name for your business and make sure the URL is available. If it is, snag it asap. This step is mostly overlooked, but it’s essential and should be given its due credit. I too thought is was easy peasy until I came across this problem. Chances are all great names are already taken. Pick a name that suggests the main line of business and make sure it’s just the right length. When having to pick names, I always go to my trusted friend thesaurus.com for synonyms. And since you’re at it, you can create a USP (unique selling proposition) or tagline or whatever you want to call it as well. It will offer deeper understanding of your line of business. You can use the keywords you picked earlier to define your brand for this task.

4. Creating a moodboard should follow suit once you have decided what your brand is like and whom it serves. The moodboard is the first attempt at creating the brand identity, and it will serve as inspiration for all further visuals and collaterals. Include photos, textures, fonts, colors and anything else you might think representative.

5. Your identity begins with your logo. Make sure it represents your business and your values. It’s ok to try a few options, I would highly recommend it. At the end of the day, if you think you will stick with it for at least a couple of years, pick it. Alter the design however many times you want. Because even though from the perspective of the designer it’s an ordeal, from your perspective as a customer you have to be thrilled about it and accept nothing less. I have been on both sides, so I know what I’m talking about. Go on with your visual brand elements, such as photos, colors, fonts and everything else that will help people recognize your brand visually.

6. Define your voice. I know it’s easier said than done. But just think of the way you want to approach your customers. Do you want to be witty, funny, personal, formal? I am completely against 100% formal, even for the most formal businesses. Formal scares people off. Aim to be semi-formal instead.

7. Using the elements of the last 3 steps (logo, visual elements, voice), start working on your collaterals. You have to have business cards, it’s a must. And at least a leaflet or brochure highlighting those features and benefits that make your brand unique. Then you should have personalized stationery, notecards, document headers, email signatures and all you can think of.

8. Once you have all your materials, put them in a brand book. The brand book will save you a lot of time and effort in the future. You just check what to use and how to use it, and it’s especially helpful when you have plenty of collaterals and online channels.

9. Go online with a website, blog and social media. Being online means anyone can find you at their convenience. Try to maintain a coherent presence and create a strategy to manage all these outlets. It can be hard for a single person to do that, but do not fret, there are people who can help you get the hang of it. Including myself 😉

10. Now it’s time to integrate your brand. That means you should communicate it to your employees and make sure they understand it and adopt the new ways. Branding is not just about the most common aspects, it’s also about the way the employees dress or behave, and how they communicate and interact with customers. They are responsible as much as you are for promoting your brand.

11. I hate the next phrase, but I have to say it. Be consistent. By that I don’t mean you have to send the same message all the time using the same words. That’s being boring, that’s not being consistent. Use the same fonts, the same color palette, the same image style, etc. Your brand book will come in handy. And also be consistent in offering your added value to stand out from the crowd. For instance, you could offer a handwritten thank you note. That kind of touches make the people feel appreciated and remember your brand.

Aim to be different, and people will appreciate the extra value you are offering. Invest in your branding, don’t pick the cheap way. You know what they say, if you think a professional is expensive, wait till you hire an amateur. And remember, if you work hard & you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

10 reasons why you must brand your business

The general perception of business owners is that they don’t need to waste money on branding. What they have to offer is so exceptional that clients will do anything to get it. Wrong! If you’re a new or small business, then it’s imperative to create your branding and follow its guidelines to the last detail. According to Forbes.com, brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience. Apple is still a brand, and it sells based on that. So do many other corporations. Branding is all about telling the world how you see yourself. If you deem yourself as unqualified or unfit for something, the world will take that for granted. They don’t know about your secret skills unless you show them constantly.

1. Branding makes you different from your competitors in the eyes of customers. You have a unique selling proposition (USP) and unique features and you want people to know how you differ from other businesses doing the same thing you’re doing. Whatever advantage you have, branding makes you stand out from the crowd.

2. Branding establishes a connection at the emotional level. It brings feelings and emotions to the surface. Think of the Coke commercials about celebrating life. You can identify yourself with that and relive the joy of every meal with the extended family. People have stopped buying just products, they are buying experiences. And those experiences can be created only through branding.

3. Branding offers credibility. When you set certain standards for your business and you are working hard to reach them, people will notice. Moreover, you have to convince them you can be trusted to do that. Branding is like building the foundation of a house, it’s an element which keeps everything together, but which is given little consideration. Without a solid foundation, any house will collapse.

4. Branding builds reputation. That’s especially important for new and small businesses, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. It’s their chance to make an impression. If people buy something and they are happy with the experience, they will most likely remember the brand. They will recognize it the next time they come across it, and familiarity is an advantage when it comes to buying decisions. What would you choose? Something you’ve used before and were happy with, or something new you haven’t heard about?

5. Branding sets expectations. Once customers have engaged with your brand, they go through your brand experience. They know what to expect from your business the next time. They will remember the phone operator who was nice and helpful, or the emails that never got an answer. They will remember all the small details that will make them come back every time or avoid you for good.

6. Branding can help you attract new employees. By sharing your company culture, people can see how great it feels to work for your business and they will want to join in on the fun. People appreciate sneak peaks of what it’s like to work in another place. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time online doing anything except what we’re supposed to be working on, so why not offer the others food for thought.

7. Branding can help you attract new investors or partners. Once you have established a reputation, a good one let’s hope, people start noticing you. By people I mean CEOs, investors, and the bunch. Word of mouth is still a very important way of recommendation, so remember to be nice to everyone. They all want to check out newcomers and establish some sort of relationship with them.

8. Branding makes the strategy of the organization clear. Without branding, everything is inconsistent. Imagine your employees running around the office and asking you for simple things such as the logo in PNG format or the size and color of the fonts to use on the latest print. Or the email signature template. Or how to talk to the customer who’s already on the line. Or anything of the kind. The crucial aspects of the business are ignored while wasting time with these menial tasks.

9. Branding will get you everywhere. Literally. With the expansion of the online, new markets have opened. The problem is that you need different branding for different parts of the world, because people have different values and needs. Once you manage to create your branding around a cultural movement, sky is the limit.

10. Branding costs very little, but it will grow your business and increase your valuation. Yes, hiring an expert to design your brand strategy will cost you, but you should think of it as an investment. You have social media and the internet at your disposal, for free. You can reach your target audience anytime, anywhere. Once you have established a powerful brand, your valuation can increase significantly. In case of exit, you will not be selling just your technology or product idea, but first and foremost the brand.

So there you have 10 reasons why you must brand your business right now. If you think I can help you with that, drop a line in the comments and I’d be more than happy to assist you. And remember, if you work hard & you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

Branding explained to everyone’s understanding

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What is branding?

According to entrepreneur.com, branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

Branding is the consistent theme that remains in your mind after watching countless ads. It’s the process a brand goes through in order to claim its uniqueness compared to other brands. Branding builds a reputation and certain standards which should be kept not only in the present, but in the future as well. Of course, the ideal move is to surpass the expectations created by the reputation and standards by improving anything that can be improved.

What branding essentially does is build expectations, and that should motivate the people working on it to do their best. It essentially defines a brand so everyone knows what the respective brand is and what it is not. Like many other things in this world, branding is about crafting stories and experiences that will turn one time buyers into loyal customers.

Throughout the branding process, the values and the purpose of a company are defined. Good luck defining a vision and mission! That’s one of the hardest things to do, especially at first. You will always set up with the most incredible offers, a river of milk and honey full of potential and possibilities, only to realize later your client can’t keep the promise for one reason or another.

Once you have decided upon what you have to offer and how you want it delivered, it’s time to think of the dreaded question. Who is going to buy it? You don’t have to tailor your product to suit a large crowd, but rather look for the niche who needs it and understands its value. The experience you create for them is your most important advantage.

The next step is to create visuals which complete the style you’ve chosen and which will help you sell. Don’t imagine it all ends with a logo, you need a consistent brand book, at least a brochure and a dozen images you will be able to use on social media. Which brings me to the next point.

Social media is your most important friend if you are a B2C entrepreneur. It works on B2B as well, but only with the right twitches. A website and blog go hand in hand with that. Build a consistent online presence and people are bound to remember your brand. Use the same fonts, colors and image styles. Offer useful content. Branding isn’t about selling, it’s about how a brand feels.

And the most important thing, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the creation. Every time I start working on something new I’m giddy because I get to unleash my imagination. And remember, if you work hand & you’re kind, amazing things will happen.