In redefining our Brand Promise, it became clear we needed to realign our values to match. Shifting our focus from “Performance Fueled by Creativity” to “Simplify + Elevate” means our own DNA needs to shift. In order to deliver on the new promise, we needed to refresh our own fundamental language.
With this in mind, we arrived at three guiding principles of behavior: clarity, relationships, and kaizen.
(If you’re not sure where to begin on your own company brand values, or want help in figuring them out, be sure to read the bottom of this post where we’ll be sharing information on our upcoming BRANDING INTENSIVE, which delves deeply into the process.)
Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning continuous improvement within business culture and practice. It’s a concept that is a sum of its parts, not a static condition. We value incremental change at every step as a commitment to overall improvement. If you’re not continually growing, your business will suffer. Simply by the very fact we’re evolving our brand is an indicator that we value continuous improvement. The market changes. People change. And, our business (and yours) will also change.
If you don’t have Brand Values guiding your internal culture and the brand experience for your clients or customers, it might be time to get clear on them. Of course, if you need help uncovering your Brand Values, schedule a call with our team today to explore how we can help.
Getting clarity on your brand’s values isn’t just a fun exercise in its own right. Almost all of the biggest brands in the world focus on them, as they truly are the moral, inspirational and functional guidepost of a company.
See For Yourself (Please note that some brand values have been condensed down for spacing purposes).
RENEW AND IMPROVE
Brand Values are an ever-changing and evolving aspect of your business. As your company changes, so too will your brand values. Big brands do it all the time. We just did it, and if you believe that the brand values you operate your company on (if you have them) no longer feel current or relevant to where you want your business to go — we recommend you do it as well.
We can help. Getting clarity on your brand values is a core aspect of the work we will be covering in our upcoming BRANDING INTENSIVE.
Going into business, we all have a pretty good idea of who we want to attract and how to speak to them.
But equally important is really knowing which customers you DON’T want. Or, more specifically, the customers and customer attributes that are wishy-washy, so-so, unengaged, uninspired, and overall not really part of the base you’re looking for.
It might seem odd to “turn away” customers, but one of the easiest traps to fall into is trying to be everything to everyone. It’s a slippery slope. After all, excluding feels counterintuitive. It feels rude.
But “turning away” is really a way of saying “I only want the best, most loyal customers who will loudly and proudly advocate for me at every turn.”
But in order to identify who these people are and who they are not, we need to identify everyone in our group, and then strategically sort them by degrees to which they align with our brand and vision.
If you’ve worked with us on your brand platform, you’ll know this as Target Audience Mapping. Target Audience Mapping helps us to create a lay of the land – an overview of everyone in our purview.
To begin Target Audience Mapping, you first need to determine a range your customers fall within. In our own example, one axis spans from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses (the range of what potential customers might fall under).
Our other axis describes an approach, ranging from strategic and holistic to tactical or specialized. When you cross the two, our target audience is looking for strategic and holistic approaches geared toward small businesses.
On a separate page, we identify the types of people who might be seeking out our services. This is sort of a Goldilocks process: Are we too big, too specialized, not quite the right fit? Or are we Just Right?
If we’re just right for them, they’re just right for us.
Everyone wants their website be perfect, but very few of us have any award winning designers to call for advice (except you, dear reader, you’ve got BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE). You’ve probably heard an earful from the amatuers about how to get clicks and convert eyeballs to leads, but here, we are going to help you build your BRAND online. Here are the top 10 website design mistakes, or landmines to avoid, as compiled by our website designer Lidya Toscano.
Having a home button on your main navigation is a thing of the past, and is one of the most common website design mistakes we have personally witnessed over the years. Everyone knows and it should be pretty obvious that the logo is usually your go to place to click whenever you want to come back to the homepage in case you get lost or want to start navigating the website from the start.
Having a home button steals room for more important navigation items like your mission, your vision or the things that actually make you money, like your products.
Your website can be making you a lot of money, but if it’s not, it’s more likely because it doesn’t have enough Call To Actions, also known as CTA, and more popularly known as “Buttons.” These are essential for your website as they direct and tell the user what to do, where to go, how to do it and most importantly they play a big role in helping your website make you money. You can think of them as traffic signs, as they direct you to where you want to go, and to where it’s going to be turned into profit and/or long client relations.
Here are some examples of CTAs:
What is SEO?
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is a set of rules that every website and blog should follow in order to help their visibility in search engines and help their search ranking.
Why is it important?
SEO plays a big role in your website visibility, and not having it, or not doing it well can impact your website’s ability to appear in search engines.
Although search engines will throw thousands of results, most users don’t even get to the second page, and most of them religiously trust these search engines to have the best choice within the first page, therefore most of them don’t even click past the 5th result listed. So the higher your website ranks the more traffic your website will get and the more money you are likely to make.
You have spent many dollars in campaigns to promote you and your site, all the way from Google ads to Facebook ads, to writing copy, to doing public speaking etc., but if you aren’t turning the visitors on your site into email addresses and phone numbers, you might as well just feed your money into an empty soda machine.
If you want your website to generate business, then it is crucial that you’re capturing leads through your website. Simple ways to capturing leads of potential future customers is to have your visitors fill out a web form where they provide you with their name and email in exchange for a free give or service, or to invite them to participate in a 10 day challenge of some sort, with daily motivation sent to their inbox or phone. Once you’ve got their info, you can market to them to your heart’s content.
Unless you don’t won’t anyone inquiring to do business with you, you shouldn’t be keeping your contact information secret. The most visible and best places to put your contact information is in the footer, you can just include a phone number and an email or a contact page linked from your main nav or a site map at the footer of your website page. Another popular spot for a phone number? Across the top in the navigation!
This is one of the biggest website design mistakes there are, we are now living in the year of 2018 where, according to this Mobile Fact Sheet, 95% of Americans own some sort of cellphone and 77% own a smartphone. This means that people are spending more time on their tablets and smartphones, and 80% them have admitted to making impulsive purchases while on their phone, and, they will do it again! If you don’t believe us, take a look at this Huffpost article 5 Reasons You Absolutely Must Optimize Your Website for Mobile.
Another reason to optimize your website to be mobile friendly is that Google penalizes non-friendly mobile websites by lowering their search ranking and this directly hurts your business if you make your money by generating leads online. Want more info? Read this: Google Boosts Mobile-Friendly Algorithm, Further Penalizing Non-Mobile Sites.
When it comes to designing a website, infinite scrolling is often looked at as a negative feature by old school designers. But, look around, everybody is doing it! You are actually doing it right now! Especially when it comes to mobile websites, scrolling is not a bad thing and it’s a thing people are very used to doing. People do it everyday and love to do it on all of their Social Media accounts such Facebook and Instagram. So avoid this common website design mistake and don’t limit your content by thinking that scrolling is a bad thing.
Another very common website design mistake is to embed text in images, search engines can’t read embedded text in images. If that’s your issue you could be hurting your search ranking and might as well not even include the text on the image at all, since having it embedded is equivalent to not having text at all. And if you still don’t understand why SEO is important go back and read point 3.
Not including your social media on your site, is plain bad. Adweek states that on average a person spends 5 years of their life navigating their social media accounts.
Now, why should you have social media you ask? Many companies are taking advantage of social media to advertise products, promote services and make announcements which eventually leads to profits. So why would you not include yours?
Now this is our area of expertise and we know a bad and inconsistent branding when we see one. Not only is this visually bad, but you can be confusing your users by making them think they’re on a different page every time they make a click and users will be more likely to not trust you neither return to your site.
Here is a list of signs to tell if your branding is inconsistent or not:
If you need professional help building your website click here for a complimentary consult.
Do you have a positioning statement?
More importantly… Is it any good?
Recently we discussed three ways to differentiate your business—with your credibility, your uniqueness, or your value to your customer.
But what does that look like in practice? How can you use that theoretical idea—“We’re different because of X”—in the day-to-day of your business?
Enter the positioning statement: a to-the-point description of your business, your clients and how you help them.
A positioning statement—also called a purpose statement—isn’t a tagline, or an elevator pitch, or a mission statement.
It’s meant for you and you alone. Your customers should never see it or hear it.
But in some ways, it’s more important than anything else you do, because it informs everything else you show to customers.
Every decision you make about your brand—the name and nature of your services, your prices, your marketing materials, and even things like the way you deliver customer service—should align with and support your positioning statement.
Good news: you’re only a few ideas away from writing your own positioning statement.
Here’s a fill-in-the-blanks version you can use to get started:
[Your company] … [provides/delivers/helps/offers/works with etc.] … [your ideal client] … to [outcome of your services] … by [things you do to achieve that outcome].
Here’s how that looks in practice:
Google helps internet users find what they’re searching for in just a click by organizing the world’s information and making it instantly accessible.
If you’d prefer, here’s another formula:
For [ideal buyer] … [your company] is the [category in which you’re unique] … which provides [main benefit you offer]. Unlike [your competition], which provides [their offering] … [your company] provides [your differentiators or proof points].
And here’s that formula in real life, using Amazon this time:
For online shoppers, Amazon is the world’s biggest store, providing millions of products at the click of a mouse. Unlike Walmart, which focuses on the lowest price at the expense of just about everything else, Amazon offers nearly unlimited choice, great prices, convenient shipping, and individualized service.
Easy enough, right?
Doug Stayman, on the Cornell University blog, gives these tips on writing a good positioning statement:
With those maxims in mind, here are some things to ask as you’re writing your new positioning statement:
Ask those questions, and work it until it feels good—until you’ve settled on the one that’s most… “you.”
When you’re working, try to get to know your customers and zero in on the benefits of what you offer, not the features. Remember to talk not only about what you do, but about how your buyers are changed by what you do. For example, you don’t sell courses to women—you transform work-at-home moms.
The best marketing in the world won’t help you if your customers still think you’re a commodity. You need to be different in the eyes of your clients. A positioning statement, created with thought and insight, is a great first step toward achieving that differentiation.
Last week, I had an eye-opening conversation with a new colleague. This woman knows her stuff, especially when it comes to online marketing.Part of conversation led to a very interesting topic. The role of a CEO.
You see, as the CEO of your small businesses, we know there are three things you must always keep your eye on:
Let’s discuss the last bullet point.
I don’t know about you, but there are pieces of running my business that I dislike. Rather, there are aspects I’m not really good at. Usually, it’s technology-related.
But, technology is critical for the operations of my business.
Here’s my question: Have you ever hired someone that requires some level of technical (or professional) expertise and didn’t get the results you had hoped for?
Have you to hiring a social media strategist?
A web developer?
An Infusionsoft expert?
A product launch manager?
A virtual assistant?
Well, part of the issue might be the person wasn’t qualified.
Or provided the wrong level of service.
Or, maybe, you weren’t ready for the person you hired.
Either way, there’s one idea that my colleague mentioned to me that made me rethink my hiring process. It’s the notion that you must be know all aspects of the position you’re hiring someone for.
That is, you have to know enough about the position to ask the right questions during the screening phase. Someone may not be as trained or experienced as they lead you to believe, but they may masterful at sales. Hence, you get “sold” something — but, you have no way of knowing if this person is truly the right fit for you.
If you’re anything like me, you may know enough about technology, but you’re more the Visionary or the Creative. You can’t be bothered by the technical aspects of your business.
And, yet, you need to be involved. It doesn’t mean you have to do the technical jobs. But you have to know enough to ask the right questions so you don’t get burned from so-called experts or professionals who promise you one thing, but don’t deliver.
What does have to do with brand?
Well, if you already know that brand is more than a logo, then you will resonate with the idea that your brand is a key aspect of helping you make decisions for your business.
Re Perez is a seasoned Brand Consultant, with a Fortune 500 background at top global brand consultancies including Interbrand and Siegel+Gale. Since 2011, his agency BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE, has delivered Fortune 500-level branding to thousands of entrepreneurs across 45+ different industries around the world—from start-ups, Inc. 500 fastest growing companies, and established multi million-dollar businesses. He has a proven track record for helping his clients double, triple and quadruple their business.
When it comes to the creating a “visual language” for your brand, color is one of most powerful components of your brand that allows customers or clients to distinguish you from the crowd. Colors are what most people notice when they see your logo, website, marketing materials or product packaging. It’s usually what resonates in their memory and what reminds them of your brand. Knowing all of this, it make sense that you should take your time when choosing the color that will represent you and your company. In doing so, you will position yourself as a company that people want do support, recommend or follow.
Color theory is a fascinating study. In fact, numerous studies demonstrate the power of color in branding. And, we’re talking about more than just the simple color associations with adjectives, e.g., red = passion, white = purity.
The power of colors is a deeper exploration. For example, not all colors work well with all types of industries. The sophistication and timelessness of the color black might work well for the automobile industry but would hurt companies in the food industry. Think about it — who would buy food from McDonald’s if their dominant branding colors were black and grey? In the food industry, black stops signifying sophistication and starts signifying that the specific company’s food might be rotten. Now, to be clear, I’m not promoting fast food chains, but I want to illustrate how brands are using color to appeal to consumers.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses can also leverage color theory to create brands that will help them build a bigger business and make bigger impact with people. Just keep in mind that color can symbolize and signify who you are, what you stand for, and why people should care about you. However, you must do your research. You might be surprised by how many colors don’t work well with different industries.
I love the ‘True Colors’ infographic by Column Five Media which explains colors reflect a brand’s image and alters consumers’ perceptions. They have a fascinating study what your brand colors say about your business — what the colors signify, what industries work well with certain colors (and what industries aren’t appropriate for certain colors). Note: you should recognize that perceptions of colors are oftentimes subjective – people’s feelings about particular colors can be personal and rooted in their own experiences. However, there are also many colors that have universal meaning. As you can see, the infographic points out some interesting statistics. For example, 33% of the world’s Top 100 brands use BLUE as their brand color. Why? You could say that blue makes companies look more trustworthy, dependable, and responsible. These traits work well for many different industries, more than any other color – blue is the only color that is popular for six different industries.
Another interesting statistic highlighted in this infographic is that a resounding 95% use only one or two colors for their brand. That is because using more than two colors will usually confuse most consumers, it will make it harder for them to remember the brand and there will be much less situations in which consumers will stumble upon the same combination of colors. For example, when people see the combination of red and yellow, they will be instantly reminded of McDonalds.
When done properly, I would encourage entrepreneurs and small brands to either own one color, two colors, OR even explore a multi-color system as part of your visual language. For example, Google and eBay use a few different colors, but the colors work well with one another and they are consistent about how they use these colors in their branding.
When deciding which colors to use for your brand, you must also consider geographic considerations. Most color studies relate mostly to North America and the United Kingdom. If you’re a national or locally based brand, this may be less relevant. It’s worthwhile to note that, especially if you plan to be an international brand, if your product is sold in a different country you should check to see if there are any color associations that have negative meanings or might be offensive in another country.
If colors don’t seem powerful enough by now, here’s more: colors can affect a person’s state of mind, their cognitive ability and can even cause physiological reactions! Some colors, for example, can raise a person’s blood pressure, increase their metabolism or cause eyestrain. In ancient times, the Chinese, Egyptians and other cultures used colors to heal people of different problems. This type of therapy is called “Chromotherapy” and is still used today as a holistic and alternative treatment. You might not believe it works but if it does one thing it shows how important colors are in our lives and how much of an impact they have.
To summarize, I want you to be aware of the power of colors in our lives and in your businesses. Don’t underestimate that the colors you use to build your website, your marketing materials, social media posts, or even the colors of your clothes ALL have an impact on people’s perception of you.
But, the real question for you to explore:
ARE YOU CHOOSING COLORS THAT ARE CREATING THE DESIRED PERCEPTION THAT IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN BUILDING YOUR BRAND AND BUSINESS?