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Get brand clarity in 5 steps

Get Brand Clarity Now in 5 Easy Steps

As we’re halfway through 2018, now is a perfect time to take inventory of your brand and gain the clarity you need to make any needed shifts to ensure you end this year on top with focused and successful marketing.

I’ve recently been working on some projects with Vicky Vitarelli of V dot V Marketing, and we wanted to share what we think is a basic and practical approach to branding and marketing. We did a Facebook LIVE video to break down the 5 steps or elements to clearly defining your brand.

 

What is a brand?

VV: It’s how you tell the story about your product and/or services to your customers. It’s how you differentiate yourself from your competitors or entice people to engage with your brand and become clients.

NS: I’ll add that it’s important to figure this out because when you have your brand elements clearly defined, it’s much easier to put your marketing plan in place. You aren’t guessing, and you can be much more consistent in all areas of your marketing.

VV: As we jump into these 5 elements I want people to think about this as a lens that they use to see their brand. You know when you go to the eye doctor and they have you look through the lens and say better/worse? Use that approach to hone it on what parts of these elements are already great and what needs changing or updating.

 

Brand element No. 1: The physical attributes.

What does it look like? It will include your logo, your colors and fonts used on your materials. All of the things that you use to visually represent your brand identity.

NS: Many people stop right here, but this is just one element of your brand.

 

Brand element No. 2: Your communication style.

What to do you sound like? Are you a leader, a guide or authority? What type of vocabulary do you use in your messaging? What is the tone? How do you want others to hear you? Soft and nurturing or empowering and bold?

NS: How do your customers experience the way you communicate? How do they hear you?

VV: Right! It’s important to remember that every touch point that your customer has with you is significant. Brand voice shows up everywhere. In your invoices, your web copy, your blog posts. Each part of what a client experiences should have the same voice.

NS: Yes! It’s important not to let some areas become boiler-plate. If you outsource copy and writing it’s important that they understand as well. It’s not just about the facts and figures, they also need to understand the voice and how you want to sound so you stay consistent.

 

Brand element No. 3: What is your brand promise?

You may be selling a service, or a physical product or a book or a combination of those things. Let’s say people are selling consulting services. That’s not really what your clients are buying. They are buying the solution. An author is selling a book, but they are also selling the messaging in the book. The solution is what your client is buying.

This is also a great place to get clear on why people are buying from you or not buying? Often, digging in to find out why your message is different is a good way to really get clear your unique brand promise.

VV: A great example is the Mastercard “Priceless” campaign. At the time this was conceived, Mastercard was number 2 in their industry. We decided to use that and say Mastercard is for those special purchases, the ones that have to happen, the ones that are not every day. And it worked!

NS: Your brand promise are the benefits around what you are selling and what your clients are looking for.

 

Brand element No. 4: Who are you selling to?

I often hear people say “Everyone can use my product or service.” And that might be true, but everyone isn’t looking for it and everyone isn’t necessarily going to purchase. If you want to market to everyone it requires a massive budget to reach everybody.

Instead, let’s focus in on who will get the most benefit of what you are selling and really clarify that. Demographics are one part. Men or women? What age? Sometimes a geographic component might be important.

Even more important, what is the mindset? What are they thinking? If everyone can use what you’re selling why don’t they have it already?

NS: When you’re clear on this it then makes brand voice so much easier to define as well. When you know exactly who you’re “talking to” you can use tone and vocabulary that fits them specifically and will resonate with them. Writing for “everybody” means generic communications that aren’t going to resonate with anyone.

Who are your people, your tribe? When you get really clear here and it makes everything much easier.

 

Brand element No. 5: How do you know what your clients really want?

Do client research. Talk to them and ask them to share their experience with your company. Not just the product, but all aspects. The buying experience, customer service, ease of use etc. How did the product or service impact their life? Why did they choose you? How did they find you? What else did they consider before buying from you? Did you meet their expectations?

If you are new and don’t have clients, interview your prospects and find out from them why and how they go about making the decision to buy from you.

You will be able to understand their pain points and then you can shape your messaging to speak to that in a well-defined way.

NS: Remember that anyone can do this too. You don’t have to have access to a research firm. You can track these things from reviews, comments online, responses to your emails, as well making it a practice to ask customers for their feedback. Make it easy for them to let you know and they will be happy to share that with you.

VV: Creating ways to listen to your readers, clients and customers on a regular basis will help you create marketing strategies that stay relevant and resonate.

Summary: The Five Steps To Do Your Own Brand Audit

  1. What do you look like?
  2. What do you sound like?
  3. What is your brand promise?
  4. Who are you selling to?
  5. Listen, ask and stay mindful of comments of customers to continue to guide you.

Branding means different things depending on our background and where you are in your business. This approach is meant to keep it simple and focused, so you can identify what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and how to best communicate the way you serve your clients or customers.

Are you clear with all of the elements of your brand? Where are you stuck? Where do you need help? Leave a comment below or connect on Facebook and share!

 

3 Ways To Optimize Your New Website Launch

3 Ways to Optimize Your Website Launch

I’ve been knee-deep in new website launches with clients and with my own website, recently.  After months of fussing over getting everything just right, it’s totally understandable to want to get that new baby out into the world. I get it – you can’t wait to finally share your new look and branding with everyone.  However, here are a three steps you should consider taking so that your fantastic new website gets maximum exposure and visibility.

1)   Get your website Google-ready.

As important as it is for your new site to function properly and be easy to navigate for new users, it is just as important for it to work well for Google and the other search engines. Make sure that you have created the best headlines, meta descriptions, and keywords for all of the content on your site so that the search engines identify your website as one that is reliable, informative, and appropriate for searches in your areas of expertise.

yoast

For most WordPress sites, you can add in plug-ins (Yoast is the most popular) to help you do this. However, if it sounds too confusing, I advise hiring an SEO (search engine optimization) expert to help you with this process – ideally before you even design your new site.

2)   Carry your new design across all platforms.

No doubt hours and hours were spent thinking about the images, color, fonts, and the look of your new site – right? Keep that awesome design going with your branding for your newsletter, social media networks, and online presentations. You want your fans and customers to feel like they are in your world with your consistent look and messaging no matter where they are in your online space.

branding

Create new newsletter header, and new (and appropriately-sized) social media images (both profile and cover images) using your brand’s new look. Also, make sure your website and looks good when it is shared. Get your designer to help you, and use social sharing plug-in (my website designer  recommended Social Warfare) and set up your social cards on your website so that you can control the look and specific content that is shared.

3)   Let your tribe help spread the word and engage with your new website.

Nothing is as infectious and engaging as a happy excited employee or fan, so let them help you share your good news. Encourage them to share the new website with their networks. If they have been involved in the process, this shouldn’t be difficult as they are probably as enthusiastic to get the word out.

stats

In one recent launch, the team was so excited and proud of the new website, the employee team shared it on Facebook and encouraged all of their friends to like the company’s Facebook page, nearly doubling the the audience in one week!

Or make a game out of it. My friend Patty Lennon just launched a gorgeous new site and to get her people to check it out, she created a treasure hunt on her site – hiding a phrase that she rewarded people for finding.

It could be so easy to finally flip the switch and just let your site be your new site. Often, people choose to forget these extra steps or they wait until they realize they are not getting the traction they expected.  But taking the time and implementing these critical to-dos into your launch strategy will most certainly give you the wider visibility and engagement you are seeking for your most important online marketing tool – your website.

Want to learn more about maximizing your new launch? Schedule a clarity call with me now.

6 Ways to Grow Your Business or Your Brand This Month

Whether you are interested in social media success, online branding, networking or business development, there is something for everyone over the next few weeks of November.  Most of these events – if not free – are a great value, worth your investment of time and money and some don’t even require you to leave your desk!   So if you are feeling like you need a bit of jump start this month, don’t miss these great opportunities.

Personal Branding 21 Day Challenge –  Nov. 1st – 30th,  Online
When you sign up, personal branding megastar Jill Celeste offers 80 personal branding activities, challenging participants to complete 21 of them by the end of the month. It’s perfect for any entrepreneur who wants to attract more clients to his/her business.
$39.99; Register here 

The Half Day Solution – Nov. 5th, 8:30am – Stamford, CT
A free introductory event with Fabienne Fredrickson leader of Client Attraction Business School focused on strategies and solutions for overcoming entrepreneurial challenges.  (There other events in VA and WA – check the site).
Free; Register here

Launching “Disruptive” Brands And Loving It  – Nov. 7th,  9am – Rye, NY
The fantastic monthly Women Entrepreneurs’ Network meet-up will learn from Jason Dorf CEO of The Goodnight Family LLC about  innovative growth strategies for start-ups.
$20 donation; Register here

“Understanding Google Analytics” – Nov. 14th, 8am – Darien, CT
This month 341U will host Google guru Kate Hamilton Miller who will share how to use Google Analytics for actionable insights, custom reports and conversion tracking.
$25; Register here

“The Art of Success!”  – Nov. 14th,  1pm – Online
A free webinar to teach you how to design a Brand that will make you look GREAT…online, in print and in person!  Hosted by Robin Dann of Studio G Creative Design & Brand Development.
Free; Register here

“Online Marketing Masterminds” – Nov. 18th, 5:30 – Stamford, CT
Internet marketing veterans Ryan Lee and Mary Agnes Antonopoulos will be sharing their step by step strategies for building and monetizing an audience online through blogging and social media. All proceeds from the event will go towards Operation Hope.
$35; Register here

With all of these opportunities, I either personally know the host , speaker or sponsor or I will be attending the event or BOTH!   So please feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions about any of these events.

Are there other events this month on your do-not-miss list?  Please share!