5 Tips on How to Market to Gen Z

When it comes to marketing strategies and marketing trends, millennials receive a great deal of attention these days. However, they are not the only generation that businesses should focus on. Generation Z already has buying power, and it won’t be long until they overtake the Millennial generation as the largest generation. In fact, anyone born after 1996 is considered part of Generation Z, which means that there have already been five years worth of Gen Z adults that you should be marketing to. The following are five tips to take note of on how to market to Gen Z.

1. Stand For Something

While focusing on how your products and services fulfill the needs of your customers is important, it will be difficult to stand apart from the crowd when it comes to getting Gen Z’s attention. They were raised on the Internet, so doing research and finding solutions to their problems is second nature to them. They have no trouble finding multiple options. In fact, the options are practically limitless for them. Consequently, they care more about what a brand stands for.

Gen Z is more aware of environmental, socio-economic, and political issues at their age than arguably any other generation. They look for brands that are eco-friendly or support their political views. This means that you can’t remain neutral. Stand for what your company believes in and you’ll be more likely to gain the support of your Gen Z audience.

2. Focus on earning brand loyalty through engagement

Gaining a new customer is far more difficult — and more expensive — than retaining an existing customer. This means you should focus on building brand loyalty among Gen Z customers. The best way to do this is by engaging with them in a meaningful and authentic way. The challenge lies in the fact that Gen Z is much less brand-oriented. They are more likely to become loyal to your company as a result of how you interact with them than any other tactic (such as offering loyalty rewards).

First of all, don’t push your products on them. When engaging with Gen Z customers, make sure it’s a two-way street. Listen to what they say. Don’t use sales jargon and don’t lie. Be personable. Offer them opportunities to participate, whether it’s by hosting brand-sponsored events, allowing them to submit ideas or feedback, or even letting them contribute content.

Explore more about How Businesses Are Using Brand Ambassador Programs To Increase Brand Awareness And Trust

3. Emphasize Mobile Marketing

Most of Gen Z won’t remember a time when they didn’t use mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. A survey published by IBM indicates that Gen Z prefers using their smartphones over other devices by 75 percent. Take advantage of this by making sure your website is mobile-friendly and that you employ mobile marketing techniques. You may want to develop an app to improve their user experience on their smartphones even more.

4. Understand How They Use Social Media

When it came to previous generations, figuring out social media wasn’t that difficult — everyone was on Facebook and Twitter. While Gen Z still uses these channels, many prefer other platforms. Channels like Facebook aren’t popular with younger consumers because of the fact that they are more family-oriented. Gen Z is more interested in visual-based social media channels that allow them to engage in a more personal way with others and that provide a creative outlet. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Snapchat and Instagram are the two most popular channels among the Gen Z crowd.

5. Invest In Influencer Marketing

Even though certain tactics, such as Google and Facebook Ads, can still be effective, Gen Z tends to respond more to influencer marketing. Influencers on platforms like Instagram have huge amounts of sway with their followers. Their significance makes them a great tool for promoting your products and services to a younger audience that’s relevant to your brand.

Keep these five tips in mind when marketing to Gen Z. While many members of Gen Z aren’t adults yet, we know more Gen Z individuals will become adults in the coming years. As such, they should be the generation that you focus more of your marketing on, which is why learning how to market to Gen Z is so important. Get a head start on your competition by beginning to tailor your marketing efforts to the needs of Gen Z now.

Learn To Use Social Media To Find New Leads

4 Essential Brand Components

There’s a common misconception that many people have that a “brand” is basically just the name of the company and the logo that they use. While these elements contribute to the overall brand of a business, the term “brand” is actually much more comprehensive than that. It involves many different components, which is why it takes a lot of thought in order to successfully develop your brand. The following are the four main brand components that you will need to address when building your brand and what kinds of strategies you can put into place to further develop those components.

1. Brand Identity

Your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived. It’s important that you know what your brand identity is and what you want it to be. If you don’t, how is anyone else supposed to know? You’re going to have a tough time generating brand awareness if you lack a strong brand identity. The following are a few steps that you should take to establish your brand identity:

  • Identify your mission

    What was the reason you established your company in the first place? What is your company’s goal? Consumers want to know what your mission is (and they don’t want to hear that it’s “to make a profit”) and it will reflect who you are as a company.

  • Establish your unique value proposition

    Your unique value proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s a statement of how your offer benefits your customers, how you will meet the needs of your customers, and what makes your offer unique. Every marketing campaign you run should align with your unique value proposition.

  • Create your brand’s visual identity

    The visual elements of your brand certainly factor into your brand identity. Just consider the logos and color palettes of some of the biggest companies out there, from Facebook’s simple logo and use of blue to McDonald’s golden arch and yellow and red palette. A strong logo that’s instantly recognizable is important, but so is choosing your colors. Different colors have different meanings and the colors you choose can have a psychological impact on your audience as well. For example, many fast-food restaurants use red and yellow because that combination of colors is thought to stimulate the appetite. Just keep in mind that consistency is key. If you decide to use shades of blue in your logo and on your website, then you should use those same colors for your social media pages, email newsletters, and physical location as well.

  • Increase brand recognition

    It’s going to take some time to get your vision of your brand identity out to the masses. You’ll want to generate awareness of your brand to do this through a variety of marketing efforts, such as building a website that emphasizes your mission and unique value proposition, creating content that’s optimized for SEO, using social media to engage with consumers and to post your content, and more. It’s also vital that you make sure your mission, unique value proposition, and visual identity are consistent across all platforms. If it’s not, it will end up hurting your brand identity.

2. Brand Image

Your brand image is similar to your brand identity in that it deals with how your brand is perceived. However, whereas your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived, brand image is how your brand is actually perceived. Consider your brand image as the reputation you currently have with the general public. Take for example United Airlines. Not long ago, they updated their brand design in an attempt to strengthen their brand identity as a “thoughtful, modern, and innovative airline.” However, their brand identity and brand image are currently quite different from each other after numerous massive PR failures regarding their customer service. Keeping that in mind, the following are a few ways to build and maintain a positive brand image:

  • Spread your message via PR

    Use public relations to spread your key messages as well as relevant news concerning your company. You can do this through news outlets, trade publications, and even online blogs. Public relations will help you raise awareness of your brand and what you’re doing, thereby helping to improve your brand image.

  • Establish a social presence

    Social media is an incredibly effective way to build your brand image, whether it’s by sharing content with consumers, keeping consumers up to date on the latest news and product launches, spreading awareness of your message, and engaging with consumers on a personal level. In fact, you can even use social media to address negative comments. It’s a good way to repair potential damage done to your brand image as a result of a poor customer experience by showing that you care and trying to correct the situation.

  • Create high-quality content

    Content will help to increase brand awareness by bringing in more web traffic. However, it can also help to build your brand authority. By publishing content that is relevant to your company and to your audience (and that’s of high quality), you’ll become a trustworthy source of information, which — in turn — will help improve your reputation and increase brand trust.

Explore more about defining and developing your brand: Why brand development matters and how it works

3. Brand Culture

Brand culture refers to your company’s core values and how you set an example for those values. Businesses have always

emphasized certain values; however, those values were often things like “reliability” or “honesty.” Values that are more equivalent to basic ethics. While those are important values to hold onto, more and more businesses have begun taking moral stances as well as political stances in addition to generally accepted values. These types of values feed into your brand culture as well. Take Nike for example. They have taken strong social positions by running commercials backing Colin Kaepernick and recently touting the importance of the women’s U.S. soccer team’s World Cup win. These are branding efforts touting their championing of equality, which has become a part of their brand culture. The following are a few tips to help you establish your brand culture:

  • Define your values

    Define exactly what your values are and how your company lives out those values. Don’t be afraid of taking a stance if there’s a particular stance that you want to take. Using the Nike example again, their backing of Kaepernick was considered controversial and plenty of consumers did not agree with their position. However, those that did agree with their position became even more strongly aligned with Nike’s brand. You can’t please everyone, but by sticking to your values, you’ll be more likely to strengthen your relationship with many of your customers.

  • Spread awareness of your values

    Let consumers know about your values by declaring them on your website or by encouraging discussion about your values on social media. Publishing content that backs your values is an effective method as well.

  • Ensure that your company reflects your values

    There’s nothing consumers hate more than a hypocrite. If you’re flaunting your support for equal pay across social media and in your marketing efforts, then you better be practicing what you preach. Your brand culture is incredibly dependent on your ability to embrace your own values within your company.

4. Brand Personality

Your brand personality refers to the human characteristics that your company has. Developing a brand personality is vital to connecting with your audience on an emotional level and for making your brand relatable. Because of this, make sure that you use the following tips to develop your brand personality:

  • Learn who your audience is

    Understanding your audience is something that you need to do from the very beginning. It’s an important step in building your brand identity as well. However, it’s particularly important when it comes to developing your brand personality. The way you present yourself and the way that you communicate should reflect not only who the audience is but what they expect. For example, if you have a younger audience, then a dry, formal tone may not resonate with them. However, if your audience is older, using younger slang and current pop culture references may go over their heads.

  • Engage with your audience

    While you can get your personality across in the content you write, it’s easier to do through engaging with people. It’s why using social media is so important. Your entire audience sees your interactions and it helps establish your personality a certain way. For example, Wendy’s has a reputation for having a playful personality because of their use of humor and the pretend feuds that they get into with other brands on Twitter.

  • Be consistent in tone

    If you’re going to be funny and informal on one platform, you need to make sure that personality carries over to all of the other platforms you use, both online and offline. If you’re inconsistent, it will hurt your ability to develop a cohesive brand personality, which will only confuse your audience.

These are the four main brand components that you will need to address when developing your brand strategy. A strong brand requires a strong brand identity, brand image, brand culture, and brand personality. Implementing a successful brand strategy that develops all four of these components increases brand trust, loyalty, and awareness.

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what is brand strategy

Long-term essentials: What is a brand strategy?

The term “brand” gets thrown around a lot these days. When people think about a brand, they often think about the name of the company and its logo. For example, Nike and its swoosh. However, these are just elements of their brand. Your brand encompasses much more than just your name and logo. Your brand is about your unique selling proposition, what your company stands for, how you engage with consumers, and more. As a result, you’re going to need to create a brand strategy. What is a brand strategy? A brand strategy involves building your brand identity and reputation as well as increasing brand awareness. A good brand strategy will consist of the following eight essentials:

1. Establish Your Brand Strategy Goals

Without goals, a strategy isn’t a strategy. How are you supposed to measure the performance of any of your branding efforts if you don’t have any goals to measure them against, after all? As such, you need to establish clearly defined goals at the outset. These need to be long-term goals. What are your main business goals? Do you want to reach a new audience? Do you want to be an industry leader? Your brand strategy will vary based on what your main goals are — and while every company’s goal is to “make money,” you need to get a little more specific than this.

2. Maintain Brand Consistency

In order to increase brand awareness, you need to strengthen your brand identity. One of the most important elements of a strong brand identity is consistency. All of your branding efforts need to be consistent across all platforms. If your tone is generally somber (for example, if your company provides funeral services or sells anxiety medication), then posting wacky memes or pictures of cats onto your Facebook page isn’t going to be consistent with your brand. Doing so will only confuse your audience, especially if they jump from one platform to another. For instance, if they’re on your Facebook page and they decide to visit your website and your branding isn’t consistent, they’ll be unsure as to whether they’re in the right place. A lack of consistency causes doubt into what your company is and does, which is not going to help you retain your audience or capture new leads.

The key to maintaining brand consistency is to maintain the same tone and to always keep your message in mind. All of your branding efforts should align with that message. Even the aesthetic of your brand needs to remain consistent. You can’t just have different logos or different color schemes for each platform you use. Consistency is important because it helps to contribute to brand recognition, which is vital when it comes to building customer loyalty.

Learn more about brand development: Why Brand Development Matters and How it Works

3. Avoid Short-Term Brand Building

While getting immediate results would be nice, you don’t want to sacrifice long-term brand building for short-term results. Successful brands take years to build and require continuous work and consistency. It can be easy to lose focus of your long-term goals when you see other companies implement branding tactics that appear to be successful. Just because it works for one company doesn’t mean it will work for you — especially if what they’re doing doesn’t align with your goals. For example, one brand might put out a video that goes viral. Creating a similar video does not guarantee similar results, especially if it’s not in line with your existing branding efforts. You should also be careful about following the latest trends within your industry. Many branding trends are often short-term tactics that may hurt your long-term strategy.

4. Create An Emotional Connection

Branding isn’t just about putting information about your company out into the world in the hopes that consumers remember why your product or service is the best one available. Consumers don’t always use rational thought to justify their purchases, after all. It’s why you need to engage consumers on an emotional level. Not only are they more likely to purchase products from a brand that they can relate to emotionally, but they are more likely to be loyal as a result. The reason behind this is simple: humans have an innate need to belong and to feel a connection.

When building your brand, you need to figure out how you can foster such an emotional connection. It’s why you need to make sure your branding efforts engage consumers on a personal level. Many businesses employ a more informal marketing strategy as a result as its easier to connect to. Developing a brand personality or even putting a face behind your brand makes it easier for audiences to connect to you as well. Take, for example, Apple’s commercials in which a young actor wearing casual clothes and speaking in a friendly, informal manner represented Apple, while an older actor dressed in a suit with a more formal demeanor represented Microsoft. Apple used these commercials to connect to their younger audience, essentially showing younger, hipper consumers that they were just like them.

5. Involve Your Employees

One of the most important ways to maintain brand consistency is by involving your employees. You’ll want to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the tone and message of your brand. For example, if you’re pushing a more informal and playful tone on your social media pages, then you’ll want your customer service reps to follow that tone. The last thing you want is for someone who follows your brand on social media to call your company only to speak with someone who is incredibly dry and informal. This lack of consistency may not fool consumers, but it will hurt your ability to build brand loyalty.

Consumers are expecting a certain kind of experience and engagement as a result of your branding and if they don’t get something similar when actually interacting with your employees, they will likely be let down. It’s why you should make sure that your employees understand your message, goals, and tone so that they can accurately represent your brand when speaking or engaging with consumers, whether it’s over the phone, via email or online chat, or even in your physical location.

6. Reward Loyalty

Customers who have already showcased loyalty to your brand can help strengthen your brand. Such customers will often go out of their way to recommend your brand to others, whether it’s by writing reviews, providing testimonials, or simply recommending products and services to friends and colleagues over social media. There is nobody consumers trust more than another consumer. That is why you should turn to these types of customers to act as brand ambassadors on your behalf.

Reach out to customers who have made multiple purchases with a personal thank you note. Ask them to write a review for you. Thank them for any reviews that they have written. Engage them on social media. You can even reward their loyalty with something like a discount or a special offer. These kinds of efforts don’t go unnoticed and will help to further encourage their loyalty. Making such efforts in public (such as on social media) can help highlight your relationship with your best customers, which will strengthen your brand’s reputation and entice other consumers.

7. Track Your Competitors

Your competition is likely targeting the same audience you are. It’s why it’s worth your effort to keep an eye on what they’re doing to build their brand. While you don’t necessarily want to copy their ideas and tactics (remember, short-term tactics may not benefit you in the long run if they don’t align with your goals), you do want to track what their strategy is and whether or not their tactics prove to be effective. This can help you identify tactics that work and to figure out why they worked or didn’t work. This information can be incredibly beneficial for your own branding strategy since it can allow you to avoid certain pitfalls.

You can also track your competition by following what consumers are saying about them. You can see what positive things people are saying about your competition and use that information to your advantage. Negative comments can also be helpful as they can allow you to address a need your competition isn’t addressing. For instance, if you notice that consumers are complaining because a competitor is difficult to get a hold of, you can make sure that this won’t be the case for you by offering various channels of communication to your audience.

8. Be Flexible

While you don’t want to jump on the latest branding tactics just because they’re trending, you do want to remain flexible. For example, your branding goals may end up changing over time, so you’ll want to adjust your branding strategy accordingly. Additionally, some short-term branding tactics may actually align with your goals and could benefit your long-term strategy. You shouldn’t be afraid to deviate from your existing strategy in order to adopt such tactics. Flexibility is important to your brand’s continuous success.

 

No brand strategy is the same, nor should it be. Your brand strategy should align with what your goals are. However, these are eight essential tips to keep in mind when creating your brand strategy. Just remember, don’t expect overnight results. Building your brand is a long-term strategy that never ends — you should continue to build your brand even as you gain success. While consistency is important, change is inevitable, whether it’s your products and services that change, your customers that change, or your market that changes.

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what is a brand story

What is a Brand Story? Differentiating Yourself From The Competition

With all the choices that consumers have in this day and age, just having a good product at a fair price point just isn’t going to cut it. Consumers don’t just care about the product (or service) they’re buying, they care who they’re buying it from, which is why your company’s brand identity is so important to your success. One of the important elements of your brand identity is your brand story. A lot of businesses mistakenly think that this is covered in their “about us” page on their website; however, your brand story is not the same thing as your company history. While your company history can be an important part of your brand story, your brand story involves the consumer as much as it involves your company and is absolutely essential in helping you to differentiate your company from your competition.

What Is A Brand Story?

A brand story is the narrative of your brand. It shouldn’t just provide information to the audience about who your company is, it should also tell consumers what your motivations are and should inspire an emotional reaction. For example, while the history of your company can play a role in your brand story, it’s arguably more important why you started the company than how you started it. This helps to get across your mission as well as your core values. Additionally, this allows you to address the consumer as a character in your story. The reason you started the company was to address a certain problem or need that your consumers have, after all.

Learn more about branding: Why Brand Development Matters and How it Works

Why Is Your Story Important?

There are dozens — if not hundreds — of companies that are similar to yours, whether they are competing directly with you or not. These companies may offer similar products that address similar needs to the same target audience. Simply saying that your products or services are better than theirs won’t get you far, even if you’re able to generate content that backs your statements. This is because consumers need to be able to connect with you on an emotional level. They want to relate to the brand that they choose. To do this, you need to differentiate yourself from your competition via your brand story.

A brand story makes it easier for consumers to connect with you due to the fact that storytelling has been an effective way to communicate messages and ideas throughout history. Using storytelling techniques in order to inform consumers about your company is going to make it much easier for them to stay engaged with you. There are several ways that you can do this. For example, you can position your company as the main protagonist whose goal it is to help the consumer or you can position the consumer as the main protagonist who must overcome an obstacle (a problem or need that the consumer has) with the help of your company (a solution in the form of your products or services).

When it comes down to it, creating a brand story helps differentiate your company from your competition while also making your brand more engaging for consumers, thereby making you more relatable on a personal level and more trustworthy as a result.

Creating Your Brand Story

Now that you understand what a brand story is and it’s importance, it’s time to develop your unique brand story:

  • Determine your company’s purpose

    What is your origin story? This doesn’t just refer to the date your company was founded, but why you decided to establish your business. What was your motivation? What is your mission? For example, maybe you realized that customer service within a certain industry was poor and you wanted to provide a better customer experience. Consumers want to know that there’s more to your company’s goals than just profit.

  • Understand who your audience is

    You can’t tell a story without an audience, and you need to know who you’re talking to in order to tell your story effectively. Your story should include your audience as a character, so you must know who your audience is. What are their main challenges, needs, and goals? Knowing this (along with more detailed demographic information) gives you a better understanding of how to tell an engaging story. It’s also why developing buyer personas is particularly helpful when it comes to your brand story.

  • Make sure your brand story remains consistent

    The products and services you sell need to align with your story. For example, if your main goal as a company is to provide an affordable alternative to a luxury product, then you can’t suddenly begin selling high-priced luxury items. Everything you do, from products and services to your marketing efforts, needs to align with your brand story. This means that you also need to maintain the same tone and messaging of your brand story across all platforms. A lack of consistency is going to hurt your brand identity and, in turn, hurt your trustworthiness.

  • Keep it simple

    Simple brand stories are easy for consumers to remember and make it easier for you to maintain consistency. If your story is too convoluted or long, you’ll lose the message and maintaining consistency across platforms becomes more difficult. It will also confuse your audience and help make your competitors’ brand stories appear more clear and well-defined.

  • Be authentic

    Make sure that your brand story actually represents who your brand is. Many companies try appealing to different audiences and adjust their story inauthentically to try making an emotional connection with them. This often happens if you don’t understand who your audience actually is. For example, if you run a clothing line that mostly middle-aged adults purchase but you want to break into the youth market, you might try to spice up your brand story to connect with a younger crowd by using younger slang and referring to pop culture or issues that you think they care about. However, consumers are smart — they can tell if a brand is being inauthentic and it won’t go over well.

  • Be personal

    Appeal to the emotions of your audience. You want them to feel something about your brand story. That’s why it’s important to be authentic about your motivations and your values. You should also make your audience part of your brand story so that it’s more relatable to them.

Your brand story is an important element of your brand identity and helps to emphasize what your brand’s message is. By creating a brand story and aligning your marketing efforts with that brand story, you’ll establish a foundation for who you are and what your company’s purpose is, thereby making it easier for consumers to relate and connect with your brand on a more personal level.

30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips

6 Reasons Why You Should Attend a Conference

There are hundreds of manufacturing conferences that are held every year around the country. As the owner of a manufacturing business, it would do you a lot of good to attend just one of these conferences. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t make the time to attend any of them. There’s a chance that you may not have gone because you simply weren’t aware that these conferences were being held. It’s more likely that you’re afraid that they won’t be worth your time. As a business owner, time is precious. You don’t want to waste what time you have traveling to and from a conference that may have nothing new to offer. If this is your line of thinking, then you should strongly reconsider. The following are six significant reasons why you should attend a conference:

1. Find New Prospects

Building relationships with existing clients shouldn’t be your only goal. You’ll find that conferences are attended by many prospects as well. They may be looking to educate themselves about the industry before they even choose a manufacturer to work with. This allows them to make a more informed decision. As such, these conferences are a great opportunity to introduce yourself to potential prospects, thereby giving you a better chance at closing new customers.

2. Build Relationships With Existing Clients

There’s a very good chance that you’ll run into existing clients at one of these conferences. Clients often attend a conference in order to better educate themselves about the industry. Doing so gives them the confidence that they’re investing their money responsibly. They also use these conferences as a way to network. By showing up as well, you’ll be able to interact with existing clients and to build your relationships with them. Not only is it a great opportunity to re-engage, but they’ll also see that you’re taking the effort to improve your business. This, in turn, helps to build trust in your brand, which will improve your chances of turning them into brand evangelists.

Learn how you can further increase your brand awareness: How To Drive Brand Awareness

3. Meet Experts And Influencers

Networking with clients and potential clients is important, but those aren’t the only people worth meeting at these manufacturing conferences. You will also listen to and meet numerous experts and influencers within your field. Building relationships with these people can be incredibly beneficial as well. For example, experts can provide you with advice that can help you solve issues that your company is currently having. Influencers can be key in helping you find new customers or discovering new markets that your company could enter.

4. Learn New Approaches And Ideas

Attending conferences isn’t just about networking (although it’s an excellent opportunity to do so), it’s also about learning. Most conferences will schedule a list of speakers from throughout the industry. They will also hold numerous workshops that you can participate in. It’s a great way to better educate yourself about your industry and to learn about new approaches and ideas about the manufacturing process, your business strategy, or your marketing strategy, to name a few potential subjects. As a business owner, you should always be looking for ways that you can improve your company. Knowledge is power when it comes to not just surviving in the industry, but succeeding in it.

Staying up to date on all the latest trends within the manufacturing industry can be a real challenge in itself. Not only do you need to keep up to date with the latest technologies, tools, and strategies, but you need to figure out which are worth implementing. Conferences are a great way to learn about the latest trends. For example, new manufacturing technology may be presented at the conference that you can learn about. Additionally, going to a conference is a good way to learn about the trends that are actually worth following, thereby giving you a better idea as to whether they will benefit your company.

6. Speak About Your Own Business

Conferences give you the chance to speak publicly about your business. This can help to generate interest in what you’re doing, thereby building your brand name and reputation. However, it also provides you with practice pitching your company and its services. Refining this skill will come in handy whenever you’re speaking with prospects in the future.

These are six reasons why you should attend a conference. Attending a manufacturing conference can not only help to educate you about different aspects of the industry, but it can also help you stay up to date on the latest trends as well as to network with hundreds — if not thousands — of people within your industry that are worth knowing.

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brand development

Why Brand Development Matters and How it Works

Branding is more than just creating a logo and slapping it on a website or the side of a van. Developing your brand takes time, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results. Your brand makes you recognizable to consumers and without having it clearly established, your company becomes lost in the crowd. You want to impress your prospects and brand development does a lot of the work for you. Get ready to put your other projects aside, because right now, developing your brand matters most.

Developing your strategy

Brand development is a multi-stage process with the ultimate goal of building brand equity in a consumer’s mind. Brand equity is an intangible set of assets that cannot be tracked on a balance sheet. But, the value of that equity is the most valuable asset a company can own. Think about Kraft, Amazon, Apple, Steve Carell or Servpro. What emotional ties do you have with these brands?

Developing a brand must be part of the larger marketing plan for the company. It is often the biggest challenge, but the most critical. You don’t have to invest millions to develop your brand, but making the effort will pay off.

You first need an understanding of the clients you want to reach. Don’t assume you already know them, and instead take the time to do some research. You want to figure out your brand’s buyer persona. This includes your audience’s demographic and even their psychographics, such as their goals and motivations. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they want to see from you. From there, you can be sure you’re focusing your brand on the correct target audience.

Defining your brand

Next, focus on your brand definition. This definition can be in the form of a story or statement that clearly reflects what your brand is all about. Your marketing team will help you define what you are offering, how your target audience will benefit from it, what guarantees your offer, and what your unique selling proposition (USP) is. Remember to ask the question, what can this brand do or stand for that no other brand can say?

Think of what valuable services your company provides to customers that make their lives better. In order to compete with other brands, you need to have key differentiators that set you apart. Make a list of all you have to offer and then determine which unique offer stands out the most. This can be your lead differentiator you use in your branding when trying to appeal to your target audience.

Logo and Slogan

For your next step, you want to design a logo. Your logo should help convey your message to the audience you want to reach. Also, keep in mind that your logo is like the face of your brand, because it’s often the first thing people recognize. For example, if you think about Starbucks, McDonald’s or Louis Vuitton, their logo probably immediately comes to mind.

Now, you need to consider creating a slogan. This is part of letting your customers know what your company is about. Your slogan needs to be concise and relevant to your business. If you have trouble coming up with one on your own, consider using a slogan generator. You might also include your slogan in your logo, or create another version of your logo with the slogan in it that you can use, when suitable, to further establish your brand.

You know your buyer persona, you have your logo and slogan, now examine your company goals. How do you want consumers to see you? You need to make your brand strategy align with your goals and ideals in order to be consistent with your business. This step is important, because if you do not get it right, the rest of your brand strategy will fail. Take time to evaluate different possibilities and narrow it down to the one you think works best for you. This doesn’t have to be a one person job. Put together a team or get in contact with a marketing company for a fresh perspective.

Still unsure? Check out: The Brand Development Process Demystified 

Growing your brand

You’ve established your brand, but you’re not done yet. Now you need to help it grow. Put your brand out there for everyone to see. Incorporate it into your social media, SEO, ads and more. Specifically, focus on your website. Potential customers come to your website for a number of needs, so you want it to reflect your brand in the best way possible. Your new brand can also help you stand out at trade shows. The more public appearances your brand has, the more recognizable it will become. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of work it takes to grow the brand. It will be worth it when you start seeing the results of your carefully curated strategy.

Have patience while you wait for the results of establishing your brand. This is not an overnight process. So, take a look at your website and business analytics and continue to monitor them on a weekly or monthly basis. If your brand is a success, analytics will be able to show you how its helped your company flourish with growing numbers in connections and clients.

Going forward, continue to monitor your brand, conduct research into more growth opportunities and update as the market changes. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by letting your brand fall behind. Better yet, invest in receiving help from a marketing company. Often, they know the best techniques and practices for your brand development. With them, you can be sure your brand has the best chance to excel in your industry.

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chatbot examples

Chatbot Examples: How Businesses are Successfully Using Chatbots

Businesses are constantly looking for ways to engage with their audience in any way they can. The more you engage with them, the more effectively you can nurture them. It’s one of the reasons why companies are beginning to implement chatbots more and more. Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that engage with website users via a messenger. Chatbots use data such as user information and behavior to personalize interactions. They are a great way to keep visitors engaged as they navigate your site by answering basic questions and providing assistance any hours of the day. Considering how popular online messengers are in general (Facebook Messenger alone has more than 1.2 billion monthly users), it should come as no surprise that chatbots are a form of customer service people appreciate. The following are some chatbot examples.

Types of Chatbots

When it comes to implementing a chatbot, it’s important to know that there two main types to choose from: a simple chatbot and a smart chatbot. The following is a brief rundown of their differences:

  • Simple Chatbots – Simple chatbots work by implementing a series of commands written by the developer based on pre-written keywords. Basically, the chatbot will only understand a user query if it contains one of these pre-written keywords. If a user engages with the chatbot but doesn’t use any of these keywords, it will automatically respond with something like “I do not understand.” It’s a very basic chatbot, but it can still be useful for answering simple questions.
  • Smart Chatbots – Smart chatbots use AI to communicate to users. Instead of replying to user queries and responses with pre-prepared answers, a smart chatbot will respond with appropriate suggestions on the topic. The words of the user will also be recorded for additional data.

How Major Brands Use Chatbots

Now that you have a better understanding of what chatbots are, the following are a few examples of how some of the more well-known companies have adapted chatbots and why they have been so effective for them:

  • Adobe – The Adobe chatbot helps users troubleshoot issues by responding to questions with links to pages that contain the solutions. It’s a no-frills chatbot, but it’s one that users can rely on when they have questions or issues.
  • Arsenal FC – The London based Arsenal soccer team has a chatbot that provides users with real-time updates about ongoing games. It is useful for anyone who can’t catch the game on TV. Their chatbot also provides information about upcoming games, team line-ups, and team-related news.
  • Universal Studios – The chatbot used by Universal Studios in hugely helpful in a number of ways. First, it can provide a significant amount of information while users are at one of their parks, such as where the nearest restroom is or what the wait times are for certain rides in real time. It also gives users the chance to speak with a human representative if the chatbot can’t provide the answer they’re looking for.
  • Dominos – Dominos lets its customers order food through its chatbot. It’s like someone is taking their order over text. The chatbot asks customers what they want and will follow up with specific questions about customization options. It’s particularly customer-friendly because customers don’t have to download or sign-up for anything. The chatbot can also save your preferences for future orders.

These few successful chatbot examples show just how helpful using chatbots can be, especially when it comes to improving your customer service.

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Brand Ambassador Programs

How Businesses Are Using Brand Ambassador Programs To Increase Brand Awareness And Trust

Generating brand awareness and building brand trust are two major marketing goals all businesses have. One of the most effective ways to achieve these goals is by encouraging loyal customers to increase brand awareness and trust on your behalf. This is because positive word-of-mouth can be incredibly powerful, and because consumers tend to trust one another when it comes to brand recommendations. As a result, many businesses have established brand ambassador programs in order to turn their loyal customers into official ambassadors.

What are Brand Ambassadors?

Brand ambassadors are consumers who work closely with you to advocate your brand. Companies generally choose loyal customers who already have a history recommending your brand, and also have some online influence. Someone with tens of thousands of followers on Instagram is going to be more effective as a brand ambassador than someone who only has LinkedIn and a handful of connections.

Having brand ambassadors can influence their followers by recommending your products or services, incite conversations about your brand, and create content on your behalf. For example, a brand ambassador on Instagram might post a picture wearing a jacket your company sells.

To take advantage of brand ambassadors, you’ll want to establish a brand ambassador program. You’ll need to do a lot of research to identify individuals who will make good brand ambassadors. Consider making the program membership exclusive. People are more likely to take their brand ambassadorship seriously if they know that not just anyone can be one of your brand ambassadors. Additionally, you’ll need to provide some sort of compensation, whether you actually pay them or you give them free products. Many companies will provide their brand ambassadors with new products before they’re even available to the masses.

Examples of Successful Brand Ambassador Programs

The following are some of the most successful brand ambassador programs launched by some of the biggest companies:

• Red Bull – Red Bull’s brand ambassador program is called the Wings Team. They focus on students who have an exciting lifestyle to turn their brand into a lifestyle brand. Because their ambassadors are students, they are able to reach a college audience much more effectively.
• Lululemon – Lululemon essentially uses its brand ambassador program to sponsor local athletes, yoga instructors, and influencers. They provide incentive by partnering with their ambassadors to support their local philanthropic projects and initiatives.
• American Express – American Express has a brand ambassador program filled with social media influencers. They target travel and lifestyle influencers in particular since they showcase a luxurious lifestyle — one that obviously benefits from the extensive use of a credit card. They not only showcase the use of their American Express credit cards, but the rewards that they can obtain from their regular use as well.

Even the biggest companies in the world recognize the value of a brand ambassador. If you have loyal customers, then you should encourage them to become brand ambassadors by implementing a brand ambassador program. Use these three examples as an inspiration to set up your own brand ambassador program today.

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7 Package Design Tips for Creating a Strong Brand

There are a lot of factors that go into creating a strong brand. One factor that shouldn’t be overlooked is the packaging design of your products. Not only should the design of your packaging properly reflect everything you want to say about your product, but it should also make it recognizable as being part of your brand. When someone looks at the packaging of a product, even if it’s just a quick glance, you’ll want them to recognize it as an offering from your business, after all. The following are a few packaging design tips that will help with creating a strong brand:

1. Consider Form And Function

The look of your product’s packaging is certainly important–consumers are going to judge a book by its cover when it comes to most products and for good reason, the quality of a product’s packaging will reflect the quality of the product in most people’s minds. If you can’t put effort into your product’s packaging, how do they know you put any effort into the product itself? Of course, the packaging needs to be functional as well. It should keep the product safe and intact. If the packaging is completely based on helping the product look good but isn’t actually functional, it’s going to hurt your packaging design instead of helping it.

2. Be Clear and Concise

A brief glance at your product’s packaging should tell the consumer everything they need to know about the brand behind the product, what the product is, and what the product does. If they have to stop and inspect the package in order to figure out what it’s for, you’re in trouble. Make sure the content you display on your packaging is clear and concise. Don’t clutter your packaging with images and text either as this will only overwhelm the consumer and make it more difficult for them to figure out what your product is about.

3. Be Honest And Authentic

Don’t lie about your product by making outlandish claims on the packaging or by displaying images of the product that don’t accurately represent what’s inside the package. This will only hurt your long-term success. It’s important to be authentic as well. Although authenticity is something that’s difficult to define, it’s about sticking to your strengths and not trying to position your product or brand as something it’s not in an attempt to draw attention.

5 Package Design Trends for 2018

4. Use Colors Consistently

Consumers will associate the colors you use on your packaging with your brand, which is why you won’t want to stray far from the colors you use in your official branding. Try to stick to just two to three main colors for your packaging to prevent it from looking messy as well.

 

5. Choose Fonts Carefully

The fonts you choose should be in line with your overall brand. This means that if you use more minimal fonts and designs for your logo, website, and more, then using lavish cursive fonts for your packaging may not be the best idea. Additionally, don’t use more than two (three max) types of fonts. Too many fonts will make your packaging look cluttered. Two fonts that compliment one another will make your package design look more cohesive.

6. Consider Your Competition

Take a look at what your competitors are doing with their packaging. This can give you a good idea of what’s working. It can also ensure that you don’t create packaging that’s too similar to your competition. You want your product to stand out from other products, after all.package design

7. Keep Product Extension In Mind

You may add more products to the same product line, so you’ll want to make sure that your packaging has a flexible design so that you can reuse it with some minor alterations (such as a different color but the same overall design) for any new products in the same line that you release.

One of the elements you’ll want to focus on when implementing a strategy for creating a strong brand is the packaging you design for your products. Be sure to keep these package design tips in mind and you’ll likely see more success in creating a strong brand.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

5 Reasons to Use HubSpot

There are a lot of marketing platforms out there that can be incredibly helpful when it comes to creating, managing, and tracking your marketing and sales efforts. Out of these platforms, HubSpot is highly regarded as one of the very best. The following are five reasons to consider using HubSpot as one of your main inbound marketing tools:

1. HubSpot Functions As An All-In-One Marketing Platform

One of the biggest advantages of HubSpot is that it’s much easier to build a holistic marketing strategy because it allows you to do so many things. With it, you can monitor your contacts, nurture your leads, or track your performance. Not to mention that you can do all of this for the majority of your marketing strategies. This includes SEO, email marketing, CRM, content marketing, marketing automation, database management, and more.

Few marketing platforms are this comprehensive. Typically, businesses have to use multiple marketing tools to oversee their campaigns. Using HubSpot makes things easier, more efficient, and often less costly.

2. Use HubSpot To Create And Manage Your Contact Listwebsite redesign checklist

One of the big challenges facing many businesses is managing an unorganized database that’s not directly connected to their sales or marketing strategy. You can segment your contact list with HubSpot, ensuring that your contacts receive information that they want to engage with.

Because you’ll be able to manage all of your marketing efforts from the HubSpot platform, you’ll be able to segment your contacts based on where they are in the sales funnel. This makes it easier to nurture leads and identify which leads your sales team can engage with.

3. HubSpot Provides Excellent Reporting Features

The more control you have over being able to track the ins and outs of your campaign, the more accurately you’ll be able to judge your marketing strategies. This in turn will allow you to make more effective adjustments on the fly. HubSpot allows you to track and measure every aspect of your inbound marketing campaign by providing clear breakdowns of your social media strategies, blogging efforts, landing page success, email engagement, and much more.

In fact, their Reports Dashboard makes it easy to view these metrics at a glance. The dashboard offers the ability to see your overall performance data. You can even build custom reports that meet your company’s unique needs.

What Are The Benefits Of Using HubSpot Marketing Automation Tools?

4. HubSpot Is An Effective Long-Term Solution

HubSpot understands that most inbound marketing campaigns are long-term campaigns. As such, the marketing platform is built to oversee your campaigns over the long term. It’s scalable as well, so no matter how big your company’s marketing needs grow, HubSpot can handle them.

5. HubSpot Allows You To Obtain A Clear ROIartificial intelligence

It used to be a real challenge to determine what your ROI (return on investment) was for your inbound marketing campaign, especially if it was spread over multiple marketing platforms. HubSpot makes it easy to obtain a clear ROI for your entire inbound strategy due to it’s ability to track and measure every aspect of your campaign. This will allow you to make more financially motivated adjustments based on your marketing budget as well.

As you can see, HubSpot addresses a number of different aspects of creating and managing an inbound marketing campaign in an efficient manner. With all its features and general ease-of-use, there are few marketing tools that can offer what HubSpot offers.

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers