Tag Archives: Branding

The 3 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Creating a Website

So you have decided you need a website! All of a sudden you are faced with a few choices, which we will discuss in-turn;
• Outsource to a Web Design company for a custom-made website
• Use a freelance web designer and adapt a template to suit
• Use a free template based design and do it yourself

We see many small business owners decide to go down the path of having a custom-made website through a web design company. This can require a sizeable investment, with many (by no means all) website companies targeting their product towards larger businesses with charges upwards of $5,000 (we have heard of up to $15,000 being paid).

Mistake One: Not knowing your ongoing costs. The problem here is not so much the quality, as these websites usually look and work fantastic; the issue is cost to manage. We have many clients complain that they have ended up locked in contracts where every little change costs them again, to the point where many have told us they just put up with what they have.

Our Tip: Find out the cost to develop AND the cost to maintain your website
Using a freelance web designer and adapting a template to suit can cost up to around $1,000. That’s factoring in buying a domain and hosting, buying a template and paying for it to be adapted and having a marketing / copy professional write your copy and assist you with targeting your market. This is our preferred method and developing web content and strategy has become one of our most popular services. The big advantage here is you usually get an easy to understand back-end system, which means if you want to change a picture or update some copy, add a promotion or feature a new product, you can do it yourself.

Mistake Two: Being convinced your website has to be one of a kind. The biggest downside here is that using a template generally means your website is not an original – that said does it need to be? If it looks professional, meets your objectives and connects with your target market, it doesn’t need to be one of a kind.

Our Tip: Make sure the web designer and the content writer can work together. You don’t want to ‘middle man’ every question.

Lastly the cheapest option is using a free template and DIYing.

Mistake Three: Not factoring in your time into what DIYing is really costing you. It costs nothing but your time, which can be considerable and sourcing a good hosting company. Be careful though, your website is a reflection of your business and is used by consumers to determine if you are a credible, trustworthy, quality brand. It’s imperative your website communicates that. Only DIY if you have patience, some creativity and great problem solving skills.

Our Tip: Consider outsourcing bits and pieces where you just can’t crack how to do it right.

If you would like a second opinion on a website about to launch or one that’s not delivering the results it should, our Wise Up Online Package includes a website effectiveness audit and a 20 page report uncovering the truth about your website and identifying how you can unleash it’s true potential.

Until next time, W is for Websites. And that just leaves X.Y.Z! Are there any topics you would like covered once we close off the A-Z of Marketing?

Mary-Anne

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3 Golden Rules of Pricing for Value

For any business setting the price of your products is one of the hardest decisions that you have to make (along with picking a brand name, choosing the logo colour, deciding on your range…!) There are a few different approaches that you can take, but the most important thing you need to do is build value. This post will discuss the role of value in pricing and show you the 3 golden rules for building your price on a value proposition.

What is Value?

Value is a perception. It’s the reason why a well cut, good fitting little black dress for $150 can be as savvy a purchase as buying 3 tanks for $20. The price paid is considerably different, but so is the expectation of quality, enjoyment and longevity. Value is the combination of all our feelings towards the item we are purchasing. To set the price, we need to understand the value of our product to our consumer.

Many years ago I was the category manager for a premium cosmetics and perfume company. When it came to setting the price on skin care products that were perceived to rewind the aging process, we set the price by analysing what the consumer would pay, based on what it was worth to them – the value they saw in the product. The product cost was around $10, yet the consumer valued it enough to be willing to pay well over ten times that amount.

In our post “How to Measure Success” we looked at how to analyse your gross profit and your wholesale margin, which are both valid ways to set your retail price. But some products are worth far more than they cost to produce, be it because of desired design, quality workmanship or inherent benefits, and this is where developing your price model around value is most beneficial.

3pricing for value profit margin Golden Rules of Pricing for Value

1.       Understand Value-Based Pricing

When you set price using a value based model your objective is to determine the level of satisfaction a customer derives from your product and what price they are prepared to pay for it. How valuable is the solution your product brings to their life? How long do they perceive it will last? How important are the attributes to them?

Defining value includes analysing tangible and intangible attributes – that is what we can and cannot touch. The price of a Mercedes-Benz is set by what the brand believes the consumer will pay. The value is based on what they can touch – leather seats, alloy wheels, superior styling; but also what they can’t – associations of prestige, confidence and luxury.

There is no formula for value-based pricing, as each product will have its own value. You may find it helpful to do a competitive review to see how others are pricing similar offers and also survey your target market to understand what your offer means to them.

2.       Create a Value Perception

Creating a value perception involves positioning your product or service in the market so that it is desirable. The more consumers want your product the more they will be willing to pay. How to do this depends very much on the type of product or service and who the target customer.

Generally speaking you can create positive value perceptions by paying attention to:

  • The presentation of your brand elements including your logo, brand name and website / store front
  • Building social media networks to have large numbers of engaged and active followers
  • Educating your target on the benefits your product can bring (remembering both the tangible and intangible)
  • Demonstrating brand advocacy through customer reviews and testimonials

 

3.       Maintaining your Value Proposition

When you use value-based pricing, your approach hinges on your target market buying into your offer and seeing the value in it. As it comes time to promote your product, the strategy you choose is critical. Thinking back to Mercedes-Benz, how often do you see an ad for Mercedes-Benz:

“Mercedes Benz A-Class, was $90,000, now $50,000. For three days only!”

A product that is marketed on its value needs to maintain that value and it can easily be tarnished. If you can sell your product for half the price you were charging, your consumer will start to question its true cost, and the value they see in it may decline.

Value adding strategies are the best way to maintain value in your product while creating new reasons to buy. The most well-known value add strategy is the free gift. Offering a free gift with purchase does not devalue the original product in any way, you may be directing some profit into funding the gift instead of using some profit to discount the gift.

Free gifts can also be used to drive multi unit purchases e.g. Spend $52 dollars to get your free gift, setting the spend qualifier above your key products.

With the rise of online stores, another strong value add offer is Free Postage on a required spend. Firstly, we suggest you have a flat postage rate in place e.g $6.95 Flat Fee Postage, that way you have created a value for the postage; then set a minimum spend to receive the postage free e.g. Free Postage on orders over $100. This will encourage multi unit purchases, delivering you more profit per transaction, helping you fund the free postage profitability.

Following the 3 golden rules of pricing for value has the potential to deliver you more profit than pricing to make a margin requirement. What is your product? Can you price for value? As part of our mini marketing plan, we analyse your competitors pricing models and give you recommendations on how you should price within the market. For more information visit our product page.

Until next time, V is for Value and I hope you found it valuable!

Mary-Anne


Usability – a Website’s Forgotten Imperative

Creating a website is fast becoming one of the critical marketing strategies for launching a successful small business. Time is spent planning content, getting the brand look just right and implementing search engine optimisation strategies; but often web designers or web DIYers forget the basic imperative – is it easy to use?

This post will discuss some key considerations to ensure usability is on the top of your list when designing your website.

Top 5 Tips for Usability

1.Text to Graphic Balance

We sometimes feel the need to say everything on our home page, in fear that browsers wont delve deeper or to maximise SEO opportunities. On the flip side, other businesses put only graphics mixing stunning pictures with graphic text. When it comes to prioritising the browser’s experience, we recommend aiming for balance. A small paragraph of keyword rich text placed towards the bottom ticks off SEO, while an image slider towards the top of the page lets you show case imagery with variation and reduces load time. Break up your home page into sections, use different column configurations to keep it interesting and balanced.

2.Navigation

When I land on a website, I usually want to get to where I need to go, quickly. A clear navigation panel, whether it be horizontal or vertical, is essential. It can be tempting to get creative with headings, but think of your user; will it make sense to your target? Or are your being too creative? Use your navigation panel to organise your content into logical groups. Drop downs and expanded lists off main headings are great if it helps your user narrow down where they want to be. Also consider easy ways for your browser to get back. Whether it be back one page or back to the home page, there should be an efficient strategy in place.

3.Key Messages

When you monitor your website traffic, you hear about Bounce Rate. This is the percentage of people that click off your website within 5 seconds of arriving. 5 seconds – it probably took you longer to read that first sentence. With such a small amount of time to make a big impact, it is crucial your key messages are highlighted. What sets you apart from competitors – Free Delivery, Capped Delivery, Free Returns, 24/7 Customer Service, Award Winning; whatever it is, make sure your target will see it within 5 seconds of landing. Is social media a large part of your strategy? Ensure you have sharing buttons, news feeds and sign up buttons, all within sight. If you are aiming to drive blog or newsletter subscriptions make sure you have sign up boxes with clear reasons why browsers should take action “Sign up to our newsletter for the latest info and monthly promotion” or “Sign up to our blog for free property market insight reports every week”

4.Contact Details

Your website probably won’t answer every question every browser has and if it does, some browsers want to make contact with a person or at least know the opportunity is there. Make sure there is a clear call out to your contact page, whether it is on your navigation panel or a button. If you have a contact number, consider putting it on the homepage; and if you have an email address it would be great to put that on the contact form page and if possible on the homepage. I know personally I have been frustrated in the past looking for a contact email address, scouring social media pages and the website and not being able to find one, and have given up contacting them all together.

5.Setting up Links

This final tip for usability is a great benefit for your browser and also for your website dwell time. Set up your links to external websites so that they open in a new window. This means when a browser clicks on that link, your website does not disappear. Instead the new content appears in its own window, meaning your traffic stays on your website and your browser doesn’t have to “find their way” back to you or worse still, forget to make it back to your site at all.

What about Transferability?

When considering usability it not only important to think about who is using your website, but also how they are accessing it.

In our last post I spoke about a major market research project I have recently been involved with under the banner of MumsNow where Wise Up Marketing Solutions together with Motivating Mum undertook a survey of over 1,000 Australian Mums. (A series of reports on Social Media habits, The rise of the Mumpreneur and more, can now be purchased)

We found that Australian Mums are primarily browsing the internet on Laptops (72%), and then surprisingly equally across iPhone and Desktop PC (51%) with iPad creeping up (29%) and with a whopping 50% indicating the next piece of technology on their shopping list is an iPad, we can expect that number to grow.

So before you sign off on your website to go live make sure you check how it transfers across iPad, iPhone, Tablet and Smart Phone. Is it still meeting the key useability benchmarks? (and does it still look great?)

If you would like a second opinion on a website about to launch or one that’s not delivering the results it should, our Wise Up Online Package includes a website effectiveness audit and a 20 page report uncovering the truth about your website and indentifying how you can unleash it’s true potential.

Until next week, U is for Usability and only 5 Posts to go in the A-Z of Marketing! What would you like our next series to be on? Comment below or email maryanne@wiseupmarketing.com.au

Mary-Anne


Email Marketing Basics for E Newsletter Success

Nearly every small business we talk to is looking for the same thing – cost-effective marketing solutions. “How do I get my business in front of potential customers without spending a packet?”

This post will guide you through email marketing and help you unleash its potential for your business. Follow our easy plan to increase your open rate, your click-throughs and your shares, giving you E Newsletter success!

E-Mail Marketing: The Basics

It is important before weE Mail Marketing even begin, that we clear one thing up, E-Mail Marketing to us does not involve bombarding our potential customers with offers every week in the hope they will buy from us. We are a business that rarely advises you to compete on price, so it should be no surprise that our e-mail marketing strategies will not focus solely on price promotion. Instead we believe you need to value add. You need to give your target customer a reason to open your e newsletter,
over and above this week’s special.

E Newsletters have emerged as a very successful E-Mail Marketing tool, as they give a personality to your business and allow you to connect with your customer over and above a promotion or sale. It’s an opportunity to bring together all your social media platforms and deliver a concise summary direct to your subscriber’s inbox.  Oh and did we mention, it’s free?

7 Steps for E Newsletter Success

1.Gather a great list

 From today, utilise every opportunity you can to grow your email database:

  • Ask permission to email updates and offers from your business. (It’s actually the law – http://www.adma.com.au/regulatory/compliance-tools/spam-act/).
  • Create a database capturing the First Name, Last Name and Email address of each subscriber (at a minimum). This can be in an excel spreadsheet or a mailing list using E Mail Marketing Software (EMS).
  • Remember to delete or mark inactive anyone who asks to unsubscribe.
  • Use a sign up tab /form on your website and social media platforms to encourage sign up.
  • Offer a discount to reward sign up.
  • Run a competition to drive sign up or buy space in a complementary newsletter to attract new potential subscribers.
  • Never email your list using the “To” box, as all email addresses will be visible to all subscribers. Instead use the “BCC” or better still send through email marketing software.

2.Cut through with your subject line

E Newsletters cop a bit of flack for being lost in a sea of email. It’s a fair point too. That’s why you need to ensure your subject line connects with your subscribers:

  • Keep it brief, too many words will get cut off.
  • “What’s in it for me?” Highlight the most exciting reason why your subscriber should open the email.
  • Think about your inbox; What gets instantly deleted? What gets opened? Why?
  • Mix it up; call out your promotion, ask a question, highlight brands.
  • Introduce your newsletter at launch “The Monthly Hoot: Launch Issue”.

3. Create a template that is easy to use

Set up a template whether in Word or using EMS and aim to use that template every month with minimal changes. This builds consistency and helps give a professional look.

4.Balance the content

You want to get opened, get read, be clicked and be shared! This can’t be achieved with just one type of content:

  • A personal message, aim to have a short message from the business owner or the nominated voice of the business. They should wrap up what’s been going on and what subscribers should look out for in the newsletter.
  • Recap the month; share a post from Facebook that got people talking, perhaps include a paragraph of the best blog post for the month and a link to read more
  • Feature a reader of the month, product of the month or special of the month
  • Add some value to newsletter by adding an educational article, a humours anecdote, a recipe, a local restaurant review. Something readers look forward to every month that is more than just a plug for your business.
  • Run promotions, competitions, special offers sometimes. Not every time.
  • Use a variety of methods and learn from what works best with your subscribers.
  • Open it up to subscribers to supply content. Content co creation can be a great way to foster valuable connections.

5.Send at the right time

Based on your business type, establish the best time to send:

  • Mainly Business Customers? Usually around 3pm Tue-Thurs is a good time.
  • Mainly WAHers? Try after 7pm on a weeknight.
  • Is your business focussed on the weekend? Thursday 3pm – Friday 3pm

6.Encourage sharing

  • Create content that people just have to share. Added value and co-created content will be especially popular.
  • Make your email easy to forward. Use a “Forward to a Friend” form in your EMS or simply add “If you enjoyed this issue, please forward it to a friend” at the end.
  • Run competitions via the newsletter that use “Refer a Friend” for more entries into the draw.

7.Check your stats

Most effective tracking will come from using EMS, as you will be able to analyse your open rate, click-through and your shares. You may also be able to look at the most popular time of day your email was opened.

  • Use your stats to learn what your subscriber base is really looking for in your newsletter.

Start today by committing to a monthly newsletter for your business and pick a date to send out your newsletter every month (e.g last Wednesday of the month). Consider writing a plan for the next 3 months of what you will feature in each newsletter, so you are not overwhelmed as each month rolls around. Monitor the success of each newsletter, compare the results and uncover the best formula for your E Newsletter Success.

Using E Mail Marketing Software

Just before we wrap up, one last word on EMS. Although we guided you through our 7 Steps to E Newsletter Success, with the choice of using EMS or going it alone, we must stress our advice is to use it!

EMS allows you to:

  • Manage your database subscribers and unsubscribers easily, professionally and most important of all, in accordance to anti spam law.
  • Create a template to use for each mail out that is professional, structured and can manage technical requirements like including plain text elements to not get misread by spam filters.
  • Create ease of sharing with “Forward to a Friend” forms.
  • Create ease of sign up with links on your website and social media being directed to a form that automatically updates your mailing list and validates the subscriber.
  • Personalise your newsletter, so you can send 1,000 emails with one click, yet each recipient can be addressed by their first name.
  • Easily analyse your statistics to make changes and increase effectiveness of your newsletter.
  • Do all this for free (within limits) – check out Mail Chimp and Send Blaster.

Have you launched an email newsletter yet? What you would consider changing after reading this?

If you are procrastinating about it, contact us and we can help you with a plan to launch your businesses email newsletter.

Until next week E is for E Mail Marketing and for … (no really it is, click to find out)

Mary-Anne

Wise Up Marketing

Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


The Decision Making Process of the New Consumer

What did we do before Google, Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor, You Tube and everything in between?

The ability to research has become quicker and easier than ever before. As consumers we are presented with not only an increase in information, but also the falling away of geographical barriers to purchase.

The new consumer is influenced less by what they are told and more by what they uncover. This post will look at the decision making process of the new consumer and how to use the internet and social media to connect from awareness to purchase and beyond.

Traditional Decision Making Process

Marketing theory has traditionally painted the consumer decision making process to move through 5 stages, with strategies to maximise the opportunity to attract and maintain the consumer through each stage. The process has looked something like this:

  1. Need recognition. When the consumer feels they have an unsatisfied need, this creates a motive to act.
  2. Identification of alternatives. Consumer research begins; this might include different categories to fulfil their needs as well as different brands or providers.
  3. Evaluation of alternatives. The consumer compares their options; they might seek out offers, opinions of friends, relatives and respected bodies.
  4. Purchase decision. With the decision made on what to buy, the consumer will now make a series of small decisions including where, when and how, until the actual purchase is made.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour. The consumer will either be satisfied or dissatisfied with their purchase.

Think back to the late 90’s when the humble DVD player launched. Your decision making process went something like this:

  1. Need Recognition: Saw an ad on TV or in the newspaper about DVD players and how the quality of DVD is far superior to that of Video. Thought about never having to rewind a video again, this motivated you to learn more.
  2. Identification of Alternatives: Looked at catalogues and at Harvey Norman and found out there were two brands you could choose from.
  3. Evaluation of Alternatives: Talked to friends who had bought a DVD player about what brand they got and what they thought, talked to a few salesman about the different brands, read an article in Choice magazine.
  4. Purchase Decision: After deciding to buy a Panasonic DVD Player, you reviewed the newspaper and catalogues and decided to go to Harvey Norman on Sunday and buy their advertised deal.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour: You watched your first DVD that you hired and felt satisfied that you just eject it and return it.

The Online Effect

Fast forward to the year 2010 and you hear some buzz about a new personal computer called an iPad. Let’s review the decision making process:

  1. Need Recognition: You saw Steve Jobs on the news talking about the iPad, your friend also sent you an email with a You Tube clip of a leaked iPad, your friends are debating on Facebook which store they will camp at for an iPad,
    iPad is trending #1 on Twitter. The hype is getting to you and you can’t imagine not being able to have your photos, music and apps for business everywhere you go.
  2. Identification and Evaluation of Alternatives: You go on the Apple website and read about the different sizes available and that you can also choose to have Wi-Fi compatibility. You don’t even consider any other brand as you are an Apple devotee. You check out blogs in the US of those who got an iPad on pre release, read reviews on how much space you might need, you sign up to Optus and Telstra to find out what their data plans are. You sign up to Apple to be notified when they are releasing the iPad.
  3. Purchase Decision: You order your iPad online and it gets delivered to you on the day it launches. You get the 32GB with Wi-Fi.
  4. Post-purchase behaviour: You sit on the couch and update your status on Facebook to say how in love you are with your iPad, you Tweet that you can’t work out how to get your wireless printer working and post on an Apple Forum how your iPad has completed your world.

With the increase of information, we see the identification and evaluation of alternatives merging into one step; they are done concurrently as the consumer gathers information from multiple sources.

How to win the New Consumer Over

I love this illustration from Orbital Alliance: I look at it to draw ideas for marketing to the new consumer. I see this as the new consumer decision process; the online stratosphere has increased the information available to consumers. The inputs are greater than ever before and (literally) at their fingertips.

My tips for maximising your connection with the new consumer

  1. Increase Awareness
    1. Optimise to be seen in search results
    2. Use social media to create a brand name
    3. Use pay-per-click advertising to get in front of your consumer
    4. Advertise in popular newsletters of complementary businesses
  2. Maximise your Consideration
    1. Make your homepage work harder (you only have seconds to convince them to stay)
    2. Use a blog so your consumer can get to know you better
    3. Make your offers clear and easy to understand
    4. Use press releases to ensure there is hype about your product on multiple platforms
  3. Convert to Sales
    1. Offer service that your competitors don’t (or can’t)
    2. Reward regular purchases
    3. Add value (don’t just try to cut the price)
  4. Compel to share
    1. Asks for reviews and recommendations
    2. Use Social Media to thank major customers

The new consumer is just like you, they have changed a lot in the last 10-20 years. Don’t lose sight of how differently you make your decisions as a consumer and make sure you are adapting your business approach.

How has your business evolved to maximise the new consumer? Our Website Effectiveness Audit gives a third-party review of your website and helps you ensure you are maximising awareness and consideration to help you
convert sales. Click this link for more information – Package Info

Until next week, D is for Decision Making and also for … the coolest Alphabet Book that I just bought for my son’s birthday

Mary-Anne

Wise Up Marketing Solutions


Get Competitive with your Competitors

Competitors are the concern of all businesses, no matter their size. Too often we wait until sales have dropped unexpectedly or enquires are down until we look at what the competition are doing. In this post we will discuss how to get competitive with your competitors, to ensure you stay at the front of the pack and connect with your target market.

How to Identify your Competitors

When we ask our clients who they see as their competitors, they always have a list of 3 or 4 businesses offering the same or similar product or service. When we do our competitive analysis as part of our Mini Marketing plan, we generally find quite a few more.

Why the difference? As a business owner, when you look for competitors you tend to think as a business owner. “My business is selling flowers online. What other major online florists are there?” When we identify competitors for a client, we
think like a consumer “My mum’s birthday is coming up, what could I get delivered to her?” All of a sudden we find fruit baskets, chocolate hampers and gift vouchers as competitors for our online florist.

We see most businesses as having two types of competition:

Direct Competitors

These are the companies offering the same or similar product or service. These are our most obvious competitors, but not always our biggest. E.g. Gilette vs Schick Razor, Cornflakes vs Weet Bix, Channel 7 vs Channel 10 etc

Indirect Competitors

These are the substitutes for our type of product or service. These are not always as obvious and are where we need to think like our consumer and understand the options available to them. E.g. Razors vs Wax Strips, Cereal vs Toast, TV vs
watching a DVD etc

So to identify your competitors, consider the substitute categories too and you will have a more complete idea of who your competitors are.

Update your Market Analysis

Many businesses start off with a Business Plan or a Marketing Plan or some points in a notebook on how they could turn their hobby into an income stream. As part of this planning process, formally or not, we tend to do a Market Analysis.

We ask ourselves:

  • Where does my offer sit in the market?
  • Is there demand for it?
  • Are there competitors? Are they doing a good job?
  • Is the market saturated with offers or is it fairly open for a new entrant?
  • Is that market a good size or is it small and niche?
  • What are consumers willing to pay?
  • What is my competitive advantage?

We do a fairly thorough job in attempting to answer those questions. We launch our business and we rarely reassess. When we ask our clients who they see as their competition, they stop and think, they even do
some fresh research and overwhelmingly we hear “Wow! Now that I’m looking I’ve noticed a few more have popped up”.

We recommend a scheduled maintenance program (just like servicing your car)

Competitor Analysis Schedule

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

Just like when you launched and took share from other players, new businesses are launching all the time and a few are after your piece of the pie, these competitors want to take your consumers and make them their own.

If you follow our scheduled maintenance program above, we are sure your top 5 list of competitors will be constantly changing and we are sure you will find new entrants that look and sound surprisingly (and frustratingly)
like they are trying to be you!

It’s a compliment really; they are competing with you because you are on their top 5 list. Your business is being perceived as successful, credible and desirable and so you are a threat.

The best way to get even is to be even better at what you do. With our scheduled maintenance program, every month you are going to review your top 5 competitors and as part of that you should look at:

  • What part/s of their offer is stronger than yours?
  • What part/s of their offer is weaker than yours?
  • How are they promoting?
  • How many touch point’s they have? E.g. Website, Storefront, Blog, Twitter, Facebook Page, Newsletter
  • How you can stay up to date with their touch points E.g. Subscribe, Like, Follow, Visit

Then take that information and learn from it. Learn how to put your own spin on what you see as working well for the competition. For example, if you are an online florist and a competitor has just put up a section on what flower for what occasion, think how you could implement a similar page, but in a way that it reflects your brand and its communication style.

Competing with your competitors requires you to invest time in monitoring the competition regularly. At a minimum, aim to do the annual review – you’ll be glad you did! We offer a thorough competitive review a part of our Mini Marketing Plan package and sometimes it really works to have an outsider look in with a fresh perspective. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Until next week C is for Competition and also for creativity.


How to Brand for Success

What is a BrandYou know the importance of brands, you see them in your everyday life however, do you realise how years of exposure and experience have built up your perceptions of those brands and have shaped the interactions you choose to have with them? This post will give you a greater understanding of what a brand is and how you can brand your business for success.

What is a Brand

A brand is the combination of tangible and intangible benefits that work together to create a value. That value is known as brand equity. Your brand encompasses your name, logo, colour and sounds. It distinguishes you from the competition and when successfully executed will foster positive connections to your consumer.

Brand Perception

Every time you see, hear, touch, smell or taste a brand, you are forming opinions and as those opinions are processed, you develop brand perceptions. Put simply, brand perception is how favourable or unfavourable a consumer feels about a brand at any point in time. Brand perceptions are constantly shifting; think of your experiences from being a child to now, how has your brand perception of McDonalds changed? As a child you probably felt it was the best place to go for lunch, as you got older you started to feel differently. You formed different opinions about the McDonalds brand and your perceptions evolved meaning you might not connect with the brand like you once did.

Building a Brand

Building a brand is not a short term strategy. To be successful, brands need a balance between time and investment to grow; limited time and high investment is one strategy but for most of us starting out we build our brand with limited investment and so we need to appreciate that it will take time.

With limited investment word of mouth becomes the most cost effective way of building a brand. The more people are talking about you positively, the more desirable your brand will become. Social Media has increased the simplicity of maximising word of mouth promotion, but don’t get caught up in the numbers game. Having 3,000 “likers” on Facebook means little unless they liked you to connect with your brand, not just to win a prize or to get a like back on their own page.

Just as people invest in property to build equity from its increase in value, we aim to build equity in our brand to increase its value to our consumers.  The equity comes from perceptions of trust, quality, reliability and value for money. As these
perceptions grow in our brands favour, so too does the value of our brand. The more valuable your brand is perceived as being, the more desirable it is to your consumers as your brand equity increases so too will demand.

How to Brand

5 Brand Strategy Truths

1. Stand For Something

What to name a new business seems to be one of the most widely debated topics during the start up phase, with everyone having an opinion and the business owner struggling to make what seems like the most critical decision. My advice is to take a breath and relax. Your brand name doesn’t need to be too clever, cute or catchy. Think about the brands you come in to contact with. The most traditional come from family names – Arnotts, Kelloggs, Myer while the modern seem to make no sense at first but over time they became familiar – Ikea, Apple, Nespresso. The most important factor for a brand is ensuring it stands for something, something you can explain and something that will make a connection to your customer, adding value.

2. Get To The Essence Of It

Brand Essence is a single statement that defines what your brand stands for. The Brand Essence will guide everything you do, from what you sell, to how you promote, to the tone of every message you send out. The Brand Essence will become the reason why consumers choose you instead of the competition. Crafting a unique, inspiring and motivating Brand Essence will engage your consumers and create loyalists. Your brand essence, if succinct, can become your tagline complementing your brand name and logo.

3.       Repeat Yourself, Repeat Yourself, Repeat Yourself

We all know that the more times our brand is seen the greater recall it will have. After all repetition goes a long way to developing memory (remember learning your times tables – we recited the same lines over and over again until we could sing automatically “3 times 5 is 15, 4 x 5 is 20”, along with some mumbling here and there). Brand everything you can. Anything that leaves your desk should leave with a brand on it, as every product is a mini advertisement for your business. If you make a product, ensure you attach a label with your brand on it (and your website if it will fit). If you import a product put a label on it “distributed by” with your brand. Develop a digital signature so every email goes out with your brand name and how to find you. Repeat it enough times and it will start to be remembered.

4.       Consistency Is Critical

Brand is King. All Hail the King. We must worship our brand identity and pay our respect to our brand with consistency. This means your logo should present the same across your business cards, website, flyers and beyond. Further than that, if you use a tagline then you need to consider when you will use it. It may not be practical to always use it, but as long as you keep it consistent e.g. always on printed materials, but not on your product you will still be maintaining consistency.  Develop a short brand identity guide and send it with your logo if someone else has requested to use it. Have your designer give you a version of your logo on a black background and one on a white background. Stipulate in your brand identity guide when to use each so external parties know what to do if your logo won’t work on their very dark website

5.       Brands can Evolve

In most big organisations, every 12 – 18 months they research the market and get a read on how their consumers feel about their brand. They compare this to the previous year and to the competition and create strategies to exploit their strengths and defend any weaknesses. This can mean a tweak to the logo to appear more modern, a change to the tagline to reflect a new brand essence or an update to the product mix to be more competitive, and so thereby evolving the
brand. Many small businesses worry about making changes to their brand, but it is important to remember that brand evolution is natural and is a sign you are shifting to remain competitive. Generally I would say any small change is
survivable. You can change an element of your business name but not all. Aim to think big at the beginning – will Julia’s Gifts for Girls service your business long term? Or are you better starting as Julia’s Precious Presents with a tagline “Girly gifts to treasure” that could evolve to “gorgeous gifts to treasure” if you decided to add toys for boys.

How to brand your business will depend of course on the unique factors such as your target market, your competitive environment and your offering. Get in touch today and tell us about your business and we can work with you on strategies to increase your brand equity or have a look at our current packages.

Until next week, B is for Brand and also for vanity.

Mary-Anne

Wise Up Marketing Solutions


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