Branding Better – You Need a Powerful and Professional Brand Identity (Part II)

In this post, we’ll cover the second part of branding better and why you need a powerful brand identity.

The previous post Branding Better – You Need a Powerful and Professional Brand Identity (Part I)

, discussed the importance of having a master logo, a secondary look, and choosing the right font or typography.

Let’s delve deeper into the brand identity system below.

Color

Branding Tips
Colors play a vital role in branding.

Palette

Colors. It is how many of us imagine branding. Companies are known for their color choices. For instance, Target uses red and white and Susan G. Komen uses pink, white, and brown.

Most of us know a handful of major brands and their colors because they are an integral part of their company, their message, and brand identity.

Colors, like typefaces, can bring out emotions. What emotions do you want to be associated with your name?

Each color has their own meaning – there is a whole psychology behind color that marketing and advertising can teach you.

Before you decide on a final color palette, think about how your business’ colors will be perceived and if they send the right message. 84% of consumers say color is a primary reason they buy a product or service.

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Is your firm adding visuals?

If you need feedback, choose 3-4 different color palettes, and get the opinion of a specialized branding short term contractor or temp. Or you can ask your interns and other staff for opinions and advice.

Related: Why You Should Focus on Emotional Branding

Visual Brand Additions

Visual additions are what they sound like – additions to your brand’s visuals. They support your branding to make it unique, and to tell your story.

Will you have a patterned background, or use icons? Victoria’s Secret uses a pattern in their branding that supports the rest of their identity.

Icons can also be a great tool, when used correctly, to bring your branding together. If you sell a service or a product, you can add icons to your website and merchandise, as part of the packaging or to tell consumers more about your product.

Plus, they can make your company look professional and trustworthy. If you don’t look professional, you will have a hard time convincing consumers to spend their money with your company.

 Brand Tone

A brand tone, or what is commonly referred to as your brand personality, is what your company says. Not just what you want others to say about your brand.

You are in control of the brand message you send by using your words. Consistent weekly blog posts that are informative and helpful is one way to build your brand tone.

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Add Blog Posting to your Plan.

What you say establishes who you are as a company. Is your business vintage? Or bright, bold, colorful, and happy?

Your industry can help determine which is best, but also how you want others to perceive your brand.

What words do you want people to use when they discuss your startup or small business? Your brand personality should encompass those words.

But you can also use your social media, mission statement, and blog posts, among others to create the right tone.

Remember, like all other elements of your brand identity, your brand tone should be unique so you’re memorable, and you stand out in a crowded market.

Don’t be afraid to try something different, or do what others in your industry are not.

***

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Branding Better – You Need a Powerful and Professional Brand Identity (Part I)

What are the elements of a brand identity? They tend to be the standard elements you think of with branding – logos, colors, and so forth.

But they all come together to create a unified identity for your company. As a startup or small business, having a robust and strong brand is essential.

You need a system. In the branding world, this is often called a Brand Identity System. Hiring a professional or hiring a team, whether temps or short term contractors can help tremendously.

Let’s explore how you can start branding better and why you need a powerful and professional brand identity.

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Master Logo

This is your main logo. Think Nike’s swoosh, Target’s bull’s eye, and Apple’s apple. It’s the logo your audience will identify your company with.

This is the most critical design component of your business. It’s crucial to keep it simple.

You don’t have to try to show what it is your company does by your logo. For instance, think of the logos of Adidas, Verizon Wireless, and Century Link. Each has their own logo, but none of the logos represent the products or services they offer.

It’s also important the logo can be used on different mediums, depending on your business needs.

Will you create flyers and business cards, add it to a physical product, place it as a header on your website, or use it somewhere else? It needs to be scalable and useful.

And remember, it must be memorable, unique, and include a solid color.

Related: When Should Your New Startup Invest in Branding?

Secondary Logo

In the past, the idea of a secondary logo was almost non-existent. However, the landscape for branding and brand identity has changed. Today, secondary logos are not uncommon, and can be essential parts of your business.

They’re important because our brains have been trained to block out most advertising and marketing. Every day, we are exposed to over 5,000

advertisements.

Many companies have a secondary logo or mark that identifies them. It may be a separate logo or a smaller portion of the primary logo. Or it could be a tagline.

You can use it on your social media channels, blog or website, your merchandise, and more. Its goal is to support your master or main logo.

Secondary logos are especially popular for fashion and lifestyle brands, but can be an excellent idea for others companies.

Font or Typography

When you think of branding, do you think of the font or typography? Every major brand uses a particular font.

Some are more feminine, such as Hurley, Victoria’s Secret, and Always. Others are less, such as Getty Images, BlackBerry, and the font used for the Olympics.

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Choosing the right font shouldn’t be decided by chance. Put thought and time into the one or ones that feel good and represent your brand.

When you see a particular typeface, different thoughts, emotions, and ideas come to mind. That’s because each one has a unique personality. Some are light and clean; others are heavy and dense.

Your brand should have a main font or typeface that is used on your logo. Plus, a secondary or third font that complements the primary type.

That’s the end of Part I. Tomorrow we’ll continue our discussion in Part II of Branding Better – You Need a Powerful and Professional Brand Identity.

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Are These Branding Mistakes Harming Your Business?

Branding. If you’re a startup or small business owner, you have heard the term at least once.

It can make or break the success of your company – most business owners know this. But branding can be tricky. You want to ensure you’re doing it right. And avoiding poor choices.

Are these branding mistakes harming your business?

You Don’t Have a Brand

If your company doesn’t have a brand or brand identity, you need to sit down and create one. Google didn’t become a global household name or have a net worth of $229.2 billion without a consistent, reliable, and memorable brand identity.

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You need a brand. Brand identities encompass the look and feel of your company. It tells consumers what you’re like, your mission and values, and why they should buy from you.

Related: How to Create an Effective Customer Advocacy Program 

Copying Another Brand

Copying is a huge mistake. The point of branding is to make your company memorable and unique. Its goal is to set you apart from your competition.

You can’t do that by copying others, especially more well-known brands. And consumers won’t take you seriously.

Focus on what sets you apart, what makes you better, and why your company is unique. Put that into your branding.

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Don’t do what everyone else in your industry is doing. Don’t be afraid to stand out.

Neglecting Personal Brands

Personal brands aren’t always necessary, but people tend to trust people over brands. You need to humanize your brand to connect with your consumers, like Flo from Progressive.

If you don’t feature people, consider showing off your team of employees like your interns or temps. Otherwise, people will wonder if a robot is running your company.

You can come off as cold. Fix that by adding people.

***

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What Type of Brand Do You Want? Here Are 7 Useful Examples

When you first delve into the world of business as a startup or small company, you need to decide the type of branding you will do.

Branding is essential to how successful your business is. According to Statista, in 2015 Apple was considered the most valuable brand globally with a brand value of over $128 million.

Most people assume a brand is only one thing; however, it is made of many different types of brands.

The kind of brand you choose is entirely up to you, and what is best for your startup. Often, you may use more than one type of brand. They all serve a similar but different purpose.

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You may want to brainstorm with your staff – interns, temps, short term contractors, and anyone else to create efficient and successful brand strategies.

What type of brand do you want? Here are 7 useful examples.

  1. Public Brand

Public brands are usually government organizations, such as The U.S. Department of Labor. However, many argue you can’t brand an entity that doesn’t offer consumer products or services. But you can still implement brand strategies.

  1. Company/Corporate Brand

This is the most well known of brands. To be successful, your business needs a brand. Think of Chase Bank or our company, Short Stints. Each has their own distinct brand. It is the organization that stands behind the product or service.

  1. Product Brand

Product brands, such as consumer goods, use branding to create certain emotions and a need for their products. This type of branding is usually linked to fasting-moving consumer goods (FMCG), also known as consumer packaged goods (CPG).

Related: Why You Need a Company Brand Statement (and How to Write One)

  1. Global Brand

Global brands are well-known organizations around the world. Think Nike or Apple. Through their brands, they’ve instilled deep customer loyalty globally.

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Global brands are synonymous with familiarity or “household names”, stability, and accessibility.

  1. Generic Brand

Think of the generic product brand or off-brands you can buy at grocery stores (e.g. Fry’s Kroger products, Target’s Up & Up, and Walmart’s Equate).  These brands usually piggy-back and offer similar, more affordable products than their brand name counterparts.

  1. Non-Profit or NGO (Non-Government Organization) Brand

These brands are specifically for non-profit organizations and non-government agencies that are seeking means to find funds for their missions beyond standard fundraising efforts. The non-profit community is often split in half in regards to whether non-profits should profit off their efforts or not. Today, many NPOs and NGOs have resorted to these means because of fierce competition for funding.

  1. Employer Brand

This type of branding is strategically done to attract top talent. It is achieved through their employees, company culture, and their hiring selection process. Most often, companies focus on trying to attract top talent but do not concentrate on retaining that talent through people-based programs and initiatives.

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Bots Offer Businesses Special Benefits and Advantages

Bots have been taking businesses by storm. They have slowly been replacing some human jobs, and in other cases have helped make processes run smoother and quicker.

Many businesses and startups are beginning to pick up on the importance of cutting down time, and saving money in their businesses. Bots can offer this.

The truth is: bots offer businesses special benefits and advantages, like employees (temps, interns, short term contractors, etc.)

Once, bots may have seemed like a trend; however, that isn’t the case. They’re here to stay. And it seems many startups and small businesses are creating bots that can help out other businesses.

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Stay ahead of your competition by using the resources available to your business.

Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) companies have jumped on in support of chatbots.

Related: The New Kukie Bot Will Teach You How to Create a Better Startup

For instance, hugely successful companies such as Pizza Hut and Whole Foods have begun to use bots. They implemented them to provide superior customer service and create a new consumer buying experience.

When large businesses see the benefits and advantages of using chatbots, others follow suit.

Facebook Messenger has reached 1 billion users when only 3 months earlier its scope was 900 million. More than 18,000 bots have launched using the app, and bots are a marketable and successful strategy for any business – large and small.

There’s no denying that bots can offer tremendous benefits to companies and businesses. Those who choose to ignore the benefits and not stay up to date with the newest technology may find themselves behind their competition.

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The New Kukie Bot Will Teach You How to Create a Better Startup

On June 28, Rishabh Bose and Aditya Ahluwalia of Happy Batua from New Dheli, India, launched Kukie, a chatbot resource for startups and small businesses. The new Kukie bot will teach you how to create a better startup.

One of the most powerful elements of Kukie is the bot will lead you step-by-step into creating a successful startup in a short time.

It connects you with over 300 resources in 40 categories. If you need help creating a logo, Kukie can point you in the right direction.

The only requirement? You need to be able to communicate effectively, Ahluwalia told VentureBeat.

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Get ahead by using the resources available around you.

According to Ahluwalia one of the key lessons he learned about building a startup is keeping it simple. Kukie taught him this. He stated, “Keep your product easy to understand, intuitive, instant gratification based, good looking, and most importantly useful, and it’s bound to work.”

Related: Legion Analytics Promises Bots That Will Automate Your Sales Pitches 

This isn’t the first startup Ahluwalia has been involved with. Over the last five years, he has participated in a handful of other startups.

But what makes Kukie different? According to Ahluwalia, he was able to streamline his process and make it quicker. Within a week, Kukie went from an idea to a reality without code.

They have gained tremendous support from Facebook and WhatsApp. Today, over 2500 people have used Kukie through Facebook Messenger.

startup
Startups can now get the edge with the tools that are easily accessible today.

Kukie has been so successful because “bots have the power to lead the users to do an action much stronger than a website or an app,” said Ahluwalia. You connect and learn what you need to do.

The chatbot is great to use solo or with your staff. You can use the help of other members of your team such as temps or interns to get your startup ready.

In upcoming weeks, the pair plan to release a new and improved Kukie bot.

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How to Create an Effective Customer Advocacy Program

Is everyone on your team a customer advocate? Do you have a program in place?

A custom advocacy program means that everyone on your team has the same mindset – the customer always comes first.

These types of programs can do wonders for your business. Every year, customer expectations increase. They want more out of the brands they spend their money on.

For instance, customers who tweet brands on Twitter expect a response within 1 hour. Most companies don’t reach that expectation, but they try, and usually respond within 90 minutes.

Many things go into being a successful business. If you want to breed customer loyalty and happiness, you need to put them first.

Startups
Customers are the lifeblood of any business.

Let’s explore how to create an effective customer advocacy program.

 Get Internal Affairs in Order

If you currently don’t have any customer advocacy program or advocates in place, you need to make changes in your company – internally.

You need someone who can dedicate part of their time to being an advocate, such as a temp, intern, or short term contractor.

You want someone who is savvy with social media, is great at building relationships, and can support and get people excited about your upcoming products and services. They need influence and experience in making connections.

Find the Perfect Candidates

While everyone on your team needs to be a customer advocate, dedicate one to a handful of people to be specific customer advocates. These are the individuals who will represent your brand, and be the go-to people for consumer satisfaction.

Look for candidates who have strong communication skills, have a successful record of managing social media platforms, and are passionate, dedicated, and trustworthy.

Their hearts need to be in the program for it to be successful.

Related: Is Your New Startup Positioned for Success 

Create and Build Relationships

The next step in creating an effective customer advocacy program is building relationships and trust.

Have your new team meet prominent members of your staff, and listen to what they have to say.

They will have ideas and input on what you can do to make your company – and all of your employees – customer advocates.

Try not to take offense to anything they have to say. The reality is some of the things your company may be doing may not be good for customers and brand loyalty.

startups
It’s important to provide your customers immediate solutions.

Most consumers research your business and listen to what their peers have to say before deciding to spend their money on your product or service.

Put Everything into Place

Once everyone is on the same page and there is a starting point, give your customer advocates the tools they need to succeed at their jobs.

Give them proper titles, email addresses, access to your social media accounts, and anything else to provide them with a line of communication to your customers.

Their job is to build a relationship and listen to your customers, even when there is a negative situation occurring.

Continue to listen to your customer advocates and implement initiatives into your company. Make every product launch, event, and interaction customer-focused.

***

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Core Values – How to Create the Best Ones to Attract Top Talent

When you think of your business, what core values come to mind? They are the foundation of your company culture.

You need to know how to create the best core values to attract top talent.

As a startup or small business, it’s crucial you hire the right employees – from your interns to your seasonal hires to your short term staff and temps.

They can make or break the success of your company. That’s why finding the best talent with the right skills who fit your company culture is essential.

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If you don’t have a strong culture that resonates with job candidates, you will have a hard time attracting top talent.

Many new companies do not have core values or a strong company culture. They’re overlooked. In fact, 64% of employees feel their workplaces don’t have a strong company culture.

When you have a small team, the founder, CEO, and other management members can brainstorm what the core values of your business are, and how they will be communicated to not only employees but customers and clients.

Related: Need Help with Your Vision Statement? Here Are 4 Things to Consider

Stuck? A few core values can be honesty, hard work, integrity, happiness, and teamwork. These are just a few examples; there are many other values to choose.

The number of values you have is up to you and what is most relevant to your startup or small business; however, you don’t want to choose too many. It can be difficult to focus and implement each one.

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As a rule of thumb, 3-5 is best. List each value in order of importance and brainstorm how you and your staff can best implement them.

Your company core values are guides to where you want to be in the future. Focus on the most important ones to drive your business toward success.

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8 Out of 10 Businesses Fail – How to Beat the Odds

Running a business is tough. It can be stressful, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Every year, some businesses fail, and others succeed.

The average startup has a 25% chance of failure within the first year, and it increases year after year.

While many businesses fail due to financial issues, there is usually more than one problem popping up before it comes to an end.

The truth is: 8 out of 10 of all businesses fail. How do you beat the odds?

Talk to Your Customers

Many startup and small business owners will sit behind their desks all day. That is the worst thing you can do.

While that long to-do list is calling your name, don’t disappear into your office and never reach out to your customers.

The key to success is your customers. You need to create a product or service that fulfills their needs.

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Customers are the lifeblood of your business, engagement is key.

Don’t just create social media updates on Twitter or Facebook. Be available and talk to your target market in ways that are best for them.

If your target market doesn’t use Facebook, don’t waste your time trying to reach them there.

Ask them questions: what they want and need, and what will make their lives easier. If you already have a product or service, ask for feedback and suggestions on how you can improve.

Related: Hiring Challenges You’ll Face (and How to Deal with Them)

Know Your Value

Years ago, there were fewer small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. However, today, there are many. The market is flooded with them.

That’s why it is important you know the value your company brings customers. If you cannot distinguish yourself from the pack, you’ll have a hard time standing out and attracting customers.

startups
Collaborate with your interns, freelancers, contractors, and consultants to bring value.

Brainstorm with your interns, temps, short term contractors, and other employees on how you can stand out as a company.

You need to offer them something others can’t, and do it much better. Mainly so you can compete with more well-known businesses. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time convincing clients to give you their money.

Have a Business Model

According to Forbes, not having a solid business model and a grasp on revenue streams will ultimately be the end of business.

Most other issues can be solved so you can reach success, but if you don’t lay this foundation correctly and maintain it, you will fail.

To be successful, you need a profitable business with different revenue streams. If your business idea isn’t useful, you’ll lose funds and eventually drown in debt, instead of making a profit.

Business Model
A business model can help create efficiency and grow your business.

Like a business plan, spend your time creating a profitable business idea, build the business model, and create different streams of revenue. The more passive income, the better.

Don’t settle on the first business idea you come up with, think deeply about how it can and will be profitable.

It’s a good idea to create a sales funnel and try to offer products or services in more than one price range so you can appeal to more customers and their budgets.

You can also track your streams of various income, and ensure you’re reaching your target market while making profits.

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Busted – 6 Myths About Employee Engagement You Need to Stop Believing

Employee engagement is a trendy topic in recent years. Companies have learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work to keep employees engaged.

But there are many myths still floating around that can harm your business if you think they are true.

Here are 6 busted myths about employee engagement you need to stop believing.

  1. Your Team Doesn’t Care About Having a Voice

According to Bamboo HR, many employees feel their voices aren’t heard. It is particularly the case during performance reviews when businesses don’t take action after concerns are expressed.

Create a company culture where the voices of all staff are heard and important. It is one way employees will feel valued. Extend this to all staff members – temps, interns, short term contractors, and all other employees.

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If your team doesn’t feel they have a say, they won’t be engaged in their work or your company.

  1. Your Brightest Employees Are the Only Ones Engaged

Many companies fall prey to this stereotype. They believe only the smartest employees are fully engaged at work.

This isn’t the case. While these employees may seem on top of work more often than other workers, they can be disengaged as well.

Prioritize having a fully engaged staff. Every team member brings value and something unique to the table.

Related: How Should I Deliver Bad News in the Workplace?

  1. Management Doesn’t Need Employee Engagement Training

Employee engagement doesn’t magically happen. Managers and supervisors need training on how to properly engage their team.

Even the most popular managers with the best people and leadership skills can fail at engaging employees.

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Provide training to all management members to ensure they’re successfully communicating and keeping the team engaged.

  1. Transparency Isn’t Important

Did you know one of the biggest deal breakers for your staff is a lack of management transparency? In other words, your team doesn’t trust you.

Be open with your team about what is going on in the company when it comes to changes, new policies, and any issues that are arising.

While some of these conversations are uncomfortable to have, they’re important; and your staff will appreciate the honesty.

  1. Millennials Aren’t Engaged at Work

Today, millennials make up 1/3 of the workforce. Don’t give in to stereotypes and believe millennials are lazy and more interested in their phones than their work.

Like any employee, millennials are hard, ambitious workers who want to work for companies who are passionate, dedicated, and treat their staff well.

Throw out age-old stereotypes because they aren’t true.

  1. Recognition Doesn’t Work

You may have heard the myth that recognition programs don’t work. That’s false. In fact, employees want more recognition and reward at work.

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They contribute to employee engagement and happiness. Studies show that only 40% of employees receive some reward or recognition from their employer every year.

Your employees wish management would show more appreciation. Don’t neglect them.

***

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