About Ed Roach

For more than 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. I appreciate working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. I consult predominantly with businesses facilitating my proprietary branding process. This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace.

I have international speaking experience and am the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today. I'm also a "expert panellist" with Bob Proctor (from The Secret)'s Matrixx Events in Toronto.

I have been interviewed in all media and I also blog extensively and uses the digital realm on the web to connect and promote my services world-wide.

I have international speaking experience including a recent event in Prague, in the Czech Republic and is the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today, the book is available on Amazon.com and the Amazon Kindle store.

My clients are from Canada, The United States, Ukraine, India, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.

I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego aimed at teaching Graphic Design companies how to build brands for their customers.

Here are my most recent posts

How To Engage In Content Marketing Like the Big Boys Do

Here’s a terrific opportunity to educate your customers in a big way and at the same time show your expertise. Write an eBook on your specialty. This doesn’t have to be the size of a novel, it just has to be rich enough to cover what’s important for them to know. It gives you the opportunity to put any myths to bed as well. If a customer takes your eBook, you then have their undivided attention. They are actively seeking the information you are providing. Ebooks are great because not only are they typically a quick read, you also have the ability to put live links in place to bring in other resources for them to enjoy. Maybe send them to your website for more information.

If you move into eBooks you are actively participating in content marketing. This type of marketing is hugely influential online right now. Content marketing is massively desirable to the search engines. Ebooks are fresh valuable content. You can use it in so many ways. If you’re trying to grow your list, you can use it as an email harvester. Offer it to customers who give up their email to possess it. You can use it to influence the way people view you. It shows your authenticity. I try at every turn to show customers what I know and how it can help them.

Once you write one eBook, I can assure you, you’ll write more. There’s a large payoff, when people care about what you say. We all have an audience, most of us are unaware. Take the benefit of a doubt and try one small eBook. Email it to all your existing customers. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. It will show your thought leadership. They will appreciate the education. Many I’m betting assume what you do or at the very least under estimate the full extent of your services. Consider an eBook for each service. Develop it into a series.

If you also do public speaking having an eBook, to draw attention to, gives your listening audience a reason to visit your website. Direct them to a landing page where they can get your latest eBook for FREE. On the front end make it look like the cover of a book. The graphic and message should resonate with whom your speaking. If you get enough ebooks together over time, you could put them all together and do a hardcopy book. I call my book of tips – “101 Branding Tips.” I refer to it as my 114 page brochure. (http://www.edroachbrand.com/) it’s unconventional but is always well received. As content marketing suggests, it’s all about valuable information that customers are looking for. It all follows the mantra of give before you get. NEVER use this platform to sell directly. As you write your content, try your best to not write an ad. It’s tempting, but i suggest you resist the urge. Once you first experience the reaction to authoring content, it’s value will be apparent. 

Do You Know The Perception of Your Brand?

If reputation is the word that could replace brand in a conversation between yourself and your customer, why is it that most small businesses don’t get branding right? From my experience, it hinges on information fed to them by the graphic design industry – that branding is all about changing your visual image. A rebrand to these people is changing your logo and marketing materials.

Do You Know The Perception of Your Brand

Brand is so much more than that. Your visual image is definite a part of your brand. It is the face of your brand. It’s probably the public’s first exposure to it. And because everyone has a brand whether they desire one or not, a lot of factors determines that brand or “reputation” in the marketplace.

Perception is a major trait that customer rely on to help them determine what to purchase. Their perception of your brand determines whether they can trust you, how they judge your value, it even validates (or not) your expertise. That perception they hold so close doesn’t necessarily have to be true. Remember – it’s THEIR perception based on a reputation they have built in their consciences over time.

Recently Chevy ran a commercial, where they showed a focus group of “real people” not actors and had them choose car logos based on certain attribute. For instance, when asked which brand was safest, most people chose high-end luxury brands. Of course, the questions were skewed in that the answer for any positive attribute was Chevy. What should be alarming to Chevy though was that most people did NOT choose Chevy first. Their perception was something else.

Changing negative perceptions is time consuming and expensive. Chevy took a chance with this commercial. They got their point across, but if the commercial viewer took it one step further and asked WHY didn’t we choose Chevy first, this is where the branding problems rise to the surface. What in their brand (reputation) is holding them back? While all the right answers to the questions were Chevy, other, higher-valued brands owned those positions.

That is your challenge.

Does your small business brand own positions you know to be true or are they owned by your competition? What are you doing to correct these perceptions and reclaim that reputation? If your answer is “a flashy logo and pithy slogan” then my guess is you’re going to be playing catchup for a long time. Get used to someone else owning your position!

How To Draw In The World To Your Brand

If you own a business then you should be engaged in what the marketing savy call in-bound marketing. That in layman’s terms is drawing customers in to you. The major part of my marketing is exactly this strategy. What I am doing here (writing this post) is exactly that. Generating valuable content that provides value to a potential lead that helps to build your brand and goes a long way to establishing you as a thought leader. In-bound marketing is definitely a long-term strategy but one (I think) is more valuable. It is also more genuine. Out-bound marketing pushes your message out to businesses and relays on them paying attention. Most times in lands in front of them when they’re least likely to buy. In-bound draws in people who are LOOKING to buy.

How to Draw the World in to Your Brand

A good example is appliance stores sending you a flyer in the mail. We all call this junk mail and unnecessary UNTIL our microwave breaks and we need a new one. Then we are a motivated buyer. But that hated flyer is long gone – tossed out with the recycling.

Enter – in-bound marketing.

As that appliance store, all that blogging, updating your Facebook business page, introducing new appliances on Pinterest, wisdom on Twitter, educating in YouTube with videos and email marketing to name a few come into play. Your customer with the broken microwave jumps all over Google. Even if you’ve never given any thought to SEO (search engine optimization), the fact that you’ve provided great free content on all the mentioned social channels makes your business the love child of Google. There’s a strong chance that you’ll pop up on the first page in a search. If you’ve ever wondered what the payoff to all that effort building content was, Google is it. Even though you know your listening audience is super small, this is the payoff – search results.

That’s the huge benefit of in-bound marketing. They search with a need and discover you. They learn that you are a thought leader and want to learn more. Warm lead. Engage them and put a new microwave in their trunk.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you own. The value and goal of in-bound is to attract quality NOT quantity. You’re putting in all the effort for search, then for the opportunity to land a warm le

Why Branding and Sales Promotion are Not Interchangeable

In the world of promotion, branding has been called anything from a logo, to putting a logo on things, to a general image. If I may be so humble to speak for those those of us who specialize in branding, a brand could replace the word “reputation.” How a customer perceives you, your town , your product, experience, or organization etc. is your brand.

Most marketing people I come into contact with simply don’t get it and arrogantly think that sales promotion is 100% of what branding encompasses. Now, granted the end game in branding is to bring more dollars into the organization, BUT that isn’t soley achieved through sales promotion.

Branding done properly with a skilled facilitator looks at all aspects of your brand to see that all elements are pulling in the same direction. All of this is strategic thinking and much of it exists outside the sales and promotion circles. HR plays a role, business management culture plays a role, even people associated with the organization such as the custodian can affect the brand for good or bad. My opinion here on this blog post affects my brand, depending on my audience’s response to it.

Once you learn to embrace your brand and define it, only then will you appreciate the value it holds in making your entire business a success on multiple levels including but not limited to sales promotion.Why Branding and Sales Promotion are Not Interchangeable-061115

You Can’t Build A Brand On Today Thinking

A few years ago I pitched my branding process to a mid-size Canadian City mayor. Suffice to say he loved the presentation and the opportunities it would open up. The one item that buried the project was his short-sightedness. Knowing upfront that there were deficiencies in the brand, he didn’t appreciate my comment that those deficiencies would have to be fixed so that their brand had a better chance of being authentic to it’s target audience. The fastest route to failure is to tout something powerful and then have your buyer discover it was all just advertising spin. The city can’t walk the walk. Today they’re still just doing advertising but labelling it branding.

You Can’t Build A Brand On Today Thinking-043015

Here in my community we have a city market. The bylaws people saw an opportunity. They showed up early on a saturday morning and went booth to booth gathering business cards from the grannies selling biscuits, young people selling items from their hobbies and other micro entrepreneurs. Satisfied that they spoke to everyone, they went back to their offices and proceeded to send out notices to all these people that they’d all have to buy a business license or shut it down. Their phoney smiles hid the reality of their intentions – more fees for the the city. They didn’t care what happened to these individuals and their dreams. What they failed to see was the long-term benefits of city market vendors. Many of these folks are testing their ideas and planning for the future. A local furniture store just turned 90. It all started with one guy peddling furniture door-to-door. Where would the 4 locations and hundreds of employees be today if the city had shut them down because they didn’t have a $XX business license?

Another new grocery business in Ottawa, Canada ( Farm Boy ) started in their city market and now have multiple locations and are spreading across the province. That equates to property taxes, bricks and motor leases, employment, and investment all started in a small city market. What our city should have done was gone in, introduced itself and offered to help them in any way they could to succeed. They should provide mentors, and business incentives to go beyond the cookies in wax paper to opening a small bakery in an area the city would like to re-new. But, this involves long-term thinking and long-term branding.

Place brands like any other thrive on long-term thinking. Bureaucrats have to start understanding that short-term gains CAN and DO suppress long-term growth. Being smug about shutting down the painted flower pot booth today changed the future that might have been – namely a unique gift shop in a wanting downtown area. All this is branding folks. Doing it with vision creates log-term wealth. Short-term advertising spin is just that.

How Your Brand is Sucking the Life Out of Your Business

Your brand is this – your brand is that. Some would have you believe that your brand is this OR that. The fact is your brand is everything. I enjoy speaking with businesses on branding and helping them to understand the what their focus should be in branding. It is almost without exception that business people assume that a brand doesn’t extend much beyond the visual elements. Most think your brand is your logo and marketing materials. When you think of it, that’s a lot of pretty heavy lifting for something visual. If that perception were true, brand problems would be a cinch to resolve – just change your image. Don’t like that soft drink – change the logo. Do you think it will taste better? Not likely. I’m guessing you’re going to have to tweak the recipe to lure you to buy.

How Your Brand is Sucking the Life Out of Your Business-041615Sales are flat? Maybe the problem goes way beyond a tired logo. Perhaps the sales staff have aged to the point that they’re not hungry anymore. Maybe your business culture has deficiencies. But chances are strong that it’s a little of everything. You’ll discover (if you’re brave enough to look) is that slowing sales is a symptom of an overall slowing of the brand. As Auston Powers might say, “You’ve lost your mojo!” And in the marketplace your mojo is your brand.

A re-brand if handled properly is absolutely more strategic than visual. But both are joined at the hip. The strategic side involves all experiences of your stakeholders. Those experiences are those that exist on line and off-line. From the way reception answers the phone to how an employee might talk about the company at a church picnic. Stupid things said on social media has in numerous cases taught business brands to react publicly where in the past it was handled behind closed doors and often ignored. Today you can’t ignore anything. Everything affects your brand.

The solution to a happy brand is to get your brand strategy in shape, then tie it all together with relevant visuals that represent your brand values and personality. This essentially boils down to defining your brand and reaping the rewards company-wide. Companies that do this right go on to raise the bar in their industries. They are the companies that inspire others to emulate them. They are the leaders. Of course it’s not for everyone. You have to be bold and willing to believe in what makes your brand great. Steve Jobs had it when he said that Apple had to develop products that were – “insanely great.” Most companies are followers. Followers embrace price over value. Followers copy smart brands. Followers allow the marketplace to define them. Followers never reach their potential or attract top talent.

And followers think that their brand is their logo. If it were only that easy.

How to: UNSELL. BRAND!

If you’re out there selling something – stop it right now!

Stop selling and start branding. Your brand has a story to tell. Educate your buyer so they have all the knowledge they need to make an intelligent decision. If you start selling, they’ll just roll their eyes and try to get away from you. They won’t trust you. Find out where their anxiety lies, and show them a way out with knowledge. Encourage them to compare. You’re approach will be refreshing to what they see.

I take myself as an example. I position myself as the branding expert. I have an 8 page brochure that educate’s my customer on “How to give their brand a boost.” The whole point is to help them position their company as the first choice (of their buyer) rather than just more of the same.

SNAFU Branding Brochure

You often hear that people don’t like to read much anymore. It’s not that they don’t like to read, it’s more that they don’t like to read copy that benefits you more than them. Give them information that makes you the first choice. You have to show your confidence and give away information that empowers your buyer.

Branding as an empowering tool draws to you customers who also value knowledge. It drives away buyers who fixate on price alone. These are not the customers you can grow on. You’ve heard of “price wars,” well this is a battle that only deep pockets can win. If that isn’t you, then it’s time to change the game to one of an intelligence strategy.

Don’t concern yourself if the competition starts to copy your model. That means they have their eyes off the ball and squarely on what ever it is you’re doing. You can’t control them, so keep your brand out front. Their ignorance can only help you.

It’s like I always say: “Lead don’t follow.”