The New Brand Benefit

bowIn a lot of ways starting a business and giving birth to a new brand can be an exciting process. No one knows who you are yet, so they have nothing to build an opinion on. On the other hand, since there is no formal introduction yet, everything about you is essentially rumour at this stage. A good place to start your brand is PR. Having a basic introductory website, and a weekly update to media, will help build interest and keep your information factual.
Any contact with suppliers and potential customers should alway be cordial. How you treat any contact at this initial stage, could set the tone of your new brand. Determine how you would like to be perceived and then strategize as to how you might influence this. Developing a positioning strategy that makes you the leader or the best at something will give your new brand resonance with your market. The worst thing you could do, is “follow the leader.” In doing this your brand offers nothing to the marketplace. Why bother existing at all? Every decision you make should assist in differentiating your new brand.
In discovering your difference, your launch can be exciting. You could be on your way to building a remarkable brand. Dream big! Don’t strive to be one of the best – strive to be the best. Just delivering good customer service isn’t enough – deliver the best service. Discover ways to over-deliver. Never forget that every thing you do affects the success of your brand. Don’t take designing your brand image lightly. An amateur attempt just reflects back on you. I’ve known some small businesses who took more interest in their decor than their brand image. Ultimately this shows in their success or lack there of.
Another important strategy is to build your “expert profile.” Your expert profile is your customer’s perception of your level of expertise. I typically recommend using Linkedin as a good start. Bringing your profile as close to 100% is a great way to get a handle on your level of expertise. Next round it out with a Facebook business page. But, I think that the number one activity that defines your expertise better than anything is blogging. It allows you to actively put your opinion out for all to see. With blogging the trick is to give away valuable information. It’s a lot of effort but the rewards over time can be extraordinary. I’ve not only gotten leads from blogging but press interviews and unique opportunities.
Your brand is in your hands. Ignore it and the competition will step up to define you. Own it, live it and strive from it.

‘Podcasting Renaissance’ – 5 Tips to Move with the Trend

‘Podcasting Renaissance’ – the fever that has caught the business owners badly. All are after having their own podcasts…rather their own Internet Radio Show.

Well, the reason might be the huge benefits that Podcasting have:

  •   Big or small, all business can use Podcast as a branding platform. Since podcast is simple and inexpensive
  •   Business has the chance to acquire a captivated audience with podcasts. Audiences can listen to the podcasts while keeping themselves busy in some other works.
  •   Podcasts literally echoes your business mantra inside audiences head
  •   Subscription to the podcast will automatically deliver it to your audience compared to emails or newsletters

trendsWill you like to become a podcaster? What will make your website or blog successful in that case? Why do business owners love to use podcasts?

The business owners should steer their venture with the current market trends. Podcasting is a million dollar business since an increased number of professionals have started to enter the game. To set the massive difference in the growth of your brand, business and audience, be the next big Podcaster.

  • Chalk Out a Plan for Podcasting

Podcasting is an excellent platform to share the content and is showing sign of resurgence with the thought leaders entering the Podcasting arenas in recent. (An excellent opportunity to have real good business profits)

If you want to enable a podcast for your business, have a plan and system for success. Podcasting is little difficult in the initial stage, but if you have a consistent approach then you can grow your business with an impact.

Take your podcasts as projects and ensure that they have a defined beginning and an end. Set up a workflow checklist for each episode. Have templates to show emails, follow-ups, pre-recorded intro’s video Screenflow templates, this checklist will help you to stay focused.

  • Focus On the Date You Launch Your Podcast

Do you want your podcast to strike the chord of market with a loud bang? Then consider the launch date. iTunes the latest podcast traffic driver has enabled a feature called: New & Noteworthy. The two top rows forecast the trendy podcasts in session. So from the launch date you have 8 weeks to be the top 100 in New & Noteworthy section in iTunes.

Utilize this 8 weeks, how will you use it? – Release at least three podcasts on the launch day. The first weeks you must reach out to your audience asking them to download all three podcasts, then ask to leave a rating and review.

Simple math works out here: 100 subscribers will have 300 download in the first week and this help you to reach the top 100 in New & Noteworthy section. Once you reach the summit sit and watch your podcasts outperform.

  • Voice Talent Makes Your Podcast Stand Out

Add a flare of professionalism by hiring a professional voice for your podcasts. Record the intro and outro in his or her to set the huge difference in your production value. Key ingredient of a podcast is its host. A talented voice will keep your audience engaged for a longer time. A talented voice can make a crappy content exciting to hear.

  • Podcast Length Is Important

Podcasts should be long enough to cover the essential details, but short enough to keep the note interesting to hear. If you are the sole speaker, then keep the length to fifteen minutes, and to extend the time you can add a few interviews. It is better to keep podcast short so that you do not exhaust the topic.

  • Get People to Visit Your Website or Blog

A podcast can help you to make people come back to your website or blog. While you run the show, remind your audience that they can always come to your website to get access to all the links mentioned in the episode. The listeners can easily browse through those links without playing the podcasts once more. Thus, you will be driving more traffic where all the actions take place. Make your journey easy with the use of redirect links or hub on your site where all your podcast shows stays listed.

Coming to the end of this blog piece, don’t you think to take up podcasting as your brand driver? In many aspects, podcasting is difficult than blogging, but one who hates to write will take up podcasting to make their brand perfectly.

Give it shot, as you have nothing to lose, create and re-create the new or stale content to boost up the traffic chart.

Author’s Bio

Jason Smith is a freelance tax consultant, financial writer (website) and a guest speaker is presently residing in NY. He is keenly interested in changing face of global economy, anything related to tech and social media. As a single dad, he often finds it hard to maintain the work-life balance but still manages to make time for his baby boy, his band and golfing buddies!

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You’ve Been Voluntold!

confusedIf you’re anything like myself – you do a great deal of local networking. At least two or three days a week, you might run into me at some event or another. Some are professional groups where my target customers lurk and others are general professional organizations local and national. In a few of these organizations I play a managerial role, (one I’m the president). As you may well understand this takes a great deal of commitment and effort. I absolutely believe that these groups help get my brand in front of the right people who desire what I’m offering. I have a strategy for my efforts and all involve being in control of my efforts. I’m proud that my brand commands the respect of my peers and as such I never have to suffer the the terrible affliction of being “voluntold.”

If you’re on a committee or two but fail to show up when you’re needed to participate, you will fall fate to joining efforts you are unaware of at the time you were induced. Some describe it this way – ” the fasted way to getting the worst job on a committee is to not show up at an important meeting.” At that critical meeting your brethren will take great pleasure in volunteering you, and if this happens – brother you’ve been VOLUNTOLD!”

Being Voluntold is the scarlet letter of organizations. If you’re Voluntold too many times your personal brand is going to take a beating. For the sake of your brand, be aware of the importance of meetings and your responsibility within a group.

You’ve been warned.

Eighteen Months After My Big Rebrand

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It was more than a year and a half ago when I realized I needed to make a big change. After more than nine years in the ‘work at home mom’ niche, I had an empty nest and an increasingly awkward sense of self when I sat down to blog and podcast content for that niche.

When you love your niche the way I did (do!), you’re slow to notice that you may no longer fit in with the people you’re talking to. But that’s the key – when you realize you’re talking TO them, not WITH them. I realized I was having a bit of an identity crisis!

After much thought and consideration, I felt most authentic identifying myself as a solopreneur and decided to embrace that niche.

Solopreneurs are entrepreneurs who run a business on their own on purpose, light and tight. They don’t have plans to take on employees one day or grow into a big corporation. This sets them apart and means they need different resources than the typical entrepreneur who does dream of that sort of growth.

My First Rebrand Image

So in the summer of 2011 I made the big announcement, I was going to change everything up and rebrand from Work at Home Moms Talk Radio to Solo Smarts. Basically, I’d still be talking about building online businesses that can be done from home and interviewing the people who do it, just focusing on the online solopreneur (men and women) instead of moms.

When You Rebrand, You Worry.

How will my market respond? Will the moms I’ve been working with all of these years feel like I’m leaving them behind? Will they misinterpret my change as a message that I feel like I’ve outgrown them? I did not feel that at all.

Thankfully, I’ve always been transparent with my blog readers, podcast listeners and email subscribers. I was able to simply share my heart and the thought process I was going through. They knew my son was grown and out of the house. They knew I didn’t have the work at home mom lifestyle anymore.

Letting them in on everything in advance, I set out to change the name and look of my blog and podcast. Then I extended the change to my shopping cart and membership site. It was a lot of work. In spite of my efforts, there was some confusion in the months after as people who weren’t paying close attention noticed the changes and asked questions. I expected that and didn’t let concern me.

I was pleased to note that while I did lose about 15% of my mailing list over the next year, I actually experienced an increase in engagement with my subscribers. The subscribers who stayed loved the change and loved being on the inside, knowing what was coming and being able to watch it all take shape. I chose to believe that the moms who left my list did so because they really needed to learn from someone IN their situation. I wasn’t in it anymore so it wasn’t a rejection of me or my new brand, it was an embracing of themselves.

When A Rebrand Involves A Change in Gender Focus, You Worry.

My market was moms for so long and that meant I only talked to and worked with women. I never aimed even a tiny amount of my content to a co-ed crowd before. When I completed the rebrand to Solo Smarts I purposefully chose a man for my first podcast interview and continued to include men in my schedule. I loved it of course but I’ll admit it felt unnatural at first. I also intentionally avoided interviewing anyone focused on a mom niche. This meant turning down a lot of interview requests at first but that isn’t a forever thing. Work at home moms are usually solopreneurs and I still love the niche, so I’ll definitely be interviewing some great WAHMs in the future.

The reason behind leaving them out for awhile was to help me make a clean break. I wanted everything about my new brand to say this is for men and women and not all WAHM focused anymore.

I also turned down requests to be interviewed on WAHM focused blogs and podcasts. This was painful because I love any chance to get exposure but in light of the rebrand, it wouldn’t have been the right exposure.

I recently sought out my best guest blog content hosts and asked them to update my bio to include my new brand and update my link to Solo Smarts. They’re happy to do that. I’ve asked others to simply delete my content or remove my name if it’s not going to serve my new brand well. Again, they’re quick to cooperate and I appreciate that.

The wrinkle in the mix is my membership site. Mom Masterminds turned into Solo Masterminds but members wanted to keep it focused on women. I decided to embrace their wishes and only accept female members. The reason being that it has always been more than a business community, inviting men in would change the way we relate to one another. Every once in awhile a man will express some regret on this, but that’s OK. Everything else I do is non gender focused.

I’m Not Worried Anymore.

 

Eighteen months later, I believe I’ve accomplished my goals. It’s rare these days for someone to refer to me as being a ‘WAHM’. It’s unusual for someone to say that I’m the ‘mom business expert’. Opportunities to speak to a co-ed business crowd finally started coming in over this past year. I’ll be teaching on podcasting at a live event next month and I do believe the room will have as many men as women, that’s pretty exciting.

Solopreneurs are Smarter

One of the things I did that really help to cement my new brand was to write a book. Solopreneurs are Smarter is a small book where I get to share what a solopreneur is and what makes them unique. If you’ve made a big branding change or plan to, I encourage you to think about a book. What you’ve published says a lot about who you are and who you want to reach!

Choosing The Right Color For Your Brand

50sColorsNothing is more striking visually in a brand than its colour palette. It can move people, calm people and agitate them. Colour has meaning and can be historically relevant. An example of what I mean by this is – let’s say you have an antique store or modern store for that matter that sells 1950′s era goods that are original or retro. You would be wise to use the pastel colour palette from that era (shown here). On doing this, your audience would immediately relate to the environment you are trying to create.

Color also can help the customer feel a certain way. Red for instance is a power colour. It motivates. This is the number one colour used in retail sales to get customers to react to a sales statement . Act Now! Call Today! Up to 50% off – these are things you see every day and colour sells them.

I also like to analyze what colours the competition is using and use a palette that is completely opposite which is currently being used. Think UPS and brown. This is a leadership approach to color selection. How ever you choose to pick your corporate palette, don’t just make the choice based on your personal taste. If mauve is the proper selection to help you sell, don’t ignore it just because you may not like mauve.

It’s 2013 And I’ve Got Nothing!

photoI’m sitting here trying to be profound and write something great about the coming year’s branding efforts. I’ve got nothing. Not to say I’m pessimistic about the coming year, but I’m drawing a blank about what to write about. Since I’ve started blogging (2006) I have written several hundred articles on branding. Now, during the first week of a fresh new year I can’t think of a single thing to write about except this description of my dilemma. I try to write an article a week as a minimum. Sometimes the inspiration flows and I’m able to bank them and other times (like this week) I can barely conjure up more than a paragraph.

So this week you’ve got my apology as I like to deliver quality content. Maybe next week I’ll be more on top of my game. All the best to your brand this coming year!

Download The Kindle Version Of My New Book FREE!

This week only I’m giving away the Kindle version of my new book, “101 Branding Tips – Practical tips for your brand that you can use today.” This offer has no strings attached. What I would love is that you return to the Kindle bookstore and leave a review.

My goal is to give away a thousand ebooks by this Friday the 16th of November. As of yesterday I handed out over 350 Kindle versions. Get it HERE.