Archives for April 2007

Favorite Brand of All Time

I asked myself a question this morning, one that became more difficult to answer than I would have thought.

Question: What is your single, all-time favorite brand?

By that, I mean a brand that has stood the test of time, creating warm feelings of gladness, enduring attachment, readiness to go-out-my-way for the brand experience, and an easy readiness to tell others about it.

Hmmmm…that would be my wife, actually! OK, let’s limit this to non-relationships…

I thought about products and services I’ve used over the years. There’s Netscape Navigator, my first browser through which I experienced the Internet. How I loved seeing that big “N” symbol with the moving stars, as I first began to explore the early web! And how bummed out I was when Microsoft was able to overwhelm Netscape! Alas, Netscape Navigator, while a very positive brand, was not an enduring one.
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Five Tips To Making Sure You Look Great Online

I was recently speaking at BarCampDublin about how business blogs are a great way to build buzz about your brand and can enable you to attract more clients and grow your business.

I was talking through my top tips for what makes an effective business or corporate blog.

However when I mentioned that I recommended that as a business leader, we will enhance our personal brand and our corporate reputation by adding our photograph, a couple of people in the audience questioned that recommendation.

Now perhaps this was because the audience were technical companies and I’ve noticed that many technologists and researchers prefer to stay in the background and not always put them selves forward as they consider that as overt self promotion which they prefer not to do. I remember a meeting some months ago for a research institute I am on the board of, where one of the leading medical researchers point blank refused to have their photograph online of the new website that was being launched – although they were very happy to be quoted in research papers and speak to the national media.

One of the audience members replied to the person raising the question and affirmed that they believed that we should have our professional photograph on our business blog or website. For them it instilled trust.

You see, most often the second place that people will click to on your business blog or website is the “about us” page. We want to see who we are doing business with and are asking ourselves:

  • Are they credible?
  • Are they someone we can relate to?
  • Are they in fact a real legitimate business?

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Leveraging & Managing Social Media Tools

Tune in to BlogTalk Radio, hosted by Blogging and Beyond, to hear Lena West from xynoMedia Technology offer her insights on how small and medium size businesses are using blogs and other social media tools.

During this fun, 30-minute podcast Lena also offers some tips on how to manage what she calls the “social media spaghetti”. Here’s a snapshot of topics covered:

  • Using social media to create a “fabric of conversation around your company”
  • Coming up with content for your blog
  • Why social media is not “magic in a box”
  • Using online video strategically to produce what Lena calls “The Cinderella Effect”
  • Why YouTube needs content

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How Strong Is Your Brand?

As the owner of a small business, when we develop the brand of our business, it is important to consider not only the visual vocabulary or corporate identity. Our brand is far more than our logo, business cards and materials.

Get one hundred marketeers in a room and they will all have a slightly different definition of what a brand is. However most will refer to a brand as being the emotional connection our clients and prospects have with our business. They will often refer to a brand being a “promise”.

For me a brand is far more than a promise – it is what people come to expect that we deliver. Brands are tangible assets. Just take a look at the balance sheets of any large consumer products company. [Read more…]

In Branding, Sometimes Seeing is Believing

In addition to bulletproof key messages and compelling sales/marketing copy, sometimes it can help to develop and promote a graphical representation of the value your products and services bring to clients. In my business, I call this a “customer value model”.

Similar to a picture, a customer value model allows you to explain complex solutions and their business benefit succinctly and in a memorable way.

A customer value model for a drug development services company

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How To Put Forward An Effective Brand Experience

The brand experience is as real as the product itself. This past weekend I was on the hunt for a product I’m interested in and I find myself as influenced as any other consumer by a powerful brand.

Case in point: John Deere riding mowers. I’ve had a John Deere Sabre riding mower for the past 7 or 8 years. It’s done a good job and taken quite a beating as I have about 2 acres of grass to cut and it’s not the most level lawn you’ve ever seen. A Sabre was an entry level Deere when I bought it, today they are discontinued. For as long as I have had the Sabre I was always cognizant of the fact that it’s seat is black, whereas a Deere’s seat is typically yellow. The rest of the tractor is John Deere green, but that seat is black. It was a small irritant but an irritant none-the-less. Colour branding is not lost on me.

This is the sort of brand relationship that we all strive for in our businesses. Colour branding is another powerful tool to build an association with the customer, much the same as icons, scent and sound. If you have never considered other brand devices, perhaps they could be leveraged to benefit your company. You know who ‘brown’ is don’t you? The big thing with any of them is consistency of use. Once you decide on your brand strategy – STICK WITH IT. One old rule of thumb is when you are starting to get sick of it, this is when your customer is only beginning to notice it.

Back to my mower shopping…

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Why Cause Marketing is Good for Your Business and How to Do It Effectively

In her hit song, I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair), Sandi Thom laments being “born too late into a world that doesn’t care”.

Is she right – is it all over red rover? Have we missed our chance to “care”? I don’t think so. I’m not convinced that it’s “too late”, or that the world “doesn’t care”. On the contrary. While our world is far from perfect, the evidence I see suggests that people are “caring” more than ever – and many of them are doing it through their businesses.

More and more we are breathing life into our businesses by weaving personal meaning into them, which in turn is changing the world. Savvy entrepreneurs are realising that contributing to or promoting a cause that means something to them is both a feel-good experience and a wise marketing strategy … In that giving itself is a natural feel-good balm which brings with it a sense of satisfaction, and that many of today’s “caring” consumers like to buy from businesses that are willing to go out of their way to help make the world a better place … which comes down to – people do business with people they like and respect. Check out the stats that demonstrate this on Nick Rice’s blog post, If you’re not on the cause marketing bandwagon.

Okay, so you haven’t already been bitten by the do-gooder bug and are feeling a bit at sea? Let’s take a look at some ideas for how you might incorporate “cause” into your marketing.
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