Archives for November 2010

The New Company Brand

Starting a new company? Hey this is a great opportunity to develop your brand from the ground up. At this stage you are in the enviable position of not having any negative baggage to deal with. What ever brand values you bring to the table are the basis for the future of your brand. You can develop your brand image to reflect these values and you can also position your company to come out ready for the fight. One downside is lack of experience. Customers don’t necessarily enjoy being the guinea pig. I believe that if your positioning strategy is powerful enough this short-coming may be moot. Confidence can also trump lack of a track record. The company might be new but chance are you have past experiences that compliment this new direction. Use them.

Since perception is reality in branding, keep in mind what perception you want your audience to have when they are first exposed to your brand image. When I develop images, it is absolutely important to know what gut feeling you what customers to have on viewing your brand image. Do you want to look young or mature? How large do you want to look? Is it a male or female audience? All of the touchpoints can be addressed if handled properly BUT remember that they must adhere to your pre-established brand values and personality.

When you’ve got a pretty good handle on your brand and your ready to hang out your shingle, remember that the consistency of your message and image is imperative to bringing your brand to life, to the point where people embrace you and want to see you succeed.

Success Is A Head Game

Negative press, positive press. Motivational books, lectures and conferences. Coaches, consultants and mentors. There just isn’t any shortages of resources to push you forward. Many of my colleagues and peers absolutely believe in the law of the universe. Each of them have a vision board. Parts of all this are the basis for the book – The Secret. Attitude can make you or break you. It puts you in a position to move forward or fall back. I have experienced it and I’m sure many of you have also bore witness to what happens when you bury yourself in the negative.

All it takes is a small seed. Let’s say the global economic crisis. If you let it, the media will depress the life out of your business and attitude. They tingle at the suggestion of “double dipping” or getting countless experts who predict the “worse is yet to come.” As a pundit the negative is good business for them. They get more press if they predict gloom. Nobody remembers the positive outcome, they just coast with it. BUT, the negative outlook is the catalyst for failure. It causes unstable businesses to draw their wagons in a circle and “ride this one out.” Hopefully. Let’s face it Nostrodamous wouldn’t be half as much fun if his predictions were positive things.

All that is, is authoring your own demise. Odd thing is some take great delight in claiming that they were correct in their forecast. Don’t they understand that they are its creator not its victim. They embraced failure and married it.

Some of the most successful people I know are also very positive. They see the glass hall full. That glass sample goes back decades. It speaks to attitude. If you are negative, it’s strange, but you start to recognize all the other negative things that are happening to you. Everything around you is breaking. When you’re looking it becomes amplified. It takes on a life of its own. You stub your toe, your shoelace breaks and your dog dies. If it wasn’t for bad luck – you know the rest. Oh woe is me!

Now turn that attitude around. Bad things still happen, BUT the big difference is that they just don’t resonate as much. You’re not looking for the bad any more, you are now seeking out the positive. You smile more. You bring out the best in people. They want to be around you. Your positive attitude is contagious. Success breeds success. I think your dog just came back to life.

Some would say that you can’t think good things to happen. Realistically it may seem a bit out there. But when I find myself getting a little gloomy, I look for ways to re-adjust my attitude. Maybe that’s picking up a paint brush (I love to paint in water-colour). Perhaps you love to jog or meditate. The plan is to purposely make yourself more positive. Refuse to bend to the dark side. As quickly as it came, the dark cloud passes and you begin to recognize opportunities. Take a lunch with a peer and discuss that crazy idea you had. You’re ready to take on the world. There’s no stopping you. A positive attitude can have that empowering effect.

If you are reading this and say, “no way” you’re pretending to be positive, and that won’t solve anything! Well, I say step back and take a hard look at yourself and all the negatives you’re casting on me. You’re throwing up barriers outlining how that’ll never work for you. You know what – your right!
It won’t work for you because you have that negative attitude. You will tell me a thousand reasons why it won’t work for you. Bad for you.

What’s the worse thing that adopting a positive attitude will have on you? Maybe you only cheer up someone else up. That’ll come back to you one day. There is no downside to positive.

Positive doesn’t cost you a cent while negative costs you everything – think about that.

5 Steps To A Better Brand

One:

Determine your brand values and be sure that they accurately reflect your brand. One way to be sure is this scenario: if you took away any one of the values would your brand cease to exist as that brand? If not, then the value wasn’t a true value.

Two:

Determine or develop a positioning strategy that makes your brand a leader in your category. This is not some fluffy slogan that merely inspires but is something that potential customers can resonate with and in many cases pay more for.

Three:

Own your color palette. Look to your competition and establish color as an icon that represents your brand exclusively. Think UPS.

Four:

Talk with stakeholders to be sure that their perception of your brand accurately reflects the reality of your brand. It is a good opportunity to validate your values as well.

Five:

Is your brand logo in sync with your brand culture? Does it need updating etc? Many graphic design firms and ad agencies believe branding starts here – pity. Your brand logo should reflect your values and also help to differentiate you. Your logo is essentially the face of your brand. It’s how the public is able to identify with you visually.

Naturally there is so much more to branding. But, if you are able to build these five steps into a cohesive message you will be well on your way to strengthening your brand and make it easier for you to sell your products or services.

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