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4 Steps to Create a Lasting Brand Identity

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It’s natural that small business owners would associate the notion of branding only with big corporations. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
4 Steps to Create a Lasting Brand Identity

We’re all familiar with slogans like “Just Do It,” “Live Más” (Spanish for “more”) and “Because You’re Worth It.” These slogans have become synonymous with the brands they represent, so it’s natural that small business owners would associate the notion of branding only with big corporations.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Branding should be a priority for small business owners, as well, despite its being one of the most difficult things to tackle. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of small businesses close their doors within five years of launching. And one of the causes might be the perception that branding is too “difficult” for founders to dedicate time and brain power to.

At the risk of stating the obvious, this is a huge mistake.

Why is branding so important?

The answer is that it represents who you are and what your company is. It represents who you want to be and your core values and principles. The principles you set for your brand should be your guide, and compromising them means you don’t trust your own brand.

If you don’t trust your brand, how are customers supposed to trust you? In my book, Running the Gauntlet, I wrote, “Principles mean something only when they are inconvenient. As a small business owner, you must prepare to live your brand promise in good times and in bad times.”

Change is a constant in business and someone will always try to rival the services you provide; others may try to copy (or steal) your concept, logo and assets. But the one thing no one can copy? Your brand.

Here are four tips to develop a lasting brand identity:

1. Find your purpose.

A brand is nothing but a promise delivered; therefore, building a brand has to be the core of your company. Your brand’s purpose is to answer the “why.” Why do you matter and why you exist? Why did you start your business?

I travel all over the country giving speeches, and afterwards, I am approached by entrepreneurs asking for advice on how to become successful. I ask them, “Why do you want to become an entrepreneur?” One of the standard replies I hear is, “Because I want to make money.”

Nothing is wrong with that; I love to make money too, but that cannot be a founder’s sole purpose. In this über-competitive world, your brand needs to find the one thing that makes it different.

As a small businessperson, you don’t need a purpose that’s going to change the world. Aan example: If you have a small restaurant that serves a type of food similar to that of the restaurant two doors down, but you use locally-grown products to feed your patrons, that’s going to be your calling card.

Your purpose? To help local farmers and help the local community. Customers know that you’re looking to make an impact and will reward you with their loyalty.

2. Find your voice.

Is your brand quirky? Fun? Adventurous? Giving a brand characteristics normally associated with human beings is one way to ensure that people identify with it and that all your employees (or you) can communicate it with ease.

Look at Richard Branson and the Virgin brand. He embodies all of the brand’s characteristics: bold, daring, fun and adventurous. That’s how he describes his brand to anyone who asks. Basically, that’s his “118” right there.

What’s a “118?” you ask. Let me explain. One hundred and eighteen is the number of seconds you actually have to pitch — eight seconds to hook people, and no more than 100 seconds to reel them in. You should be able to tell people in short sentences, or 118 seconds, what your brand is about.

In the beginning, this pitch helps you to create key phrases or descriptions and a checklist of touch points and then use those as bookends when interacting with customers. Opening and closing with a strong touch point leaves a lasting impression on the customer and helps you avoid derailing from your message.

If people are trying to get me to buy something and they launch into a hundred reasons why I should do that, I’m not interested, no matter how great the product. I don’t have time to stand there and listen to a whole sales pitch. So, take a lesson here: Don’t parrot your brand’s virtues; live them.

And, be short, concise and to the point: If customers feel and understand your passion, they’ll understand what the brand is trying to convey.

3. Make brevity and simplicity your best friends.

It’s tempting to think of the multitude of things that make your brand great; therefore, it can be overwhelming to try to simplify what to convey to the public. The key here is: simplicity is best. The most successful brands have the simplest brands. For example, Coca-Cola hasn’t changed its logo since the 19th century. The company may have changed colors and style, but that’s about it.

All of us are familiar with the brand, whether we drink soda or not.

Keeping things simple increases brand recognition and can help create an emotional connection, turning customers into brand loyalists. Also, avoid being vague with your messaging. It’s a trap that many people fall into — if your messaging says nothing about your brand, your company becomes forgettable. Clichés are also a no-no. They make your brand look lazy and unprepared.

It’s tempting to use vague language to feel “safe,” but it makes customers think you’re hiding something from them. Don’t be afraid of offending someone; just be honest. With all of the changes taking place in society — culturally, politically and economically — more consumers are looking for brands that align with their beliefs.

My personal brand involves wearing jeans and cowboy boots. It doesn’t matter how “fancy” the event is. Add to that the very loud patterns I wear inside my jackets. That’s my brand: bold, brash, simple.

4. Make them work for you.

Evangelizing your brand is already a part of your job and that of your employees’. It’s their job to tell your customers why you’re great and why they should buy from you.

When customers understand your brand, what you stand for, what you deliver for them and everything your brand conveys, they take on the role of “brand ambassadors” willingly. When your target consumers understand every nuance of your brand, you’ve hit the branding jackpot. When consumers identify with your brand, they become vocal about it — on social media or through word of mouth, which is still a powerful medium.

A while back, I interviewed the president of Keds, Chris Lindner, and he said he doesn’t refer to the company’s spokesperson (singer Taylor Swift) as a spokesperson. Instead, he said he refers to her as a “brand ambassador.” I asked him why and he replied that, “A brand ambassador has to have a tangible connection with the brand.”

When customers have that connection, they organically evangelize your brand; in essence, they are working for you. Reward them, especially when they’re not expecting it. A discount or special offer, especially if it’s unexpected, is cited as the top reason for brand loyalty, according to a Toll Free Forwarding survey.

Here’s a bonus tip for you: Every campaign should be personally authorized by someone who truly understands the brand before anything is revealed to the public. Never leave branding to chance, because even minor mistakes can have a significant impact on your brand.

source:https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/293236

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Innovations

INNOVATION HUB: EDO YOUTHS HAIL OSINBAJO, OBASEKI FOR FACILITIES, TRAINING

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Youths in Edo State have hailed Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for the initiative in setting up the South-South Innovation Hub and Edo Innovates, the two facilities launched recently at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), in Benin City, as a platform for youths to get trained and proffer digital solutions to everyday problem.

Cross section of youths at one of the labs in Edo Innovates, which houses the South South Innovation Hub, at Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), Benin City, Edo State, during the launch of the hub by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Recall that the Vice President during his two-day visit to the state, launched the South-South Innovation Hub and performed groundbreaking of the 1800-Emotan Gardens project.

A number of the youths at the launch expressed appreciation to the governor and the Vice President for setting up the hub, noting that it was gratifying to know that youths in the state would now have equal opportunity as their colleagues elsewhere to get trained and be engaged in a vibrant digital ecosystem that is supported by the state and federal government.

Mr. Sunday Olufemi, from Akoko Edo Local Government Area of the state, said that he was most excited about the one-stop shop for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) clinic, where young people can now have access to relevant federal government agencies to ease business registration, product certification, and access to finance and mentoring.

According to him, “I can confidently say that this is the best thing to have happened to youths in Edo State. Now, we no longer have to go to Lagos before we get training to become full-fledged start-ups. The expertise and support structures are now available for us in Edo State.”

Mr. Fred Omoregie, an undergraduate at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), said the hub is a dream come true to many tech-savvy young residents in the state, noting that they now have a viable, well-structured facility to express themselves.

He said, “I believe this will revolutionalise this state. Young people have been looking for where to express themselves for years but didn’t have such a facility that can give them a sense of direction. With this, Engineering, Computer Science graduates and others from different disciplines can now have a go at tech solutions to problems.”

 

 

 

Source:  Vanguard

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Industry

WWDC: WHEN APPLE WATCH BECAME A PLATFORM

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Many incremental improvements mean Apple Watch is becoming more effective for communication, augmentation and more.

Apple’s watchOS 5 plays to the strengths of Apple Watch and opens up some new and interesting ways to develop for and make use of the device.

The enterprise case for Apple Watch

Apple always says its goal with the Apple Watch is to deliver brief and meaningful interactions at exactly the right time.

This dedication to context and convenience means that when the company ships the next iteration of the OS, it will make its solution much more essential to anyone who needs to stay up to date while remaining focused on the matter at hand, or who needs to stay in touch while leaving the phone behind.

Communications boost

Apple Watch is becoming a viable alternative to an iPhone. watchOS 5 builds on the built-in SIM the company put inside the device last year with a series of enhancements:

  • The most immediately useful improvement for most of us will be the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network straight from the Apple Watch.
  • Walkie-talkie lets you contact friends and family just by pushing a button on your device, once you set them up. This works over Wi-Fi and cellular connections, and it can connect people worldwide.
  • You can answer FaceTime and Group FaceTime calls as audio calls on your watch.

In combination with the device’s existing ability to dictate notes and messages, and the new addition of support for looking at websites (see below), Apple Watch has become a powerful communications tool in its own right.

Take notifications

There was a huge cheer at WWDC when Apple announced the introduction of Grouped Notifications on iPhone. This extends to Apple Watch, making it far easier to manage and control the alerts you receive.

The newly introduced Dynamic Notifications feature is something that both public-facing business offering front-end app support to customers and enterprise firms deploying their own proprietary iOS apps will want to explore.

This lets developers add additional steps to a notification — a restaurant may remind you of your booking and ask you to confirm (or change) your arrival time or the number of guests that should be expected. Or a ride sharing app may let you pay, rate, and tip for your ride — all from within the notification.

Finally, Critical Alerts are a new kind of notification intended for extremely urgent alerts. These need to be given explicit user permission to work and are intended to alert wearers to things such as heart rate anomalies or diabetes-related blood sugar warnings.

Siri gets lots better

The updated Siri watch face is a great illustration to show how much smarter Siri has become across all Apple platforms.

Siri will use the watch to provide the wearer with a host of additional predictive and proactive shortcuts throughout the day “… based on routines, locations and information such as heart rate after a workout, commute time with Maps at the appropriate time of day, or sports scores for a favorite team.”

What makes this even more interesting is that it will now show actionable content from third-party apps, which is great for consumer and specialized enterprise apps.

Siri Shortcuts also makes it to the new Apple Watch OS.

Apple is pushing developers to ensure the Apple Watch shortcuts they provide are to the most relevant tasks. The basis for deciding this might be time, location, or app utility (a recipe app may provide a recipe of the day, for example).

What Apple sees as critical is that these notifications are interacted with and truly represent what Apple Watch users need.

App developers need to note that when Siri decides which Shortcuts it will offer on the Siri Watchface, Siri will pay particular attention to how the user has interacted with your app in the past.

Also, you don’t need to say “Hey, Siri” to activate the assistant. All you need to do is start speaking to Siri as you raise the Watch towards you.

The intention is that you will be able to use Siri to get essential tasks done from your Watch, and you will be able to explore new ways to enhance customer and employee experiences when using your app.

The tiny web

Do you remember how Steve Jobs — when announcing the original iPhone — boasted that the iPhone offered people access to the real internet, rather than some stripped-down version?

watchOS 5 brings a little of that same delight and now integrates WebKit support, which means you can use your watch to glance at things such as web links or other items sent to you.

You can control the content, too:

  • Turn the Digitial Crown to scroll the page.
  • Double-tap to zoom in and out.
  • Use Force Touch (a firm press) to invoke back and forward buttons you can use to navigate through your viewing history.

It’s not perfect — you can’t access video playback or web fonts, though you can use your Watch to fill in HTML-based forms. Apple will render pages in Reader Mode when that mode is available.

All the same, some people will wonder if web designers will now need to figure out how to design websites that scale all the way from a Watch to a 30-inch display.

Health and wellness

There are lots of workout improvements in Apple Watch, including auto-workout detection. Not only does your Watch figure out when you are exercising, but it will also terminate a workout once it detects the activity is over. New yoga and hiking workouts and helpful tools for runners makes the device even more useful as part of your general scheme to stay well. And Activity Sharing competitions let you invite others to compete in meeting those activity challenges.

Additional improvements

Control Center lets you put all your toggles in the order you most prefer. You can also get to Notifications and/or Control Center while in any app.

Apple Watch users will gain a new Podcasts app. This will sync with shows, as well as stream any new shows Siri can find on your behalf. Enterprise users and developers will need to know that Apple will now allow audio from third-party apps to sync to the watch for offline playback.

 

 

 

 

Source: Computer World

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Hardwares

THIS GIANT CASE TRANSFORMS A 35MM CAMERA INTO AN INSTANT CAMERA

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NINM Lab, a new company based out of Hong Kong, has debuted a product on Kickstarter that turns your 35mm camera into an instant camera, as spotted by PetaPixel.

The attachment, called a Magny 35, is comprised of three parts: an enlarging optics film back, an aluminum lens barrel, and the film ejection unit. To use it, detach your camera’s original back, and replace it with the assembled Magny 35. When you snap a photo, it will take the image from your camera and project the light onto the instant film surface, enlarging it to 62 x 62mm in the process. Everything connects with bayonet mounts for ease and speed.

The Magny 35 has a maximum effective aperture of f/4, uses a power supply of four AAA batteries, and it has an LED film counter, a tripod socket, and a dark slide. The film ejects only when a button is pressed, so there’s the opportunity to take multiple exposure shots. NINM Lab says it should fit SLR and Rangefinder cameras made by Leica, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, and Pentax.

Right now on Kickstarter, the Magny 35 costs $99, and the actual cost, once it hits the market in January 2019, will be $199. While buying an Instax Mini is around $50, a model that takes square photos is more costly, so you could save a few dollars by getting a Magny 35 if you’re invested in taking instant pics. While the Kickstarter says company members have been involved in creating products in the past, none are specified. This is also the company’s first venture, so buyer beware.

 

 

 

 

Source: The Verge

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