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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

HERE’S WHAT GOOGLE MAPS LOOKS LIKE RUNNING ON APPLE CARPLAY

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With iOS 12, Apple is giving third-party apps more flexibility and new capabilities within CarPlay. As an example, for the first time, you can use other apps besides Apple Maps as your preferred navigation software for Apple’s in-car platform. With that change now possible, Google Maps and Waze are both planning to support CarPlay and have begun beta testing.

Unfortunately it’s not a beta test most of us can join, so you’ll have to wait for the proper release before you can use either of these in your own vehicle through CarPlay. But some early screenshots posted by 9to5Mac provide a good preview of how Google Maps and Waze will look once that happens.

Both apps are already available on Android Auto, so the developers behind each app are well familiar with the basics of optimizing their navigation for an in-car display: make the icons big, text readable, and directions… well, accurate. Apple Maps continues to get better and better, but G Maps and Waze each have their own strengths.

Google Maps utilizes Google’s own traffic and mapping data, which you might trust a bit more than Apple’s — even now. It also syncs up with your saved places. And Waze is pretty unrivaled when it comes to warning you about accidents or, for those who go heavy on the gas pedal, nearby police. Google Maps still looks like a Google app while following CarPlay’s UI guidelines.

There’s no official word on exactly when the CarPlay versions of Google Maps and Waze will widely roll out to users. But with iOS 12 widely launching on Monday — you can already install it now, remember — hopefully it won’t be long before this beta graduates to a full update.

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MOST OF AI’S BUSINESS USES WILL BE IN TWO AREAS

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While overall adoption of artificial intelligence remains low among businesses (about 20% upon our last study), senior executives know that AI isn’t just hype. Organizations across sectors are looking closely at the technology to see what it can do for their business. As they should—we estimate that 40% of all the potential value that can created by analytics today comes from the AI techniques that fall under the umbrella “deep learning,” (which utilize multiple layers of artificial neural networks, so-called because their structure and function are loosely inspired by that of the human brain). In total, we estimate deep learning could account for between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion in annual value.

However, many business leaders are still not exactly sure where they should apply AI to reap the biggest rewards. After all, embedding AI across the business requires significant investment in talent and upgrades to the tech stack as well as sweeping change initiatives to ensure AI drives meaningful value, whether it be through powering better decision-making or enhancing consumer-facing applications.

Through an in-depth examination of more than 400 actual AI use cases across 19 industries and nine business functions, we’ve discovered an old adage proves most useful in answering the question of where to put AI to work, and that is: “Follow the money.”

The business areas that traditionally provide the most value to companies tend to be the areas where AI can have the biggest impact. In retail organizations, for example, marketing and sales has often provided significant value. Our research shows that using AI on customer data to personalize promotions can lead to a 1-2% increase in incremental sales for brick-and-mortar retailers alone. In advanced manufacturing, by contrast, operations often drive the most value. Here, AI can enable forecasting based on underlying causal drivers of demand rather than prior outcomes, improving forecasting accuracy by 10-20%. This translates into a potential 5% reduction in inventory costs and revenue increases of 2-3%.

While applications of AI cover a full range of functional areas, it is in fact in these two cross-cutting ones—supply-chain management/manufacturing and marketing and sales—where we believe AI can have the biggest impact, at least for now, in several industries. Combined, we estimate that these use cases make up more than two-thirds of the entire AI opportunity. AI can create $1.4-$2.6 trillion of value in marketing and sales across the world’s businesses and $1.2-$2 trillion in supply chain management and manufacturing (some of the value accrues to companies while some is captured by customers). In manufacturing, the greatest value from AI can be created by using it for predictive maintenance (about $0.5-$0.7 trillion across the world’s businesses). AI’s ability to process massive amounts of data including audio and video means it can quickly identify anomalies to prevent breakdowns, whether that be an odd sound in an aircraft engine or a malfunction on an assembly line detected by a sensor.

Another way business leaders can home in on where to apply AI is to simply look at the functions that are already taking advantage of traditional analytics techniques. We found that the greatest potential for AI to create value is in use cases where neural network techniques could either provide higher performance than established analytical techniques or generate additional insights and applications. This is true for 69% of the AI use cases identified in our study. In only 16% of use cases did we find a “greenfield” AI solution that was applicable where other analytics methods would not be effective. (While the number of use cases for deep learning will likely increase rapidly as algorithms become more versatile and the type and volume of data needed to make them viable become more available, the percentage of greenfield deep learning use cases might not increase significantly because more established machine learning techniques also have room to become better and more ubiquitous.)

We don’t want to come across as naïve cheerleaders. Even as we see economic potential in the use of AI techniques, we recognize the tangible obstacles and limitations to implementing AI.  Obtaining data sets that are sufficiently large and comprehensive enough to feed the voracious appetite that deep learning has for training data is a major challenge. So, too, is addressing the mounting concerns around the use of such data, including security, privacy, and the potential for passing human biases onto AI algorithms. In some sectors, such as health care and insurance, companies must also find ways to make the results explainable to regulators in human terms: why did the machine come up with this answer? The good news is that the technologies themselves are advancing and starting to address some of these limitations.

Beyond these limitations, there are the arguably more difficult organizational challenges companies face as they adopt AI. Mastering the technology requires new levels of expertise, and process can become a major impediment to successful adoption. Companies will have to develop robust data maintenance and governance processes, and focus on both the “first mile”—how to acquire data and organize data efforts—and the far more difficult “last mile,” how to integrate the output of AI models into work flows, ranging from those of clinical trial managers and sales force managers to procurement officers.

While businesses must remain vigilant and responsible as they deploy AI, the scale and beneficial impact of the technology on businesses, consumers, and society make pursuing AI opportunities worth a thorough investigation. The pursuit isn’t a simple prospect but it can be initiated by evoking a simple concept: follow the money.

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FONTS TO FIT YOUR AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY DESIGNS

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Setting text in augmented and virtual reality presents new design challenges that are dramatically different from practically any other existing medium. Steve Matteson, Creative Type Director at Monotype, has selected fonts that are both highly legible and represent multiple genres, offering reliable choices for AR/VR games, apps or user interfaces.

Avenir

The word Avenir means ‘future’ in French and hints that the typeface owes some of its interpretation to Futura. But unlike Futura, Avenir is not purely geometric; it has vertical strokes that are thicker than the horizontals, an “o” that is not a perfect circle, and shortened ascenders. Avenir represents the most legible of designs within the geometric sans serif genre. The challenges posed by fully geometric typefaces are reduced in Avenir, putting the emphasis on legible shapes, open forms and ample letter spacing. Avenir would work well for extended text in AR/VR or lend modern flair to interfaces for home appliances or IoT.

Daytona™

The Daytona typeface family grew out of Jim Wasco’s desire to design a readable typeface for video and on-screen use. Because of its exceptional legibility, it’s also an ideal choice for digital user interfaces and a wide range of print applications. Daytona softens an otherwise modern engineered style, with rounded forms lending an air of informality. This makes it the perfect font for a children’s AR/VR game or app. Originally designed for navigation and wayfinding, the font would also work well for heads-up displays. Daytona can offer the user a friendlier appearance – even in a potentially intimidating futuristic VR experience.

Slate™

The Slate typeface melds superb functionality and aesthetic elegance into a remarkable communications tool. Slate is the work of Rod McDonald, an award-winning typeface designer and lettering artist. At one point in his forty-year career, McDonald participated in a typeface legibility and readability research project conducted by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind during which he learned the design traits that maximize character legibility and text readability. Slate offers a comfortable reading experience even in challenging technical environments like AR or VR. Slate’s contemporary flair would work well in an app interface, experiential walkthroughs or AR app filters.

Halesworth™

Designing a virtual experience that needs to evoke a historical or academic theme? Halesworth is a Venetian Old Style book typeface designed by Carl Crossgrove, crafted specifically for comfortable reading on screen. Halesworth preserves the beautiful, generous proportions of the Venetian genre and optimizes the details for best performance, making it an excellent choice for long-form text in a VR environment. The typeface has reduced contrast in hairline strokes, generously open counters, ample curves and sturdy serifs. Halesworth has an elegant, antique flavor but can be read comfortably on screen at any angle making it ideal for AR/VR.

Akko™

Need to design a UI for the future? Look no further than the Akko typeface. Akko’s contemporary and open design aids in reading from severe angles that can be found in VR situations. Akko was designed with very open counters and a tall x-height following market research indicating the need for a new sans serif with a “tech” look. The resulting letters are characterized by their simplicity and compactness and can be employed to save space within a layout. Akko’s tech-forward appearance combined with its space-saving qualities also make it a reliable choice for futuristic AR/VR games or experiences.

Helvetica eText™

Helvetica™ is the ubiquitous flagship of the Swiss Grotesque genre. The ‘e-text’ adaptation reduces hindrances to legibility commonly found in the style by offering advanced font hinting, expanded characters and modified line thickness and x-height to optimize legibility across smartphones, tablets or e-readers. Helvetica eText aids the reader while delivering style, and is particularly well suited to anything on a grid, for example to display scores or health metrics in games or for virtual eCommerce experiences.

Get the fonts

Get Avenir, Daytona, and thousands of other fonts in Mosaic, Monotype’s Enterprise font solution.

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