Connect with us

Business Marketing

The 7 things you are probably screwing up in your branding

(Marketing) Branding is an exact science, and we all have room for improvement, so what does this expert know that you might not? Read on to find out.

Published

on

blue abuse

blue abuse

No one is perfect

Whether you’re the CEO of a sizable brand or a single-person startup, you influence your company’s branding, and the truth is that no one is perfect. You may only be committing two of the seven sins outlined below, but you may be committing them all, so keep reading.

We refuse to regurgitate the same business advice you’ve already read everywhere else, so we’ve tapped the brain of brand builder and keynote speaker, Jeremy Miller, who is the well-known President of Sticky Branding, and he’s insanely good at helping companies stand out.

bar
Miller didn’t bat an eye at naming the common sins across all industries when it comes to branding, so in his own words below are not only the seven ways you’re probably screwing up, but ways to correct your errors:

1. Selling At All Costs

No one wants to be sold.

No one wants to deal with pushy sales reps and over-the-top marketing campaigns, but that’s what so many brands do. They push, push, push and talk, talk, talk.

Sticky Brands build relationships. They engage their customers upwards of three years before their products and services are needed. That way their customers know, like, and trust them, and they call them first when they have a need.

Take off your sales hat and focus on your customers, build lasting relationships with them.

2. An Out of Date Website

Branding is not an event, it’s a process

An outdated website is a sign of neglect. If you haven’t updated your website design in four years, I have to ask. Why don’t you like your brand? Was it mean to you?

Sticky Brands are constantly polishing and improving their brand collateral. The work is never done.

3. Bland, Boring, and Blue

A third of the top 100 global brands are blue. Brands like P&G, IBM, Facebook, GE, HP, Ford, and Samsung all use blue as the primary brand color.

Blue is a pretty good color. It connotes a company that is trustworthy, established, and secure. It’s the color of big, old, and professional.

As a result, a disproportionate number of small- and mid-sized companies default to using blue in their identities too. They assume blue is a better branding choice because it signals they are like the big, established brands.

That may be true, but blue is average. If everyone else is blue, pick another color. Make your brand visibly different!

4. Being “Good Enough”

We all work with plenty of companies that do a good job. They are efficient, effective, and deliver good value for the price. But good is not enough. Good is average, and average is not worth bragging about.

Find what makes your company unique or special, and bake that into everything you do. Be better than good — be the best in your business, and your brand will be hard to beat.

5. Ignoring your Values and Crashing your Brand

The pressure to perform is intense in companies, and sometimes you may look for a shortcut to hit a short term goal.

But short term gains can create long term pains.

If you ignore your values to achieve a short term goal or to overcome a crisis, you may crash your brand.

Your company’s values are the glue that holds it together. They form the bonds of your culture, attract the right people, and help you serve your clients.

What does your business believe? What are your morals? The more you know and understand your values, the better you can protect your brand.

6. Being too Focused on the Exit Strategy

Steve Jobs said, “I hate it when people call themselves ‘entrepreneurs’ when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on. They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business.”

Are you building a business to cash out, or are your building a brand? Brand building focuses on building a business that can transition through the generations.

7. Losing sight of what’s most important, your customers

To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the customer, stupid.” Your customers are the only reason your business exists. The CEO might sign the paychecks, but it’s your customers that make that possible.

As companies scale and grow they risk “losing the plot.” This means thinking something that doesn’t matter one iota to your customers should be important. Or vice-versa.

Sticky Brands are built by putting their customers first. They innovate, challenge the status quo, and win, because they are intensely focused on serving and delighting their customers.

Read more of Millers’ insight in his new book, Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers and Grow an Incredible Brand.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

Published

on

blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

7 ways Instagram Stories get people pumped about your brand

(MARKETING) Instagram stories are widely used, so why shouldn’t marketers get in on the Insta-story action?

Published

on

Instagram

Instagram Stories long ago surpassed Snapchat at it’s photo-sharing joy, and has found to be a great place to build brand awareness and build your customer base.

Here are a few ways that you can use stories to get people excited about your brand, products, and service.

1. Share the story of your business

Showcase the creation of a product or service, or share something (legal and fun) that your team is working on. These behind the scenes productions humanize your brand and can really get people excited about it. Check out what Union Fare does!

2. Preview live broadcasts

Are you doing a Facebook Live or WebEx demonstration? Use Instagram Stories to tease and generate some excitement or pull attendees from one social media platform to the other.

3. Showcase your stuff in action

Whether it’s demonstrating an application, showing off a recipe, or showcasing an outfit, you can use stories to show what the end result of a product is and help them generate ideas on how to use that stuff! Because Instagram Live can be done spontaneously, you can show authentic, non-scripted demonstrations easily.

4. Brag time

When you support a brand, you get excited that you are a part of their wins. Share relevant milestones (subscriber counts, new products, new revenue, new contracts, new products, etc.) with your base. This helps build connection with your base.

5. Countdowns and giveaways

You can use stories to facilitate ways to get people excited about upcoming giveaways or new launches. Unlike static marketing, the use of countdowns can really get people emotionally excited and build anticipation for new products or services. You could also use stories to give special sales or unique giveaways that give a more “exclusive” feeling.

6. “Takeovers” from influencers or partnerships

If you are working with a promoter or influencer, you can have them generate content to send them over to you to use their voice to target your audience. The influencer can send you pictures and videos that you upload yourself, rather than handing over your account username or password (like with Snapchat). This is a great way to work with someone who already has a following that can help you expand your service or product reach.

7. Create unique content

Odds are, especially for smaller businesses and new entrepreneurs, you don’t have a lot of time to invest in production value for other advertising. Instagram Stories with the use of stickers, paintbrush, and text can be a great place for raw, but still polished content that has a one of a kind feel. Familiarize yourself with the tools, and don’t be afraid to get artsy.

Make Instagram work for you

Instagram is constantly adding new features, so make sure you stay tuned for updates and play around with those features often. For example – Instagram stories can rewind or being hashtagged. Or use the eraser brush to do slow teases or product reveals.

Given that users can now bookmark content as well, you can create demonstrations or examples and give your audience a quick reference to your content. Get learning, check out stories, and start building those unique, intimate, and creative engagements with your consumers.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Half of all Instagram users buy immediately after seeing an ad

(MARKETING) If you’re advertising on Instagram and yielding no results, read on – it’s a gold mine for *some* types of brands.

Published

on

instagram

If you’ve been on Instagram you’ve likely fallen victim to the algorithm’s knack for showing you advertisements for something that seems exactly suited to your tastes. Or, someone you follow on the app tags their post with the name of the brands that make up their cute outfit and you decide to see what else they might offer. I’ve ended up with more than one pair of sneakers this way.

Instagram’s popularity and effectiveness have made it a marketing powerhouse. Over 130 million people look at product tags on the app each month.

Recently, Facebook commissioned a study asking users to explain what their interaction with companies and brands on Instagram was like. A whopping 66% of people said that the used Instagram to interact directly with brands — and 54% of users said they purchased something immediately after seeing an ad in their Instagram feed. Ads that are in the “stories” feature, independent of users’ feeds are especially effective.

After it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has grown to account for over 19% of the tech-giant’s advertising spending — nearly double what it was in 2018.

Facebook is planning on continuing to capitalize on Instagram. They announced that soon users won’t need to navigate out of their feed to the retailer’s website purchase items, but rather have the ability to buy things in-app.

Instagram will take a cut of these in-app purchases and partner with PayPal to process payments, adding a new revenue stream to the growing platform.

As part of expanding its foray into shopping, Instagram is also partnering with its most popular influencers.

These people will be able to directly sell the products that their sponsors are offering through their accounts, rather than direct them to their sponsor’s account. At the beginning, only major accounts belonging to celebs like Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid will have this option, but it seems like after its initial launch more sellers will be to take advantage of the feature.

So, be prepared to have even more sneakers in your future, friends. It looks like those Instagram ads are going to get even more powerful.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!