Going Beyond the Surface of Your Brand

Strategy, insights, random thoughts about building out your brand.

being-different-is-better

Being Different Is Better Than Being ‘Better’

If you’re the best at what you do, then you’re guaranteed to pull ahead of the game and win every time. You’re on top because nobody does your job better than you and because you’re better, everybody will want to buy your product or hire your crew. Right? Not exactly. If you want to build a profitable business and you want to be known as the best at what you do, then you might be approaching the game all wrong if you try to position yourself as ‘better’. Sure being better is good if you play sports or video games, but business is something different altogether. We’re attracted to products or services that have an advantage over the other options available out there. We want to see how the products and services that are different or new to what we already have. That gives us a way to rank our…

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Are you not asking for the help you need? 1

Are you not asking for the help you need?

Have you ever had a task, like moving a big box that you knew was a bit much, and you should ask for help, but something deep down said, “you got this?” even when you clearly didn’t?  What you got was a hurt back and a bruised ego. All because you lack the ability to admit you need help.  The Incident I was attending a conference recently, and while I was there, I had an epiphany.  I had an incredible realization of what ‘asking for help’ really meant – and that I wasn’t doing it.  I have always prided myself on my strength, my independence, and my ability to get through things without relying on the assistance of others. My independence had got me through junior high and high school, and it was getting me through life just fine – until that conference.   During a break at the conference, I…

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Is marketing more important than branding? 2

Is marketing more important than branding?

We’ve already covered the difference between marketing and branding before, but a little refresher won’t do any harm: What is marketing? Marketing is the overall strategy and act of promoting a product or service. Marketing pushes your message and stimulates demand for your products and services using advertising campaigns. What is branding? Branding is the intentional and strategic shaping of what people think and experience with your company, its products, and services. Branding pulls customers to you and turns them into loyal customers based on your who, how, and why. Branding is the marriage, not the wedding. It’s a continuous process. So, now that you know what branding and marketing are all about, it’s time we get to the root of this issue. Which one is more important? Here’s the thing, you can’t effectively market without branding. It just doesn’t work that way. Branding is the act of applying your…

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How do you know if you have a marketing problem or a business problem? 3

How do you know if you have a marketing problem or a business problem?

Has business gone quiet? Leads gone cold? Are you sick of seeing prospects hire your competitors instead of you? Time to start pumping money into a marketing campaign, right? It’ll attract more people to your business, and they’ll hire you no problem! Well, maybe. If people don’t know your company exists, then yes, promoting your company and raising some brand awareness is great. But what if it isn’t your marketing that’s stopping people from hiring you? I mean, how do you know if you have a business problem or a marketing problem? If you’re already investing in marketing but not seeing an improvement in sales figures, you might have a problem within the business. A business problem can’t be fixed with more marketing. If your message isn’t connecting with the intended audience, saying it louder isn’t going to help. Changing tactics or ramping up your marketing without reviewing the underlying…

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need-a-new-website-bab (blog header)

My sources are telling me I need a new site

Why a new website won’t solve your problems Your competitors are doing really well right now. They’re beating you in sales, they have more customers and, oh yeah, their website is brand new. That must be the reason they’re getting so many customers through the doors, right? The new website. They must’ve spent thousands of dollars on it and it really makes them look professional. How do you compete with that? By getting a nice shiny new website too – of course! One that looks exactly like your competitors and you spend a fortune on it, so it must bring in some seriously big contracts, right? Wrong. Hey, I’m not saying a new website can’t get you more sales. I’m sure it will, for a little bit. The website is your digital headquarters and it is a crucial part of building a modern business. It’s pretty much a necessity, and…

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Is your website invisible to Google

Devastating SEO issues that cause your website to be invisible to Google

Your website has two main audiences, search engines and your target market(s). Here at Branding and Beyond, we tend to be fixers. When friends, colleagues, clients, client adjacent companies… run into problems with their website or have a branding issue, we get called to consult. Today, we’re going to cover what makes a website invisible to Google and how to fix it. So, let’s get started with a quick story about a good friend of mine, that I’ve known for many years, and how a bad SEO practice/implementation pretty much screwed up an entire website project for her. We’ll call her Angela. Angela built a site for a local business with a designer who designs beautiful sites at a very low price. He designs pretty mockups and sends them off to his team in India and they build it as is. What’s wrong with that?  Potentially, a lot. In this…

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Is your brand out of alignment? 4

Is your brand out of alignment?

If we looked at the messages on your website and compared that to the ad campaigns, brochures, social posts and what your sales team is saying in the field, would it be cohesive? Or is it all a bit disjointed? The speed of business has increased and the workload on each team member has increased as the world becomes digitized and so many channels of communication are out our fingertips. This is where confusion can sneak in and we all know it loves to wreak havoc. Taking a step back and looking at everything your firm is communicating (visually, verbally and experientially), is vital to keep your brand in alignment. The complexity of your business model can make alignment harder and even more important. Let’s look at the basics of how your company’s communication engine works. How do marketing, branding and business goals fit together? I’ve written about what a…

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old school

The 7 Reasons Why People Leave Your Website

If you’re here, there’s a high likelihood your site is not doing so great and it may be time for a website redesign. Are you finding your site’s visitors are leaving pretty soon after they arrive (bouncing)? Wondering how long users usually stay on a website before clicking away? Luckily, there’s been a truckload of research done on this. You have 15 seconds to grab a visitor’s interest on your website. That’s not load-time, that is 15 seconds of eye-ball time while the user decides if your site is going to provide what they are looking for. That’s not a lot of time to convey your awesomeness. Yep, you read that right – 15 seconds. I’ve had sneezing fits that have lasted longer. You need to grab that visitor’s interest long enough so they can decide to call you, email you or spend time on your site getting to know…

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work on your brand - have boundaries you will

What does Yoda have to do with protecting your ass(ets)?

You have insurance for the hard assets, but what about your soft assets? Your employees, your loyal client base, your culture, your family and most importantly your personal give-a-damn? Protect your assets you will. You may be asking: But how can investing in my brand protect all of these people? Before we get to that, let me tell you a story about NOT investing in your brand. There once was a talented designer who owned a thriving studio. In the beginning, she hustled, a lot. Got the studio name out there, networked and advertised. She became busy. Her studio was fortunate to have a lot of repeat and referral business over the years and she had many clients that had been around for 10+ years. Work was always there and she hadn’t had to hustle in years. She and her team prided themselves on being a generalist firm that could…

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overwhelm shutdown

Know when it’s time to tell a troublesome client goodbye

Every opportunity comes with a cost. Some opportunities cost too damned much by taking an unacceptable toll on your staff morale and your profit margin. Some people in this world you are meant to serve, and others, not so much. It doesn’t make either of you bad. They will do great work with someone, just not you. And that is ok. Do you know what your ideal client looks like? Do you have that persona mapped out? Have you written down what your firm is for and against? What is acceptable and what is not? Have you identified your company’s core values? If not, it is really easy for ill-fitting clients to find their way into your corporate house to wreak havoc. One bad-fit client can damage your culture. A series of bad-fit clients can make your team feel unprotected – they have to manage the projects of disrespectful and…

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