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Leveraging Adversity to Drive Creativity.

3 Steps You Can Take Right Now. 

I am a true believer that creative makes a difference for our brands. Strong creative requires direction, it needs a mission or else it is just pretty pictures, all sizzle but no steak. Challenges provide that direction, whether it is a business challenge or even an environmental challenge, like Covid-19.

 

Creativity can be a positive for us in times of crisis. Some of the strongest creative happens when things did not quite go as planned and we have had to adapt to change. It is the power of creative constraint, where our limited resources lead us to answers we would never have found in times of abundance. 

 

We can see today’s environment as a creative deterrent and something to wait out or we can see possibility, an opportunity to reassure or quite possibly even get new consumers to notice us! Consumers are aware more than ever of the choices they make, which means there is more opportunity for them to consider something new.

 

Here are 3 steps you can take to strengthen & leverage creativity for your brand:
 

  1. Be brand aware. Know where your brand stands with consumers right now.  Brand perception is reality. Are you a trusted brand with your current consumers, or are they questioning the value you bring? Read your own ratings and reviews- what are they saying when you are not in the room? If consumers are not able to articulate your value, start here and learn why not, and what needs to change with your creative assets to help make that happen.
     

  2. Stay connected. Either tell consumers a new way to think about you and the benefits you bring or provide value by showing how you are helping to be part of the solution. We need to stay in their consideration set for whenever they are ready to engage. Social posts, email newsletters can be easy low-cost ways to do this. 
     

  3. Draw Attention. Use your brand assets in new creative ways, it is not business as usual so a little unexpected is appropriate when used the right way.  Check out McDonalds- they are doing an amazing job reassuring how they are social distancing with their drive thru, by a creative use of splitting their “M” to show social distancing.

 

Scouts is also another great example of repositioning- being known for outdoor activities to now the “Great Indoors”. Check out these and other examples of what brands are doing to leverage their own creativity in times of adversity.

 

However you use your creative, make sure it feels true to your purpose, mission, and values- providing the authenticity and reassurance consumers are looking for during this time. There is a famous quote by Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” and that could not be anymore true than right now.

Staying Creative During
Challenging Times

By Michelle Thompson| July 17, 2020 |Leveraging Creativity

"Are building a brand and writing your company story two subjects that go together?"

 

Absolutely. In fact, all of the foundational elements of your brand strategy - target audience, purpose, positioning, point of difference, personality and values - inspire your story. And language from these elements should be weaved throughout. 

How do you craft this narrative? First and foremost, it’s important to reframe how you think about this copy. Your story is much more than just a history lesson on how your company came to be, it’s sharing why you exist, what problem you solve for your target audience and how you uniquely solve it along with the values you hold true for your customers, employees, partners, and community. “Brand Story” is a more appropriate title for this tool and it should be a key element in your brand playbook. If you haven’t defined your target audience and brand strategy or struggle to, it’s imperative to do this. Your story and messages will lack authenticity and clarity if you don’t have these foundational elements as a guide. 

 

The objective of a brand story is to inspire and connect with both your team and your customer. Communicating how your brand (or company) fits within, and enhances, their lives is critical. This holds true no matter what business you’re in. Storytelling engages people because it appeals to emotions, it aligns with motivations and desires. A few of our favorites are Ben & Jerry’s, Warby Parker, Cisco and Salesforce. Each one draws you in by speaking to the heart & mind and overtly shares how they help people live better. 

 

Consistently articulating this narrative across your website, social media, and marketing collateral helps customers playback your essence in their own user-generated content. And when they start to do this, then you know your brand story has meaning and influence.

#Branding #Marketing #BrandStory

Crafting a compelling story that builds your brand

By Christine Sech| July 14, 2020 |Brand Story

"How can startups value their brand?"

Determining the value of a brand is both an art and a science.  Meaning, it's important to look at tangible and intangible metrics.  While calculating value from a financial standpoint is the end goal, it's important to consider the perception of your brand and its strength relative to others to provide a holistic perspective.  You can inform your process with data gathered through quantitative and qualitative methods or if budgets are tight, there's always the back of the envelope method. 

Below are a few tips on what to consider when going through the process:

1. Financial Assessment - To establish an estimate of value, you can use several different financial methods.  The Balance Small Business provides perspective on three different approaches - cost, market and income (see link).

2. Brand Perception - Also consider the role brand plays in purchase decisions within your category.  As we shared in our webinar, brand impacts behavior in every industry so it's important to understand its influence.  Consult Brand Valuation reports such as Interbrand's Best Global Brands or BrandZ from Kantar Millward Brown for perspective on your category.

3. Internal and External Indicators - Evaluating your branding efforts on elements such as Consistency and Differentiation is an important exercise to determine your brand strengths and opportunities, especially vs. competitors and companies that invest in brand. See link for more detail on Interbrand's Brand Strength Factors. 

#Branding #Marketing #BrandValuation

By Christine Sech| May 29, 2020 |Brand Valuation

Determining brand value for a small business

The Balance Small Business - Learn to Calculate Brand Value

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-calculate-your-brand-s-value-2295186

Interbrand's Brand Strength Factors:

https://www.interbrand.com/best-brands/best-global-brands/methodology/

"What is the right color for my brand?"

Having been a graphic designer & brand builder for over 20 years now, one thing I have learned is the importance of color. It is easy to want to choose a color because it is a color we like or to think that colors don’t mean anything.  Wrong!  Color is one the most important choices you can make for your brand.  Every color has meaning, and color along with visuals, are the things we remember most.  Choosing a color needs to be intentional and you need to reinforce your brand color in everything you do to build that much needed brand equity. 

 

Here are my 3 tips on how to choose a color for your brand.

1. Understand basic color theory & meaning of color (see link).  Does the meaning support your brand’s personality and/or your point of difference?

  

2. Be smart how and where you use your color.  Don’t just flood it as a background where it can easily be dismissed and don’t use it as bullets in your copy.  These are not meaningful.  Use it to draw attention to your key messages, that way color & key messages can be associated together.

3. Road test your color out before deciding.  See it in both large & small applications.  On dark background & light backgrounds.  Make sure the same color, looks the same whether it is on the web or on a printed piece.  3 different reds are not going to be remembered, but the same red used 3 times will.

#Branding #Brand Design

By Michelle Thompson| May 28, 2020 |Brand Design

Leveraging User-Generated Content in Brand Building

"How much user-generated content is acceptable until the customer may be driving the brand?"
 

This provocative question came up in our recent Brand Building Webinar while discussing how the digital age has enabled customers to be in the driver's seat when it comes to content creation.  While many success cases show how user-generated content (UGC) can build credibility and trust for a brand, leveraging this content wisely is key to maintaining control.

 

We found these two articles that offer insights on how to incorporate UGC in your content marketing plan and SEO.  Both include suggestions for leveraging content in ways that support your brand strategy and branding efforts.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/348144

https://searchengineland.com/user-generated-content-for-seo-the-cost-benefit-analysis-you-need-316405

#Branding #Marketing

By Christine Sech | May 4, 2020 |Content Marketing & Branding

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