Developing a Brand Strategy With Your Blog

If you are blogging to make money it is important to have some type of brand strategy on your site. This will help to boost the clarity of who you are and what you do which will result in an increase your marketing effectiveness. Brand building is a relatively simple process that is most effective when your efforts are consistent and repetitive. On your blog there are 4 simple branding strategies you need to implement and most especially if you are intent on earning an income.

Here are 4 easy to implement strategies you can use when blogging to make money that will increase your marketing effectiveness.

Mission Statement

Stating your reasons for why you blog is something commonly recommended and should be place either within the ‘about author’ section or on a separate page. Your mission statement will set the tempo of things to come on your site and makes visitors aware of what they can expect. This can be considered the cornerstone of your brand building strategy on the site since it clearly conveys your intentions.

Content

The content you place on your blogging platform needs to conform with the ‘intentions’ of your mission statement. The success you achieve will be very dependent upon the quality and consistency of your postings. As far as the consistency is concerned, branding strategies are all reliant upon continually reinforcing the image being developed. The entries published on the site will be a significant ‘tool’ in helping to continually reinforce your brand!

Layout

Calling upon your creative talents here is where you can ‘artfully’ reinforce any image you are wanting to develop. One of the more subtle branding strategies you can use is in the design or layout you choose for your blogging platform. Creating an environment or theme consistent with your image is a terrific subliminal approach to brand building but yet a very important component of your overall strategy. You want the layout to give the ‘look and feel’ of the brand you want to establish!

Logo

Once again a little creativity is needed here by choosing some type of logo, symbol or even a picture that best represents what it is you stand for or how you want to be perceived. The use of your selection here is not limited to the blog itself but can also be used in ‘off site’ branding strategies as well. Email, signature files, newsletters or even viral reports can all be identified with your logo!

The need for a brand strategy when you are blogging is especially important if you intent to earn an income. Brand building is important because it makes you more easily identifiable online and leaves little question as to what you do or who you are. By boosting your profile in this way it will also help to boost your marketing effectiveness as well while decreasing your efforts, sweet deal! The 4 branding strategies reviewed above are very easy to implement and downright essential if you are blogging to make money. It makes little sense to invest the time and effort to generate traffic for your business without first letting people know who you are and what you do! Brand building can and will do just that for you while making your name a more familiar one on the internet.

Branding Strategies When Marketing for Banks

Developing a successful set of branding strategies is absolutely crucial when marketing for banks. In fact, it’s highly possible that branding strategies play a more important role in banking than in any other industry. Why? The answer is relatively simple. Although price plays an important role no matter what the product, it’s rarely the only factor a consumer considers when making purchasing decisions. In the case of computers, for instance, consumers don’t simply select the cheapest computer they can find; they also take into consideration the computer’s components and features. This gives computer producers some leeway with their marketing. If their computer is expensive, they can downplay that fact by instead focusing on the computer’s capabilities.

When it comes to something like an auto loan, however, it’s a different story entirely. Most individuals looking for an auto loan will simply choose the bank with the lowest rate and base their decision on that factor alone – giving marketers little chance to influence their decision (aside from appealing to their sense of brand loyalty). After all, if they can buy the same vehicle no matter what loan provider they choose, why not go with the cheapest option?

All this may lead you to wonder: “Why bother with branding strategies at all? Why not just give up now?” But don’t lose hope if your bank happens to have higher rates than some of its competitors. Abundant proof exists that brand loyalty can – and does – trump price for many consumers. Just look at the jewelry powerhouse, Tiffany & Co. Thanks to the company’s branding strategies, women continue to clamor after their jewelry even when other companies may be offering similar items at lower prices. Their branding strategies have, in fact, become so successful that today it almost seems as if Tiffany’s renowned blue boxes are even more sought-after than the jewelry itself.

So when it comes to marketing for banks, what can you do to develop a set of branding strategies that will successfully differentiate your institution from the competition? First and foremost, you must understand that branding strategies do not simply refer to your logo, colors or other design elements. Rather, your branding strategies should influence the entire experience a customer has when dealing with your bank and should align with your business model. Consistency is key, so make sure every single member of your bank’s staff – from the president to the tellers – has a clear understanding of your brand and how to convey those brand elements to consumers.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to bring emotions into the equation. If your bank prides itself on having a family-like atmosphere, tout that emotional benefit in your marketing – and be sure to follow through and deliver on your promise when customers visit your bank.

Finally, remember to be flexible when marketing for banks. Branding strategies that may have worked well twenty years ago might not necessarily work well today. For instance, a bank that focuses on convenience may once have promoted this fact by advertising its many branches and drive-through locations. Nowadays, banks with a branding strategy built around convenience should instead advertise services like online and mobile banking. While your brand values themselves may not change, the way you market them should.

Ultimately, by following the steps above and creating branding strategies that resonate with consumers, you’ll set yourself up for better customer retention, increased loyalty and higher profits. And you can take that to the bank!

A Branding Strategy Is More Than Just Looking Good

When hired as General Manager by the Chicago Cubs in 1981, George Dallas Green asserted at his opening press conference as well as every press conference thereafter that he was a baseball authority and expert. He spoke the truth. He played professional major league baseball for many years and managed major league teams for many years.

It wasn’t long before Chicago sportswriters, broadcasters, and local dignitaries came to label Green as an authority and expert on baseball. Newspaper articles routinely described him as a baseball expert or something similar.

What Dallas Green did back then was develop and implement a Branding Strategy. He positioned himself as not just one of the several major league baseball managers and general managers, but differentiated himself more so as an expert and an authority on baseball. He didn’t change his appearance. He didn’t need to be something other than what he was because his experience spoke for itself. It was a great branding marketing strategy at a time when the Cubs needed it.

Like the Cubs back then, today most small businesses need a great marketing strategy or business development plan to survive the economic ups and downs.

In my experience, a common consulting activity or action when addressing the business development needs of a small business involved connecting my client with an outside marketing or advertising agency. Usually, small businesses don’t have the resources or talent internally to provide the marketing needs or to develop the strategies required.

Typically, here’s how the process would go. Potential marketing or advertising agencies were invited to a fact finding and exploration meeting with the business owner, myself, and selected others. The outside agency would return in a week or so to present their plan. Virtually without exception, the strategy the outside agency would present was one of Branding or Re-Branding the client’s business.

Branding remains at top of the marketing and advertising buzz today. And rightfully so! Branding is a powerful and effective marketing process when designed and implemented properly.

However, after observing scores of Branding presentations by marketing and advertising firms, it is apparent to me that only a very few marketing and advertising firms really understand and know what a Branding Strategy is all about. In fact, most of the time the presentations I observed were not Branding Strategies at all, but more precisely Makeover Plans.

Sure the Branding Strategy may employ a new look, new logo, new colors, new tag lines, and so on. But the Branding Strategy needs to do more than change appearance.

The Branding Strategy translates the Company’s Vision and Goals into Strategic and Tactical actions and behaviors. New internal processes or procedures may be necessary. The Branding Strategy will establish and/or reinforce the Company’s Perception and Position in the marketplace.

Part of the Branding Strategy involves taking the Core Concepts and Core Competencies of a business and then identifying a singular concept, service, feature, or benefit that the business can claim that sets it apart from its competitors. That’s Competitors, not Alternatives.

There may be a number of alternatives for a person looking to replace the air conditioning unit, or to build an addition to the home, or to move to new home, or to replace the transmission, or to build a new deck. The alternatives range from the top quality and established brand name product and service providers to what is affectionately labeled as a Chuck in a Truck. The latter cannot be viewed as a competitor to a business that is among the former.

In most every market in the United States, there are usually about five or six established brand name product and service providers in each business category. Any one of the five or six would consider the others as true competitors. One of the primary objectives of the Branding Strategy must be more than to differentiate the company from its true competitors. The Branding Strategy must establish what separates the company from the others.

How? The Branding Strategy identifies or establishes a Singular Market Position that will separate the company from the others. The Singular Market Position or separation factor must be something tangible or concrete rather than abstract. Quality, Value, and Service are abstract, not really tangible or concrete. They are perceptions. More importantly, they are expectations particularly if the business is among the top providers.

Once the separation factor is determined or identified, then all the strategies and tactics associated with the marketing and promotion of the Branding Strategy will reinforce the Singular Market Position to everyone in the company’s Target Market. It is not just differentiation, but distinction and separation from the company’s competitors.

To illustrate, if the business is one of six short haul trucking companies in the market that is considered among the top alternatives, then most likely each company provides Quality, Value and Service. The six differentiate themselves by the color of their trucks. If one of the competitors has red trucks, the Branding Strategy surely would not be to have red trucks as well. So what could separate the company from the others? The answer usually comes from asking what the company does better or more often than the others. A look at the customer base may discover that the company has a number of electronics manufacturers or suppliers on the list. That discovery becomes the separation factor. The Branding Strategy centers on the claim that the company is the electronics products transportation experts of choice. The advertising and promotion programs reinforce the claim routinely.

Or, if the business is one of six residential roofing companies in the market that is considered among the top alternatives, then, like the truckers, each of the six provides Quality, Value, and Service as well as has different colored trucks and nifty logos. So what could separate the one from the others? Just like the truckers, the work history and customer base is likely to reveal what the company does the most and maybe more often than the others. So this company could be the clay tile roof experts, or singles and shakes roof experts, or metal roofs expert. That choice becomes the separation factor of the Branding Strategy. The advertising and promotion programs reinforce the claim routinely.

In short, the purpose or objective of the Branding Strategy is to alter the competitive arena in the company’s favor by setting the company apart from the others in its class, and then advertising and promoting the separating product or service until the message of the Brand is known and repeated by all who matter and more.

The Best Branding Strategy – Make a Real Connection

What is it that makes some brands connect so well with their audiences? We could learn something about building brands for organizations by also asking, What is it that makes some people connect so well with other people? In many ways, organizations are like individuals. Each has its own specific “fingerprint” — strengths, character, and personality — that makes it unique and recognizable. It’s how we get to know our friends and understand what it is about them that we like. In a world where no one has time to carefully weigh all available brand options, this fingerprint acts as shorthand to help us sort through the maze, a very real point of value at a time when it is increasingly difficult to tell one product or service from another. When an organization’s brand fingerprint is clearly defined and articulated so that customers, shareholders, distributors, employees, and partners consistently feel they “know” the organization and know what to expect from it, magic happens.

This is when high emotional engagement occurs. This is when “raving fans” and customer loyalty are created. This is when organizations gain sustainable competitive advantage. Discovering and communicating this brand fingerprint helps organizations bring strategic focus to the power of their brand — giving brands a meaningful and recognizable shorthand that helps cut through the noise and clutter to connect with people.

Brand fingerprint process

Following a process to help uncover the organization’s brand fingerprint will ensure that the intangible attributes assigned to the brand — assets like integrity and innovation — are translated into a visual, tangible representation to which audiences can relate. The process has two phases, strategy and visual translation. It works like this:

Phase I. Strategy

Step 1. Finding your brand values, character, and personality
Step 2. Understanding the competitive landscape
Step 3. Determining your position in the marketplace
Step 4. Developing your value proposition

Phase II. Visual Translation

Step 1. Developing the brand mood
Step 2. Determining the key brand elements
Step 3. Developing the brand roadmap

Phase I. Strategy

The strategy phase can be compared to traditional methods of brand development and is based on core values. The difference here is that the exercises used in the facilitated sessions with company decision makers are designed not only to uncover brand values and attributes, but to gather information in a way that it will be useful for development of the visual translation of the brand. Pairing the creative team with decision makers at the very beginning of brand strategy development is essential in gathering input that will be critical to visual translation.

This is important since experts say that 80% of what we learn comes to us visually, and customers will most likely see brands long before they understand the strategy. There are many benefits of considering how the brand will be communicated visually at the strategy stage. Some of these benefits include: – translation of intangible company assets and attributes into tangible representations that truly reflect the company’s core values – avoidance of possible disconnects when logos, websites, and print materials are developed – development of marketing materials that really communicate key messages – deeper understanding and long-term recall of brand messages by customer audiences – consistency of brand messages over time

Phase II: Visual Translation

The visual translation phase takes all of the information gathered in the strategy phase and translates it into a visual form that people can see and relate to — the visible brand fingerprint. A clear and accurate brand fingerprint can communicate assets like integrity, zero defects, and innovation and make them palpable. Visible. Understandable. Audiences will know at a glance “who” the organization is, what it is saying to them, and why they should buy, react, or be moved. And it will be real, it will be authentic, and it will stand the test of time — because what people see represents the synthesis of the brand strategy.

The benefits of developing the visual components of the brand directly from strategy exercises include:

– a brand mood that will communicate to customers on an emotional level, because the design is based on authentic aspects of the brand’s character and personality – because the mood is a direct translation of strategy jointly developed by company decision makers and creative team, there are no unpleasant surprises at the design stage – the main visual components of the brand will look and feel “real” and will become the pillars upon which other marketing materials will be built – there will be no need for new themes, visual approaches, or deviations from the established visual translation. Brand equity builds with consistency. This is a cost-effective benefit.

Brand communication

Being true to the organization’s authentic brand is how trust, loyalty, and sustainable relationships are developed between the organization and its audiences. Great graphics and cool animation aren’t effective if they don’t accurately communicate the company’s character or brand. Something’s amiss if the organization is not clear and consistent about how it is presenting itself in front of its publics. If the organization’s brand and its image are not aligned, “brand schizophrenia” occurs, which significantly affects the quality of the relationship and level of trust with valued audiences, including customers and employees. Both lose trust in companies when they don’t know what to expect. With brand strategy and visuals clearly articulated in a unique brand “fingerprint,” organizations can make a real connection with their audiences. Once established, this connection enables them to communicate compelling value, promote long-term recall of brand messages, and foster the trust, loyalty, and emotional attachment that sustain relationships.

Branding Strategies on International Markets

When a company is planning to enter some international market and is looking for a suitable strategy to brand its products there, it’s always very important to appraise all the nuances in order to make the right decision. There are three possible variations of how to brand your products on the foreign market and you should choose one basic strategy which is most suitable in your particular case.

The strategy of international brand

Company operating in the international market don’t make a broad adaptation of its offers, brands and marketing to different local conditions. So, a brand, designed for domestic market is used on external markets in the same form. Such a strategy is suitable for companies whose brands and products are truly unique and they don’t face any serious competition on foreign markets. For example, Microsoft Corporation.

The strategy of global brand

Company that uses this strategy don’t adapt the concept of branding to possible national differences and use same brand name, logo and slogan all over the world (like Intel Corporation did at the beginning of its operation). Market proposal, brand positioning and communications are identical. So, everything is originally developed for the multinational audience. Branding operations standardization leads to significant economies in terms of investments needed.

The strategy of transnational brand

Company using this strategy develops individual concepts of branding for each of foreign markets it’s interested in. Not only brand name, but also market proposals and marketing events are specially adapted to local conditions. Nevertheless, the concept of corporate brand is quite visible and it works as a framework, which guides local adaptation. So, a brand can be positioned different ways and an appropriate price can be settled and trade policies used. High investments needed to match all local requirements, as well as the absence of benefits of standardization are negative aspects in this case.

Implementation of branding strategy involves certain difficulties. Constant adaptation is important because of changing conditions and dynamic development of the market. In addition, these three main strategies are hardly seen in their purest form in practice. In reality we are dealing with a lot of options and a wide variety of hybrid forms. Nevertheless, these strategies provide a good starting point and help to characterize a general direction of brand strategy.

App Fog Genius Lessons From A Successful Entrepreneur

App Fog Business Startup Lessons from a Lucrative Entrepreneur

Lucas Carlson is a successful startup entrepreneur. When he first started however, he made a few bad choices that almost cost him big time.

Don’t Skip Business Setup Planning

At first he was just programming an idea for App Fog. He didn’t have a landing page, any bank account, brain storming ideas, or thinking about the ideal customers. Skipping key steps really put him back for years. He would program for weeks, and then finish the app idea. Then program for weeks and finish the idea. He couldn’t get people interested in the idea that was created.

Creating a Landing Page

Finally, he decided to create a landing page one night when he was too tired to sleep or even tell his wife about the programming idea. The app idea was PHP Fog. He tried putting it up on a site before that called Heroku.com. He registered the PHP Fog website and just simply wrote “it’s like Heroku for PHP”. Heroku’s site only allowed for Rudy on Rails applications so he couldn’t put the applications on that site.

Living the Dream

The next morning he woke up and had eight hundred people on his website! He didn’t market it anywhere else. All he did was put one link on Hacker News network. Also, he described the website in more depth. It turned out that the idea was a “hair on fire” idea without even the creation of the project! This gave him assurance that if the effort is put in, the results will be desired. After programming for two weeks. he just only had a prototype and the traffic went from 800 to 4,000 unique visitors per day!

Hair on Fire Problem Equals Confidence

He had identified a “hair on fire” problem. This gave him confidence to program the solution. This changed his life forever! He realized the difference between having a problem that people know they have versus the problems that people don’t know they have. PHP Fog wound up being AppFog. It raised $10 billion dollars and was later bought out.

No Marketing Expenses

He didn’t spend a dime on marketing! It wasn’t an accident. People already wanted the idea and were looking for it. He learned that he could find what people already wanted and then program an application based on what they wanted. He wasn’t taking a “shot in the dark” anymore.

Don’t be Intimidated

Creating a landing page or micro-website is very scary for most people. They don’t want to know if others like their great idea or not. There is a denial psychological part to this way of thinking. It can be self-defeating to the creation of an idea. They will think “Well I believe in the idea so much, that I don’t care what other people think about it”. This philosophy will kill a great idea. Put your “right foot first” and see what people need.

Real Ways To Make Money From Home For Free

In today’s tough economy, more and more people are looking for a way to make a few extra bucks. The problem is that many of the things they stumble upon are often scams.

When someone comes across a few scams, their level of confidence often goes into the toilet. They feel that every opportunity is a scam because so many of them have turned out to be. So, if you have been scammed, please know that you are not alone and it is not your fault. Now, if you are looking for real ways to make money from home for free, you are in the right place at the right time. I know you may have heard that before. I really mean it though. I have been involved in making money online for many years. I have done everything from typing to working as a virtual assistant to making phone calls to building my own websites. Trust me, you can make a living online doing what you love to do.

The problem as I see it is that no one has taken you by the hand and shown you the roadmap of real ways to make money from home for free. I know because I have looked for that magic bullet myself to no avail. However, I have put together a few roadmaps in my day and I know that there are places when you can do just that, make money from home. Yes, you can do it for free sometimes. Often it could cost you just a small amount of money. For example, to host your own website or online business you may have to pay for a domain name and hosting. This cost is around $15 a month or so. I would say that it is well worth an investment of fifteen dollars a month, $180 a year to have your own business online.

I know you want to find real ways to make money from home for free and they are around for sure. You may also want to look into your own website at a point too. Why? Simple… because it is the one thing you have control over. For example, a few years ago people put their stock in a site called Squidoo. This site was amazing and peopleused it and built un incomes around it. One day the owner did away with it. It was taken over by what is now called hub pages. The problem is that HubPages works differently than Squidoo. So everyone who put their eggs in that basket got them all cracked when the website shut down.

If you want real ways to make money from home for free, we can help you with that. Just do some tasks included in one of our guides and at some point, start your own website. Trust us on this one. We have been around the block a few times and want to save you the headache of trial and error and being scammed. We don’t want to promote items that are going to sell for a few days and not make you any money or help you learn new skills. We understand the need for everyday people like you and me to be able to support our family with money we make online. What would an extra one hundred dollars a day do for you? I know, it could certainly help. Let’s go even lower, what if you only make $50 or $100 a week online? So what right? Money is money. If you can find real ways to make money from home for free, that would be amazing. Don’t you think? We do.