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Showing posts from tagged with: branding

Telling Your Brand Story Through Images

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Strategy | 0 comments

brand story imagesA picture is worth a thousand words. That’s how that old saying goes. When it comes to telling your brand story, this old-school catchphrase is right on the money. According to the latest studies, we remember 10% of information we heard three days later, but we remember 65% of information we saw. There is no way to deny that images are an important piece in your marketing strategy. You simply can’t tell your brand story without them. So, how can you go about doing that?

Cement Your Style

When creating your brand standards, you should determine the style of images you plan to use. These could be for your web design, blog headers, social media posts, email marketing, and even print pieces. Determining one specific style and sticking to it will help you craft a cohesive brand that’s immediately recognizable by your target audience. Some brands may choose to use illustrations rather than photography. Others have a specific photography style in mind (and might even need a photo shoot with a professional to attain the images they need). When you’ve decided on your style, place that in your brand standards outline so that you never stray. Any creatives you work with in the future will be able to refer back and match your brand at any time. Here’s an example of how you might outline your brand style:

brand standards exampleAcquire Your Images

Photography and illustrations can become quite costly, especially if you’re working with a graphic designer or video producer for proprietary images and video. Even stock sites can get expensive if you plan to use imagery a lot in your marketing. Subscriptions for monthly payments can cut down on these costs when you work with sites like iStockPhoto or Adobe stock images. There are also several free options available, like Pexels or Burst. These free options may be limited, but you’ll find dozens of different styles to suit your needs. If you enter into free options with your brand standards firmly in mind, you’re sure to find photography that fits your brand story.

Crafting Your Message

Here’s where things start getting good, right? You’re ready to tell the world what your brand is all about, and you’ll use these images you’ve worked so hard to curate as visual aids. What will you say? How will you say it? Perhaps most importantly, where will you say it? With your buyer personas firmly in mind, select the images that match your message. You can create videos, slide shows, infographics, or just use still photos along with your copy or voiceovers to great effect. Keep in mind that studies show readers spend more time on images than they do on page text, so images with the relevant information included in text could garner more views. (That’s why our blog headers always include the title, and not just a relevant image.) Those images should most certainly be used in your social media marketing efforts, too. Did you know that tweets with images receive up to 150 times more retweets than those without? And Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without. Have you been using imagery to tell your brand story? If not, it’s time to get started. As always, our team at Marketing Initiative Worx is here to help you with your branding and marketing efforts, so give us a call.

3 Branding Goofs That Could Change Your Image

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Management, Brand Strategy | 0 comments

branding goofs Have you ever seen messaging from a well-known brand that made you shake your head in confusion? Maybe one of your favorite companies released a product or service that just didn’t fit the brand you’ve grown to know and love. A departure from your brand mission and vision could happen if you’re not careful, and the result is always confusion among your buyers and fans. In most cases, this departure from the brand is an attempt to grow or to stay relevant during changing times. To avoid these mistakes, you must first know what they are. Let’s take a look at some flubs that could change the way your audience perceives your brand.

Inconsistent Messaging

Your brand messaging takes place across several different platforms, from your social media and website to your print materials and videos. In many cases, the differences found on each medium boils down to the people responsible for those individual platforms. For instance, the writer of your website content may not have any say in the copy used for your advertisements or video scripts. The social media manager might not be aware of the copy used for your retargeting ads. On top of all that, your website designer and graphic designer may be two separate people who have created their own interpretation of your brand’s aesthetic—and the two visuals could differ enough that recipients of your brand message aren’t sure which message is true to your brand. The solution comes in two parts: first, a style guide that lays out your preferred language choices, fonts, colors, and other imagery. Second, there must be one person directing all messaging that reaches the public. This director may not do all the work, but they should see everything before it goes out, so as to ensure all messaging is consistent and on brand.

Changing With the Times

Trends changes at a blistering pace, and a brand that doesn’t keep up with the times could find themselves woefully out of touch within a short amount of time. Does that mean you need to update your logo and imagery every time the trends change? Absolutely not. Brands that do adopt the trends as quickly as they change will eventually find themselves without an audience, as buyers struggle to keep up with the changes their favorite brand is making. Instead, develop something that will stand the test of time. Using every one of the latest trends will make your brand look dated within no time, resulting in yet another brand refresh. It’s important to approach any brand refresh carefully, and only after fully examining your brand’s effectiveness. If you feel you’ve lost touch with your target audience, then perhaps a brand refresh is in order—just not every six months.

Trading Relevance for Visibility

Reaching a wider audience is any brand’s dream, but you can’t give up everything you stand for to get your fifteen minutes of fame. The problem is, you may not even realize you’re trading relevance for visibility until it’s too late. Some of the biggest mistakes you can make include major social media faux pas, introducing or attaching your name to confusing products, and participating in guerilla marketing that backfires. Social media faux pas can happen before you even realize it. Have you read any of the horror stories about companies that jumped on a hashtag bandwagon, only to realize later they were associating their brand with something totally irrelevant? One of the most cringeworthy is the Kenneth Cole Twitter account, where the brand constantly shoves a foot in its mouth. In this case, we think perhaps the brand likes the notoriety too much, but it’s not something other brand should emulate. As for attaching your brand to the wrong product, look no further than the Fyre Festival debacle. Kendall Jenner is definitely a brand, and her connection to the Fyre Festival as an influencer was damaged—perhaps irreparably, since she also has to deal with the Pepsi commercial fallout, too—when the festival went belly up before it began but after fans had already arrived! As for a backfiring guerilla marketing campaign, there are probably too many to even mention. Some are excruciating to watch, while others just prompt a grimace. The movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall launched a campaign that irritated every real Sarah Marshall out there, as they installed posters with mean messages to the Sarah Marshall character in the movie. Lines like, “My mother always hated you Sarah Marshall,” and “You suck, Sarah Marshall,” prompted all the actual Sarah Marshalls out there to react with their own posters directed to the creators of the movie. Your company’s brand is your most invaluable asset. You’ve worked hard to develop this image and to build an audience that understands your values. In all cases, put your brand first. You could avoid some of these crazy mistakes and keep your image intact. That’s a lot more valuable than fifteen minutes of fame. If you’d like to explore marketing initiatives that don’t put your brand in danger, give us a call!

7 Ways to Reinforce Your Brand with Social Media

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Strategy | 0 comments

reinforce brand with social media Social media has become one of the most important tools in a brand’s toolbox, but it’s a waste of time if you don’t know how to use it. Your messaging must be crafted with the sole intention of supporting and reinforcing your brand. There are several working parts that need your attention. Let’s explore them to make sure you’re doing the most you can for your brand with social media.

Choose Platforms by Buyer Persona

Would you choose to speak to an empty room over one filled with buyers who are interested in your products or services? If you’re using the wrong social media platforms, that’s exactly what you’re doing every day. It’s important to understand who’s most likely to support your brand. This includes demographics, sure, but it also involves understanding the psychographic dimensions of your buyers. For instance, does your brand appeal more to men or women? Are they in their twenties and thirties or forties and fifties? Do they live in the suburbs, rural areas, or right in the middle of the city? Finally, what motivates them? Which emotions lead them to make a purchase? When you know these things, you can choose the platforms where those exact buyers are most likely to hang out. Facebook is always a good bet, but you’ll need more information before choosing between Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and LinkedIn.

Streamline Your Voice

If you, the owner of your own company, plan to handle all social media messaging, then you may have this one under control without a lot of hassle. If, however, someone else will manage your social media for you—whether a team or just one other person—then it’s important to determine your brand voice before a single message is shared. Develop a document that outlines your brand voice, including the focus of your message, permitted language, the emotions you’ll target, and the intended outcome of your posts. Your brand voice may include much more than that, but this is a good start. With defined guidelines, your voice will cut through loud and clear, leaving little confusion among your buyers.

Support Your Mission

Does your social media presence also tell your buyers what your brand is all about? It’s important to use this platform to continue building and sharing your mission, whatever that mission may be. You don’t have to use every post to proclaim that mission or vision, of course. Just be sure that everything you do post, whether it’s your own content or shares from other brands or your brand advocates, supports everything your brand is about.

Provide an Education

Your buyers can’t make informed decisions if they don’t have all the information. While your website should be the number one place customers go to get an education about your products or services, you can support that information with posts on your social media platforms. You can share your videos, infographics, blogs, articles, and ebooks through your brand profiles to help spread information even further. You don’t have to do all the work on your own, either. If there are news articles, instructional videos, or other information from outside sources, feel free to share those, too—as long as they support your brand’s mission, of course.

Identify Your Brand Advocates

Your brand advocates are already there on social media, just waiting for you. You know how to identify them, so now it’s time to put them to work. They’re likely to share all your information with their friends and colleagues. It’s up to you to recognize them for their work in building your brand. Simple thank-you messages really help to continue those relationships. You can also share any of their posts in which your brand is mentioned. They’ll keep taking care of the hard part for you.

Skip the Hard Sell

As much as you may want to use every free moment of your time to sell, sell, sell, refrain when you’re on social media. Informational posts that lead to product pages or landing pages on your website are great when used in moderation. If that’s all you ever share, your buyers—even your most vocal advocates—will get bored and go elsewhere. Instead, lift up those stories that fit your brand. If there are news articles or videos that you feel support your own vision, make sure the world sees those, too. That additional perspective will keep your feed fresh and engaging.

Check Your Metrics

The only way to know you’re really hitting the nail on the head with your social media messaging is to keep an eye on your metrics. Are you getting likes, shares, retweets, and comments? Does your content reach a lot of eyes after you post? Most importantly, are those visitors engaging further with your brand to become leads or even customers? If you don’t like what your metrics tell you, then there’s a chance you’re not hitting the right notes. Step back and evaluate the content you’ve shared. Does it support your brand? Does it speak with your brand voice? Have you focused too much on selling and not enough on engaging and informing? The good news is that your social media posts have a pretty short shelf life. Barring major social media faux pas, if you get one post wrong, you can repair the damage within a short amount of time. Just keep focusing on your brand, and you’ll develop a social media strategy that lifts you up in the eyes of your buyers.   Webinar CTA

Embracing Your Brand Archetype

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Strategy | 0 comments

brand archetype One of the points that I can’t stress enough, as a branding and marketing professional, is to know your customer. Your buyer personas are a direct reflection of your brand, so you must know them inside and out before you begin crafting your message. When creating your buyer personas, you may find that many of your customers fit into particular archetypes.

What are the Archetypes?

We discuss these archetypes in my book, Your Marketing Road Map, as they apply to your customers. These are as follows:
  • The Innocent
  • The Orphan
  • The Hero
  • The Caregiver
  • The Explorer
  • The Rebel
  • The Lover
  • The Creator
  • The Jester
  • The Sage
  • The Magician
  • The Ruler
Of course, not everyone will fit neatly into one category. That’s the beauty of human nature, right? Still, if you do know your buyers’ archetypes, you can even better understand what drives them to make purchases. You’ll have one more tool that helps you reach them on a deep and personal level.

All the Characters in Play

If you’re only focusing on the archetype of your customers, then you’ve forgotten one major character in your story. Have you considered your brand’s role in everything? Your brand could also identify with one or more of the archetypes. Knowing how you fit could help you discover more big connection opportunities with your buyers. Consider some of the biggest brands you know and which of the archetypes they embody. First, there’s Apple, which is certainly in the Creator category, with a bit of the Rebel thrown in for good measure. They did recently eliminate the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, much to the dismay of the buying public. It’s not the first time they’ve gone against popular opinion in the name of creativity and advancement, either. What about Johnson & Johnson, with their ads featuring adorable babies and kids, with parents that nurture through the use of their products? Of course this brand archetype would be a Caregiver, and also maybe the Innocent. The Ruler archetype would embody some of the most luxurious and powerful brands, including such powerhouses as BMW and Rolex. The Jester is a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously and delights in making its customers laugh, such as Taco Bell, The Onion, and the rebranded Old Spice. There’s also the Lover, a brand that indulges customers’ pleasures, such as Victoria’s Secret or Dove Chocolate. Now that you understand how particular brands identify with one or more of Jung’s archetypes, it’s time to determine where your brand fits.

Identifying Your Brand Archetype

If you do decide to investigate your brand archetype, remember that no single buyer or brand will identify with only one. We are all multi-layered, with some of those layers standing out among the rest. If you don’t fit in one single category, that’s perfect. Just make sure you’re not trying to fit all of them. To determine your primary archetype, turn first to your brand’s mission and vision. This should tell you everything you need to know. Do you strive to offer products and experiences that no one else has ever provided before? Then you’re probably a Creator. Do you want to assure buyers that buying from you makes them tough or brave? If so, you’re the Hero. Does your brand exude adventure and excitement? Then you’re most certainly the Explorer. Once you’ve determined your primary brand archetype, you’ll probably have a secondary classification. This classification is often discovered in the voice or tone you use to present your message. Maybe you’re a Hero that goes against politically correct speech to make a point. Then you might also be a Rebel. If you’re a Lover that also focuses on purity, then you might also be an Innocent. Remember, you may fit more than two or three categories, and that’s okay. Simply determine which of the archetypes most closely fit your brand. Then embrace them. Convey those characteristics through your marketing and advertising so that you can begin building relationships with buyers who are seeking a brand just like yours. You’ll be able to share a fuller, richer brand story. To learn more about archetypes and how they apply to your customers, be sure to check out my book, Your Marketing Road Map.