All Posts By

James

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Use Your Office/Retail Space To Gain Brand Loyal Customers

By | Branding, Business, Design | No Comments
Shopping used to be simple. Growing up, It didn’t matter to my parents if you needed a new TV or if you needed to get a coffee; you found a product that you liked, at a reasonable price, with good quality and you purchased it. If your purchase experience was positive, you’d most likely return. However, if a competitor had a similar product for a cheaper price. Nine times out of ten, my parents were going to jump ship and change retailers.
In recent months, I’ve noticed myself returning to the same places over and over again. The same bars, restaurants and stores. I assumed it was for the same subjective reasons as my parents. Being in brand development, I wanted to dissect my mind and think about why that was. I discovered that it wasn’t the price or the convenience. Instead it relied all on the impression of the environment and the quality of product.
Every time I walked into a bar/restaurant with a well thought out environment that was physically and emotionally reflective of their brand image, I found myself understanding the message of that brand. It made an impactful impression from that moment on. Thinking about the environmental branding of your brick and mortar space is the first step to tackling objectives in your potential buyers mind. Business are more successful when EVERY aspect of their business is well thought out. Think of your space like your appearance on a first date. You should shine your shoes, iron your clothes, brush your teeth & do your hair, for starters. It should reflect who you are.
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Environmental branding has a direct “first impression” impact on your customers. So what exactly am I talking about when I say “Environmental Design?” I’m talking about the color of your walls, the material and layout of your furniture. The uniform of your staff if that applies. The decorations and art. The lighting fixtures, all the way down to the kelvin temperature of your bulbs, etc.  This shit really does matter.
So if you think your business needs to work on it’s environmental branding, it probably does. Start by finding the pain points in your space and remember, simple is better. It’s about being objective and putting yourself in your clients shoes. Never assume what they’ll care about. Hire a branding expert or look up environmental design inspiration on Pinterest. Get ideas, get creative & get money. And remember- brands drive value.
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How Brand Image Affects Your Bottom Line

By | Branding, Business, Design | No Comments
Flashback 70 years ago. The “Mad-Men” era when the quality of your product or service was all it took to own a successful business. From coffee to cigarettes, these everyday products have come to define modern marketing. Marketing budgets in corporations have transitioned from television and magazines to digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Spokespeople have generally disappeared and Influencers have flooded in. Businesses have created compelling content to reach their consumers the way they want to be reached. Companies have stepped up their branding not just because it makes their companies look and feel better but because it makes them money. This shift is due to one thing, Brand Image.

 

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Brand Image is how people feel about your brand. It’s both real and imaginary qualities your brand possess that are experienced through organic and paid strategic campaigns with a consistent theme, and is authenticated through the consumers’ direct experience.

 

“How does brand image make you money?”
Great brand image results in something called Brand Equity. Simply put, brand equity is how invested people are in your brand. If your brand image and brand equity have a positive correlation, that means consumers have generated a loyalty towards your business. For some companies, that loyalty is so strong that consumers will only purchase their products, completely disregarding the competition. A great example would be Apple and Samsung phone users. These brands “communicate to its customers based on what they care about. They understand that the experience is what matters, not megabytes.”

 

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“Okay, thanks for the education but what’s the application?”
Here’s the application. Be Aware. Keep Adapting. Stay Active. Be aware of the emotion around your brand. Talk to your current and potential customers to learn your brands sentiment. Use that information to shift and adapt your brand to lead more customers to your business. That may mean you need to rebrand your business and its strategy. It could even mean that you may have to reposition your company. Lastly, stay active in the development of your brand image. As times change, so do people and their buying behaviors.

 

Keep up with trends and invest in good brand development. It will give your brand the competitive lift to soar above the competition and no matter which way you cut it—brands drive value.
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Influencer Marketing 101

By | Instagram, Social Media
As business owners, we often get so caught up in the semantics of our brand’s propaganda that we can easily forget our demographic and the real people we’re speaking to. Big brands have been using a form of marketing called “influencer marketing” for years. Over the years, influencer marketing has become more effective, and for the most part, affordable. Do not overlook this form of marketing. It’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.
By now, you’ve most likely heard the marketing term, “influencer marketing.” If you haven’t, don’t worry – you’re in the right place. Let’s start with the foundational question of, “What is influencer marketing?”
At its core, influencer marketing connects brands to their specific audience through an individual who has already created a network of followers. These followers consistently engage the influencer and when prompted, are more likely to participate, purchase or share anything relevant the influencer puts in front of them. Keep in mind that this form of marketing directly ties into content marketing and social media marketing. In short, this form of marketing uses key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market.
Influencer marketing is an art form on its own. The general build-out goes like this:
1.Identify the key product and brand influencers in your market or a market you wish to target.
2. Create your specific marketing campaign for those influencers to use.
3. Track key results of the campaign based on engagement, reach, sales and brand awareness.
Here are a few examples from socialmediaweek.org:
Lord & Taylor: Retail brand Lord & Taylor partnered with 50 influential Instagrammers to promote its new Design Lab collection. Each of these influencers posted pictures of themselves wearing the same dress. The dress sold out the following weekend.

 

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Madewell: For Madewell, partnering with just five influencers on Instagram was enough to reach more than one million targeted customers. The campaign was designed to promote the anniversary of their signature tote. It also involved “regramming” the influencers’ photos and featuring them on their company blog.

 

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NatureBox: In the case of NatureBox, it was blogger Joanna Goddard who played a major role in their Instagram influencer marketing campaign. NatureBox is a delivery service that specializes in healthy snacks. With just three pictures of the Goddard’s kids snacking on food from the NatureBox monthly roundup, the company gained credibility with popular mommy blogs.

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Everyone loves free advice, so here it is: Market with relevant influencers who have high engagement rates (likes, shares, ROI), rather than focusing on their reach (quantity of followers). The best way to identify these “relevant” influencers is through hard research. Identify the hashtags that your target influencers are using on Twitter and Instagram. Utilize Google Alerts; set alerts for keywords pertaining to your brand to identify people who actively write about topics in your industry. Use tools such as “Social Mention” to type in your company’s name and discover mentions on different outlets such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, just to name a few.
Now that you’ve identified influencers, the easiest way to see their engagement rates is to look at their sponsored posts on their social media. Most influencers will have contact information on their Instagram or Facebook, but if they don’t, simply send them a direct message. Once you hire these influencers, provide them with the freedom to create content the way they know how, so that your brand reaches that specific market exactly how they want to be reached. All of these factors make campaigns more authentic, trustworthy and effective.