Branding is no longer just about the physical aspects (the logo, slogan, colors or the name) – I am not saying they aren’t as important because for the totality of your brand to fit, the physical attributes play an important role (topic for another day). How your clients or consumers view your brand and talk about your brand when you are not in the room is important to the success of your brand. Your brand needs to stand out from the competition; you being able to sell the same service or product in a unique way and speak volumes to your clients or consumers. Sometimes a brand needs re-branding; but how do you know it’s time to invest in re-branding?
This dissatisfaction could be either through face to face or social media; with technology and social media platforms a single dissatisfied customer or client can create an irreversible damage to your brand. The complaint only needs to go viral and before you know it hundreds of people are airing their own set of complains and other thousands of people are re-posting, re-tweeting and sharing the contents on various media platforms. Therefore you need to evaluate; if your customers or clients are complaining, what are the levels of complains? Is it an everyday occurrence? If it is then may be its time you went back to the drawing board.
Your brand should be a combination of a great idea and your personality.
Let’s talk about the great idea first; this should be a problem that you have identified thus you are offering solutions. People don’t want you to sell them products/services they want to know how those products/services can fix a need in their lives.
Tweetie African designs is an online store that deals with African products: African sandals(ladies, gents and children), African baskets commonly known as ‘Kiondos’, African necklaces, chokers, bracelets, earrings, beads, wallets, key holders, arts, Maasai shukas and Afrikan attires + MORE. Besides that they also deal with leather bags.
Tweetie African designs realized that there was a great need for the unique African products in Kenya and around the world and Tweetie could provide those products. Jacqueline Ndanu the CEO admits that when she started this venture it was about making an extra coin but soon realized that there was a rich heritage of the African Culture that had to be explored.
Thus her great idea had been born.
Secondly a brand has to infuse with your personality.
What do I mean by personality? Your passion. The ancient Chinese sage Confucius said choose a job you love (find something you are passionate about) and you will never have to work a day in your life. What is it that keeps you up at night; you know trying to figure out how you can accomplish it? What really excites you? Something you can work on endlessly and never feel the strain? There is where your passion lies.
For Jacqueline Ndanu it was the love of Art work which is very evident from her products. It was about products that gave people a sense of belonging whether you were carrying/wearing the products or you were part of the creative journey.
She says, “I mean if I carry a ‘Kiondo’ I feel more African than when I am carrying other bags, I’m not saying that carrying other bags is bad, but all I’m saying is that all I want is to sell what belongs to us. I want to sell Kenya, products from Kenya, made by a lady somewhere in Ukambani or any other part of this great country of Kenya”.
"When it comes to branding your product/service always remember that the logo is not your brand. "
When it comes to branding your product/service always remember that the logo is not your brand. A brand is what people say about you, your products/services when you are not present. A brand is the relationships with your audience, your brand is people trusting you (that you will deliver). Of course we can’t entirely dismiss the basic aspects of branding. When choosing a logo for your product/service there are key considerations: Like what experience do you want for your audience when they interact with your brand? What colours, fonts, and style of images do you feel reflects your messaging?
Simply put digital Marketing is your online advertising efforts through different channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps.
There are key pointers that you need to concentrate on.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization.
This is the practice of increasing a website organic ranking in search engines. In simple terms these are the methods that one uses in order to increase visibility in search engine result pages these include Google, Yahoo, and Bing among others.
So how does it work? Well when you perform a search the order by which the results are displayed, is based on complex algorithms which take a number of factors into consideration (we will talk all about these factors another time).
If you are running a website SEO is an important concept because you want your audience to find your brand in the top results. Why, you ask? For starters people tend to trust these search results, secondly it will put your brand way ahead of your competitors and thirdly it will increase traffic to your site through different social platforms simply because people that identify your site from these search engines will tend to share it on different platforms.
SEO brings traffic but traffic means nothing if it doesn’t convert to business for your brand. So let’s talk about conversion for your website; please note the meaning of conversion is unique for different sites. How you ask? Isn’t conversion just that? Well, let me explain, conversion goes hand in hand with your brand goals. You need to identify what conversion translates to for your brand; that is what is your goal? There are different goals for different sites example it could be increased subscribers or even page views or a purchase or it could be clicks to certain links. So the first thing- the critical thing is to define goals for your site.
After you define your goals how do you ensure that you achieve conversions on your site:
Firstly use the perfect call to actions like free consultations and free checklists. Avoid “download”, “accept” as a call to action. BUT do a test of different call to action buttons and see which ones your audience respond to.
Secondly create great content. Vary the types of content – do video, audio or just visuals. Great content will have traffic streaming to your site, it will get people subscribing to your site or to your channel. Know what your target audience needs then tackle that.
Thirdly make sure your site is fast enough and user friendly. Use the best lay out so that your traffic can be easily converted in to business.
There is a need to constantly keep your brand in check and brand auditing will effectively keep a healthy check of your brand. Auditing enables you to identify and address problem areas with a net result of helping turn things around and grow the bottom line. When you conduct a brand audit it enables you to determine:
When conducting an audit determine how accurate and effective your brands interactive components (name, color, tagline, logo, sounds, styles, voice and tone of messaging) are and where you can improve without alienating your current audience. A routine brand audit will help monitor the cycle that way the brand remains fresh and relevant therefore it’s possible to keep track on when to reinvigorate or revitalize before sales start to slip. Remember it’s about establishing your overall position in the marketplace and creating greater consumer awareness.
These components can be determined through a number of ways; interviews, reviews, research, observations or surveys.
Knowing your brand strengths enables you to get to understand the unique aspects of your brand and what you need to capitalize on.
Your strengths could stem from:
What is your edge? What is it that sets you apart from your competitors?
Employees; do you empower your employees? Do you have the right employees working for your brand?
Is your brand adaptive? Is your brand able to adjust according to the environment and conditions that surrounds it? Is your brand keeping up with the technological advances? In your industry is your brand adapting to the various changes? Your brand needs to set pace in your industry.
How is your brand interaction with your clients and customers? Satisfied customers and clients are potential marketers and free advertisement.
This will enable you to identify what your customers or clients are saying about your brand; this can be done through surveys, questionnaires or even as simple as having a suggestion box. With the feedback you can be able to work on your brands shortcomings.
Competition is always healthy for a brand. It ensures you are always on your toes. This will in turn get you strategizing. You will understand what you competitors are doing and also enable you to do an analysis of your audience. A profiling of your audience enables you to tailor make your products and services.
Knowing and understanding your brand will enable you to cover areas that your competition might take advantage of.
General overview of your current position.
Understanding your brands position enables you to understand and accept your strengths and weakness. Whether it’s avoiding litigation or boycotts from your employees or from your customers or clients.
This also helps you to get a glimpse of insights to current demographics and their needs; enabling one to adjust their products and services to fit customers and client’s needs.
Brand product developments /future channels of profitability.
With brand audit it’s easy to identify technological advancement and changes that are happening in the industry and adjust your services or products.
This also enables identification of customer needs and areas that are addressed by the brand or even by the competitors and focus on them.
When the brand audit is concluded and all these aspects worked on then your product and service is on its way to increasing the overall purpose of bringing in the profits.
Whether blogging, or just posting on social media, content is crucial for your brand to make an impact on your audience. Communications experts have realized this therefore invest on content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
This is when you create your brand presence online through engaging and informative content. This could be through videos, blogs, or social media posts. You don’t necessarily sell your product or service directly but your content stimulates interest in your products or services.
So what does it entail to post online?
With advancement in technology anybody can access information at anytime therefore it is important that you strategize and importantly invest time. Keep your message simple and memorable. It also needs to reach the intended target audience for it to be effective.
Here is a checklist before posting your content.
1) Research. Research. Research.
If you are to capture and present what your niche market needs at a particular time then research is basic. Therefore:
a) Research on your target audience.
Get to know your target audience; who they are and what they consume. The social media networks they use and the different platforms they engage with.
Get to know what they do. Understand their priorities. This will enable you to tailor your content to suit their needs.
Get to know and understand their schedules. This will enable you to know when they would be receptive to your content and more likely to consume your content.
The type of content and approach falls in to place if you know your target audiences demographics, priorities, education, and daily schedules because this will enable you to know and understand specifically who you are talking to.
b) Research on your content
In order to have an impact on your target audience then a deep knowledge and understanding of your content will be an added advantage. This can be achieved by doing thorough research on a topic. This will also give you an edge over your competitors; research will enable you to know if there are any gaps that exist and how to approach them.
Being authoritative in your content will enable your target audience identify with you. This can be achieved through getting facts or figures that support your content.
2) Lay out your goals
Goals are a map work on where you need to start, your route and the direction to follow. Write down what you intent to achieve with your content. Write both short and long term goals. Goals will enable you to schedule on what to prioritize and when.
They will enable you to keep in check and be able to monitor and measure your progress.
3) Do Networking
Interact with your peers; this will enable you to know of opportunities that arise within your field and help you plan on how to tap into that avenue.
This will also enable you to build your reputation as credible and knowledgeable.
One needs to identify platforms targeting the same audience and develop relationships. You need to network whether it’s on blogging sites, email groups or social media platforms. This will also enable you to keep in touch by extension with your target audience.
4) Interact with your Target audience.
This could be done through different platforms; twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google plus, Pinterest or even emails. This can be through replying their mails, taking time to answer their tweets or simply acknowledging them. This will create a rapport even before you release your content and in return grant you access to their circles.
These processes will enable you to draw a road map of the path that you need to follow and to understand the audience that you are targeting and know what is important to them. Also understand the approach to use to ensure maximum reach.
You have to give props to this quote by William Arruda (Personal Branding Guru) “Personal Branding is not about you. It’s about putting your stamp on the value you deliver to others.” I can’t emphasize this enough ‘creating a personal brand is not about you, it’s solely about what value you deliver!’ This the sum of experience that people expect and will get by interacting with your brand.
In building your personal brand you firstly need to identify what you want it to be centered on. Key questions you can ask yourself are what you are good at? What is it that you aspire to achieve? What are you passionate about?
"Share valuable content, this builds your audience confidence in your expertise."
After you identify that then you need to establish what makes you stand out. What is your niche? What makes you stand out from the rest of the experts in your category? That unique value that you bring to the table. Your passion, strengths values and skills combined is what will make you stand out. Tap in to that.
Then you need to create a profile across all social media platform. Firstly choose the platform that your niche audience identify with. If they are several platforms ensure that this profile is consistent throughout the platforms. Remember your posts should be aligned to the niche market that you are targeting.
Key Messages are exactly what you want your audience to take home. It’ your ‘drop the mic’ line. Whether launching a campaign or a generic message for your brand or product it is important to have your key messages in place. You need to have a strategic communication plan by ensuring you develop effective key messages. Here are key guidelines to developing your key messages:
What to do:
Identify your target audience
Research on your audience and ensure that you are targeting a particular group of audience. Ensure you have your primary and secondary audience well defined. Remember if you are targeting everyone chances are you are not targeting anyone.
Know What You Want To Say
Keep your messages simple and still provocative enough to create interest and deliver the message. The messages need to be short and specific. Remember determining your key messages depends on your goal; what you need to achieve and the duration you have.
Have a plan
Apart from having a clear and specific goal you need to have a step by step plan on how to get there. Ensure these steps are realistic and measurable. Be able to answer in a sentence “what do you want to achieve?” determine if your key messages are meant to be a one off kind of message or is it a long term message for your product or brand?
Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.
If you are managing or running a campaign ensure that all the messages that are launched across all platforms are uniform. Consistency ensures that your message is repeated over and over again and this helps strengthen your message.
4 signs that it's time to re-brand
Branding is no longer just the physical aspects (the logo, slogan, colors or name) but how your clients and customers view your brand. A brand needs to stand out from the competition; be able to sell a common service or product in a unique way and speak volumes to your clients. From time to time brands re-brand; but how do you know it’s time to invest in re-brand? There are various aspects about your brand that one ought to consider:
Are your clients or customers complaining? Whether face to face or through social media. Especially with technology and social media platforms a single dissatisfied customer or client can create an irreversible damage to your brand. The complaint only needs to go viral and before you know it hundreds of people are airing their own set of complains and other thousands of people are re-posting, re-tweeting and sharing the contents on various social media. Therefore you need to evaluate; if your customers or clients are complaining, what are the levels of complains? Is it an everyday occurrence? If it is then may be its time you thought about where your brand is heading.
Most brands concentrate on communicating about their brand to their consumers and forget that their team plays a critical role when it comes to the brand success.
Therefore increasing team engagement through communication is critical for your brand; a great strategy will have to involve effective execution and it is your team that plays a major role in executing it. If you don’t have a proper and effective way of communicating to your team then your brand is headed for a downfall. Lack of proper communication causes most problems and may lead to confusion and cause a good brand plan to fail. Here are 4 key reasons why you need a strategic communication plan for your team:
Communication creates a deeper understanding of the brand among the team.
If they do not understand then they break the bridge between your brand and the clients. A team that has positive relationships (high levels of commitment) with their brand help develop positive relationships with the customers and clients.
In order for your clients to know and understand your product or services, your brand needs to be comprehensive and consistent and for your brand to engage, motivate and increase your consumerism it needs to be strong. Before starting your brand audit you need to have the objectives of the audit, and then understand the internal description of how your brand has been marketed. Then do a checklist for your brand:
Perception of the brand
You need to know if there is consistency of your brand message among your audience and your intended message. This should be about what your brand delivers, and what it should be delivering. Your audience needs to know what your brand stands for and what it has to offer. There are key questions you need to ask about your brand perception:
Note that your brand cannot appeal to everyone; it has to be designed to target a certain group of people, to solve a particular problem.
Value of the Brand
Know and understand your brand. Key questions to ask:
Understand your brands perception, image, reputation and attitude among your consumers. It’s also important to know the value of your brand in terms of pricing.
Competition in the Market
Competition propels us to greater heights and achievements. By knowing what your competitors are doing differently you get to understand what limitations your brand has. This enables you to strategize on how to tackle them.
New trends and market opportunities
Know and understand your market:
Summary of what your brand audit should be able to reveal:
Note: any successful brand audit is built from the inside out; this includes both the internal and external stakeholders.