Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

Life Lessons We can Learn from Steve Jobs

By Amanda Bala

While it is true that an icon has passed on well before his time, we can all agree that there is a lot to be learned from Steve Jobs.  He was a true visionary, an innovator that never gave up on his dream. He had a rare creative genius that we may never see the likes of again in our lifetime. 

At the beginning, Jobs main focus was to ensure that the creativity and “enchantment” of the computer industry never died.  Up until the time of his passing, he never lost that focus.  He was widely respected for his drive and straight forward thinking. He taught product designers, software techs, business execs and the public more about what we need in digital products rather than what we think we want. 

Many times over the years, Jobs and Apple were considered down and out, yesterday’s news.  However, not only did Jobs never see it that way… he never gave up trying.  Even when he parted ways with Macintosh for a short while in the mid 80’s, he remained focused and set on what he wanted for the computer industry. 

It was at this time, Jobs took a leap of faith and purchased Pixar in 1986.  This was long before anyone had ever thought of doing a full CGI film. In the beginning, Jobs did not even envision that.  Pixar started off by making computer generated 3-D objects, not movies.  But once again, Jobs used his vision and managerial skills and listened to his team.  The result… Toy Story. The rest is CGI history! 

Once reunited with Apple, Jobs knew that it was more important to have a quality product that people loved and would remain loyal to, rather than mass produce a bunch of merchandise that would leave users frustrated and shopping around for a new brand.  While other computer companies discount, rebate and wheel and deal with the best of them, Jobs felt that even if they only catered to 5% of the population, he would create a quality product that would keep that 5% loyal and happy.  And he succeeded.

Even after his passing, Jobs vision and influence will continue to be seen both in Apple and the IT industry.  He revolutionized not only the computer industry, but also the way we get and listen to music, use our phones, take and store photos, and attain instant information with the simple touch of our finger. His life, lessons and influence will continue to live on for years to come. And while there are others that have contributed in large ways to the technology industry, it is fair to say that he not only contributed, but he revolutionized our entire “lifestyle”.

Making the Most of Your Message

By Amanda Bala

Every business must advertise them self somehow.  However, simply making the decision to advertise does not mean that you are doing the best you can for your business.  Too many times, business owners will put time and money into an advertising campaign, not really understanding what message they are putting out there or should be putting out there.  And more often than not, that message is getting lost and not helping them at all.

So, what can be done to make sure you are getting the most out of your advertising dollar?  It is simple… know exactly what your message will garner the best results!  That being said, how do you do this? 

When you are advertising, avoid piecing your campaign together.  A bit of advertising here, a bit of advertising there… that can work, but only if you make sure that all of those pieces somehow can fit together.  If you are just putting a mish mash of ads out there that do not carry the same message, potential customers are not going to remember you.  It takes the average person 7-12 times seeing or hearing a message for it to stay in their mind. 

Also, be careful that do not make the ads all about your company.  It is truly about the customer.  You need to show how your company can benefit them.  Obviously, your company name and services need to be prominent in the ads, but you want to show your clients how you are going to improve their lives, not just showcase your company. 

When you do decide where to advertise, be sure to keep it simple.  You can get creative, but don’t make it so creative that your message gets lost. You can make the ads fun but more importantly, keep the message consistent throughout.   One company that does a fabulous job of this is Geico.  Over the past few years, they have run several different advertising campaigns.  However, the one aspect that stays the same is their message.  It is to the point now where most people cannot hear the name Geico with out thinking that if they give them 15 minutes, they will save us 15% on car insurance.  You can easily do the same thing with your campaign on a smaller level.  Keep the glitz to a minimum and keep your message forefront.

In the end, advertising always helps grow your business.  However, advertising in and of itself isn’t enough. Be sure you know what your message is and stay true to it!

To Brand or Not to Brand

By Amanda Bala

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. Wikipedia defines a brand as the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan.  What does this mean for your business?  How does branding affect you?

When we hear the name Coca Cola, what image comes to mind?  For most, it is the vivid red label of the bottle.  Though the label has changed slightly through the years, the color has remained constant.  So much that there is actually a font color called “Coke Red”.  This is their brand.  It is a feeling, an emotion, an image that elicits a response.  Whether it is positive or negative, it has a strong mental picture and feeling that goes with the company. 

Your brand is who you are and what you do personified.  It is the look and feel of your business.  Many people think a company’s logo is their brand.  This is quite untrue.  The logo is a part of your brand.  However, it is just one piece of the equation.  You take your logo and build your brand around it. 

Your brand needs to be distinctive.  It must set you apart from your competition.  Just like the logo is the cornerstone for a brand, your brand is the cornerstone to all of your marketing communications.  It strengthens your position and sets the stage for your entire marketing framework.

There are many important things that your brand should convey.  It must clearly deliver your message to potential customers.  It must connect with them emotionally and confirm your credibility in your area of expertise.  It needs to motivate your potential clients to buy what it is you are selling.  Lastly, it must promote loyalty from those clients to return to you in the future.

Finally, a brand is consistent.  Colors and themes are carried throughout.  As mentioned above with Coca Cola, through time they have varied the label slightly.  However, the overall appearance and color have remained the same.   A brand can be upgraded and enhanced after it has served its time and it can be varied as long as the logo, colors, fonts, etc. remain consistent.