Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Survey Your Team Podcast

This week's podcast discusses speaking to brand stakeholders.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fix It. Brand It. What Comes First?

The title of this article is rather a trick question. The fact is you have a brand already. Everything does. If your brand is essentially your reputation, then your brand is created through the relationship it has with it's audience. Small businesses don't consider their brand unless they think there may be a problem, and something is holding them back.

Issues like:
• an unmotivated staff • lack-lustre sales • poor customer service • a tired brand image • bad PR
... to name a few.

In order for your brand to grow strong you have to fix the broken parts. Taking a hard look at what your brand stands for and determining what your differentiator is will correctly define your brand. Leaving it broken compounds the problems. So to answer the question posed in the headline, I'd recommend a little of both, because they really can't be separate issues. Solving one, strengthens the other.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Radio As A Branding Channel

Guest Author: Tim Fenn

Radio has been proven time and time again as one of the best mediums for branding due to the intrusive nature of sound as opposed to the passive nature of visual mediums.
You have to look to see, but don’t have to listen to hear.
This is why might typically pay little attention to a print ad unless you are in the market for a product or service.
It’s the reason you have committed to memory the words to hundreds of songs without trying, yet can’t tell me the colour of the car in the driveway 5 doors down, though you pass it several times a week.
Therefore, radio is better at creating a pre-disposition for your product or service, winning hearts and minds and “branding”  BEFORE a consumer is in the market for the product. Brand awareness.

My question is this:
 Why isn't radio part of your marketing mix?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brand Trust...

Do you have a trusted brand? Listen in on this week's tip for more on this...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photography Can Be Hurting Your Brand

Guest Post by Mariano Pastor

Vision is the most advanced of our senses. We understand the world through our eyes and images play an exceptional role in human perception-we evolved to make fast decisions based in what we see. To determine friend from foe at a glance.

In the modern world we grow looking at sophisticated images created by the entertainment and advertising industries. By the time we leave college we had been exposed to millions of these pictures and they become the criteria to cast opinions - in a blink of an eye - about what is good or bad. inferior or excellent. To purchase or to take a pass. There is no underestimating the power of first impressions.

The photography you use creates an immediate impression as to where your company stands in terms of professionalism, attention to detail and quality control. Or whether you employ inferior standards in return for lower costs.

When determining the price of creating the photography that helps you sell your product, step back for a moment and consider the larger picture. Does the image you use reflect the way you want customers to perceive your brand?

In this belt-tightening economy, it’s easy to fall to the temptations of using cheaper alternatives anywhere we can. Cheap stock photography floods the web, technology makes possible to have your own in house studio and employ a staff that will crank out pictures. You may even consider doing it yourself.

But does doing things cheaply have to mean cheapening your brand?

About the Author:
Mariano is an advertising photographer based in NYC. He is also the founder of Via U!—a revolutionary online photography studio that delivers quality photography at extraordinarily affordable prices.

Monday, April 19, 2010

How 5¢ Blemishes A Brand

The shopping experience today is getting greedier on the alter of the green environment. I take offense to this change in service. The #1 perpetrator is the grocery store. Not long ago, it used to be that you paid your money and the check out person and/or "bag boy" would pack your groceries into multiple paper or plastic bags - your choice.

NOW they charge you 5¢ per plastic bag (no paper available) AND you now have to scramble and pack them yourself before the next person's groceries starting piling up. They say it is for a greener planet - I say it's greed - pure and simple.

5¢ bags deliver a new revenue stream where before it was a cost of doing business, (but still rolled into the end price). Due to their volumes, those bags cost them a fraction of a cent each, so at 5¢ that's quite a money maker across the entire chain.

This evening I was at a (Swiss-Chalet) rib and chicken chain take-out where they put on the counter multiple packages. Now they asked the patron if they wanted a plastic bag? People just looked at the girl with a puzzled look - because if they say no, how does the restaurant honestly expect them to cart the food home without dropping everything? I say just roll the 5¢ into the price. Don't rub it into our face using the green excuse. The reality is you love this new revenue. Greed - pure and simple!

With Swiss Chalet, if they really cared about the environment, then why are ALL of their containers plastic, their cutlery is plastic and their now 5¢ bags are plastic.

I think all these greedy stores would look more sincere if they offered a paper bag for free as an additional option. But of course there's no money in that. Why they tossed out service with the bag is a black spot on their brand and that's a shame.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Mentor's Advice

I happen to mentor as part of the organization, "New Canadian Centre of Excellence." This group helps newly emigrated entrepreneurs find employment or assists them in starting new businesses. The recipients come from every corner of the world. My current mentee is a bright young woman from Singapore. We had a nice meeting at Starbuck's the other day, to commence our journey.

In discussing job seeking opportunities, we both had our doubts as to the effectiveness of resumes. You are just one of hundreds of sheets of paper. I told her my belief is that get better opportunities networking. You also get to build your personal brand. So, that is going to be our focus. I am currently arranging a meeting with a local Athena Group. Athena is an international organization of professional woman. This will be a great starting point for her. She need only build on this. Networking is the life blood of business and as such a terrific spring board to new relationships.

If you are job seeking and relying exclusively on your resume, you should step out of your comfort zone and meet people who can positively influence your future.

Monday, April 12, 2010

First Time Here? Read This!

If you're new to my blog or a regular for that matter, welcome! Something you should know is that are almost 250 articles here that address how you can improve your brand right now. The great thing about the information is that it continues to be relevant. If you're interested in something specific, try the search field to the right there.

Subscribe to my list and get my amazing eBook, "The Reluctant Salesperson." An introverts guide to selling. Written by introverts for introverts :) My subscribers get a FREE weekly branding tip and my monthly newsletter. Number 69 is going out TODAY! Also, be up on all the news from me, Ed Roach: The Branding Guy.™

Everything about The Branding Experts (my company) is all about providing information, coaching and helping small businesses like yourself. Every week here at Ed Roach: The Branding Guy Blog, I post a Branding Tip Podcast. The latest discusses branding through online efforts.

Did you know that commenting to my articles, draws traffic back to your website?

Let's face it - you've taken the time to visit and learn from what I'm sharing - don't you deserve to have my audience check you out? Commenting does just that! I purposely go out and leave comments on other blogs that I read. It is all part of my marketing efforts to gain leads. I call it "leaving bread crumbs."

You can expect a new article every day at Ed Roach: The Branding Guy.™ (except the odd day where I have a brain fart :)

Thanks for visiting today - Join in the conversation and return often! I accept guest articles as well - perfect for those "brain fart" days.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Changing My Blog's Name

From here onward my blog will be known as - Ed Roach: The Branding Guy.™ This addresses my progress in branding myself. As I meet people I'm repeatedly being addressed as "that branding guy." So I've decided to embrace it. The new name addresses the positioning of my personal brand and my slogan, "Lead don't follow.™ " is my call to arms.

It will be my intention to move my website in this direction also. It will be a sub-brand of the Branding Experts. This is all part of my growth plan. If you have an opinion, I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Save Time Posting To Your Social Networks!

Go to: http://ping.fm
Here you can post once and have it go out to over 50 social networks instantly! It works very nice and best of all it's free. This will save me time and a bit of aggravation.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How To Be Found Online!

This week's podcast Branding Tip discusses blogging.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eliminate An Embarrassing Moment!

I just loved this idea when a friend told my what he did when he attends events and can’t recall a person’s name who approaches him AND they ALWAYS know his name. It’s even worse if he’s with someone and now he can’t introduce them.

He had HELLO MY NAME IS stickers similar to the above printed up. Adam tells me he always gets a chuckle and it often starts conversations. I’m copying this one myself -Brilliant.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Does Your Personal Brand Stand Out?

Are you doing anything to affect your personal brand? Since we all have a brand, it benefits us to be cognizant of the impression we make on others - since sales are directly affected by the relationship with have with customers, it is all the more important to make the best impression on them. Become known for something with them. Discover what makes them tick and zero in on that attribute.

Always be on the look out for opportunities for them. Be friendly with their employees (gate-keepers). They can keep you at arms length if they don't trust your brand. Don't leave any stone unturned when building your relationship and that building never stops. One thing about business is that it is positively and negatively affected every day. You have to be constantly aware of the culture your customer resides in and react to it. A strong personal brand will help you to weather the storms and reap the rewards of the sunny days.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Birthday To Strengthening Brand America!

You probably didn't know it but Strengthening Brand America turned one year old in March!

The Strengthening Brand America project was introduced 1 year ago in March 2009. The mission of the community of practice is to catalyze the transfer of product and corporate branding knowledge from the private sector to the economic development community for reapplication in place branding.

If you are interested in the go-to location for place branding wisdom, drop by and give them a few minutes of your time. If you are a student there is a terrific resource area geared to your needs.

Cake for everybody!

Notice to Spammers!

Recently I've noticed two types of commenters that are plaguing my blog and I'm sure countless others. The first is the obvious, "compliment" followed by a large paragraphic of web links to porn, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

The second irritate me more.

They leave a generic complimentary comment on an article then have a link to what they are selling at their site. Sometimes it is related to my discussion, but I don't appreciate the bold sales hook. They always comment under the "anonymous" ID. Maybe they just don't know any better, but what I'm doing here at the Brand Corral is trying to provide valuable content to my subscribers and readers.

If you want to promote your site, do it honestly. Identify yourself, and join in the discussion and give valuable input. My readers (and myself) will follow your link back to your sites.

If you don't like that idea, be assured that your "tactic" will be deleted shortly after you post it. To my readers: be assured that if you see the comment, " deleted by author" or something close, these types of comments are what is being censored. I do not delete opposing points of view - those I enjoy :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Good Egg.

Happy Easter everyone!

Everything about Easter holds a great symbolic meaning. It all revolves around re-birth, a fresh start. The freshness of spring. The joy in the faces of children. Easter egg hunts. Everything bursts with hope and expectation for something better. The gathering of friends and family to celebrate and give thanks for what we have.

The Easter brand is probably the most optimistic of all the holiday brands. A colorful Easter egg for me symbolizes the playfulness and creativity of youth. It holds such promise. A child ambitiously cracks open an Easter egg anticipating the sweet reward that lies within. Whatever the reward inside, no matter how modest, is appreciated with out question.

We as adults can take a simple lesson from a child and their Easter egg. It is the simple things that have the greatest impact on our happiness. The riches in life most often come in small packages.

A great brand is a good egg to be sure!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Take A Stand!!

Custer's last stand, while something of legend didn't end nicely. Custer put himself in a poor position destroying his future.

If there is nothing else you do with your brand, take a position of strength and lead with your brand. When describing your company, don't say things like: "We are one of the leading..." or "We are one of the top producers of..." Take the high ground, step out in front!

"We ARE the leading..."

"We ARE the top producers of...

Mind you it has to be true. Exaggeration is as bad as lying. Have faith in your accomplishments - lead don't follow.
More blogs about http://brandcorral/blogspot.com.