Friday, July 27, 2012

How To Start Your Business With A Great Brand

The world is mired in a recession, but opportunity is everywhere. All around me, I'm meeting people who are starting a business. They refuse to let the economy deter them - as a matter of fact, frequently it is the result of the poor economy that has presented opportunity to them. Where doom and gloomers see defeat, entrepreneurs rise to the challenge. It is these very bold attitudes that are the basis for powerful brand values. It is these values that will be the foundation of your new brand and upon them; a new successful business will flourish.

Basing everything on these values, an entrepreneur must dream up a great name for their new venture. The name should inspire your intended audience. It should be memorable. Your name is important as it identifies the brand.

Having decided on a catchy name, next comes the logo. Since the logo is the visual component of your brand name, it must accurately reflect the brand name. It too, must inspire. If you use an icon in your logo (ie: Apple's apple and the Nike swoosh) try to keep it simple. In deciding a palette it is best to keep the image to two or three colors. This makes it easier on the eye. A full range of color, just over complicates. The logo should work as effectively in black and white and gray tones. It must be legible at any size. Color is a very powerful icon that can also represent a brand (ie: UPS's brown). Color should convey the personality of the brand.

Once the logo is complete, how it looks and feels sets the tone for everything else you do. From your website to your marketing materials, everything follows the corporate color palette. Consistency is paramount here. Deterring from your palette dilutes your brand and confuses your intended audience. Imagery used is determined from the brand personality. Even the way you tell your story should be consistent with your brand efforts to date. If you have a very traditional, old world image, how you speak in your marketing should reflect this attitude. The tone is as important as the intent. At this stage of your brand development, you are the absolute master of your destiny. Be sure that it jives with your brand values. To do otherwise wouldn't make sense in the marketplace.

To get the message out, the modern entrepreneur must embrace on and off-line strategies to develop their personal and professional brands. Off-line they must develop personal, and business networks to extend their reach. Joining professional organizations will go a long way in establishing that all important local presence you will need. Give back to your community through actively participating in influential not-for-profits. Many of these organizations have people of influence on their boards. If your audience is predominantly female, then you would want to market to professional women's groups, and the places they congregate. If you are a woman yourself, membership is key.

Don't forget print marketing, speaking engagements, radio, television shows and special events are also effective ways to market your brand.

Online is a fantastic place to grow your personal brand by feeding your expert profile. There is no better way than blogging. Also, social media such as Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook gives an entrepreneur a perfect platform to display their expertise. Your website MUST be more than a brochure site. It should provide your audience with tools that help them grow. It has to prove that your brand is more than the competing brand. Show your expertise. A blog allows you that platform to put your opinion out there. Writing white papers and ebooks is another great tool in drawing in an audience. What is exciting is most of your competition do NOT have these tools on their radar.
Google them and see that many websites are simply brochure sites.

Using ebooks, white papers, audio and video as lures for email harvesters, you can build your own niche audience of targeted individuals and companies. The opt-in email list is dynamite because it is exactly whom you want to talk to. Breaking your list down even further only makes your marketing efforts more powerful. Email marketing should definitely be one of your premium avenues for promoting your brand. Affiliate sales, on-line networking (ie: are incredible ways to get your brand known around the world.

Actively pursue alliances to jointly promote events to an online audience doubles your effectiveness. Personally I have several partnering efforts in motion with companies in different parts of the world. Our efforts not only increase our potential markets to earn new business, but it also expands our range of influence.

For more information on Branding sign up for my weekly branding tip: Ed Roach's Two Cents Worth. Valuable tips that you can use in your business today. Some of which we touched on here. Your brand is a terrible thing to waste. Be sure that everything is consistent including your tone and message. This will make it cheaper and more powerful to promote. Look for assistance online for every aspect of your business plan. The resources at your fingertips are reasonable in cost and immensely beneficial. If you are looking to build a team for your new business, look not further than an associate of mine, who just launched her new blog: Break Through BusinessProviding this link to a friend's blog, is another form of cross-promotion. EVERY effort has long term benefit.

I hope that you enjoy your business as much as I. Building your brand properly can be very rewarding.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

5 Baby Steps to focused Corporate Branding

How much time and effort have you put out to improve your business? We have all attended conferences, seminars and networking events. Of all these efforts to fine tune ourselves how many have we actually implemented? Recently a fellow business person showed me a wonderfully large binder on marketing yourself. They spent $1,000.00 on this binder. It's all great information. The trouble is this person never actually implemented the strategies and processes contained in the binder. They read it, they went through all the tele-conferences associated with it, but it all ended with the last page and now sits collecting dust on a shelf.

How many of you reading this article and other articles on this blog actually use the great wisdom offered here? We're all guilty of it, we love the process of investigation - it makes us feel good that we are doing something about what we know is holding our companies back. But doing it is hard work and heck, don't we work hard enough already. Honestly I don't know if it is the fear of success or a lack of understanding. Focusing your brand doesn't have to be done over night, but can be done in baby steps. Here are a few suggestions to analyze your corporate brand in small bites, when you have the time:

1) Get a feel for who your brand is - as you walk past employees and suppliers ask them, "What do we do here?" This will give you a fix on where your corporate brand is right now. (Time to execute: 2 minutes)

2) Here is a gutsy one. Next time your talking to a customer, ask them, "If we no longer existed would you miss us?" Let's see what conversation this sparks. (Time to execute: 2 minutes)

3) Go on the web with a list of competitors that impact your company. Make another list of their positioning statements (slogans). Do any sound familiar? Do you see your own shared with others? If things sound very familiar, you're probably not leading as much as you think. (Time to execute: 15 minutes per competing site)

4) Stay on the web and go to your website. Have your mission statement next to you as well as your marketing materials. Take an overall look at everything as a group. Is all the imagery consistent? Are the corporate colors consistent across all pieces?
Do the messages reflect the mission statement? Are the any conflicting statements? This will give your corporate brand a sort of mini physical. Consistency is power in branding, inconsistency delivers a mixed message in the minds of your customers.
(Time to execute: 20 minutes)

5) We are still on the web. Take that list of competitors again and go to each of their sites and write down what the predominant 
colors are that they are using. When complete, write down your colors also. See where every company resides. One industrial client we did this for resulted in 74% of them using the color blue. We do this exercise with a spectrum chart. What this will show is where your color opportunities are if you would like to differentiate color as a strategy. I refer to it as a color opportunity.
(Time to execute: 5 minutes per site)

Now, if you do these 5 simple investigations you will have a great taste of the health of your corporate brand. You will know if your employees get it, if your favorite customers love you, if your positioning statement makes your corporate brand stand out, if your brand image is consistent across different media and if you are leading or following with your corporate colors.

Not bad for what is essentially a few hours work. The results may spur you on to discover more or they may convince you that maybe things aren't too bad after all. Don't do all 5 in the same day, maybe just one a week. 

The point is - just don't read about branding - use the advice you discover and try one or two things to help drive more business. Come back and share your results with us.

I can help.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How To Be A Miserable Brand In 25 Steps!

1. Constantly complain about the economy.
2. Find the cheapest logo you can buy.
3. Keep your customers on hold.
4. Always sell on cheapest price.
5. Ignore any networking opportunities.
6. Don't volunteer for anything.
7. Stop meeting regularly with your staff.
8. List everything under the sun that you do.
9.  Avoid giving free advice.
10. Play with different colours in your brand image.
11. Do everything on the cheap - don't even try to look successful.
12. Don't put your logo on anything.
13. Don't join organizations that may benefit you.
14. Ignore negative comments made about your brand on social media.
15. Be grumpy all the time at the office.
16. Don't return emails or phone calls.
17. Don't ask for the business.
18. Don't actively look for leaders among your staff.
19. Don't even think of public speaking.
20. Advertise as many messages as you can.
21. Don't give cutomers any more value than they pay for.
22. Don't sell outside of your comfort zone.
23. Think small.
24. Look for the worst in everything.
25. Don't lead - follow!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Check out my New Book, "101 Branding Tips!"

Click HERE and see a preview of my new book, "101 Branding Tips, practical advice for your that you can use today!" Order it directly from

If you're looking for ways to make your brand stand out and keep you moving forward to your goals, the book provides you with 101 ways to do just that.

This is what Annie Bartlett, the Company Doctor says about my tips:
"You know, Ed, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I love your tips. They’re easy to wrap your brain around and actionable immediately. What more could you want?"

and Greg Stojanov, Electra Supply:
"Ed's collection of branding tips is long on experience, you would think Warren Buffet was discussing this book when he said, "price is what you pay, value is what you get."

and Mikel Smith, Nature Baked:
"My 2 cents? Ed Roach is a branding genius! Each tip is simple to understand, easy to apply to our branding strategy, and highly effective. We start every branding meeting with one of Ed's tips and it always unfailingly provides each meeting with a solid focus for discussion." quote a few.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How The Brand Benefits From Brand Positioning

Are you still selling with slogans attached to logos? While inspiring, a slogan doesn't usually take much of a position. That job is left to positioning strategies. What is a positioning strategy? They are a strategy where by the brand takes a position that resonates with it's target audience. That position sometimes puts your brand out on a limb or boldly states a fact such as: the leader in something. Or the only something. When I develop positioning strategies, I love the leadership variety. Most people enjoy working with the leaders. 

What are you the leader in? Are you the only service to offer something? Remember Domino's Pizza at their beginning? 30 minutes or it's free! Domino's realized that essentially, pizza is pizza. By positioning with 30 minutes or it's free they went from a pizza business to a delivery business. Customers couldn't resist the fact that if no pizza arrived at their threshold in 31 minutes they got a free pizza. That is a resonating message. They were they only ones to do that.

Apple's positioning was the design itself. From the beginning Apple products were distinctly different. That aesthetic appealed to the graphic industry. The operating system was graphic based. Their inspiring slogan, "Think Different" complimented their positioning. 

Like all positioning, it has to be based in reality. If you are different, if you deliver or it's free you must indeed do these things. Your brand must be authentic. Your own positioning strategy is no doubt based on what customers love about you now. Focus and narrow your field to harness a position that resonates. This will deliver additional profit and move your brand forward. It is also very exciting for all stakeholders. They willingly step up to the plate take the challenge to succeed.
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