Businesses with Best Branding Practices

A brand is the idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with, by identifying the name, logo, slogan, or design of the company who owns the idea or image. Branding, a topic we have covered many times on this blog, is one of the most critical part of a marketing strategy.  Some companies do an amazing job of branding their company.  Forbes, AdWeek online, and Business Insider have ranked companies that bring branding to a new level.  Let’s look at some of the top companies and what they are doing to create and maintain their brand image so successful.

  • Apple has topped almost all the latest rankings of companies who have ridiculously strong brand name awareness.  Who doesn’t recognize the apple with a bite out of it or even the lower case “i” ? This company is known for revolutionizing the way we work, play, and communicate. Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity, and ease of use that all other tech brands are now expected to match, and that Apple itself is expected to continually exceed.
  • Geico – This insurance company, with well more than 10 million policy holders, has cornered the market on brand awareness.  The ad concept of a British accented gecko is one of the best ad concepts on the planet.  “15 minutes” as a slogan and the image of an adorable gecko has exploded so much that commercials for other companies even mention Geico in it!
  • Google is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include search, cloud computing, software, and online advertising technologies.The swirly letter “g” and the new word “googled” show how far this brand has caught on.
  • Target‘s bulls-eye is right on the mark.  This red and white branded company is the second-largest discount retailer in the United States and is ranked 36th on the Fortune 500.  The quirky jingle and bold logo quickly are identifiable by consumers everywhere.

 

 

 

 

Tips to Make Your Annual Report Stand Out

An Annual Report can do more than just detail the financial health and investments of your company for shareholders. It is also an invaluable marketing tool for consumers and potential investors. With an Annual Report proving to be so critical to your business regardless of size, it is important to make this report stand out.  Let’s look at some tips from business experts on how to make your report stand apart from your competition.

  1. Grab the Readers Attention from the very start – Your report’s title is your best chance to catch your readers’ attention – and to make your case. Your heading and subheadings should be well written and use action words to catch the readers attention.
  2. Use Professional Photography – A professional photographer will not only help you tell your story, but it will make a lasting impression on your shareholders when they get the report and flip through the pages to find beautiful, crisp and clear images guiding them through the year in review.  Unique and custom pictures go a lot further than purchased stock photos in telling your company’s story.
  3. Color, Design and Charts – Stop using black and white designs and charts from Excel to make your charts and spreadsheets.  Hire a designer to pull together a cohesive design that integrates your business logo, colors, font and overall brand “look” into a beautiful report.  Don’t be afraid to add color where you want items to stand out.
  4. Include a Call to Action – According to business expert Zoe Amar – Head of Marketing and Business Development at Lasa, “You need a strong call to action at the end of your report. Make it clear what you’d like your audience to do once they’ve read it – donate, purchase services etc.”
  5. Make it Flow – According to Heather Border at Warschawski, “Make the report read like a story.”  Overcrowding sections with facts and highlights will make a reader confused and stranded in a sea of copy. Break your content down into chapters and your chapters down into sections. Write it as if you are having a conversation with another person and telling an exciting story about the awesome year you had as a company.

Advantages of a PR Campaign

Direct Advertising and Public Relations Campaigns can be highly effective marketing strategies for your small business.  While advertising is a controlled message placed in paid-for space in print media, online platforms and social media, PR campaigns are media coverage through strategic outreach to journalists, news media and trade magazines.  Bill Gates has been quote as saying that “If I was down to my last dollar I’d spend it on public relations.” The importance of PR therefore, is critical to many businesses both large and small – so let’s look at the main benefits of PR advertising.

  1. Raises Awareness and Goodwill – Newspaper articles, magazine blurbs and trade journals can raise awareness of your brand and products. PR builds relationships with journalists and consumers on behalf of your organization by sharing information. Further, PR creates loyalty through dialogue that take place via tactics such as social media and events.
  2. InformChron Online states that “Many PR efforts have a direct goal of informing audiences. For instance, a consulting company may send out weekly email newsletters to offer free advice to businesses. The hope is that regularly staying in front of customers with messages that are useful will help you maintain top-of-mind awareness. Plus, providing free and useful information can generate positive sentiments from the market.
  3. Affordability – PR is an economical way to stay in front of consumers. While direct advertising cost=per-ad or per-click but PR is much more reasonable in that payment is based upon time spent making connections and submitting to newspapers, trade magazines and online platforms.
  4. Changes Attitudes – PR campaigns can have a purpose of improving or reshaping customer attitudes about your brand. Companies that struggle with negative perceptions in the market often use public relations to promote a message of community involvement, charitable giving or product benefits for the common good.

Maintaining Your Social Media Presence

Your Marketing Team has set up accounts for your small business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.  But now that you are there, you realize how hard it really is to maintain a presence that is both meaningful and drives home your brand awareness.  Here are our top tips and suggestions of ways to keep your name in the forefront on social media without making the hard sell.

  1. Get organized – Create an editorial calendar that tracks the posts and updates that you make on each platform.  This way your business does not get overly repetitive or miss weekly updates. A calendar will be a visual reference of topics and pictures that are posted as well as a calendar that tracks the days and times of such posts.
  2. Be “Real” – A designated social media person in your company will help create a personable voice that is both professional and knowledgeable but also “human-like”.  The tone of posts whether it is helpful, humorous or tutorial can remind readers that you are not just a business but an amiable business person behind the brand name.
  3. Post regularly – Post regularly so that readers know that you are dynamic and active in the social world. This will not only legitimatize your company and give followers something to look forward to if you post on the same day and at the same time weekly or monthly.
  4. Give them what they want – Followers who are also in your industry will keep track of your page and business if you are giving them relevant information that they can learn from or take with them to help in their business.  This adds value to your business and makes you an industry leader. Stay on message and be a fountain of information for them and others who follow your industry.
  5. Schedule it out – Many social media platforms allow administrators to schedule out their posts so that it is not a time waster at work on a daily basis. If you can schedule out a week or two in advance so that you can be sure that your posts are staying current and being posted on a regular basis.