Branding Basics

Brand Identity is a huge factor when it comes to the success of your business. This includes keeping a specific color, pattern or even your own design to provide an image that perfectly suits and represents your business. Think of your mission statement and what its purpose is to your business. Essentially, your brand should represent that in one picture. It is what makes you stand out among your competitors.

So what is included in identity? It’s a clean way for describing your brand. This means stationeries, packaging, messaging, and even digital projects among others that follow a certain style guideline.

A brand is a relationship between an audience and a business. Initially, it’s the reward for the building loyal and genuine relationships with your audience. In doing so, as a business owner, you have to be aware of what it will represent to your customers. When creating your logo, it’s vital to have these three things come through:

  1. Vision – From offering an existing product in a completely new and inventive way, the vision for your business should be all about its journey and where it is meant to go, whether large scale or small.
  2. Values – Your values are what your business stands for and what you believe in as a business. This key is vital to be genuinely shown in the way that your business operates.
  3. Personality – With your three statements of ‘why’, ‘how’, and your brand promise, you now find how you would want your business to come across to your customers. This can come across through the graphic design, the tone used in your content, as well as through customer service.

Brand recognition is a powerful tool to have. It not only increases public recognition of your business or products, but can also help you engage with your customers and create a solid connection.

Developing Apps for Small Businesses

Mobile apps have become a great way for businesses to stay in the loop with their customers. For small businesses, it’s an even better way to branch out and receive more customers and even more traffic with the use of push-up notifications.

The mobile app industry is a huge competition, but inventing a brand new idea that helps your business will only keep your customers loyal to you. Whether it’s an app never developed before or an already existing app with a twist that makes yours stand out, apps will boost your success. From simplifying online purchases to gaining easy access to your information, the benefits they have is why small businesses are now developing apps to stay competitive in their market field. So, how do you start an app for a small business? Here are some tips to get you started.

 

What’s your goal?

The idea for the app is your first step, however, what is the ultimate goal? After thinking about what idea you want for your app, think about what its main purpose in your business is, and use that as your main focus. For example, if your business is all about catering services, your app will be promoting your catering services. Creating a clear view of your business to your customers need will be very important in motivating them to download it.  

 

Design for your audience

Sure this is the hard part, but knowing your target market is the main goal in any business. Knowing what they need and who they are, whether they are iOS or Android users, helps develop your app to work better by knowing what your customers issues are and giving them a platform that they can use as a solution. The best way to find out your target market is through the use of surveys. With these, you can find out which types of apps they will resonate with, and what they dislike or like about mobile apps?

 

Branding information

If you already have a branding set, such as logos, colors, fonts, etc., share the information with your developers. This gives developers the opportunity to provide you with the necessary solutions to your unique business needs, like your app loading faster, working on several platforms, keeping the aesthetic clean, and making it simple and effective.

 

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (Pt. 1)

 

We have all been there before, where we come up with a great new marketing plan but end up having a hard time getting a strong response rate. Chances are that we are committing one, or multiple, of the following common marketing mistakes:

Weak Written Material:

Having strong writing skills is a crucial part in communicating with your target audience. In order to fully get through to your customers and motivate them to take action, you must first move them with your words. This can only be done through strong written content. The content should interest your readers.

Forgetting about SEO:

SEO is important in marketing for company visibility. When creating any marketing materials, do not forget to incorporate important industry keywords, tags and Meta descriptions to help your business rank high on search.

Repeating others Content:

Every now and then we all get stuck or seem to run out of new ideas and look to others for inspiration. However, while doing this, we end up repeating content every now and then. Doing this can make it difficult for your target audience to remember you. Write in your own point of view and incorporate your own experiences and inspirations into your work.

Not Self-Promoting:

Whenever you think about self-promotion, you probably think about something along arrogance, but it does not have to be this way. The truth of the matter is that if you’re not promoting your content, how will your audience know what your company has been up to? Promote your business’ greatest achievements and invite others to the celebration!

No Call to Action:

Not having a call to action is a big mistake. All your messages and marketing materials should end with a call to action. Connect your marketing materials to your brand and finish off with an instruction on what to do next and how to do it.

Learning from our mistakes is important. If you need help developing a marketing plan that works, contact Sperling Interactive for help!

Tagline vs. Positioning Statement

When you think “tagline” what comes to mind? What about when you hear “positioning statement”? Do you know the difference between the two? If you don’t quite know what the difference between a tagline and positioning statement is, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many people tend to get the two confused all the time. Today, we will clear up some of the difference between the two and their soul purpose. Follow along to get a better understanding.

Taglines:

Chances are that when you think “positioning statement” you may actually be thinking about the tagline. A tagline is made to express the value of a product or service to help improve the appearance and position of a brand. Its duty is to help portray what the company does and who they are.

When creating a tagline, you want to make sure that you can answer the following questions:

  • What do we do for our customers?
  • How do we better our customers’ lives?
  • What is our unique selling proposition?

Once you are able to answer these questions, it’s time to put it all together into a clever statement. A tagline should be clever and witty, so don’t be afraid to use a play on words. It should definitely convey your company’s personality, as well. How else will you make your business memorable?

Positioning Statement:

A positioning statement is much more complicated than a tagline. It requires more information in just as a memorable way as a tagline. The components of such statement are:

  • Target audience
  • The solutions it offers
  • Comparison to competitors
  • Unique selling proposition (USP)

Here is a template to help get you started:

“[Brand’s name] is for [target audience] looking to [explain the services] unlike others [related industry]. [Explain why your business is unique in, at least, 3 points].”

Are you having trouble coming figuring out how to position your brand? Contact Sperling Interactive for a consultation.

How to Create Brand Positioning?

Brand positioning is the most important way to get your business and products out there. In order to maintain a great business running, the business’ brand needs to be recognized and remembered in a positive light. The goal in brand positioning is to create an image about your brand in consumers’ minds so that they can remember your products in a specific way. Because this is so important for your company, we have put together some guidelines to help you create an appropriate brand positioning.

Before you create a plan for your brand positioning, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

         How is your brand currently positioned?

         Who are your competitors?

         How are competitors positioning themselves?

Once you have found the answers to these questions, you would be able to have a better sense of which direction you would like to take your business -competing alongside your competitors, or divert from them completely.

If you want to differentiate your brand from that of competitors, the best way to do so is by focusing your brand position on the features your company has to offer that competitors don’t. If you and your competitors offer very similar services/products, you can focus advertisements on those features that competitors are not expressing in their advertisement. Many times, businesses tend to overlook some of their services without realizing how those services can be of priority to prospective consumers. Pay attention to what competitors are saying about their businesses to help determine the direction you want to take.

If you are interested in competing alongside competitors, determine what makes your service better than theirs and have your brand positioning revolve around that.

Advertising Trends

New advertising trends are always developing and evolving over time. From print to digital, there have been many trends. With all the many rapid changes in trends, it can certainly be difficult to keep up with them, but we are here to help! We have developed a list with explanation about the newest advertising trends to help guide you in your next campaign. If you are interested in finding out what they are and how to go about them, continue reading.

An incredible amount of advertising occurs on digital media. This is, of course, no news since everyone is always hooked on some type of digital technology and happens to be all around us.  This brings us to our first trend…

Video Advertising:

According to research, mobile ads specifically have resulted in growing revenue. People are constantly looking at their phones or tablets to pass time or to avoid awkward situations, which is why many advertisers are placing their focus on mobile video ads. Over the past year, advertisement videos have accounted for 30 percent of all online video consumption.

Keeping it Short:

Everyone is constantly on the run or moving onto the next task. Because of this, short video advertisements have become a popular trend. Snapchat, for example, has become a popular advertising platform especially for targeting young millennials. Videos are usually 10 seconds long and can appear in random randomly throughout while browsing through live stream videos or going through the discover section.

Chat Advertising:

Advertising on chat apps have also become the popular thing to do since people are constantly communicating through instant chats. Examples of these apps are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.

Entertaining while Informing:

Because people, especially millennials, dislike seeing “salesy” posts, the advertisements have become more entertaining while still being informative. Of course, this can be done with videos but also with infographics as opposed to lengthy blog posts.

Networking Organizations We’re a Part of: The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

This month we are highlighting the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, a networking organization we just recently became a member of! The Greater Boston Chamber currently supports over 1,500 organizations from all industries and of all sizes in the region. Their mission is to develop an economic growth throughout the greater Boston region as well as a vibrant and inclusive business community. By joining the organization, businesses are able to benefit from, not only networking opportunities but also, advocacy, leadership development, and innovation initiatives.

Strategic Networking Opportunities:

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce offers networking events with top businesses and political leaders speakers in order for members to build professional connections, meet prominent business and government leaders, and engage in issues relevant to business community.

Business Advocacy:

The Greater Boston Chamber gives businesses a voice in economical and political situations through legislative efforts and policies, which help improve the region’s business climate and competitiveness. These advocacy efforts take place through the public policy committee, the “Advocacy Pulse,” a monthly update for all members, and “Growth Tracker,” an online resource with comprehensive economic views.

Leadership Opportunities:

The Greater Boston Chamber cultivates programs for the region’s business leaders. These include the Executive Leadership Institute, Boston’s Future Leaders, Women’s Leadership Program, and the Chamber Intern Connect, an internship website.

Innovation Initiatives:

Along with this, the chamber creates initiative designed to foster and promote the growth of the region’s economy. They also take initiatives towards showcasing innovative companies, and innovation-related advocacy.

Among all of these services, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce offers many other services. To find out more about the benefits and services available through this organization, visit their site here.

Podcasting & Content Marketing

“Content Marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior.” (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

If you were to take this definition of content marketing you could see that podcasts are the perfect platform for this marketing strategy. Now, if you’re thinking, “Podcasts, really? Who even listens to those anymore?” Well, podcasts are actually more popular now than they ever were. Today there are thousands and thousands of podcasts available on iTunes alone. Podcasts exists for every, and any, topics. Whether it is music, sports, medical, entertainment, business, science, cooking, marketing, or anything else, you could probably find a podcast on that topic. This makes podcasts an excellent medium to create content marketing.

To give an example of how podcasts are ideal for content marketing, think about a cooking podcast where they, of course, talk about cooking experiences, recipes, and anything that has to do with cooking and food. Just by doing this, the hosts is providing their audience with important cooking information while keeping them entertained. Here, the audience learns about what the best cooking utensils are for certain recipes, what products produce the best flavors, and more. Maybe, the hosts gets a promotional code for a certain product that they really enjoy using and decide to share it with their audience. All of this can lead to the audience to build a relationship with the cooking podcast, and maybe even associate cooking with that particular podcast.

In this example, the host of the cooking podcast is consistently providing their audience with relevant content and building relationships with their audience in order to enhance the amount of loyal listeners and ratings. With that said, if you have been thinking about creating a podcast in relations to your business, keep this in mind and remember that content marketing can take your business far.

Fun Promo Products for Warmer Seasons

If you’re planning on getting a fresh new stock of promotional products, we have the perfect ideas for the warmer seasons that will get everyone’s attention! We sat down with our personal promotional product expert, Annie Galvao, again to find out what this upcoming season’s popular promo products are. Here are the products she brought up:

Mesh Beach Chair

Who doesn’t like a comfortable beach chair to carry around during company beach outings, or personal beach day trips? Beach chairs are perfect for those reasons and even better to promote your company! There is a ton of canvas space to place your company’s logo and information on.

Beach Towels

A heavy-duty beach towel is always a good idea. This product also has a ton of canvas space to customize with your company’s logo and information. A product like this does a great job at increasing your brand exposure. You can never have too many towels, so you can be sure that recipients will love this product.

T-Shirts

Another product you can never have too many of is t-shirts! These are great to package together with other items to give away at corporate events or as simply corporate gifts. They’re great for any season.

Beach Buddy Mat

Sometimes just laying on a towel can be uncomfortable. Fulfill your prospective customer’s need by handing out a beach mat with your company logo.

Sunscreen Lotion Bottles

Sunscreen is an essential product, especially in the warmer seasons when the sun is out for a longer period of time. By having sunscreen lotion bottles with your company logos, you can guarantee that your brand will have the exposure it needs

Coolers

If your company is one that’s know for thinking a little outside of the box, then you should consider a multitasking cooler. What I mean by that is the ones that serve multiple purposes outside of keeping your drinks and food chilled, like one that has speakers to play music from and can also transform into a chair. This item is perfect for tailgating a show, game, etc. and for cookouts or camping!

 

If interested in any of these promo products for your business contact our Sperling Interactive team!

First Hand Opinion on Trade Shows

This year our company has attended a total of 3 trade shows. Sperling Interactive had a booth at the North Shore Tourism Exhibit, the North Shore Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, and the Small Business Expo in Boston. I sat down with our Sperling sales team to find out what the big deal on trade shows are.

According to team member Colin, business expos can be very successful because they create company awareness and make it easier to communicate and inform audiences on the services we offer, how we can help their businesses, and who we are as a competitive brand. Colin’s favorite trade show was the Small Business Expo for this particular reason. The team was able to bring awareness of Sperling Interactive to the audience while being among big brand name companies in Boston, which supports the team’s goal of expanding the business in the Boston area.

When reflecting back on these events, the team acknowledges what worked and didn’t work for them when promoting our services. The first thing they learned from the first trade show they went to was that these events are more about educating the audience about your business’ service and less about trying to sell it to them. They also learned that having informational products like flyers and brochures, as well as promotional products stimulates more conversations with the audience. By the time of the second trade show, our team was prepared with informational handouts and silly putty that said, “Let us mold your market” on the packaging as our promotional product. The uniqueness of this was a great conversation startup.

The team also generated conversations by creating an incentive for people to go up to our booth. For the last trade show they attended, our team came up with the idea of raffling a free 3 page website by having those interested drop their business card into a box. This turned out successful because now we have many businesses we can get in contact with as well as a new client. At the North Shore Chamber Business Expo, the team also offered professional head shots in order to start a conversation. This was perfect because photography is one of the services we offer and because they were able to communicate with people while they waited for their head shots. Because of this incentive, team member Max decided that this particular trade show was his favorite.

Some things that stood out to them from these trade shows were that many of the bigger brand name companies had a large amount of employees at their booths. A lot of the booths that were receiving the most attention were the ones with a variety of flashy products. They also noticed a booth that was offering consultations on the spot with a separate meeting area. Overall, they noticed that there was diverseness in company industries in all the trade shows.