Is the Brand Architecture the Right Solution for Your Small Business?

Brand architecture is widely discusses in the business and companies while talking about the different brands of the same business. But the problem is that the importance of brand architecture is not properly understood. It is the method or way by which the different brands of the company are interrelated. It is also termed as the structure of brands in the company’s portfolio. A company can have a single brand or may have different multiple brands, some are main brands; the others are sub brands for supporting the main brands etc. So the brand architecture is the integrated process of establishing the brand and its relationship with the company’s other brands.

There are mainly three types of brand architecture in any organization or businessCorporate brand or umbrella brand. It means that company has a single brand which appears or shows on all the products and services.
Endorsed brand or sub brand, sometimes called “a house of brands”
Individual brand. In this brand each product of the company has its individual brand representing that product. Consumer may not know actually the parent company that owns all these brands.
Brand architecture makes the connection among all the brands whether it is a corporate or master brand, product brand or individual brand.

Great architecture is essential to the business as it has all the details on which brand depends and which are important for touching the consumer’s thoughts and desires.

Normally in small business the brand architecture is simply the compilation of documents which gives the characteristics of brand architecture and the essential guidelines to the marketers. But in detail the brand architecture is a very long process.

The brand architecture process consists of following steps.

STEP 1: Brand is used as a reference for the buying and selling decisions for providing the excellent level of satisfaction to the customers.

STEP 2: In this step the brand characteristics are defined and brand personality is revealed to customers. Like a caring mother, an expressive connection and emotional stability is maintained among customers and brand personality.

STEP 3: When the personality is established about the brand, next step is to develop a brand icon. It’s just like the steps of Maslow’s Hierarchy of need theory in which ladder is moved upwards. Brand icon is established in the minds of customer to always stay on the top.

STEP 4: At this stage the brand is the solid statement of the company and the company is recognized by that brand.

This whole process makes the brand architecture visible and clear to the targeted customers. But is very critical decision to choose which brand architecture should be used. For introducing new product, corporate brand should be used. If another company is being acquired, then individual branding is best. Sub brands are between the individual and corporate brands. Before choosing the right brand architecture, business should have a look on the pros and cons of that brands architecture.

Is Pinterest Good For Business?

Is Pinterest good for business? Like any other social media networking website, the use of Pinterest for business purposes requires time and commitment. Pinterest can definitely attract customers to your page, but it is not the right platform for every business type. Let’s take a look at a few questions that you should ask yourself before setting up a Pinterest account for your company.

Do you have the time to put into social networking on Pinterest?

Time 300×300 Is Pinterest Good For Business?Many have been asking me this question after reading my previous post on Pinterest. There are a variety of different social media networking websites out there that are all great for driving business. Having said that, unless you have several people doing it for you, it would be almost impossible to promote yourself on each one. Social networking takes a great deal of time and effort. Not only do you need to take the time to seek out friends, but you also need to put a great deal of effort and thought into what will go on your page. In addition, your page will need to be updated regularly. As such, you need to decide if you have the time to create and maintain an attractive and informative homepage for yourself.

Is Pinterest the social media network that will attract the most business for me?

As said previously, there are a wide variety of social media networks out there – each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. Pinterest is a photo based platform. As such, businesses that can use photographs to promote their business will see the most success from Pinterest. If you own an interior decorating business, photographer, designers (graphic, web, clothing, etc.), florist, makeup artist, etc. where you can share your ideas, or a business where you can promote products through pictures, than it may be worth investing your time in Pinterest. If not, you may want to steer your efforts towards another social media website such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

That being said, if you are not a company that can share pictures directly related to your products or services, you still CAN benefit from being on Pinterest. You’ll just need to be more creative or hire someone who’ll design a custom strategy for your efforts on Pinterest.

Who is your target audience?

Bulls Eye 300×199 Is Pinterest Good For Business?Regardless of what social media website you are using, you need to ask yourself who your audience is. This is especially true when it comes to Pinterest since the majority of users are female. With 3 out of every 4 Pinterest users being female, it is businesses who target women that will receive the most benefit from the website. As such, if your business is targeted towards men, you may want to put your efforts into promoting yourself elsewhere (at least until the website begins attracting a larger male audience).

The above questions are just a few of the many that you need to ask yourself when deciding “is Pinterest the right choice for your business?” Here are a few other questions that you should ask yourself:

Would it cost you money to promote on Pinterest (would you need to hire someone to keep your page updated)? Is it a good investment or could your money be spent in other ways?
Do you have a creative mind? (Success on Pinterest is based on creativity, so it is important that you have the mind to create interesting pins).
Do you enjoy using Pinterest?
Use these questions to help you decide if Pinterest is good for your business. Let me know how you enjoyed this article and what questions about Pinterest you have. I’ll be looking forward to hear from you! Click here to discover the most common mistakes to avoid when using Pinterest.

How To Successfully Leverage Social Media

Do you want to direct traffic to your website, market your business, and increase your sales? Twenty years ago, if you wanted to enhance your business, you would use newspaper ads, television ads, or radio ads. Today, if you are not using social media to market your business, you are already 5 steps behind your competitors. Let’s learn how to successfully leverage social media to increase your business potential.

Computer2 How To Successfully Leverage Social Media

The first thing you will need to do when learning how to successfully leverage social media is to create one (or several) social media pages for your business. There are several different social media sites out there and the more you use the more successful you will be. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are today’s top social media resources that will allow you to gain exposure online.

Once you have created your account, you must create and share compelling content. If you want to attract people to your page, you will need to engage your audience. If you want to engage your audience, you will need to know what they are interested in and how your product can benefit them. Include a variety of interesting and informative information on your social media page using articles, blogs, videos, statistics, pictures, and more.

In attracting the interest of your target audience, providing them with interesting and informative information is not enough. You must also provide them with an incentive to purchase your product or service. Use your social media website to promote special offers or sales.

When learning how to successfully leverage social media, it is important to remember that one of your main goals is to direct traffic to your business website. To do this, include links within your social media page. You don’t need to include links with every post, but be sure that they are easily visible and accessible.

If you want to learn how to successfully leverage social media, it is also important that you keep your audience engaged and wanting to return. Special offers are one way to do this, but keeping your information up to date is also useful. Engage your audience. Encourage them to ask questions and respond to them in a timely manner. The key to maintaining previous customers is building rapport and developing trust. This can all be done through proper communication.

Finally, in learning how to successfully leverage social media to build your business, it is also important that you cross-reference your social media profiles. Post links to your social media accounts in your emails, connect your blog to your social media sites, add share buttons, connect your LinkedIn page to your Twitter page, and so on.

In today’s society, almost everyone has their own social media webpage. If you are not using social media to promote your business, you are missing out a great opportunity to market your business where the people are. Create several social media websites, develop interesting content, post links to your website, communicate with your clients, and cross-reference your social media sites. By using social media to promote your business, you will soon see a dramatic increase in your business sales!

How To Protect Brand Identity on Social Media

If you happen to own a small business, there is no denying the benefits to be gained by utilizing the powerful advertising tool known as social media. The use of sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and others, can be very effective in increasing brand identity, growing your business, and keeping you ahead of the competition. Many business owners are now making optimum use, of the marketing opportunity presented by social media sites.

Protect How To Protect Brand Identity on Social Media

However, social media advertising does have its downside, so while it is important to ensure that you establish a clearly defined presence on these sites, it is also necessary to have strategies in place to protect your brand identity. The social media landscape has been dotted by many incidences of fraud, and unauthorized use of intellectual property. Early detection of infringements will ensure that the goodwill and distinction you have earned in the marketplace, is not eroded.

Your brand identity is that unique factor, or factors, which distinguish your product or service from your competitors. It takes a lot to build an online reputation, so you must ensure that it is well protected. Be sure to craft a sound branding strategy before venturing into the world of social media marketing. In order to protect your brand identity on social media, make sure to do the following:

Register your company name. Reserving your name is important in order to reduce the possibility of trademark infringement. It will also minimize the risk of unauthorized use of your intellectual property. Registering your company name is essential, as there have been times when companies have found that their name has already been registered by someone else. Once registration is complete, then you should upload all the relevant details on your company, including videos and other content.
Monitor your brand. This involves keeping current with what is happening with your brand online. So you should be aware of when your brand is mentioned, who is talking about it, and what is being said about it. Google Alerts is one tool that allows you to track information on your business. Always bear in mind that social media is dynamic, and so you must keep on top of developments.
To effectively monitor your brand, you should also check in with the social media sites that you have established a presence. This should be done often, preferably twice a week. The purpose of this is to detect any fraudulent activity that might be taking place. Regular visits will ensure that infringements are speedily identified and corrected, before any damage is done to your business image.

Social media sites provide innovative and convenient ways to promote your brand. However, as we have seen, it is not without potential pitfalls. Therefore, it is important to approach social networking with a branding strategy, designed to safeguard your brand identity. Take the necessary precautions such as registering your name, and monitoring your brand, in order to minimize possible risks. Once adequate monitoring is in place, then your business will be in a position to reap the benefits that can accrue from social media.

How To Improve Your Website Conversion Rates

So, you want to know how to improve your website conversion rates? You’ve come to the right place! For those who are unsure, a conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to a website that go on to make a purchase. If you want to run a business, it is not enough to get people to your website – you must get them to buy from your website. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you improve conversion rates at your website.The first thing you must do is to develop a great website design. Your website design is the first thing that your potential clients see. When looking at your site, they will either continue searching through it or they will leave. In order to have your potential client to continue searching through your website, your webpage design needs to be both attractive and professional. If your website looks unprofessional or untidy, it’s almost guaranteed that your potential client will become a “forget-it-babe” client. Always keep your website tidy and be sure that it is easy for your user to navigate through. It should be easy for your prospect to do both – find information they need and make a purchase if they choose to buy.

Design is very important, but it’s not everything. You also need to develop a clear message. If your user likes your webpage design and decides to stay on your webpage, the second thing that they will look at is your information. All information should be clear, concise, informative, and interesting. It should capture your reader’s attention and tell them everything they need to know while still being to the point. Don’t bore your clients, keep them interested!

Another important step when improving your website conversion rates is to determine your target market. Who will use your product or service? Will it be males or females? Adults or children? The more you understand about your target market, the better you will be able to market to them. Understand what your market likes and use this to create information and designs that will be attractive to them. (Now I’m back to the step number one – design… do you see how everything fits together? It’s more a puzzle than a manual. lol)

Another big one on the list of ‘how to improve your conversion rates’ is communication. If a customer cannot easily find how to contact you, you may lose their business. Always be sure that you have contact information readily available and have someone available to answer your client’s questions.

Let’s talk about the follow up for a minute. If you want to turn a visitor into a buyer, you need to focus on following up. Creating a website is not enough. You must be sure to update your website as often as possible, keeping your potential clients informed and updated. Also, always follow up on inquiries and comments. Whether a client leaves a positive or negative comment, always reply. Thank them for positive comments and reply to negative comments by letting users know how you will work to improve on the negative aspect in the future.

If you really want to improve your website conversion rates, you need to provide a quality product or service. Business is a crowded place and you probably have a lot of competition (and if you don’t make sure you’re in the right niche). You need to give your clients a reason to purchase from you. Providing quality and incentives will help to turn potential clients into paying clients.

Finally, and most importantly, you need to gain the trust of your users. Many people are very cautious when buying online (and rightfully so!). If you want to make a sale, you need to gain the trust of your clients. Website design is a good start in gaining trust. It can also be accomplished by providing an address, as well as a contact phone number for inquiries. If you don’t have a business address, get a postal box. There are ways to protect your privacy while still building trust with your clients.

The above are some tips to show you how to improve your website conversion rates. Use the tips above to help build your small business and watch how much difference they will make in your sales!

How To Brand Your Business Effectively

Successful business branding is one of the most important aspects of building a successful company or business venture. Still, way too many small business owners are not sure whether branding is the right solution for their starting or existing business. Branding, when done right, will increase your visibility on the marketplace, draw your target market to you and increase your revenues. Branding is the solution for anyone who deals with people, even if you’re not in business.

One of the most crucial aspects of branding is continuity. There are many different ways to reach out to customers, publicize and promote your business and get your business name known and recognized. But sometimes it can seem difficult to transfer your brand image from one medium to another. What works well on a billboard may fail when transferred to a business card. When embarking on a branding or re-branding project for your company or business, you need consider all of the possible media which might be used to promote your business in the future, and consider how the brand image will translate across all of them fluidly, consistently and recognizably.

Another essential element of successful branding is effective use of keywords. This applies both to the brand name itself and also to the tag-line which will be associated with it. The reason for considering keywords is that today, in a world driven by internet technology, this is how people search for products and information relating to them. Hubspot wrote a fantastic article on SEO recently, and instead of repeating the information, I recommend you to read “9 SEO Insights You Must Follow” article.

Visual branding is increasingly important too. With an unbelievable quantity of slogans, brand names, images, and adverts bombarding us every day we have grown very used to the same old forms of advertising and promotion. If I asked you to state how many adverts or promotions you saw yesterday, you may think about a dozen or perhaps twenty. The truth is that almost certainly you were exposed to couple hundreds, through a wide variety of media. The fact that we estimate the actual number so low proves the importance of not just having a great brand image, but also having a successful marketing of that brand name or slogan in place.

This is where thinking outside of the box is crucial. Look around at what other people are doing, but don’t follow the tribe. Instead, think about how you can be different. Visual branding should support and strengthen your business branding and help you stand above your competition.

Branding is one of the most confusing areas of business life. It can help business succeed as easily as it can ruin a successful business. While we see large corporations invest in branding, small business owners are still not sure whether this is the right way to go. That’s why I’m hosting a free teleseminar this week to help you understand whether branding is the right solution for your type of business or you’re better without it. Also, I’ll give you 7 steps to building an attractive brand. You will love all the tips and resources you will get during this free call. Click here to learn more and join us on my “Business Success Secrets” teleseminar

How to Create a Winning Social Media Strategy

The explosion of the World Wide Web has allowed people to create businesses that did not have this opportunity before. It is estimated that over 2 billion people utilize the internet each day. Over 500 million of these people are Facebook users and over 200 million follow twitter. Many of us have seen the dating sites commercials stating that 1 in 6 marriages started as an online relationship.

Social media allows its users to create, exchange, and distribute information. This is true whether individuals use this forum for personal or professional reasons. The very first step to creating a winning social media strategy is to realize how powerful social media and the internet are. Facebook was originally created as a means of social interaction for college students by college students. Today, parents and grandparents, organizations and businesses, all have Facebook pages. When Twitter started, many thought it’s just a joke. Couple years later we follow celebrities, media and corporations for insider information, tips and resources.

Online visibility is extremely important to small and large businesses alike. Companies must learn ways to increase their online visibility and social media is probably the best tool to do just that. While it is vital that businesses are visible online, it is almost, if not more, important, that potential consumers see that the website receives a great deal of traffic. Word of mouth spreads faster on social media than in real life. Most of the time, just seeing another person endorsing a new product or specific event makes people buy or attend. Since the creation of advertisement, word of mouth has always been one of the best methods of promoting brands, products and services. Social media allows word of mouth to spread across greater distances in only a few seconds.

To produce a winning social media strategy you must create lively content that is authentic. This is true whether your business is large or small and offers products or services (or both). It is important to attract consumers, but it is vital that you hold their attention and convince them that they can benefit from your brand. The content must be truthful and accurate or you may lose potential customers. Most consumers know when a company is simply pitching a sale.

One goal of a social media strategy is to increase brand awareness. This may be done in a number of ways including creating a sweepstakes or contest for that brand. Another way is to have some type of giveaway, such as giving users a free sample or coupon for liking your page. This can be perpetuated by telling users to refer a certain number of friends and they will receive a free full size product. Social media can spread your message across the globe quickly. Entrepreneurs should take full advantage of this because even if their business does not have a Facebook page, people are still talking and tweeting about it.

ROI, or return on investment, is profit the company makes after the cost of investments into that business. Creating a sound social media strategy can dramatically increase the ROI, if the correct steps are taken. It could also be the company’s downfall. At Magnetic Look we’ve created a comprehensive program that will take you behind the scenes of social media and navigate you through the social media jungle while showing you exactly how to create your very own social media strategy for your business. Social Media Simplified program is designed to not only show you how to create a winning social media strategy, but to also help you win this social media game no matter how much (or little) experience you have in both, business as well as social media. Start taking advantage of social media today and boost your business growth today.

Does Brand Positioning Really Work?

Getting your name on the front of a building is an exciting accomplishment for anyone to achieve. Whether you are a local plumbing company, or a fortune 500 company, either way you have created it and that alone is quite a feat. Once you have a supply of what it is that you would like to do as a small business, you must follow through with marketing and using successful brand management skills to get you somewhere.

It is imperative to look closely at what it is you will be selling or marketing before you start buying ad spaces and running local billboards in your area that may or may not be very effective in your business branding scheme. When you being the startup process to bring more attention to your company name, consider what fees you can realistically afford. Certainly a television commercial is great for almost any company, but if your budget is tight, what options do you have?

To begin, think carefully about brand positioning and whether it actually works? Common sense would tell you that yes, indeed it does because you cannot make more money and watch your business thrive without customers. The more people know about your company and are familiar with your business name, the better off you will be financially. Referrals for one example can be golden as they are a means of free advertising that can greatly benefit your company.Focus on strong positioning of your business using free social media formats. Facebook and Twitter applications have literally taken over the world. Social media can greatly expand the number of people that are aware of your company name and what you have to offer. Look at your existing client base and work with that common demographic. If they are mostly men between the ages of twenty and thirty, then you will need to work with marketing promotions and avenues that will adhere to men in that age range.

Brand positioning works and it can greatly impact your business growth. The theory is a rather simple one, the more people that are aware of your company worldwide, the more people can refer others to your business. You will need to get your name out there as much as possible. Do take part in the activities that are going to aide in the sole promotion of your business and that will help you grow financially in the end.

How To Discover Your Gifts – part 2

Suddenly there was silence. I wasn’t sure what my daughter is thinking about and how she’s processing what we just discussed. But when the last question came, I instantly knew that the whole conversation was supposed to end here and nowhere else. With quiet voice she said: “Mom, what if I don’t find my gift?

Can I waste my life by not using my gift?
What if one day I learn that I haven’t done what I was supposed to?”

It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this question. I’d asked it myself many times before. Even some of my clients struggled with it. And I’m pretty sure there are many others out there inquiring the same.

…Not sure what your gift is, afraid to never find out. (By the way, this is a good case!) Even worse, being detached from one’s life’s purpose, never reaching the given potential.

Here are some hard truths you need to understand when it comes to (not)wasting your gifts.

#1: Yes, you CAN miss discovering your gifts!
Here are just some of the ways how you can prevent yourself from living a purposeful life:

forget about your gifts, potential or purpose… just enjoy your life and do only what’s required of you, never looking for more in life
compare yourself with others, try to be like somebody else… why bother discovering your own strengths?
always put down your own strengths and double guess your own decisions… who are you to do anything right?
blame others for your own mediocrity… using people from your past works especially well (try parents, teachers, siblings, etc.), but when in serious need, any person or event will do
This list can go on and on, but I’m pretty sure you’re seeing the picture. Remember, missing the target is easy. Hitting it will require some decisiveness, effort and practice.

#2: Discovering your gifts requires effort!
First of all, it will take some serious self-discovery. To help you get started, here are 3 areas where you can find your gifting (you most likely have some strengths in each of them):

Cognitive – What do you KNOW to do? What is your expertise? Where do you have past experience? What is your IQ? What is your education? What are you good at? Or what can you LEARN to do? What can you IMPROVE? This is probably the easiest area to browse through.
Affective – What do you LIKE doing? What do you enjoy doing? What are your personality strengths? What is your EQ? What do you WANT to do more of? Personality tests can be super helpful in this area as they reveal your strengths and weaknesses and help you focus on the right stuff and grow forward.
Conative – What will you DO? What is your natural talent? How do you get your best job done? This is probably the hardest area to discover. This is exactly where we’re led off track as we lack understanding of who we are. Yet, there IS an assessment that can help you discover this area. Click here to find more.
If you were hoping to wake up one day knowing exactly what your gifts are, I urge you to stop misleading yourself. You need to take action and do some search in and outside of you. It doesn’t just happen to you. YOU need to make it happen! Think, ask, brainstorm, read, learn, inquire, test, these are just handful of tips to help you get started.

#3: Your strengths sharpen with use!
You can keep waiting a lifetime to become a pro at something or you can take action and make it happen. Our gifts and talents are like muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they become. You can’t become a master at something without being a student first. You can’t become a go-to person without learning first. Start where you are today, stay focused and be persistent. Take it one step at a time. It’s not about the speed. It’s about moving forward.

How can you know that you’re not using your talents?

you’ve lost your passion and you can’t even remember when that happened
it takes hard work to motivate yourself to get your day to day tasks done
you’ve been stagnant for some time now, lacking personal and/or professional growth
you have big dreams, but you’re lacking results
you are afraid to share your knowledge, experiences, skills and talents with others out there

Name Email Submit Form Customer Engagement: Beyond the Words

Customer engagement is akin to many of the catch phrases that pop up in marketing lingo from time to time. These often take the marketing world by storm, and then eventually subside. However, customer engagement seems here to stay. Essentially, it is a strategic approach to marketing that seeks to engage customers on a more individual level. The rationale being, that this will allow the company to be more responsive to changes in customer needs, and behavior. Customer engagement takes direct marketing up several notches, by focusing more on two way communication.

The advent of social media added a new dimension to the marketing landscape. Because of the ease with which messages, both good and bad, can become viral, marketers have found it increasingly important to start listening to customers. Marketing is no longer limited to just sending a message to the customer, but rather, marketers are being forced to listen to what those customers have to say, and engage them.

If businesses opt not to engage customers, they risk being caught unawares by negative feedback, as they will not know what is being said about their brand. Social media sites have empowered consumers, so that they are now able to influence how well a brand sells. They are able to use email, websites, blogs, or other social networking tools, to express opinions about products and services, and influence what others buy.

Dissatisfied customers can damage a brand, making it lose its position in the marketplace. So customer engagement must move beyond words, and ensure that stated brand promises are adhered to. These promises should focus on the key areas of customer service, and product quality. When a brand loses ground in the marketplace it can have immediate repercussions, and this is particularly harmful to the small business, that relies heavily on social media marketing.

Engaging customers involves:

Listening to customers. Acting on the feedback you receive is the indication that you have heard what has been said by the customer. If you fail to act on this information, then you miss out on the opportunity to improve your product and gain market share.
Creating value. The brand must satisfy the need of the consumer so they must understand what the product offers.
Also consider the following:

Customers that are engaged are loyal. They are more likely to continue buying the brand, and becoming repeat purchasers. They will stay with you for the long term, and shore up profitability.
Customers that are engaged will buy more. Yes they will! Because they are satisfied with the brand and the service being provided.
Customers that are engaged become brand advocates. Brand advocates hold sway over other consumers, and their recommendations can play a significant role in attracting new purchasers. The connection they feel to the brand make them trustworthy marketing associates, as they are interested in helping others share in the brand experience.
Customer engagement is a more individual approach to marketing. It centers around engaging individual customers so that they feel connected to the business process, and become loyal to the brand. It has become apparent that it is much more than a catch phrase, but is evolving into a key component in a business’ ability to survive in the marketplace.