DO I NEED A BRAND REFRESH OR A FULL REBRAND?

There are two types of rebranding exercise a company might consider.

A brand refresh is an evolution of your brand that keeps it fresh and redirects it to communicate better with your target audience.

A full rebrand is a start from scratch exercise when you feel that what you have just isn’t fit for purpose.

It’s important to choose what type of rebrand your company needs rather than how much time it might take.

While a refresh re-stimulates visual and adapted design to reengage services and products to a changing market place, a full rebrand is a better solution if your business has undergone organisational change, that requires a new identity or that there are new products and services so that all elements, internal and external must be designed according to a new scheme.

If you would like to know what you need to consider before committing to a rebrand, please reach out to me for a conversation.

#rebrand #SEOs #IFAs

Be a better IFA by DESIGN

Being an IFA is a special profession. It allows you to give valuable and confidential advice to clients who you serve. You educate on financial products that, when put in place can safely protect those who you look after.

You are invited into the homes of individuals and families and work with them to support and protect their financial wealth. You are their confidant and in time become their friend. You aspire to having long-term relationships with them.

While you may be qualified to support your clients practically, it’s often your brand falls short of mirroring the good work you do personally by not representing you in the best light.

Your brand needs to be the ’YOU’ in the room, when you’re not there.

Your brand must support your conversations, reassure your clients in words and images that support and give relevant meaning to your discussions, provide considered and relevant information to enable important decisions to be made.

By matching your brand, to look and sound like the best IFA you are, your clients will then perceive you and your service is seamless and that will enhance their confidence in you.

If you would like to know how design and branding can give you an edge in winning and retaining clients, please message me.
#IFA #branding

BECOME AN IFA EXPERT

As in any overcrowded industry, getting noticed is one way you can differentiate yourself from your competitors. By raising your profile you can become known as an industry expert or thought-leader.

To achieve this, you need to make sure you are responding to, and commenting on, things that happen in the financial world, eg. changes to the tax regime, announcements from investment companies, changes to interest rates, etc. You can use your blog and/or LinkedIn to do this.

Another way to get exposure to a wider audience of potential clients is to find forums such as myFICO Forum or Bigger Pockets or Facebook groups where people are asking questions about personal finance. Equally, in a similar vein, you could look for financial questions on Quora and provide answers to them.

Providing information and answers in response to these questions will help establish you as an expert in your field and allow people to get to know you in a relaxed environment.

Most forums will allow you to include links in your posts or in your signature and this can be a good way to get people to click through to your website to read more about a particular topic you've given them some help with.

#IFA #marketing #sales

TIPS for IFAs to encourage CONVERSATIONS

People love to make excuses for putting off making decisions about their finances, especially when it comes to things like planning for retirement which seems a very long way off.

A successful financial adviser will try to create a sense of urgency in prospective clients -– both when talking to them but also through the content of their blogs and newsletters online adverts, website content, and other marketing materials, by posing questions like “What if…”

The way you do this will depend on the products you are promoting and the time of year. Eg. in Feb/Mar you could highlight the upcoming end of the tax year – a reason for prospects to take action to save, not missing out on using their ISA allowance.

Our lives run along a path, from cradle to grave, interspersed with life events that include education, making a home, nurturing a family and letting them go out into the world, care in older age, etc. All these phases need planning and it's surprising how quickly life events arrive. So giving advice at apt times requires you to know life’s milestones and the more detailed you are in mapping these, the greater chance you’ll have relevant conversations with your prospective clients.

Create a sense of urgency.

#IFA #marketing #sales

How Can IFAs Generate More Enquiries and Sales through their website?

Financial advisers often tell me that the biggest challenge they have is marketing their services in order to find new clients.

It’s hard to imagine that any Financial advisor in business today isn’t using their website to attract and give information to their clients. A call to action on the homepage may prompt a client to pick up the phone, but how might you get more from your website and convert visitors into leads and leads converting into clients?

Make it easy for people to book an appointment with you.
Install an agile calendar so potential clients can arrange a meeting with you.

Install a chatbot.
Chatbots have been shown to greatly increase the number of enquiries you can generate from your website.

Offer multiple communication options.
The more ways people can get in touch with you the better, as what might be an obvious way of connecting for one, may not be for another.

As well as traditional channels such as phone and email, think about offering options for people to get in touch with you by text, WhatsApp, a chatbot, social media messaging, etc.

Also, make sure that you choose the right communication channel when following up on enquiries you receive.

#IFA #marketing #sales

INFOGRAPHICS!

“In our mobile world, infographics are more than simply an effective way of sharing data-heavy information. They are becoming the go-to tool for rapid insight communication” Jennifer Chico

Information graphics, charts, tables, and diagrams are instrumental in showing off branded elements.

A consistent application of core visual properties, such as brand colour and typeface, forms an immediate association with your business when relating data and ensures that presentations are clear and unified with your brand.

Information graphics aid in simplifying often complex ideas and though, bar, line and pie charts are still effective, they have a limited amount of personality, correlating to a limited degree of differentiation. Brands are increasingly turning to iconography for data representation – using easily recognisable objects to convert workday information into engaging stories.

Do you have an in-house language for use in your information graphics?

#infographics #branding #identitydesign

BRANDING – LOOK AND ‘FEEL’?

Look and feel are often paired together when talking about refining a brand and creating branded materials. The ‘look’ bit, is pretty straight forward – logo, colours, graphics etc – the less tangible aspect, loosely defined as ‘feel’ is the essence that drives business communication – it is the brand’s tone of voice.

A powerful ingredient in any brand, tone of voice if articulated consistently, can bring together not just thousands of communications but thousands of people playing a subtle but significant part in defining the brand experience.

A distinctive tone of voice can generate solidarity, familiarity and trustworthiness, Moving forward, a business can build upon these characteristics to convey other feelings and elicit other responses, like humour, happiness, curiosity, confidence.

The values that inform tone of voice must be authentic and easy to use – keep the rules simple, understandable and real.

Tone of voice is a brand’s personality – used well, you can trigger the desired emotions and help earn your customer’s trust. But you must be authentic and consistent with your brand.

Do you need help finding your tone of voice?

#branding #business #storytelling

Meltdown
10 COMMON PROBLEMS THAT LEAD TO BRAND MELTDOWN

For business, its brand is the life force that must be fed in order to thrive. However, too often a brand is left to languish, is taken for granted and ignored. So, what can you do to ensure your brand remains agile and engaging and prevent it from becoming stale, sluggish and irrelevant.

Please review that you do not have…

• An unclear understanding of your brand’s target customers
• An undefined set of core brand values
• An unidentifiable brand promise
• An inconsistent brand identity
• A business that tires of the brand and changes it too often
• Advertising and marketing budgets that get cut first
• A desire to extend the brand for new audiences but forgetting its original core values
• A brand that has become irrelevant
• A new team or management that want to leave their mark on the brand
• A brand where there is no emotional connection.

Remember who your customers are and what they stand for? And importantly, how do you fit into their lives?

If you’re looking to refresh your brand, please be in touch.

Time for a Spring Clean?

For businesses wishing to remain ahead of the game, a regular and up close look at both how the business looks and how the business is performing in the eyes of its customers is essential to maintain a strong and well coordinated brand.

A DESIGN AUDIT will analyse all the design elements used by the business. Its main purpose will be to measure how consistent the brand is expressed across all the channels in which it appears. For instance – does the logo and brand colours work consistently across print and online environments? Have the fonts changed for some reason?

The purpose of a BRAND AUDIT is to ascertain how your business is performing for your customers. It offers you the following benefits: Helps you to determine the positioning of your business and to plan corrective strategies. Empowers you to discover the strengths and weaknesses of your business.

If you haven’t conducted either a design or brand audit for a while and would like some help getting started please feel free to contact me.

Where business survives on its reputation and authentic communication with its customers the only way to stand out from your competitors is through ‘differentiation. And what is it that differentiates your business from others? Brand!

#marketing #audit

SHOULD BUSINESSES ENGAGE IN SOCIAL ISSUES?

Much of social media is driven by the social or political issues of the day. As people, employees, customers and investors, do we expect businesses to take a stand on these contentious issues?

70% of employees think that businesses must work to address society’s challenges. Marketers for business must navigate how and when to engage.

Does a company’s stance on a religious or political issue change how you feel and interact with it?
When is it a good time to weigh in? On what issues should your business make statements?

If you’re able to choose the right issues, you’ll have the opportunity to differentiate your business — in a positive way.

When engaging with issues these characteristics have the biggest impact on audience responses:
• Consistency with company values
• Make a difference on the issues
• Authenticity
• Consistency with business goals

Do you use your business and its brand power to draw attention to social issues?
#socialmedia #marketing #branding #strategy

WHAT FOUR WORDS DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS?

Being able to define what drives your passion and informs the way you do business can be both liberating and clarifying.

In contemplating those four words be clear that they are words that you want your business to aspire to at every level. They drive process, inform service, are a guarantee of quality and of excellence.

If I were to ask you “How do you measure consistency through your business?”, these four words would stand for those principles.

The architect, Lincoln Miles uses these as his four words to measure his focus in his business –
structure, details, material and order. They inform his practice and offer a clear mantra to his clients – there is no doubt what he is primarily concerned with, when designing for his clients.

What four words define your business?
#measure #business #brand #definition

TOWARDS BRAND VISION BY ASKING QUESTIONS

Before embarking on creating a relevant brand for your business it’s important to understand where your business is now and your ambition for it in the future – say, in five years time.

Think about the challenges your business is facing and how you would like your brand to overcome them. For instance, you may be very good at attracting new customers but few come back for your products or services again. This would seem the perfect opportunity to build more brand loyalty.

So, to do this, we need to find out what your potential customers care about and how they feel about your current brand and your market sector as a whole. We’ll need to do some research!

The most pertinent goal for any business is to have the best solution for their customers and that solution should be focussed on them.

There are many places to find answers to the questions you ask: online statistics, government reports, your existing customers. Create a questionnaire to ask a specific set of questions.

Research will enable you to find reliable information to answer the questions you asked and you’ll be equipped with a clearer idea of what your brand vision is.

#branding #vision # #brand

8 THINGS TO IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

We can’t avoid marketing our businesses on Social Media. With over 3.6 billion people using social media worldwide it is an important arena for brands to connect with their audience. But, how can we do it better!

Well, remember that it’s called ‘social’ for a reason. Keep the experience conversational.

And:
1 Don’t spread yourself too thin – know your audience and commit to one or two platforms they are likely to be on
2 Focus less on your products and services and more on your audience – don’t be just another advert!
3 Use your customers for social proof – encourage reviews or likes – user generated content is powerful as it gives proof to your audience.
4 Use visuals – pictures speak volumes and people turn off if there are too many words
5 Get you audience involved – questions, quizzes, surveys and competitions
6 Tell stories – it personalises your brand
7 Differentiate your style and tone across platforms – some channels are formal, others more relaxed
8 Use analytics for proof of your success.

So, engage with your followers, increase your audience, and spread your brand.
#socialmedia #digitalmarketing #socialmediamarketing

WHO NEEDS BRANDING?

The first thing I’d like to address is the word ‘branding’ – If I were to replace it with the word ‘reputation’ I may get your attention, because we all care about our reputation – don’t you think?

Branding is all about the impression you make. To succeed, that impression should do two things – it should convey what is special about your business and it should show it in a positive light.

So think about the impression you want to make and actively take steps to manage it.

There are two parts to this process. Firstly, you have to decide what you stand for – what makes you special and stand out, who you are aiming at and how you want to position yourself. Then you need to make sure that all aspects of your business are in line with this.

It's about applying your values to everything you do, clearly and consistently.

Everything you do in your business builds to create an impression of what it's like to do business with you - and that's your brand. So, you can either just let whatever impression you give happen randomly, or you can take control and manage it to your advantage.

You have a brand whether you like it or not. It's best to embrace that and find the best way to connect your brand with your target audience.

And if you need some help…
#branding

IT’S TRUE – the more EXPENSIVE it is, the BETTER it is!

According to research carried out in a collaboration with The University of Bonn and Insead Business School they were able to prove that participants believed that the same wine tasted better when it was labelled with a higher price tag.

They discovered that the decision making and motivation centres in the brain play a lead role for these price biases to happen.

When the price of the wine was seen as higher, the pleasure and quality of taste in the wine was perceived as greater, even though there was no difference between the two wines.

Perception is at the core of branding. How can we help you to persuade your customers of the value of your brand?

#perception #branding #brandingcompany

WHAT ARE BRANDING GUIDELINES?

Brand guideline are a set of RULES that explain how your brand works. They typically include information such as an overview of your brand's history, vision, personality and key values. Used both internally and externally to communicate who you are, what you stand for, they act as a road map for others to use the brand responsibly, not muddy it and confuse your customers.

They generally include:
* An overview of your brand’s history, vision, personality and key values
* Mission statement – including examples of written ‘tone’
* Logo use – how to use the logo, including min sizes, spacing and rules of how not to use it
* Colour – your primary and secondary colour palettes with value breakdowns for print, screen, web
* Type style – showing the font that you use and details of the font family and default fonts for web use
* Imagery – examples of image style and photography that work with the brand
* Business card and letterhead design – how the logo and font are used in business materials.

Brand guidelines are there to safeguard your brand – they should be flexible enough for designers to be creative, but rigid enough to keep your brand easily recognisable and in check, especially if your brand is to extend across multiple media platforms.
#brand

BRANDING VISUAL IDENTITY AND ITS ELEMENTS

Branding and brand visual identity are sometimes used interchangeably. Though one is contained within another, the two concepts are not one and the same thing.

Visual identity sets the guidelines that promote consistency in a brand’s use of visual elements while Branding is a strategy that refers to the process of creating a brand, by defining its values and how they are organised to communicate to your customers.

Key elements of a Visual Identity include:
1 Name – unique to the business
2 Logo – the visual representation of branding and a graphic symbol of your business and its identity
3 Positioning statement – says what your business is
4 Colour – colour is a key brand identifier
5 Fonts and typography – conveying personality and tone
6 Photography and imagery – should be unique and memorable at portraying your brand
7 Graphics – info-graphics, graphs, charts, illustrations or textures
8 Environment graphics – providing a setting, within which your visual identity sits.

Apart from messaging and brand voice, brand visual identity plays a key role in consistent business presentation.

Do your visual identity elements work together to create a visual brand? Can I help to bring it all together?
#brandidentity #brandidentitydesign

What is BRAND PERSONALiTY?

Brand personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name. A brand personality is something to which a customer can relate.

We see and react with brand as we do with people. We are often drawn to those with strong, positively-impactful personalities — and we always remember them.

Brand personality traits convey the following: Excitement, Desirability, Sophistication, Competence, Ruggedness and Sincerity

So, how do you create a brand personality
1 FIRST, Decide Who You Are – e.g.. The lover, explorer, sage, jester, ruler, magician, caregiver, innocent, hero, everyman, creator, outlaw etc
2 Know Your Audience
3 Choose Your Voice
4 Craft Your Message
5 Be Consistent
7 Use Feedback.

Once you’ve chosen the right personality for your business stick with it – acting sarcastically on Twitter, and then being innocent everywhere else, won’t encourage favourable popularity. People talk!

To make your brand truly memorable Inject some character. What personality is your business?
#brandpersonality #branding #marketing

WHAT ARE BRANDING STRATEGIES?

A branding strategy is a plan for the development of a successful brand in order to achieve something particular. A well-defined brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to customer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.

Brand strategy defines what you stand for, a promise you make, and the personality you wish to convey.

Five key elements that go into a branding campaign are:
1 Brand position – descriptive of how your brand is different from its competitors – where/how it sits in customers’ minds.
2 Brand promise – the value or experience your customers can expect to receive every single time they interact with you.
3 Brand personality – human characteristics associated with your brand.
4 Brand story – the narrative that brings together the facts, feelings and essence of your business.
5 Brand associations – a set of remembered qualities that help communicate information to the customer. These qualities should differentiate you from the competition, and therefore provide a reason to buy your products/services over the other.

By coordinating the information gathered in this exercise a successful strategy can be implemented into a campaign.

Have you considered what your business branding strategy is?

WHAT IS BRANDING?

Design?, Identity?, Culture?,Perhaps, values and relationships – a promise? Is it about symbols, stories or people? Is branding about perception?

There are many different ideas concerning the essence of what branding is, depending on which business professional you may speak to – strangely, what tends to get left off the list are the attributes: confidence, clarity and consistency – essential, in building a successful brand.

Now of course, all the other words used above to describe branding are all valid and not an exhaustive list. When brought together, organised and aligned with a clear strategy, the ideas they conjure become something greater than their sum. Something mercurial perhaps – the something we know vs something yet to happen.

But know this – branding can influence behaviour and sets one business apart from another.

Have you looked to clarify the way your business is branded?
#branding #strategy #brand

BUILDING BRAND EQUITY

Brand equity is the awareness customers have of your products and services and that your brand is identifiable as being well thought of. Apple, Google and Microsoft are all considered to have high brand equity.

The value of your products and services may be easy to calculate, but it’s your customers’ perceptions that really determine the value your brand and products have in the marketplace.

Because of this, your ability to build value into your brand and communicate that value to customers through your marketing is essential to the long term success of your company.

Because it’s difficult to give a pound value to a brand, and no matter how intangible brand equity may seem, a strong brand rewards a business admirably in benefits that include:

• Awareness
• Credibility
• Reputation
• Customer satisfaction

These benefits serve as gifts when marketing to attract that mindful customer who wants to buy from a brand high in value.

In developing your brand equity you will need to be mindful to create a strong brand story and brand personality, in order to make sure your customers see you the way you want to be seen.
#brandequity #branding

Bringing your BRAND STORY to LIFE!

Brand storytelling can strengthen and increase your audience by creating a purposeful and human connection with your customers. Today's audience is driven by personal connections that they make with brands. These connections include, where you've come from and where you are going. They really want to know because they want a real and emotional connection with you.

A great brand story must be true, authentic, and honest. It cannot be made up or derived; consumers are pretty adept at knowing if something is authentic or made up and will punish you for it if they find out you’re not what you say you are.

A compelling story must be focussed on your customers, have a single clear message that resonates with them. There should be structure to your story, a meaningful start, a hearty middle and an emotional end. You can create characters that drive and tell the story, but, remember to deliver facts that include benefits and not features. Also try to develop some dynamic tension!

Once you’ve penned your brand story, you’ll find it permeates throughout your marketing and will flavour, both the tone in its delivery and unlock possibilities to how you express your brand creatively.

A brand story – it’s alive! What is your brand story?
#brandstory

BRAND VALUES THAT KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS COMING BACK

I am always interested how businesses use their brand tools to connect with their customers to make money.

Brand values are the beliefs that you, as a company, stand for. They serve as a compass that guides your brand story, actions, behaviours, and the decision-making process.

For instance, Apple’s brand values are:
• One person, one computer.
• We are going for it and we will set aggressive goals.
• We are all on the adventure together.
• We build products we believe in.
• We are here to make a positive difference in society, as well as make a profit.

My question to you is, do your Brand Values stimulate the intellect and provoke ongoing conversation? Can you use those values to create real ongoing relationships with your customers?.

If you were to, those values would be a rich source to keep your customers and prospects engaged with your story and give you the opportunity to really listen to what they need, so you can provide the right service.

Are your Brand Values a dusty list? How do you engage your customers with your Brand Values?

#branding #marketing #strategy

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER when creating a VALUE PROPOSITION

A Value Proposition is a statement that a company uses to summarise why a customer should buy a product or use a service.

A Value Proposition improves customer understanding and engagement; helps your customers truly understand the value of your company's products and services. It also helps your ideal customers to see how your services benefit them and are their best available option.

So you’ll need to dig deep and ask some searching questions of your employees and customers if you want to discover a true picture of who you are, and ask:

1 What is my brand’s personality? friendly, authoritative, wacky? Its tone.
2 What benefits do my products or services provide? Benefits not features.
3 What brand promises have you made that you want your customers to believe?
4 A believable statement of purpose – What we do; why we do it; for whom do we do it?

Then you’ll need to distill the information you’ve gathered to produce a single statement that brings the proposition together. Your Value Proposition is a valuable and unique definer that will drive all your marketing.

What is your value proposition?

#valuepropositions #brandingbasics #brandingcompany

IS YOUR WEBSITE A DESTINATION?

If we think of destination architecture like the Guggenheim Bilbao, it’s the Guggenheim that has made Bilbao a destination you want to travel to.

So, is your website an exciting, different, and unique experience that draws attention and becomes a destination?.

Does it have a grand entrance and a suite of beautifully executed rooms?. Is the flow through your website intuitive and elegant to navigate?. Are there perfectly positioned help points to provide just the right information when required? Do you exit through a perfectly appointed gift shop?

Above all, is your website a true experience and expression of your brand? If I were to meet you or visit your place of work, would I know that I had arrived at the right place?

These questions demand us to think deeply about how we want our business to be perceived by our customers, and that the environments we create to tell our story represent us in the best way possible.

Give me a call to explore how we might create a perfect destination for your customers.

Our websites are an opportunity for us to think differently. #challengeme #thinkdifferently

How CLEAR are you in COMMUNICATING your BRAND PROMISE?

One of our main business portals for communication to our customers is our website. On a simple level, a brand promise is an announcement of your pledge, telling your customers what they should expect when they buy your products or services.

A brand promise can be delivered to your customers through your website, your corporate story, and even your strap lines.

It’s a good way to elaborate on your positioning statement as it gives you the space to further convince and put at ease your customers so they begin to trust more.

Where a positioning statement gives context to your organisation, your promise is how your clients can differentiate you from your competition. A promise makes you inherently more desirable, and relatable too.

It’s the emotion that drives the brand to deliver a memorable experience.

We’ve all seen companies that struggle with establishing a strong, and credible brand promise. From the company that claims to be all about efficiency but takes forever to deliver to the restaurant that claims to be family-friendly, but never has high chairs for small children. The only way your brand promise can deliver value and loyalty is if you commit yourself to it.

Have you composed your brand promise? #brandpromise

WHAT FONTS DO YOU USE TO BRAND YOUR BUSINESS?

Each font has a distinct personality, and matching a font to be in harmony with the essence of your brand is an important decision to make as it sets the tone of way you communicate to your customers.

Most importantly the typeface you chose must be clear and legible – if your customers have to struggle to understand what you’ve written they will become frustrated and disregard what it is you are saying.

Usually one of the first things to determine is whether to use a serif or san serif font. Serif fonts nod towards the classic, trustworthy and refined camp – think of the Times Newspaper and its font ‘Times’, where, on the other hand, san serif fonts speak to the ‘now’, no fuss, modern and immediate.

Remember to limit the amount of fonts you use in any design – 2-3 max. When using a different font, it should be used as an accent, as emphasis – so avoid choosing two fonts that look similar. In fact, the more similar fonts are, the more likely they will clash.

The key thing when combining two very different fonts is establishing a clear hierarchy between the two — one font should be more prominent than the other. Often, a primary font is a key to the personality of the business, the secondary font,its reasoned mind.

#fontstyle

WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR BUSINESS?

A key feature of any brand is its colours and used in logo design sets the tone for the brand. Is your business a luxury brand, a corporate brand? Do you want to achieve a relaxed mood? Maybe go with soft neutral tones. How about a youthful, energetic, and bold look? There are so many things to consider.

Whenever you encounter a brand, it is its visual appearance, which largely depends on colour, that leaves a lasting impression.

When considering brand colours keep in mind that women don’t like grey, orange, and brown. They like blue, purple, and green, while men don’t like orange, purple and brown. Men like blue, green, and black. It can be a disaster if your’e designing a sporting design in purple.

Colour can set the basic tone, mood, connotation and conception of a brand or a product. People take only 90 seconds to discriminate for or against products online, and between 62% and 90% of their judgment of their initial view, is upon its colour scheme.

How did you choose the colours for your business? #colours #branding