Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mulligans in Branding

New article on "Mulligans in Branding," over at Start Up Growth Expert.com I just started writing for them. Lots of great information for start-ups.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Branding Abroad

I'm about to embark on a trip to Tanzania in eastern Africa to facilitate developing a brand for a transportation agency. This is my first trip to this continent. I will be there for several weeks. Preparing for the trip has been the biggest surprise. The medications you must take to protect us North Americans is amazing. My arms are sore from a day of inoculations. Preparing for a business visa is interesting as well.

I'm looking forward to meeting my new clients and moving forward on the project. With their permission I will blog about the progress in my blogging activities. It will be a branding adventure to be sure.

Stay tuned.

How To Be Found Online Podcast

Thursday, September 16, 2010

10 Branding Cracks To Avoid

A brand by its nature has to be strong and stable. Owners of the brand have to be ever diligent to ensure its authenticity. Stake holders have an enormous impact on this stability. Stresses from the marketplace place a hefty strain on it. Lets have a look at some of the cracks that can form that if left unaddressed can result in brand collapse.

The Inconsistency Crack:

Take a look at all of your collateral materials. Are they consistent in brand image and message? Are all of the brand logos the same? Are all the colors part of your overall brand palette? Inconsistency cracks will cost you money.

The Authenticity Crack:

You say you are service oriented, - in reality you don't deliver. This is a crack that will soon be a chasm. Authenticity cracks can disgust a customer faster than almost any other type of crack. If you want to destroy your hard-earned reputation, allow this one to fester and grow. To patch this crack, you've got to walk the walk.

The Personality Crack:

Like the authenticity crack, the personality crack refers to the brand personality accurately reflecting the tone of the brand. If the Apple personality were to take on the personality of the PC, it would no longer resonate with its target audience. The relationship you share with customers, reflect the personality they have come to admire and embrace. Throwing this in disarray, forms a personality crack.

The Confidence Crack:

In branding, you must be ever diligent in pushing it forward. Letting the economy happen TO you, is allowing the confidence crack to weaken you. The tough times are the true test of your brand. Adhering to your brand values and pushing yourself forward fixes this type of crack. Ignoring it will take you down FAST!

The Learning Crack:

If you want to see this to go from a hairline crack to to a full blown canyon, stop looking for ways to grow your skill-set. Be curious, always be open-minded. The first time you heard the phrase, "social media" did you check into it to see if it held some value for you? Avoiding this crack means that you have to be tireless in your R&D.

The Culture Crack:

Does your brand image truly reflect the culture of your audience. If say, your logo looks as if it were designed for the 1970's, then it's time you had it updated to reflect the culture of today. If your image is supposed to look mature (in years) then you are being true to your audience. Contrary to your culture is the culture crack.

The Positioning Crack:

You've held a leadership position for years but the competition has copied it and broken it down. It's time you had a re-look at it. Positioning cracks form when it no longer differentiates you from your competition. Positioning cracks have a demoralizing effect on your sales staff.

The Stress Crack:

You know that there's problem, but you either choose to ignore it or at the very least try your hand at coming to terms with it. This is the time to look for outside assistance. For a few dollars you can benefit from a wide range of experience QUICKLY. Stress cracks can knock you off your feet if you're not careful. Depending on your management structure, having you under the weather turns control over to the stress crack.

The Rumor Crack:

Every organization has to communicate with its stakeholders. Rumor cracks form when you allow heresy to inform. Rumor is rarely, if ever true. When these cracks grow they make it difficult to lure fresh talent to your firm. These cracks also reduce the value of your company if you are looking to sell. Rumor cracks form a perception of failure regarding your brand. Rumor cracks are the dark side of business.

The This'll Never Work Crack:

Procrastination is the seed of the "this'll never work crack." If your brand is a true entrepreneurial brand, you are accustomed to risk. This crack works its way into your mind and works to keep you from ceasing opportunity. Doubt is the hairline version of this particular crack. It works to break you down and pass the concept to a competitor.

Once thing about cracks is that they are not isolated in their existence. They work to grow and join up at some point. It is at this point that they are at their strongest. It is the point of no-return as a groups of cracks ultimately cause the brand to crumble and fail.

It's time to pick up that mortar board and start filling those cracks. The longer you wait the bigger they get.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Do You Live Your Customer Service Promise?

I was just directed to a blog post on customer service. This article showed the effectiveness of social media in responding to poor service and the benefits that could happen.

It reminded me of a situation where I was being waited on, but was interrupted by a phone call that the attendant promptly answered. They then started to address the phone caller's request ignoring me. I was disgusted, having dragged my butt down to the store money in hand. I complained to the attendant AND manager but was told it was corporate policy. Stupid. They lost my sales that day as I walked out, never to return.

I taught me that customer service is something that be expressed equally. It also proved the old adage, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." When someone gives you their time, don't look over their shoulder looking for a better opportunity. Respect their time. Your professionalism will benefit you at a later date. Everyone shouts customer service, but real service is actually lacking in every industry and category. Customer service has become a cliché. It is your first opportunity to out-shine the competition.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gift Your Services

This is a first for me. I recently had a client give a gift of consulting to a brother of theirs. They bought them, "one hour with Ed Roach."

This wasn't something that I encouraged or even knew about for that matter. They simply put a check covering the cost of the hour in a card and sent it to them for their birthday. I was humbled to say the least.

As an idea, it could be another avenue of promotion for you. Gifting your expertise is a novel way to spread your influence.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Paint Your Brand With Color.

A terrific way to differentiate your brand is through the use of color. Your corporate palette can become an effective trigger point with buyers. You only have to look to the marketplace to see the companies that are using color to their advantage. The number one company that comes to mind is UPS or Brown as many people know them. Another is ING Direct which uses orange very effectively. Everybody understands that color can be used for mood altering benefits, but it can also be used to distinguish your brand and used consistently it can be an identifier.

Over time people identify a company with its color palette. It helps to provide clarity in an otherwise saturated marketplace. The worst thing you could do is copy the color palette of the leader of your category. It not only adds to identity confusion but does nothing for your brand.

Color, consider it, embrace it and deliver consistently. It's golden.

Friday, September 3, 2010

How Rumor Affects Your Brand Podcast

Rumors have a terrible impact on internal communications and thus your brand. Here is a podcast outlining the hazards.

More blogs about http://brandcorral/blogspot.com.