Category Archives: Branding

3 Steps to Unlocking Your Brand’s Potential Today


Want to be a Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola or Apple? A megalith of a brand known all over the world?

Unfortunately, every brand is different, and there’s no hard-and-fast solution that will make one a success over the other. In fact, some even become successes out of pure, sheer luck!

But that doesn’t mean you can only sit there and cross your fingers. While there might not be a secret sauce that can get you from $1 to $1 million in profits in a year, there is, however, a series of steps you can take that can point you in the right direction.

Want to unlock your brand’s potential and get on the right path to success? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Evaluate where your brand is and how far it’s come. Before you can move forward, you first have to know where you are and where you’re headed. On the journey from point A to point B, how far are you? Halfway? Two-thirds of the way? Just getting started? What would be the ultimate measure of success? You should also take a look at how far you’ve come since the beginning. What successes have you experienced? What caused those successes and how can you emulate them again?
  2. Create a path (for all areas of your business) to get you there. Once you’ve determined your marker of success, it’s time to create a roadmap of sorts – directions on how you’ll get there and who will be a part of the journey. Sit down with key members of every department and map out how each area of the business can help drive home your branding and further your company’s goals. Get down to the nitty-gritty details and assign specific tasks, deliverables and responsibilities to all involved and create a timeline. You want the entire company on board – from the mail room up to the CEO’s office.
  3. Implement safeguards and processes. Finally, you need to implement a few safeguards that will ensure your success along the way. Put quality control processes in place, assign people to oversee milestones and goals, make sure performance is being tracked, analyzed and acted upon to give you the absolute best results all the time. You need to be sure all the wheels are turning (at the right speed and in tandem) 24-7 to see success.

Need help getting your brand on the pathway to ultimate success? Let Haley Brand Intelligence help. Our branding experts have helped hundreds of companies climb the ladder of success, and we can help your brand too.

Who Is Your Brand?


A brand isn’t a “what.” It’s a “who.”

It sounds strange, but it’s true. To the outside world, every brand has a voice – a personality with unique values, goals and needs. And it’s those values, goals and needs that help customers determine if a brand is right for them.

Unfortunately, not every brand has its voice and personality finely tuned. This can make it difficult for customers to make a judgment call. What does the brand stand for? Do they value what I value? Can they help me overcome a hurdle or meet my need?

If a customer can’t answer these questions with one brand, they’ll find another brand that’s better tailored to their specific wants and needs.

Do you want to ensure you’re not losing customers due to your branding? Want to make sure customers can glean your company’s values and voice from the get-go? Then make sure you focus on these areas:

  1. Your employees. Your employees control every aspect of your brand. They create the strategies and marketing plans, they design your website and write your brochures, and most importantly they interface with your clients and customers every step of the way. They need to be intimately aware of the branding you want portrayed to the public. They need to feel it, believe in it and get behind it, because in the end, they are your biggest proponents. If they’re passionate about your brand, they’ll make sure others are too, and that can go a long way in business.
  2. Your online presence. In today’s digital world, your website is probably your most important marketing tool. It’s what many customers will see first, before ever going to a store, calling a customer service agent or making a catalog order. Because of this, it needs to be clear and up front about who your brand is and what it stands for. I don’t just mean create a great “about” page, either. Your brand should shine through in your site’s design, all of its copy and imagery, and even in the layout and styling of the pages. These all contribute to your “personality” as a brand.
  3. Your social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media can allow your brand to actually have a “voice” – one that’s not connected to a certain person or face. You can use these platforms to really develop your brand’s personality, with likes and dislikes, a sense of humor and other real, relatable traits that people can grow attached to. Use social media to your advantage, and don’t ever let them fall by the wayside!
  4. Your customer service. Virtually any touchpoint customers have with your employees is a branding opportunity, but your customer service is No. 1. It’s during a customer service interaction where customers can really see what your brand is about. Do they value your money and business? Or do they make you feel like just another sales number? Is your satisfaction important to them? Or would they rather resolve the issue as fast as possible and get you off the phone? Your customer service can either leave people with a bad taste in their mouth or encourage them to go tell all their friends about how wonderful you are. The choice is yours!

Do you know “who” your brand is? Are you showing that brand off to customers in the right ways? If you’re not sure, contact Haley Brand. Our branding experts are here to help.


How Corporate Values Impact Your Branding

brand values

Branding is more than your logo or motto. It’s more than your website and brochures. It’s even more than the products and services you offer.

Branding is your image as a whole – the first impression you make, the experience you deliver as a customer weighs the pros and cons, buys a product or uses your customer service, and even the touchpoints that occur via email, mail or at tradeshows long after the sale.

Essentially, it’s your company’s personality.

Sure, choosing a great logo and a cool color scheme that your target demo will like is a good start, but is it the road to sure-fire success? Definitely not. There are many other facets of branding that need to be ironed out before you have a truly viable, poised-for-success organization on your hands.

Most important? Your values – the things your company stands for.

Though most business owners assume customers buy only with their wallets, there’s so much more to it than that. While finances will certainly play a role, consumers also use their hearts to buy. They look for brands that share their same passions – that look out for the environment, value their employees or stand up for human rights.

And that’s where your corporate values come in. You can show customers that you’re not just in it for the money, but you’re also in it to make a difference.

Now, I’m not just saying post a “values statement” on your website and call it a day, but show your customers what you value through your actions.

Donate a portion of your sales to a charity or causes. Hold a food drive. Participate in local walk-a-thons or other events. You could even give away products or services to the less fortunate.

The point is: Show some corporate responsibility. Use your status and power for the greater good, and show your customers that you’re not just a faceless company but an entity that cares about both them and the world at large. You’d be surprised at the difference it can make – in your bottom line and in your community.

Want help with your brand values?

Having trouble identifying your brand values or conveying those to the world? Let us help. Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today.

5 Times Branding Failed – and Why


Most of our blogs revolve around making your branding great – how to ensure it appeals to your target market, how to translate your branding to your products and services, and how to keep your branding fresh and relevant no matter how long you’ve been around.

But just as important as what TO do in branding? That’d be what NOT to do. So today, we want to take a look through history and talk about some of the biggest branding fails of the past – the times brands went a little too far or tried a little too hard to launch a new product.

Without further ado, here are some of the worst branding mistakes we can remember. Study them, learn from them, and avoid them at all costs!

  1. Cocaine energy drinks – We’ve all heard the tales of Coca-Cola’s early days, when cocaine was actually an ingredient in the drink’s recipe. Well, this isn’t like that. In this case, Cocaine is just the name of an energy drink – one that has the caffeine of more than three Red Bulls. Its makers probably thought giving the product a shocking name would generate some buzz, but their branding ploy came back to haunt them. The FDA said the product was being illegally marketed as an alternative to street drugs, and it was banned from U.S. sale.
  2. 2014’s U2 album release – A few years ago, U2 had the bright idea to forget marketing its new album to existing fans and force the release on millions of unsuspecting Apple product owners instead. Without any notice, 500 million desktops, laptops and iPhones were automatically updated with the rock band’s latest tunes – whether they wanted it or not. While I’m sure there were a few music fans excited about the freebie, it was mostly just an annoyance for Apple owners throughout the world. They then had to delete the music from their accounts, sync their products, and go through a long, tedious process just to get the unwanted music off! It undoubtedly turned many off to U2 for good. (And that’s just about the opposite of what they were going for.)
  3. Breakfast Mates cereal – At one point, Kellogg was looking for ways to make cereal even easier to eat – especially for kids. They launched a new product called Breakfast Mates, which includes cereal, milk and a spoon all in one handy box. Ads showed kids pouring their cereal while parents napped and marketed the product like an easy, one-stop shop for hungry little ones. Unfortunately, those scenarios never became a reality. It turns out, Kellogg didn’t test its packaging, and kids couldn’t get into the cereal, let alone pour themselves a bowl!
  4. Clairol’s Touch of Yogurt Shampoo – Back in the late ’70s, Clairol thought it’d be a great idea to go more “natural,” launching a product called “Touch of Yogurt” shampoo. The product bombed almost instantly. For one, people found the idea of washing hair with yogurt to be just plain gross, and on top of that, a number of buyers made the mistake of thinking the product was edible. They became very ill as a result, and Clairol learned an important lesson: Test your product ideas first!
  5. BenGay aspirin – We’ve all used Ben-Gay before. It has a sharp smell – almost like menthol. It’s not something you’d ever want to ingest, right? Well, Ben-Gay failed to think of that little hold-up when it expanded its brand into the aspirin market, with Ben-Gay Aspirin Analgesic Tablets. As expected, no one was excited by the thought of swallowing Ben-Gay in pill form, and the product failed to take off.

Want to make sure you don’t make a list of branding fails in the future? Then let us help. Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today, and we’ll make sure your branding is at the top of its game no matter what.

How to Make ONE Brand Appeal to Many Customers


In branding, consistency is extremely important. Your company needs to know what it’s saying, what it stands for and what sets it apart in everything it does.

And often, we determine these things through market testing – getting feedback from our target audience about what they need and how our company can help them.

Unfortunately, many brands use this information to lock themselves in – to paint themselves into a corner marketwise. Though they do create a consistent brand, they end up creating one that only appeals to ONE type of customer. That closes off the brand to a wider reach, more exposure and, of course, more sales.

The truth is, consistent branding doesn’t have to mean appealing to only one, tightly defined audience. It really IS possible to appeal to different customer types, without diluting your brand or weakening your company’s voice.

Have you found yourself locked in to the same audience for many years? Want to branch out and reach other customers? Here are some ways to do it:

  • Find the common bond. Write down all the different niches you want to reach, as well as a few things about each – the things they like and value, what their needs and challenges are, and how you can help them. Then, try to find what thing links all these subsets together – a common bond they all share. Maybe they all value aesthetics or design quality. Maybe they’re concerned about safety or the impact on the environment. Pinpoint this common thread, and appealing to all groups simultaneously will be infinitely easier.
  • Used nuanced marketing. Now that you’ve found a link, use that link as your basis for all marketing efforts, and try to angle each campaign slightly depending on the outlet, the method and the audience you’re trying to reach. Keep that common thread as your main point, but use more nuanced marketing tactics to appeal to other audience values and interests too. Show them that not only do you have their same concerns and values, but you know what they need and what challenges they face too.
  • Try up-selling and cross-selling. When you have different audiences, cross-selling and up-selling can be great tactics. Say you get a Millennial on your website, looking at X product. While they might not normally have bought the add-on features or carrying case that go along with it (they just don’t have the cash of your older audience), by appealing to that same common thread we talked about, you may be able to coax them into additional purchases. And that means more money in your pocket!

The only time a brand can’t appeal to multiple audiences is when one segment will detrimentally impact the appeal of the other. Here’s an example: Say one of your customer groups is the young, environmentally friendly college student. Trying to target them as well as, say, a big oil company or big energy conglomerate is definitely not going to win you any favor. In fact, it will probably turn that audience against you, and you’ll be stuck putting out fires instead of counting your cash.

Stay tuned for more branding advice later this month, or check out our blog for past posts!

5 Branding Mistakes You Never Want to Make

branding mistakesYour branding can truly make or break you.

Good branding can be what separates you from your competitors, what makes you stand out in your customers’ minds, and what drives repeat sales, repeat business and long-term relationships.

But bad branding? Well, you may as well just say uncle now, and save yourself a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately, good branding isn’t as easy as just creating a cool logo, deciding on some colors and coming up with a catchy motto – not if you want big results, at least.

It’s about creating a persona – a company with values, beliefs and a distinctive voice that customers can believe in and get behind.

Sadly, few companies are able to actually achieve these well-honed personas. Do you want to ensure yours is one of them? Then take care to avoid these all-too-common branding mistakes.

1. Inconsistency

The key to driving home your branding – to making it stick in a customer’s mind – is consistency on all counts. That means your branding on your website, your social media, your brochures, your business cards, and anything and everything in between needs to match to a T. On top of this, you also want consistency in your voice, so you need your entire organization on the same page too. From marketing and sales personnel to C-level executives, every employee needs to know and understand what your brand stands for, what it values and what persona you’re trying to convey. Only through this will your branding come through in all that you do.

2. Not testing

Testing is the key to success with any business strategy, whether it be marketing-related, web-based or, as we’re talking about now, initial branding (or rebranding) of your company. When creating a new or updated brand persona, you always want to test it with your customers – or a segment of your target demo. Does it meet their needs? How does it resonate with them? What do they like or dislike? With this feedback, you can make strategic changes and edits until you hone in on a brand that’s truly effective and exactly what your clients are looking for

3. Failing to rebrand when it’s time

You might have a killer branding suite now, but in 10 years from now? It will likely be stale, tired and outdated. Every few years, it’s important to take a step back and really evaluate your branding from an outside perspective. Does it still speak to your company’s values and services? Is it still in line with today’s design standards and trends? You always want your branding to look crisp, clean and with the times. The biggest way to turn off a customer is to look out of touch!

4. Blending in

You want your brand to be “with it,” but you don’t want it to so on trend it fades into the background with all the rest. Branding should grab attention, be it through color, design or even just the tag line or unique voice of the company. Customers should be able to recognize right away what your brand is about and what makes you special.

5. Breaking from reality

Whatever your branding says, your company needs to deliver. If you have a fun, playful brand persona, but you sell paper through boring cold calls and fax forms, you’re not meeting your customers’ expectations. In fact, they’re probably going to be pretty disappointed once they do business with you! Your products and services need to match the branding you put out – both in personality and in style.

Have you made any of these branding mistakes? Want to make sure your brand is as effective and powerful as it possibly can be? Our branding pros are here to help. Contact the Haley Brand team today to learn more.

2016 and the Future of Branding

future for brandingIt’s hard to believe, but 2015 is coming to a close. In just 2 weeks, we’ll be watching that ball drop, clinking champagne glasses and ringing in the New Year.

And with that New Year will come new beginnings – in our personal lives, for sure, but mostly in our businesses.

You see, business trends come and go. New marketing strategies and social media platforms are cropping up every day, and branding fads, well, those go by as quickly as the seasons.

That’s why, when 2016 rolls around, it’s important you don’t just celebrate and raise a toast. You also need to set aside time to regroup, restrategize and reposition your brand so it stays successful in the New Year.

So what exactly does 2016 hold for branding, and what changes should you prepare for? Here’s a little forecast to get you started:

The term “branding” will expand even further.

In 2016, brands will continue to grow outside of their traditional box. No longer will they be just names, logos and company mottos. Instead, an organization’s brand will be its whole essence – every word of content it produces, every tweet it sends and every customer relationship it builds.

Emojis will be everywhere.

More and more businesses are using emojis to convey a more laid-back, user-friendly vibe. You’ll see this expand even more in the coming year, with emojis on Twitter handles, in company Facebook posts, in email campaigns and more.

Loyalty will be the goal.

Gone are the days when brands are looking to just catch a lead, close a sale and send them on their way. In 2016, brands will be cultivating customer loyalty more than ever. You’ll see more loyalty and rewards programs, more customer service touchpoints and more companies giving back to those who support them.

Brands will become more human.

Companies are done being static, cold entities that no one cares about. They’ve started to become more human, with distinct voices, personalities and values. This will become the norm in 2016, with fewer and fewer customers putting up that business-vs-customer wall we’ve all become accustomed to.

Employees will become brand ambassadors.

Instead of just leveraging loyal customers to promote the brand, many companies are now moving toward making in-house employees veritable brand ambassadors themselves. They’re putting time and resources into training them, building up culture and making team members true believers in the company’s work. This will become a huge trend across all industries in 2016.

Brands will use all the senses.

Brands won’t just rely on sight in the New Year. All the biggest businesses in the nation are finding ways to expand their branding to other senses, like smell, taste, hear and touch, too. Take the Four Seasons chain, for example. They’re pumping in custom air scents into each of their locations, giving customers not only a beautiful sight to behold, but calming, relaxing scents to remember too.

Speed will be No. 1.

Delivering customer satisfaction fast will become the No. 1 priority for many brands in the coming year. Online ordering apps, on-demand delivery services, chat help and more will all see growth as 2016 gets rolling. Starbucks and Taco Bell are already ahead of the curve, launching pre-order apps that allow customers to put in an order on the go, hit the drive-through and pick up their food and drink immediately – no waiting required.

Are you prepared for the branding changes that are on the horizon? If not, schedule some time with your team in the early New Year. Branding trends are constantly in flux, and if you want to stay competitive in your marketplace, it’s important to keep up!

Need help? Want guidance on where to take your brand in 2016? Contact Haley Brand today.

5 Signs Your Branding Needs a Revamp

3425223559_b8c6be27d6Think back to the beginnings of your organization.

What was the marketplace like then? What technologies were popular? What designs and styles were trending?

Chances are, your answers won’t reflect today’s world. Depending on how long your brand has been around, they may even be so outdated they’re unrecognizable.

The truth is, the world changes daily. Trends come and go, and technology is always evolving.

As such, brands need to evolve too.

Brands need to constantly reflect the world they exist in. They must meet the ever-changing needs of their customers, stand out in the overcrowded marketplace, and mesh with current design and visual trends in order to stay on top.

If they don’t, someone else’s will, and that someone will win customers, make sales and take over the industry, leaving old-hat brands in the dust.

How long has it been since you created your brand? Is it time to reapproach your branding to better conform to today’s trends and technologies? Here are 5 signs it definitely is time:

Your brand is too busy.

Today, minimalism is key. If you have multiple versions of your logo, a dozen graphics and fonts blended together, or too much verbiage, you’re trying too hard. Customers should be able to glean what your brand is about with just one glance. If it takes more than few seconds to process and soak in, it’s time to rebrand and refocus.

Your brand doesn’t say anything.

Is your logo just an obvious, literal translation of what you do? If so, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Think of it this way: If you run an email client, and your brand is simply a picture of an envelope, what are you saying to your customers? Sure, you’re telling them what you do, but you’re not telling them who you are, which ultimately is the goal of branding. Your brand needs to show your personality – the thing that makes your service special and unique.

Your brand looks outdated.

Graphic design technology has improved immensely over the past decade, and you can expect it to continue to for many years in the future. If your branding was created 20 years ago, before Photoshop even existed, chances are it looks outdated. The colors may not be as vibrant, the images may look stale or dull, or the graphics may just scream “1991.” Whatever the faux pas is, have an experienced designer (with updated software and knowledge of current trends) take a stab at reimagining your branding suite. Chances are, you’ll be happy with the results.

Your branding is no longer accurate.

Like everything in life, your brand has probably evolved and changed over the years. Take a look at your branding with a careful eye, and make sure it still falls in line with your organization as it exists today. Do you still offer the services and products pictured/mentioned? Does it still speak to your values as a company? If not, you’ll want to tweak it until it does. Customers can’t get behind a brand with an identity crisis. They want a consistent and reliable one they can count on.

Your brand doesn’t mesh with other collateral.

Did you just launch a brand-new website but slapped your old logo up in the corner? Have a fresh, new tradeshow booth, but you’re still using the same branding and colors as 10 years ago? You want your brand to be consistent across the board, so when you redesign one item, redesign the others too. Make sure all messaging looks like one part of a whole – a cohesive, comprehensive effort that was well planned and thought out from the very beginning.

Have you noticed any of these branding red flags? If so, it may be time for a revamp, and Haley Brand Intelligence’s branding experts are here to help. Contact us today, and we’ll get your brand back on track in no time.

6 Common Branding Challenges and How to Overcome Them

No brand is perfect. Even the most tailored, targeted and well-thought-out brand has hurdles once in a while – especially as the industry and marketplace change.

But the key to being a successful brand? It’s overcoming these challenges with poise and grace – fighting through them, coming up with a creative solution and rising to the top once again.

Has your brand had some hurdles to jump lately? If so, you’re not alone. Here are some of the most common branding issues we’ve seen with our clients, as well as how to solve them.


  1. No accountability or metrics.

This is a big one. How are you supposed to know your strategies are working if you’re not measuring them? Better yet, how are you supposed to improve those strategies (and your results) if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not?

Metrics are crucial to a well-tuned brand, and if you’re not monitoring them at every turn, you’re losing out. Work with your sales team, web developers and managers in each department to determine appropriate KPIs for each area of your business. Then, create a schedule for gathering these metrics, analyzing them and responding to them. This not only holds your team accountable for your organization’s success, it inspires them to constantly improve and keep getting better.



  1. Being reactive over proactive.

It’s not enough to simple react to situations in the marketplace. If you want your brand to see success, being proactive is a must. That means planning ahead, knowing what’s coming down the pipeline and studying up on industry changes and trends you’ll need to be prepared for. Just reacting to changing circumstances won’t win you any clout; in fact, it may make you look outdated and behind the times.

Create an infrastructure around planning, researching and analyzing your space, and schedule regular meetings with playmakers in your organization. Make sure you’re ahead of the game, not constantly lagging behind it. (public domain image)

  1. No unique niche or subcategory.

In order to truly be a success, a brand needs to have its own unique niche or subcategory within its industry. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a new product or service, but just something that makes it stand out from other competitors in the space. Let’s take a bike manufacturer, for example. Rather than simply “selling bikes,” as every other bike manufacturer does, an organization could pivot their brand and tailor their products, services and marketing strategies toward a specific niche – like commuters looking to cut down on their environmental impact.

By carving out this unique subcategory, they could narrow down their audience, better tailor their products and strategies and, subsequently, cut down on their competition. That’s success in every sense of the word!



  1. A lack of consistency within the organization.

Having a consistent brand, logo and color scheme on your website isn’t what I’m talking about here. What I’m referring to is consistency within your organization – particularly your organization’s employees. In order for a brand to be truly consistent, each and every staff member needs to intimately understand the company’s values, mission and goals. Then they need to translate those into their own work, whether that may be sales, marketing, production, design or even just customer service. All the moving parts must be working toward the same goal, and this requires deep understanding of the brand companywide.



  1. Marketplace apathy or irrelevance.

If customers aren’t excited about your brand, then you’ve got a problem. I’m not saying the whole world has to think you’re great, but if even your existing customers could take or leave you, or worse, and they could get the same services/products somewhere else, then you’re in trouble.

Apathy is a real brand killer, and if you’re experiencing it, you need to find a way to make your organization relevant again. Take a step back and analyze your audience. What do they need and want? What problems do they face? What holes exist in your industry that competitors don’t provide? What current trends or news items are important to them? Use this data to make small internal changes until you see results.



  1. Just a name and logo.

Branding isn’t just your organization’s name, motto and logo, and if you think it is, you’re definitely doing it wrong. True branding is a set of values – an organization’s personality, voice and, as intangible as it is, its “feel.” These things need to show through in your name and logo, of course, but they also need to come through in everything else you do. That means your social media posts, your blogs, your ads, your customer service emails and every touchpoint you have with your customers.

Your brand personality needs to permeate all that you do, and it’s only through this consistency that you’ll build up loyal, repeat customers who are willing to refer you and promote your brand.


We’ve seen these branding challenges time and time again. If you think your brand may be facing one of them, contact the Haley Brand Intelligence team today. We can help get your brand back on track in no time.

How to Further Your Brand This Holiday Season

Somehow, it’s Nov. 3, and the holiday season is quickly approaching. Soon enough, we’ll be making resolutions and champagne toasts as the big ball drops in NYC.

It’s a busy time of year, and it’s easy to get caught up in shopping, Christmas card writing and cooking family dinners. But before you let the holidays sweep you off your feet (and empty your bank account), make sure to take a pause and think about how they can benefit your brand first.

The holidays, while often a very personal and family-oriented time, also offer a prime opportunity to promote your brand and increase your exposure. If you sell products or services, it can even be a time of great financial growth – as long as you know how to do it right.

Holiday Branding

Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Take a breath, and use this time to boost your brand and improve your customer relationships. The long-term returns will be more than worth the effort in the long run.

Want help updating your branding for the holiday season? Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today.