Category Archives: News

How to Get Your Team Onboard With Branding

good brandingBranding isn’t just an external effort. In fact, good branding actually starts on the inside – with your employees.

You see, if your team isn’t fully onboard with your branding, understanding and believing in it fully, then it’s never going to be effective, no matter how many marketing and advertising dollars you pour into it.

Your employees come up with your marketing strategies, they interface with your customers, they sell your products and they update your website and social media. If they don’t understand your branding or subscribe to it, how can they translate it properly to others? More importantly, how can they get others to buy into something that they themselves don’t believe in?

Customers are very intuitive, and they know when they’re being lied to or bluffed. And in this high-tech day and age, people are looking for full transparency. If they get the sense an employee at any point in the sales cycle isn’t fully onboard with the brand, they have no problem jumping ship and finding another company to buy from – even if it means more time and energy is required.

Do you want to make sure your branding is being translated properly? Want to ensure your employees are onboard and promoting that branding as effectively as possible? Here are a few tips to help:

  • Make branding a part of your interviews. If you really want to make sure your team is behind your branding, start from the very beginning – before they’re even hired. Talk to potential employees about what your brand stands for and who it is, and get their feedback on your brand’s persona and values. See if their opinions match up before offering them any sort of permanent employment.
  • Incorporate brand training into your new employee orientations. Don’t just train your employees on the basic processes they need to get through the day, spend time talking to new hires about your organization, what it stands for and what you seek to provide the customer. Show them just what your company is all about, and get them excited about sharing that with the world. That’s where great branding starts.
  • Include your employees in branding and rebranding efforts. When establishing your branding or delving into any rebranding efforts, always include your employees – and not just the C-suite ones, either. Get people from sales, marketing, customer service and every department in your company involved, and make sure you’re looking at the organization as a whole – not just one small part or portion.

Is your team fully onboard with your branding? Do they understand your company values and voice? Do they know how to translate that to the customer? If not, it’s time to make a change. Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today, and we’ll help make your branding efforts more effective across the board.

 

Using Emotion to Boost Your Branding

Using Emotion to Boost Your Branding | Haley Brand Intelligence

Branding may be a business tactic, but it doesn’t have to be cold and faceless.

In fact, it shouldn’t be. The most effective branding is personal. It’s emotional. It’s human.

This is true no matter what type of industry you’re in – B2B, B2C or somewhere in between – because the person purchasing from you is always human. Whether they’re buying an autopilot for hundreds of government planes or they’re purchasing a carpet cleaning product for their home, they’re a person, and they want a real, human connection with a brand before they do business with it.

Sadly, many brands struggle with providing this connection. They try to remain “professional” and they draw a very clear line between “me,” the business, and “them,” the customer. And let me tell you: The customer feels it.

This distance doesn’t endear a customer to the brand. In fact, it usually sends them looking elsewhere for the help, service or product they’re looking for – and that’s never a good thing.

You see, emotion is one of the key components of a good branding strategy. Not only does it make customers want to buy from you, it also keeps them wanting to buy from you time and time again. It’s what creates long-term buyers and passionate brand advocates – two things every company needs to be truly successful.

So how do you use emotion in your branding and start making those connections with your buyers and potential customers? Here are a few places to start:

  • Know what your customers need. Do serious customer research and find out why they’re coming to you. Do they need help with a problem or issue? Are they looking for guidance? Do they want a product that will better their life in X, Y or Z way? Find out what it is they’re looking for emotionally out of their transaction with you, and start tapping into that.
  • Build trust and security. Make your customers feel safe in your care. Meet their expectations, live up to your claims and always deliver. Don’t let them down in their time of need, and show them they can count on you for whatever – fixing a broken product, helping them make the right purchase or even just sorting out a shipping issue.
  • Include them. A big way to tap into your customers’ emotions is to make them a real part of your brand. Don’t just push promos and sales on your social accounts, but tag customers, post buyer-submitted photos and include them as a part of your strategy. Keep them updated on important brand news and happenings, and loop them into conversations that affect them. Erase that line in the sand between business and buyer, and make them feel like they belong with your brand.
  • Be flexible. Emotional branding sometimes requires changing on the fly, especially as your customers or external situations change. Take the elections, for example. This is the perfect time to tap into your customers’ emotions – maybe their fear of what’s to come or their hopefulness of a new and changing government – and use that to improve their connection to your brand. Again, this requires knowing your customers intimately, so make sure you’re doing consumer research often.
  • Empower them. Everyone likes to feel in control – like they have the power to do anything and everything their heart desires. Position your brand to do just that; give them the tools and resources they need to succeed, and show them how they can do it on their own. Of course, make sure to show them how your products and services can help as well, but put the real focus on them – their abilities to achieve anything they set their minds to.

Are you using emotion to boost your branding? If not, you might want to consider tweaking your strategy. Emotional branding can go a long way in improving customer-brand connections and increasing long-term, repeat buyers. Contact Haley Brand Intelligence to learn more.

 

The Rules of Brand Continuity – Are You Following Them?

The Rules of Brand Continuity | Haley Brand Intelligence

Continuity is crucial if you want your branding to stick.

No one remembers a brand that changes its logo every year or uses 10 different mottos and slogans depending on the situation. They remember the ones they see, hear and interact with time and time again. The ones that are drilled into their brains on social media, in advertising, online and everywhere else they turn.

But just exposing your branding to people isn’t enough to make it stand out in their minds. You also have to be consistent with what branding you present. It needs to be 100 percent spot-on in every single venue a customer could come in contact with it.

Unfortunately, this is a big area where brands fail. They only follow their branding guidelines sporadically, and the customer sees a mishmash of voices, colors, logos and slogans every which way they look.

Want to make sure your brand is consistent and doing all it can to improve business and long-term customer loyalty? Then make sure you’re following the rules of brand continuity:

  1. Clearly know what your brand is. Before you can consistently present your brand, you first have to know what branding it is you want to present. Invest some serious time and resources into honing in on your ideal brand – what it stands for, what its voice is and what values it delivers to your customers. Create brand guidelines that outline this, as well as more detailed specs like your colors, logos, slogans, etc.
  2. Articulate that brand to everyone onboard. If you really want your branding to be consistent, every single person on your team needs to understand it and know how to pass it on to your customers. Now remember: Passing it on to your customers means something different for every employee and every department. It may take hands-on, specialized training to ensure every team member knows how to properly brand their channels, but invest the time in it and it will definitely pay off in the end.
  3. Have the tools and resources available. Want to make sure everyone is following your branding guidelines? Make them readily available. Have all your logos, fonts and brand standards available on a shared drive or server, and give your employees the tools they need to ensure branding is done right every single time. You can even include brand training in your new employee orientation.
  4. Use checks and balances. Create a system of checks and balances that ensures proper branding is used throughout your organization. Make sure everything that is presented to the public is seen by two, three or maybe even four sets of discerning eyes before it goes live. You don’t want anything to fall through the cracks.

How are you doing with brand continuity at the moment? Are customers getting a continuous, reliable picture of what your company stands for, or is there room for improvement? If there’s work to be done, contact Haley Brand Intelligence today. Our branding experts can lead the way.

How to Give Your Brand a Purpose

brand purpose

In this day and age, having a brand that looks cool is no longer enough. If you’re trying to build up a passionate, fervent following, your company needs to stand for something – to say something and have a purpose.

This is especially true if your target demo is the Millennial. This unique audience is looking for more than just a company with great products. They’re looking for a cause to support. And as a brand, that’s just what you should give them.

But how do you position your brand to do that? How do you give a nonthinking, nonfeeling entity a purpose, values and a voice? Well, it’s certainly not as easy as other aspects of branding are. You can’t just hand it off to a great designer and wait for a killer logo to hit your inbox. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

Fortunately, we’ve helped hundreds of brands develop their “purpose” over the years, and we have a few tips that can point you in the right direction. If you want to have a purpose-driven brand with a passionate band of followers, here’s where to start:

  • Know your audience. What do they care about? What issues are important? What do they like, dislike and find important? Your purpose needs to tap into this.
  • Build a purpose around that audience. Forget designing a logo that fits your demo’s likes and dislikes. Instead, focus on building a brand lifestyle and purpose around those factors. Targeting the surfer type? Create a lifestyle around your brand that’s cool, calm and relaxed. Trying to hit up the more formal, professional buyer? Build a brand lifestyle that’s organized, high-tech and forward-thinking. That lifestyle is your purpose. It’s what customers will get behind, believe in and get excited about.
  • Stand up for that lifestyle. Find ways to promote that lifestyle, as well as stand up for issues that matter in that lifestyle. If you’re targeting the surfer type, as in the last example, why not donate X percent of your proceeds to clean up California beaches? Or if you’re targeting the business-type, host an event or tradeshow that can bring together all the vendors and services they might need to be successful. Get creative!
  • Be authentic and consistent. Let your purpose permeate all that you do – and be authentic about it. Work it into your social media, your customer services and even your internal culture. Make it a part of your everyday conversation around the water cooler and with customers. Let it be the driving factor for all that you do.

Does your brand have a purpose? What does it stand for? What lifestyle does it offer your customers? If you’re not sure, it may be time to take a second look at your branding strategy. Want help? Contact Haley Brand Intelligence today.

 

 

 

How to Increase Customer Loyalty Through Your Branding

brand ambassadors

Good branding doesn’t just help increase leads and bring in new customers. In fact, it’s actually best at improving the loyalty of existing customers who already know about your brand, have bought from you and have used your services.

Now I know that doesn’t sound as exciting … the same old customers? Don’t you want new ones to improve your profits?

Actually, there’s a lot more money to be gained from a passionate, loyal following than just a bunch of newbies. For one, they’ll buy from you again and again – that means no advertising costs, no sales pitches, and no added expenses. Just regular income from them month after month or year after year.

They’ll also become your biggest brand ambassadors. Without any payment, they’ll start shouting your name from the rooftops, getting their friends and colleagues to love your brand too. You can’t get much better than that!

So how do you make this happen? How do you increase loyalty with existing customers simply through your branding? Here are a few simple ways:

  1. Give them an experience. Your customers should experience more than just an exchange of money and goods. Make their experience memorable. Make it easy, fun, helpful, valuable and anything else you can. Get everyone from your sales team to your customer service specialists on board, and create a consistent level of care and service that customers can learn to love and rely on.
  2. Make a human connection. Sure the web makes everything easier, but there’s something to be said for human connection, too, and don’t forget that. Whenever possible, add personal touches to your customer experience to make buyers feel more at home. Reach out with a personalized thank-you email, call them up and make sure their purchase is up to par, or check in a month later to see if there’s anything you can help with.
  3. Get to know your customers. Take time to find out what your customers like and don’t like, need and don’t need. Then use that information to tailor your brand exactly to them. Add them to an email list specifically aimed at buyers in a certain sphere or positions in a company. Direct them to landing pages that address the unique challenges they’re going through. Use their first name when they call for customer service or email your team for help. Make them feel like a part of your branding – not a victim of it.

What has your branding done for you? If it’s not encouraging repeat business or turning customers into outright brand ambassadors, you’re doing something wrong. Contact the branding experts at Haley Brand Intelligence today to learn more.

5 Powerful Brands You Can Learn from

classroom

One of the best ways to learn is to study others who have gone before you, and this is certainly true in branding.

There are millions of brands out there, but only a select few are really, truly successful.

Want to see success like they did? Then it’s time to study the masters.

How did they climb their way to the top? What did they do differently? How can you emulate that? Let’s take a look at some of the world’s best brands now:

  1. Apple From the beginning, Apple has always set out to differentiate itself. Its products never looked like your typical computer (or phone, for that matter), and the company has always been at the cusp of technology – releasing new and unique products before any other brand got to market. From a visual standpoint, Apple has carried this same “uniqueness” through and through. Its simple, white logo has become iconic, and every product released has the same clean, minimalistic touch that just screams “Apple” the second you look at it.
    What can you learn from Apple? That what makes you different makes you special. Call attention to it. Make it your selling point.
  2. Google – Another tech company, Google has become one of the most successful brands in American history. Though it originally started out as a simple search engine, Google now rules the tech world, releasing products, programs and services that help individuals and businesses alike. Their ever-changing logo has become a symbol of knowledge, and the company has now become one of the most reliable resources of information around. They’ve made themselves virtually invaluable to the economy and U.S. business.
    What can you learn from Google? Make yourself a necessity to your customers. Offer them not only products and services, but give them value in return – be a resource for their needs and wants, and you’ll be around for a long time to come.
  3. Coca-Cola – Coca-Cola is one of the longest-standing brands in America. It’s been around for more than a century, and you know why? They’re tuned in to what their customers want. While sure, they’ve expanded their beverage offerings over the years, they’ve stuck to what their audience demands: delicious-tasting soft drinks and sodas.
    What can you learn from Coca-Cola? Stick to what you do best, and do it right. Get to know your customers, and deliver what they want at every turn.
  4. McDonald’s – Though once a simple burger joint in California, McDonald’s is now one of the biggest brands in the world. They serve millions of customers daily, and boast restaurants in more than 100 countries worldwide. The secret to their success? They deliver value. McDonald’s knows there are better burgers out there – but those are expensive, take too long and aren’t as readily available. McDonald’s acts as the antithesis of all those, offering fast, cheap and easy-to-buy burgers on every corner. Sure, the Big Mac may not be the healthiest or tastiest burger in the world, but when you’re in a hurry or short on cash, it’s the most reliable place to get a solid meal.
    What can you learn from McDonald’s? Know what your value is. Do you sell the best part, or the cheapest part? Do you have the best service or the most knowledgeable staff? Hone in on what your customers value most about your brand, and stick to it.
  5. Amazon – Amazon has taken over the world lately. With its Prime offerings, Pantry Box program and even a drone program that can speed up delivery, the brand has become synonymous with convenience. No longer do customers have to brave malls or stores to buy birthday presents, books or even toilet paper. All it takes is a few clicks, a credit card number and you can have just what you need in hours. Though plenty of brands offer fast shipping and delivery, Amazon makes convenience their main selling point – and it’s a formula that’s helped them become one of the most successful brands in the entire world.
    What can you learn from Amazon? Make it easy for your customers to buy from you. Streamline purchasing processes and don’t add a lot of hurdles along the way. The easier and faster they can get what they want, the better.

Want to see success like these brands? Contact the branding experts at Haley Brand Intelligence today. We can help.

 

 

The Ultimate Online Branding Checklist

social media

Branding is no longer just the logo and colors you slap on your products or hang from the walls of your trade show booth. While these physical pieces of branding are still very important, they only account for a very small portion of your overall branding strategy.

The bulk of your branding? In today’s world, that’s found online.

It’s your website, your social media accounts and your email campaigns. It’s everything your customers see when they search you on Google or research your products on the web.

So take a minute to look at your online presence. Is it branded properly? What is it saying to your potential customers? Is it selling them on your company or making them run for the hills?

Go through this checklist and make sure your online branding is up to snuff – before it’s too late:

  1. A well-designed, easy-to-navigate website. Your website is going to be your first touchpoint with customers, so make it one to impress. Your site should be sleek, professionally designed and, most importantly, easy to use and navigate. Confusing menus or overly complicated designs are just going to turn users off, so keep it simple and beautiful at every turn.
  2. A well-honed voice. Just like your customer service reps have a voice on the phone, your brand needs to have a voice on the web. It should show off your personality and values as a company, and it should carry over through everything you do – your website, your social posts, your email newsletters and more.
  3. Matching social media accounts. On the web, your brand needs to have consistency so your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social accounts fall right in line with your website. They should share the same logo, have similar design schemes, and the same voice.
  4. Online customer service. The service you deliver is a big part of your branding too. It’s what makes people feel a kinship with your brand – what keeps them coming back for more time and time again. So don’t slap a phone number on your website and call it a day. Invest in online chat functionality, install web contact forms, and make getting in touch with your team a breeze. Don’t forget to also have the right staff in place to manage those contact funnels. You don’t want long queues or angry customers.
  5. Good calls to action. What’s the point of pulling in customers online if they’re not converting in some way? Make sure you have a call to action on every point of contact with a customer on the web – a product to buy, an ebook to download or at the very least a contact form to fill out. The more you interact with a customer, the more chances you have to impress them and draw them in for more business.

Want more help with your online branding? Contact the branding experts at Haley Brand Intelligence today. We’re here to help.

 

3 Steps to Unlocking Your Brand’s Potential Today

unlock

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?

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.