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Branding Is More Than Just A Logo – Build The Perfect Brand Strategy

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I see it all the time. “I have my logo, I’m ready to start.” I hate to break the news, but your brand is about much more than this. Let me explain. Your Brand represents who you are, as a business and as a concept. I’ve capitalized it purely to highlight to you the importance. Your branding is about much more than just your logo. I’m here to tell you what branding is, how to create your brand and why you need to get on top of it so that you can start building a brand strategy that will resonate with people in order to initiate conversions.

THE MEANING OF ‘BRAND’

The word ‘brand’ tends to be propelled from one person to the other, and used in different contexts, often creating confusion around the real meaning behind it. Let’s get this one out the way first – your brand is the attitude and associations a person makes with your company, products or services. It’s as simple as that. The important bit is what you do behind the scenes that constitutes these attached meanings.  

The executive from one of the most powerful global brands, Coca-Cola, once stylishly stated “If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.”

The associations that the world has to this company are phenomenal. Their purchases are driven by emotion, attitude and values as a result of the Coca-Cola branding, rather than the the conversion being made by cause of the physical product. It represents being ‘refreshing’ and ‘exciting’ alongside its distinct logo colors and, possibly even, the advert that initiates a bomb of social media posts after high anticipation highlighting that “it’s officially Christmas”. Coca-Cola is a prime example of a company who have created characteristics attached to their product in order to develop a deep meaning, rather than taking the alternative approach and placing a primary focus on hard selling of a fizzy juice.

As demonstrated by Coca-Cola, to have a ‘brand’ will often establish emotional attitudes towards a story or relationship despite what product or service you offer. I’m a firm believer that it is not absolutely necessary for start-ups to be based on a ‘never done before’ concept. If so, great. But effective branding can be so powerful, that it has the potential to create mass success in a highly competitive market place.  

RECOGNIZING YOUR BRAND

The number one thing to recognize in the modern world when creating a brand strategy is the growth in digital marketing and the power of online speech from the public. The combination of the two has ultimately affected the way many brands are perceived, and ultimately can be a primary influencer on your own brand. Encouragement to ensure a strategy is in place that allows you to take your brand online will always be given.

Before the design phase commences, firstly ensure you understand the fundamentals of what your brand should achieve within your industry, market place and in your market position.

Your brand should add value to your audience. When supporting my clients, I often source the perks associated and the barriers overcome from their brand and continue to build the brand strategy around these elements in order to ensure the audience is aware of the value. Ensuring the audience become familiar with that the company stands for and what it achieves is a key component to your branding.

Do you create a feeling of excitement, relaxation, relief or convenience? This list goes on!

What do you really stand for right at the very core of your business?

Most importantly, your brand should also easily connect with people. A simple approach will ensure your audience can recognize your values immediately, whether it’s viewing a piece of creative, reading an article or landing on your website. Much of this connection comes through the definition and the design of your brand.

DEFINING YOUR BRAND

The definition of your brand is the ideas, values, qualities and attitudes people associate with your company.

What would you like people to ‘think’ about your company? If we go back to the fizzy juice in the beautifully shaped glass bottle with the red and white label, we of course associate ‘Refreshment’ and ‘Excitement’, but we also see ‘Quality’, ‘Happiness’ and ‘Optimism’ as close colleagues. If we take a look at Red Bull, we think ‘Extreme’ with an added ingredient of ‘Adrenaline’. They resonate these to us through their extreme events, stunts, adverts and sponsorship decisions. At the more harmonious end of the drinks industry, we have Starbucks who highlight their Eco-Friendly’ coffee values to us in their ‘Relaxed’, wifi lit coffee shops.

What does your brand represent? Create a one liner that represents the brand, identify your values and determine the benefits of your brand. It is this brand definition that will influence your logo and creative design alongside your branding strategy.

DESIGNING YOUR BRAND

It is only now we are at design stage!

Designing your brand is when you will create the look and feel of your brand that will ultimately be placed in front of your audience and others. This is still not just about the logo. Brand design includes any advertisements, posters or creatives that are required for marketing activity.

On average, people are subject to 3,500 – 10,000 advertisements per day. Make sure yours is unforgettable, captivating and expresses the definition of your brand as identified previously in this article.

Your logo is the creative that will be used most regularly throughout your company lifetime, so making sure the nature of your design, fonts and colours used are relevant to your brand is fundamental. It should reflect your values, but should also be timeless, memorable and adaptable. Having layers of detail in your logo can cause difficulties if placed on different types of backgrounds or even printed on branded items. Keep it simple, consistent and straight to the point!     

CREATING BRAND STRATEGY

Brand Strategy is discovering and identifying when, where and how you will place your brand in front of your potential customers? As with any marketing activity, your core audience and target markets should be identified before your branding strategy is created.

I would always encourage clients to look into routes to market through digital and experiential marketing – purely because they are two of the highest converting marketing methods that currently exist.

Your strategy should not only identify your routes to market, but should also feature the format and tone of speech – specifically for digital marketing. What approach will you take for this? Different audiences respond in their individual ways to the voice utilised in marketing activities.

Having a strong brand strategy is important for both B2B and B2C business, and the strength behind it is what will ensure you are in the minds of the people who matter to you.  It is about much more than just your logo, it’s what you represent and is the core element of all marketing activity you carry out that triggers attitudes, beliefs and values.

Business

10 Side Jobs To Make Extra Money

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The economy has been unstable lately and every penny counts. Many of us already know why it is important not only to keep track of spending but also to have money for “rainy days” too. If you’re interested in ways to make extra money on the side, we have 10 examples you can check out.

1. Blogging

Blogging is one of the best ways to earn a few extra bucks on the side. Drop by ProBloogger.net for legitimate blogging jobs. You can also Google for blogging jobs if you can’t find jobs that suit you on the website. Once you find a blogging job, you can start writing immediately. It’s best if you find a field that you really like to make the job more fun for you.

2. Pet Sitting/Baby Sitting

This job is not just for teenagers but for adults too. Parents and pet owners need a time out from their children and pets from time to time and that’s where you come in. Some adults scoff at this kind of job, but money is money no matter how you earned it.

3. Online Bridesmaid

Saying “I do” is big business and by being an online bridesmaid you can also have a slice of the pie. Websites like Bridesmaidforhire.com provides professional services to brides ranging from just hanging out to helping to organize the bridal party. But don’t worry because the job is usually handled through emails and social media. You are basically there to help or to hold the bride’s hand.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Earn extra money through commission by joining affiliate programs. Businesses are always looking for new customers and will be very happy to give you commission every time you refer a customer to them. Whenever a customer clicks your personal affiliate link, you earn extra money when they make a purchase. You can join multiple companies at once or market different products simultaneously. Check out ShareaSale, Affilorama and Rakuten Affiliate Network.

5. Tutoring

You might have skills that you are able to teach like algebra, music or foreign language. Tutoring is very flexible because you can do it online through video chat or through personal meeting. Find clients through sites like Craigslist or post your services there. You can be flexible with your rates or tutor multiple students at once.  Tutoring is not only a great way to meet new people but also to help them too.

6. Sell Stuff on Ebay

You can make extra money from your old stuff by selling them on eBay. Many of us have clothing, gadgets, shoes or kitchen appliances we seldom use. Instead of letting them gather dust, you can make extra money off them by selling them online.

7. Bartender or Server

One of the best things about the service industry is the flexible hours. If you prefer to be a server, you can schedule shifts before or after your job. Bartenders usually have the late shift which is great if you don’t mind working into the night.

8. Sell Your Skills

You can sell your skills by freelancing. Sites like Fiverr, Upwork and People Per Hour are great platforms for people with different kinds of skills. You can find all kinds of work if you’re an accountant, CAD operator, writer, researcher or web developer.

9. Rent Your Parking Space

It’s not really a job, but if you have a parking space in a busy city; you can make a few extra bucks a month when you’re not using it or when you’re on vacation. Make extra cash by letting other people park in your spot in cities like Chicago by going to ParqEX. ParkingSpotter is a nationwide service while SpotOnParking serve major cities in the US.

10. Consulting

Help other people solve their challenges by becoming a consultant. The Second Shift and Hourly Nerds are good examples of websites that address the needs of highly skilled professionals seeking in demand talent. If you have marketing skills for example, you can serve as a consultant for people on Hourly Nerds looking for expert guidance. It is a good way to make extra money while staying at home.

These jobs are for everybody looking to make a few extra dollars on the side. They are great opportunities not only for full-time workers but for students, moms and people who don’t have jobs.

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10 Freelancing Benefits

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Freelancing offers flexibility and freedom compared to a regular desk job. Freelancers have the freedom of choice with regards to when they work, where they work, whom to work for and the type of work to be done. Freelancing enables workers to find a job that suits their individual strengths and weaknesses. The flexibility and freedoms have a lot of benefits. Here are other benefits you might not realize.

Workload Control

Freelancers have the freedom to take as much or a little work as they want at any point in time. One of the best things about being a freelancer is the ability to say when enough is enough. If you have too many clients and can’t handle their demands or the stress, you can simply drop a couple. If you need more jobs for financial reasons then you can always find other clients that need work done.

Better Health

Being able to control your workload can lead to better health. According to studies conducted by Kansas State University, people who worked more than 50 hours per week suffered from decreased physical and mental health.

Freelancers also work from home and interact with clients and colleagues over the internet while people in traditional workplaces work in cubicles. A Danish research found that the more people working in a room together, the more likely people are going to get sick. Working at home prevents freelancers from being exposed to a work bug. Turns out, being a freelancer can lead to a healthier you.

Gain Skills

Freelancers are able to gain new skills from their experience working in different fields. Even if you do not have the skills yet, there are companies and employers who are willing to train new employees. This can be useful to freelancers because it enables them to put something new to their resume while learning something that can be used for future projects.

Work Relationship Control

When you’re working remotely, you have the power to control workplace interaction and relationships. Some freelancers only need to check their emails 2-3 times a day to keep track of what they need to do or check what other co-workers are doing. As it turns out, checking your email infrequently leads to less stress according to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia. This is because in many work environments, ignoring an email is like ignoring your boss. As a freelancer, checking your email less can help reduce stress.

Exercise

Many people who work in a traditional work environment find it hard to squeeze time to workout or exercise. They do not have this problem with freelancing because they can work when they want to which means they can exercise whenever they want even during the middle of the day. As it turns out, working out in the afternoon has benefits. During this time, your lungs work better and your physical performance is in its highest, muscle strength is also at its peak while risk to injury is at its lowest.

Your Own Boss

If you have a client that you don’t like, you can drop him or her when your contract ends. Freelancers are their own bosses and have the power to avoid working with somebody that they don’t like.

No Commute

Most Freelancers work remotely from their home or even while on vacation. This means that they can avoid the daily commute to work. Avoiding traffic helps reduce stress even before you get to the workplace.

Network

Freelancers have a chance to work with different people in different cultures across the globe. They have a chance to nurture relationships, whether it is personal or professional, to help expand their network. Building a network can help boost reputation and make future contracts.

Travel

As stated above, the ability to work remotely means that you can work anywhere in the world. You can travel while you work or make travel your work. You are not tied down to the office and can take as many vacations as you want.

Engagement

Many people who are working the same job year after year find that they are losing interest in what they are doing. Freelancers have the flexibility to move from one field to another depending on their skill set and what they learn while working for different companies. This means that they are able to grow their knowledge and skills to keep their job interesting and more engaging.

Being a freelancer can be fulfilling especially if you are self motivated and like to work alone. Freelancing also allows for better life-work balance which is important to keep you happy and satisfied with your job.

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10 Best Industries To Start a Business Now

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With so many students competing for a limited number of positions available in the workplace, many fresh graduates are now underemployed or unemployed. Situations like this can be problematic for young graduates because many of them have student loans that need to be paid as soon as possible. One of the best solutions for fresh grads is to become entrepreneurs. Here are some of the best industries to start businesses.

1. Meditation and Mindfulness Training

Many industries are spending money for their employees to take meditation and mindfulness training. These types of training involve bringing attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present through meditation.  Employees who practice mindfulness are less stressed, feel better and enjoy life more.

2. Accounting, Tax Preparation and Bookkeeping

All companies require proper accounting, bookkeeping and need help with tax preparation which is why this industry is always looking for individuals to fill this role. No matter how well the economy is growing or how good a business is performing, good accountants are always needed.

3. Ready to Drink Coffee and Tea

The on-the-go lifestyles of many employees are the fuel of the ready to drink coffee and tea industry. Most people today want everything instantly and this includes their beverages. According to Specialty Food Association, sales of these types of drinks have tripled to $143 million annually since 2012.

4. Real Estate

Yes, it’s true that the real estate industry is dependent on the economy. However, the overhead cost of becoming a real estate agent is small. All you need is a license and you’re ready to start your own real estate agency.

5. Mobility Tech

Nope, we’re not talking about cellphones but about technology that enables autonomous vehicles. This is an exciting space because it allows for creativity and startups have the potential of partnering with bigger industries or acquisition by major players.

6. Pet Care

The busy lifestyle of many people has opened up the new industry of pet care. According to IBISWorld, revenue in the United States for pet grooming and boarding is nearly $8 billion and is expected to grow 7% annually through 2021.

7. Legal Services

Just like accounting, it has low operating costs and it’s a service many people need. Anybody who has ever hired a lawyer knows that it isn’t cheap. However, the need does not only refer to lawyers. Legal services include notaries, settlement officers (for transaction of securities) and search agents in real estate. Legal services enjoy repeat clients.

8. Computer Vision

Technology is very fast growing and diverse. Another field that has opened up recently is computer vision which basically deals with artificial intelligence that works to act and interpret visual data. The technology generated $522 million and 69 deals in just 2016 alone. Developments can be applied to child development, social media networking and web analytics.

9. E-Commerce

As personal disposable income continues to rise, so will e-commerce. It’s more convenient not only to shop online but to do business too. E-commerce has low barriers of entry. To increase your success in a market that is easily saturated, you need to focus on customers, build a relationship of trust and to deliver products or services quickly.

10. Home and Building Maintenance

This is another very broad industry. It covers lawn and garden care, pest control and cleaning. Players can cover houses, offices, warehouses or just about anybody who needs care and maintenance. According to Sageworks, the industry saw a 13% increase in sales last year. The business is easy to start because of low upfront business cost, does not require inventory, large staff or office space.

Starting a business is risky but it can also be a great adventure that can lead to your success. Determine your individual skill to find out which industry will give you the best chance to succeed.

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