SplitSmart Makes an Impression During Denver Startup Week

Brand Iron helps SplitSmart enter Denver Startup Week. 

Entering its 6th year, Denver Startup Week brings together CEOs, entrepreneurs and innovators who all share the same goal: creating a new business. Family Court Compliance come to Brand Iron with the goal of entering an informational video into the Denver Startup Week Pitch Competition.

In preparation for Startup Week, Brand Iron helped Family Court Compliance create a new corporate identity including a new brand name, clear messaging and a strong value proposition to launch them into the marketplace. We introduce to you, SplitSmart, a SaaS product that helps individuals and couples navigate the complicated family court process. This includes divorce, division of property, child support, spousal support and a parenting plan. SplitSmart’s all-inclusive service aids both parties throughout the entire legal process.

In order for SplitSmart to reach their goal of entering Denver Startup Week, Band Iron needed to create an informational video that communicated all the unique features and benefits SplitSmart has to offer. In a collaborative effort, Brand Iron created a 90 second whiteboard video that launched SplitSmart’s new brand identity and gave investors a glimpse of the product’s power.

Take a look at the video that SplitSmart entered into Denver Startup Week!

We Can Be Of Assistance

If you need help communicating the value of your product or service through a video or messaging, Brand Iron is here to help. Please give us a call at 303-534-1901 or visit Brandiron.net for more information.

How a Business Card can Spark a Connection

When branded well, a small card can make a big difference. 

First Impressions

Whether in your career or social life, first impressions set the scene for all future interactions. Within seconds of a first meeting, a prospective client or customer has already begun evaluating and forming an opinion of you and your business. A business card may be small, but it can act as a lasting physical representation of both you and your company. In a world run by digital, we value personalized touches when meeting face-to-face. Sometimes, the smallest gestures send the biggest messages. A well-designed business card is memorable and leaves a lasting impression where a digital conversation might fail to do so. It goes a lot further than just passing along contact information. It creates a connection.

A creative business card might spark a conversation that otherwise would not have existed. The more unique a business card, the greater the opportunities for diverse conversation. Some elements that can make your card unique are design, paper stock, and finish. Would you rather receive a crumpled, flimsy business card that has been stuck in someone’s wallet for 2 months or a sturdy, crisp and professional one? Business cards set the scene. During a first interaction, there is nothing that looks worse than rummaging through your bag, frantically looking for a pen to scribble down your contact info on a crumpled napkin. Business cards show that you are prepared, professional and want to communicate and engage in a relationship.

Building your Brand Image

At Brand Iron, we love to focus on building a strong identity. Business cards establish credibility for your company and make it easily identifiable. Even though a business card is small, there are no shortage of creative designs that can communicate the personality of your brand. A business card is a physical object that you leave with someone. Your brand stays with them. It acts as a physical reminder of your encounter 

with them along with a representation of your brand. Not only does it remind someone of your brand and give them an opportunity to reconnect, it also puts a face to a business. This creates a higher quality connection and keeps your brand on top of a person’s mind.

Remember me?

Business cards are important because our memory isn’t always reliable. How many times have you had someone tell you their name or position and it goes in one ear and right out the other, as if they never said it? An entire conversation can become a waste of time when there is no way to reconnect. Business cards strengthen opportunities for referrals, networking, or relationships with prospective clients.

Put some thought into your business cards and create a lasting impressions. If you need help designing and creating business cards, Brand Iron is here to help. Our team of designers can create one of a kind cards that capture the essence of your brand. Call 303-534-1901 or visit brandiron.net for more information.

 

How Startups can Leverage the Power of Social Media

Harness the power of social media. A guide for startup companies.

September is ‘the month of startups,’ and we’d like to kick it off by highlighting how new businesses can maximize the potential of social media. By now, it is evident that having a social media strategy is no longer optional for businesses. A plethora of research supports a strong social media presence to boost your brand’s awareness, engagement, lead generations, and number of closed prospects.

Social media is a great and free resource for startups working on tight budgets. With built-in analytics tools, social media platforms generate up-to-date tracking and insights that show how effectively your campaigns are reaching your target audience. Despite its importance, many startup companies do not know how to best utilize the power of social media to strengthen brand identity.

Plan and Strategize

Before you start haphazardly posting on social media, you must create a strategy that has clear, measurable goals and objectives. Just as you needed to develop a strategy for launching your business, the same goes for your social media. How do you want to portray your brand image? What is brand’s look and feel? Do you want to be known as a corporate structured company, or a laid back, relaxed, and personable company? You must answer these types of questions before you start building your social media strategy. It is important that there is a consistent theme and message across all platforms so that your company appears well-established and united.

Next, you must determine which social media platform(s) best fits for your company based on your target audience and strategy. Some businesses may have a strong presence on all platforms, while other businesses may benefit by focusing all their efforts on one or two. Figuring out the right balance may take some time, and is unique for each business.

Facebook: It is no surprise that Facebook is the largest social media platform with the most active users and widest reach. Facebook allows you to specifically target your audience with content, while also allowing you to reach a wide number of prospects. Just about every business has a Facebook page; if you don’t already have one for your business, it’s time you set one up–it’s super easy!

LinkedIn: This is the largest professional social media platform. The content that you share on this platform should be clean and professional. It is a great tool for networking.

Twitter: Don’t overlook Twitter when you are starting your business! It is a great platform to retweet industry leaders and show knowledge on your specific industry. Twitter allows you to gaining brand awareness through content distribution.

Instagram: Instagram is a great platform to showcase your company culture, new product packaging, community events, etc. Instagram is fun and super visual, so keep the content light and current.

YouTube: People enjoy watching videos and it drives a high level of interest and engagement among target audiences. It is a great place to explain specific processes, increase brand awareness, and showcase technology. Once you have invested time and resources to creating a video, you can share the content across multiple channels.

Determine Goals and Objectives

Your social media strategy must build around specific company goals and objectives. These benchmarks must be measurable and achievable. Here are some goals your startup company may focus on:

Lead Generation: The way you are going to close on leads and increase revenue is to drive traffic to your website. With a greater number of leads landing on your site, there is a greater opportunity to close on these leads. A specific call to action is required to prompt leads to visit your site.

Brand Awareness: Due to the nature of being a startup, brand awareness is inevitably one of your main goals. Increasing your reach and getting your brand image out in front of your audience is an added benefit of implementing your social media strategy.

Content Distribution: We hear all the time how difficult it is for new businesses to create their own engaging content due to limited time and resources. Repurposing and sharing existing content can be a great way to cut down on the time necessary to create original content.

Go out and start sharing!

Now that the basics of social media are mapped out, it’s time to implement your strategy. Remember that social media is SOCIAL, so communicate and respond to your audience; it should be a give and take relationship. Build a tribe and following around your brand. Loyal followers will bring more value to your company than high numbers of uncommitted followers. You want to nurture and increase this following as your business continues to grow.

 

If you have any questions about how social media can play an integral part in your business strategy, check us out at Brandiron.net or call 303-345-1901 to see how we can help!

4 Steps to Effectively Brand a Startup Business

Creating and launching a new business is an exciting and scary time for founders. Unfortunately, many new business will struggle in the first few years and over half of new business fail.

At Brand Iron, we’re interested in helping up that number.

It is important to know what separates companies that dive into the red versus those that rise to the top. A unified brand image will be the driving force and the backbone of your company, which will propel your brand and make the difference in the longevity of your startup. Brand Iron has mapped out 4 steps to effectively brand a startup that will help strengthen your company’s brand and boost your percentage for success.

The steps for branding a startup can be broken down into 4 main phases:

  1. Find your Achieve Anything
  2. Forge your Brand
  3. Brand-to-Market
  4. Brand Analysis

Phase 1: Find your Achieve Anything

First you need a plan. Startups must establish measurable goals and objectives and develop a time frame in which to achieve them. At Brand Iron, we define this process as the “Achieve Anything Plan,” which includes the following:

  • Capital raised
  • Number of products, units, engagement, subscriptions, contracts, or units sold depending on company deliverables
  • Definition of your target segments
  • Strategy to reach these targets
  • Set revenue and profits goals over the course of 3 months, 6 months, 12, months, 24 months, and 36 months
  • Identification market share
Phase 2: Forging your Brand

Now that company goals and objectives have been planned out, it’s time to Forge your Brand! You need to determine a strategic direction that both the creative and content will follow; this will be the framework for your brand’s messaging and look and feel.  The creative and content must be engaging and compelling to entertain your target audience while translating your brand identity.

Once you have determined the strategic direction, you need to develop your brand. This means creating your brand look and feel, developing a logo, website design, marketing and communications, and developing a social media presence and following.

Phase 3:  Brand-to-Market  

It is finally time to take your brand to market, and most importantly, drive revenue! To implement this, you need to develop a Go-to-Market Plan, which will include who you are targeting, your budget, and the most effective way to reach your target segments. Startups are often strapped for resources, so optimizing your time, money, and resources will be imperative to successfully take your brand to market.  Some resources and ideas to keep in mind include the following:

  • What is the CRM/ Marketing Automation platform you are using to run and drive your marketing efforts?
  • How are you going to generate and capture leads through your website?
  • Are you going to utilize email campaigns to help build your brand?
    • If yes, how will you drive traffic to your website?
  • How will you connect your brand on social media and which platforms are best for your industry?
  • How will you advertise to your target markets?
    • Which mediums will resonate best with your target?
    • Online? Broadcast? Out of home?
  • What lead generation activities will you be implementing to generate traffic and leads to your site?

Once you have decided which mediums you are going to utilize, it’s time to map out interactions on a marketing calendar to ensure that consistent marketing efforts are being put forward. It take 7-15 touches to get a response from your target, and these touches will help build credibility in your market and establish your brand identity.

Step 4: Brand Analytics

Now it’s time to measure how your marketing and lead generation efforts are performing. Analytics allow you to better understand your target market; more specifically, you can find out what type of content resonates with your audience and then improve and tailor your strategy around the results. Social media platforms have built-in analytics that allow you to see what content your audience is engaging with. Other questions to ask yourself include:

  • Are you utilizing analytics tools from your CRM/ MAS platform?
  • Are you filling your sales pipeline and generating your target revenue?
  • Are you tracking your analytics on your email and social media platforms?
  • Have you developed a results dashboard to track your company KPI?

Tracking and analytics help you determine if your company is on the right track to hitting your goals and objectives or if you need to pivot your strategy to get back on track with your initial Achieve Anything Plan.

 

Now that you understand how to develop a strong brand and position your startup, it’s time to build your brand and take your ideas to market! If you need any help implementing this process or developing a brand, Brand Iron is here to help at www.brandiron.net or 303-534-1901.

 

Utilizing Automated Marketing to Generate Leads and Nurture Relationships

You’ve heard about automated marketing, but have you ever thought about using it for your own company?

A Great Place to Start: What is Marketing Automation?

Automated marketing is a tool that allows you to automate, streamline, and measure your marketing actions to increase revenue and operational efficiency. In a nutshell, it allows you to optimize your time by streamlining the marketing processes through automation while still personalizing content and nurturing relationships with your audience. By measuring and tracking tasks, you can create campaigns tailored to meet the needs of your market segments. An automated approach is used by marketing departments for repetitive tasks such as email campaigns, social media, or other actions on websites.

Common Software Used for Automated Marketing

  1. Campaign Monitor
  2. SharpSpring
  3. MailChimp
  4. Hub Spot: 
  5. Marketing 360

When your company launches, it is easy to maintain these one on one relationships with your audience, but as your company starts to grow, it is impossible to keep up and manage these relationships without any help. That is where automations helps.

The goal of marketing is to generate more leads, close on potential clients, and drive revenue for your company. Automation helps generate leads by driving traffic to specific landing pages, allowing you to track and convert leads. It also allows you to shape campaigns according to the various touch points and call to actions of the end users. Since the automation can be tailored specifically for market segments, it feels more like a give and take relationship rather than a hard sell.

 

What Does Automated Marketing Look Like?

Someone once explained automated marketing to me as the same as growing a plant. You need to plant the seeds, which is the initial outreach from the company to the audience in the form of an email or social media post. Next you need to give the lead (seedling) water and light by delivering customized, value driven information to the specific audience.This is done through specific campaigns that trigger an automated action depending on the customer’s response. Finally, we hope to have nurtured the lead well enough and grown it to the point of being an actual paying customer. Nurturing a plant or a lead is not a guaranteed process, and it is important to tailor interactions based on the evolving needs of your audience.

Concepts to Keep in Mind when Using Automated Marketing Techniques

1. Segment your lists into sectors

You can segment your list you can communicate directly to your audience’s wants and needs. Build personas to represent segments.

2. Test your email lists and timing.

When you send emails is equally important as the content in the emails.

3. Keep your content relevant.

4. Track your results.

5. Whittle down your email lists.

It may seem important to have a large subscription base, but the active subscribers are going to be the quality leads.

6. Allow your subscribers to manage their preferences.

7. Always include a specific call to action.

 

Brand Iron is here to help you automate your marketing, improve lead generation, and optimize your systems. To talk with us regarding automated marketing or any of your marketing needs, visit www.brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901.

Nexus Commercial Realty Celebrates New Brand at its Launch Party

Congrats to Nexus Commercial Realty on its official brand launch!

The Brand Iron team had a great time celebrating Nexus Commercial Realty last night at their company launch party. After chatting with a few people from a few very diverse spheres, it was apparent that Nexus is already living up to its namesake – making connections and forming relationships left and right! We think they’ll do just fine.

We even spotted some familiar branding materials around…

 

Brand Iron worked with the Nexus team to develop their new band from scratch – from name and logo to staff bios and sales materials. Their team focuses on profitable commercial real estate investments designed to help clients achieve lifestyle and wealth goals and objectives. The Nexus namesake represents their founding principle of connecting with people and providing a deep network of buyers, sellers, vendors, contractors and more to assist their clients every step of the way.

“We are excited to introduce Nexus Commercial Realty to all of our existing and new clients. We feel there is a strong need for a more client-centric focused group and we plan on delivering that kind of service to all of our clients.”
-Adam Riddle, Nexus Co-founder

Congratulations to Nexus!

Want to find out about our unique Brand Forging services? Check us out at www.brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901 to get started.

Celebrating American Manufacturers, Secretary of Labor Acosta Pays Gordon Sign a Visit

After being selected to showcase their signs as part of ‘Made in America’ week, Gordon Sign continues to receive recognition from the White House!

On the heels of representing the State of Colorado at the White House last week, our client, Gordon Sign, received a visit from United States Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, who toured the country’s oldest sign company as a continuation of the White House ‘Made in America’ celebration.

(Gordon Sign White House blog: http://brandiron.net/gordon-sign-represents-colorado-white-house-made-america-product-showcase-event/ )

The timing could not have been more perfect, either. Secretary Acosta was headed to Colorado as part of his tour of American manufacturers to discuss how the Trump Administration can support domestic manufacturing in Colorado and the nation as a whole. Major discussion topics included strategizing how US manufacturing can become more competitive as well as developing a more extensive training program to educate employees.

After sitting down with  Gordon Sign to discuss how it can support manufacturing in Colorado, Secretary Acosta toured their 25,000 sq ft. main production facility in Denver. He met and talked with employees and learned firsthand how they make their award winning neon signs. For Gordon Sign, it’s not only about what they can do, but how they do it. It was a great honor for our client to have the opportunity to share their remarkable process and story with the US Secretary of Labor.

   

Secretary Acosta’s visit comes after Gordon Sign’s revitalization, compliments of Max Fulton and Tom Kim, who acquired the company from a private equity firm after the recession had taken its toll on the sign industry. The business needed new leadership and direction along with some extra attention, love, and capital. With the new ownership group and leadership from Fulton and Kim, 2016 was Gordon Sign’s best year in some time, and 2017 is poised for similar success.

Last week was an amazing opportunity for Gordon Sign and their employees to shine while showcasing some of their remarkable work on a nationwide scale. Their signs come from strong values and produce great brand expression that have stood the test of time. Brand Iron salutes the entire team at Gordon Sign for the exceptional work they create!

 

Media References:

Denver 7: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/denvers-gordon-sign-is-colorados-featured-company-at-white-house-made-in-america-show

USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/07/17/cheerwine-crab-pots-and-shotgun-chaps-50-made-america-products-head-white-house/485050001/

FOX Business: http://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/2017/07/17/trump-s-made-in-america-showcase-these-products-made-list.html

Market Watch: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-each-states-made-in-america-product-highlighted-by-the-white-house-2017-07-17

NPR: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/18/537897405/white-house-highlights-made-in-america-products-from-each-state

BizWest: http://bizwest.com/2017/07/17/colorado-sign-company-showcased-white-house/

White House Blog: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2017/07/17/made-america

Gordon Sign’s new sign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w60A2SZpFDM

Gordon Sign Represents Colorado at White House ‘Made in America’ Product Showcase Event

To kick off ‘Made in America’ week at the White House, President Donald Trump revealed a list showcasing the top products from each state that are made in the USA…

Brand Iron is excited to announce that our client, Gordon Sign, was chosen to represent Colorado at ‘Made in America’ week at the White House!

President Trump invited Gordon’s CEO, Max Fulton, and President, Tom Kim, to be honored at the White House on Monday where companies from all 50 states represented the great effort and commitment businesses put forward to source their products locally. President Trump signed a proclamation and spoke about the importance of sourcing locally: “We want to build, create and grow more products in our country, using American labor, American goods, and American Grit. When we purchase product in the USA the profits stay here, and the jobs stay right here in the USA.”

                                  

Gordon Sign is a Colorado – based company that has been designing, building, and installing custom brand expression for more than 110 years. Their innovation and attention to detail in building custom brand expressions are distinguishing factors that set them apart from competitors. The White House specifically chose to showcase Gordon’s striking neon lighted signs. These have made a huge impression all over the country and can be seen throughout the state of Colorado. Some of their best work includes United Artist Theatres, 1st Bank in Evergreen, and Duffy’s Cherry Cricket.

In 2016, with the expertise of the Brand Iron team, Gordon Sign underwent a complete rebrand, revitalizing their look and giving them the tools to become an industry leader. We understandhow easy it can be for older companies to get stuck in traditional ways of branding; Gordon Sign is a great example of what a new breath of life can do for a brand.

A completely new look, including a newly designed logo, website, and updated sales materials, was exactly what Gordon Sign, the oldest sign-making company in the country, needed to gain and maintain customers. Recently, they have completed designs for several big clients including Sports Authority Field at Mile High (the home of the Denver Broncos), Wendy’s, and many more.

                                    

Since the event at the White House on Monday, July 17, Gordon Sign has been receiving a lot of news coverage following their accomplishment. Denver 7 News, USA Today, FOX Business, Market Watch, and many more have been following the stories of the American-made companies chosen for the event. The list includes big-hitting companies like Campbell’s Soup from New Jersey as well as smaller businesses like Heath Crab Pots from Maryland.

It truly is a huge honor for Gordon Sign to have represented Colorado in the Made of America showcase. Congratulations to our client whose hard work and dedication to their brand has paved the way for such an accomplishment.

 

Media References:

Denver 7: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/denvers-gordon-sign-is-colorados-featured-company-at-white-house-made-in-america-show

USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/07/17/cheerwine-crab-pots-and-shotgun-chaps-50-made-america-products-head-white-house/485050001/

FOX Business: http://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/2017/07/17/trump-s-made-in-america-showcase-these-products-made-list.html

Market Watch: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-each-states-made-in-america-product-highlighted-by-the-white-house-2017-07-17

White House Blog: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2017/07/17/made-america

Gordon Sign’s new sign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w60A2SZpFDM

 

Packaged Content Development

In today’s market, content is king. At Brand Iron, we get asked all the time how our clients can create and integrate original content into their marketing, PR, and social media efforts. The issue is they never seem to find time. Awhile back a client asked if we offered a content development package that would to help write, develop, and design original content. Well, the answer is now yes. We are pleased to announce several packaged content development options. The packages will contain original content that can be used for your company blogs, press releases, and social media and marketing efforts.

     1. Content Bank Development –  One of the first steps to generating content is to gather a backlog of links, articles, white papers, pictures, and videos. The content you gather can then be used across all social media channels, websites, blogs, online, and even for your email marketing. Collecting the necessary resources will save you time and ensure you have engaging content customized for your target audience, while also developing a space where you can continue to grow your content bank.

     2. Content for Brochures, Sales Materials and Websites – It is pretty amazing to us that we get calls from companies who tell us their websites or sales materials are designed and ready to be printed, but other agencies are asking them for the content. Isn’t that the whole reason they went there in the first place? To not just have the material designed, but to have content created as well? Our solution is a quick mini BrandStorm to help companies develop their strategic brand in a messaging platform which we then go on to use for content development

     3. One Time Special Content – Over the last couple of months, we developed special project content focused on the idea of communication during leadership changes. We helped to develop internal and external messaging to help pro-actively address any concerns that surface with a change in leadership. In these cases, we developed:

  • Internal messaging to be communicated within the companies
  • External messaging to be communicated to key customers and vendors
  • Communication with the media (Public Relations)
  • Content to address skuttlebutt in social media

     4. Two Original Content Pieces Developed Each Month – Each month Brand Iron will develop 2 pieces of original content that can be utilized in the following:

  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Public relations
  • E-mail blasts
  • Trade or industry articles/content
  • Etc.

     5. Four Original Content Pieces Developed Each Month – Each month Brand Iron will develop 4 pieces of original content that can be utilized in the following:

  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Public relations
  • E-mail blasts
  • Trade or industry articles/content
  • Etc.

If you are not currently utilizing content to promote your business, now is the time to seriously consider doing so. Content can be used to position your company, product, or service as the finest brand by communicating to your customers your company values. Organic search results will also increase as you continue to add new content and improve your company presence. Original content will only bring value to your company and can be the extra boost you need to reach the next level.

 

To talk with us regarding content or any of your marketing needs, visit www.brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901.

Brand Champion and Visionary Jeff Bezos is Making his Next Big Move in Taking Over the World (of Retail)

With its acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon is looking to change the way we shop – again.

Jeff Bezos is the definition of a Brand Champion. Forget the fact he has built Amazon’s market value to $487 billion and boasts a personal wealth of $84 billion. It’s the paradigm shift that Amazon represents, the way it has fundamentally changed how we all shop, that solidifies Bezos’ legacy.

With Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods for close to 14 billion dollars, it sure looks like Jeff Bezos has set his next course: reshape the way we purchase and receive our groceries.

The announcement came as quite a surprise to most of America and Wall St., and we can only assume it is causing shock waves and injecting fear into grocery store chains around the country. When a major behemoth buys into your space with what must be certain plans to shake things up, it’s fair cause for concern.

Moral of the story: this is a bold move. One that only a Brand Champion like Bezos could even dream of, much less pull off.

Brand Champions have a distinct and unshakable vision for their companies – not only where they are today but also where they want to go in the future. They layout plans for how they are going to achieve their objectives, big or small or massive, and then they get the rest of the company on board to make that dream a reality.

Here it is, stepwise:

  1. Have a vision
  2. Create a plan
  3. Share the vision and plan
  4. Layout a timeline with milestones
  5. Assign accountability
  6. Execute the plan
  7. Follow-up on progress towards that plan
  8. Realize their dream
  9. Reap the rewards
  10. See new vision and repeat!

Simple, right?

It’s going to be interesting and fun to see what Bezos and Amazon have in store for the grocery industry. What dreams do you have for your company, career and life? How can you be the Brand Champion you see in the news or hear about in a blog? What are you going to do to reshape your industry and be the Brand Champion you were meant to be?

At Brand Iron, we use a proven branding process, modern technology and analytics to produce measurable financial outcomes for our clients. See how at brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901.