Brand Champion: Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt

Image Source: Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, screen capture courtesy NCAA

March’s Brand Champion is Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt

Most Brand Champions have a story to tell and this month’s Brand Champion is no exception. Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt has stolen the hearts (and souls) of fans all across America. The 98 year old nun and team champlin for the University of Loyola, Chicago, is not your typical sports icon – she has claimed the hearts of not only sports fans, but non-sports fans around the world.

The former player and coach provides scouting reports, pregame speeches and postgame analysis by email, along with more spiritual guidance. The Loyola Ramblers of Chicago were the lowest-ranked team in the final four and Sister Jean is the team’s most recognizable figure. Sister Jean has received a ton of publicity and attention including tweets from Barack Obama, another basketball fan with Chicago roots, and even there’s a petition to get her to appear on Ellen. When asked during an interview about being a national star, she replied, “really, if I can correct you, international.”

Considering the problems surrounding the NCAA had before March Madness started, it’s so refreshing to have an unconventional star rise out of nowhere. One of the best things about Sister Jean is that she’s sweet, funny, wholesome, not afraid to say what she believes in, i.e. God, and the guys on the team just love her.

Sister Jean is March’s Brand Champion because who else could even stand close to her, especially in a time when controversy, scandal and skepticism reign in politics, business and sports. It’s refreshing to have a Sister Jean, an unlikely champion, inspire people and that is why she is our Brand Champion for March.

Secrets of a Brand Champion and Brand Champion 100 are part of the Brand Iron brand. Brand Iron is an outcome-focused brand marketing agency located in Denver, Colorado.

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#NCAABasketBallTournament #UniversityofLoyola #SisterJean

How Public Relations Gets People Talking About Your Brand

Every brand, no matter which industry they are in, shares the common goal of creating more buzz around their business. Most brands put all their energy into paid advertising tactics whether it be social media ad campaigns, TV, radio, print ads, or billboards. But there is another way to generate publicity: Public Relations.

Public Relations, or PR, is the idea of creating coverage for clients for free, rather than through paid marketing or advertising. There are a few tactics brands can use to increase their brand awareness such as press releases, interviews and article publication.

Press releases are probably the most well-known strategy within PR. A press release is used when a brand has newsworthy information that they would like to share with the rest of the world. A release should be brief, straight-to-the point and not “sales-y”. These releases are distributed either via email or placed on a news wire and hopefully picked up by editors from various media outlets.

Another way brands can create media buzz is to pitch stories to editors that feature their brand or product. They key here is to not be too self-promotional. A great way to to do this is to find current news stories that your brand could comment on as an industry expert and then reach out to editors or reporters and offer your insight in the form of an interview. For example, if your business is in the automotive repair industry, and there happens to be a local or national news story on vehicle recalls, your company could comment on the dangers of faulty vehicle parts. Because your brand will be mentioned in the piece the reporter is writing, your business is positioned as an expert and creates more opportunities for potential customers to learn about your brand.

PR is a great way to get people talking about your brand without looking too promotional. If you need help creating a PR strategy to gain more publicity for your brand, contact Brand Iron today. 

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What Makes a Thought Leader

Brands today struggle to stay relevant in the eyes of the consumer. Consumers are so used to being advertised-to that ads hardly phase them. They don’t want to give just any company their business, they want give the their business to the best company.  This is when becoming a thought leader is beneficial to brands.

A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought after and often rewarded. Sure that may sound like a great goal to have for any brand, but how to businesses achieve this level or status? It may be easier than you think.

Content creation and publication is key to positioning your brand as an industry thought leader. By creating educational, interesting and helpful articles, and having them published on a blog or better yet, on a media outlet, you can show your target audience that you are an expert in your field and that they should come to you for the best service or products.  But you can’t just create content for the heck of it, there are a few rules.

1. You Must Actually Work In The Industry That You Are Commenting On

A brand that works in the insurance industry can’t just start writing articles on best practices in the field of technology startups. To be an expert in your field you must first be in that specific field.

2. Self-Promotion Will Ruin Your Credibility

The thing about being a thought leader is that people will only look to you for advice or knowledge if they think that you are providing it for the sake of education. If your content appears to be only promoting your brand’s goods or services, consumers will see right through your veiled attempt at advertising and ignore you.

3. Keep It Relevant

Try to only create content around topics that are relevant or even mentioned in mainstream media. This will help increase your thought leadership by showing your audience that you are trying to educate them on items that they need to know now.

 

Want to become a thought leader in your industry? Let the content strategy experts at Brand Iron help you create a plan that will have your desired audience seeking you out for the best information and service. Contact Brand Iron today for more information.

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#ThoughtLeadership

Position 4 Acquisition

Position your company for acquisition. 

At Brand Iron we believe that branding and positioning isn’t just about supporting your marketing efforts, but also your bigger picture business goals and objectives. Branding and positioning can help your company prepare for acquisition. Yes, branding matters when trying to sell your company!

Position 4 Acquisition is all about helping you position, brand, and package your company to be the best in your space. The proper branding can help you to determine your business’s unique value points and value proposition that appeals to your ideal target clients/customers as well as potential acquirers.

Part of packaging your company is not only marketing your brand but also identifying your brand’s unique position in the marketplace. Your company’s story should effectively communicate your business model, financial performance, leadership and potential upside and exit values.

Many sales and presentation decks are boring and just show facts and figures relative to the brand, but what buyers really want to see is a story. By telling a company’s story, the value points and key differentiators can be made clear and therefore make the company appear more enticing to potential buyers.

Brand Iron’s Position 4 Acquisition was developed to help companies position themselves to get acquired for the maximum value possible. Visit brandiron.net to see how we can help your company get acquired.

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Johnnie Walker’s ‘Jane Walker’ Campaign Celebrates Women’s History Month

Feature Image Source: CestLaVibe.com

March is Women’s History Month and one brand in particular is celebrating in a very special way.

Diageo’s Johnnie Walker, a well-known brand within the beverage industry, will debut their special edition Scotch whiskey, Johnnie Walker Black Label “Jane Walker Edition”, this month. This product rebranding coincides with not only Women’s History Month but also International Women’s Day.

The brand will temporarily rebrand their Johnnie Walker Black Label with the new “Jane Walker Edition” name and change the brand’s iconic logo from a man to a woman. The brand is excited to show its support for a cause that has been so widely talked about. In a recent article in Adweek, Stephanie Jacoby, VP of Johnnie Walker, said “important conversations about gender continue to be at the forefront of culture, and we strongly believe there is no better time than now to introduce our Jane Walker icon. We are proud to toast the many achievements of women and everyone on the journey towards progress in gender equality.”

Not only is the brand bringing additional awareness to the issue of women’s rights and equality, but it is also promising to donate $1 dollar for every bottle produced to nonprofit organizations dedicated to women. The two organizations benefiting from the proceeds are Monumental Women, a group that aims to erect more statues honoring women in history, and She Should Run, a group that encourages women to register and run for elected office.

Johnnie Walker should be commended for their timeliness, relevance and above all else, dedication to an important cause. This campaign is a sure-fire success because it is being launched at a time when this topic will be talked about online, in the news, on social media and across every other platform.This increase in media buzz will create more demand for their product and more attention for an important issue. Other companies can learn a lesson in timeliness and relevance from Johnnie Walker.

Brand Iron is a strategic branding, marketing, and enterprise value creation agency. Our conversation starts with you and the goals you set for your company. Founded by Michael Doyle in 2002, Brand Iron delivers on the promise to forge brands and drive revenue through strategy-based business development, creative, public relations, social media, positioning and marketing.


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#WomensHistoryMonth #JohnnieWalker #Branding

Trade Show Do’s and Don’ts

Trade shows are a great way to attract new business and have meaningful face-to-face interactions with potential customers.  While they offer a wide variety of opportunities, they aren’t cheap and it takes time to successfully prepare for a trade show. Here are some do’s and don’t to keep in mind while preparing for the big day.

Do

1. Pre-show promotion

First and foremost, you must tell your target audience that you will be attending the event. In the days preceding the trade show, post to social media and tell people exactly where your booth will be set up and invite them to stop by. Tag the trade show to increase visibility and run a small targeted paid campaign on social media to boost your reach.

2. Have a consistent look

If you are going to spend the time and money on the trade show, make sure you are exhibiting a strong, consistent brand image to the audience. You don’t need to have the flashiest booth to attract your target audience, but you do need a cohesive, stylized booth clearly displaying your message, products or services. Inconsistent or poorly designed booths, including sales materials and table covers, make your company look unprofessional and could end up making a negative impression on attendees.

3. Prepare concise sales material

Keep your sales materials brief. Attendees don’t have a lot of time to spend at each booth so having short sales sheets or brochures is a good idea. Handing out a concise, straightforward brochure will make a better impression on guests, even after they leave your booth.

4. Prepare an elevator pitch with a clear value proposition

There will likely be hundreds of different booths at any given trade show and as an exhibitor, you only have a few moments to grab people’s attention and explain your company’s mission. An elevator pitch is a quick way to convey your brand’s value points. Take time before the trade show to sit down with your sales team to prepare a quality elevator pitch that will help you generate leads.

5. Bring business cards

This may seem silly, but don’t forget to bring your business cards. Collecting business cards is a great way for attendees to remember who they spoke to and continue the business relationship after the trade show is over.

6. Get as many contacts as possible

Don’t be shy about asking for business cards or giving out your own. Make a note of the people you spoke to and made strong connections with and follow up with them after the event. Make a note directly on their business card, highlight their information, make a silly alliteration, do whatever it takes to remember who you were talking to and don’t forget to add these contacts into your database after the event.

Don’t

1. Don’t start a conversation with someone without finding out who they are

People joke about names going in one ear and out the other, but this can happen at trade shows. Make sure that you ask specific questions in order to get to know the person you’re talking with. Find out their position in the company, what their company does, the industry they work in, and any other attributes to make a personalized connection. These personalizations go a long way.

2. Don’t overload your attendees with too much information

With all the hustle and bustle going on, it is easy to feed off this energy and tell people every detail about your product or service. Someone once said “don’t throw up on attendees”, meaning don’t give them too much information that they won’t be able to recall later. Remember, keep your conversation on track and just discuss the most important information.

3. Don’t wait until the last minute to get ready for the trade show

Give your team enough time to prepare for the trade show. Make sure your print material is up to date, your booth is ready and your team is trained. If you need to order a material like a banner or table cover, make sure you build in enough time for shipping.

 

Brand Iron can help you with every step of the process. We’re experts in all things trade show related. Contact us today to see how we can upgrade your trade show game!

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Baceline Investments Announces $125 Million Credit Facility with KeyBank

We are proud to share some big news from one of our clients, Baceline Investments LLC. The company, which is a private real estate investment and management company with neighborhood lifestyle centers throughout the Central United States, recently announced the establishment of a new syndicated loan relationship with KeyBank National Association.

KeyBank National Association is the lead bank in the $125 million senior secured credit facility for the Baceline Income Property Holding Company, LLC. The syndication is comprised of national and international banks. The facility includes an accordion feature to increase the loan commitment up to a maximum of $250 million, providing flexibility as the portfolio grows. Proceeds from the facility will be used primarily for acquisition purposes.

In December, 2017 Baceline completed a $153 million recapitalization with KeyBank, including 27 properties, creating a new income-producing investment vehicle for Baceline’s investor base.

“The facility partnership with KeyBank National Association is an exciting milestone for us and elevates Baceline to a new level, providing a strong foundation and framework for future growth,” said David Puchi, Baceline’s Managing Partner. “Our longstanding relationship with Key ensures that we are able to grow our portfolio of stable, income-producing properties to 200 properties over the next 3 to 4 years. The resulting portfolio will be perfectly positioned for a favorable public or large scale private institutional exit.”

Baceline’s investment niche focuses on holdings in the country’s heartland and is designed to benefit investors who seek to earn consistent, meaningful levels of distributable income from their investment portfolio. Their properties focus is on neighborhood shopping centers that offer everyday goods and services to local communities.

We are always proud when one of our clients makes strides to ‘Achieve Their Anything’. To learn more about how Brand Iron can help your business reach the next level of success, contact us today!

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Brand Champion: USA Men’s Curling Team

February’s Brand Champion is the USA Men’s Curling Team. 

Brand Champions have a few distinct characteristics that set them apart from the rest of the pack. They inspire others and believe that anything is possible. That’s why February’s Brand Champions are the USA’s men’s curling team!

No one expected the men’s curling team (especially since they’ve never won a medal at the Olympics) to accomplish much of anything. So when they got off to a slow start, judges and spectators alike were not surprised – in fact – it was exactly what was expected. Yet, when the team went on to win 3 high-stakes matches, against teams who’ve had much more success in the past, people started to take notice. The team continued to shatter all expectations when they beat power-house teams, Canada and Sweden; resulting in not only their first curling medal, but a gold medal at that.

One of the best things about this team and their story is that these are normal guys, not just athletes. They work normal jobs – Monday through Friday – like the rest of us. They are true red, white, and blue Americans, living the American dream. People like to root for the underdog and these unlikely heroes are humble, approachable, and representatives of America in the best ways possible.

In a time where controversy seems to surround sports. They had all of America rooting for them, uniting a country with an obscure sport and surprising success that resulted in their first gold medal.

By any definition, the USA Men’s Curling Team members have truly become Brand Champions on an international level!

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#BrandChampion #USAMen’sCurling #OlympicsPyeongchang

Brand Champion: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

January’s Brand Champion is Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Let me preface this by saying this not a political article but Sarah is a Brand Champion because she has brought stability to the Trump White House and the Press Secretary position, where three men before her couldn’t do it.

Josh Earnst Obama Press Secretary White House  Sean Spicer Press Secretary White House Donald Trump  Anthony Scaramucci Donald Trump Press Secretary White House

Source: Jdarsie11 (no attribution implied)

Huckabee Sanders is a calming presence that was desperately needed, she is self controlled, has a wit and she has an emotional intelligence about her that was/is desperately needed.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a Brand Champion because she has help to establish a sense of stability, something that her three predecessors couldn’t do. She is calm and rational, something that many thought was missing before she arrived at the White House. Brand Champions need to have a  “presidential quality” about themselves to forge a brand and effectively communicate what it stands for.

Another part of being a Brand Champion is being calm under pressure and having the ability to stand firm in the face of pressure and adversity, which she clearly has had to master. In a year, that was rough to say the least in that position, Huckabee Sanders has carried herself in a professional manner and represents the White House and the President very well. Brand Champions also communicate the brand message and position in a clear and concise fashion. Huckabee Sanders does this exceptionally well behind the podium each and everyday, making her an effective communicator and Brand Champion.

Brand Iron is a s a strategic branding, marketing, and enterprise value creation agency. Our conversation starts with you and the goals you set for your company. Founded by Michael Doyle in 2002, Brand Iron delivers on the promise to forge brands and drive revenue through strategy-based business development, creative, public relations, social media, positioning, and marketing.

7 Secrets of a Brand Champion is a book, talk and blog by Michael Doyle and Brand Iron.

Brand Champion 100 is a blog and product of Brand Iron.

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#BrandChampion #SarahHuckabeeSanders #PressSecretary #Marketing

Sometimes, Simple is Better: One Color 3D Design and Responsive Logos

One Color 3D Design and Responsive Logos.

At Brand Iron, we talk a lot about differentiating brands from the competition. One way to make your mark is to show how creative your brand can be. With design trends constantly evolving, it can be hard to keep up. So far, 2018 has been about bold colors that make a statement. We’re seeing conservative companies evolve their look to incorporate more vivid colors and people are responding positively to these shifts and progressions.

One Color 3D Design

Timeless creative is difficult but the recurring trend that we are seeing is making it easier to stay competitive. Monotone, 3D, design is making a bold statement at the moment.  We’ve seen an influx of bright colors ruling the scene, paired with flat graphics creating a cohesive look. It is a simple, yet powerful statement that catches consumers’ eyes.

  

Source: graphicmama.com/blog/graphic-design-trends-2018/

The biggest dilemma with creative creative, is that it’s over complicated and the brand message gets lost underneath heavy layers of design. With one color, 3D design, the product is always the main focal point. By only incorporating one or two colors with 3D aspects, brands can add great depth to the image, keeping their audience’s attention.

Responsive Logos

Playing on the same theme of simplification, responsive logos are a trend that is taking off. We’ve already noted the shift to the semi-flat design, which has transformed overly intricate designs to flat graphics. Now the idea of responsive logos has really kicked off. Joe Harrison published an interesting experiment that presented the idea of simplified versions of logos to fit with different sized screens, windows or devices (http://responsivelogos.co.uk/).

Designing for versatility, it just makes sense.

Brands are altering their logos based on the size of the image or screen they are presented on. Creating a more simplified logo integrated throughout different marketing material as a subtle touch is more digestible.

Source: http://responsivelogos.co.uk/

Contrary to popular belief, slight adjustments to your logo does not negatively affect your brand identity. It shows an evolving brand that is willing to incorporate new trends, embracing new technologies that rise with the times instead of fighting against them.

We are all about making your brand stand above the rest with creative that gets results, but is also evolving with the current trends. We love the idea of simplifying design (when necessary) and delivering a cohesive look throughout every aspect of the design. If you need help adjusting your brand’s creative Brand Iron is here to help. Visit brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901 to see how our creative team can bring your brand story to life.

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#GraphicDesigner #ResponsiveLogo #OneColorDesign #3D