The Importance of Captivating and Branded Content

At Brand Iron, we are big believers that content is king. Creating engaging content that captivates, educates, and entertains your audience goes a long way toward making your overall brand more approachable and more desirable.

But what happens when you go that extra step further? What happens when you incorporate your brand into the content itself? We’ll tell you: only good things. It brings the added benefits of positioning your brand within a given topic, giving it some personality, and tying it in with something people want to be associated with.

For example, take this Pin from Smirnoff. A “red white and berry” branded vodka infusion for your 4th of July celebration not only sets the mood for some festive fun, but it also ties in your (not so American) brand with the most revered of American holidays:

Here are some fun facts about general content marketing and the benefits for those who harness it:

  • Content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders.
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and it generates more than three times as many leads.
  • When content marketing adopters and non-adopters are compared, the adopters have conversion rates that are nearly six times higher.
  • Email content offers the largest overall reach: For every $1 spent, email gives back a whopping $38 in ROI.
  • 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy.

Here at Brand Iron, we’ve learned the power of content and how effective it can be. Even the occasional branded quote, tip, hint and fun picture can go a long way toward garnering attention for your media and your brand.

Give it a shot. Tap into captivating, branded content and harness the power yourself!

Leveraging a proven branding process, modern technology and analytics, Brand Iron elevates brands toward their Achieve Anything. Contact us today at 303-534-1901 for info about how we can help you with your content and beyond!

Brand Iron helps Audit Labs Brand Financial Consulting with a Twist

A new brand, corporate ID/logo and website helped Audit Labs market its unique approach to value-adding audits.

When John Dowling set out to found Audit Labs, he wanted to start a different kind of CPA/Consulting firm. The goal was a fresh approach to what so many other firms are doing – in essence, value-adding audit innovation. Thus, the adage was born: Audit Labs leverages financial and audit background expertise to solve cash problems and create cash opportunities.

“This goes way beyond the typical accounting firm,” said Dowling. “We take a deeper dive when it comes time to looking at our client’s financials and we make recommendations as to what is behind their cash problems. Then we tell them how to fix those problems and how to create cash flow opportunities, all in the interest of helping them achieve their bigger picture financial goals and objectives.”

 

Brand Iron helped Audit Labs develop its corporate identity, logo and website, and also incorporated iconology to help communicate their process and services offered.

Check out the full Audit Labs site here.

“Thanks to Brand Iron’s help we are excited about the opportunities that are presenting themselves for 2017 and beyond.”

For more information on how you can position your company to achieve your goals and objectives for 2017 and beyond, please feel free to contact us at Brandiron.net or 303-534-1901.  

 

Saving Grace CBD Celebrates the Launch of its Brand, Website and Online Product Shop

Brand Iron is proud to announce the brand roll-out of Saving Grace CBD, community wellbeing leaders and providers of pure Colorado Hemp oil straight from the source.

Saving Grace CBD touts its full-spectrum, locally-sourced and organic Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in Hemp plants that can help the human body avoid harmful deficiencies and maintain homeostasis, or a state of stability and equilibrium. It is known to eliminate or alleviate symptoms of common and debilitating neurological, psychological, systemic and inflammatory ailments such as Epilepsy, Celiac Disease, Clinical Anxiety and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Saving Grace CBD oil boasts countless other health benefits, is legal in all 50 states, and is safe to use without the potential of becoming “high” or intoxicated.

“We’re excited to introduce you to Saving Grace CBD. Our pledge to our customers is simple: use the best local resources available, don’t take shortcuts, be transparent, and give back to the community. Most of the general public has heard of the benefits of CBD products but they don’t have a dependable source from whom to buy products or get the answers they need to make an informed decision whether or not CBD is right for them. We want to be that source and we will work hard to gain the trust you need when making a choice on where you purchase your CBD products.”
-Jack Studebaker, COO of Saving Grace CBD

Brand Iron worked with company founders Drew Mattison and Jack Studebaker to develop the brand theme and messaging and corporate identity/logo, and that all started with a solid foundation – the company namesake, meant to represent the “saving grace” often discovered by those in need who try their product.

We also designed and developed the Saving Grace product packaging and website with e-commerce capabilities and a “farm, family, purity” theme, meant to convey Saving Grace’s complete control of their product from seed to plant to harvest, processing to packaging, ensuring that their customers get the highest quality product available.

 

 

 

“We’re Colorado proud, we believe in the environment, our community, and promoting local businesses. Our team is focused on low impact farming, giving back to local charities, as well as working with local businesses who have the same culture and share in the same values as Saving Grace CBD. We also believe in education and bringing awareness to people that are searching for an alternative to western medicine.”
-Jack Studebaker, COO of Saving Grace CBD

With the Saving Grace brand and website built out, it’s time to launch! Check them out today: http://www.savinggracecbd.com/

Brand Iron’s Brand Champion Mantra

A Brand Champion Mantra is something brand leaders and company employees live, breathe, practice and fulfill every day in order to help their brands grow.

Whether you are selling a product or service, a business is only as good as its customers’ experience. That’s why it’s so important to know your company’s Brand Champion Mantra and exactly what it’s going to take to ensure you and everyone else in your company abides by its guidelines every single day.

Here is the Brand Iron Brand Champion Mantra, and, as far as we’re concerned, the only way to cultivate the best brand and produce the best results possible:

  1. We are here to make sure our clients are successful, both outwardly and internally.
  2. We are pro-active and we anticipate potential challenges before they become a problem.
  3. We collaborate and help one another improve and get better each and every day.
  4. We deliver great brand experiences for our clients and stakeholders.
  5. We take the time to make sure everything we do is to the highest of standards, is professional, hits benchmarks and is producing results.
  6. We learn and grow, pushing ourselves to discover, master and be on top of new trends and technologies.
  7. We are committed to listening to and understanding what our clients are saying and making sure we are intimately connected with them and their goals.
  8. We are execution-oriented, and we always work as a team to achieve our goals and the goals of our clients.

What’s your company’s Brand Champion Mantra? Write it down, frame it, live it, and deliver extraordinary results to your customers and your employees.

 

Newton Running: a Case Study in Brand Revitalization

Last week, we talked about the importance of brand revitalization during challenging times and how companies must address obstacles head-on and manage their brand on a proactive basis in order to maintain their desired perception in the marketplace.

Brand Iron recently helped Newton Running, the innovative, Colorado-born running shoe company, do just that. Working as a team, with some tactical planning and preparation, we set out to show what Newton has done to reorganize and restructure themselves as a company. As part of that effort, we helped develop the brand and public relations strategy and messaging for several different publications, including an article in Runner’s World Magazine that announces the Newton brand revitalization to the world. The message is simple: “we’re thriving, and we are are going to get back to our entrepreneurial roots disrupting the running shoe space.”

Here is the article in full:

Newton Running Reorganizes Without its Original Visionary
The company promises to return to its focus on serious runners who want to run more efficiently.

Newton Running, the innovative shoe company that made a big splash when it launched 10 years ago, has undergone a major reorganization in recent weeks. As a result, visionary cofounder Danny Abshire is no longer with the company and the brand has closed its flagship retail store in Boulder, Colorado.

Jerry Lee, the company’s cofounder and original investor, has come back to lead the brand, which made its name with brightly colored shoes, unique forefoot propulsion lugs, the promotion of more efficient running form, and online-only sales.

Lee returned as CEO and the company’s primary shareholder on April 6. Newton was under the management of private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, which is no longer involved with the brand.

Lee said Newton will return to its roots and offer a narrower product line while focusing on being a strong but small company. At its peak, Newton Running employed 47 people—and Lee credited the brand’s current viability to the work those individuals had done—but it is now operating with a staff of 15, he said.

The retail store that Newton operated on Pearl Street in Boulder closed in late March. Independent running stores that carried Newton shoes once numbered about 600, but that total has dropped to about 100 in recent months.

Lee is confident the brand will achieve profitability soon by selling direct to consumers online and also through those specialty running retailers that have served the brand well through the years.

“I have always believed in the technology and the impact it has had on so many thousands of runners,” Lee said. “The outpouring of letters and emails from our key retailers and some of our best customers is really what brought me back. When we started the company, I never dreamed of having people tell us their life experiences, and we have had thousands of those kinds of testimonials.

“Financially, I didn’t have to do this. But I looked at all of those people that we created these passions with and it would be unfair if that brand just went away. The people who are invested with me believe strongly in Newton and in me, and so it’s here to stay, without a doubt.”

Newton will primarily focus on its performance shoes and its slightly more accommodating models going forward. Lee said the company will market mainly to discriminating customers concerned with running better and more efficiently.

The company will also go forward without Abshire, and his wife, Jennifer, who was part of the original start-up team. Both were assigned to handle operations at the store and taken out of the core management team a few years ago. They were let go when the previous management team decided to close the Pearl Street store.

Jennifer Abshire posted an item on Facebook on April 2 about their departure. That post garnered a lot of support, but it also raised questions about the fate of the brand.

“I am honored to have worked side by side with my husband, business partner and running buddy,” Jennifer wrote next to a photo showing the company’s launch 10 years earlier at the Ironman 70.3 race in Oceanside, California. “We worked with a great family of co-workers, met a lot of amazing people, travelled the country and helped runners and triathletes of all levels. Our journey with Newton Running has come to an end but we are excited to see what new adventures lie ahead.”

Lee initially backed Abshire’s innovative running shoe designs in the late 1990s. Abshire, a self-taught footwear guru, took the insights he learned from improving the fit of ski boots and later from building custom footbeds for elite triathletes like Paula Newby-Fraser and Michele Jones to developing his first running shoe prototypes in the late 1990s.

Abshire had a vision to build shoes that promoted more efficient running form via a mid-foot running gait and better running posture. His shoes came at a time when most brands were putting new technology and materials into thickly cushioned heel crash pads.

The brand was one of the first to trend toward a zero-drop or level platform and also helped spur the development of lightweight shoes and premium pricing of $155 to $175 per pair. It also offered running form clinics and coaching certification to further its message about efficient running form.

Lee and Abshire first brought the brand to market in 2007 at triathlon race expos and through direct-to-consumer online sales, selling 5,000 pre-orders before its first bulk shipment of shoes reached its warehouse.

“I won’t be part of Newton going forward, but I’m still very proud of what we did with the brand,” Abshire said. “When we started it was Jerry’s money, but it was Jennifer and I who created the grassroots movement. I really enjoyed all of the things that we created. We really stirred the pot and contemplated how to be different.”

The Fireman equity group originally backed Newton in 2011 with a reported $20 million investment, hoping to take it from a fledgling start-up to a major player in the running footwear industry. The brand grew by leaps and bounds from its inception through about 2013 and sponsored elite pro athletes like three-time Hawaii Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander. That group also tried to help it grow among recreational runners

But slower growth, some distribution and manufacturing challenges, and increased competition led Newton to a plateau, Lee said.

Newton achieved double-digit to triple-digital growth for several years, Lee said, before competition from other innovative brands—including Vibram, Hoka, and Altra—slowed its progress a bit. A major industry shift from more minimally designed shoes to well-cushioned models also affected the brand, Lee and Abshire said.

“A lot of things happened after we launched that were out of our control,” Lee said. “When we started, it was just us and the bigger boys like Nike, Brooks, ASICS and New Balance. We kind of opened the door for a whole bunch of other brands to come in.”

Fireman Capital Partners tried to sell the brand, but a deal never materialized, opening the door for Lee to step in with new investors to assume control of the company.

Kris Hartner, owner of three Naperville Running Company stores in suburban Chicago, was the second retailer in the U.S. and the third in the world to sell Newton shoes. He said the innovative technology, the brand’s messaging about running better, its bright fluorescent color palette, and overall quality helped it get off to a flying start in 2007.

But Hartner’s stores backed away from the brand in 2015 after the first reorganization resulted in the layoff of 14 people from its Boulder office and the elimination of most of its outside sales rep staff.

“They kicked ass right off the bat,” Hartner said. “To be honest, I don’t know if any new company has come to the table with as good as the shoes they had. They were impressive. We would have stuck with it, but they eventually kind of went in the opposite direction of how they originally presented themselves.”

Although Abshire says he was disappointed and a bit confused about how it all came down, he insists he’s not bitter. He says he and Jennifer will maintain their Active Imprints custom orthotics business in Boulder and that they already have a few new projects they’ve been working on.

“It’s not the end of the world,” he said. “It’s the end of a business or a relationship and whether it was a great one or a bad one, it doesn’t even matter. Things are constantly changing and as we accept that, the better we are able to move on and do the next best thing. If Jerry is taking over the company again, good for him. I wish him the best of luck.”

The article addressed some growing concerns in the marketplace about Newton Running and dispelled any negative rumors about their ability to stay in business and ship their products. Due to this coverage, we were able to help Newton ease potential fear and hesitation regarding their retailers and incite a spike in sales and excitement in the marketplace. This is only the start in helping to revitalize the Newton Running Brand.

If you and your company have gone through challenging times, don’t just sit there, take action and develop a strategy for getting back to achieving your company’s goals and objectives. Learn how Brand Iron can help.

Branding for Revitalization

Branding isn’t only for new or growing businesses; it’s also for companies that need to be revitalized.

Companies that have navigated bankruptcy, been through reorganization or that have been experiencing declining revenue often need to either work on their existing brand or create a new one to reshape, recharge or re-position their business.

It’s the revitalization phase which too few companies take the time or money to invest in. Along the business lifecycle chart below, one of the best ways to change your company’s trajectory is to rebrand and reposition yourself and company to restore confidence internally first, and then externally to your target audience.

Case Study

In some markets such as Oil & Gas and Retail, tough times have been prevalent. Re-branding can help tremendously to refocus and breathe new life into a company. Brand Iron underwent a rebranding effort for Garbanzo Fresh Mediterranean in an effort to revitalize their brand and financial performance:

Before:                                                                                          Before:

 

After:                                                                                              After: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The result of the revitalization effort was an updated brand that addressed not only the company vision and message, but also how the company fulfills its brand promise and delivers great brand experiences:

For another example of a company looking to revitalize its brand promise, check out how we helped Newton Running change its perception in the marketplace.

If your company is not producing the results you desire, it may need a boost. A great way to do that is to consider branding for revitalization. Call Brand Iron @ 303-534-1901 to begin learning how.

This 4/20, Brand Iron is Proud to Introduce Cannabisdecks.com

The legal cannabis market was worth an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016. It is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 17% and reach a $50 billion valuation within the next decade. Adult recreational sales are estimated to jump from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion by 2020, by which time the industry as a whole is projected to create more jobs than manufacturing.

We think it’s safe to say that the cannabis industry is booming. There is incredible incentive for investors to get in on the action, and those who do are enjoying returns unrivaled in most any other industry.

It is important now, more than ever, for legal cannabis growers, processors, manufacturers, dispensaries and business operators to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Enter cannabisdecks.com, Brand Iron’s new addition to our service platform that aims to educate industry leaders on the importance of telling their story the right and professional way.

And telling a compelling story is important – in fact, it’s crucial, and it’s what separates Brand Iron’s presentation decks from others of the like. Over the years, Brand Iron has developed over 100 Capital Raise, Management and Analyst Decks that have helped companies raise over 2 billion dollars, allowed 20 businesses to get acquired and 6 to go public. These powerful presentation tools are perfect for startups, emerging companies who want to raise growth capital, alternative investment companies, companies looking to get acquired or go public, and especially organizations in the flourishing legal cannabis industry.

“High powered, successful investors have some common habits: They ask questions, a LOT of questions. As it relates to cannabis as a newer industry, the education section of these presentations often needs to be longer than in other industries. A professional Capital Raise Deck facilitates control of the room. It educates. It covers proforma projections. It drives the discussion and ultimately enhances the outcome which is either raising capital, getting acquired or going public.”
-Michael Doyle, Brand Iron CEO

The cannabis industry is here and growing. Business-savvy investors are looking to get involved in this veritable gold rush, but they want to invest in a professional brand they understand and believe in. With presentations like those created by Brand Iron, you can tell your organization’s story the right way. Check out cannabisdecks.com to learn how.

To find out more about how Brand Iron can help you Achieve your Anything, visit www.brandiron.net or get in touch @ 303-534-1901.

If #nuggsforcarter can do it, so can Your Social Media Platform

It’s official: Brand Iron has hopped aboard the #nuggsforcarter bandwagon. In doing so, we’ve joined the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon and T-mobile, to name a few, all of whom are doing their part to help a teenager achieve his dream.

Who is the teenager? Well, his name is Carter. What’s his dream? A whole lot of free chicken nuggets.

Hey, some of us dream simpler than others.

Last week, Carter tweeted at his favorite nugget vendor:

 

 

 

 

Surely, a joke from a high school kid who just loves his chicken nuggets. However, we would call the sequence of events that followed serendipitous to say the least.

Event #1: the fast food chain does the math, discovers they would have to give out around 7000 nuggs to a hungry high schooler, and replies in kind, setting the bar nearly 6 times higher than the all-time retweet record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event #2: Carter bravely accepts the challenge.

 

 

Event #3: the #nuggsforcarter campaign is born. Within the first five days, it receives 2.6 million retweets from some fairly recognizable names.

Event #4: #nuggsforcarter is still trending, and Wendy’s is getting anxious.

 

 

 

 

This all begs the question: how did chicken nuggets ignite what could tun into the biggest twitter reaction ever? What compelled some of the world’s biggest corporations (not to mention, as of April 10th, 2.27 million others) to retweet and even offer incentives to a random teenager with an insatiability for fast food? Welcome to the mystery of the internet, everybody. One thing we know for sure, though, is that phenomenons like this are uniquely possible through the power of social media. Something about this young man’s desire for Wendy’s chicken nuggets, his brazen approach, and Wendy’s surely insurmountable challenge, inspired a virtual uprising – and the retweets keep rolling in.

Whether Carter gets to 18 million retweets or not, this is just another example of how far your message can spread if you strike that perfect nerve on the Web. Don’t neglect your organization’s social media presence, and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards.

ERP Solutions Experts Enter Mile High Territory with New Look and Brand Package

When Brand Iron set out to design a new logo package and website for Colorado-based Mile High Solutions, our goal was to showcase their unique and in-depth expertise in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.

Mile High Solutions advertises a versatile business methodology for its customers consisting of business health checks, solution analysis and design, system deployment, Microsoft 365 platform services and ongoing projects and support – the whole package that separates them from others in their field.

And it’s true, MHS’ business solution architecture can compete with or exceed that of the biggest firms in the industry. Now, they have the brand to prove it.

Mile High Solutions’ relationship-driven philosophy was an important factor in their re-brand, and we made sure their website advertised a “customer focus for life” ideology that touts MHS as an extension of their customers’ businesses, and a partner in all their endeavors. For MHS, this is the only way to truly cultivate trust and long-term partnerships with their customers, and for us, that mentality is their real elevating factor.

Thanks to Mile High Solutions for making our work gratifying. Want to learn more about our integrative branding process? Visit our website to find out how to get started Achieving your Anything.

7 Mistakes to Avoid when Branding Capital Raise/Pitch Decks

Avoid these preparation, delivery, and branding pitfalls when you decide to leverage a capital raise/pitch deck.

Capital raise/pitch decks are powerful tools that can help organizations accelerate their brand, ignite growth and improve results. They help startups and emerging companies who want to raise growth capital, alternative investment shops like Real Estate, Private Equity, Venture Capital, etc., and businesses looking to get acquired or go public.

At Brand Iron, we offer these presentations as an exclusive service, so it goes without saying we’ve seen a ton of them over the years. One thing we’ve noticed is that most companies view the branding and marketing of their capital raise/pitch decks as secondary to the investment opportunities themselves. They consider the actual model and numbers as the ultimate priority – and we’re not saying that’s not the right outlook, because it is. However, with the majority of focus placed on the numbers, they make various mistakes when it comes to the presentation’s branding and how it is put together and delivered, and this can detract from desired outcomes.

Let’s take a look at some mistakes companies make while preparing, delivering, or branding pitch/capital raise presentations:

  1. Content overload – We’ve seen decks pushing 100 slides. No matter how in-depth you think you should go, the most important thing to figure out is how to effectively package a nice, tight message.
  2. Presenting on spreadsheets – Yes, you have to create a financial picture. But spreadsheets aren’t conducive to telling your audience who you are.
  3. Not telling a story – Many presentations just contain facts and content, but they don’t effectively tell your company’s story, and it’s the story that your audience really needs to hear.
  4. Not having an outline/agenda – If you don’t have a tight and organized outline/agenda, it’s too easy to get off track while creating your presentation and lose your audience while delivering it.
  5. Reading your pitch/presentation – A good story that people can buy into has to be told from the heart with passion and conviction, not from reading your presentation word-for-word. This is the only way your audience will believe in you and your pitch.
  6. Getting off point – We’ve experienced and witnessed many pitches and presentations where a simple question throws the presenter off and sets them down a path unknown. As a presenter, you have to control the room and make sure to maintain your messaging.
  7. Not making the presentation engaging – We’ve all seen pitches and presentations of various sorts that lack that “wow” factor, either visually or content-wise. It is especially important in capital raise/pitch decks that your product isn’t bland, because that’s the easiest way to lose your audience’s interest in not just the presentation itself, but the story it is telling.

When it comes time to utilize a powerful capital raise/pitch presentation, it is crucial that it comes off as not only highly professional and informative, but also that it is proficiently branded. This can help tremendously in getting you get the interest you need to achieve your business goals.

Want to see how it’s done? Don’t forget to visit capraisedeck.com or give us a call @ 303-534-1901.