Brand Champions: Create a Winning Brand by Focusing on a Winning Culture

Tips for establishing a strong brand champion. 

The strength of any initiative comes from the team that drives it. When good won’t cut it, you need people who can deliver great. To achieve your goals you need to surround yourself with people who have the right attitude and determination. Once you have this, it’s up to you as their leader and Brand Champion to focus your team’s potential and curate results.

One of the responsibilities of the Brand Champion is to set the company’s tone. Inspire a culture of positivity and unity so that the team is aligned with the bigger company picture. This unity is both what holds a company together and ensures both its goals and objectives are met. It’s also important to provide clear direction through open communication and strategic planning. Here are a few things that Brand Champions do to create a winning culture:

  1. Understand the ideal Brand Experience.
  2. Establish unified company goals and objectives.
  3. Create a long-term plan incorporating company objectives with attainable goals.
  4. Create team incentives to meet goals and objectives.  
  5. Celebrate the “wins” and teach when you “lose”.
  6. Be a leader and guide the way to success.
  7. Keep a positive attitude and have fun along the way!

With a dedicated team and strong leader anything is possible. Use these steps to help create a winning culture, unite your team and meet your goals. For more information on how you can achieve your anything and be the brand you want to be, contact us at www.brandiron.net or 303-534-1901.

The Rise in Semi-Flat Design

Digital trends are influenced by all kinds of things like media, user experience, fashion and technology just to name a few. Digital design is never static. Design tools and technology is constantly evolving and what styles are popular evolves with it.

Over the past year we’ve seen a decrease in photo-realistic designs and a boon in simplistic, 2D designs. Color gradients and curvy fonts have also gone by the wayside in many industries. Big players like Netflix, Ebay, and Paypal have all made the shift toward a cleaner, more simple design. Simplicity has its benefits but comes with the risk of being seen as flat and boring.

        

Thanks to Material Design, Google’s new design language, we are now seeing two-dimensional designs come to life. Flat designs have evolved into a semi flat design with some light, depth, and shadows. A semi-flat design adds smooth shading and a level of complexity that flat designs are lacking. Through Material Design, Google has created a sweet spot for brands to design their logos, and interface to have subtle depth while still maintaining the clean, sleek feel of flat design and we love it! 

                          

Project: Listener’s Playlist

Author: Anzi

Our design team is always looking for the best way to incorporate these trends into our clients’ brands and design elements. Brand Iron can help revitalize your brand by incorporating these design trends into your brand’s look and feel. Fill our the form below if you love this design and need help from Brand Iron to incorporate this look to elevate your brand to a new level.

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The 8 Must-Dos When Rebranding A Large Business

Rebranding a large business is no small task.

There is a certain process you must follow in order to achieve your desired results. Below are eight steps the Brand Iron team takes to helps clients reach their goals and objectives:

Find Your Achieve Anything

Knowing what you’re trying to achieve with your rebrand is integral to finding success. This is what we call your Achieve Anything Plan. Are you rebranding to increase revenue? Expand your geographic reach? Because you’ve expanded your offerings? Defining your Achieve Anything Plan is the foundation of your new brand.

Brand Differences and Value Propositions

What has changed about your brand that requires a change in strategy? A new position in the marketplace or a new key difference between you and the competition are things that require a change. Recognizing these strategic brand value points will help you to compose your new and improved Brand Value Proposition.

Determine Your Target Audience

Now that you’ve decided to rebrand, who are your target audiences? Has your target clientele shifted? Is it completely different? Either way, it’s time to develop brand personas for each audience so that you can effectively market to them.

Determine Your Strategic Brand Content and Mood

Good creative isn’t just creative –– it’s developed with a strategic focus and direction that will appeal to your targeted audience. Make sure to refine the content in your marketing so that it will engage your target audience and compel them to take action.

Develop Your Brand Assets

Make sure your brand’s look, feel and message will resonate with your target audience. Make sure that feeling carries over throughout all your marketing campaigns.

Develop Your Online Brand

Tailor your messaging for online use. Ensure you website is updated and visually appealing. Develop your site so that it displays well on mobile devices. Set up your calls-to-action to engage your audience.

Brand to Market

Once your brand redevelopment is complete it’s time to take it to market. What are the most effective means to do so? The key here is to utilize an integrated approach to reach your targeted customers. Using multiple mediums with a scheduled approach leads to a much higher return on your invested time. Consistency is the key to breaking through the clutter and connecting with your audience.

Brand Analysis

Now that you have rebranded and taken it to market, it’s time to track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Make sure to track your email campaigns, website traffic and social media efforts to see what mediums and messages are working, and which ones aren’t.

Utilize these eight must-dos when rebranding your large business and you’ll be rewarded with the satisfaction of Achieving your Anything! To find out how Brand Iron can help ignite your rebrand, contact us at www.brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Great Brand Champions Know the True Meaning of Good Old Fashioned Holiday Spirit

Best Buy etches its spot on Santa’s “Nice” list with a generous dose of holiday giving.

The season of giving is back. For proof, look no further than a Best Buy store in Long Island, NY. Employees of the big box retailer noticed that a local teen had come into the store every day for a month to play the new Nintendo Wii U display. Warm with holiday cheer, they all decided to pitch in and purchase the $300 console for the teen and present it to him next time he came in to play.

The teen, confused and speechless, humbly accepted the gift and shook the hand of a Santa mysteriously dressed in Best Buy blue.

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If this was just an example of community giving and selflessness during the holiday season, or even customer service well beyond the norm, that would be more than enough to warm our hearts. But the actions of these Best Buy employees highlighted something else, something people like us here at Brand Iron know as being great Brand Champions. The unsolicited actions of a few people at this one location speaks volumes for Best Buy as a whole and a corporate culture that truly puts their customer first.

A jolly shout out to goodness from us here at Brand Iron. Look around for your chance to pass along the holiday spirit, and we’ll be here as always to help you Achieve your Anything.

Have a great holiday season and a happy New Year from all of us here at Brand Iron!