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

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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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

Creating an Email Drip Campaign

Consumers are bombarded by advertising content nearly around the clock. Your marketing messages will get lost in the crowd if you don’t take the time to personalize the content. Email drip campaigns are a great tool your company can utilize when trying to generate more leads, nurture qualified leads, and optimize your time.

What is a Drip Campaign?

A drip campaign is an automated workflow used to nurture leads through the sales funnel by dispersing specific marketing information to prospects over a long period of time. This helps establish credibility and brand recognition. If these drip campaigns are set up properly, you will only have to send out one initial email. The actions (or lack of) by the recipient will determine what content and how much content they receive. The best part? After the initial email, everything is handled automatically.

How to set up a Drip Campaign

You start by setting up a workflow that maps out the series of automated triggers and actions. For instance, if a lead opens an email, clicks within an email, visits a page, or fills out a form, these triggers will activate specific follow-up actions. Then, based on these triggers, different rules will be set in place for that lead.

For example, you are sending out an RSVP email for an upcoming event.  If a lead clicks on an “RSVP YES” button for the event, then they will be added to a list titled “RSVP YES” and 4 days before the event they will be sent a reminder email. But if they did not click on the “YES” button, then one week later they will be sent an email reminding them to RSVP for the event. This type of workflow can be tailored to all sorts of marketing campaigns.

Here are a few examples of different types of email drip campaigns:

1. Top-of-Mind Drips: these types of campaigns drive awareness and keep your message in front of your audience. Suggested content includes specific landing pages, infographics, case studies, newsletter recaps or any other information which will increase brand awareness.

2. Educational Drips: Provide relevant information on the unique products or services offered by your company and how they can help. These types of campaigns are great for prospects who don’t know what specific offerings would cure a pain point. Note: Campaigns that are too promotional — all about your company with no educational value — will turn away potential leads. Suggested posts: Case studies, how your product or service is applied in the real world, and infographics.

3. Re-engagement Drips: These are used to win back the interest of cold, unengaged or former leads. A great type of email to put in this type of drip is a case study showcasing current client work.

4. Competitive Drips: Target competitor’s clients with the various benefits of switching services. You see this all the time with phone companies. Suggested content include any statistical information, case studies and testimonials.

5. Promotional Drips: Entice leads with limited-run promotions and special pricing. The pressure of a limited-time offer is a known champion when it comes to converting leads into customers. A reduced price or free add-on may be just enough to make a sale.

6. Region or Industry Drips: Use a specific campaign to target various regions and industries. Tailor information and articles so that is resonates with a specific target audience. We recommend using this type of campaign if your company targets many different industries or personas. Slight personalizations go a long way in email marketing.

 

Now that you know about a few of the different types of drip campaigns, put them to use in your email marketing. Not sure how to begin? Brand Iron is ready to help automate your marketing. Get started by filling out the form below or visit brandiron.net and give us a call: 303-534-1901

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#marketing #emailmarketing #dripcampaign #email #workflow #automatedmarketing

Defining Your Brand Voice

Every brand has a voice, but is it the right fit?

Start by thinking of your brand. What person or image comes to mind? Is this voice and personality communicated throughout the tone of your brand?  If not, it might be time to rethink your brand voice.

A brand voice should be distinguishable and is a critical step when it comes to defining your positioning and messaging in a way that appeals to your target customers. It isn’t about a creation of a non-human voice, but how you package and display your content, copy and creative. Combined, these elements create a tone which is communicated to your audience and puts a face to your company.

To start, you need to know who your target audience is and what makes them tick. Develop personas that define their unique personality traits and buying habits. Figure out what they care about tailor your content to appeal to them. Your brand’s voice will play an important role in developing this customized content. By first understanding your target audience you can build a brand voice that speaks directly to them.

Next, you should come up with attributes and adjectives that you want your brand voice to portray. Think about what you want your brand’s tone, style, and attitude to feel like. The voice need to be real and accurately reflect the personality of the company and the people behind the brand. Once you have determined the attributes of the brand voice, it is time to apply the voice to the creative look and feel.  

Marrying the creative look with the brand voice is where the magic happens and brings the whole package to life. When these two elements are combined just right, you create a powerful and wonderful brand that connects with your target audience and brings your brand to life! To find out more or if you need help developing your brand’s voice visit brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901 to get started.

 

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#branding #marketing #brandvoice #brandstrategy

How to Prep Your Company for 2018

It’s 2018 and time to kickass and reach your goals and objectives! With the economy going strong and signs suggesting it staying that way, let’s plan on making the most of things in 2018!

It helps tremendously to write your goals down into measurable actions that you can track. Are you ready to meet your 2018 gols? Let’s get started:

  1. Write your goals down
  2. Develop a plan on what it’s going to take to reach those goals
  3. Map out specific steps, actions and items you need to do as well as by when they need to be done in order to reach your goals
  4. Set KPI’s to track these goals and objectives and what the specific measure will be
  5. Delegate responsibilities for each item and assign deadlines
  6. Determine what the milestones are which will indicate that you are on track
  7. Check frequency to ensure you are on track
  8. If you find you’re off track, adjust accordingly
  9. Use a dashboard to track how you are performing against your KPI’s
  10. Crush those goals and objectives

You can go into 2018 with confidence knowing you have a plan for what you are setting out to accomplish this year. Now go out and make it happen!

Brand Iron is your all-inclusive marketing agency. Whatever your goals this year are — or if you want help nailing down some powerful goals for 2018 — we’ve got you covered. Drop us a line at 303.534.1901 or visit us at brandiron.net today!

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#mareting #branding #prepfor2018 #2018goals

Wearing Sandals in the Snow—Why Marketing Copy Changes With the Medium

The need to change the way you write depending on the medium should be as obvious as the need to change your clothing depending on the weather, but this need is often overlooked.

Unfortunately for your bottom line, if there’s a disconnect between the chosen medium for your marketing campaigns and the writing style used, your content could be rendered entirely ineffective. Consumers are accustomed to certain conventions that, when ignored, can turn them away from your content faster than a cat from a bath.

There are a number of things to consider when it comes to writing content for marketing materials

  • Initial Audience Interest
  • Language Formality
  • Number of Visuals
  • Optimal Length
  • Target Audience

Blog posts typically incorporate a less-formal voice and can vary in length from a few hundred words to over one thousand. Initial audience interest is higher than with an email so introductions don’t have to be as to-the-point.

Email: Emails can be a great way to reach known prospects…if they actually open it. They should be short and sans fluff. An accurate but attention-grabbing subject line is a must, and make sure images scale with the viewing device.

Presentation: If you’ve ever been subject to a presentation that hits you with a wall of text slide after slide while the speaker reads verbatim, you understand the importance of minimizing copy. Things like pitch decks—A.K.A. capital raise decks—internal briefings or anything that uses a PowerPoint format should contain bulleted talking points only. No Paragraphs! If you can’t remember all the information of a topic, it’s time for an infographic.

Print: Print may be seen as antiquated but it still plays an important role in marketing. While the length of the copy depends on the document (sales slick, brochure, billboard, etc.) the tone is more formal, unless your corporate voice dictates otherwise.

Social Media: Social media posts are short and catchy. Your best bet is grabbing your reader’s interest and linking them to a blog post, product page, or web site. Pairing images with content in your post will boost its effectiveness.

Video: Videos, whether live-action or animated, may not show copy, but the the script is really important. Narration should complement the visuals, not overpower them. Viewers’ attention will be split between their eyes and ears so scripts should be kept simple while complicated concepts are explained visually.

Web: Web content needs to be brief. If the purpose of your website is to turn prospects into customers, less is more. Bombarding visitors with text or showing them a cluttered site that lacks a coherent design is a sure way to lose a sale. While the tone of your site’s messaging depends on your company’s voice, its delivery should be streamiled and optimized for a variety of viewing devices.  

 

If your marketing materials are wearing sandals in the snow, we can help. Brand Iron specializes in creating effective copy for every format to elevate your brand above the competition and increase your bottom line. Call us today at 303.534.1901 or visit us at brandiron.net.

 

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#marketing #branding #copywriting

How to Brand Multiple Companies Under One Business

When you acquire or merge with a company with new products and services, it presents a couple of questions. Where does this company fit in the existing brand? How do you brand multiple companies under one brand? Here are several things to consider when your company grows to this point.

1. What are your bigger picture goals and objectives: Based on what you are trying to accomplish, you should determine how you need to brand and positioning the company to achieve these specific goals.

2. Where do you want to take the companies in 2-3 years: Now it’s time to determine which of the brands will get you to these goals and objectives faster. If you can’t successfully see one of the companies joining with the other, it may be time to think about developing a new brand all together.

3. Get your duck in a row: You need to make sure whichever direction you go that you have the intellectual property rights associated with that company and brand. Items such as URLs, trademarks, patents, etc. 

4. Develop a brand transition plan: Next you need to develop a plan with key items you need to do in order to brand the companies under one brand. Things such as flipping over the websites to the new brand, new sales and marketing material, etc. 

5. Internal brand rollout: This will act as an internal guide for transitioning the brand within the company, your partners, and vendors. You will announce the reasoning for this shift, the new messaging, brand guidelines, and a long-term plan for what people should expect going forward.

6. Announce new brand: How you are going to message the brand change/evolution on social media? You want to be prepared for this announcement and should wait until you are united on all fronts. There are a lot of factors to consider and you need to determine how you will communicate your brand change to the market. You may want to develop a press release on what this message is and where people should turn if they have questions.

7. Update Social Media: A great way to communicate your new brand is through social media. Are you going to utilize the same press release content to share the news? Use all social media platforms to interact and inform your audience and respond to any questions or concerns. Continue to post on social media with any announcements, further changes or updates regarding the new brand!

Taking these items into consideration when you are branding multiple companies under one business will streamline the process and help keep everyone on track. If you need help branding multiple companies under one business, Brand Iron will help strategically package the companies in order to successfully take the new brand to market. Visit brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901 to see our services can help!

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#brandstrategy #companyacquisition #companymerger #marketing

Harnessing Technology to Maximize your Business Returns!

How your business can keep pace with digital innovation.

In today’s world technology is a fundamental piece of your business strategy. The challenge facing businesses in this changing digital world is how to harnesses these technologies and use them to your advantage. The right use of technology helps companies become more efficient and productive as well as connect with their customers and track the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Let’s take a look at some of the technology tools that we can harness to improve our business.

1. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) – Social media is much more than just posting on your company page. How many of us are really utilizing social media to grow our sphere of influence? Engage our target audience? Build our customer base? I think most of us can do a better job of this. Interacting with your social media community is just s important as posting relevant content.

2. Social media management tools (Hootsuite, etc.)  – You can utilize social media management tools to schedule and manage your social media posts. Some tools also allow you to see your level of engagement as well as respond to and interact with your followers. Tools like this boost efficiency and maximize your time investment.

3. Social media analytics You can utilize social media analytics tools to see how well you are engaging with your friends, targets and community. Track what tactics work best for driving results, engagement and traffic to your website which generates leads. Use these insights to tailor your strategy accordingly.

4. Email distribution systems (Swit Pages, Constant Contact, etc.)  – You can use a third-party platform to send out emails, track who opens them and see who is clicking through to your website. This tool can be highly effective and a simple way to get the word out about your company and/or product.

5. CRM (Salesforce, Act, etc.) Utilize a CRM system to track the prospects and customers in your sales pipeline. You can see your pipeline intake as well as the timing of those prospects coming in. Analyzing how long it takes the average lead to be converted into a customer is valuable information.

6. Marketing Automation System (Pardot, Sharp Spring, etc.) – This is where you can use your database to target your audience by engaging with prospects and leads through an automated workflow. These workflows incorporate touch points along the way to convert them into customers.

7. Google analytics A great tool to track where your website traffic is coming from, how long they are staying on your site and what pages they are looking at. It can also track your AdWord campaigns and their effectiveness.

8. Content aggregation tools (like Flipboard, Feedly, etc.) – I love these, they help you find content that could be applicable to your customers/targets and connect with them. You can use this for 3rd party content for your blog and you can use it in your social media, etc. 

9. Analytics tools (BrandGo, etc.) – You use these analytics tools to track the effectiveness of all you marketing and sales efforts and see what is working and what is not. Use this information to ensure you’re hitting your KPI’s.

 

These are just a few of the technology tools that you can harness to maximize your business returns! At Brand Iron, we use modern technology and analytics to produce measurable financial outcomes for our clients. See how at brandiron.net or call 303-435-1901.  

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#technology #marketing #marketingwithtechnology