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.

 

Fill Out The Form To Get Started!

#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!

Fill Out The Form To Get Started!

#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.

 

Fill Out The Form To Get Started!

#marketing #branding #copywriting

Design Trend: Custom Hand-Drawn Illustrations

As 2017 is coming to a close, we’re getting excited to see what design trends will emerge and rule in 2018. This upcoming year will be all about taking risks with bold imaginations, vibrant colors and experimentation. Design trends continue to evolve and change, building off of each other. Hand drawn illustrations are based off of a traditional, pre-digital look. We started to see a rise in these designs in 2017 and they are continuing to gain popularity as we enter 2018. The world of digital is being married with traditional hand drawings and it has created a unique, edgy look unlike any other. Hand drawn illustrations join together traditional illustrations with the new digital age and it has created a this new amazing look!

Every hand-drawn illustration takes a lot of talent and imagination to create. In 2017 we saw these illustrations standing alone in this digital world and they really made an impression on people. In 2018 we are seeing this trend evolving as these illustrations are being combined and overlaid with graphics. The incorporation of negative space, custom graphics and different typography is bringing this look to the next level.

          

The combination of two drastically different styles has indeed attracted attention. Hand drawn illustrations put the designers skill to the test by combining their free hand drawing skills with their graphic design skills to create one cohesive complex piece creates an instant eye-catcher.

Designers are incorporating new elements as the protagonist to catch people’s attention. We love how these elements interact with photography. This can be used for both photos and for type.

We predict that this design trend will be in the forefront of emerging design trends in 2018. This trend has the ability to be designed and shaped for traditional businesses as well as new, edgy businesses who to disrupt the status quo. Whether a traditional B2B company or a new startup, this design trend will help you stand out from your competition and we at Brand Iron love it! If you want want to breath new life into your brand with a new design, visit brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901 to get started.

Fill Out The Form For More Info!

#designtrend #graphicdesign #design #marketing #designtrend2018

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.  

Fill out the form to get started!


#technology #marketing #marketingwithtechnology

Tips For Setting Up A Seasonal Marketing Campaign

Tis the season for seasonal marketing campaigns. What will your company do to prepare for the holiday season?

The holidays are fast approaching, which means new opportunities for seasonal marketing campaigns. Over the next few months companies will be preparing for the seasonal rush. This year holiday sales are projected to top $1 trillion. Your company should take advantage of these opportunities by setting up a seasonal marketing campaigns. Don’t wait, because these opportunities will come and go before you know it.

Marketing around the holidays may seem easy since there is tons of content to share, but this flood of content can make it tough to get your message seen. We put together some tips for you to keep in mind while preparing for the holidays.

1. Time is of the essence: Timing is everything during the holidays! We advise you to start early and end late. Each year people start preparing for the holidays earlier and earlier. Shoppers are not only looking for inspiration, but they are actually making purchasing decisions far in advance. Establishing a touchpoint calendar early is important to provide your audience enough information to make a purchase decision before the holidays. So plan in advance and be thoughtful with each marketing touch.

2. Set up posts that “drip” into each other: This means creating posts that build off of each other. Radio stations use this type of drip all the time when they want listeners to tune in at a certain time. For example, you may create a post that only contains teaser information. The goal is to pique your audience’s interest so they want to learn more. You can use a countdown to tell your audience exactly how much time they have before a target date or tell them to stay tuned for the next round of information. These drip posts work well for contests or promotional information that contain time sensitive information.

3. Create a seasonal special: Use the holidays to your advantage by setting up seasonal promotions, contests or limited time offers. Prepare for these promotions with introductory posts or sneak previews that set up and frame the larger campaign as well as grab the attention of your audience early. If promotions and specials aren’t enough, try running a photo contest or something out of the box to set you apart from all the holiday discounts.

4. Quality over quantity: This may seem obvious, but during the holidays it is more important than ever to only share information that is essential to your audience. The frenzy surrounding the holiday season means people are bombarded with content. Make sure that you don’t overwhelm your audience with promotional content during this time as it may do more harm than good.

5. Don’t forget about smaller holidays: Everyone tends to focus on the big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving but overlook the smaller holidays. Holidays like New Year’s and Valentine’s are a great opportunities to keep a marketing campaign alive and your company on your audience’s mind.

6. Support a charitable cause: This time of year is called the season of giving for a reason. Supporting a charitable cause is a great way for your company to give back to the community that supports your business. Rally your team and followers to get involved and give back in some way, either through volunteering, donating. Don’t forget to spread the word of these actions through social media and press releases.

 

Use these tips and tricks to take the holiday season by storm. Brand Iron can help you prepare a seasonal marketing campaign. Visit brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901 to see how we can help.

Fill Out The Form For More Info!

#seasonalmarketing #holidaycampaign #tipsfortheholidays #marketingfortheholidays #marketingtips #seasonalcampaign

10 Tips for Companies with Small Marketing Budgets

How to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Are you a small business that doesn’t have the resources to spend on marketing? No worries –– there are plenty of ways to maximize your marketing efforts on a budget. Marketing is an area that small business owners don’t want to ignore. It helps you put your brand in front of your target audience and grow brand awareness in order to close sales. We put together some tips on how to stretch your marketing dollars while strapped for cash.

1.  Social media: Ramping up your company’s social media is an easy way to build brand awareness. Sharing original and repurposed content is an great way to distribute engaging information, while gaining a loyal following.

2. Website: A well-designed website is crucial for any small business. It is important that both the frontend and backend are designed correctly to create a clean, direct and easy-to-navigate site. Since your marketing efforts will be driving people back to your website, the website must be able to can handle the traffic by redirecting them to important pages. Don’t forget to have a form and/or call-to-actions so you can capture leads and connect with them!

3. Sales deck: Sales decks are a shortened version of your company’s pitch deck. It should properly package your company showing long-term goals, any important statistics, and how you will reach those goals and objectives. Most small businesses are constantly talking to investors and trying to get funding, so having a strong sales deck is worth the investment.

4. Informational video: Creating an info video is a great way to visually explain your services, product offerings, or process to your audience. These videos can be short whiteboard videos, self- promos, tutorials, you name it. Once you create the videos you can share it on multiple platforms.

5. Press release: Nothing is better than free media. Submitting a press release announcing a launch or new product line is an excellent way to get your brand out in the light.

6. Blogs: Writing original blog content is a easy way share the voice of your brand. You can write blogs about specific products and services, industry trends, tips, or anything you think your audience will find interesting and share it on multiple platforms.

7. Repurpose content: Don’t create more work for yourself. For one example, if you’ve written content for a press release, repurpose it by turning it into a blog or a social media post.

8. Never. Stop. Networking: You never know where your next lead or sale is going to come from. Follow up with leads, and show them you’re interested in doing business together. Go to networking events and use business cards that you collect to help grow your email list. It’s worth taking the time to make genuine connections.

9. Business Cards: You may not think of business cards as marketing per se, but this is an easy way to get you and your business recognized. A clear and well-designed business card can make quite an impact and go a long way in helping your marketing efforts.

10. SEM/AdWords: Running a paid search engine marketing campaign is a cheap and effective way to promote your brand. With Google AdWords PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. The key is to solidify strong keywords that will drive people to your website.

With these 10 tips, you can maximize your marketing efforts which will help grow your business. It takes time and resources to make your marketing work for you but if you keep these nine things in mind you’ll be off to a great start! Brand Iron is here to help you develop a strong marketing strategy that will elevate your brand in the market. Visit brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901 to see how we can help!

Fill Out The Form For More Info!

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.

Fill Out This Form For More Information

Five Social Media Trends to Watch: Facebook Spaces, Chatbots, Gen Z, and More

In the past year, we have witnessed how significant social media is in our lives as well as in the news. The president of the United States communicated his political beliefs in 140 characters or fewer. Facebook is taking over in the advertising space and has stripped down Snapchat’s market share by adding stories to Instagram. With September coming to a close, we are looking forward to what social media trends will emerge as 2018 approaches. To help, Brand Iron has put together 5 social media trends to watch while you prepare for the upcoming year.

1. Facebook… So Much To Watch Out For

Facebook has transformed social media time and time again. This year we saw how live streaming has added a new element to social media. Now Facebook is working on a project called Spaces that is taking that concept to a whole new level. Spaces allows you to connect with your social network through virtual reality. Available via the Oculus Rift, you will soon be able to control a virtual representation of yourself, interacting and sharing memories with your friends in a new space. Check out this video for more info!

2. Content Personalization

Everyday we are bombarded by content. People have acquired skills to screen and filter the content to narrow down the specific pieces that will bring them value. Technology and automation has made it possible to create personalized content based on what a person has clicked on in the past. By setting rules and triggers, you can automate your marketing to respond with content that actually matters to your audience. Personalization will differentiate your brand and message from the sea of content.

3. Chatbots Will Become More and More Common

Artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots can communicate through voice or text. Chatbots are guided and powered by a set of rules to create conversation structure that is programmed into their code. They’re convincing enough to fool all but the most astute observers and can offer a personal-feeling experience to numerous people. They’re starting to make their appearance in the realm of customer support with striking advantages. To start, they make support accessible to more people at once while shortening wait times. They also provide consistent answers about company services to a host of frequently asked questions.

4. Focus on Generation Z

Move over Millennials, Generation Z is taking the stage. They’re becoming more influential as the importance of social media swells. Generation Z grew up fully immersed with social media and are quite savvy. Their interests and aptitude are driving the social media market. Brands who lack a presence on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook may be missing out on a huge group of potential leads.

5. Keep an eye on Twitter

Recently Twitter has fallen behind other platforms and has been all over the news for its lackluster ability to keep up with trends. They have even lost ground to Amazon who now has the ability to stream NFL games. We believe that in the next year Twitter will be making some big changes to reinvigorate their popularity.

Social media platforms allow you to track your engagement with your audience. This means a better understanding of what resonates with them and the opportunity to improve your methods moving forward. Strengthening your company’s social media strategy will be important for your brand moving forward into the upcoming year. Brand Iron can help prepare your brand and strategy for these upcoming trends. Call 303-534-1901 or visit brandiron.net for more information.

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.