Three Books to Help You Jumpstart Your Brand

Creating a relevant, strong, and trusted brand is one of the most fundamental aspects of developing a successful company. Many entrepreneurs find that it’s one of the hardest things to accomplish. Not because it’s unattainable, but because it takes long-term planning, strategy, and self-education, all of which require quite a lot of time. (Oh, and the belief that it’s worth the time.)

One of the reasons creating a successful brand is so difficult is that it’s confusing. Messaging, platforms, brand development—it’s all been rapidly changing for the better part of the last two decades. Keeping up is hard work! But if you put aside the technology and the data and all the fancy new platforms, there are some strategies any business can tap into that are evergreen and will last the lifetime of your business.

Aside from hiring a marketing company to help you, there are an overwhelming amount of resources out there for business leaders to tap into to help them grow and develop their brand. To help, we’ve narrowed it down to three books that will help you cover all the most important bases.

The Truth About Creating Brands People Love

Authors: Brian D. Till and Donna Heckler

This book is excellent for busy leaders who don’t have more than a handful of minutes a day to spend reading. The book is broken up into 51 short chapters, each teaching one specific lesson about marketing. Take your highlighter and go chapter by chapter, allowing each truth to sink in throughout your day. From positioning to strategy, Till and Heckler do a stellar job breaking down common marketing misconceptions and righting the common marketing ‘wrongs’ companies make every day. This book will help you avoid common mistakes and enable you to develop a better understanding of what marketing is and isn’t.

Start With Why

Author: Simon Sinek

Since his famous TED Talk, Sinek has been a household name among business leaders for the last decade—and for good reason. Start with Why breaks down one of the most fundamentally impactful messaging strategies out there. Detailing the same method that skyrocketed Apple into one of the leading brands of the 21st century and enabled Martin Luther King Jr. to move an entire generation, every entrepreneur should read this book—not just people interested in marketing their business. It will help you frame your brand and your vision and enable you to authentically connect with your audience in a lasting and impactful way.

Building A Story Brand

Author: Donald Miller

This bestseller offers a handy toolset designed to help you position your brand in a way that connects with the dreams and goals of your audience. In today’s world, the customer has never been more important, and many brands struggle to understand how to position themselves to their audience. This book takes you chapter-by-chapter, step-by-step, through a series of exercises to help you clarify your message into something your customers will want to listen to. It may even help you better understand your organization. When developing your website, your marketing materials—even your sales pitches, this book turns the traditional advertising storyline on its head in a refreshingly clear and effective way.

Take matters into your own hands 

Don’t let the feeling of overwhelm stop you from attacking the problem of your brand. And don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from learning something new. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing organization to develop a successful brand. In fact, doing the learning yourself will help you develop a greater understanding of your brand, empowering you to take it farther than any external organization has the power to do. The information is at your fingertips; all you have to do is open the book.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by sergeybogachuk

What Marketing Stats Can Teach Us About Human Behavior

Whether you’re in HR, marketing, sales, the C-Suite, or customer service, you rely on people. You need them to listen, to purchase, to follow, to keep coming back to you. And while your audience might be different, people are generally the same.

As the world of marketing has boomed over the past decade, so has its reliance on data and its ability to derive knowledge from it. Some data is too specific, but some data speaks on a grander scale, tying into modern human behavior and sentiment that we can use to inform just about any part of business.

Stat: After a bad experience, 88% of visitors won’t return to a website.

We live in a world of abundance. Customers have seemingly endless choices when it comes to where they spend their money and time. If they don’t like their experience with you, they can return to Google and click the next link in their search.

What can this teach us? That you have to prioritize your customer’s experience—even if your product is the best on the market.

If you work in HR, this correlates to an employee’s onboarding or offboarding experience. If they have a bad one, their entire perception of the organization can be tainted. If you’re in sales, think about the experience your prospects have with you. Are you calling them once and then forgetting about them? Or are you only focusing on trying to sell them the product of the highest value despite whether it’s right for them?

Ultimately, your audience’s experience as they are introduced to you, your website, your product, or your organization, sets the tone for your entire relationship. If you’re not making your best effort to give them a quality experience, they won’t be inclined to stay for long.

Stat: Nearly 100% of first impressions of a website are based on aesthetics and design.

While we’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” these days, that’s how people decide whether you care about them. If you haven’t updated your sales presentation since 2015, no one will take you seriously because they won’t feel taken seriously. If your employee handbook is ten pages of technical language without text breaks, no one will take the time to read it. If you show up to your job interview in an old t-shirt and ripped jeans, they aren’t going to give you a chance.

The way you present your information, value proposition, business, or company values is just as important as the information you’re trying to convey.

Stat: Every dollar invested in user experience results in an ROI of up to $100.

Investing your time, energy, and money into the experience of your audience pays off. While this may be common sense, it’s still one of the most impactful concepts you can learn. If your business sells products online, have you taken the time to walk in your customers’ shoes? Do you know what it’s like to purchase something from your own site?

If you’re preparing for a sales meeting, do you research your lead? Do you know what their pain points are, what their values are, what their goals are? Have you role-played your presentation?

As an HR leader, have you reviewed your employee benefits usage? Do you know what their experience is during open enrollment? Have you tried to seek out ways to improve it?

The success of your venture rests upon the ease of engagement for your audience. The easier it is for them to say yes, make the purchase, and understand what you’re telling them, the more often you’re going to succeed.

The underlying truth

Ultimately, each of these statistics tells us one fundamental truth: it’s not about you—it’s about your audience. Suppose your first concern is impressing your audience with your experience or making sure they buy the most profitable product or hit all the boxes on your compliance checklist. In that case, you’re setting yourself up for building low-quality relationships that won’t last.

If, however, you’re concerned with what they see when they first meet you, if you’re careful about how they receive the information you’re communicating, and if you’re bent on making it as easy as humanly possible to engage with you, then you’re setting yourself up for success. It’s that simple.

 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by rawpixel

Five Easy Ways to Improve Your Website

These days, businesses have more options than ever when it comes to building their website. And while there are great DIY tools you can use to build a website at a low cost, if you’re not trained in design, you might be doing yourself more harm than good. Whether you like it or not, the design of your website will play a significant role in your visitors’ perception of your company and brand.

If you’re building your website yourself, pay attention to these five design concepts to keep your visitors engaged.

1. Make some room

One common mistake companies make is squeezing a ton of information into a small amount of space. While you may think that information is essential and useful to your customer, if it doesn’t have room to breathe on the page, no one will spend the time to read it. Designers refer to this useful little concept as “white space.”

White space is essentially the negative space surrounding anything on a page (or piece of content). It functions as a mental “break” for viewers, creating a visual pause between pieces of information. If you don’t leave enough white space on your page, the information you present will quickly become overwhelming and cumbersome to consume.

This goes for text, images, videos, or any combination of content. Be sure you’re leaving your viewers’ brains “room to breathe” on your site. Create this white space by breaking up your site into sections, or strips of content, using different solid color backgrounds to create visual separation between sections. For further explanation and examples, check out this beginner’s guide to understanding whitespace.

2. Cut. It. Out.

A challenge many companies have is identifying what information should be on the site. Business owners often love talking about their company and tend to feel the need to offer up way too much information than necessary for a website.

The content on your site should be:

  • Concise
  • Clear
  • To the point
  • High level (not in-depth and detailed)

You don’t want your site to tell your customers everything they might ever need to know about your business. You do want your website to intrigue your customers enough to want to start a conversation with you.

Do yourself a favor and keep your About Us page short, keep the subject of your messaging centered around your customer, and keep your explanation of your products and services as Simple. As. Possible.

3. Content, content, content

When it comes to grabbing and holding the attention of your visitors, it helps to do your research. Different types of content have different strengths and functions, so knowing how and where to offer varying types of content can be extremely helpful.

Integrating video content, visual graphics, and written content throughout your site will help visitors consume information and expand their understanding and connection to your brand and product/services. If you’ve got a particularly important piece of information you want to share, consider putting it into a short video to help it stand out from the rest of the information on your site.

4. Simplify the journey

An easy way to turn people away from your site is to overwhelm them with options. To simplify and clarify their journey through your site, avoid having multiple pop-ups on one page, or too many CTAs in one space. Two is fine, but offering three or more directions for a visitor to go may overwhelm and frustrate them.

Keep your message obvious. Think about what it is you want your readers to do and then stick to that. If a visitor has to exit out of multiple pop-ups, alerts, and chatbots to get to the information on your page, you’re only getting in your own way.

5. Optimize

Making sure your site works well on mobile devices should be a top priority. For the past few years, more than half of all web traffic happens on mobile devices – more than half of all your website visitors are viewing your website on their phones! If your site isn’t optimized to function properly on a mobile device, you’re setting yourself up for readers who won’t get the information you want to share and likely won’t come back.

Take your time, and do it right

75% of people will judge the credibility of your company based on your website’s design. It’s the first real interaction you’ll have with the majority of your customers. If you want that experience to be a good one, then take the time to build a site that represents the brand you love. It’s worth it.

 

Photo by goodluz

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

 

More Than a Logo: How a Strong and Consistent Brand Impacts Your Entire Organization

Often, when the topic of branding comes up, thoughts of logos, colors, and fonts preclude all else. But your brand is so much more than that! Your voice, messaging, company beliefs and values, vision, and purpose come together to create a cohesive story that impacts everything from external marketing to internal company culture. 

 

How your brand affects how others perceive you 

A strong brand will do wonders for your marketing. By incorporating your voice, values, and purpose into your messaging, you begin to establish your brand as a consistent presence in your industry or market. This consistency distinguishes your company from your competitors and gives you a leg up in the marketplace. You’ll begin to build trust with your prospects earlier in the buyer’s journey, establish deep lines of customer loyalty, and increase your company’s credibility.   

 

But your brand doesn’t just affect your audience. In fact, its effects on your organization are far more significant and much more important than anything seen from the outside. 

 

How your brand affects your perception of yourself 

When you have a cohesive brand, your whole organization is improved from the inside out. You’ll find employees more aligned, teams working together more efficiently, and productivity increased.  

 

Cross-departmental communication can often be a pain point for larger organizations. With a strong brand, though, consistency is easier to achieve, and communication becomes streamlined through the natural guide created by the values and vision that make up your brand.  

 

Clearly defined company values can even improve your recruiting and hiring process! Your brand provides candidates the ability to determine if they will feel good within your company. When you find someone who aligns with your brand and seems like they could play a vital role in achieving your company’s vision, you’ll find that they’ll be a good fit for your culture, and the transition will be natural. 

 

Refining from the inside out 

If you’ve never taken your organization through a branding process, it takes a while. It’s not a simple checklist or a short survey. It will entail philosophic conversations around the very existence of your business and might bring up uncomfortable topics that need to be addressed. But the time and energy you pour into it will result in a business and brand that you and your team can proudly stand by and celebrate. Your audience will see the confidence and pride from miles away and will inexorably be drawn towards you. 

 

 

Photo by everydayplus

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

More Than a Logo: How a Strong and Consistent Brand Impacts Your Entire Organization

Often, when the topic of branding comes up, thoughts of logos, colors, and fonts preclude all else. But your brand is so much more than that! Your voice, messaging, company beliefs and values, vision, and purpose come together to create a cohesive story that impacts everything from external marketing to internal company culture. 

 

How your brand affects how others perceive you 


A strong brand will do wonders for your marketing. By incorporating your voice, values, and purpose into your messaging, you begin to establish your brand as a consistent presence in your industry or market. This consistency distinguishes your company from your competitors and gives you a leg up in the marketplace. You’ll begin to build trust with your prospects earlier in the buyer’s journey, establish deep lines of customer loyalty, and increase your company’s credibility.   

 

But your brand doesn’t just affect your audience. In fact, its effects on your organization are far more significant and much more important than anything seen from the outside. 

 

How your brand affects your perception of yourself 


When you have a cohesive brand, your whole organization is improved from the inside out. You’ll find employees more aligned, teams working together more efficiently, and productivity increased.  

 

Cross-departmental communication can often be a pain point for larger organizations. With a strong brand, though, consistency is easier to achieve, and communication becomes streamlined through the natural guide created by the values and vision that make up your brand.  

 

Clearly defined company values can even improve your recruiting and hiring process! Your brand provides candidates the ability to determine if they will feel good within your company. When you find someone who aligns with your brand and seems like they could play a vital role in achieving your company’s vision, you’ll find that they’ll be a good fit for your culture, and the transition will be natural. 

 

Refining from the inside out 


If you’ve never taken your organization through a branding process, it takes a while. It’s not a simple checklist or a short survey. It will entail philosophic conversations around the very existence of your business and might bring up uncomfortable topics that need to be addressed. But the time and energy you pour into it will result in a business and brand that you and your team can proudly stand by and celebrate. Your audience will see the confidence and pride from miles away and will inexorably be drawn towards you. 

 

 

Photo by everydayplus

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners