Package Your Brand Online (The Right Way)

This guest blog post, Package Your Brand Online (The Right Way), is from Dr. Marina Kostina CEO & Founder Wired@Heart. Marina is an expert at helping entrepreneur’s bring their businesses online. Marina is a co-author an Amazon Bestseller, “The Golden Climate in Distance Learning”, a winner of several prestigious awards. She  also helped build online training programs and products in over 40 countries.She was intstrumental in the creation of my own 8-part Brand School online Branding class. The following post is packed with useful advice and also mentions an invitation to a  FREE online training session: “Multiply Your Impact and Income Online,” which has now completed. If you would like more notice of future events and offers, please join the BrandTwist mailing list. 

Why go online?

You love your clients.

You love connecting and engaging with them.

And you’d love being able to make a difference on a larger scale.

But there is only one of you! And that means that no matter what, your impact (and income) will always be limited.

We live in a very exciting time, as there are literally billions of online businesses nowadays.

However, 95% of online businesses fail and they fail in a matter of months!

These statistics tell us two very important things:

1) Small business owners finally realize that the online environment has tremendous potential for impact, profitability, and building the lifestyle of their dreams.

2) Most online businesses fail, and fail super-fast because they do not know how to bring their brand online in an effective way.

Many “business gurus” promise that designing an info product will solve all your financial frustrations, magically attract lots of clients, and ultimately will help you build a lifestyle of your dreams. I strongly believe that most info products experts are missing the KEY ingredient: building connection and engagement in cyberspace.

How to make your brand shine online the right way:

After 10 years of working online and conducting research on online interactions for my doctorate dissertation, I know one thing for sure: connection and engagement is THE KEY to success in cyberspace! I believe that an engaged client is a happy client. It is a client who will keep on buying your products, develop a sense of identity with your brand, will produce great results that he will gladly share with others, and will become your biggest fan and an advocate for your business!

There are 5 types of connection that businesses need to foster while bringing their brand online:

Strategy # 1: Building Client-Client Connection

The client-client type of engagement is where clients engage with each other, creating an online community. Often, such communities are considered to be a “bonus” to an online product. I argue that developing such communities is a MUST. You can easily create a community of like-minded individuals even with self-paced, downloadable products by providing an opportunity to access an online forum, or maybe creating a private Facebook group where your clients can interact and share their experiences, questions, and success stories.

Strategy # 2: Building Client-Mentor Connection

The secret of engagement is this: you need to find a way of making your trainees feel that they are involved in a learning process that they own, one that they have helped to construct, and that they are working on a piece of work that is relevant to their lives and interests.  They are searching for information and finding in it what is of most interest and relevance for their piece of work, reporting the progress of their work to others, and benefiting from the feedback.  They are giving constructive input that can help fellow participants clarify concepts and arguments in their work, being producers of knowledge rather than consumers of it, and having a hand in their destiny and living creatively as they progress through the program.

Strategy # 3: Building Client-Content Connection

Client-content engagement refers to the client’s accessing the content of the course or a program. You have to consciously and continuously facilitate discussions, and guide your clients toward the program goals. Remember, this is not a mentorship approach in which you tell your clients where to go to find answers; rather, you encourage them to explore the parameters of an issue, raise questions, and go to the program content and other valid sources of information to find their own answers.

Strategy #4: Building Client-Platform Connection

A Learning Management System (LMS), an interactive video, or a downloadable PDF series- are all important in the learning process: it is a part of the learning community, as your clients must engage with the technical platform that delivers your product. As the mentor, your responsibility is to facilitate interaction between the platform and the client. In order to minimize early dropouts because of technology, you should help your clients with navigation tools by creating a short video or a detailed PDF cheat sheet that explains how to interact with the platform, download a product or post a comment in a discussion forum. You can also develop problem solving queries in which you can invite clients’ comments on the culture of online learning, its strengths and its limitations, and ask for suggestions on how their current learning experience might be improved.

Strategy #5: Building Client-Learning Process Connection

Clients need to feel that the learning process respects their needs and that they are trusted to have a say in what they learn and how: they need to feel that they have agency and that you are fostering their autonomy. Explain to the clients the basics of the online interactions, where each participant creates a new identity and information might be miscommunicated more easily than in face-to-face interactions. Delayed response and technology might create a sense of isolation. When the clients are aware of the challenges of the online environment and have the tools to deal with these challenges, they will less likely become frustrated with the program and will not lose their motivation.

In conclusion, if you want to multiply your impact and income, you MUST bring your brand online! Imagine not having to worry about attracting new clients. Imagine creating a referral powerhouse where your satisfied clients spread the word about you! (Remember, people would more likely buy a product recommended by their friends).

I know that the process might sound scary for many of you.

I created a FREE training session: “Multiply Your Impact and Income Online”. 

In this training you will discover 3 simple steps to:

  1. Big Idea: Finding your product’s main idea that will instantly connect with your clients
  2. Design: Weaving connection and engagement into the design of your product
  3. Delivery: Building connection and engagement during delivery of your product

Sound interesting? You will find more information here:

I cannot wait to see you!

 

Brand. Smash. Rebuild. Repeat

In this post, Brand. Smash. Rebuild. Repeat, Reid Mueller explains that creating a good brand requires knowledge of your company’s identity and your customer’s needs or wants, and illustrates how you can do what 4 big brands have done by re-builing their brands to thrive. This is part of our guest blogger series. Read more about Reid in his bio, below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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My brother and I were blessed to grow up in a home with Star Wars, Lego and a 2nd floor balcony – the Holy Trinity of childhood. We spent countless hours building Lego spaceships and drop-testing from the balcony. When they broke, we figured out where and how we could make them stronger. When they didn’t break on the carpet, we dropped from the other side onto the tile. They always broke. Engineers test products in the same way to ensure they work. As marketers, we should do this for our brands using the following process.

BUILD THE BRAND BASED ON WHAT YOU WANT YOUR COMPANY TO BE.

Unfortunately, branding a company is harder than branding a cow (even so, I’ll be the first to say that I wouldn’t approach a cow with a smoldering iron for fear of getting a hoof to the head). A brand is more than a name, title or words on a page. Much like a Lego spaceship, a brand is the sum of your company’s products, culture, logo, user-experience, story—viewed through the lens of a customer’s perception. Creating a good brand requires knowledge of your company’s identity and your customer’s needs or wants (it doesn’t matter how well you build a green light-saber; Darth Vader will always buy the red one). This requires strategic development through market research business objectives and long-term planning. Now it’s time to put the pieces together and test the brand.

 THROW IT AGAINST A BRICK WALL AS HARD AS YOU CAN. 

According to Martin Lindstrom, CEO of Buyology Inc., the idea of a “smashable” brand dates back to 1915 when Coca-Cola requested a bottle designed to be identifiable even when thrown against a wall. As we can all attest, they found what they were looking for. So how do you smash your brand? Remove your logo from one of products, ads or website. When you look again, can you still recognize it as your brand? Can someone else? Is your brand as recognizable as the following “broken brands”?

PICK UP THE PIECES. WHAT’S IMPORTANT? WHAT’S MEMORABLE? THROW AWAY EVERYTHING ELSE.

As you can see in the examples above, the smallest elements of your brand are the most critical. No doubt Apple wouldn’t be what it is today if Steve Jobs had not sat in on a calligraphy class when he wasn’t in college. Now the Apple brand is weaved into the font of every word they print. Ask yourself what pieces work. Do you have brand elements that don’t align with your business objectives or your target markets? Look at Harley-Davidson. What if you replaced the “bar and shield” logo with the “Twitter” bird? Would it be successful in Comic Sans Am?

REPEAT UNTIL YOU HAVE AN INTEGRATED BRAND (OR YOU THROW YOUR SHOULDER OUT).

Branding, like anything else, requires endless revision. However, a strong brand paradoxically requires consistency as well. For this reason we hesitate to partake in brand-breaking. We see our brand as the Waterford vase from our grandparents as a wedding gift that goes up on the shelf and never gets touched; that way it never breaks. The problem is that we live in an interactive society where that vase will be removed from the shelf, thrown around like a football, maybe dropped off the balcony for a “science project” about gravity. You cannot be afraid to have your brand touched, because customers will take it down and break it apart whether you like it or not.

This post by Reid Mueller is part of our guest blogger series. Reid is currently working towards a Master’s of Science in Marketing Communications from the University of Kansas.  This post appears as part of BrandTwist’s participation in  “Blogapalooza” a platform from the University to help students seeking Master’s Degrees in Integrated Marketing Communications gain valuable experience and exposure in blogging. We hope you enjoyed Reid’s post as much as we did. 

If you are interested in being a BrandTwist guest blogger, please email jamie@herculiz.com for details. 

Click here for more about Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program to help you build your brand to grow your business.

March Madness – Instant Replay

This webinar series replay offer has expired. Sign up to receive our email to stay up-to-date on more  free webinars, replays and additional tools and tips to grow your business and your brand.

Due to an overwhelming number of requests from webinar attendees who wanted replays, Brand School is making available – for a limited time – a rebroadcast of BrandTwist founder Julie Cottineau’s webinar series, Brands That Twist. This live, interactive series originally aired earlier in March, 2013.

If you missed out on the live broadcasts, you now have another opportunity to receive the tips and tools that will help you begin building a stronger brand.

In this series on brand building, Julie gives you clear and actionable steps that you can start using right away to help boost your business, build a stronger brand, and make a bigger impact in your market. You’ll receive a taste of what Brand School covers in more depth.

In addition, you can receive a $100 discount off the tuition of the April 2013 online session of Brand School which starts April 15th, when you enroll by March 31st.

Both the rebroadcast of the Brands That Twist webinar series and the $100 discount off Brand School offer EXPIRE SUNDAY, MARCH 31, 2013 at MIDNIGHT.

To learn more about Brand School please visit: BrandSchoolOnline.com.

Enjoy the webinars!

Note: The “free seat at Brand School give away contest” Julie refers to in these rebroadcasts is over.

TWST YOUR WORDS: Leverage Verbal Identity to Shine

Tools and techniques to help you to use words: names, taglines, packaging copy and tone of voice to help your brand make some noise and be heard.

This webinar reply is no longer available. Sign up to receive our email to watch for more events like this coming soon.

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THINK DIFFERENT: Innovation With a Twist

Boost your business with innovative and creative ways to look at old problems from new angles that will ignite new ideas and gain loyal brand fans.

This webinar reply is no longer available. Sign up to receive our email to watch for more events like this coming soon.

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SMALL BRANDS – BIG IMPACT: Lessons From Brands That Twist

See how small brands are innovating, creating big ideas and standing out in their markets. Take away actionable steps to help your brand shine.

This webinar reply is no longer available. Sign up to receive our email to watch for more events like this coming soon.

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Click here for more about Brand School, our highly effective, premier program to help you build your brand to grow your business.

Hop to It… For Better Branding

What’s the next best thing? Sometimes it isn’t a “thing” at all, but how useful a thing is, or in the case of TaskRabbit, it is how useful people can fill the needs of people in need.

TaskRabbit is all about getting the job done, and right up front, their name says it all.  Immediately we know the company is there to take on our request, do it quickly and as their tagline promises help us go From To-Do, to Done.

They put a twist on their business by branding their identity throughout every aspect of the user experience. Their expert service providers are referred to as “TaskRabbits,” while those seeking to hire sign in as “TaskPosters.” Brand credibility and recognition are further enhanced when TaskRabbits wear identifiable branded shirts or jackets while on the job, and a job can be doing just about anything, anywhere.

FOCUS YOUR BRAND ON USEFULNESS, NOT INNOVATION

The entire premise and focus of TaskRabbit is to fill needs. Usefulness was the driver in the development of the business. The TaskRabbit brand identity was then built around that purpose.

This is a great strategy. Too often brands get caught up inwardly gazing innovation. They focus on what they can make (faster, stronger, smaller) but they don’t actually stop to think “hey, does anyone really need this new and improved widget?” Instead of focusing on what you can provide, try thinking about what your target needs. Build that solution into your branding and reiterate it as part of your brand promise. Then you will have people lining up at your door.

Clearly defining and communicating usefulness reinforces your brand’s impact in the market. But finding these brand-building needs takes focus and a strategic approach to identifying how your product or service can make people’s lives better and compel them to choose your brand over another. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you the insight and tools you need to get the job done. Receive more information about the next session of Brand School and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

This post is part of our Brands That Twist series celebrating innovative brands. Read about other breakthrough brands and more ways to grow your business and brand here

“Julie’s active participation in Brand School and  feedback was amazing and helped a LOT. I received great value from this program.” – Leslie Hughes, PUNCHmedia

Stand Out in the Real World

Like most of us, I’m spending so much time on the computer, mobile and other virtual devices that I find myself beginning to to think communicating is now a 100% virtual experience, especially for business. But the reality is that the real world has not ceased to be important – far from it. In fact, most of the time it takes a real, tangible connection to ensure a brand makes an impact or an entrepreneur is remembered. Yes, even in a growing virtual and e-mail world, an actual business or greeting card can go a long way.

Online printing has been around for a long time. It has provided everyone with the ability to quickly have business cards or personalized holiday cards printed at a fraction of what it used to cost. There are thousands of online printers to choose from. What makes moo different?

DESIGNED TO STAND OUT

Moo is passionate about one thing, design. They are dedicated to making distinctive design accessible to everyone. Moo’s tagline encapsulates this promise: great design for everyone. They implemented a twist in their brand by taking an unwavering stand for design quality and in doing so, created a niche where their brand excels. This really helps them stand out from all of the other printing brands that focus only on low price and quick printing. Your business card is a powerful representation of your brand. Why would you skimp?

THINK BEYOND THE HOLIDAY CARD

Think outside the tired, worn out holiday card or business card ideas of the past. What better way to have your brand remembered than to give a holiday card created in your business’ colors? Or, give a set of note cards creatively designed with the colors of the recipient’s logo or tag line? An entrepreneur can make a lasting impression by handing out a mini-smartcard with an unforgettable quote or photo on it. Moo makes this possible and accessible to everyone and above all, permits us to do it with stand-out design.

HOW CAN YOU TOUCH YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH A TWIST?

Put your brand within reach of your customers.  Literally. Print it out, hand it out, or give it as a gift. Making it something tangible, that other people can get their hands on, is an effective way to have you and your business shine, in full color! And if you get them to wear your brand with pride (think t-shirt or re-susable tote) they will also be walking brand ambassadors.

Defining what your brand stands for and then expressing it with impactful touch points is essential to growing your business.  But it takes focus and strategic thinking. Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, will give you the insight and tools you need to express your brand in both the real world and in the virtual world. Receive more information about the next session of Brand School and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

This post is part of our Brands That Twist series celebrating innovative brands. Read about other breakthrough brands and more ways to grow your business and brand here

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