How can you inspire your brand to work harder and smarter for your business? It’s all here in this webinar replay with Rebecca Swift, Head of Creative Planning for iStock, and Julie Cottineau, Founder & CEO of BrandTwist and former VP of Brand for Virgin. Rebecca and Julie focus on the importance of how your brand expresses itself in words and images. You’ll also learn how to see tangible results, use best practices to leverage core brand pillars, and master comprehensive branding tools.
Thank you to iStock for making this free webcast replay available…. AND DON’T MISS OUT ON MORE:
SIGN UP ON iSTOCK FOR MORE webinars, inspiration and great visual content to support your business and brand. Sign up HERE.
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To see more of our articles for Women Business Owners Today (WBOT) click HERE.
There is something magical about summer. Splashing in the lake during the day, roasting s’mores over a campfire at night and …. building stronger brands. Summer and branding? Yes, you heard me right. Summer, and more specifically summer camp, is a great resource for brand building. As you know I am a big believer in finding inspiration in unusual places and TWISTING it to create stronger brand promises, more effective marketing, and turning casual users into raving brand fans.
Check out my article for Women Business Owners Today, “Branding Lessons from Summer Camp.” Learn how s’mores, color wars and campfire songs can inspire and rejuvenate your brand and enliven your business. See the article HERE.
Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program, delivers the tools and steps you need to strengthen your brand and your connection to your customers. Get our free brand-building tips and receive access to updates about Brand School’s exclusive programs when you sign up for our newsletter at BrandSchoolOnline.com.
“If anyone needs to understand the PROPER professional way that WILL make a difference for branding your business, Brand School is your go to source.” – Mike Sass, Entrepreneur
In this post, Why Bother Branding Your Small Business?, Malla Haridat shares the revelation that she, “…never realized how important branding was to small businesses. Especially those struggling with a clear and powerful answer to “why should I buy from you?” This is part of our guest blogger series. Malla is an entrepreneur, strategist and Brand School graduate. Read more about Malla at the end of the post. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.
I always thought that branding only made sense for big companies. I visualized an executive team strategizing about the vision and look of the company to ensure that all employees operated with one voice to give a consistent “feel” for customers.
I never realized how important branding was to small businesses. Especially those struggling with a clear and powerful answer to “why should I buy from you?”
I am a strategist for small business owners and help women entrepreneurs in the making take their talents to the bank. You can visit my blog at mallaharidat.comfor advice with a no BS approach. I have been blessed to work with amazing clients who hired me to build small business camps and workshops. But after years of serving corporate and not for profit clients, I realized there was a market I really should be serving – individual women entrepreneurs. However, it has been a challenge for me to convey how I can impact individuals after years of focusing my marketing on the needs of large groups. I enrolled in the Fall ’12 Session of Brand School by Brand Twist and it gave me several insights on how to build my business.
I learned that branding is so much more than creating a tag line or choosing your color scheme. It is an opportunity to craft a clear identity for your company that allows you to focus on what you deliver. And once you tackle this challenge, it’s much easier to communicate to prospective clients, the media and even your friends and family about what you deliver and why your company is better than others.
I also learned how to design a clear framework around my services – what I would focus on and what I would leave off the table. For a solo entrepreneur who is often enticed to take on all types of work that sounds interesting – it’s critical to have this boundary so that I don’t lose focus from my company’s core strength.
So here are the top branding lessons I learned:
1. Creating a brand proposition is critical for a small business. Yes, it’s hard work. And yes, you’ll have to spend valuable time creating and testing your brand while you’d rather be finding new customers. But the payoff is INCREDIBLE. The clear verbal message I have about my business is making it much easier for prospects to “get” me. And it really paid off recently as I was awarded a finalist spot in a business pitch competition! I never would have been able to hone my message into a 2 minute pitch that was clear, compelling – and won me a coveted spot.
2. Incorporating the values of brands you love into your business can be a fun and enlightening way to engage new prospects. I examined two brands that I love – Embassy Suites and Trader Joe’s – and found themes that both companies use that have helped me to clarify my own brand. What’s so cool about that activity is that you examine companies that are not in your industry to better strengthen your own company. I found that their focus on over-delivering on value yet charging competitively was an idea that I could incorporate in my own brand.
3. Get clear on who you serve. It’s amazing how many times I have heard other entrepreneurs share that “I serve everyone” in my business plan camps. It’s impossible for even large multi-national brands with huge advertising budgets to reach everyone in the market. And yet, when I first started looking at my target customer, I almost started to do the same thing. Yes, I knew that women entrepreneurs were a target but I hadn’t spent time in their “shoes” and really living and understanding their concerns, needs and values to better position my product. It’s about getting to the core of what keeps them up at night and the language they use to describe their problems. And while I am clear that understanding my target customer will be ongoing in my business, I am happy to say I’ll spend less money on marketing because I have a deeper understanding of the copy and language I can use to attract her and the groups that I can start targeting.
Branding isn’t just for the big guys. In fact, I think its even more important for small businesses because we have to stand out, and make sure that every single dollar spent on marketing and client acquisition pays off. A strong brand with a clear message can help a small business achieve big things.
Brand School, our highly effective, premier branding program,delivers the tools and steps you need to grow your brand and your business’ connection to your market. Get our free brand-building tips and receive immediate updates about Brand School’s exclusive programs when you sign up for our newsletter at BrandSchoolOnline.com.
“I received huge value from Brand School. You can’t put a price on that experience. I loved the integrated learning experience and that we walked out of the series with a working brand strategy.” – Rachel Watkins, Brand Development for Large Businesses
Malla Haridat is an entrepreneurship strategist and founder of Momand Daughters Inc. As the founder and CEO of New Designs for Life, Malla is a nationally recognized expert in the specialized field of entrepreneurship education and has trained over 1,000 students. Her company was awarded the 2005 New York City Small Business Award of the Year by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and has been featured in publications like The New York Times and on Martha Stewart Radio.
Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Brian F. Martin, host of Brand Connections Brand Fast-Trackers.
We talked about what makes a successful brand and many of the core tenets I learned from my 22+ years in branding, particularly my time working as VP of Brand for Virgin.
A few highlights that I expand on in the podcast:
A clear core promise is essential
Your brand is the product/experience you’re offering and must deliver on its promise
You need to embrace and learn from failure
Know your brand framework and stay true to who you are
We also talked about what it takes to leave your job and make the big leap from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. You may be surprised by what I said. Most people think they need to hide their aspirations of starting their own company from their boss until they are ready to hand in their resignation. My experience at Virgin was the exact opposite. I made my intentions clear months before I left Virgin and was able to walk out the door with my boss’ blessing and Virgin as one of my first clients for my new company BrandTwist.
You can read Kat Krieger’s summary of the interview and listen to or download the podcast at the Brand Connections website HERE.
Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed about entrepreneurship and business branding by author, columnist and online talk show host Jane Applegate for her column in smallbizdaily, “The Applegate Report.”
smallbizdaily is an online publication dedicated to Ideas, Insights. Information and Inspiration for Entrepreneurs.
Among the questions Jane asked were:
How do you define “brand”? Isn’t it just a company logo?
What is the biggest mistake business owners make when it comes to branding?
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs just starting a business?
That’s just for starters.
You can check out smallbizdaily and read the entire interviewHERE.
“I highly recommend this class to anybody, to both those who have been in business for a long time, and those just starting out because it will put your business on a different level.” – Dr. Marina Kostina, Distance Learning Specialist, CEO of wired@heart