How to promote your blog posts for maximum reach (part 2)

Blog Promotion – In the first part of this blog we looked at what you need to do behind the scenes to maximise your blog posts’ reach.  This week we’re looking at the next step – getting them out there!  So how can you actively promote your blog posts for maximum reach?

1. Email marketing

Although it’s sometimes considered a little outdated or unfashionable, email is still one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to promote your blog posts.

As long as you have a good list and full permission to use the addresses, you will be sending your messages straight into the inbox of those who you know are interested in what you do. 

And how do you know they’re interested?  Because they’ve either signed up or, better still, already bought from you.

There are a few things you can do to make your emails even more effective, these include:

  • Encouraging readers/recipients to comment on and share your posts to extend you reach to a brand new audience.
  • Include a link to your latest blogs in everyone’s email signature.  People sometimes miss social media posts and don’t have time to open marketing emails so this is  a simple and  free backstop.
  • Get your team to personally email their key customers and contacts.  Again, posts and emails can be missed.  People are much more likely to open and react to emails that have come from someone they know. 

(And who knows … your email may even trigger a question, conversation or opportunity just because your name is front of them.)

  • Ask a contact to email their list.  You can reciprocate by returning the favour when they produce a post that’s relevant to your audience.

2. Social media

Blog Promotion – Sharing your content on social media is essential.  It will help build your visibility, increase traffic and generate shares.  All of these will help your blog posts maximise their reach.

But posting once on Facebook or Twitter is never enough!

You need a social media strategy that takes into account:

  • Which social networks are best for your blogs?
  • What’s the best way you engage with the right people on those platforms?
  • Which brands and individuals in these audiences should you be getting closer to?

Your strategy should also take consistency into account.  You can’t just pop in and out when you want something (i.e. to get others to read your latest post).

You need to engage.  After all, social media is called ‘social’ for a reason!  If you like and share and comment on your audience’s posts, the chances of them liking, sharing and commenting on yours will multiply overnight.

3. Social groups, communities, and forums

It’s really just an extension of your social media strategy but if you can find the online communities that should be interested in what you, you can drop into conversations with a huge number of new potential customers with very little effort.

Depending on which platforms you’ve identified as best for you, you’ll be able to search using Facebook groups, Pinterest groups, LinkedIn groups or Quora. 

One you find some interesting group our advice would always be to double check the group is active and well moderated before committing to joining and participating.

4. Content leverage

Blog Promotion- It may sound obvious but if you only publish your blogs on your website, you will never maximise the reach of your blog posts.

There are ways to actively push your content to a much larger audience by using ‘content leverage’.  Currently the most popular ways to leverage your content are:

Content curation

Some sites allow you to curate your content into lists and collections that bring together and index groups of posts under the terms users are searching for more information on.

Content aggregation

Content aggregators collect content from other websites and ‘aggregate’ it within one easy to use location.

Content syndication

Content syndication (or blog republishing) is when you give a piece of your content to a third party so they can republish it on their own sites for their audience/s.

Content repurposing

Once you have a good piece of content, why not just turn it into another format?  It’s so easy to turn a blog into a motion graphic, a top tips, a video or a podcast.  We all absorb information in different ways so the more format your use, the more likely it is you’ll hit the tight person with the right thing.

5. Relationship/collaborative marketing

Building a relationship and collaborating with significant others in your market is an easy way to get in front of a new audience. 

These significant others need to be people you know are well connected and well respected but the different ways you can benefit from these relationships include:

  • Mention them in or tag them into your posts 
  • Interview them
  • Invite them to comment in your blogs
  • Ask them to guest as the writer
  • Backlink words in your posts to their site

Obviously, the promotional vehicles we’ve looked at here are the free ones.  There are also a raft of paid marketing options you could consider but we’ll look at these in the future.

If you would like us to help with blog promotion more effectively and maximise the reach of your posts or you’d like to discuss how to create an effective social media strategy, please get in touch and we can set something up.

How to maintain brand consistency after a rebrand

Maintaining brand consistency is never an easy but it’s even harder just after a rebrand so today we’d like to give you some practical tips that will help you maintain brand consistency after a rebrand.

The reason the task of maintaining brand consistency is so much more challenging just after a rebrand is you’ll just have been through the relentless process of defining your new brand and scheduling its implementation. 

This could be the point you think everything has been done. 

It hasn’t! 

So how to maintain brand consistency after a rebrand?

Now your new brand must come kicking and screaming into the world … and, more importantly, it’s during these early days that your new brand will succeed or fail so getting it right is essential.

This is why you need to put everything in place to ensure you maintain your new brand’s consistency now you’ve rebranded.

Simdure’s top tips for maintaining brand consistency after a rebrand

1. Publish brand guidelines

Once you have your brands, publish a central set of brand guidelines setting out your new look, voice and style.

Your guidelines will educate your colleagues and keep them honest by confirming and reinforcing:

  • Colour palettes
  • Fonts
  • Logo patterns
  • Which versions of which logos should be used for what and when
  • Tone of voice

Your new guidelines should be easily accessible to everyone who will need to use them.

They also need to be easily understandable.  Some designers will produce something that looks aesthetically amazing but totally unintelligible. 

Obviously, this is no good! 

Everyone needs to know what they need to do and how/where to access and use your new imagery and fonts in the right way.

2. Create templates built around your new brand

Waiting around for your designers to run around new documents using your new branding isn’t practical, efficient or cost-effective. 

Instead, as part of the rebranding, ask them to produce to templates for the types of content you create most frequently (one-pagers for specific clients, pitch or quotation docs, your blog and, of course, your email signature) so you can instantly edit and use.

However, while these should be editable, they shouldn’t be customisable.  Your team should be able to drop copy in or change contact details.  They shouldn’t be able to totally reshape them for their own purposes. 

This only leads to brand anarchy.  It will water down and neuter your new branding in its most formative stage.

3. Drive home your new brand

Once you’ve locked down your brand internally, it’s time to promote it externally.  Get it visible!

First you need to invest in strong visuals.  These need to be used on your email signatures (yes, that again!), your brochures, your website, your communications, your pitches and quotes and across all your social platforms.

As part of your rebranding analyse every touchpoint you have with your clients and customers and make sure you have a standard branded asset for each.

And make sure your people know:

  • Where all these assets are
  • Exactly how/when to use them
  • That they must use them!

4. Appoint a brand champion

Our final tip that will help you maintain your brand after a rebrand is to appoint a brand champion.

Give one member of your team (probably a senior marketer) responsibility for educating your team on why brand consistency is vital and telling them how to do it. 

They will also need to take ongoing responsibility for keeping an eye on how you use your new brand to make sure your brand guidelines are being followed and identify whether further training is needed to maintain your new brand.

Don’t worry if this all looks like a lot!  When we deliver a rebrand, we don’t leave until all of this is sorted out and you have everything you need to launch and maintain your brand.  If you want to find out more, please get in touch today.

How to promote your blog posts for maximum reach

How do you promote your blog? Do you share it once on social media once and cross your fingers?  Of course not!  You’ve taken time and effort to choose your topic and write the blessed thing, so you need to do everything you can to promote your blog posts for maximum reach.

To help you do this, here are our top tips for maximising the reach of your blog posts.

1. Get your hosting right

Promoting your blog post for maximum reach begins during pre-promotion.  The platform you use to host your blog needs to be just right so:

  • Get your SEO right.  Make sure the search engines you’re your blog and it’s easy for visitors to navigate around your site once they arrive.
  • Use a reliable host.  You won’t generate repeat traffic if your site’s down the first time someone clicks through.
  • Similarly, make sure it loads quickly.  People won’t hand around for a site to load.  Your blog has literally infinite competition so you can’t risk anything that would make a visitor bounce.
  • Get your indexing and crawling right.  Do everything you can to make sure your blog is fully findable.
  • Increase your internal links.  Which pages and past blogs should your latest blog link to?
  • Increase your external links.  Link key words to either high profile or high traffic sites run by sources your readers will trust.
  • Get rid of broken links.  They’re another irritation for readers.
  • Stay on top of your analytics.  If you know which blogs/topics/formats/approached pull best, you can use them to maximise the reach of upcoming blogs.

2. Get your content right

  • If you want to maximise your readership you will need to write about the right things.  You can do this by:
  • Choosing your niche.  You work in your market so you know what people are talking about and/or  interested in but it’s also worth checking Google Trends to monitor how current interest levels are performing.
  • Research keywords.  Once you’ve chosen your niche, find out which keywords and search queries sit alongside this niche then weave these keywords into your posts.
  • Know your audience.  Build up a picture of your ultimate reader.  What format do they  want?  What tone of voice do they respond to?  What length of post do they want?  And what call-to-action will entice them?
  • Decide on your voice.  Are you academic, informative, funny, formal or conversational?  Much of this will come from knowing your audience but once you’ve chosen, stick to it!  Like all good marketing, blogging needs consistency!

3. Get your on-page SEO right

Once you’ve written your post, make sure you’ve done everything you can to help Google find it for all the right reasons.  This involves:

  • Adding meta tags to your title, URL, and description
  • Including your keywords in your URL, page title, main heading (H1), first paragraph and H2 and H3 subheadings
  • Optimising any images you use by adding their dimensions, file size and alt text 

4. Get your reader engagement right

Once you get someone on to your blog, try and connect with them.  Here are some easy ways to do this:

  • Make it easy to sign up for automatic future updates
  • Encourage social sharing by adding social sharing buttons … and telling your readers you want them to use them!
  • Ask them for ideas for future posts and make it as easy as possible for them to send those ideas to you (and always respond when they do)

5. Get your layout right

Remember that you’re being read online so make it as easy  as possible. 

Images will help break things up but the main thing is to break up the paragraphs so there’s plenty of white space.

You can even give your most important points their own line so they stand out even more.

And use sub-headings to draw the eye to specific points the reader might want most (something that will also help your SEO).

These are our tips for the nuts and bolts of producing blogs that can maximise their reach.  In part 2 we’ll look at how you can actively promote your blog once it’s live but if you need any help with the digital and SEO aspects of your blog in the meantime, please get in touch

Why is a good logo important?

When you’re launching a business there’s so much to do that it’s no surprise creating the right logo could well slip off your radar.  However, your logo will be a key part of your new identity so it’s definitely worth taking a look at what a good logo is so important.

First off, if you do have any thoughts about getting away with not having a logo, scotch them now!   It does an awful lot of excellent work (even though sometimes that work goes unnoticed) including:

1. Cementing your brand identity

Your brand needs to resonate with your customers … it needs to catch their eye and tug their heart strings and while a logo isn’t a brand in itself, it is the most public embodiment of your brand.

This is the most important reason for having a good logo. 

2. Grabbing your audience’s attention

We are bombarded with more and more information via more and more channels every day; this has decimated the average consumer’s attention span. 

As a result, you have literally 2 seconds to grab your potential audience’s attention.

A good logo will do that but an excellent logo will do that and convey who you are, what you stand for and why the viewer should be interested.

3. Making the best first impression

As Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions told us, first impressions last forever so if your logo is designed well, it’ll cement a positive feeling towards your brand at first sight.

4. Making you memorable

Logos are an identifier, a differentiator, and the key point of recognition for your market/s.  However, if people are going to remember your logo it needs to be bold, strong, and original.

The only way you’ll do that is to invest in creating a good brand.

5. Forcing a competitive advantage

You may be operating in a niche or a massively crowded space, either way you need to stand out from your competitors.

A strong, original, bold design that amplifies your quality, your relevance and your personality will underline why you’re the best choice.

6. Building brand loyalty

Good branding/marketing/sales figures is all about consistency.  As your profile and customerbase grows, you need to make sure you are delivering that consistency and a good logo sits at the heart of everything you do.

You want people to see your logo and remember why it is a guarantee they are in the best possible hands.

You also want to establish repeat purchase patterns and if people are going to keep looking for you and the new stuff you’re doing, your logo is the thing they’ll look for first.  If it isn’t strong enough, your findability will suffer.  A lot.

7. Meeting your audience’s expectations

Consumers want to be associated with the best so why should they buy from someone with a wishy-washy or hastily knocked off logo?

If you would like to find out more about how our designers approach the creation of a new logo or see some examples of our work, please get in touch today and we can arrange a convenient time to talk.

How do you choose a name for your business?

You’ve got your idea.  You’ve got some money behind you.  You may even have your team, premises and all the hardware you need to get started but how do you choose a name for your business?

For some, a name is just a name, but the truth is a strong, memorable name will become the most obvious embodiment of your brand.  This means it needs to embody, support, and promote everything you stand for.

The only problem is it’s hard to find the right name so here are 11 tips that will help you choose a name for your business.

1. Use your own name

It’s your business so why not use your own name?  

You can use your first names (e.g. Ben & Jerry’s) or your surname (e.g. Ford) depending on what suits you best and looks the best.

2. Use acronyms

A lot of major companies use acronyms, for example AOL, TDK and the BBC.  They are punchy and lend themselves really well to design, but don’t choose anything too close to an existing brand as it could cause confusion.

3. Describe what you do

Which words describe what you do?  Which words do you use to articulate what you stand for?  If you can condense those down, they can make a good name. 

A good example of this is 7-Eleven (guess their opening hours?!).

4. Invent a portmanteau

Again, thinking about the words that describe your business, why not slam two or three together?  This is an increasingly popular way of coming to a name and there are some great examples out there including TripAdvisor and Netflix.

Coincidentally we got our name by taking a bit from tip 3 and tip 4.  Simdure is a word we invented because what we do is make digital and design simple, durable so it delivers the desired results.

5. Dip into mythology

Nike, Oracle, Hermes, and Mars are all instantly recognisable brands.  They also all took their names from ancient mythology.  

6. Take a word from another language

Using a word from another language can give your name a bit of an exotic twist (but please make sure you know the exact translation to avoid embarrassment down the line!).  It can also underline what you stand for.  For example, a minimalist coffee shop could look good with a Scandinavian name and a clothing outlet could suit an Italian name.

Latin is always a popular language when it comes to choosing a name.  Did you know Volvo simply means “I roll”?

7. Spin the globe

Something somewhere in the world might stand out.  After all, it worked for Amazon!

8. Mix things up

Try blending your location, your name and what you do in some way.  IKEA is an enormous and instantly recognisable name today but did you know it’s a mix up of the founder’s name (Ingvar Kamprad) and the town he started in (Elmtaryd Agunnaryd)?

9. Use your nickname

Are there any other names people call you?  If it’s brand congruent, using a nickname can give your business a much more informal and personal feeling.

10. Abbreviate

Your name can’t be too long so is there any way of abbreviating what you do or where you are?  Software giants Cisco got their name by abbreviating the name of the city they started in.

11. Pick a word from the dictionary.

If none of these ideas work, why not follow Twitter’s lead and just choose a word you like out the dictionary?

We can help you create every element of your brand, starting with your name.  If you’d like to find out more about how we approach the creation of a new brand, please get in touch.

How do you create a content marketing strategy? Part 2

Create a content marketing strategy Part 2

How do you create a content marketing strategy?

The following steps the ones we’d suggest you follow when you sit down to put your content marketing strategy together.

6. Put your strategy and tactics down on paper

Once your strategy is down on paper, it becomes a real thing.  It also becomes something you can share with and talk through with the people involved so they know exactly what they’ll need to do and why.

More importantly it’ll set out how you’re going to achieve what you want to achieve.  It’ll set out the tactics.

All too often when we talk about strategy, we are really talking tactics, but tactics are the ‘how’ to strategy’s ‘what’.  Your tactics could include:

  • Respond more quickly to current search terms
  • Prioritise the keywords being used by our competitors in new blogs
  • Tackle each identified topic in long- and short-form content
  • Repackage existing content as infographics and video
  • Add two new social media channels

7. Audit your content

Audit …. even the word conjures up a picture of wasted time and boredom! 

However, with content marketing, it’s non-negotiable.  The good news is it doesn’t take long and will save you a stack of time and effort.

Once a quarter look back on the titles and topics you’ve covered and see if:

  • It could be updated following a recent change in your market
  • It can be repurposed for a different market
  • Should be tweaked a bit and reused
  • if its crying out for a follow up piece because of continual progress in that area
  • it was published in one format and/or for one channel and could be reused in another format or for another channel

8. Build an Editorial Calendar

Creating a formal editorial calendar is essential. 

It’ll give people advance warning of what people need to write and when.  And if they need to come up with ideas of their own for their next piece, it’ll also force them to submit those ideas ahead of time, so they’re not hit by writers’ block the night before their piece is due.

9. Actively promote your content

Whatever content you are producing and wherever it’s being published, success will require you to promote it, promote it and then promote it again.

Share it on social media.

Send it to your customers and contacts (preferably with a personalised note telling them why it’s of interest).

Include links in your e-newsletter.

Push it internally so that everyone in the business is promoting each new piece of content in their own way.

Encourage customers, contacts, and your wider professional networks to share it with their networks/audiences.

And again, keep a record so you can see which media, which channels, which topics, which formats, and which words are receiving the warmest welcome.

10. Adapt, improvise, overcome

Things don’t always go exactly to plan but if you have a strategy and are measuring your progress, you will soon see where changes need to be made.

Don’t ignore these warnings!  Adapt, improvise, and overcome.  Tweaking tactics isn’t an admission of failure.  It’s the only way to protect the time and budget you invest in the next stage of your content marketing strategy.

Don’t ignore these warnings! 

Adapt, improvise, and overcome.  Tweaking tactics isn’t an admission of failure.  It’s the only way to protect the time and budget you invest in the next stage of your content marketing strategy. Part 2 will following in the coming weeks.

Contact us today to find out how we can help.

How do you create a content marketing strategy? – Part 1

How do you create a content marketing strategy? – By now most people have recognised content boosts your profile, improves your search engine rankings, makes you more visible, widens your audience and – most importantly – generates new enquiries and new sales. 

However, knowing how to focus so you harness all these potential benefits is a different question so how do you create a content marketing strategy?

Why is a content marketing strategy important?

Creating a content requires time and money.  It is an investment.  This means that if you just start writing haphazardly, is highly unlikely your content will ever have the effect you want it to.

This is where a content marketing strategy comes in, it’ll give you the focus you need to make content really work for you. 

It’ll define why you want to produce content.

It’ll define what you want your content to do (inform, educate, engage, promote or move the reader to take a specific action).

It’ll define what type of content you want to create.

It’ll define where you need your content to be published.

It’ll also give you a defined set of targets you can use to measure your success.

It’ll tell you how to tweak your content marketing strategy as it progresses.

How do you create a content marketing strategy?

The following steps the ones we’d suggest you follow when you sit down to put your content marketing strategy together.

1. Set clear goals

Be very clear about what you want your content to do.  Something like ‘increase awareness’ isn’t good enough!  You need to make proper decisions. 

Do you want to increase website traffic? 

Do you want more new enquiries

Do you want more direct sales from your website

Do you want more people to like and share your content to build a bigger audience?

Do you want people within your team to become recognised as the expert in their field?

2. Define your target audience

The best content is written for someone in particular.  If it’s going to engage them, it needs to speak directly to them.

Part of this is to address the things that are most important to them but it’s more than that.  It’s using the right terms of reference, the right examples, the right vocabulary and the right tone of voice.

We’d actually go one further and say every piece of content should be accompanied by the right

imagery.

If you’re going to do this successfully, you need to know exactly who your targets are, what they look like, what they like, what they want and what they’re most likely to respond to.

3.  Know what’s working

Have you heard the saying ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’?  It’s actually a good start point for most marketing initiatives. 

If you can identify what is working (and sometimes you will be the best litmus test for this – what catches your attention?) and why for your competitors, you can refine the key points and integrate them into your ideas.

While copying your competitors is never an option, you can cut a huge corner in your development by using what your competitors have learned along the way.

Similarly, it’s always worth using the tools you have available to  analyse their best performing blogs, social media posts, and search terms because if they’re working for them …

The other part of knowing what’s working is to research current Google searches.  Again, there are a host of tools you can use for this but if you just want to take the market’s temperature, the ‘People Also Asked’ function on Google isn’t a bad place to start.

4. Agree what level of resource you can use

While all the different parts of the content marketing mix can be managed in-house, progress can be hampered if:

  • You are short of time
  • You have too many other possibilities
  • You don’t have the required expertise
  • You are operating within a highly competitive market and don’t have the budget to cover any PPC/sponsored ad word costs

In the same way, if people’s workload is likely to go up and down, will you have the resources required to deliver a consistent flow of new, relevant, and effective content?

This is where you need to outsource some of the tasks and please remember it’s not just the writing you’ll need to cover, you may also need to look at:

  • Researching the best topics
  • SEO
    Managing your content calendar
  • Finding external experts for specific topics/industries/sectors
  • Editing and proof reading
    Producing images and supporting video
  • Promoting your content to the widest and most relevant possible audience
  • Developing your website and/or social media in line with your content
  • Tracking, measuring and reporting progress
  • Identifying potential improvements to ensure continued progress

5. Work out the best way to stay on top of topic and keyword research

We all think we know what we should be writing about, but topic and keyword research will tell you what you should be writing about.

We can’t stress just how vital this step is. 

Writing blind can waste loads of time and money. 

It can switch people off content marketing internally and once they’ve made that decision, it’ll be nigh on impossible to bring them back into the fold. 

It can give your audience the perception you’re not at the cutting edge and therefore not worth reading. 

It can suggest to editors and conference producers that you’re not the people they should be asking for articles and talks from.

Worst of all, it will deny Google the chance they want to find you.  This will see you slip further and further behind you competitors in the search engines.  Given the speed at which internet searches are driving new customers to every type of business, this alone could be fatal.

Topic and keyword research will cost but it is not discretionary spend, it is essential spend. Without comprehensive, consistently updated and professionally conducted research, you are hamstringing your content marketing strategy’s success.

Don’t ignore these warnings! 

Adapt, improvise, and overcome.  Tweaking tactics isn’t an admission of failure.  It’s the only way to protect the time and budget you invest in the next stage of your content marketing strategy. Part 2 will following in the coming weeks.

Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Where do I start with social media marketing?

Business owners are continually being bombarded with encouragement to throw themselves wholeheartedly into social media marketing.  “It’ll reinvigorate your market profile” … “It’ll drive sales” … “It’ll connect you with a whole new audience”.  These things are all true (though not for all businesses) but the question we are still all too often asked is “Where do I start with social media marketing?”

We will be answering this question in this blog and, we trust, give you what you need to get started with social media marketing.

1. Choose the right platform

There are a lot of sites out there – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Vimeo – but which do your customers/clients actually use? 

A lot of this is common sense.  For example, a traditional professional services business is probably more suited to LinkedIn (of Facebook if they service people or specific geographies rather than industry sectors) whereas a hospitality or more brand led business is probably more suited to Twitter or Instagram.

The reason this step must come first is that if you get it wrong you could end up wasting a whole lot of time, effort, and budget on something that will never deliver the return you want.

2. Agree who much time you will spend on social media marketing

It’s easy to spend hours on social media every day (particularly as once you get into it, you’ll find it’s a limitless interconnection of different things you can waste time following!). 

We’d always suggest you set time limits to cover what you need to do and work these in to your/your team’s working week.

3. Set clear goals for your social media marketing

Once you know how much time you’ll spend, set clear goals around what you want social media marketing to achieve for you.

Do you want to generate leads?

Do you want to influence new demographics or markets?

Do you want to uncover new partnerships or people who can increase your profile via their networks?

Once you know what you want to achieve, choosing the right tactics and measuring progress will be infinitely easier.

4. Set out your tactics

There are hundreds of different ways to approach social media marketing tactically.  None are better than the next, but you need to work out which is best for you given your goals.

Are you going to be a news feed?

Are you going to be a thought leader?

Are you going to be a chatty friend to your followers?

Are you going to be a sharer of relevant information from other sources?

And once you choose your tactics, stick to them.  As with all forms of marketing, success is massively dependent on consistency.

5. Invest in your social media profiles

Every social media account starts with a profile.  This needs to include a bio (that clearly spells out what you do for who), a link to your website, and a relevant image. 

And your profiles should clearly match up with the other profiles on your other social media accounts on the same or other platforms … again marketing success is massively dependent on consistency. 

6. Observe and monitor

Often the best way to work out what you need to post is to watch what established and successful users are posting.

Before you get going take time to observe and monitor not only the content people are sharing but also the types of images, links, and hashtags they’re employing in their posts.  Once of the strengths of social media marketing is you can immediately see what works through the like and share stats.  Use this insight to your benefit!

7. Use a social media marketing dashboard

Dashboards like HootSuite and TweetDeck will help you plan and manage your social media output more efficiently.

You can –

Set up alerts and notifications to give you a steer on current trends.

Create groups.

Skim relevant activity quickly.

And most importantly, schedule updates in advance so you’ve always got stuff going out even when you’re too busy to send it out.

8. Use more than words

With so much going out on social media every minute, you need to stand out.  This means using more than words. 

You need attractive, unique and eye-catching images (or to use the proper marketing term, ‘tiles’).

You also need to experiment with video whether that’s motion graphics, infographics, or a very short talking head style piece. 

If you’d like to chat through your approach to social media marketing – including the production of bespoke social media tiles and new videos – please get in touch today and we can set up a very informal first meeting.

What’s the difference between rebranding and a brand refresh?

What’s the difference between rebranding and a brand refresh? What’s the difference between rebranding and a brand refresh?  Surely it’s the same thing?  Actually, its not. 

When you’re looking from the outside in, it’s easy to confuse them especially when so many companies seem to be evolving, changing, and adapting on what seems to be a continual loop but are they rebranding or refreshing their brand?

While (as with most things) when you get into the detail the different between rebranding and a brand refresh are stark.  An easy way to explain the difference is to think of a refresh as giving your house a fresh lick of paint so it remains attractive and stands out from the tired houses surrounding it.

Typically, a brand refresh will include:

  • Tweaking your current logo
  • Updating your design and brand guidelines
  • Updating your strapline
  • Updating your colour pallet
  • Updating your font
  • Refreshing your marketing materials in line with your new brand guidelines

Meanwhile a rebrand is an altogether more decisive course of action.  A rebrand involves tearing down your house and completely rebuilding it, a process that could involve:

  • Creating a brand new personality
  • Completely overhauling your design, font, palette, and tone of voice
  • Revamping your messaging
  • Adapting your brand to access new markets

When is it time for a brand refresh?

Most of the time, a brand refresh will be enough.  Obviously, it is a lower risk than a complete rebranding but executed properly  a brand refresh will help you:

  • Preserve the integrity of your brand.
  • Give your business a new image and a new energy
  • Ensure your brand is current and keeping up with a changing market and changing customer expectations
  • Expand your appeal to new markets and new audiences

But how do you know when it’s time for a brand refresh?

We’d suggest it’s when one or more of the following come up in conversations at board level and/or from client feedback:

  • You look outdated
  • Your business has fundamentally changed
  • Your market has fundamentally changed
  • Your brand is confused or inconsistent
  • You’ve outgrown your original/traditional market

When it is time to rebrand?

The ultimate goal of rebranding is to influence and change your customers’ opinion of your company/product/services.  It will revitalise your public perception and make your company/product/services more attractive to your target market/s.

However, it is a big job.  It requires time, budget, and effort.  That means it must be done for the right reasons and in our experience these reasons include:

  • It’s time to reposition your company/product/services
  • You want to appeal to a new or larger market
  • You need to set yourself apart from your competitors
  • Your competition has increased so you brand needs to evolve to keep pace
  • Your audience has changed
  • You want to market new  products or services
  • Your marketing no longer works as it should
  • Your current brand identity looks out-of-date
  • Your market’s expectations have changed

But always be aware that even if one or more of these factors are relevant to you, a rebranding can be dangerous unless it’s done right.  

You are gambling on the launch of a brand new image, one your customers and market will (initially) be unfamiliar with so you need to be absolutely sure that your new branding is right, recognisable and resonant.

Is rebranding or a brand refresh right for you?

Eventually, every brand needs to change.  Tastes change, demands change and sometimes your brand can just get a bit stale.  However, the extent to which you change depends on you. 

If you think your brand is fundamentally good, a refresh is probably all that’s required. 

If you think it’s time to do something or be something totally new, you probably want to consider a rebrand.

If you think it’s time to either refresh your brand or rebrand altogether, please get in touch.  We can help you decide which is the best option and, once you make that decision, create the new brand you need.

Why is imagery important in branding?

Your brand image is much, much more than your logo.  Your imagery is what defines your business, product, or service.  More importantly, it’s what will trigger an association with your business when your customers see it.  This is why imagery is so important in branding.

What’s the difference between imagery and a logo?

Of course, your logo is important.  It is the best known representation of your business and, designed properly, your logo will be able to stand on its own to represent your company, product, or service.

However, your imagery is more of an overarching concept of the way you communicate your overall brand.

It may include your logo.  It’ll definitely follow very similar aesthetics to your brand.  However, it’s more than your logo.  This is why imagery is so important in branding.

Your imagery is what communicates what you want to be known for in a graphic/pictorial way in your ads, your brochures, your social media feeds and on your website so that when people see something of yours, they instantly know it’s yours.  As a result, it’ll catapult you right back to the front of their minds so you reclaim pole position in their purchasing decisions.

How do you create imagery that will support your branding?

The first step is to work out what you want to look like. 

In today’s crowded and competitive market, you are almost certainly competing directly with – at the very least – one other business.  Your imagery will help you extend your competitive advantage …

… as long as it communicates, supports and enhances your offer. 

To make sure it does you need to make sure your imagery addresses:

  • Who your customers are
  • What’s important to your customers
  • What your customers want from you
  • What sets you apart from your competitors
  • Your brand guidelines (your colour palette, typography, style, and tone of voice)
  • Your core values

It may sound a little counterintuitive given that if your brand imagery is going to have the desired effect, it will need to be totally unique to you, but during the creative process it never hurts to take a look at successful brand imagery.

Great imagery didn’t become great overnight or by accident. 

It is the result of hard work so there are always lessons to learn.  What makes it good?  What makes it stand out?  Why does it speak to you?  These answers will be invaluable to your own creative process, even if it’s just for confirmation or reassurance.

How will your imagery deliver a return on the cost of creating it?

It’s really easy to think of your imagery as just another expense.  After all your logo looks great, your stationary looks great, and your website looks great so why bother about (and pay for) another series of pictures? 

The reality is the images that support your brand really do matter because:

1. Your imagery will make a positive impression

First impressions last forever.  If the imagery you’re using in your marketing materials and on your social media channels is sharp, individual and – of course – instantly recognisable, the first impression you make will instantly be more powerful.

2. Consistent imagery increases brand recognition

Logos create brand recognition (after all we can all spot an Apple device, an Adidas trainer or a can of Coke from a distance) but backing that up with instantly recognisable imagery will massively increase your audience’s ability to pick out your brand.

This could involve the type of imagery you use, the concepts your imagery is designed to convey, your colour palette or the creation of a particular style of graphics but it should say one thing – it’s YOU!

3. Your imagery proves your attention to detail

I remember a story someone used in a training session a long time ago.  They asked us what we’d think if we got onto an aircraft and saw that the tray table was dirty.  Would we trust the airline to keep their aircraft in top working order if they couldn’t even manage to wipe their tables between flights?

Whilst it’s admittedly not going to lead to as dramatic a conclusion as a poorly cared for aeroplane engine, your use of imagery tells a similar story. 

Cobbling together any old pictures (or worse still not using any imagery at all) will not convince your audience that you invest the highest level of care into everything you do.    

4. Strong imagery builds credibility

The more ways you can use imagery to underline your proposition and reinforce your core brand values, the stronger your market’s association with your brand will become. 

With imagery your audience doesn’t have to invest a lot in terms of time or effort.  There’s no copy to read, there’s no video to watch – you just see the image and get the point in one quick hit.

As long as the underlying themes hit the spot, your message will permeate and your credibility as your customers’ first choice will strengthen.

We can help you develop more striking brand imagery, images that will really emphasise who you are and what you stand for in every format, from your website to your social media tiles and infographics and motion graphics.  If you’d like to find out how, please get in touch today so we can find a time to talk. 

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