8 Visual Branding Strategies to Make Sure You Stand Out

If you’re like most businesses, you’re probably spending about half your marketing budget on digital marketing hoping to stand out. But how do you know that your visual branding is really working?

With such a big chunk of your marketing budget devoted to getting out there in front of potential clients, you want to be sure that it’s working. Tracking your digital analytics will let you know how well you’re doing up against your competitors.

What most potential customers want is a brand that’s truly unique, that they can identify with. Most brands take the same cookie cutter approach to visual branding or else they try too hard and end up with ugly logos and abrasive ads.

In order for your visual branding strategy to ensure that you really stand out, follow these 8 tips.

1. Work On Your Website

As just about every potential client finds out about a new business through an online search, your website is going to make your first impression. You need to make sure it’s your best sales associate and your strongest brand representative. Your visual branding starts with your online presence these days.

While you may be tempted to use a template-based site, it might end up looking like 100 other businesses in your market. You won’t be able to stand out and you’ll end up working on something that looks just like your competitor.

Template sites offer the potential for a polished website that looks good on mobile devices. This is important. But it also needs to stand out.

Take a look at all of your competitors and see what works on their websites. Take note of what doesn’t as well. Then make sure you have something unique that takes into account all of the things you like about those other websites.

Your images and text need to reflect your client’s needs, not your own. Your website tells a visual story about what your brand is and why you do what you do.

Find a designer who understands what you’re about and you’ll be well on your way.

2. Professional Photography

Whether you’re taking photos of your staff, your restaurant or yourself, make sure you’re always getting professional photographs taken. While your iPhone photos might suffice for social media, clients know a great photo when they see one.

Get some headshots taken of the most important people in your company and have them on your website. Use them as visual branding tools for your company by posting them on LinkedIn and your company’s “About” page.

Whenever possible, avoid stock photography. Consumers know stock photography when they see it. If you want photos showing off your office or event space, hold an event for family and friends for the sole purpose of taking photographs.

3. Social Media Images

Make sure your brand has a presence on every major social media site. Get to know the kind of material that each one is known for and cater your posts for each channel.

Twitter is great for sharing a joke or throwing out a “one-day-only” promotion. Instagram is where you want to show your best photos and short videos. Facebook allows you to put up a little more text and an entire album of photos.

All of these channels will make your brand more approachable and friendly. If you’ve got a new product, take a photo with it. Show people using it.

It will seem more legitimate and help people visualize using that product in their own lives.

4. Videos

Video content is the center of the visual branding world right now. Creating videos will help you build a stronger following, so long as they match your brand.

Be sure that you’re dressed for success in even the most casual videos.

Shoot in consistent settings while you build your brand. Be warm and try to build a connection with your audience. If you have editing capabilities, add your logo discreetly to the bottom corner of the video.

5. Branding Your Images

Think about ways you can create clever infographics or make some graphic quotes. Images with text have been shown to attract more viewers for longer.

Make sure that any graphics are consistent with your overall visual branding approach.

Think about what each image means before you post it. Run it past people on your team to ensure that it fits with what you’re trying to communicate.

6. Your Personal Profile

If you have a company that’s separate from your personal life, be sure that your social media profile fits with your branding strategy.

It’s important that your personal profiles are sincerely personal. You should feel comfortable writing about movies you liked, music you’re listening to, or a vacation you’re excited about. Don’t make it another promotional tool, but know that it’s part of the whole picture.

Whether you’re on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Snapchat, maintain that double consciousness of being on brand and being yourself.

7. Giveaways

Find the right image you want to use for promotions and then start using it to signal that a deal is on the way.

When clients see this image or this image frame popup on their screen, they’ll stop and take a look. Having consistency will build your visual branding. It will burn itself into customers’ minds and that color or logo combination will build a positive emotional association.

No matter what you choose, be sure that it fits with your overall brand look and feel.

8. Email Signature

Come up with a company-wide email signature look. This will allow a consistency no matter who a client speaks with at your company.

It also looks professional and gives your words a bit of an extra authority. For an extra piece of flair, add your headshot so people know who they’re writing to when they respond.

The Key To Visual Branding Is Consistency

No matter which direction you go, no matter what industry you work in, consistency is your best friend. Having a consistent brand will make it easier to have an impact on your audience.

If you’re ready to take your online branding to the next level, read more here on how to figure out whether you should hire someone or take it the DIY route.

5 Domain Branding Strategies Every Marketer Should Follow

Buying a new domain can be a stressful process. Odds are, that domain branding will become the main address of your company’s website for years to come. Your upfront research and hard work could pay dividends over the life of the domain. To help you acquire a new domain for the long term, we have put together these domain branding strategies to follow.

Incorporate Corporate Branding

Quite simply, a corporate brand should buy a domain the reflects their name. It can include CompanyName.com or CompanyNameLLC.com. For corporate companies, this is a simple strategy to have one domain for the entire corporate site. Of course, you can either include all the brand identities under the corporate domain or setup other domains for brands that are not directly associated with the corporate brand.

Utilize Product Or Service Branding

Alternatively, if you company is very products driven, you can buy domains based on the products. Since there are not many .COM domains for single word products, you can try different variations to brand the domain. For example, if Product.com is taken, you can register TheProduct.com or GetProduct.com. These types of domain variations all you to get around the issue of taken domains. Moreover, it unifies the branding of your domain and products.

Consider Exact Match Domains

Similarly to choosing a product focused domain, you can register domains based on keywords that you would like to rank for in the search engines. If you would like to rank for “product reviews”, you might try to buy domain names that include those terms. In this case, you could buy ProductReviews.com or an almost-exact match domain like MyProductReviews.com. While some SEO experts advise against exact match domains, you could have some major benefits with partial match domains or exact match in less competitive industries.

Invest In New gTLDs

As new generic Top Level Domains are released, we have more opportunities to brand domains names further. The new extensions like .CLUB or .CAPITAL can provide context to your website domain. Additionally, it can provide branding in terms of location with extensions such as .UK and .NYC. If you want to be on the cutting edge of domain branding, you will want to buy domain extensions that are most relevant to your brand.

Change Your Legal Company Name

Interestingly enough, some companies are changing their legal entity names to include “.com” so the company name is actually a domain name. This is perfectly legal and has some positive benefits as the company name actually drives traffic to the website. The domain will receive more publicity and referrals because it is constantly mentioned by anyone talking about the company. However, it can be very tough to change an entire brand or company around a single domain. You will have to change to a new logo design too. If done well, it could be a unique strategy to drive more traffic to your domain.

These are proven strategies for branding your domain name. If you are planning on to buy a domain soon, consider the pros and cons of each approach for your company. A good branding strategy could make a huge difference in your company’s domain popularity and authority in the future.

Source

http://thedesigninspiration.com/blog/2018/02/25/5-domain-branding-strategies-every-marketer-should-follow/

Corporate Branding: Use Custom Framing & Art to Tell Your Story

Hanging in our office, is a quote by Frank Lloyd Wright: “Whether people are fully conscious of this or not, they actually derive countenance and sustenance from the ‘atmosphere’ of things they live in and with.”

This philosophy drives the corporate culture at Coyle Studios. Each employee has a unique sense of humor, style, motivation, etc. Our company is made up of our collective uniqueness and is reflected throughout the studio on our walls. When we work with corporate clients on custom framing projects, we ask them about their corporate culture and frequently take a tour of their space.

Why?

Because it’s easy to slap a 2” white mat and a thin black frame on a piece of art and say, “Done. Put a nail in the wall.” It’s harder to evaluate your art, your space, and your brand to come to a creative framing solution.

Think about last year’s . When you walk into Planit, there is no mistaking their corporate culture. On their walls, you’ll see their branded colors, quotes, funky art, and things that inspire them. It is a modern, open environment that makes you envision collaboration, innovation, and creativity. (They also have some of the we’ve seen in a while).  

An office should reflect the company that inhabits it. If your space does not effectively convey you or your company to others, you can easily improve that by making a change in your art. Here are a few tips:

Think about your story and values.

Choose art that is meaningful and expresses your values. We had a client that wanted their walls to tell the history of their company. They were a non-profit that handled corneal tissue donations to help reverse corneal blindness, and they had albums of newspaper articles, donor photos, and letters throughout their 50+ years of business. The marketing team wanted the most compelling articles framed for their lobby, pictorial donor photos framed for their conference room, and recipient photos framed for their hallway. Their walls told their story in a way that words could not – you could see the impactful work they accomplished. Visitors were inspired to help. A floral canvas print from a box store would never have the same effect.

Embrace your accomplishments.

Diplomas, awards, articles about a company or employee – these are all strong additions to your walls. We’ve seen clients frame promotional items, successful campaigns, or group photos from an annual sales event. Framing an object with significance (i.e. a hammer, wooden spoon, gavel, stethoscope, presidential pen or conductor’s baton) will speak volumes. It is important to include employee and company achievements to not only impress clients, but to help employees feel valued and part of the team.

Can’t find what you want? Go custom.

Don’t settle for something because you feel you need to fill a space. One client wanted to surround himself with iconic images from the two places he’s lived – Maryland and Canada. He chose a few original Coyle fine art Maryland photographs and an aerial of Toronto to be framed for his office. Another client commissioned a local Baltimore artist to create a series of prints of one of their downtown locations to be framed for their corporate offices in Annapolis. If you want a piece of art that doesn’t exist, create it.

Be better than the black frame.

Most people choose a thin, black frame because they perceive it to be inexpensive and safe. While it is a safe option, it is not always the most cost effective option. There are so many cool frames out there for the same or even better price point as a black frame. We’ve seen clients embrace champagne, silver, weathered metal, color, and rustic wood frames for their corporate art because it works better in their space or accurately reflects their style. If you choose a black frame, choose it because it works – not because you’re afraid.

Think about alternative options.

Not everything needs to be framed. Yes, the framer is telling you this. One of our clients wanted to have original Baltimore fine art photos in their lobby, but they didn’t want it framed. They wanted , and the end result is phenomenal. Metal prints are a lightweight alternative framing solution that can work in even the most traditional office. If metal isn’t your thing, there are print options on wood, acrylic, and bamboo. We’ve worked on projects for clients who have loved these unique display options and enjoy having multiple choices.

Choosing art for an office doesn’t have to be hard or generic. is more than following a style guide in graphics or choosing the right photos for your social pages. Branding should extend to all of the spaces a company inhabits – physically and digitally. Take your offices to the next level, and surround yourself with pieces that inspire you and reflect your corporate culture.

Coyle Studios is a proud AMA Baltimore sponsor. To learn more about Coyle Studios, visit their . Photo credit: Coyle Studios.

Talent Branding Strategies

According to , CEOs have developed a laser focus on human capital and talent management activities and cited human capital as the number one global challenge. While customer relationships, innovation, operational excellence and corporate brand and reputation were also listed as top challenges, identifying ways to develop, engage, manage and retain talent was identified as the most pressing challenge.

As one of the authors of the report, Rebecca Ray, SVP Human Capital at The Conference Board pointed out, Though particular strategies vary from region to region, business leaders worldwide are working to optimize their greatest resource — their employees and those who will lead them.”

There exist any number of strategies that an organization may choose to initiate to address these human capital needs depending, of course, upon their unique goals and desired outcomes. The report lists numerous strategies that are often evaluated and selected including providing employee training and development, focusing on internally developed talent to fill key roles, and improving succession planning for both current and future needs. In addition, organizations often identify the need to improve the effectiveness of front-line supervisors and managers as well as the need to enhance the effectiveness of the senior management team.

One strategy that may be gaining more steam in the United States and Latin America is improving employer branding (including articulating employee value propositions) to attract top talent. The report states that “… while human capital practitioners are focused globally on building and leveraging a strong employer brand and employee value proposition to attract and retain talent, especially in highly competitive labor markets in emerging economies such as Asia-Pacific and China, CEOs in the United States and Latin America do not see it as an essential tool to meet the Human Capital challenge. ‘Improve corporate brand and employee value propositions to attract talent’ is the twelfth-ranked strategy in the United States and thirteenth in Latin American in the human capital space. It is tied for fourth in Europe and seventh in Asia.”

I think those are quite interesting results.

CEOs will undoubtedly agree that their organizations put forth considerable effort in ensuring their vision, culture and image are in alignment with their corporate brand; it’s what directly leads to reputation amongst all stakeholders (customers, investors, employees, etc.) and impacts all lines of the business. This impact is realized whenever and wherever the general public comes into contact with the brand. Those public perceptions, many CEOs would agree, are important.

So what about the employer brand? Why is an understanding of its importance not firmly embedded in the minds of CEOs?

One challenge for HR leaders is to ensure that CEOs understand that allocating the resources necessary for the development and maintenance of an employer brand can assist in meeting the challenges of attracting, managing, developing and retaining talent.

Many executive leaders have a traditional view of “recruiting and staffing” and employer branding is quite different. Recruiting and filling open requisitions has often been a short-term, stop-and start process whereas branding is a continuous, ongoing, and long-term process that shares the unique culture and ‘story’ of the organization. A true and authentic employer brand, with a consistent message and aligned experiences fulfills promises to candidates, applicants and employees.

As stated in the 2014 Global Trends Study by Employer Branding International, “ease in attracting candidates (35%), employee engagement (32%) and recognition as an employer of choice (28%) are the main benefits gained from employer branding programs. Other major benefits include reduced recruitment costs (225), higher job acceptance rate (19%) and decrease in staff turnover (19%).”

Identifying the best talent needed to meet organizational goals is only the beginning.

Developing an effective employer branding strategy can allow companies to gain a competitive advantage in the human capital game and winning the game requires the CEO and senior leaders to be fully onboard champions.

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this post originally appeared at HR Leads Business.

Personal vs. Corporate Branding: Is It Me or We?

Sitting in a staff meeting, my boss asked if there were any questions. I mentioned seeing a job posting online for the marketing department and wondered if the team was expanding.

Several co-workers quickly interjected, “Why were you reading that? Are you looking for a new job?”

“No,” I replied. “I just like to keep tabs on what’s happening in the marketplace.”

That was 15 years ago. I doubt that conversation would go the same way today because most people have an online presence through social media and use the internet for information gathering.

As the rise of social media and influencer marketing has led to exponential opportunities for content marketing for corporate brands, it also has presented countless opportunities for content marketing for personal brands.

But how do the two work in harmony? Should they? Should people closely connect their brand to their employers? Should companies actively encourage their employees to use content marketing, including social media, to talk about the company?

Eight years ago, Christian Crumlish, then director of consumer experience at AOL, outlined the concerns of the employer – they don’t want to make star employees visible and expose them to poaching from competitors, and they are concerned those star employees will outshine the corporate brand.

Given the billion-plus active on social media now, the option to discourage or ban employees from talking about their employers publicly isn’t realistic.

“It’s not only possible – but highly advantageous – to leverage the power of personal brands in conjunction with (or instead of) the central corporate brand,” writes Jayson DeMers, a Forbes contributor.

As Jayson explains, telling your corporate brand stories through a personal brand (i.e., your employee) allows for more trust with the audience, a distinct voice, a difference from your competitors, an extended reach, and lasting power.

Nurturing employees’ personal brands also is an attractive selling component in the recruiting component as it indicates the company cares about developing the people who work for it.

And employers still worried their employees will take off for greener pastures should turn their focus to the positives. Sure, employees may leave the company, but they will do that with or without your support. If the company helped nurture their personal brand, they may attain positions at other brands that could benefit their previous employer or, at a minimum, they will speak well of the company.

Consider the example of Hallie Warner. She spent years developing her personal brand around her professional identity as chief of staff at Adam Hergenrother Companies. “I use the corporate brand and story to share my own,” she says.

About 18 months ago, she launched her own blog, Lead and Assist, and was invited, along with her boss, to speak at the Behind Every Leader conference. “These branding efforts have put me on the map as an expert for executive assistants and other chiefs of staff, and administrative professionals,” Hallie explains.

In addition to her chief-of-staff position, Hallie is now working as a coach and trainer for executive assistants through Adam Hergenrother Training.

Overall, supporting employees to develop their digital profiles is good for the bottom line. Research from Weber Shandwick shows employees with socially encouraging employers are significantly more likely to help boost sales (72%) than those with employers who are not socially encouraging (48%).

What should the company do?

If you want your employees (and their personal brands) to boost your corporate brand, you must be strategic. Here are a few essential steps.

1. Set easy-to-follow, practical guidelines

Sure, you must protect the brand, especially if it’s a publicly traded company, from employees disclosing proprietary or confidential information. Just don’t use that as a reason to go overboard with restrictions in your social media policy.

Check out this employee social media policy from Intel:

  1. Disclose your relationship to Intel.
  2. Protect Intel.
  3. Use common sense when posting.

“What do our policies mean? They mean we trust you … You are both the person in the best position to tell the world why Intel is such an amazing place to be and the person best suited to protect Intel from harm. Don’t slam Intel or our competitors …  When you are online, you are representing Intel: our peoples, our values. There is no room for bigotry, prejudice, misogyny, or hatred in our company or on our associated social media feeds.”

TIP: Post your employee social media guidelines online to be transparent internally and externally. If a problem arises, you can easily reference and link to it when you address the issue.

2. Don’t restrict at-work access to social media websites

In some workplaces, employees are unable to access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., because of restrictions enforced by IT-related controls. But if you want your employees to grow their personal brand in concert with your corporate brand, you must trust them enough to give them access to social media during their workday. Otherwise, they will build their personal brands without your corporate brand (or worse, with negativity toward their employer).

TIP: Apply this principle to all employees. If you cherry-pick only those who you want to elevate your brand, you’ll alienate the other employees (who also are on social media and now more likely to talk negatively about their employer).

TIP: As a marketer, you likely don’t have the ability to set company-wide policy. Get your HR leaders involved in the process. Persuade them using credible resources they’re familiar with, such as this comprehensive toolkit on workplace use of social media from the Society for Human Resource Management.

3. Make it easy and attractive for employees to tell your brand’s stories

Allowing your employees to talk about your brand on social is a first step. Encouraging them to tell your brand story is the next step. Offer your employees an opportunity to suggest ideas or get involved in other ways in the content you’re creating and sharing. Tell the stories they think should be told.

Share your editorial calendar with employees so they can know what you’re writing about and when. Send a weekly update with suggested tweets or posts referencing your content to all employees and ask them to share.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:6 Steps to Get Your Whole Company Involved in Content Marketing

4. Recognize employees who contribute to your corporate brand’s content marketing

Monitor those people who choose to be active supporters of the brand’s storytelling. Recognize those individuals whose contributions lead to the most shares, most retweets, most conversions (whatever measurement you choose). Acknowledge their work in a company email or newsletter. Send a handwritten note thanking them for their contributions.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: How to Create a Marketing Team That Cares About Revenue

What should the employee do?

“If you want to succeed in the workplace, you need a well-defined personal brand that supports the company’s mission,” says Dan Schawbel, a Monster contributor.

Though some jobs may not require a well-developed personal brand, many do. Jake Solyst is a content specialist for a 40-person marketing agency, idfive, that focuses on mission-based clients such as universities, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations.

He actively connects his personal branding efforts to industries of the agency’s clients. His personal Twitter profile is focused on his employer, including a link to the company – which features many of Jake’s articles.

Jake says he participates in a weekly Twitter chat for higher-education marketers, and tweets from industry-related events and volunteer opportunities. He also reads books about higher education and social issues, then shares his thoughts about them on his social media channels.

“It’s important to be more than a marketer, but a marketer with a passion for and an understanding of the ideas, services, and people we’re promoting,” he says.

How can you build your personal brand that also works for your employer’s brand? Here are some steps to accomplish that.

1. Know your company’s mission and your mission

Dan’s advice about a well-defined personal brand being essential for workplace success is good, but to do that you need to know your company’s mission. You also need to understand your personal mission or purpose. What are the goals for your personal branding effort? How do those goals fit with your company’s purpose?

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Your Brand Needs a Point of View, But Do You?

2. Build your personal brand in concert with your employer’s brand

Don’t become a shill for your employer, hawking every product or even every piece of news or story from the company. That won’t win you anything. And don’t ignore your employer in your content – that won’t win you any fans at your company. Strike a balance, incorporating relevant company content when appropriate and ensuring that you share your personal and others’ content too.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 60+ LinkedIn Profile Tips for Marketers

3. Raise your profile in your industry

Create or share content around topics and interests specific to your industry and your role or department. Investigate speaking engagements at industry-related or community-based events.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: LinkedIn Publishing Trends Every Marketer Must Know

4. Reach out proactively to your company

Check regularly with key stakeholders to learn about what’s happening within the company, what they’re hearing about in the industry, and to discover new research being conducted. Consider this group an invaluable editorial advisory board for potential ideas to write about or share.

Inform your supervisors and executives of your personal branding efforts that they may not be aware of. For example, tell them about a speaking opportunity you’re doing at a community meeting or let them know about your blog.

5. Avoid polarizing and controversial issues unrelated to your brand (personal or corporate)

Though you likely have opinions on politics, religion, etc., resist sharing them in the professional setting. You don’t need to spark a debate that detracts from the focus of your intended personal brand.

TIP: Even references to political or religious figures meant to be humorous can be harmful. An off-handed description in place of the words “U.S. president,” for example, can elicit reader comments and criticism.

It’s really about both

The question of personal brand vs. corporate brand can’t be an either-or option. A personal brand is intrinsically tied to the employer brand and vice versa. Both are critical to each other’s success. Understanding that is the first step, embracing it through proactive policies and promotion is the next. Then both employees and employers have a better one-two branding punch.

Grow your personal content marketing skills and strengthen your company’s content marketing at the same time. Attend Content Marketing World Sept. 4-7 and using code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Full Guide To Branding Yourself (12 Point Checklist)

Need help branding your company? My team and I put together this 12 point checklist to help you.

Lets begin.

1. Name

Your name should be simple, short and easy to remember.

Good example: A Plus Construction

Bad example: Jason Alexanders Kitchen and Full Construction Services

The shorter and easier to remember the better.

2. Logo

A logo represents your company.

It needs to be perfect and it needs to flow with your style.

If you don’t have a logo you should make one.

This is an example of a good logo.

It is a logo that my team came up with when we were establishing our marketing company.

It fits with the name ‘Sassy Egg’ and its very easy to remember.

We had clients book services with us because of this logo alone and their exact words were;

“Your logo is so awesome and memorable that we know your team knows what they are doing.”

3. Domain

Domain is key.

What is easier to remember and type into google?

or

Don’t make the mistake of picking a horrible URL name that people can’t remember or type.

If possible try to find a domain that is exactly the same as your company name.

Think of it this way.

If someone tells you their name or company, what would you search for in Google?

You would search their name or the name of the company, right?

Exactly.

Your name should match your URL/domain to avoid confusion.

Bonus tip: try finding a URL name that ends with .com and not .co or .net

You want to go with something that is most common.

4. Email

Same as the domain name, your email should end with your company name to look professional.

Use an email such as support@bookingkoala.com and not bookingkoala@gmail.com

Although this is not the end of the world, it will make you look bigger, more trusted and it will set you up for the future when you need to add more users.

5. Colors

Colors are also important.

Every color tells its own story and you want to be able to tell yours.

Here is an example of what I mean:

Do you notice how King of Maids goes with purple because ‘King’ and ‘Royalty’ go together.

It clicks and it brands your company whether you know it or not.

This makes a big difference when it comes to selling.

It’s psychological and it’s proven.

This is also a reason why sometimes you like one company better over the other.

Simply because of their colors and how they brand themselves.

6. Slogan

Do you have a slogan for your company that explains what you do in one or two seconds?

Most of my companies have at least one and we use them to brand our selves.

Here are examples of slogans we use:

My marketing company: “We build companies from scratch”

Short, easy and explains what we do.

A subscription clothing line I’m part of “Your personal stylist delivered straight to your door”

My cleaning service “Experience Royalty” or “Book a cleaning online in seconds”

A slogan is a way to brand yourself and it is a must have.

It will be used when you run advertisement.

7. Website

We talked about this many times and I even told you how to make sure you have a good website.

A website will help you brand.

When someone lands on your site, it will take them seconds to know if they want to do business with you or not.

You will need to impress them with your name, slogan, colors and everything else we discussed here and in all the other courses.

A lot of businesses don’t understand that a bad website is hurting them and their sales and in most cases they would do better without one.

8. Social Media

When you set up your Facebook, Instagram and all other types of profiles it will make an impression.

If you don’t complete it, it tells a story if a user goes on it.

If you complete it and stay active at least once a month it also tells another story.

Make sure if you create something that relates to your company and it is shown to the public it looks appropriate.

Your potential customers will be searching the web for you and you don’t want them finding inactive and incomplete profiles.

9. Pricing

If you are branding yourself well by following this checklist you can charge low or high prices.

Low prices will grab customers instantly when you show them a great first impression and high prices may also grab them especially if your brand gives a great, trustworthy feeling.

If you don’t brand yourself properly, you will never sell at a high price and if you offer low prices, people may assume you’re not trustworthy.

Branding is everything.

10. Voicemail

Is your voicemail set up?

Make sure that when someone calls you, your voicemail is professional and to the point:

Welcome to ABC.

We apologize you couldn’t reach us at this moment.

If you are looking to book an appointment, view pricing or reschedule, you can do so on our website at .

If you are having any issues or questions please leave us a voicemail with your name, phone number and we will give you a call back as soon as we can.

Have a great day!

11. Scripts

Same as a voicemail, whenever you answer a call or an email you need to follow a script.

It should be professional and to the point.

You will use this script to train your employees and providers.

You don’t want employees answering in different tones.

It doesn’t look professional and it leaves a bad impression.

12. Live Chat

Have a live chat on your website.

There are plenty of free versions on the web and it will give your customers extra value knowing they can rely on someone to answer their questions instantly without calling.

Hope this helped!

How to Use Twitter for Business: Best Practices & Branding Guidelines

Why Half a Billion People Can’t be Wrong

Twitter’s size is undeniable. The micro blogging platform – which was founded in just 2006 – already has over half a billion users. Even crazier? Those users are sending almost 10,000 tweets per second. Second. It has single-handedly changed the way individuals, companies, and news outlets communicate to one another.

So, it makes sense for businesses to have a presence on the platform. They can communicate & connect with customers, share news, and announce sales – and that’s just scratching the surface. More importantly, Twitter can be used to build customer/brand loyalty, an intangible goal that every single business strives for.

Our inbound marketing specialist Sam Nute recently presented on the topic – his slides are embedded below.

Best Practices for Businesses on Twitter

Of course, there are things you should do (and shouldn’t do) on Twitter. There are best practices, like creating quality, sharable content, keeping tweets short and sweet, conversing with customers, tweeting often, and more. These practices will help to grow your following and establish customer and brand loyalty.

Branding & Engagement Guidelines

Branding and engagement are also incredibly important on Twitter. Your company has to define itself with a unique and likeable voice/personality. Sparking conversations and answering questions builds your community and keeps the content interesting.

Visually, your profile has to look fantastic. Every image should be branded, including the profile, cover, and background picture. Arguably the most important section, the About section, must describe your business and catch the eye of someone checking out your page. Think of it as a first impression – they mean a lot. Your About section can mean the difference between a follow or a bounce. Make it count!

You can learn more about Twitter’s history, best practices, branding & engagement tips, helpful links, and more on Sam’s slides below!

Twitter For Business from

Still have questions about using social media to grow your business? Contact Raka today.


By: Sam Nute

Source

https://www.rakacreative.com/blog/inbound-marketing/twitter-for-business-best-practices-branding-guidelines/

New Skift Research Report: A Deep Dive Into Operating and Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners

New Skift Research Report: A Deep Dive Into Operating and Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners

http://ift.tt/2GaR3O3

Today we are launching the latest report for our Skift Research subscribers, A Deep Dive Into Operating & Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners.

In the report, we examine implications for hotel owners of the major brands increasingly shifting to asset light; how independents can succeed when catering to experiential-minded consumers with a focus on technology and data; and key items to think about when choosing a brand. We provide our growth expectations for soft brands and non-branded operators, changes in management and franchise contracts, and distribution, and how these changes will impact hotel owners.

Preview and Purchase

When it comes to owning a hotel, many public investors think of the less-than-stellar aspects of hotel ownership: lower profit margins relative to franchise and management organizational structures; more volatility in economic downturns against an essentially fixed cost structure; potentially lower company valuations; challenges with online travel agency (OTA) commissions and other distribution costs; costly investments in renovations, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, labor, insurance, sales and marketing, reservation and property management systems, and other expenses. The list goes on and on.

From inside the industry, however, hotel owners and developers see the opportunity to make a return on a real estate investment, “wow” guests with a unique experience, and provide a place of shelter, a space for people to meet and gather, a community. When a hotel owner appropriately positions a property by making smart, efficient, innovative decisions, the outcome can be a financially rewarding, and also a personally fulfilling, experience.
Preview and Purchase
What we found through our analyses and interviews with owners, operators, managers, franchisors and other industry experts is that there may not be one best way to own a hotel. There is no “one size fits all” operating model, and decisions must be made on a property-by-property basis. Nevertheless, hotel owners can’t be idle, and should continue to be innovative, adaptable, thoughtful. They should also be willing to push back on their managers and franchisors to produce the best results. At the end of the day, the objectives remain the same: Acquire or develop strong real estate, ensure the property is run as effectively and efficiently as possible, choose the right partners, and never lose sight of that hospitality factor. This is a people business after all.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • The advantages and disadvantages of different ownership operating models
  • Key considerations when entering into management and franchise agreements
  • How income statements differ among owners, managers, and franchisors
  • An overview of the hotel industry in terms of market shares of branded versus non-branded and managed versus franchised versus owned properties
  • Why the large brands have increasingly shifted to asset light and consolidated
  • The benefits of brand affiliation, including how loyalty programs and lower online travel agency (OTA) commissions can drive incremental revenue
  • How consolidation has negatively impacted hotel owners
  • The potential market opportunity for soft brands and non-branded operators
  • Keys to operating a successful independent property
  • How changes in the distribution landscape, from OTAs to Airbnb and Google, are influencing hotel owner decisions
  • Cost considerations for hotel owners in today’s environment
  • Skift Research’s proprietary ranking of seven major hotel brand chains based on 13 quantitative metrics to inform hotel owners’ decisions about brand affiliation
  • Expectations for distribution costs, growth of independent hotels, how contracts will evolve, and how the major brands are going to respond to industry trends

This is the latest in a series of monthly reports, data sheets, and analyst calls aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision-maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

February 13, 2018 at 03:34PM

The post New Skift Research Report: A Deep Dive Into Operating and Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners appeared first on BestTours.com Blog.

A Deep Dive Into Operating & Branding Strategies for Hotel Owners – Skift

by Rebecca Stone + Skift Team

The hospitality industry is evolving rapidly, with brands shifting to asset light and consolidating, soft brands and non-branded operators growing steadily, and the distribution landscape becoming increasingly competitive. Nevertheless, hotel owners stand to gain if they focus on acquiring and developing the right real estate, choosing the appropriate franchisors, managers, and partners, running their properties efficiently and effectively, remaining innovative and thoughtful, and maintaining that ever-needed hospitality factor.

“The most important thing in our business is the quality of the real estate, the location of the real estate, and the hospitality factor … Everything around it is noise, and owners can adjust.” – Shai Zelering, MD, Real Estate, Hospitality, Brookfield Property Partners

Brands are consolidating, consumer preferences are changing, disruptors are impacting the distribution landscape, and technology is evolving. Hotel owners face an increasingly complex environment in which they must choose the single, best operating model and brand strategy for a given property. Easier said than done. In this report, we examine implications for hotel owners of the major brands increasingly shifting to asset light; the growth potential for non-branded operators and soft brands; how independents can succeed when catering to experiential-minded consumers with a focus on technology and data; and key items to think about when choosing a brand. What we found through our analyses and interviews with owners, operators, managers, franchisors and other industry experts is that there may not be one best way to own a hotel. There is no “one size fits all” operating model, and decisions must be made on a property-by-property basis. Nevertheless, hotel owners can’t be idle, and should continue to be innovative, adaptable, thoughtful. They should also be willing to push back on their managers and franchisors to produce the best results. At the end of the day, the objectives remain the same: Acquire or develop strong real estate, ensure the property is run as effectively and efficiently as possible, choose the right partners, and never lose sight of that hospitality factor. This is a people business after all.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • The advantages and disadvantages of different ownership operating models (independent, brand management, non-branded management, franchise)
  • Key considerations when entering into management and franchise agreements
  • How income statements differ among owners, managers, and franchisors
  • An overview of the hotel industry in terms of market shares of branded versus non-branded and managed versus franchised versus owned properties
  • Why the large brands have increasingly shifted to asset light and consolidated
  • The benefits of brand affiliation, including how loyalty programs and lower online travel agency (OTA) commissions can drive incremental revenue
  • How consolidation has negatively impacted hotel owners
  • The potential market opportunity for soft brands and non-branded operators
  • Keys to operating a successful independent property
  • How changes in the distribution landscape, from OTAs to Airbnb to Google, are influencing hotel owner decisions
  • Cost considerations for hotel owners in today’s environment
  • Skift Research’s proprietary ranking of seven major hotel brand chains based on 13 quantitative metrics to inform hotel owners’ decisions about brand affiliation
  • Skift Research’s expectations for distribution costs, growth of independent hotels, how contracts will evolve, and how the major brands are going to respond to industry trends
  • William Fortier, SVP, Development, Americas, Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • Kristian Gathright, COO, Apple Hospitality REIT
  • Amar Lalvani, CEO, Standard International, Bunkhouse Group, One Night
  • Raymond Martz, EVP & CFO, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust
  • Sara Masterson, VP, Hotel Management, The Olympia Companies
  • Chip Ohlsson, EVP & CDO, Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Victoria Richman, CFO & COO, HVS Hotel Management & HVS Asset Management – Newport
  • Ian Schrager, Founder & CEO, The Ian Schrager Company
  • Atish Shah, EVP & CFO, Xenia Hotels & Resorts
  • Julienne Smith, SVP, Real Estate and Development, Hyatt Hotels
  • Ted Teng, President & CEO, The Leading Hotels of the World
  • Shai Zelering, MD, Real Estate, Hospitality, Brookfield Property Partners