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March 2018

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Personal Branding vs. Corporate Branding: What’s The Difference?

Chances are if you’re reading this article you already understand the importance of branding. Branding is an integral part of marketing. It works alongside your other marketing efforts to create a vision of what your company’s values embody.

Corporate branding and personal branding do however have some rather critical differences.

It can be easy to mix the two up and blurring the lines can sometimes leave you, and your company in a sticky mess.

Many worry about their company image becoming too personal and don’t ever attempt to incorporate any personal branding. For others, the thought of using corporate branding scares them. Some just have no clue about the difference between the two.

Luckily, this article will clear up some myths and take you through the difference between corporate branding and personal branding for you.

Let’s get started.

First, a Quick Overview of Branding

When you are considering branding first, you have to understand what that actually means.

When it comes to the dictionary definition, Branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

Here’s the simplest way we here at Octopus Creative define brand: Branding is about the promise of a memorable experience. It’s about creating an expectation and delivering it consistently every time anyone comes into contact with your brand, whether it’s the way you answer the phone, how your website functions, your social media presence, your brand voice or how your product/service performs. It’s how you make your customers feel when they are interacting with your brand.

In essence, branding is taking something as simple as water, which is clear, transparent and seemingly obvious and creating a perception and belief in the brand created.

For example:

  • Perrier’s water branding makes it seem refreshing, bubbly and high-end
  • Evian’s brand makes you feel young
  • Fiji Water’s brand embodies health, purity, and nature

But all are just clear translucent water; it’s how they created the brand image that made them stand apart.

So why bother branding? Because the main benefit of branding and the reason to employ branding is to boost profits.

What’s the Difference Between Corporate Branding and Personal Branding?

When it comes to the difference between corporate branding and personal branding, it’s important to look at both the pro’s and con’s of both types of branding and when it’s most effective.

When a Personal Brand Works

It’s never been easier to create a personal brand for yourself. The tools that are available today allow you to create a website and social media for yourself as a brand that can run alongside your business.

Deciding which type of brand you want to create for your person is a challenging subject, so let’s go through some benefits and negatives.

Pro’s of a Personal Brand

Personal brands can be flexible. This is an important point to remember, as your business grows, sometimes so do the services that you offer.

If you’ve created your brand completely around one service or product offering, suddenly changing that could be a problem for your corporate branding. Developing a personal brand is something you build around your name and you as an individual, therefore it’s easy to change what your focus is.

If you want to develop a speaking career, a personal brand is a great way to begin as it can help to associate your name with your area of expertise.

Personal brands also tie really well into one-man-band industries. If you are an author, artist, professional speaker, or Youtuber, having a strong personal brand will help to boost your business and attract new and interesting customers, viewers, bookers, or whomever your target audience is.

Con’s of a Personal Brand

When you invest heavily in a personal brand, you will need to associate your brand with what you do. You can do this with something like a tagline that you use regularly with everything you do. You can also associate with what you offer by pairing your name with interviews, articles, creating social media posts and booking speaking engagements around your area of expertise.

This can be risky though. If something were to ever happen to you–whether a medical issue or a PR issue–you may not have the framework in place to have your business run without you in the spotlight, and you may not be able to effectively separate yourself from the business, which is you.

It can also be hard to sell a business that has been built on a personal brand, and even when starting out it can be an important factor to consider. You may have no plans of selling your business now, but if in the future there’s even a chance of this happening, it’s an important thing to consider.

When a Corporate Brand Works

When you are looking to create a corporate brand, it’s going to take a lot more upfront work. Why? Because rather than using your name you’ve built years of credibility behind, you’re going to be making a new one, out of thin air.

This can mean a lot of hard work as you craft meaningful words out of nothing but the effort could be well worth it in the end.

Let’s run through some of the reasons you may or may not decide to choose corporate branding for your business.

Pro’s of a Corporate Brand

When you focus on corporate branding, you force yourself to consider the plans for your business–your business is now a real, legal person if you’ve formed a corporation. When it comes to selecting your businesses name, you have to think about a variety of different things like:

  • Who your ideal customer is
  • What your business will offer
  • What people will know your business for
  • How you want to stand out in a crowded market

Going through this process helps you to create a vision in your head for what you want people to know your business for and where you see it going. This vision goes above and beyond the name and tagline of your business.

Corporate branding also allows you to position the company exactly where you want to be from the get-go. You can use all the words you like, so make sure to find a few that adequately express what your business is offering.

This helps you to get your customer to understand exactly what you are all about from just hearing your name.

Corporate brands are also a lot easier to sell than personal brands. If you can create a recognizable brand that’s an asset, then other people may be happy to pay for.

Con’s of a Corporate Brand

Unlike personal brands, corporate branding is much more labour intensive. You’ll create a picture of what your company is all about, while you are still building it from the ground up and you may have to do it with multiple people that need to try to come to a consensus.

You’ll also find that corporate brands aren’t as flexible to change as a personal brand. If you decide to change course and offer something completely different you may force yourself to start a second business.

What Branding Is Right for You?

With both choices presenting different advantages, it’s time to consider which brand option is the best for you and your business.

For more help coming up with a spot-on brand strategy for your business, contact us today.

How to Create a Brand Image for Your Business

Building an audience for your business is kind of like building the business all over again. It takes an ample amount of time, money, research, vision, and persistence.

All of these things come together to create a positive, well-known brand image, which is crucial to generating a large following.

Your brand is everything users associate with you. It is the emotions and values they connect to, as well as the products and services you offer. The complex nature of this leaves some small businesses unsure where to begin.

Not to worry — we’ve gathered all the things you need to know when building your brand. Here is your complete guide to creating a brand image for your business.

Define Your Goals and Know Your Audience

Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, define what you want to achieve with your branding efforts. Establish an identity for your brand. Think about the culture of your company and the feelings you want to stir in your customers.

Describe the idea you have for your brand image as if you were talking about a person. Let these attributes — like cool, sophisticated, creative, etc — guide your branding process.

Such adjectives will help you decide on various branding tools from company colours to fonts and photo filters. They will be useful in logo design, web development, and more.

Do all of this with your consumer in mind. As soon as you have a bit of direction for your brand image, describe your ideal buyer. The descriptions of these two ideas should coincide.

Invest in Great Content Creators

Once you have your goals set up, bring in the people who can make your brand image come to life. You can hire an in-house team or invest in professionals who do this every day. But, you can’t create a brand without such talent.

These are the photographers, graphic designers, and copywriters that can turn your brand from a simple thought into a recognizable force in your industry. Put simply, great content is everything.

Well-made content is what gets people’s attention as they browse the web and what hooks them when they go to your website. The right content takes your brand image and places it in front of your ideal users to generate brand recognition and loyalty.

It’s what makes your company easy to pick out among various kinds of print and digital media as well as when your products are stocked against competitors on a shelf.

Find Your Strongest Marketing Opportunities

Some content creators are also digital marketing specialists. Others will hand you their deliverables and let you do the rest.

Try to find a team who can do both the creative work and the marketing to support it. This will make your branding process as seamless as possible.

Such professional groups know what angles work for your photos as well as where to place them on your website. Same goes for the kind of copy that is written in the voice of your brand but can also perform well for search purposes.

The branding efforts you create start with you and are produced for your audience. But, they only reach these people when you find the right marketing opportunities to expand your brand’s reach. The following are some marketing tactics to consider utilizing.

SEO

If your company has a website, you need to focus on SEO — and you absolutely need a website. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of matching user inquiries and search terms with the companies who can best fit their needs.

This is done with a mix of many different tools. SEO depends on keywords, web design, online ratings, blogs and guest blogs, and more.

But, all of this needs the direction of your brand image to succeed. The same values and characteristics that define your brand should be what guide your SEO efforts.

Social Media

Once your search rankings are improved and your website is getting a steady flow of traffic, it’s time to take that one step further. Give users an up-close look at what your brand is really about via social media.

This is where you can truly connect with your audience. There are endless ways to foster lasting relationships with current users on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Plus, these channels help make connections with potential new customers.

Print Media

As effective as SEO and social media can be, users aren’t on their screens 24/7. Some of your audience members may need one more interaction with your brand to get them to actively engage with you.

Such interactions might be walking past your poster on public transportation or flipping to your ad in a magazine. Other forms of print media include billboards, brochures and pamphlets, postcards, and even business cards.

Keep Everything Consistent

No matter the branding goals you envision from the start or the marketing approach you take to generate a strong following, you need to be consistent.

This is why industry experts stress things like brand colours, branded taglines or phrases, and even certain filters to use on social media. Such tools create a brand that is easy for people to recognize.

A simple, yet effective logo helps brand everything you do. Place it all over your website, on your social posts, and on every kind of print media you invest in.

Also, pay attention to the words you use when creating a copy and the phrases that are commonly used by your audience. Aim to be consistent in the frequency at which you generate new content, too.

Set a goal for how many social media posts you want to have each week or even for each day. Do this for blogging and email blasts as well, once you start to utilize those.

Get Your Brand Image Out There

Understanding how to create a powerful brand image is one thing. Supporting your brand with proper marketing and strategizing tactics is another.

Thankfully, our crew knows the ins and outs of both. We are here to build your brand from scratch and help it generate a growing following. Contact us today to take your brand image from its beginning stages to the successes that await.

Everyone Can See Your Facebook Advertising (Because of Russian Spies)

The Facebook advertising your company creates will be viewable by anybody who cares enough to look thanks to new changes to the social media giant’s platform made to help secure Canadian democracy from ‘fake news’.

However you feel about the political events of the last few years, most people will agree that one of the most troubling aspects has been the outpouring of ‘fake news’. Everyone will have seen it in their feed by now: links to news articles that look like the real thing but will be on ‘CMM.co.au’, pushing dubious and highly polarised narratives. Perhaps they’re the work of elite Russian government hackers, perhaps they’re made by Macedonia teenagers who want to buy BMWs, but they’re bad news for countries that rely on informed electorates to make decisions.

Election integrity in Canada has become a major issue after the US, UK, Germany, Austria and others were all inundated with fake news during elections. Even though geopolitics and spy-vs-spy stuff might be a million miles from your business, the changes made by the Canadian Election Integrity Initiative and Facebook affect anyone who advertises on Facebook. The site’s users will now be able to see all of the adverts your company has ever made. Apparently, your racist uncle is going to make sure that the post he shared about Trump’s 400-point IQ was well-sourced.

Political adverts will be under particular scrutiny. Each one will be accompanied by detailed information on how much was spent to promote them, the number of impressions and the demographics of who the ad reached. If you want to create political ads you’ll need to provide detailed documentation to verify your identity.

Some companies won’t be affected by this change at all, and many Facebook advertising users won’t even know it’s there or won’t be inclined to use it. Realistically, how will it affect you? Everyone’s advertising being out there 24/7 means you’ll have to be more careful about your ads: a tasteless advertisement could come back to haunt you. Although most users will ignore the ads, they’ll always be there to trip you up if you don’t get them right the first time.

Looking to start Facebook advertising and want to get it right the first time? Give us a call.

What to Consider When Hiring a SEM Agency

The real experts know they aren’t an expert in everything. That’s why over 62% of brands are leaving their online marketing in the hands of the real experts.

A knowledgeable SEM agency can transform your brand’s online presence. But as in most professional fields, there are plenty of charlatans looking to take you for a ride.

That’s why we’ve put together some key tips to help you find the SEM partner you’re looking for. Read on to learn more.

Can They Show Results?

A good SEM agency should be equipped to show you the proof in the pudding. There’s no good reason to take an SEM provider at their word.

If they say they can get results, get them to show you how. What successful projects can they show you? What hard data do they have to back up their assertions?

But it doesn’t all rest in facts, either. If it’s an SEM company worth their salt, then chatting with their previous clients should be enough to tell you if they’re worth your time.

Find out who they’ve worked with in the past and ask for testimonials. Check out their reviews and what people are saying about them online. It’s easy to set up a website and declare yourself an expert. Get the evidence to back it up.

Are They Realistic?

The internet is a bubbling chaos of communication. Nobody can wholly predict it. Anyone who claims to is likely trying to sell you snake oil.

When you’re looking for an SEM agency, stay cautious of anyone who promises you the world. Chances are, vacuous promises are a way of reeling you in. Once you’ve spent the cash, they’ll go on to underdeliver on their impossible guarantees.

Look for an agency with realistic ideas instead. They’ll factor in the size of your business, your reach, and your budget to draw up a picture of success that works for you.

You don’t need an agency that intends to rely on wishes for a successful campaign. Get one that can give you an idea of the facts and the reality you’re working with.

Do They Understand You?

Marketing of any kind is as much about knowing the business as it is knowing the customer. Your SEM agent should show that they’re ready and willing to learn about your company.

From the outset, you can judge them by the number of questions they ask. If it seems like they’re interrogating you about your business, great! That means they’re engaged and they understand what a tailored marketing campaign looks like.

On the other hand, if they seem more interested in selling you a one-size-fits-all solution, be wary. What works for other brands, even in your niche, might not work the same for you.

The ideal SEM will offer to work with you on a solution that suits your business. That means taking into account what you do and what your customers expect.

What Tools Do They Use?

If an SEM agent doesn’t know anything about analytics, they don’t know how to do their job. Web analytics like Google Analytics is a crucial part of any search engine strategy. They give live feedback on the success of marketing campaigns and thus your ROI.

Smart marketing means using analytics to tweak marketing in real time. It’s also fed back into future campaigns to squeeze out more success and patch up any holes.

An SEM lacking knowledge of analytics is like a pilot flying without instruments. Maybe they’ll get lucky and land it, but you’d probably prefer to feel safe in their hands.

How Long Have They Been Around?

SEM is an experience game. Although things change rapidly in the SEO world, most new developments build on what came before. You’re working with an SEM agency because you acknowledge you’re not an expert. That means they need to be.

Finding out how many years they’ve been in operation is a good rough indicator of the experience involved. Ideally, find an agency who’s remained focused on SEM from the beginning. If they’ve hopped around between different online services, it could be a sign they haven’t gained any real experience.

Even if they say they’ve been in business for years, try to check their history. Frequent name changes or domain moves could be a sign they’re not all they claim to be. A company with a bad rep will often try to shed their previous persona and adopt a new one.

It’s easy for anyone to set up a website and claim to be an SEM. Sifting out the frauds from the experts will be what decides whether you get value for money.

What’s Their Price Structure?

This one isn’t simply a case of knowing what your SEM agent would charge. SEM providers can have quite variable price models, so you need to figure out what you’re dealing with before you commit.

Some SEM agencies will charge based on clicks, others on a percentage of the overall output, or based on ROI. It may be difficult to compare across SEMs. But the main thing to consider is whether their pricing model suits you.

If you know you need a solid, predictable budget for your marketing, then you’ll want to go with an SEM who can offer a fixed figure. If you’re more worried about growing your brand than what you’re spending, then fees based on the overall media percentage won’t seem so bad.

Just be wary of the incentives SEM agents might have to drive up activity in return for more money in their pocket. You want the marketing campaign to serve you, not them. If the SEM is driving your spend, you may have fallen into their trap.

Find the Right SEM Agency

Shopping around to find the right SEM agency is a smart move. Once you have a few options, you can compare them to find the partner who will really work for you. By keeping the above points in mind, you can filter out the time-wasters and narrow it down to the ones who’ll make a difference.

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