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Brand Out & Stand Out: Top 4 Benefits of Strong Branding

Is your company lacking the adequate branding it needs? Without those crucial elements, your company might as well be a boat without an oar.

While you’ve thought of a clever business name, a colour palette, and a logo, that proves to be not enough. These days, people want to be intrigued and wowed by brands. They’re no longer buying products that speak for themselves– they want to buy into brands that are authentic and compelling.

A few terms to keep in mind when developing your brand further is quality, credibility, and experience. Think of these keywords as the secret ingredients to your fantastic recipe for creating a brand.

Still not convinced on why branding is important? Allow us to explain the benefits of branding so you can see why it’s vital.

Here we go!

Be the Big Fish in a Little Pond

Rather than be the small fish swimming about in a big pond, strong branding can make you the opposite. To be the big fish, you need to hone in on what makes you stand out in a crowded market.

Whichever industry you’re in, differentiating yourself from your competitors is a must. You and the competition probably have similar products or services but it comes down to your branding in order to make people choose you.

Sure, you can go out and purchase a premade logo for a cheap price. However, you need to have more than that.

Set yourself up for success by thinking beyond a logo. Good branding is more than “nice colours” that you may like slapped together. It’s more than just ordering clip art to be used as a logo.

Think of the reasons you got into business. Was it to empower the local economy and create jobs? How about selling product so you can donate to local organizations?

Pinpoint what makes your business unique by digging deeper. Good brands have clear purposes, remember that.

It’s All About the Money, Money, Money

Obviously, that’s not how that song goes. But let’s be real here: you didn’t create a business to not make money.

When your branding game is strong, that means you can actually charge what you’re worth. Especially when you’re just starting out, finding those customers or clients can be a struggle. No one knows who you are yet so you think it’s a good idea to undersell yourself.

Wrong. So wrong, in fact.

You can’t build a sustainable business if you’re cutting prices all the time just to gain sales.

Solidify your branding first before you launch. That way, you can dazzle those who see you for the first time. They’ll have no choice other than to get on board with your company 😉

If you didn’t get the chance to perfect your brand before you launched, it’s not too late. Revamp it to where you can start charging the proper price of your products or services.

Customer Loyalty Is the Name of the Game

Customers are the heart of every business. They’re the reason other people hear of your company. When they spread the word, it spreads like wildfire. Why?

Because when your friend tells you of a new product or service, you believe them when what they have to say is positive, right? Your friend hasn’t steered you wrong yet, so you trust their recommendation.

People want to connect with brands who also share the same values as them. If you give donations to cancer research, that may be enough for someone to do business with you, especially if they know of someone with the disease.

Not only do the values you abide by win you customers, but the promises you deliver on ensure you of their return. If you promise a new product launch at the end of the month, you best follow up on it.

If you don’t, it’ll be hard to win their trust back. Not to mention they’ll be less interested in another product launch for fear it won’t be delivered when promised.

Keeping your company values and promises in check will be sure to win you more customers. And when more customers have trust in your company, the more referrals you’ll receive.

Having a Solid Brand Means You Won’t Regret it Later

We’ve all been through these days where we can’t seem to make up our minds. One morning we want coffee, the next we’re craving tea. There’s no consistency.

With a brand, you need to be consistent. In order to do that, you need to be content with your branding. That means loving the colour palette, the logo, and the vibes you put out.

If you went for the cheapest options possible when first building your brand, chances are you won’t be happy in the long run. Once you start making money, you’ll see that you want to hire a graphic designer to make you a killer logo. That means you’ll be changing your logo which means that’ll confuse your customers.

If you would’ve set a good foundation in the first place, you wouldn’t have to change anything within a year or two of being operational. That’s why it’s crucial you take your time to build a brand so that way, you can keep it intact for years to come.

That not only saves you time but money as well.

The Benefits of Branding are Hard to Ignore

Whether you spent days or years developing your business, branding is where it’s at. These days, markets are oversaturated so that’s why it’s more important than ever that you stand out like a starfish in a sea full of barnacles.

It’s the key to standing out and gaining more revenue. After all, who couldn’t benefit from an extra doubloon or two?

Ready to take the plunge? Get in touch with us today and see how we can help set you up for success with expert branding services!

Brand Aid: 10 Reasons You Need a Strong Brand Identity

It’s an old concept but marketers still rely on the Rule of Seven. The idea is simple. A prospective client must see your brand at least seven times before they will remember you. While people may argue about the exact number, the message is clear. To be recognized by consumers or other businesses, you need to present a consistent image.

Imagine if you walked into a building with a Starbucks sign, and they sold light bulbs. You would be more than a little confused, especially since you were obviously after a jolt of caffeine.

When we think of the Coca-Cola or Facebook logos, the colours red and blue immediately come to mind. In fact, colours play a big role in brand identity and companies purposefully use distinct colours.

All of these factors comprise brand identity and they determine not only how we view a brand but also, what we expect from them. Read on to learn about why you need a strong brand identity.

5 Reasons Your Brand Identity is Important

When you’re rushing to constantly create content for your brand, it’s easy for brand consistency to get lost along the way. It’s important to take steps to ensure that you are projecting a consistent brand identity to your customers every time they interact with you. This builds awareness in your customers’ minds and creates trust between a brand and its customers.

1. It Determines the Recognizability of Your Brand

There’s a reason Coca-Cola has used the same script since the early 1900s. Even when they changed their branding from black to red, the brand was easily recognizable. If they were to suddenly change brand identity, not only would customers struggle to recognize their products, it would also create distrust about the brand.

Another part of brand identity is slogans and jingles. Brands use these memorable phrases or melodies to get embedded in consumers’ minds.

You can’t help but chuckle at Canadian Tire’s, “Give Like Santa. Save Like Scrooge.”. The phrase “Roll Up the Rim” immediately brings Tim Horton’s to mind, in the same way “Just Do It” reminds people of Nike.

Brand identity is not just about the appearance of your brand. It’s tied to your brand values as well. Customers expect accountability from brands now more than ever, and part of brand identity means showing that your brand values align with your customers’ values.

2. A Strong Brand Identity Leads to Increased Sales

Having a consistent brand identity is crucial for building customer recognition. Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, customer recognition is what leads to sales. The majority of consumers conduct significant online research prior to making a purchase.

For example, consider a parent purchasing hockey equipment for their son or daughter for the first time. When they arrive at Canadian Tire, they are faced with a myriad of options for each thing they need.

When presented with a half dozen different brands of skates, helmets and hockey bags, how do they choose which brand to purchase? Assuming prices and product quality are consistent, they’ll purchase based on brand recognition.

3. Your Brand Identity Separates You From Your Competitors

McDonald’s and Wendy’s are essentially selling the same thing, but consumers are die-hard loyal fans of one and hate the other. The same goes for competitors like Pepsi and Coca-Cola or makeup companies Revlon and Maybelline. In a saturated market where products are similar, brand identity is the only thing that separates you from your competitors.

Your preference between Coca-Cola probably comes down to whichever one you grew up drinking. But what about when you need to buy a product that isn’t marketed to you? Suddenly, you see the impact that brand identity has on your purchases.

Brand identity also helps distinguish you from companies with a bad reputation. For example, after United Airlines’ recent spate of customer service debacles, Delta Airlines and American Airlines are relying on their brand identity to distance themselves from United.

4. Your Brand Identity is Synonymous With Your Company Identity

The brands with the strongest brand identity gather an almost cult-like following from their loyal fans. One of the best examples of that is the tech companies where employees identities are defined by their employment. At Microsoft, the employees are Softies. Over at Amazon, they’re known as Amazonians.

These brands are revered for the empires they’ve built and that has become part of their brand identity. These companies have projected a consistent brand identity for years which is now ingrained in consumers’ minds.

For example, consider luggage brands Louis Vuitton and Samsonite. Even if you aren’t in the market for a new suitcase and not particularly familiar with the industry, you will associate one of these brands with luxury and the other with durability.

These associations are due to each company’s brand identity. These brand identities have been reinforced by marketing campaigns or, in the case of Louis Vuitton, celebrity endorsements.

5. Your Brand Identity Is A Guide For Your Employees

A brand identity is created and built by a company’s employees. Once a brand identity has been established, it’s up to a company’s marketing team to use that brand identity as a guideline when designing marketing campaigns.

Brand identity is not just upheld by the marketing team, but by your customer service representatives as well. Amazon, for example, is known not just for being the world’s largest marketplace, it has also gained a reputation for having impeccable customer service.

They’ve been able to build this into their brand identity by empowering their customer service team to be themselves and have fun while helping their customers.

Building a Brand Identity is Crucial For Successful Companies

Just like your personal identity is how others see you, your brand identity determines how clients and competitors see you. A strong brand identity places you firmly in the minds of both parties and is essential for successful companies.

Not sure how to build your brand identity? Get in touch with us today and we can help you get started!

Branding Strategy 101: How to Effectively Brand Anything

According to a recent survey, 8 out of 10 Canadians belong to a brand’s loyalty program. A proper branding strategy is one of the most important assets to have — from a non-profit to products, to businesses, to people. It can literally make or break your success.

Branding is not your website, logo, product, or service. It is what people say about you when you are not around. Your brand is your the feeling or perception that you create with your target market.

The problem is that it can be hard as a small business, you have to start unknown and compete against large recognizable brands that have huge budgets and dedicated followers.

You need to know clearly how to build a brand and execute a proper branding strategy in order for people to trust you and your brand, no matter what it is that you are branding.

Look no further, because we have all the information here on how to brand anything effectively, build trust and achieve your goals. Read on!

What Is a Branding Strategy?

A brand strategy is a detailed, strategic plan that incorporates long-term goals that are achieved as your brand evolves. Whether it is branding an idea, business, yourself or a charity, you need a well thought out branding strategy!

This includes and affects all aspects of your idea, and connects with the audience’s wants, needs, emotions, and environment. If you are branding a charity, for example, you need to connect with people who have similar emotions towards your cause.

As said above, your brand is not your logo, nor your website, your products, causes, services, or even name. Your brand is the feeling that other people get before, during, and after their interaction with your brand.

Your brand is not a to-do list, it is what people are saying about you when you are not around!

Identify The Three Core Components

These three core components will become the blueprint of your brand building and help you stay focused as your ideas evolve.

Consistency

Without this, your brand will have a hard time surviving. Avoid talking about anything or posting anything that does not have to do with your ultimate branding vision.

When posting anything to the public, first think to yourself these important questions:

  • Does this align with my message?
  • What does this mean for my company/charity/cause/idea?
  • Wil this confuse anyone, or discourage them from interacting with my brand?

Making sure that your message is consistent with all your branded communications will ignite loyalty within your audience and will begin relationships.

Purpose

Every brand makes a promise, but it is the purpose that your brand declares that will really grasp the attention and loyalty of your prospective audiences.

Knowing your “why” is so much more meaningful to the audience. This is a message from your heart to others about what gets you out of bed to share this idea and this passion with the world.

When your audience knows and relates to your purpose, they will feel an instant connection to you and your brand.

Your brand will be observed in a few different dimensions, and understanding these will help you really express the core of your brand in a way that customers recognize.

Intentional: relates success to your ability to do good for the world and the money you get from that intention is a by-product. This can set your brand apart from others in the same industry.

This is a big focus for those who are branding their charity or cause.

Functional: relates success to how much money or attention your brand is making, focused on a financial objective in mind.

If you are branding a travel destination, think of how many new tourists you want to attract each year, what revenue that tourism will generate each year, and all other aspects of tracking tourism results.

If you need inspiration, do some competitor research and check out the other brands that you admire.

Emotional Impact

Emotion breeds connection, and creating a brand strategy will help you nurture that emotion. When you draw in emotion, you can effectively brand anything.

In order to do that, you need to know exactly who your target audience is. Some examples would be:

  • Single mom’s ages 25-35 who work from home.
  • College students working and studying overseas.
  • 50-year-old men, going through a midlife crisis.
  • Seniors who want to travel more, but are too afraid.
  • People suffering from arthritis, as your product makes it easier to open jars and do daily tasks without pain.

The objective is to understand their behaviours, lifestyles, and needs. This will help to create an emotional with your audience.

People have an innate desire to be understood and belong to something greater than themselves. This is what leads to making irrational, emotionally-based decisions, such as someone selling everything they own and co-running an animal sanctuary on the other side of the world, or starting up a charity providing dental work for less priveleged people in their community.

Incorporating the psychological need to feel connected and belong, which is on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, establishes a connection with others so strong that nothing will break their loyalty.

Appreciate Loyalty

You now understand the importance of developing loyal customers, but the most important part to understand is that you have to show your appreciation for that loyalty.

Some people will go out of their way and become self-made brand ambassadors for you. Think of a brand you absolutely love. How do you talk about that brand to others? Do you find yourself convincing other people to switch to that brand as well?

We want nothing more than to feel appreciated, so do something to express your appreciation for a customer’s loyalty. A handwritten thank-you note, a swag bag, and a shout out on social media are all ways to show your gratitude.

Competitor Awareness

Do you know who your competition is? Since you share a similar target market, you need to have a good awareness of who you are up against. Have a good, hard look at your competition, and notice what they are doing right, as well as what they are doing wrong.

Implement their successful traits into your own brand, and learn from their mistakes. This is also a great chance to learn what makes you different than your competitors, the more unique you are, the more you stand out from the crowd.

Be Flexible

After you finish branding your idea, charity, product or business, understand that this is not set in stone! In brand building, you will encounter times where you need to tweak your brand. Understand this, and accept those times where you need to make adjustments.

Learn More About Branding Your Ideas Today!

If this article struck a chord with you, realizing that you need to adjust your branding strategy, do not worry!

Re-branding is very common, and we are here to help! Feel free to contact us at any time, and we would be happy to assist you with your branding strategy to help your brand make a splash in your market!

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.

Happy World Octopus Day 2017!

It’s World Octopus Day 2017, so we thought we’d do a little storytelling to celebrate.

So there was an octopus in an aquarium in the US. His handler fed the octopus buckets of shrimp then went back to his desk in another room. A little while later, a single shrimp was thrown onto his desk. The octopus had seen that one of the shrimp had gone bad, picked it up, escaped its tank, crossed the hall, found his handler’s office amongst many others, and was mad that he wasn’t getting good quality shrimp.

Let’s think about what that means: it means that the octopus could have escaped at any time but chose not to, that it can recognize one human face amongst the thousands it would have seen at a busy aquarium, that it can navigate a man-made environment and that it gets indignant like a middle-aged lady in a restaurant asking to see the manager when the food is sub-par.

Other octopods have flooded aquariums by dismantling valves, performed juggling tricks, and tap shrimp on their shoulders to trick them. It’s been theorized that they aren’t just smart, but they can make plans, build homes, communicate, use tools and even have a sense of humour. That doesn’t mean that their minds are anything like ours- their brain is distributed between their head and their nine arms, all of which can move independently if severed.

It’s not just their brains that are amazing: the only solid part of their bodies is their beak, so they can fit through anything that their beak can fit through—that means that a 600 pound, 16 foot long giant Pacific octopus can squeeze through a drainpipe. The Blue-Ringed Octopus is crazily poisonous, and if it doesn’t kill you outright its specific poison, tetrodotoxin, can induce ‘zombie-like’ symptoms in humans.

The take home point is: Octopods are cool as hell and we should appreciate them, so happy World Octopus Day 2017!

4 Hidden Treasures Uncovered by Using Authentic Photography

Throughout your time spent checking social media, there’s a constant wave of photos, videos, gifs, and content that is always calling your attention. To get a better idea of what the word content encompasses and how it can benefit your local business check out our page about content creation. With the minute-by-minute influx of new content, we start to subconsciously scroll right past anything that doesn’t immediately lure us in and simply move to the next post that sticks.

As a local business, it’s key to have content that hooks viewers and effectively communicates the message you’re trying to get across to your target audience. You might be thinking that creating original photography is easier said than done and instinctually look for an easier option, like stock images. Admittedly, stock photography can save you money, time, and effort but that is as far as the benefits go. The problem with having generic stock images is that people are too accustomed to seeing them. Nielsen Norman Group did a study showing how “users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to “jazz up”” the core message and detract from the authenticity.” Essentially stock imagery is creating another barrier for your audience, allowing them to routinely ignore the customized message you’re trying to express through digital marketing. When trying to emerge from the flood of content people wade through every day, stock photography is underwhelming and uninteresting due to its generic nature. Don’t just tell your target audiences what makes you unique, show them.

There are a few hidden treasures that you can uncover by creating original photography for your social media, website, or other marketing campaigns.

Authentic photography personal connection

  1. Personal Connections

The primary feature that will anchor people to regularly interacting whether it’s liking, commenting or sharing is the personal connection. Regardless of the size of your crew, each member is part of a social circle that cares about what’s going on in his or her life. Replying to comments or liking other business pages shows that you’re involved in the community, and you’re willing to make time for each person.  And then when they click back to your social media page or website they’ll be delighted to find real imagery which truly highlights your friendly local feel.

  1. Employee Recognition

By including staff in imagery, it creates an instant connection to parts of their social circle and therefore expands the net of influence of your business. Your online brand will become more personable and accessible when your audience sees genuine people in a comfortable environment. The stock version of this would have models posing in front of stark backgrounds, which completely misses the distinctive brand personality, voice and message your business is trying to communicate.

JD Collision Bonnyville

  1. Recognizable Imagery

The advantage of communicating a customized message and specific brand identity through original photography is that you precisely express a localized message. With stock photography, much of it communicates the same message that people routinely sail by online. The pristine, clean, and technically perfect image may appear to be beneficial, but it won’t effectively reel in the people who provide you with their business. Original photography is an important element of forming your visual and brand identity.

  1. Customization

Another positive aspect to having custom images is that it effectively displays how your business is unique. Depending on the products or services there may not be stock photography to accurately express the uniqueness of your company. For example, if you’re a catering company with a unique menu or service, stock photography can communicate a fragment of that but not the entire story. Additional examples would be woodworking, construction, real estate, handmade goods, or really, any one of a plethora of products that might be different each time they’re created.

Original photography that reflects a brand personality, a genuine environment, and approachable people is the centre mast the will make people want to get on board with your company, helping you to set sail toward your company vision.

Authentic Photography with Calm Waters Colouring

Five Tips to Make Digital Marketing Work for Your Business

It’s the age of the internet; there’s no doubt about that. Cisco estimates that by 2020 there will be 50 billion internet connected devices in the world. Yep, you read that right. That’s nearly 7 internet connected devices for every single person on the planet based on 2020 world population projections. In today’s digital age everything from your smartphone, to your appliances, to your clothing can be connected to the internet.

Octopus Creative is a new and innovative business founded on the mission of becoming the go-to marketing sidekick for rural small-to-medium sized businesses so they can achieve success in the digital age.  “We’re about so much more than giving you just a ‘pretty’ website, or a standing online billboard.  You don’t interact with billboards. Good marketing is multi-faceted and it begins with researching your target customer, understanding how they engage with your brand, and which of your unique selling points will win them over to your business.  Ultimately, It’s about understanding the customer experience and keeping them always at the forefront,” said Jonathan Berube, Co Founder and resident Marketing & Social Whiz at Octopus Creative.

“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works”.  – Steve Jobs

In staying true to our brand promise, we’re offering up some tips for your business to succeed with marketing in the digital age

  1. Invest in good design

Your logo and visual brand are key factors when communicating your value to the market, digitally and otherwise.  If the design or logo looks bad, that’s what you could be communicating.

  1. Websites should always achieve a goal

Strategy is paramount when you’re designing your website and thinking about your online presence.  Understand the customer, define a goal, understand your uniqueness and then design your marketing and website around those elements. Ultimately your website is about your customer, not about you.  Resonate with them and make sure they can find you online.

  1. Don’t miss the boat on social media

Social media is a word-of-mouth generator, a public relations platform, a cost-effective advertising tool and a customer insight engine.  Truth is, if you’re staying off social media because it’s too risky, that doesn’t mean the conversations aren’t already happening there.

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” – Don Draper, Mad Men

  1. KIS – Keep it simple

If your website and other marketing material is bursting at the seams with too much content and mixed messaging, you could just end up frustrating potential customers and driving them away instead of drawing them to your business.

  1. Look at the data to gather insight

The insight you can gain from data analysis can be a huge advantage for your business: more customer insight, more informed decision making, and the capability of precise and accurate numbers to prove marketing value.

If you’re looking for Integrated Marketing Solutions That Stick in the digital age, Octopus Creative is the go-to local company in the Lakeland here to be your marketing sidekick! “We’re here to partner with local businesses.  We’re committed to helping businesses succeed.  Simply put, that’s what drives us,” said Rob Hole, CEO and Web Mastermind at Octopus Creative.

If you need some help with taking the digital plunge, get in touch with Octopus Creative today!