How Inspired Is Your Brand?

Steve JobsDo you market to your employees as powerfully as you do to your customers?

It seems that marketing teams are always customer facing. Sure that’s where the sales dollars are, but why stop there?

Employees can be your best marketing ambassadors. In fact, they can be a social media powerhouse for you.

But there are some brands that shift the focus. Brands like Apple or IKEA. Those brands create a powerful force through their employees.

What happens when the marketing team focuses first on employees and then on its customers?

How Inspired Is Your Brand?Patrick Neeman posted How Inspired Is Your Brand? Read Apple’s Onboarding Letter . He found an old blog post from a new Apple hire and reposted Apple’s welcome letter.

Like most great communications, it’s short and simple. Which only makes it more powerful:

Here’s what Apples’ onboarding welcome letter said

There’s work and there’s your life’s work.

The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over all. The kind of work that you’d never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work at Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end.

They want their work to add up to something.

Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Welcome to Apple.

Apple is not alone. IKEA is another standout in harnessing the passion of its employees.

Does your company even come close to something like this?

Good Selling!

Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.

10 Hacks To Build A Great PowerPoint Presentation

Surprisingly Easy PowerPoint HacksDo you have Slideshare envy? Where so many of the presentations clearly are designed by graphic artists and the presentations are beautiful?

In the business world, of course, we don’t have the luxury of building a deck that is completely graphic. Our presentations have to deliver everything from our business vision to product pricing without the benefit of a designer to build our decks.

Not having a designer is no excuse for a terrible presentation

Not having a designer is no excuse for a terrible presentationYour presentations are a reflection of you and your company. Want to instantly lose credibility? Share a presentation that is dense with words, in different fonts and full of misspellings. No matter how good you are on your feet, you’ll leave your audience with a poor impression.

A lot of people tell me tell me that PowerPoint sucks. I think they are shooting the messenger but maybe they are right because – unfortunately – PowerPoint doesn’t write the presentation for us.

One sales vp told me that that she’d rather have her buyer looking at her products instead of a slide. Her point is well taken but a well-crafted PowerPoint presentation can frame the conversation, document the meeting and set-up key questions. Not surprisingly, the more presentations we built together, the more she wanted to use PowerPoint because of how the buyers were responding.

What makes a GREAT PowerPoint presentation?

  1. Presentation Success With These PowerPoint HacksKeep it short – a good rule of thumb is 1 slide for every 2 minutes of presentation time
  2. Give your slides (and message) a personality that runs through the entire presentation
  3. Tell a story, don’t just dump data
  4. Connect with the pain point of your audience and share your solution on how you will solve it
  5. Use photos to help bring your message to life or embed video to help communicate more robustly
  6. Use short bullets to convey the idea – don’t write a book or a script to read
  7. Don’t be afraid of color or a larger font to make a key point
  8. Don’t get cute –animation sounds and slide transitions are very distracting. Keep the focus on you and your message
  9. Don’t use busy backgrounds and design templates
  10. Be ruthless and consistent. Every slide should make a critical point and all the slides should present information in the same way

PowerPoint Hacks For Better PresentationA word of advice: practice with your presentation beforehand. You’ll feel more confident, know when and how to address each slide and it will help you consider the order of your slides more carefully. No one can follow a presenter who’s flipping slides forward and backwards to try and show something addressed later in the presentation.

It’s going too far to say a great presentation makes the sale but it uses the same components – a compelling story backed with strong proof points and powerful visuals – that you and the sales team use to build your business.

Good Selling!

3 Ways to Make (and Keep) Your Brand Promise

clear, relevant, differentiating and compelling brand promisesWhat promises are you making to your customers?

To motivate customers, a brand promise must meet the following three goals:

  • It must convey a compelling benefit
  • It must be authentic & credible
  • The promise must be kept, every time

A brand promise is not a tagline telling customers what they should expect from your business.

Strong brands possess clear, relevant, differentiating and compelling brand promises. Even more importantly, they fulfill these every day.

3 Ways to Make (and Keep) Your Brand PromiseA company’s brand is its promise. And successful brands consistently deliver on their promises, which is how they create brand value.

The questions a company must ask to create a brand promise sound short and sweet, but effectively answering them requires intense and lengthy discussion about what the company means on the deepest level: how it does what it does, what the feel of working with the company is, and what kind of character the company has.

The goal is to develop a brand promise that is:

  • Clear
  • Relevant
  • Differentiating
  • Compelling

Equally important, is that a brand promise ensures that employees, channel partners and consumers can all answer the deceptively simple question of “Why Our Brand?” In fact, it will also allow your team to create marketing communications that inspire and motivate and enable consistent brand messaging throughout all our brand’s customer & partner touch points.

Ultimately, you need to describe how the brand delivers on its promise. A promise, however, is good only if it’s kept. If a company doesn’t deliver on its promise the majority of the time, its reputation—and sales—will likely decline.

The brand vision is the road map to a strong brand

The brand vision is the roadmap to a strong brandCore to the brand promise is the brand vision.  The brand vision is a plan that aligns all customer/shopper based initiatives to make more effective decisions across all business functions. Its purpose is to drive revenue and profits through the development of a strong, differentiated brand.

The brand vision…

  • Defines the company purpose
  • Provides metrics to measure business decisions
  • Identifies who the target audience is
  • Provides framework for new product development
  • Focuses messaging and the voice/tone to communicate with
  • Establishes an architecture for the brand
  • Identifies appropriate channels of trade

Although it seems intuitive, strong brands make for strong businesses

Strong brand are products and services in which consumers believe there are no substitutes.

strong brands make for strong businessesStrong brands…

  • Command premium prices
  • Create barriers to competition
  • Are not commodities
  • Inspire confidence and trust
  • Are products and services consumers connect emotionally with

A brand vision brings together 5 key elements

A brand vision brings together 5 key elementsThe five elements of a brand vision are:

  • Purpose − A single statement that embodies the company’s mission and desired perceptions.
  • Positioning − The benefit we deliver to the marketplace.
  • Character − How we want to be perceived.
  • Personality − The attributes that define the brand.
  • Brand Strategy − The masterbrand architecture that defines the relationship
    of your brand to other sub-brands, product brands and services.

Where it all comes together is the brand guide

brand-touchpointsThe brand guide is an interactive document that provides standards for brand management. It is a visual identity system that many refer to as brand guidelines.

These guidelines are the design standards for managing the brand, complete with examples of do’s and don’ts of how to use the library of logos, imagery and typography that creates the brands look, tone and feel.  It covers everything from letterhead and signage to packaging, advertising and web design standards. In short, all the places that the brand can come to life.

What does success look like?

Brand Promise Creates RelevanceThe questions involved in developing a brand promise look easier on paper than it is in reality Brand promise development is hard work that generally takes multiple brainstorming sessions, lots of competitive and market research, and extensive investigation into the true nature of the company. It’s exhausting work.

And yet, as with most things that are difficult, it’s invaluable. Companies that have clearly defined brand promises and values and attributes have strong frameworks for decision-making, and using these frameworks helps develop the brand’s strength and worth to the organization.

And the prize at the end?

  • A simple, differentiated brand essence and position that you can own.
  • Clear articulation for consumers, customers and employees of “Why Our Brand” above our competition – no matter who they are!
  • Brand identity that breaks through the clutter, is difficult for our competition to copy or has proprietary elements.
  • Can be translated to product, packaging, merchandising, advertising, web, and national promotions – a whole cadre of marketing and communications vehicles.
  • Articulation of essence, promise and identity into messaging and graphics that make consumers want to take action to buy our products NOW.
  • Creates value for retailers because consumers are coming to their brick & mortar or online establishment to look for you exclusively.
  • Capitalizes on employees’ pride to work for you making superior products and providing top-notch customer service and support.

Good Selling!

Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.