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There is no need to reiterate that your brand is your identity. However, maintaining this identity in the rapidly changing market trends could be very challenging. You may already be following the latest branding trends in 2016; however, those few old school branding strategies that are still a part of your marketing campaign may not be as effective today. Here are some old school branding strategies that you should get rid of as soon as possible.

  1. Branding is More than Just Taglines and Logos

The concept of rebranding previously revolved around redesigning your logo and introducing a new tagline. However, the introduction of social media and the transfer of advertising and public communication from hoardings, billboards, and TVCs to social networking sites have redefined the concept of branding. Now, the brand image depends on market reputation and customer feedback more than just taglines and logos.

  1. Branding Without Social Media Content Marketing

Social media content marketing has offered countless opportunities to multinational corporations. Some of the opportunities include sending the same message in a variety of ways, introducing new products to global audiences, creating a brand image, and gathering customer feedback. If social media content marketing is not included in your branding strategy, then it is time to review it.

  1. Relying on Inconsistency

One of the most common branding trends back in the day was to introduce something unique and different to get noticed. However, establishing or expanding your customer base primarily depends on consistency-based marketing strategies today. For example, Nike promises comfort and has introduced a wide range of shoes adhering to health problems.

Consistency is essential to build familiarity with the brand and establish loyal customer bases.

  1. Skimping on the Marketing Budget

Branding is the strongest tool for your business in competitive markets. Therefore, skimping on the marketing budget to save on the production costs is a mistake that could cost you a fortune.

  1. Using Inappropriate Graphics and Virtual Mistakes

Designing a non-vector logo, using irrelevant colors on your website, and using a website that is not mobile-optimized are some virtual world mistakes that may make you lose your leads. Going an extra mile to hire a professional website developer or graphic designer is definitely worth the effort.

  1. Prioritizing Products over Customer Services

While Wal-Mart introduced the concept ‘Customer is Always Right’; however, many companies continue to make the mistake of prioritizing their products over customer services. In present world, the power of a brand lies in its satisfactory customer services. Training your customer service representatives and establishing online customer response centers are the initial steps you need to take while remodeling your brand strategy.

  1. Not Associating the Brand with Human Emotions and Needs

Note that luxury is no longer an effective branding ingredient as it used to be. Human emotions and needs are now directly or indirectly associated with monetary terms like time and cost-effective shopping deals. You need to humanize your brand by associating it with human emotions and needs while remodeling your brand strategy.

In addition to avoiding these outdated strategies, make sure that you roll out rebranding ideas while keeping your customers informed. After all, an ‘informed customer is always right!’

 

www.MyFreshBrand.com

 

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In the third quarter of 2015, Hewlett-Packard laid off 10% of its employees, cutting 30,000 jobs in the workforce. According to the Fortune report, most of the layoffs have been reported in customer service and consulting and call center departments. According to HP’s CEO, Meg Whitman, the company may continue firing employees as it moves forward. Whitman took charge in 2011 and since then, the company has downsized by almost 88,000 jobs.

However, if you are also planning to cut jobs like HP, then have a look on these possible side effects.

Loss of Market Credibility

Downsizing is never a desired option for companies. However, the pitfalls of downsizing are way bigger and more today than in the past. As private organizations are choosing ‘blind recruitment’ and ‘recruitment without a university degree’ techniques for hiring new employees, downsizing your customer services could badly affect not only your customers but also your talent pool. This phenomenon could lead to shortage of talent for your company.

Loss of Customers’ Loyalty

You might have spent thousands of dollars to win customers’ loyalty, but cutting thousands of jobs from customer service could result in loss of loyal customers. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the customers start believing that your company is living on the edge and may not survive in the long run. Secondly, your brand starts losing its positive market reputation.

Instability in the Services

One of the most obvious pitfalls of cutting jobs in customer services is instability in the services. Laying off employees to manage your budgetary concerns may lead to reduced services on the scale. You may easily lose your customers if you fail to provide need-based services. Ultimately, the loss of customers will lead to reduced profits. In contrast, downsizing due to shrinking customer base is ideal to maintain your budget.

Weighing the Pros of Downsizing with Cons

Most of the people believe that financial restrictions are solely responsible for downsizing. However, there are numerous reasons for downsizing a company that sometimes lead to effective, productive and better customer services. Some other reasons of downsizing include:

  • Decreased customer base
  • Mismanagement due to imbalanced managerial and employee ratio
  • Reorganizing workforce to improve efficiency
  • Converting employee based organization into a leaner, better-managed enterprise
  • Switching jobs by downsizing one department and expanding the other
  • Shuffling resources by saving on recruitment and service costs to invest the money in productivity costs

When a company downsizes for a specific goal, it is called reengineering or reorganizing, and this is exactly what HP did. The concept of strategic downsizing evolved in 1980s. However, it is essential to remember that your company may suffer miserably if your strategic downsizing plan is miscalculated, or if it fails.

www.52CustomerServiceTips.com

 

In 2015, the brands became more particular about qualitative, authentic, and low-cost branding solutions. However, 2016 could be an entirely different year as small business market will expand and large businesses may introduce unique branding policies to compete with the 97% small business sector on the corporate sky. Survival in this highly competitive corporate infrastructure is nothing less than surviving an apocalypse. However, with these little-known branding strategies, you will not only survive but will also flourish and grow.

  1. Add Authenticity with Human Emotions

Modern corporate sector requires businesses to morph into people-driven enterprises with more tangibility and greater authenticity. For achieving this goal, you need to improve direct communication strategies using all types of media, primarily social media content marketing.

  1. Becoming Memorable with Consistency

You need to convert your brand into a personality if you want it to be communicative and expressive to the customers. Communicative brands tend to have bigger and versatile customer base along with increasing number of loyal customers with every sunrise. Associate your brand with the human emotion of need and use the association to define your brand personality consistently afterwards. This way, your brand will automatically become memorable for generations.

  1. Targeting Foreseen Human Needs

When planning the human-brand association, you need to target foreseen human needs, which may become the ladder to success for your brand for upcoming years and decades. For example, purchasing a house has become one of the hardest financial goals in today’s market. However, the need of lucrative privacy is also undeniable. If you are a real estate brand then choose lucrative privacy and cost-effectiveness as your brand’s USP.

  1. Partnering Strategically

2016 is definitely the year of partnerships. Currently, small businesses are partnering with each other to share profits and losses and expand customer base globally. This type of strategic partnering is effective for cross-promotional activities. On the other hand, if you want your business to join the big business league then franchising with multinational corporations is effective.

  1. Sponsoring Sports

The increasing interest of corporate sector in sports is not surprising at all, if compared with the benefits. Instead of limiting your sponsorships to soccer leagues, think about sponsoring regional marathons also. Sponsoring sports not only make your brand a news material but it also helps gain public interest and encourages interactive participation.

  1. Adding Visual or Verbal Uniqueness to Your Brand

Just as you see the swoosh sign, you think of Nike. However, the impact of logos is now shifted to visual imagery and verbal uniqueness. You can choose a specific voice for your brand or associate your brand with specific visualization, for example, natural elements.

  1. Making Your Brand a Customer’s Pet

The term brand ego is no longer used in the industry. Making your brand a customers’ pet refers to defining your customer needs, gathering customer feedback, and rebranding or crafting your brand according to those needs. Simply put, it refers to making your brand effectively relevant to the customers.

Above all, exposing your brand to global audiences is vital for the growth of your brand. For achieving this goal, go social and shine on the social media!

www.MyFreshBrand.com

A large percentage of college graduates find themselves graduating into poverty, and moving back home with their parents in horrified disbelief that they are still eating Ramen noodles and cannot find a job that requires a high school diploma, let alone a college degree. One of the main reasons students experience this unfortunate introduction to the real world is because they are among the millions of generic college graduates who have done little or nothing to distinguish themselves during the “Dash Period”—the time they have between freshman and senior year to brand themselves. Through this signature work, Michael D. Brown has prevented thousands of students from graduating into poverty by helping them develop thriving and competitive personal brands that are empowered and equipped to achieve exponential personal and professional success.

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Why are you so frustrated with negative experiences?

The most significant lessons you will learn in 2016 will erupt from the negative experiences and “bad” decisions you will make. There is no better teacher than experience and time. Learning from the mistakes and failures you made is essential in order to prevent yourself from repeating them. This will help you in developing wisdom and better decision making abilities. Unfortunately, there are many who fail to learn from their failures and mistakes – instead start dwelling on them and become frustrated. This is a proven recipe for you becoming derailed, lose sight of you goals and limit your success.

When faced with a negative experience, it is unwise to waste away your time dwelling on it as this only results in formation of negative thoughts which serve as a barrier in your journey to success. Negative thoughts discourage you from reaching your goals. It only leads you to lose confidence in yourself and damaging your personal brand. This is the reason you need to omit the negativity from your life. What is done is done. Learn from it and move on. There is so much good waiting for you ahead.

In 2016 it is critical that you banish out the negativity if you hope to build or enhance your competitive and winning personal brand. Omitting the negative does not happen by itself, you will need to make some effort to truly banish negativity from your life.

 

6.5 Fresh Steps to successfully dealing with negativity

 

The way in which you handle the negative aspects that come in your life is critical in accomplishing success. Here are 6.5 proven steps to accelerate your journey toward a negative free life:

  • Step 1 – Face the pain which comes in the way of your success but don’t let it consume you
  • Step 2 – Enjoy the pleasures life brings you but remember you can have too much of a good thing
  • Step 3 – Strive to be your best, but don’t let the pressures cloud you over and understand that you are human and bound to face hurdles and failures.
  • Step 4 – Learn to identify persecution in order to avoid it instead of succumbing to it
  • Step 5 – Placate yourself to be mentally prepared for negativity that comes your way
  • Step 6 – Preserve yourself through any negativity you face
  • Step 6.5 – Make it real and make it fresh by maintaining your commitment to omitting the negative from your life. Do just try this out for a week and revert to your old ways.

Negative experiences and negative thoughts have the power to cancel out the materialization of your goals if you let it. This will hinder all your efforts to reach your goals and to create a strong personal brand. Not learning from the negativity that comes in your life will prevent you from growing, limiting you from any potential skill development. Negative thinking is definitely more prevalent as compared to positive thinking. Positive thinking requires more effort since it involves facing your fears and stepping into the unknown while on the other hand it is easy to start believing that you aren’t capable enough to reach your ultimate goal, especially when you have experienced a hurdle or a failure.

PLEASE understand that failure and all the negativity you will face in your life is only lessons waiting to be learned. Stop dwelling on them and stop letting them consume you or else you will lose sight of your goals and your brand will suffer.

www.MyFreshBrand.com

 

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……….and you will deliver world-class customer service.

Popular belief suggests that customers are the reason problems begin in any organization. That’s far from the case in reality; problems begin with the company and its employees. Customers expect a top-notch experience but receive a bad one instead. As a result, the company loses them forever.  Excellent customer service starts with employees, and if the employees aren’t happy with your company, how can you expect them to make your customers happy?

In my book  Fresh Customer Service- Treat the Employee as #1 and the Customer as #2 and you will get customers for life – I explain that the best way to make your customers happy is to ensure  your employees are happy with their job and empowered and equipped to deliver a world-class customer service experience.  The first two steps of the 6.5 steps  are Side by Side Walking and Smart Tasking.

  1. Side By Side Walking

The first fresh step towards understanding your employees is side by side walking. This essentially means stepping into your employees’ shoes, enabling you to identify the gaps in your company’s operations and helping you determine which areas need improvement. All you have to do is engage in the same activities as your employees for one day to understand where your company stands.

Steps to Effective Side by Side Walking

Following are the main steps for side by side walking:

  • Make safety a priority
  • Jobs should be described in written documents which outline the tasks and desired outcomes
  • Mentally prepare yourself and realize the significance and purpose of this strategy
  • Ensure you adopt same dress code, gear, and use the same equipment as your employees
  • Perform all pre-work tasks your employees have to perform like clocking in, preparing shift register, reading the task board, etc.
  • Do all the tasks as per the existing processes and procedures the employees follow
  • Observe all the tasks and process being followed during the shift
  • Ensure that you complete the entire shift
  • Reflect and assess the tasks you did, the problems that occurred, and compare it to the job description of your employees
  • Determine where the problems are and where improvements are needed.

2.    Smart Tasking

The second fresh step towards understanding your customers is Smart Tasking. It helps in setting up clear priorities and expectations for your employees which would assist them in offering the best customer support to your customers. Train your employees to smart task effectively and encourage them to speak up if they are assigned tasks that they deem ineffective and unnecessary. This helps in eliminating unnecessary work for the employees and makes their tasks more manageable and enjoyable for them.

Steps for Smart Tasking

Following are the main steps for smart tasking:

  • Understand the processes and operations
  • Identify the right tasks and eliminate unnecessary ones
  • Recommend specific time duration for each task
  • Never sacrifice safety of your employees
  • Ensure you provide easy step-by-step instructions for all tasks
  • Determine if the tasks adds to the customers’ experience and to what degree
  • Make adjustments where necessary
  • Review all tasks to ensure they are necessary for the overall process
  • Offer appropriate training of smart tasking for your employees

Understanding the problems your employees face and the environment they work in will help you in making their work experience better. Training them to prioritize and eliminating complex and unnecessary tasks will enhance their work satisfaction and make tasks easy for them. As a result, they will be able to offer a world-class customer service experience  to your customers.

 

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A strong personal brand is something that would follow you wherever you are. It will assist you in making new connections and finding the right employment if you are searching for better career opportunities. It would assist you in joining a conversation as an authority if you are looking for more sales. Lead generation and trust would also benefit greatly if you are aiming to boost the visibility of your company. Since your personal brand is partly based on your personality, most of the work has been done for you already.

All the major elements associated with personal branding, including consistency, authority, and professionalism, pale in front of the most crucial element – visibility. If you don’t have much visibility, your brand wouldn’t be able to gain enough momentum to grow significantly, even if it has all the other major elements. However, if you enhance your visibility but the brand isn’t impressive enough, it won’t do you much good. It is essential to create a strong brand and then start showing it off to enhance its visibility.

So, before you go about showing off your brand, you must make it strong enough to impress people. The Fresh Passion® methodology can be utilized to create a strong personal brand. Here are the 8 essential attitudes and skills that are crucial for you to create a strong personal brand:

  1. Prepare Yourself

The best way to prepare yourself is to stay updated about the latest techniques and information about your industry. It is wise to continue on educating yourself through attending relevant classes, seminars, and workshops for enhanced professional development.

  1. Aspire To Accomplish Your Goals

Goal setting is important to be able to pursue your ambitions and aspirations. Setting realistic and achievable goals will motivate your to keep on working hard to achieve them.

  1. Stay Laser-Focused

Focusing on your aims and goals will help you in reaching your mark and creating an impressive personal brand.

  1. Sell Your Value

It is also essential for you to understand your return on investment. You must have full confidence in your abilities and potential while being on a constant lookout for new and better opportunities which will help you in improving those abilities and potential.

  1. Rejuvenate Yourself

You must have the discipline and tenacity to go that extra mile in order to secure your professional and personal success.

  1. Omit the Negativity

Hurdles and problems are bound to happen, but what is more important is to learn from those problems without dwelling on them. Don’t let those bad experiences consume your valuable time; there is a lot more in store for you. Let such experiences serve as learning ones instead and move on.

  1. Nail Your Brand

Make your personal brand fresh and energetic in order to compete and win externally and internally. This will help you in achieving exponential professional and personal growth.

  1. Keep It ‘Fresh’

It is also significant that you make your personal brand unique and fresh in order to stand out from the crowd.

It is necessary in today’s highly competitive world that you become either a competitive and distinct brand, or end up as a generic and subsequently extinct one. By creating a distinct brand you would successfully be able to offer experience that people are willing to associate with and pay for. Once your distinct brand is created, you simply have to meet new people and write and share valuable content to become visible and you are all set to become successful.

 

www.MyFreshBrand.com

 

Branding has long been associated with companies; now though, each individual has their own personal brand. It isn’t a question of whether you have a personal brand, but more about how you are cultivating and guiding your brand to become a strong and impressive one. Your personal brand helps you in planning out your future on the basis of what you want to accomplish. However, since the majority realizes the significance of personal branding, there is an increasing need to add a little touch of freshness to your brand to highlight the uniqueness.

You should provide a promise of added value to convince others that you can offer more as compared to others. Through utilizing different strategies, you can enhance your personal image, create trust, increase leads, and hence, enhance revenues. When it comes to personal branding, there are many mistakes people make that prevent them from nailing their brand and making a mark.

Common Mistakes in Personal Branding

Some of the most common mistakes include:

  • Being inconsistent in personal branding
  • Limiting use of different social channels
  • Trying to do everything on your own
  • Not opting for collaboration with others
  • Copying others
  • Not offering anything fresh and unique

Ways to Make Your Personal Brand a Unique One

Here are a few things you need to pump up your personal brand:

  • Start thinking differently – it is essential to be bold and innovative when you encounter a problem.
  • Be different – separate yourself from the people doing average work in an average way; start doing more and making more by offering something unique.
  • Begin performing differently – break away from the usual patterns and processes. Get noticed by opting for different processes.
  • Perceive differently – start seeing a new task or a client as an opportunity instead of a problem like the others.
  • Brand yourself differently – once you start thinking, being, performing, and perceiving differently, your brand will automatically evolve and become different from the rest.

But how exactly do you think, be, perform, and see differently? This will become easy when you take on a fresh approach for your personal brand. Here are some competitive steps through which you can achieve freshness for your personal branding. These steps include:

  • Establishing a well maintained network and refreshing it by incorporating influential people.
  • Determine three most influential individuals in your industry that you want to follow.
  • Start researching about the ways successful individuals stay fresh and ahead of the game.
  • Begin implementing five new and fresh steps in your daily routine.
  • Sign up for RSS feeds.
  • Start supporting technology to become an expert.
  • Ensure that you keep everything real and fresh.

It is highly important for your personal brand to exhibit freshness to stand out from the crowd. Employers and partners look for individuals offering something different, who are updated about the latest trends in the industry, have honed their skills, and offer an impressive overall package. This indicates that it is significant that you add freshness in your personal brand to gain a competitive edge.

 

www.MyFreshBrand.com

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As I have previously explained, using social media as a brand promotion tool is an absolute must to remain relevant and connected to today’s consumers, employers and networking partners. However, choosing which of the multitude of social media platforms available to use as a promotional tool is no easy task. Social media is not a “one size fits all” proposition.

In particular, each generation has its own preferences as to what type(s) of social media they prefer to engage brands with. Here is a brief overview of the four major generations (Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Greatest Generation) serving as your brand audience and how to best engage each one with different social media platforms.

Millennials (18-32)

Everyone loves Millennial consumers, as they are still in the impressionable period of their lives and in many cases do not yet have children, leaving extra disposable income. Millennials literally grew up in an online environment, meaning they are used to having immediate access to easily digestible information.

Thus Millennials prefer visually-oriented social platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat or the more recent Periscope live video streaming app. Millennials are also big fans of YouTube, and a video that particularly strikes their fancy can quickly “go viral” with millions of global views.

Remember that a picture is worth 1,000 words – social promotions to Millennials should primarily rely on photos and videos, with a minimum of written content. Also remember Millennials are on the cusp of emerging technologies and will quickly abandon one social media platform in favor of a newer one, so stay informed!

Gen X (34-50)

Gen X consumers are more comfortable with technology and social media than the Baby Boomers who came before them, but did not grow up with it the way Millennials did. They are an “in-between” generation in many ways, not as visually oriented as Millennials but definitely holding a shorter attention span than Boomers.

Twitter is an ideal social platform for Gen X, who are at the age they are fully focused on careers and may be caring for both children and aging parents. This leaves them little time for seeking out new social media platforms, yet they are still tech-savvy enough to appreciate the immediate messaging power of Twitter. Use Twitter to let Gen X customer, clients or employers exactly what you’re doing exactly when you’re doing it, without any embellishments.

So if you want to effectively connect you really should be their “Burger King” and let them have it their way!

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#Reach

Twitter gives people the opportunity to officially follow your Twitter profile, meaning your tweets automatically show up in their Twitter newsfeed. However handy little tools called hashtags (the “#” symbol on your keyboard) enable your tweets to be seen by anyone searching for information on a specific topic.

For example, let’s say you are trying to establish yourself as a branded real estate expert. By sending out tweets on the subject with the hashtag #realestate, anyone in the world searching Twitter for tweets about real estate could potentially see it. Depending on the specifics of your message, you could also include relevant hashtags like #construction or “housing. In any case, there is no better vehicle to literally let the world know about your expertise, at no cost.

Advocacy

Twitter users have options to show that they appreciate your message. These include retweeting your tweet, or rebroadcasting your tweet on their own account, marking your tweet as a favorite, and directly replying to your tweet with words of agreement or encouragement.

Thus you can effectively use Twitter to build a base of social media advocates who support and spread the message of your brand, amplifying your audience, reputation and appeal. If you get things started by asking friends, relatives, and professional and personal contacts to “show love” to some of your tweets, I’ll never tell anyone.

Also it is good practice to return the favor. Don’t hesitate to retweet, favorite, or reply with words of support to tweets that you find inspirational. Follow Twitter users who post messages you agree with and admire.

And keep your Twitter messages positive. If you spread negativity and criticism, you can bet some of it will come back in your direction. If your Twitter account is positive and above reproach, even if someone does post negative things about you, they won’t stick.