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Small Business Lesson in Branding Principles©

H. Campbell ran a piece in the August issue of The Entrepreneur that you may have missed: “The 7 Tenets of Branding”.   The author states that by following his tenets “you can increase your odds of starting and maintaining a successful brand.”

Using a decaffienated tea as my sample product, I will attempt to provide examples and ask questions that should help you:

1. Simplicity – We are advised to do one thing and do it well.  For many small business owners, the problem is that they haven’t done their market research upfront. So the problem they are trying to solve and bring to market hasn’t been identified.  Q: Is there a market for decaffeinated tea?  The first thing the entrepreneur must understand is the competition and the comparable products.  You do market research and discover there are forty-seven brands from competitors offering decaffeinated tea.  Can you proceed?  Do you proceed?

2. Disruption - What is new and distinctive about your brand?  Is the uniqueness of your tea enough to make release of your product inroads into the marketplace significant enough to create a sustainable competitive advantage?  Let’s say your formulation of decaffeinated tea is unique in that it has no artificial additives.  Can you get that message to the consumer?  Does the consumer care or do they just want tea that doesn’t keep them awake at night.  Without a disruptive principal you will not succeed. 

3. Original Expression – Campbell states that your brand needs to capture a “bold statement and a compelling narrative”.  He went on to discuss how temporary tattoos are now offered for sale at J Crew and Urban Outfitters.  In my “tea” example, the entrepreneur MUST be successful in his or her messaging that your tea has the benefit of: (e.g. lowering cholesterol) and market your product as such to dieticians and clinics.

4. Big Ideas - “A groundbreaking idea that evokes emotion can generate brand loyalty in unexpected and lasting ways.” Have you considered offering a “tea party” for the dedication of a new park? (It worked well for Boston back in the day.) Have you considered offering tea at beverage stations for a mini-marathon?  People will remember your brand if you are able to remain in the public’s eye.

5. Symbolism – What thoughts do you evoke when thinking of your tea?  I was watching a movie over the weekend and one of the characters was in his company’s break room.  Behind him was a soft drink machine with “Pepsi” on its front.  Later there was a vehicle accident and hundreds of “Pepsi” cans fell off the “Pepsi” truck impeding the bad guys.  While I am not sure the “Pepsi” symbolism was successful, it caught my eye and remained in my memory for days now.  Would your tea remind viewers as well? 

6. Meaning – Root your brand in something meaningful.  Tell the story of your tea and of how women in third-world nations pick your tea for the betterment of themselves and their families.

7. Depth – Build your brand in a deep and emotive way.  Be transparent about your brand and your products’ purpose and go-to-market strategy.  Will lowering cholesterol of hundreds of those who have suffered recent heart attacks actually be of help?  Consider it.

The truth be told, branding is not simple.  You cannot put a Cracker Jack premium into your teas’ containers and expect to increase the volume of your sales.  Sponsoring a new playground will probably not gain you more than a handful of customers.  However, if you consider Campbell’s seven tenets, you could probably advance your brand, WHICH WILL in turn increase sales.  

For more information on small businesses, click here to subscribe to our series or contact us directly at info@imscloud.com.

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Great idea and so effective
I'm assuming everyone in our group is making videos to promote their business on YouTube, right? If so, here's a quick tip on 3 tools you should be using for research EVERY TIME you are about to make a new video. 
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