5 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

In life, different is good. 

It’s about who we are and how we showcase ourselves to the world. 

In branding, it’s much the same. 

Although being different can be a challenge. 

Why?

We don’t want to clash with the norm. We want to be unique and memorable.

I came across an excellent article about brand differentiation and put together this quick presentation.

Let me know what you think!

Startup Development

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to break down the steps that were involved in developing a digital marketing startup agency. Now, I don’t have a formal background in business or marketing, so it’s taken me awhile to put all this information together. One thing I know about being a mostly abstract thinker is that, following a logical progression based on reasoning and detail is a lot easier than gathering data that is specific to a certain cause and effect. So, this is my attempt at quantifying and qualifying the work I did at VanWhistle Media. Note: I am no longer affiliated with the company. The reason why I left was that my creative vision did not align with the founder’s business style. The owner is always in charge – #winknudge! Jeremiads aside, I am now identifying with the title Creative Director because my work crosses over the walls of artistry into a very consummate dedication toward design and strategy.

If you have any feedback, I am all ears. Please reach out!

Duration: 6-month contract

Goal: To establish company through brand development and product awareness.

Outcome: Sizing market, understanding market potential and organizational design.

Milestones: 

  1. Startup Development (stages / discovery, strategy, implementation, mid-measurement *wider release required)
    • Concept & Research
    • Commitment & Traction
    • Software application – Pipedrive, Qwilr, Pomodoro, Canva, Basecamp, Ahrefs
  2. Sales & Marketing (stages / discovery, *heavy strategy, implementation, mid-measurement)
    • Working directly with company CEO
    • Development & Launch
    • Sales strategies and marketing approach – solution selling (action), insight selling (aim), prospecting methods and scripts, Letter of Engagement, Value-Based Price Sheets, Mom & Pop Store Spring Promo, Door to Door Mapping)
  3. Creative & Technical Writing (stages / discovery, strategy, implementation, early measurement *wider release and further market research required)
    • Strategic Development (responsible, transparent & accurate)
    • All creative and copy across multiple platforms
    • Campaign Creation – #ourlocalcrew (awareness/brand image), #targetaudience (definition), #thursdaytheory (attraction)
  4. Brand Development (stages / discovery, strategy, implementation *establishing workflow, process & guidelines)
    • Promote brand
    • Promote products/solutions
    • Buyer Persona and Market Research – Brand Concept Kit, VWM Complete Branding Package)
  5. Solution Development (stages / discovery, *heavy strategy, implementation, early measurement)
    • Website Revamp/Rebuild/Build (The Hub Concept)
    • 1st Meeting Form, Digital Marketing Plan, Value-Based Price Sheets
    • Media Kit, Digital Presence Business Model, Step by Step SEO Guide
  6. Content Creation (stages / discovery, strategy, early implementation)
    • Simpler & Larger, Passion & Efficiency, Seller & Buyer
    • The Hub Concept, Digital Collaboration
    • Digital Presence, Make Change Happen
  7. Art Direction (stages / discovery, strategy, implementation)
    • Communication style – branding, project documents
    • Design style – marketing & sales collateral, Media Kit, logos
    • Contract and proposal templates (100% original design and content)
  8. Project Management (stages / discovery, implementation, early measurement)
    • Coordination & Scope
    • Bottom-Up & Kanban
    • To promote and encourage incremental, logical change without triggering fear of change itself

Updating Brand Strategy

Hi everyone!

Brand strategy is my passion. What are you passionate about?

I compiled these images, which are re-designs (content has also been revised) of the original images in my post Brand Strategy and from the Recent Works – Direct Mail Proposal project I did in October. What do you think of the new design? It was inspired by mid-century modern graphic design. I did a whole series of work based on some images from a book titled, Mid-Century Modern Graphic Design by Theo Inglis. I will put together a #bloxbooks post about it soon. In the meantime, enjoy the work below. I am open to a discussion anytime, reach out!

Brand Strategy 1

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Brand Strategy 9

Brand Strategy

Hi gang!

I was excited about creating these designs. The work was produced using Canva and took about 30 hours (including printing and assembling) to complete. I left out the personal part of my proposal, but I hope you can derive a positive sentiment from the style + tone I chose to go after!

This portion of the proposal defines a brand strategy in three parts – the social media aspect (WHAT), art direction aspect (HOW) and digital specialty aspect (WHY). At best, these aspects are shared and applied to a project equanimously in order create a sweet spot, ‘the magic’ or WHERE and WHEN true potential can emerge.

This whole concept is derived from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Theory which purports that great organizations create their foundation by addressing WHY they exist, HOW they go about their mission, and then finally, WHAT they do.

In my model, social media is used as a product or service we sell, however this can be changed to web development, SEO, email marketing etc.

The HOW is the people who are involved in the project. It is what sets us apart from the competition. It is what makes us unique and indispensable.

Lastly, WHY is the ultimate outcome. Very few organizations know WHY they do what they do. Why is not about making money. That’s a result. Why is a purpose, cause or belief. It’s the very reason your organization exists.

In synergy, any set of core values can be realized. In my model, I value belief, faith, trust and love. As a brand strategist, my ultimate outcome paints a beautiful picture for both the seller and buyer. The PICTURE is the agency differentiating itself from competitors. WHERE and WHEN this occurs impacts results – profitability, scalability and customer experience.

Have a look at this brief slideshow and let me know what you think –

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Remember, there is always room for further or greater interpretation. This is the sweetness of advertising. Branding is the #1 method we can use to portray our message, whether that message be creative, technical or both, a brand is responsible for defining who we are and what we do!

Talk soon!

The Social Seller & Social Buyer

Hi gang!

Let me know what you think of this project!

In my next few posts, I will showcase elements extracted from a direct mail proposal I created about brand strategy. The images below are a continuation of my Seller & Buyer persona study (also see image description in Previous Projects) and comment on the social aspect of selling and buying in the marketing industry.

Here is a pertinent excerpt from another relatable post Brand Names

For example, we (Sellers & Buyers) make the same, dedicated connections when observing a special life experience. Then, this can be observed through products and services. We recall brand names and in the long-term, we remember who you are for what you can bring to the table. Then, the name you have chosen to attach to your products and/or services will become synonymous and eventually engrained in time.

The original document was printed on glossy cardstock and sized like a 10″ vinyl record cover. They were presented in a stack, so that the viewer could lay them out on a table and take in a visual and sensory experience.

I placed a variation of the BLOX rabbit mascot in the bottom right hand corner of the images, the seller mascot wearing the creative BLOX logo and the buyer mascot wearing the technical BLOX logo. I’ve just recently defined this aspect of my brand and have much more to explore regarding it in the future.

Here’s an interesting article you should read – Why people focus on the right-hand side of a design taken from creativebloq.com.

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Supporting Businesses Using Social Media Strategy – A Quick 5 Step Review

My work strategies always begin with my mission statement (or simple variations of it) – Simpler is Larger.

In other words, we must create work that is easy to understand, so that businesses can afford more time and apply more effort toward ‘larger’ things. 

Read this quick review on supporting businesses using social media strategy.

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1

When choosing clients, consider engaging with businesses that are focused on change or influence. Clients should be dedicated toward defining or refining their digital marketing plan.

  • An example of change could be increasing purchases of an item that has just entered the market and the business’ product list.
  • An example of influence could be supporting a new real estate development that gives back to Indigenous groups.

2

We should launch campaigns that matter to the community and foster promotions that persuade target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or issue”. Think objective and the answers to it. Will the audience (buyer) believe in what they see? Does it make sense? Does it make the business more approachable? Will the work and project parameters make us (seller) happy and productive?

  • An example of a campaign would be to recognize employees within a large organization. This matters because each employee plays a specific part in helping the company succeed. The employees represent community, because they live where they work and work where they live. Think local (global further down the line), sustainable, viable and profitable.
  • An example of a promotion would be to develop quick, one-minute videos showing customers a range of products and how they could be used at home. Imagine a household cleaning products line or sleek and modern furniture for the bedroom, then promote the best-selling features of the products in an environment where buyers dwell. Think top of mind, clear, fast and evergreen.
  • At the end of the campaign/promotion cycle, offer an appealing call to action like, “Our products are made with environmentally friendly, cruelty-free ingredients! Click here to see PROOF and we’ll send you a FREE antibacterial cloth!” Or, offer a discount on stale inventory like, “Receive a FREE eco-friendly table lamp with any purchase of a nightstand!” Think longevity, adaptability, convenience and action.

3

The next step is establishing or fine-tuning the objectives for presentation. We need to understand the business’ identity (more to do with the company itself) and image (more to do with their brand) to develop an effective expression of their work.

  • Some examples of identity aspects would be things like catch phrases (trendy sayings), slogans (company mottos), keywords (descriptions), tone (for example academic or casual), values, a mission statement and a vision. Identity aspects can be imbued in the work and are most likely to be effective in a post’s caption or ad copy.
  • Some examples of image aspects would be things like branded colour scheme (best to stick to one or two), a logo (optional), a tag (optional), branded typeface (best to stick to one or two) and style (for example, sleek and modern). Image aspects can change, it’s important to be flexible.

3

Next, true potential will be revealed via design elements, bringing everything together for the audience to capture. The best design elements to consider would be things like source (where is the content coming from – stock imagery or work from an artist), medium (what forms do they want to use – photography, graphic design, text-based, video etc.), composition (how will images be composed), pattern (what pattern will the posts follow) and grid utilization (applying creativity to posting layouts).

4

The main goal of a social media strategy is to achieve balance + harmony with the work itself and to find the ‘sweet spot’/the magic for HOW the work is done. You will know your goal has been met when 1 – both the Seller & Buyer are satisfied with the results; 2 – an efficient workflow has been put into place; and 3 – you have a good idea of HOW to put everything together for publishing. And with the right timing/scheduling and succinctly, yet artfully composed caption/copy, clients’ social media platforms will sing! Think always compete with the best.

5

Remember, if our work is easily understood and done, then the client’s business can consider a greater capacity (which in turn opens up new avenues for us!). Have metrics set up to evaluate the work. If businesses are wondering HOW to put together the required metadata (aspects and elements) / to successfully scale relevant data (the large scale attributes like brand image and company identity) / which in turn impacts the fluency and efficacy of their overarching campaigns and promotions / we can provide a concept kit in a simple and easy to read format.

If you’re enjoying this new listicle style I’ve been using lately, please let me know. I would be happy to produce more work this way.

Cool guys, have an amazing day!