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How To Expand Your Brand With Social Media

How To Expand Your Brand Wi...
Growing a fanbase for your brand is a powerful way to build your brand’s reputation and expand your potential audience beyond your current customers. This is both easier and harder to do than ever before, thanks to the rise of social media. It takes a lot of energy and dedication to real-time responsiveness to meet the demands of your customers as well as your expanded social audience.

Here are a few things to plan for before you start leveraging social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, for your business:

1) Set a goal and establish a strategy
Before you start posting on social media, make sure you have decided on a goal and have a strategy to back it up. Initial goals are often very simple, such as getting more fans for your page that share your content. The strategy you create to achieve that goal, as well as the goal itself, should be in keeping with your business’ brand and story.

2) Decide on a platform
Depending on your business, your customers and your resources, some social media networks will be a better fit for your business than others. For instance, a bridal shop might have better luck and reach more of its target consumers using Instagram and creating their own hashtag instead of posting articles on Linkedin.

3) Know your audience
Your customers, potential customers, and aspirational customers are the audience you want to have interest in your brand and your story. Find out what social networks your customers are actively using and expend your effort there.

4) Be genuine, and be prepared to deal with negative feedback
One of the biggest concerns most people have when getting started with social media for business is what to do when someone posts a negative comment. Our advice is always to avoid ignoring or hiding the negative feedback. Be prepared to respond with authenticity and professionalism where needed, and don’t delete or hide from someone who has something bad to say about your business or your posts. Dealing with negative feedback in a positive way can demonstrate what kind of business you run and gives your audience a better impression of you than denial or negative responses ever could. Showing that you take your customers’ feedback seriously can very easily turn a negative comment into a positive demonstration of your customer service skills.

5) Evaluate & repeat
Once you’ve been posting regularly for a bit, get into the habit of evaluating how your social media practices are performing. Are you growing your audience? Are they active, liking and sharing posts or commenting on your page? Do some times of day or types of post perform better than others? Analyze the reactions you see and the page insights and analytics data provided by your social network to determine what actions are worth repeating, and what are not working towards furthering your goals. Repeat as necessary until your goal is met, then create a new goal and do it all over again.

In all of your actions, adhere to the tenets of your brand and story. Growing a social media audience is much like growing anything else—it requires care and regular attention to reach its full potential and achieve your goals.
#pspinc #branding #blog

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Fluid Logo Design: An Easy Way To Engage Your Audience

Fluid Logo Design: An Easy W...
Have you noticed that Google updates their logo every day with a different theme? Changing out the logo with a new version themed to represent historic events, notable people and popular culture is a marketing tool used by Google to catch the attention of their users and engage them in repeat visits to the site to view the latest version. Done well, using alternate versions off your own logo that are relevant to a current event, place or occasion can be a useful way to change the overall look and feel of your website and engage with your own website viewers.

Much of the time, you update your website because you’ve been told that doing so regularly is good for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Realistically though, most of your websites’ human visitors don’t care about your SEO at all—they come to your website looking for information relative to their needs. While SEO is important to ensure that the website reaches new visitors, your company website’s primary purpose is to deliver information to your current and potential customers while serving them with content that will engage them and keep them coming back for repeat visits. Periodically updating site contents and the look and feel of your website can go a long way in helping build and maintain your repeat visitor traffic, which can develop into more and better leads.

Though it’s a risk to change up a well-established or trademarked logo with fluid design variants, it is a great way to keep your site looking current and your visitors engaged. It’s easy to get carried away with your SEO strategy and site updates and forget the original goals and objectives behind building and maintaining your site in the first place.

Creative, fluid logos are no the only way you can engage visitors for repeat traffic. Relevant content and up to date information is equally important, as it doesn’t matter how well the SEO is working if visitors land on the site and leave because the information or design is hopelessly out of date. One of the easy way to avoid the former is update content or add a blog post every time your product or service has an update or upgrade. You can share this with your customer and web visitor mailing lists through a newsletter that teases the details of your new articles and encourages recipients to click over and visit the site for more details. Unless a visitor is already monitoring your site for changes—highly unlikely!—they won’t have any way of knowing something is different until the next time they have an issue they think you can resolve. Reminding them that there is something new to see will encourage more repeat traffic.

Fluid logos are just one of the ways you can have fun with your site while actively engaging visitors. Have fun with your logo design and content, just make sure whatever updates you make are in keeping with the overall brand identity that makes your site an identifiable part of your company.
#pspinc #branding #blog

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Fun And Unexpected Trademarks

Fun And Unexpected Trademarks
In the last post, we talked about registering a trademark to officially claim your brand identity for your products and services. While trademarking your logo, message and product name is not required when creating and building your brand, a trademark can be useful if some other aspect of your brand becomes ingrained in the recognition of your product or service. The goal of registering a trademark is to firmly associate an element as being part of your brand.

Here are a few examples of familiar and significant trademarks:

Post-It notes are a product launched by 3M in 1977. A scientist was working on developing a super strong adhesive and accidentally created a reusable adhesive instead. This creation led to the development of “Press n’Peel”, the original name of the product that came to be known as Post-It. The original name and product did not perform well initially, but a few years later it was re-introduced under the Post-It® name and found its niche. 3M trademarked both the name and the signature yellow of the flagship notes, and went as far as suing Microsoft years later when Microsoft used the same color to create a computer version.

Apple has registered so many trademarks we don’t have space to list them. You can view a complete list here:

Apple owned “app store” while battling Amazon to use it. The lawsuit dragged on for two years before apple finally dropped the suit against Amazon and allowed them to use the term.

Whatever you choose to incorporate into your brand identity, when you create your website, you want to make sure your message is unique and identifiable. By refining your brand to the point where a trademark is useful, your product or service will be recognizable online or off.
#pspinc #branding #blog

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Do You Need To Register A Trademark?

Do You Need To Register A Tr...
Once you have established your brand, you might want to consider whether or not you want to trademark your logo, tagline or symbol. Trademarking not only lets you claim official ownership of your logo’s design or tag line wording, but more importantly, your brand’s legal identity.

Trademarking your brand identity is a statement of dedication to your established brand, and it does not have to be a tagline or logo. Examples of famous brands’ trademarks include the Nike swoosh, Tiffany & Co.’s Tiffany Blue, and TOMS’ “One For One®” messaging. Unique elements that identify your brand can be registered as your trademark.

How do you register a trademark?

It’s surprisingly affordable to obtain a trademark registration, costing only a few hundred dollars to register with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The cost will go up if you utilize legal services or advisors to facilitate the process, however the United States Patent and Trademark Office website has helpful videos under Trademark Basics that you might wish to view for more information.

There are different symbols used for different types of trademarks. Here are the common examples, with definitions from

• ™ (the "trademark symbol", which is the letters "TM" in superscript, for an unregistered trademark, a mark used to promote or brand goods)
• ℠ (which is the letters "SM" in superscript, for an unregistered service mark, a mark used to promote or brand services)
• ® (the letter "R" surrounded by a circle, for a registered trademark)

If you want to move forward with claiming your brand and registering a trademark, you will need to do so through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Unlike copyrights, trademarks do not expire, and there are many examples of long-standing trademarks in existence and active use today. Mercedes was first registered in 1900, and Pepsi in 1896. The identity you trademark will remain registered as long as you choose to keep renewing your registration.
#pspinc #branding #blog

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How To Tell Your Business' Story

How To Tell Your Business' S...
In our previous articles, we’ve talked about creating a message, determining the tone of voice and refining the look and feel of your logo design when developing your brand. However, all of these elements should tie in with the story behind your business. What is your story?

Strong brands tell clear stories through their name, messaging and logo. Your story is also helpful when you’re creating content for your social media and marketing platforms. Good stories can help engage new audiences and create fans for your business’ media, as well as help you grow your business without a lot of costly expenditures.

Here are some things to consider when writing the story of your business:

Why did you start your business?

Why should people choose your business over your competitors?

Where does your product come from?

Who is the team behind your product or service?

Does your product have a social impact?

Don’t make your story too long, as it’s not meant to be a blog post at this stage. You must develop a story that can be presented consistently with the same message and tone as the rest of your brand elements, and that you can present it in an entertaining or engaging way.

Ford Motor Company is a good example. The image and story of Heny Ford’s creation of the Model T and his development of the first affordable, mass-produced car in history and improvements to the assembly line is a genuinely interesting and impactful story to tell.

Another example is TOMS, a shoe brand. Their story is the “One For One®” idea of giving a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair they sell to a consumer. It’s a great story and message that they went as far as registering a trademark for the “One For One” phrase.

What will your story be?
#pspinc #branding #blog

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What Makes Your Best Brand?

What Makes Your Best Brand?
We’ve talked about how to get started defining your message and tone of voice to build you brand, whether your business is small or large. As a business owner, you need to define your brand, because if you do not, your customers will define it for themselves. You should be the one driving the decisions that go into your brand and your business.

So what’s next?

Another important piece of your branding is your logo. Logos, with or without text or the name of the business, can convey a lasting and strong impression to potential customers. As with your message, keep it simple, and make sure it reflects the image and tone you wish to use.

For example, using a heavy font, such as a bold Arial, can give more weight to the feel than something like Times New Roman, which can convey a softer, classic feel. Choosing upper case, lower case or a mix can also affect the tone of your logo.

Not all logos need or include text. A simple image could represent your company and reflect your message. An example of this kind of logo is Shell Gasoline. In earlier versions, the logo included the name of the company, but today it has been reduced to the shell image alone. When we see this image, we immediately know it’s a gas station, which shows how well branded the image has become. Volkswagen is another—it is simply the initials VW, but we all know who the logo belongs to and what the initials stand for. It does not need to spell out the whole word.

One of the last things to consider is color. What color or colors are incorporated in your company brand? Colors often have associations to things in nature, such as red standing in for a frame and blue for sky. Color can drastically affect our perception of the things around us, and you want to make sure the colors you have chosen reflect you.

Once you have defined the brand message in your logo, you will want to make sure that you are consistent in using it in your website. Images, fonts and colors will leave a deep impression of who you are and your brand message to the visitors of your website. If you aren’t creative or lack a designer within your company, you can always hire a graphic designer or web designer to create the visuals for your logo and website as long as you have worked out your message and tone.
#pspinc #branding #blog

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5 Quick Tips To Define Your Brand

5 Quick Tips To Define Your ...
In our last post, we covered getting started building your brand. Today, we’ll go over some tips to help you figure out where to start and what your message will be. This is an important element of your branding, and will help guide you as you work on your brand and create your website content as you establish your tone. This can help you refine your site’s messaging and organically incorporate keywords into your content—this is key to a successful site with more than just a shiny facade, as well as a successful branding effort.

1) What are the characteristics of your business?
Who do you want to be as a business? Defining the characteristics of your business will give you bullet points to determine how you want to be perceived.

2) What tone of voice do you want to project?
Once you’ve established your characteristics, it’s time to move on to what you want people to think of you. The tone of voice you take can appeal to different audiences. How do you want to say what you have to say?

3) When and where do you want to be heard or seen?
Messages can be received in different settings, and you want your message to show up at the right time and in the right place. For example, if you are a wedding coordinator, you would want to be easily noticed by recently engaged couples, and project an image of yourself as an expert with lots of ideas.

4) Define your message.
How can you define your message to achieve your business’s goals? Put yourself in the mindset of a potential customer and see what makes your message clear and meaningful. Sometimes hiring a professional marketer can help with this step if you get stuck or need help refining your phrasing.

5) Review results
Once your brand and message are defined, make sure to incorporate it into your web and social media presence. You will want to reiterate your message over and over so that it becomes what people associate with your company or product. It’s important to review your message and track its performance to make sure that the tone you’ve taken and the message you’re spreading are returning results. If it does not, then it’s time to re-evaluate, refine your message and update your content.

While building your brand and spreading it to the audience outside of your business is important, make sure that you also reflect your message to your own staff. If your team does not communicate within the standards of your brand, message and tone of voice, it might come off as disingenuous or inconsistent with your company’s projected image. This could mean updating customer service scripts and your mission statement, along with routine training to make sure your team shares and expresses the values put forth by your brand. Without these small changes, you will not be able to build and deliver on the message of your brand, online or off.
#pspinc #branding #blog

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How Do You Get Started With Branding Your Business

How Do You Get Started With ...
Branding permeates the world we live in. You hear a company or product name, such as Ford or Toyota, and an associated phrase or feeling comes to mind. Ford has built a reputation around “Built Ford Tough” and Toyota may call to mind “Let’s Go Places.” Other names, such as Porsche, bring to mind things like sleek design and fast cars.

No matter what the company or product, there is a first and lasting impression to be made, and it becomes the first thing that people think of when they hear the name. This is branding. Many people try to come up with a memorable tag line for their company, but a brand does not have to involve a tag line. A brand is the image and perception every business and organization projects.

How do you build a brand?

Big companies can spend millions building their brand and message. Even if you don’t have a big company budget, you can always start building your brand and crafting your company’s perception.

One of the most important parts of building or maintaining your brand is having a consistent message, so the first thing you’ll need to do is define that message.

A brand message can be a simple phrase. For example, PSPinc provides a set of online business tool and services, so we updated our site with the message, “Your business, online — Running a business can be challenging and there ’s little time to plan for the future. PSPinc makes it easy for businesses like yours to get online and be successful.” So our message shows that we are building our brand around serving businesses online services.

Once you have defined your message, you will need to set the tone of your message to reinforce the image you wish to project.

Coke is a good example of this. Diet Coke and Coke Zero are very similar products and are good for those avoiding sugar, yet Diet Coke emphasizes the “diet” part of the product reputation and Coke Zero tries to project a more “cool” and “masculine” impression. The differences in message and perception can appeal to different market segments and persuade different audiences to make a purchase.

It’s important to have a message, but it’s also important to set a proper tone and perception of that message for a successful brand. Carrying this over into your online content is key, as this can help define your brand as well as persuade potential clients to contact you or make a purchase.
#pspinc #branding #blog

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IOT Solutions Coming Soon To Your Home And Office

IOT Solutions Coming Soon To ...
What IOT technologies and devices will you be seeing on the market, and possibly be adopting yourself for your home or office? What creative solutions are being tested and marketed by the leaders in the tech industry?

Every January, these questions and more are answered in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a trade show put on by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). CES is a showcase for the latest and greatest technology products and services. Many companies use the show to announce and demonstrate their upcoming products and concepts.

IOT advances are being made in many different areas of home and business technology. Here are a few examples from CES 2016. Do you think you'll adopt any of these new products? How do you think this technology could address problems your clients come to you to solve?

#pspinc #dreamersi #IoT #blog

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Amazon: An IoT Case Study, Part 2

Amazon: An IoT Case Study, P...
In the last post, we talked about Amazon’s use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and devices to grow their reach and serve their huge customer base. For many reasons, Amazon’s strength is in their customer data.

According to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, there were approximately 54 million Amazon Prime members as of early 2016. The study concludes that Amazon Prime members make up about 47% of the people who shop on the site.

Aside from their customer data, Amazon also has extensive knowledge and information on shipping, warehousing, advertising, etc. Companies like Google can do things like track online behavior and collect data well, but Amazon has set itself apart in that they already have a platform to sell the things they advertise directly to the consumer. Their network is worth all that much more.

How can this help in the future? With Amazon’s know-how and smart IoT strategy, the company has many options in terms of future growth.

To begin with, Amazon has already made inroads into the shipping business, sometimes using their own planes to ship products between high traffic areas instead of using courier services. They also utilize robots in their warehouses and with their warehousing knowledge could integrate things like that to things like connected cars. Tying these technologies together with their customer data could allow for things to operate even more seamlessly in the future, such as being subscribed to blood glucose test strip refills with the touch of a button when ordering a glucose monitor. The possibilities are nearly endless.

For small businesses, the first step they need to take as they wade into IoT is to identify what IoT ecosystem they are in and find how and with whom to create partnerships with. An effective IoT strategy could be the key to long-term survival going forward for many companies in this day and age.
#pspinc #dreamersi #IoT #blog

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