Marketing and Branding can be a Thousand Little Things – But It Goes Beyond That!

Filming my segment of Grow Your Business Cleveland marketing branding thousand
Filming my segment of Grow Your Business Cleveland

Often when I talk about making a difference with your marketing, it’s focused on the BIG PICTURE. Going after the right target market. Finding a strong compelling message that repeatable and memorable. Using cost effective media that helps to influences your target market. Or measuring your marketing efforts for the maximum sales impact.

Marketing and branding can be a thousand little things, all in support of the big picture. It can be the way you answer the phone, return calls promptly or smile when you shake someone’s hand. Or not. Failing to take care of the little things can impact the big things.

Often it is the little things that people remember. Kindness. Sincerity. Optimism. Actually, maybe those are the big things. Bigger than marketing.

Last spring I got to participate in a program that involved interns. We all know that internships can make all the difference in launching a career and I’m heartened when I see a good program in action.

I’m reminded of this again when I watched the recent recap of an internship experience of several Spring Interns that I had the opportunity to meet as part of a business professional series that I participated in for Grow Your Business Cleveland. Watching this video gave me the same optimistic feeling I had the day we worked on and filmed my portion of the video. Being around interns who are the beginning of their career is refreshing.

The interns made me feel relaxed and confident. They had great ideas for elaborating about different areas of my segment and I enjoyed working with them to create my tips. The video also reminded me that video plays in important role in telling your business story. It seems to bring the story to life much more than just a photo or the written word.

Video is just one of the thousand little things that contribute to the overall marketing program. But working with people who are kind, sincere and optimistic takes it over the top. Thanks for this experience!

Microsoft to Buy LinkedIn

Microsoft to buy LinkedInThe big news from a branding and marketing standpoint this morning is that Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for $26 Billion.

I think that the “Business Social Media” platform is about to have some major changes, even though the press release insists that everything will remain independent.

LinkedIn boasts 400 million members worldwide and MicroSoft is claiming mobile and cloud. Obviously LinkedIn has what Microsoft has wanted for a long time: a strong social media platform that is filled with business people around the world.

A joint company conference call today, at 8:45 a.m. Pacific Time/11:45 a.m. Eastern Time will be available via webcast at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor to find out more.

Finding the Right Color

When I worked in the toy industry (both at Hasbro and at Little Tikes) finding the right color of the toy was critical. And equally important was the communication between all the people who had a hand in bringing that product to market.

Beyond the designers, there were graphic designers, packaging printers, retail merchandisers, advertising executives, licensing partners (think cookie jars, sleeping bags and party favors), and countless others who need to know the actual color of a the product.

Getting it all to match on a package logo, a t-shirt, a ball cap – the color matters!

So how can you figure out what color you need to specify if you are working with an existing palette? Here’s a handy website tool from Pantone that will allow you or your designer to get a quick handle on the color you need.
right color finder pantone color finder

Some designers use the eyedropper technique. That works well for printed materials but it is helpful to have swatches that can be attached to the product when setting a standard and providing to a company who may be licensing your brand, logo or product for use with their product and brand.

Even if you aren’t a designer with an eyedropper tool on your software, you can install a tool in Google Chrome and to easily match a color on your website or another photo. This will work wonders when you’re having trouble finding the right color that matches your other marketing elements. You’ll have to use Google Chrome (not Firefox or Safari) as your browser to install this too.

color pick eyedropper tool

Instagram Launches a New Logo

the new instagram-logo-colorful icon 5_2016the old instagram-logo-iconInstagram announced a new logo recently.  I’m wondering where all marketers will be scrambling to make the adjustments.

Is it shown on any of your printed material? (Hope not!) Do you use a list of social media icons linked to your social media accounts on your website or blog?

If so, are you using the “latest” Instagram logo? Well, better click thru your websites to make sure you’re plugin’s and social media icons are up to date!

Click here for branding information from Instagram Brand Resources.

Here’s how they announced their refreshed logo a couple of days ago. This is how they described it:

Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form. You’ll also see updated icons for our other creative apps: Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse.

We’ve made improvements to how the Instagram app looks on the inside as well. The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app.

The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.

I’ve seen a few very short videos on Imgur that make fun of the changes… I guess there are always folks that love to make fun of any changes.  Here is the “official” video on an account called Instagram on Vimeo makes the change look a bit more complicated.

Instagram Launches a New Logo With Simple Icon over Rainbow Colors

And I believe that this post explains a lot of the thought process that went into the new logo.

Why is it Important to Have Good Press Releases?

Good press releases help to promote your organization's mission and provide informationGood press releases are the backbone of strong public relations. While some press releases are just self serving, there are many good reasons to have current press releases sent to the media, posted on your website and published out on the internet.

Good press releases:

  • Keeps your company top of mind
  • Helps prospective customers learn more about your company
  • Alerts potential employees that your business is growing/progressive
  • Recognizes employees or volunteers which contributes to keeping your company morale high
  • Serves as a documented history when you look back on where your business has come from
  • Helps internet search engines to find your website {USE WITH CAUTION!}
  • Helps to orients new employees to programs
  • Provides a “30 second commercial” in the ABOUT section of the press release

If you’ve never heard about a company before, you have no idea if they are honest, progress, short sighted, greedy, community minded, innovative, old fashioned, collaborative or interesting.

Some companies never make the news. That is okay except they are invisible. This makes it harder to persuade. Harder to sell to a new customer. Harder to attract a new employee.

Some companies only make the news when someone else writes about them. They are at the mercy of the writer to get it correct. To understand a sometimes complicated project, issue or program. Without any press release posted on your website, will the writer know who to call? If you don’t make it easy, many times a reporter who is short on time will only try a few ways and places to connect, before writing something like “the company did not return calls” or “there was no comment by press time.”

The reason I say “USE WITH CAUTION” about getting search engine optimization (SEO) from the press release is that many companies with unethical (or ill advised) public relations advice, flooded the internet with their press releases – in essence spamming the search engines with their promotional writing.

There is a big difference in getting your press release published on a trade journals’ website or a local news organization’s portal than there is just plastering it across the internet.  Duplicate content can be a red flag for black hat SEO attempts.

You may want to consider having a backgrounder page on your website for the press and media to learn more about who to contact. By including factual information about your company and links to old press releases, someone can quickly get up to speed about your company’s organization, products, services, and outlook to your industry.