If you want to learn some branding hacks, just watch what cereal companies and toy companies do when they market to kids. One of the ways that they can get kids hooked on products is through online games. Gamification is a very strong method of brand building. While branded games have been around for decades, online games are so easy to access nowadays that they’ve become invaluable in marketing products to kids.
The idea of fan clubs has been around for centuries. But, with online gaming, brands have taken them to a brand new level. It used to be the work of television commercials to make kids feel like they can’t live without a certain cereal, candy, or toy. But now, commercials can instead get kids to ask their parents to visit a brand’s web site and sign up to play some free games. Then, kids invite their friends to play, too.
Many of these online gaming fan clubs also allow kids to chat with their friends and even make new friends through their gaming platform. In fact, some of these brand fan clubs are so successful that paid memberships are sometimes even available. This is cheap advertising for brands and it gets a lot of exposure to young, pliable minds who can become loyal brand customers and advocates for life. Brands can even make a little extra money through this loyalty.
But, this sort of gamification isn’t just for marketing to kids. Really, any brands can create fun destinations for people of all ages. Making your brand synonymous with recreation can make it come alive in ways you may not have ever imagined. It’s possible to make just about any brand website be colorful and animated without being too cartoonish or overwhelming. Then, create content that people from anywhere will flock to and enjoy.
The same sort of “herd mentality” that cereal, candy, and toy brands have used to build brand loyalty in kids can work with just about anything. It’s actually a bit surprising that more brands, especially those that deal with ecommerce, haven’t gotten more creative in making their own online gaming experiences. However, many brands have created “members-only” areas like fan clubs with exclusive content. Amazon did this with Prime, offering a vast array of entertainment in addition to many other benefits such as two day shipping, all for a low monthly fee. But, it’s possible to go much further.
Basically, you don’t want your site to just be where someone goes to learn more about a product or buy something. You want your brand to have loyal fans that come back often to consume new content, play games, or both. Your brand should become a destination that people get excited about. Obviously, you want to tie the experience to your brands and services, too, but in a fun and creative way that doesn’t feel like you’re hard-selling to people.
Naming your brand is like naming a child. That brand name is how people will refer to what you do and sell. As your brand grows up, you want it to be a name to be proud of. You want that name linked with success, profitability, or both.
Your brand’s name is more important than any other part of branding. It's even more important than your actual products and services. A brand name is how the public recognizes you or your business. It’s what sets you apart from anyone else.
What’s in a Brand Name?
By having a catchy name, people will immediately recognize your brand. A good name allows customers or clients to be able to connect with your business on an emotional level. How you choose your name is actually fairly open. Some might say that your brand name should have something directly to do with your product or service. But you can also choose a name based on how it makes people feel or how memorable it is.
Whatever name you choose, you want it to be unique. You don’t want a name that’s too similar to another well-known brand. That may confuse people. Confusing people is definitely not a good way to do business.
What you want to do is have a name that people remember and that people instantly recognize. This is extremely important in advertising. It’s also important to building brand loyalty. If you have too generic a name, say “Bob’s Hobby Shop,” that’s not really going to get people that excited. It might work in a small town, perhaps. But in today’s global economy, if you’re looking to expand beyond your local downtown, you need something a lot catchier.
How Does a Good Brand Name Build Loyalty?
A good brand name will stick in consumers’ minds as an entity. You want your brand to be thought of as a real thing with its own spirit, values, and purpose. People can become extremely loyal to a brand. Just look at Coke. They are probably the best out there at building a brand. Their brand is so well-known and easily recognized that they can cross-brand and put their name on just about anything. If you choose a highly marketable name and build your brand well enough, you can put your brand name on just about anything, too.
Brand recognition also creates more loyal customers, as they come to think of your brand as they would a friend. More loyal customers mean higher revenues, and more importantly, more repeat business. For any business, repeat customers means your brand is doing well. It’s been found that it takes five times as much money to gain a new customer than retaining an existing customer. That’s why brand loyalty is so important; you don’t have to work as hard to keep the cash flowing.
Personal branding has become more important than ever. It matters in job hunting, freelancing, and building any sort of business – even a side-hustle! On the flip side, company brands are becoming more and more like people all the time. The social media accounts of brands you love – and brands you love to hate – have become their own personalities.
Sure, you still have celebrity endorsements. But more and more, people want to connect with people who are directly connected to a brand. You know, the people that actually work for the brand and build it from within.
This is where interviews can come in handy in bringing personality to a brand. Honestly, I don't think a lot of brands – and people – realize the true value of doing an interview. Not only is it essentially free exposure, but you put a face to your brand, a real person who is completely invested in what your brand stands for.
If you're trying to build your personal brand, building your reputation, and marketing your skills, doing an interview with a venue that has a decent audience can be invaluable. There are many kinds of interviews. They can be done on audio podcasts, in YouTube Videos or Facebook Live chats, or in text form on blogs. Whichever type or types work best for you is fine. They all are effective in their respective ways.
What an interview does is to bring new dimensions to your brand, whether it's your own personal brand (as an author or designer, for example) or to your business – or both, really. Obviously, you want to find an interviewer that asks the right questions. But even interviews with more general questions are fine, as long as you have good answers to give.
You may not think you're that great at giving an interview, but you're probably better than you think. After all, the whole point of an interview is to put you on the spot a bit. You're going to get some unexpected questions and how you answer them can go a long way towards giving people a good impression.
So the best thing about doing an interview? You don't really have to do the research. That's all on the interviewer to do. You just have to answer some questions. Being prepared is good, knowing the interviewer and all that. But your main job is to just be you and answer questions as honestly as you can – within reason, of course. The smarter your answers, the better you and your brand will look, of course.
Think of an interview as a conversation about your brand. Try not to stress about what questions are going to be asked. The whole idea is to come out from behind your brand and put yourself out there. That can be very difficult to do. But the rewards are well worth it. Not only do you get yourself and your brand out in front of new people, but you also bring personality to your brand and give it a face. People like to relate to people, and the more your brand becomes like a person, the more people will want to interact with it.
So, if you have a chance to do an interview, don't delay. The sooner you do it, the sooner you give your brand a new chance to grow!
Looking to build up your brand or give it a fresh start? Brand Shamans offers a FREE Brand Study, plus a FREE interview, to help you grow your brand!
"You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra
Oh, Yogi, of course, you can observe a lot just by watching!
The great Yogi Berra was an amazing baseball player and later a very good team manager and coach. He's also famous for saying a lot of things. Many of them, often known as "Yogi-isms" seem odd at face value, and many of which seem obvious. However, sometimes if you really think about these "Yogi-isms" you realize that there's more to it.
Observing Means Paying Attention to the Right Things
Actually, what Yogi Berra really meant is that you can learn a lot from observations if you pay attention to the right things. In baseball, as well as football and other sports, there are little things to watch for to give you a competitive advantage. You may have heard of "stealing signs." Indeed, cracking the code to your opponent's coaching signals certainly helps. It's a big deal in American football, too.
Just by watching the social pages, blogs, and other public channels of those companies who are in a related field as you, or even your direct competition, you can learn a lot. Seeing how people interact with other brands can tell you what they might be doing right, or not doing right. You can then adapt some of these things that are working for them to attract the same sort of engagement to your brand.
But beyond just taking cues from your competition, you can learn a lot by observing your own brand's interaction, as well. You can glean valuable insights into what you may or may not be doing correctly just by how people interact with you (or don't). Actually, if people aren't interacting, you may want to consider how you can get them to. In other words, how can what you're putting out there offer more value?
Watching How People Interact With Your Brand Can Give You Clues About What to Do Next
Watching how people interact with your brand should give you an idea if something should work or not work. Obviously, if something you post on your blog or website is getting more views than usual or more likes on social media, then you are doing something right.
Also, it also doesn't hurt to hint at things that you're trying. It's a sort of passive market research. Social media, in particular, is a great place to test out ideas before you commit to them.
But what if your brand is consistently getting no real engagement? What is there to watch, then?
You just have to watch the right things. If your website and/or blog is getting page views, that's something. If people are liking your page, that's something. Engagement isn't always super obvious. But, it's watching the less obvious things that can give you the most important information.
For example, say you have a blog post that consistently gets views when you share it om social media. It could also be a post that gets a lot of search traffic on its own. Obviously, people are attracted to that post. Creating social media content around that post, taking quotes from it, and making attractive images out of them, is one strategy. Sometimes, you can just reshare popular content that doesn't compete with your brand, but complements your brand's values.
The knowledge and insights you need to take your brand in the right direction are likely there already for you to see. You just have to take a step back and observe. Sometimes it's what's not being done by others, or done as well as you could do it, that you end up seeing.
The key to jumpstarting your brand may even already be right in front of you!
If you're looking for that one thing to take your brand to the next level, we can help! Check out our FREE Brand Study, FREE interview for new exposure, and our very affordable Brand Analysis.
Remember the time that Harley Davidson tried their hand at making bike soap? Yeah, that didn't go over so well.
It is very possible for a brand to do too much. Whether it's a personal brand, a company brand, or any kind of brand, people come to expect a certain image. A brand is meant to encapsulate the ideas, concepts, and values your brand stands for. When you step outside those bounds, your brand can take a serious hit.
Most Missteps Won't Kill Your Brand
While not every misstep will destroy your brand – and most won't – you do have to be careful. Whatever you do with your brand, you have to be consistent. If your brand goes and does something out of character, it's going to have a negative impact across your whole brand.
Yes, you can recover. Harley Davidson did, after making a lot of their hardcore fan base mad. And the product is still out there, but they no longer focus on it. So, you can backtrack and be fine. However, don't be the brand who did too much.
One thing that some brands do is try and take advantage of trends. While it's great if you do it right, plenty of brands make some weird choices. But usually, it's one ad campaign or one bad product launch, and you can go back to your brand's strengths and be fine.
But, then, brands take some really huge risks that don't make a lot of sense.
Taking Risks with Your Brand Purely to Take a Risk is Not So Bright
Take, for example, the "crunchless" Doritos for ladies. I'm not sure where that idea came from, and not only was it strange, but the way that they launched was actually kind of offensive. So what, chips are messy? Frito-Lay took a big hit from that.
They actually had an interesting idea, but they launched it very badly, and it came off all sexist. Also, "crunchless" chips is NOT something you would associate with DORITOS. It was just a really bad misstep. But you know what? They're a huge brand. They took a risk, but they'll bounce back.
Most brands, though, can't bounce back from a PR disaster like that. That sort of mistake can actually ruin a brand.
However, sometimes you still have to take risks with your brand, as long as that risk makes sense.
Do Everything You Can with Your Brand... Within Reason
I'd like to draw on a "brilliant" quote from Ashleigh Brilliant: "Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can "
While Ashleigh was not specifically talking about branding in this case, like people, brands can find themselves not doing as much as they can. As long as you are taking your brand in a positive direction, building on your brand's values, it's OK to take risks here and there. But never assume that you can survive taking massive risks that go against what your brand stands for.
So what if you don't want to ruin your brand? Create another brand. Yes, it's actually OK to create spin-off brands. Companies do it all the time, and sometimes the spin-offs even surpass the mothership brand.
Also, if the brand fails, the backlash is not going to be ANYWHERE near as bad as it could be. Sure, people may know your brand was associated with it. But people tend to forget the missteps by a lesser-established brand.
So what's the major take-away here? Make sure that you allow your brand to grow – and occasionally make mistakes – as long as your brand's mission is always clear in view. Advance the concepts, ideas, and values your brand has established.
When You Should Create a Spin-Off Brand
If you really want to create a new direction, build a new brand. It's more work, but the worst that can happen is that brand fails badly and goes away. More likely, you'll create a new brand that brings in a completely different dimension to your business.
Even though brands can appear completely separate to the general public, many companies own several different brands. Some bigger companies own dozens, or even hundreds, of brands. Why? Because if one brand fails, your business still has all those other brands to fall back on.
What if Harley created a new brand for their bike wash products? They could have saved themselves both PR headaches and lost sales. Yeah, Harley-Davidson would have been in the fine print in the commercials and on the bottles. But very few people actually read that. The PR impact may have been completely different. But the decision to use the brand to sell the product did NOT fit and the public responded by backing away from the brand.
And if Frito-Lay had introduced the "Ladychip" as a separate brand entirely, yeah, it would have been slammed. But the new Doritos Blaze chips, which are actually quite good, saved them this time. The Ladychip ad campaign could have ruined the Doritos brand entirely had they not introduced that other on-brand product (And Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones, weird as that Super Bowl ad was, didn't hurt.)
So Frito-Lay even knew they were taking a huge risk and took off some of the heat by releasing a solid product around the same time. PepsiCo also introduced a new Mountain Dew drink at the same time with a partnering ad with Morgan Freeman. Not sure how well that went over – it's not selling at my local supermarket, but the Blaze chips are!
Don't Be the Brand Who Did Too Much
The great news is, like Frito-Lay showed, you can bounce back by having a fallback plan whenever you take a risk. Always seek to build your brand, but don't be the brand who did too much.
Harley took a hit and Doritos took an even bigger one. Doritos just had a better comeback.
Don't make the same mistake. But if you do make a brand mistake, make sure it's a "good" mistake. Make sure it fits your brand's overall plan. Otherwise, you will cause some head-scratching, and potentially, lose business.
Not sure if your brand is not doing enough or may even be trying to do too much? Ask us about our FREE Brand Study!
"Dream big, dream clearly, put it in writing, and watch it happen!" - Lyn Lomasi
Everyone knows what that means. You want to have a grand vision for your brand. Something needs to be worth doing in order to bother investing in building a brand, after all! The bigger your dream, the easier it is to build around, as well.
But what does that mean? It means that when you have dreams, you need to not only have a grand idea, but a clear vision of that idea. You need to know exactly what you're trying to accomplish with your brand. If you're just guessing, so will everyone else who interacts with your brand. You need to have a clear idea of the steps it will take to bring your brand's dreams to life.
And how do you help yourself dream big, dream clearly, and take your brand to the next level?
Put it in writing.
We all know what a business plan is. But you have to have a branding plan, as well. Yes, a branding plan is a real thing that exists. Basically, a branding plan should exist to keep yourself and anyone else who works for your brand in sync.
When you're building a brand, there needs to be a unified vision. Putting that in writing is a constant reminder of what exactly that is. Also, you want to put in writing key issues surrounding what your brand is trying to accomplish. You also want to have some clear strategies and tactics defined for both yourself and anyone who works for your brand.
Basically, a branding plan keeps people on the same page while also serving as a starting point whenever you're looking to do something dealing with your brand.
Watch it happen!
No, your dreams won't come true overnight. Your brand can take many months and sometimes even years to establish itself. But, by having a big and clear dream and putting it in writing, you've already made something happen. Yes, words on a page are only a beginning, but they are a strong beginning.
Sometimes you'll find that you have ideas that conflict with your vision. And that's OK. The idea is to have the plan so that when you stray off course, you know where to come back to when it's time to regroup.
While your brand may take time to mature, as long as you stick to a solid plan built around a big and clear vision, you've at the very least set your brand on the right track!
If you're looking for help with building your branding plan, you'll want to check out our FREE Brand Study, FREE interview for new exposure, and affordable Brand Analysis service!
Take that next step. Don't worry if it's the wrong one. Step forward confidently and you will find yourself closer to success.
Sometimes we are afraid of taking that next step in life because we may worry that it's the wrong one. This happens all the time with brands, too. It can be too easy to become complacent and simply be "okay" with how things are. Both in life and with your brand, staying put is not the best way to go. Being sure that you and your brand are both growing is key to sustaining current success as well as setting up for future growth and success.
Is there something you could be doing but aren't due to fear of failure? Most steps we could make we simply don't because we feel it isn't worth the risk to do something new. Still, most missteps are only going to cost you a little time and perhaps a little money, nothing you will miss in the long term just for having tried.
Sometimes, we overestimate the risks because of the simple fact that there are so many unknowns with possibilities. So, we have to always assume some risks. But, when you really think about it, that new thing could change both you and your brand for the better.
And what if that next step fails? Chances are you'll recover from your venture without much real loss and have learned from the experience. A negative experience with your brand is just like a negative experience in your own life. Often you and your brand are both so interconnected that you'll feel the sting of failure twice. But it should make you try twice as hard to make another new step, not leave you feeling like you should retreat. You should both recover without much trouble. After all, what is success worth if it's easy when you fail?
But what if your next step succeeds and brings a new dimension to your brand? At the very least, if it doesn't fail, that step could at least give you a sense of accomplishment and keeps you and your brand on track.
Really, if it doesn't hurt you and your brand seriously, there is no reason not to try it. And yes, the best laid plans can backfire. But, as long as you understand the real impacts of risk weighed against potential rewards, you should be able to overcome your fears of making new steps forward.
And if the next step is a big one that could go seriously wrong, but you are sure it is the way you want to go, then just make that step. The worst thing you can do is stay put. Not doing something can hurt more than anything else because you won't learn anything and will have nothing to gain.
Fear should be seen as simply a need to ensure yourself that you know what's best in growing both yourself and your brand. Still, don't let it stop you, even if seems there is so much to lose. As long as that next step is made with growth and prosperity in mind, you should be sure to make it a good one!
Not sure what your brand's next step should be? Check out our FREE Brand Study!
The vibes your brand puts out there are important to your company's success and image. Is your brand representing its true purpose? Does what your brand puts out there truly align with what you envisioned for the company? Do you know your brand's true purpose or does it even have one yet?
Every Brand Needs A Purpose
Does your brand have a purpose? It should! Each brand's purpose is what helps people connect. If there's nothing behind it except a product, people will have a hard time understanding why they want or need it. Does your brand help people in some way? Does it have a unique meaning behind it? Make sure there is a purpose for doing whatever it is your brand or product does.
Your Brand's Purpose Needs To Be Obvious
Not only does your brand need a purpose, but it needs to be very obvious. For instance, if your brand's purpose is to spread the word about a specific cause, that should be evident in everything you do. Logos, blog posts, social media posts, ads, product labels, shipping packages, and anything else put out there by your brand needs to reflect that purpose.
What Vibes Is Your Brand Representing?
Are you sending out mixed messages or vibes? Does your brand truly represent what you want it to? Listen to your audience. Watch their reactions to what you do. Does it really reflect that purpose? If your brand is about healing, like ours, do all things put out by your brand reflect healing? Make sure that nothing puts out vibes that are the opposite of what you intended. If you've mistakenly done this, no worries! You can still fix it! That's what the Brand Shamans are for! We help heal brands.
If your brand needs help discovering its inner spirituality or purpose, let us know! We can help!
Many brands, communities, and other entities often forget about the connection that needs to happen with their audience and members. This connection is what keeps them interested and also is what keeps your brand or community authentic and focused on what it's all about. We call this brand or community spirituality. If you think about it, your brand or community is an entity that you and your audience or members are dedicated to. There is a spiritual bond. If not, there should be! We help you bring everything into focus surrounding the spirituality or inner connection of your brand or community. Once this happens, the rest falls into place quickly.
We Study Your Business And Help You Heal It From The Inside Out!
We'd love to know more about you, your business, and your goals. Drop us an email via the contact form (below) to give us an idea of who you are and what you need and we'll get back to you. If you don't have time to give us a life story, a few lines is fine. We'd love to explore your website for the rest! As a complementary test run, we'll even interview you for FREE to introduce you to our audience and publish the results on one of our popular channels (also FREE). This is one of the very first steps in helping heal your business, brand, or community and it's FREE, so you have nothing to lose.
Is This A Religious Service?
It's whatever you want or need it to be. We base our services on what you would like your brand to be and represent. Brand spirituality refers to your brand as an entity and in itself is not a faith-based service. This is a journey of discovery! You may be familiar with self-discovery. This is the same thing, but for your brand. Though, if you would like a certain faith implemented into your brand, we can help you with that, too! We are non-faith-based and open to helping with any beliefs or non-beliefs.
Analysis Of Your Brand Helps Discover Its Inner Spirit
Is your brand really doing all it can for you? Is it representing the values and ideals you want it to? What message is it sending? Is it one you agree with? Are you connected with your audience and staff? For a small fee, we can analyze your brand (this includes your website, social media accounts, and more). Brand refers to your product, book, or anything else that needs branding. The analysis will be personalized based on your brand's needs.
Your Brand Needs A Customized All-Inclusive Community Building & Engagement Plan
Once one of our Brand Healing Specialists (aka Brand Shamans) has done an analysis, we can outline what we feel will work best for you based on that research. This step is FREE and is where you will gain your FREE insight that is needed in order for us to take action. Actions may include things like email discussions on what your brand means to you, interactions via social media and/or your online community, content marketing that matches your brand, and more! This custom brand healing plan can help you find your brand's inner spirit and begin the healing process on your company's life path.
Why You Need To Take Action!
Once you have your analysis, it's in your hands to take action by having us kick your brand or community's spirituality into high gear. If there's not enough interaction going on around your community or brand, it's not connected properly. Let the Brand Shamans work together as a team with you and your audience to find your brand's inner spirit and strengths.
Watch Your Brand Or Community's Spirituality & Positive Interactions Improve!
When the connection has been found, watch how your brand or community's spirituality and positive interactions improve! Many companies and communities forget the connection part when it comes to engaging with their audience and members. We help you bring everything and everyone together to find a common ground and purpose surrounding your community or brand. Once this happens, the rest falls into place quickly.
Take Action Now! Get A Head Start On Your Brand's Healing Process Today!
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of Brand Shamans & the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, we are your brand healing, soul healing, & content superheroes to the rescue!
Running our network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is our top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, we conquer the world, living the RV life and managing our Intent-sive Nature with our awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels.
We also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, we’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
We support many causes via our business ventures, such as homelessness, support for trans youth, equality, helping starving artists, and more! A portion of all proceeds from Intent-sive Nature goes toward helping homeless pets in local shelters.
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