Brand Refresh–Time for a Makeover?

Is it time for a make over?

I’m in the middle of a “brand refresh!”  Since May, I’ve worked on a new demo video, a new logo, new pictures, and a new website.  The new website is just in the design mock-up phase, but to give you an idea of the change here is a screen shot of my current home page next to a new website mock-up:

Brand Refresh
So, why am I doing all this?

It’s an investment in my business.  I feel that making these changes will pay off in new business.
The new video has already paid for itself many times over, and those results encouraged me to make more changes.

In 2010, as I developed my initial marketing, I did the best with the resources I had at the time.  My logo was one I designed myself on PowerPoint.  My first pictures were taken at a neighborhood studio for $50.  I wore a jacket I had purchased for $3 at the Salvation Army. My husband recorded my demo video.

Is it time to up your game? Time to invest in yourself?

You don’t have to change everything all at once. And, your changes don’t all have to be business-related. My change catalyst was weight loss.  I lost 45 pounds last year and that gave me a boost in self-esteem in part because I looked better (and bought some new clothes!), but also because I achieved a goal.

You can have your own brand refresh.  Maybe you will have a life makeover.  Pick something and just get started!

How to Set Up a Facebook Page in 5 Minutes

Shortly after I learned how easy it was to use Jing to make a screen cast, a narrated video of my computer screen as I was doing something, I decided I would make a short video of the steps I took to set up a Facebook page for a book I just wrote.  In fewer than 5 minutes, you can have a Facebook page set up with basic information for your business, your organization, your cause, or even a book.  How to Set Up a Facebook Page in 5 Minutes (4:28)

Super Bowl Commercials: Storyselling

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl last night, but I did watch most of the commercials this morning (it took me more than an hour).

Some of my favorite commercials incorporated storytelling.  The marketers applied “storyselling” to their brands.

One key to storyselling, or to any engaging story, is that there is conflict.  Conflict makes the story interesting.

Here are a few examples of conflict in this year’s Super Bowl Commercials:

Man vs. Man: Doritos Sling Shot Baby

A young boy taunts his grandmother and baby brother with a bag of Doritos.  The boy smugly seems to think that his snacks are safe as he teases from a backyard play structure.  But, Granny has an idea and launches the baby in his baby jumper.  The baby sling shots toward his brother and snatches the bag of Doritos.  Granny and the baby triumphantly enjoy the Doritos.

The other clever Doritos commercial—the one with the dog bribing the man with a bag of Doritos is also a Man vs. Man (the dog is personified)

Man vs. Self (Man as personified by a dog) Volkswagen-The Dog Strikes Back

An overweight dog wants to chase a car, but can’t fit through the doggie door.  He is inspired to action and begins exercising—throwing balls down the stairs to play fetch with himself, running on a treadmill and in the yard, pulling weights and swimming.  He also exercises will power and doesn’t eat scraps that fall to the floor.  Over time he loses weight and is later able to jump through the doggie door and joyfully run alongside a red Volkswagen car.  Then, the commercial takes on a twist by cutting to a bar scene with Star Wars characters watching the commercial and comparing it to last year’s kid-dressed-like Darth Vader commercial, calling back the feel-good commercial from last year’s Super Bowl.  It’s like getting a 2-for-1 story!

Man vs. Nature (sort of):  Hyundai CPR

I remember when the Hyundai brand cars were first available in the US in the mid-80s.  People made jokes about them being called Hyundai because people would die from the embarrassment of owning such a cheap car.  Well, now apparently Hyundai can save lives.  In this year’s Super Bowl commercial, a man saves his boss’s life with quick thinking and clever driving.

Man vs. Society:  It’s Halftime America America—Chrysler/Clint Eastwood

This is more inspiring speech than story, but it is the Everyman Hero Story of overcoming adversity and coming back stronger than ever.  I admit it, I teared up a bit on this one.

Have there been commercials that stick in your mind because they told a story?

Do People Tell Your Business Story?

“I realized the importance of having a story today is what really separates companies.  People don’t just wear our shoes, they tell our story.” ~ Blake Mycoskie, CEO and “Chief Shoe Giver” of Toms Shoes.

Shoeless children in Argentina inspired Blake Mycoskie to start a company with compassion at its soul (or, perhaps “sole” in this case).  For every pair of shoes a customer purchases, the company gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need.  One for One.    More than a million children have received shoes.

It’s a great story that is spread in multiple ways, across various media:  traditional media as well as social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc).  It is a transmedia story that engages customers in multiple ways so that they are inspired not only to buy Toms shoes, but spread the story of Toms shoes.

Special events, such as TOMS One Day Without Shoes, allow people to become a part of the larger movement.  They become coauthors in the story.  Below is a video that promoted the  2011 One Day Without Shoes event  (The next event is April 5, 2012).  It makes me want to go barefoot!:

Does your product or service have a story that your customers or clients want to tell? Is it a story that makes your employees proud?  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a cause-related story.  It just needs to be a story of making a positive, significant difference in the world.

Here are some types of stories that get repeated:

Credibility stories—chiefly testimonials, or evidence that a product or service makes a significant difference.

Vision stories—Set the stage for a better tomorrow (great for new business or taking a business in a new direction).

Value stories—Show the integrity of the business and the people in it, especially in difficult situations.

Identify the story opportunities for your business.  Write them out—hone the content and structure so that they are compelling.  Collaborate with others, maybe even your customers on your stories.  Then, put them out there—on your website, in your social media, etc. and find ways to help people interact with those stories, to become a part of the story and, maybe even influence the story.

As Mycoskie says, “Every person who wears our shoes becomes a marketer of our shoes.”  They tell the story.

What’s your story?

What a Brand Idea!

Ahh. . .unstructured time to think, to dream, to write. . .gotta love these 4-day holidays!

I’ve had time to work on the homework (actually, work ahead!) for the Apprentice Program of the National Speakers Association-Minnesota Chapter.  http://www.nsa-mn.com/ipsd.php

One suggested activity was to answer 8 questions to determine key concepts that define your message.  The questions are from Meryl Runion’s Brand Aid:  http://www.speakstrong.com/articles/speak-strong/brand-aid.html

Answering these 8 questions made me dig deep into myself, what I value and what value I can provide.   I found it to be a worthwhile exercise that I will probably repeat from time to time as I refine my message.  If you want to focus in with laser-like power on your message, I highly recommend thoughtful consideration of the 8 questions!

Below are my answers to the questions (more guidance on each question is given at the above website):

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