Author Archives: ssbsllc2015

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Branded-SMS

Creating a Brand Name and Logo to Market Your Business

By Demetrius O. Williams

When starting a business or nonprofit organization, the creation of a good brand name and logo are crucial elements to the potential success of a business. The brand name and logo identifies the service or product your business will provide. They are also one of the very first things your potential client or customer will see. This is why it is necessary to be meticulous about coming up with the perfect brand name and logo for your business. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but this selection process requires careful consideration of what you ultimately want your company to be known for. After all, the brand name, along with the logo, sums up everything your business represents symbolically. Let us start out by discussing a few essential things to keep in mind when you decide on your brand name.

What’s Your Story?

First, let us start out by thinking about your story. Why are you starting this business? What drives you? What are you passionate about? These are just a few questions to keep in mind. Your brand name could potentially spark conversations or a discussion that can lead to you telling your inspirational story. All of these things lead to more customers relating to your business and ultimately spreading your story through word of mouth.
For example, a young lady decides to name her photography business “Creating Memories.” Right away the name of the business signifies that she works to create memories through photography. The inspiration behind this business is the countless number of photos she took of her family throughout their lifetime that has created great memories. Her dedication and passion for her family could ultimately persuade a wavering customer to come her way because of similar passions. Imagine if she named the business “Simply Photos,” would customers have a similar reaction? Even though the name of the business does not include photography it is creating interest and it stands out amongst other photography businesses. She does not just take pictures, she creates memories.

Keep Logo in Mind

Next, for some companies, the brand name is the logo. According to Webster’s dictionary a logo is a symbol that is used to identify a company and that appears on its products. A logo is essentially the first thing a potential customer will see from your company. There is no one-way to create a logo, it could be a special font type, for others it is an image or symbol. When creating the logo you should also keep the brand name in mind. You want to make sure people can identify the logo with the brand name. The brand “Nike,” for instance, has a pretty straightforward logo in the shape of a check mark. This makes it simple for people to recall the business. Why? Instead of relying on solely the brand name, they are now also able to store the visual memory of the brand by associating it with the logo. Ultimately, the logo is an image that you want logged in your customers long-term memory.

Simplicity

Next, keep it simple! A customer’s ability to pronounce your brand name goes a long way in their ability to spread the good news through word of mouth. Resist changing the spelling of common words in an effort to be creative. You want to make it easy for customers to find your business online and in directories. For example, although “Saucony” has become an effective brand name for athletic shoe apparel, it probably had some pronunciation issues when it first existed. People might have mistaken the pronunciation with the incorrect spelling. The company may have lost a significant portion of their potential customers just because these people could not correctly spell the brand name. So when it comes to ensuring that your brand can be remembered accurately, simplicity could be the best policy.

Distinctiveness

Although simplicity is the best policy, you do want your brand name to stand out in a crowd, especially from other names in its category. Brand names need to be memorable in order to create a buzz and generate an interest. It would be best to do some research on potential competitor’s brand names. This will assist in your process of creating a name that is equally good, but different. In other words, your brand name should stand out from the crowd of your closest competitors. A potential customer will most likely select a company that catches their initial attention.

Likability

Additionally, make sure people like the brand name. This may seem simple, but this is often overlooked. Conduct small surveys; ask friends, family and colleagues. The more feedback you receive the better chance you have at creating a brand name that is likeable.

Internet Ready

Lastly, after deeming your brand name simple, distinct and likeable you have to next insure that it is ready for the internet. With the internet being a congested yet essential tool to market your business, it is imperative that your brand name stands up to the challenge. It is vital that you keep in mind your website, various social media outlets, and your company email:

  • Website
    Having a brand name that could be easily conformed to your web address could improve your chances of getting more traffic to your website. This is why it is key you choose a brand name that people could easily remember rather than something complex and meaningless. This will help when potential customers look for your business in search engines. Even if your company name consists of multiple words, creating a memorable acronym for the domain name is something you should keep in mind. Consider your business name being “National Home Experts of America” having a web address such as nationalhomesexpertsofamerica.com could potentially be difficult for consumers to find online. Changing to homeexperts.com could be easier and more memorable.
  • Social Media
    With Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms playing a huge role in the marketing success of businesses nowadays, it is important you do your due diligence. Make certain you check each social media site for pages with the same name. This will ensure there is no confusion of your brand and will easily allow people to find your business and gather more information.
  • Email Address
    Another thing you should consider when selecting your brand name is your company’s email. Your email address will most likely resemble your brand name; so keep this in mind when you want your customers to use your email address as a way to communicate. For example “National Home Experts of America,” utilizing an email such as nationalhomeexpertsofamerica@hotmail.com could be complicated and confusing for customers. Thinking in the mindset of a consumer can help in creating consistency and simplicity.

In conclusion, this process can be overwhelming at first, however; by utilizing the strategies of simplicity, distinctiveness, likeability and keeping in mind your story and logo, it should produce a rewarding outcome. The goal of this article is to empower you to think strategically in order to create a quality brand name and logo, which will ultimately enhance your overall company brand.

 

Sources:
How to Choose a Great Brand Name
http://www.marketingmo.com/creative-brand-development/how-to-choose-a-great-brand-name/
5 Tips to Better Brand Name
http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/better-brand-name-tips/
Logo Definition
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/logo


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What's Your Story

The Art of Storytelling for Brand Marketing: Connecting Your Brand to Your Story

By Valerie C. Smart

Just hearing the word “brand” makes me think of the organization Coca-Cola. Its “brand” is one that is quite recognizable across the world. The Coca-Cola white sort of fancy lettering embossed on a red background. Wait? Is it their “brand” that is recognizable or is it their “brand name?” We have to discuss the differences in both before we move forward.

Brand or Brand Name

The online dictionary definition of “brand” is the name given to a product or service from a specific source.  Used in this sense, “brand” is similar to the current meaning of the word “trademark,” any word, name, symbol, or design, or any combination thereof, used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from those of another and to indicate the source of the goods.

However, a brand has more significance than just its trademark or logo. It is the history and story behind the “brand” that reveals and shares the essence of the product, which creates an opinion about it. Scott Bedbury, the CEO of Brandstream, says it best, “A brand is a story that is always being told.” A story tends to resonate with us on a deeper emotional level and humanizes us to help form connections. Henceforth, from this point on, we will be talking about the brand and not the “brand name.”

Consequently, how do we create a brand that has a story always being told? First, we need to know the story we are trying to tell. Consider, why your brand is so important to the world or the audience that is being targeted? What is the over arching theme that drives this product or service and ultimately shares its history? Does your story solve a problem? Is your story a reason for action, a special event, your history or future, a strategic or learning story or simply an “I’m like you” story? Whatever the theme, your story will be unique to you, your brand, and the experience you are trying to create.

Next, we need to understand how to tell our story. It is reasonable to say that we want the story to be “good.” In order for it to be good, we need to know our audience and tailor the story to them. If you were branding a story about your triumph to cooking that led to the discovery of a baked good unlike any other then your audience would probably be people who love to cook and love baked goods. Also, you need to make sure your story is authentic and true. People resonate with real truth not propaganda or fiction? The people that are going to buy your product or service need to relate to a real story. Just as important as the truth is, keeping your story simple is also important too. I think it is a human reaction to want to make our story EPIC and BIG! But many times it is the simple and sweet story that captures our hearts, so KISS (keep it simple and sweet).

Components of a Story

Lastly, we need to understand the components of a story that will help us to better capture and intrigue our audience, so they buy in to what you are selling or promoting. In every story there are five main parts: the Character, Conflict, Journey, Cliffhanger and Resolution. First, let us take a look at the Character. The characters in a story usually always follow these same traits—the Hero, the Maverick, and the Sherlock.

The Hero of the story is always given a challenge. The challenge is usually rejected at first because at times it is human to not to want to take on a challenge. But, the Hero soon determines that the challenge is what sets him or her apart from everyone else and then the   challenge is accepted. Next, is the Maverick. The Maverick of a story wants to change the world. These are the dreamers and the difference makers and even the rule breakers who are not afraid to “ruffle the feathers” for change. After the Maverick, we have the Sherlock character of the story. The Sherlock is the problem-solver. For every problem there is a solution. This character is persistent and willing to look at problems as challenges needed to restore faith in humanity. Consider what character trait(s) you or your business might have that will help you to brand your identity.

The second part of a story is the Conflict. The conflicts are the issues and possibly threats that challenge you. Yet, also consider conflict to be an open door to opportunities. What opportunity is awaiting you that will bring about a change? This opportunity is the reason for your “brand story.”

The third part of a story is the Journey. The journey is the part in the story that has all the details and content. This is where you will discuss the obstacles, adversity, or massive struggles in greater detail and where you will captivate your audience by speaking to their emotions.

The fourth part of a story is the Cliffhanger. The cliffhanger is the peak of the story and can also be the most compelling part of your “brand story” that drives your overarching goal—why you exist. Even though things might seem insurmountable, there is an inner drive or strength that will help to change the course of the future for the better.

Lastly, we have the Resolution. Each part of the story has built up to this stage. This is the transformation stage where the character—you, your company or even a group—know you have the means and desire to make a great impact with your brand.

As you piece your story together, remember that it is not a long-winded six-paragraph essay about your company or a blog post. Your “brand story” should connect people to the “why your company came to be” or “how your product or service came to be.” Even deeper, your brand story can take a look into you as a company.

In summary, stories are what people remember. Even if people forget the brand name, it is rare that they forget the story and how it made them feel. Coca-Cola has reached millions of people not just because it sells great soda but through its brand marketing it sells reminders of “good times and warm feelings.”

Keep an eye out for our next article that will discuss taking your brand story and creating a brand name for forming and marketing your business!

Sources:

Coca-Cola: The Real Story Behind the Real Thing,

Ethos 3: Storytelling 101. 2015.
www.ethos3.com

Torren, Adam. Storytelling could bring your brand to life and strengthen your marketing impact. 2015. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241725


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Working Backwards to Solve Problems

Imagine where you want to be someday. Now, how did you get there? Retrograde analysis is a style of problem solving where you work backwards from the end game you want. It can help you win at chess — or solve a problem in real life. At TEDYouth 2012, chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley delves into his favorite strategy.

Video:

http://youtu.be/v34NqCbAA1c

 


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A Vision without a Plan is just a DREAM

Many would agree, that without vision, a plan has no meaning and that could be true because vision defines the optimal desired future state – the mental picture – of what an individual or organization wants to achieve over time. Vision also provides guidance and inspiration as to what an organization is focused on achieving in five, ten, or more years. So, with such a long-range focus, why wouldn’t someone with a vision then create a plan?

Stay tuned… because the answer will amaze you!!

~Valerie C. Smart


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Capturing a Stand That Starts With a Plan

After a long day of planning and strategizing, I literally walked out of my office in search of a story on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. So often, I find myself –this strategic thinker–always trying to solve my client’s problems…Well, of course, that’s what they pay me to do. Yet, it can, at times, leave me drained and pushing aside my creativity that makes me who I am.  Now, I do realize that my creative juices are flowing even when I am critically thinking and planning but it is just a different type of creativity. My search for a story was to just use my artistic background in digital media for a purpose beyond strategy.

           As I went out into the community with my camera a.k.a. (lens) by my side, I was led to my old stomping grounds in the Buckeye community where I grew up.  It always amazes me to see how the community has been enhanced with brand new schools, businesses, and health clinics. Well, it would seem that my lens was intrigued by the enhancements too, and we began to document the beauty of the community. After capturing the sun as it was beginning to set over the lines and edges of the new Harvey Rice Elementary School, we drove to the community park near the Buckeye-Shaker Community Development Corporation. To our surprise, there was a community safety meeting in progress that already started to tantalize us with intrigue!

           I could see my lens with its hungry eyes just waiting to snap and capture every moment. But, I knew we were there for a purpose beyond just taking pictures. Looking for the pivotal moments of emotion and the thirst for change, we waited. Unable to wait any longer, we captured the cries for help to take a stand and to my surprise…even the creation of a plan.

           I could not believe it. Even though I was there capturing this monumental story, all I kept hearing was the need to have a plan. The most prolific statement made by a resident was, “I am not marching anymore. I am not getting in anybody’s parade or anything and march for peace. When you [the police commander] get down to the table and you start making plans on how we can actively get rid of this ‘crud…’ Call me; I’ll be the first one at the table making those plans […]. The time for marching is over!” I was blown away. The very thing I was running from was right in my face–Planning.

           If you do not see it now, there is a moral to this story:

           No matter where you are in life, strategic planning is always the crucial piece that fits everything together.  ~Valerie C. Smart

           It is obvious that I cannot escape being a strategist because even in the midst of just hangin’ out with my lens; I was in the midst of a strategic plan. Some might say that I was in the right place at the right time…but I say that I was led there as a reminder to embrace who I am –my grassroots, my artistic expression, and my strategic mind.  

           Take a look at the video Cleveland Ward 4: Taking Back Our Streets that documents a community who has the willingness to take a stand but also knows there needs to be a plan.

           I look forward to the next story on this adventure called life because I know there will be a plan…