Tags: branding

What You Need to Know About Creating a Brand Story

What You Need to Know About Creating a Brand Story

Practical Marketer • June 5, 2017

Once upon a time… It’s the start of every great story, right? Each business has an origin story of its own. A reason why a business was started and what solution they sought out to fix for people. We all understand the trials and tribulations businesses face as they grow and evolve. Companies learn from successes and failures and their stories either become a testimony of success … or a cautionary tale. Every business faces competition in their market. A good story can help a company stand tall as customers latch onto it and become a part of the storytelling itself. But what makes a good brand story? What makes your story interesting. More importantly, how can you create a brand story that makes customers trust in you and what you are doing? Brand Stories on Display If you’re like us, you’ve watched more than a few episodes of Shark Tank. Time and time again, businesses get deals because the Sharks bought into the brand story that they are telling as much as the product which they are selling (if not more). Companies who assume a social responsibility are more investible to the Sharks, because they know that it makes a consumer more likely to support a brand. A great brand story also lends itself to more shareable content on social media. When customers buy into your brand story, they become brand advocates. Think about a company story which you have bought into. What worked? TOMS One for One One of the most successful recent examples of creating a brand story is TOMS One for One approach to business. For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. Additionally, when you buy a pair of eyewear, TOMS will help to restore sight to an individual in need. “It’s different from traditional marketing because we’re not just a shoe company, a sunglasses or a fashion company, or a coffee company. We’re not just selling — we’re also a movement.” – Zita Cassizzi, TOMS’ Chief Digital Officer Think about it. There is no shortage of options out there when you need a new pair of shoes. The brand story of TOMS helps the consumer feel something when they buy new shoes. From Visually. Bombas Warms Feet and Hearts A Shark Tank success story, Bombas donates one pair of socks for every one pair purchased. Their founders learned that socks were the most requested item at homeless shelters. So, Bombas works with shelters, non-profits, charities, and individuals dedicated to helping the homeless, in-need, or at-risk communities. On the strength of their brand story, Bombas sold $400,000 worth of socks in just four days after their Shark Tank appearance! That’s so many socks donated. R.Riveter Offers Pride in Storytelling Not every business needs a donation model to succeed with a brand story. There are other causes that people will rally behind. R.Riveter employs military spouses to handcraft handbags and accessories. They bring together a community and create a connection between their products and customers. Their concept was proven even before R.Riveter hit Shark Tank. They raised $42,000 in a successful Kickstarter campaign first. In early 2017, co-founder Lisa Bradley revealed the company had grown 600% since airing on Shark Tank. It’s hard to deny the power of a brand story when you see the success stories at every level of R.Riveter. How To Create Your Own Brand Story There are several steps a business must take to establish a brand story that holds any merit. All of these elements add up to earn trust and lend authenticity to your brand story. Infuse Your Story with Personality Your marketing materials should speak with the same tone as the individuals who collectively make up your corporate culture. If the individuals who make up your company buy into that story, the customers will too. People like what others are passionate about. We talked about this with our friends at Tom’s of Maine on the Heart of Business podcast. Keep It Simple, Stupid A mantra for myself when it comes to copywriting. Simplicity is important when it comes to establishing a brand story. Achieving simplicity is as simple as remembering the basic elements of any good story. A beginning, middle and end. Beginning: This is the reason you went into business. That problem that you knew you could fix. The Why you’re in business. Middle: Not just the products or services you offer to solve the problem, but also the way in which your business operates. End: Your brand story will speak for itself when it’s a good one. You’ll be proud to boast your successes and your customers will be too. TOMS founder and CEO, Blake Mycoskie, often speaks about the simplicity to their One for One brand story. “My prior businesses really showed me how important it is to keep it simple,” says Mycoskie. “Some of the businesses that weren’t really successful in my earlier days were because they were too complex and required too much dependence on having a big customer to be successful.” Why Are You Here? In the example above, Bombas didn’t just set out to reinvent your socks drawer. They saw the success that Toms had with the One for One model and wanted to do something similar for the homeless community. Bombas managed to get people excited about socks with a great brand story. The punchline to every bad gift joke itself, socks, became something people were happy to buy into. That’s why you need a reason for existence that extends past making money. The Results When you can achieve these elements within your brand story, you will reap the rewards. As we all know, every good story has a great ending. It’s a third act that both your brand and your customers will enjoy. This is what you can look forward to: Customers who connect with your story. This is achieved when you speak to them in a way that says we are on your side, we get what you need, because we are just like you. Customers that buy into your brand … and the products or services you sell. When you have a great brand story, your customers are buying into that with each purchase. Customers that are brand advocates. They will share your story on social media and boast their association to your brand. It’s some of the best word-of-mouth marketing that you can achieve Let’s all work to build our happily ever afters. Share Your Story Do you have experience with creating a brand story? Share your tips and lessons in the comments. We want to hear from you!


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The Freedom of Personal Branding for the Good of the Company

The Freedom of Personal Branding for the Good of the Company

Beyond • February 21, 2017

Personal branding is something that you might have seen more of in recent times as a result of a brand’s increased digital media presence, but it’s an idea that’s been around for a lot longer than that. You might remember Dear Abby, a newspaper advice column from back in the day. In many ways, that was the first instance of personal branding – and it was widely successful. Today, I find many companies are hesitant to embrace personal branding, favoring instead to push the entire company brand. In other cases, where no brand was pushed at all, there was always some sort of hidden “back channel” personal branding that was going on. Typically, this was found in the marketing department through link building, blogging and social media efforts. The fact is, to do any of these three – link building, blogging, and social media – there is naturally some voice that rises to the surface. If your goal is link building, there is some actual real life person in your company reaching out to other websites and creating connections. So in a lot of ways, there’s already an element of personal branding that’s happening to the benefit of the company. There other benefits to personal branding, and it starts with recognizing the motivations of a company owner. Not every business owner wants to be the face of the business, but in an environment that demands business transparency, the fact is your customers are going to want to know who you are. Allow for personal branding gives your company a face – or an anchor point – that customers and brand followers can attach to. It’s the ultimate “glass wall” in that you’re not just seeing who’s on the other side; as a customer, you’re able to engage them directly. The value of being able to cultivate a personal brand is why social media channels have become so powerful, even for the individual who didn’t intend to become a brand but through their voice ended up rising as one. It builds community trust and it gets a following. Following is valuable social currency that elevates a company from just having a brand to being a trusted authority. Let’s look at the value of a brand from beyond just the customer’s point of view. If your goal is to build partnerships with colleagues or to create a network that can be leveraged, then you need a point person that is visible online. Say you’re trying to form alliances in order to launch a new initiative, and let’s say you’ve reached out to a person in Group A. That person will likely have one or two other people they can connect you with. However, when discussing you to their colleagues, it’s going to be challenging to communicate the company as a whole. It’s a lot easier to reference one point person in a company than the whole company. This allows the person in Group B to grasp onto and engage the individual. It’s a lot tougher to engage a whole company than it is to engage one person in that company. It also makes it easier for outside influencers to know who to reach, especially if you designate multiple personal brands based on different consumer interests or target areas. So think of it as having regional sales managers – which business owner would agree is a good idea for a national market – but now you have ideation managers based on areas you’re serving as a thought leader in.


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3 Brand Points to Communicate with New Subscribers

3 Brand Points to Communicate with New Subscribers

Beyond • January 23, 2017

One of the top email marketing questions on Quora is about what type of email campaigns should be sent to new subscribers. You shouldn’t be thinking of one-off email campaigns to send to subscribers. Instead, you should have ready-to-go email marketing campaigns that are automatically sent out to every new subscriber. This means beyond setting up that trigger email, you can cross this question off the list until you revisit it in a year to update that email campaign. So the real question is, what sort of automation campaigns should new subscribers be receiving? The answer is a branded email campaign.  Communicating your brand is going to be absolutely critical in a new subscriber automation email. You’re essentially sending an email campaign to someone who has opted in but in often cases is opting in to see what you’re really about. Someone who opts into an email campaign has actually set foot in your house and taken a seat at your table. A first-time email campaign opt-in means they’re stepping closer to your home and taking a peek through the window. That first email they get from you is what they’re going to be seeing when they look into your home. So the next question is what brand points should be communicated? Brand points need to really reflect your brand and what makes your voice and vision unique. But to break it down it really comes down to these three identifiers: Structure The first is structure. Structure is another word for template, but it’s about more than just the frame of your email campaign. A structure means that the design and information layout needs to follow the thought process that visitors experience when they’re on your site. This means that you’re your stand-alone email campaign, which can always be converted to a URL, should look like it’s jumped off your website as a landing page. A lot of companies miss the mark on this. The graphics don’t mirror the site and the tone is totally different as well. This isn’t branding. Branding means consistency. These mistakes most often happen because of a design failure. Companies invest months in a website design but don’t put that same thought into an email design or even in creating custom email graphics – all things that are part of the structure of any campaign. Key Language & Phrasing The next thing to consider is key language and phrasing, which should be spread throughout the campaign. Everything from the tagline to the linked articles or key features with bolded headlines should reflect the key ideas that your brand drives. This might seem easy because it\'s often the case that your first campaign to new subscribers is a short intro message and a set of linked articles with strong graphics – but what you choose to share needs to tell a story. You have to really think about what you’re going to share here and whether it drives the value your company and brand have to offer. Some tough calls will need to be made here. Authority The last is authority. Relaying brand authority is a lot simpler than it sounds, but it’s also often overlooked. Authority is about trust and letting your new subscriber know they can rely on you. For retailers, this means letting consumers know that your online purchases will be made safely. For data-driven companies that rely on a service or information dissemination, it’s about letting subscribers know others trust you. These are pieces of information that can be included in the footer. In fact, it’s a key conversion heuristics principle: calming anxiety in a prospect in order to encourage conversion. For email marketing campaigns that not only means fewer unsubscribes; it also means increased conversion possibilities.


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How can I use email marketing to build brand awareness?

How can I use email marketing to build brand awareness?

Practical Marketer • August 24, 2016

Once you have a product or service you are proud of and want to share with the world, you want to build a brand to attract like minded people. People who agree on your values, direction or morals and people who see their problems solved by your business. There are many ways to attract these people … but how do you keep them on board? Email Marketing is an excellent channel to build and maintain brand awareness within your space. An email address is an easy exchange but in many cases not valued to its potential. When businesses ask for email addresses they tend to use the “carrot on the stick” idea to attract as many people as possible. “Signup now and get this FREE ______.” This is good, but make sure the “free” item is related to what you do. Too often, I see businesses offering freebies with their signup that have nothing to do with their business and then complain that their open and click rate is too low. They don’t get the engagement they hoped for and abandon email marketing entirely. Email marketing is not a numbers game. If you treat it like one, you will fail in the long run. When offering freebies, it’s important to offer something that YOUR audience would like. For example, we, as an email marketing company, would love to give you this mobile email marketing study done by our friends at Edisonda, that will help you understand how people read your emails on mobile devices. A freebie like this may not attract millions of people like the latest album from Kanye could… but it will attract the right people. As you attract the right people to subscribe to your emails, there are 2 basic strategies to keep them engaged and interested with your emails. Consistency Consistency You must be consistent with your brand, vision, morals and you must be consistent with what you promise from the signup. If you promised a monthly newsletter that talks about cats in hats, please don’t send me a newsletter that talks about dogs in boots. I know these examples are ridiculous, but I’m just trying to point out the obvious here. Send what you promise to your subscriber and send it as often as you promised as well. Keeping a consistent schedule will engage your subscribers and create a sense of habit. If you promise a monthly newsletter, send an email about every 30 days, or choose something like the last Thursday of every month. Doing this will keep your subscribers engaged and will create a habit. When creating your emails, you should also be consistent with the format and colors of the email. You know how you read your own emails. The 3-second likability rule turns into a 0.5s likability chance. If your subscriber can’t identify your email as he or she skims their inbox, they won’t open it. Also, by keeping your emails consistent and not changing much save for the content, you will be able to get your emails done in no time! All you’ll have to do is add in your new content and schedule the email. Marketers who are at this point can normally get their emails done in under and hour. Takeaways from this? Attract the right people to your newsletter. Be consistent with your email format and style. Be consistent with your promise. Vision and frequency. By following these basic tips, you will see a higher open and click rate and your emails will be easier to make.  


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Why We Needed an Email Design System

Why We Needed an Email Design System

Product & Design • August 1, 2016

Up until recently, we have had one design team doing everything at Benchmark. What this means, is that the same design team that was creating the products and the development of new features was also in charge of design for marketing and creating and maintaining branding. I remember one time that our team was designing an email to promote a new feature  we were about to release. With no email design system in place and a desire to have some form of consistency, we spent over an hour scouring through past email headlines trying to find the correct hex value for the gray we had used in the past. It was apparent that we had a problem. However, working toward a solution didn’t feel pressing until six months ago when Benchmark decided to split the responsibilities of our single design team with a newly formed marketing design team. In the past as the single design team, creating email templates for our company departments was difficult. With each specific purpose or departmental need, our team would come up with something from scratch. If the marketing department wanted an email last minute, there wouldn’t be enough time to create one for them of any quality. As you can imagine, we wasted time trying to maintain some consistency in our designs without a standardized system in place and found ourselves often frustrated and confused. These same design inconsistencies were multiplied across our international offices with emails sent out in nine different languages from Benchmark offices worldwide. With the move to have a fully dedicated marketing design team that would take ownership of the email design templates, we recognized that a system needed to be put in place. Otherwise our experience of frustrations, lack of timeliness, unclear brand voice and having to return to old emails to find some form of consistent stylization not only would continue but would be amplified. From these problems, we wanted to create a modular design system that would help to solve our problems of inconsistencies and lack of timeliness. We took an inventory of all of the emails that went out this past year from our Benchmark teams, including those from our international offices and organized them all by language and purpose to see what particular needs each office had to account for and what type of emails each region was sending. Some regions were focusing more on education, while others focused more on events and partners. Marketing needs will be different in each region. It\'s important to create solutions that are inclusive to all of our offices and not assume that marketing needs in one region will be the same as elsewhere. We took note of all of the emails that we saw repeating to get an idea of the modular pieces we might need i.e. monthly/weekly newsletters, promotion, webinar invites, product announcements, automated system emails, even personal emails from the company owners. Then, we documented the structure of each of these emails by the content sections that made them up. We then documented all of the styles for each of the sections. We found that we had numerous different styles being used for headers, content blocks, typography, social media buttons, contact info and image styles just to name a few. After we had everything documented, we were able to create unified styles for each use case. Things that we were considering as we did this were our current branding, of course being aware of the other languages and what was applicable for them, mobile styles, readability, aesthetic. It required us to sift through everything we have had before and create a standard for the aesthetic and appeal for our clients. Another thing we had to do was to create and find an image strategy and what we should do for images since they can dramatically change the look of an email. In order to keep consistency, we created a guidebook that we passed on to our other international design teams and to our marketing team. We also collaborated with the marketing team to make sure our goals were aligned and everything meshed. Our final challenge was setting everyone up to be able to use the new system. We accomplished this easily with our email platform. We set up our design system as a master account and made each office a sub account of the master account. Using the ability to send email designs to sub accounts, we were easily able to get everyone up to speed. We used to have everyone doing their own thing in separate accounts. Now being under one account, everyone has access to email design templates and it helps to maintain the consistency that we are looking for while allowing ease of use and maintaining a standard. I learned that it is easier to think of everything as a whole and create and manage a system rather than designing for each individual problem. The key, however, is to not create something and forget about it, but instead using it and revisiting it in order to make adjustments, followed by updating documentation to continue to maintain our standards and consistency. This is not something we have figured out completely yet, but it is a contined process of learning and growing. We used our own email editor to design all of our emails. We did this so that it is easier for local and regional content managers. Ideally. we would have done it all in code to have more control and to update standards more quickly. For now, using our own email designer was simpler and gave us an opportunity to feature our own product and being inclusive of ease of use. This information is helpful and I wish that I had a detailed solution to reference prior to embarking on this journey. It has made such a difference for us. It was a pain point and took a significant amount of time to find a solution. So, if there is a way that this could be of use to our users, it felt important to share our process.


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How to keep my branding consistent in my email marketing?

How to keep my branding consistent in my email marketing?

Practical Marketer • July 8, 2016

How to keep your branding consistent in your email marketing is a matter of simply being consistent in everything that you do across all customer touchpoints for marketing and all other aspects of your business. Is that it? Problem solved, next question? Yes and no. There are three key aspects that you can focus on in order to execute consistently on your branding. Deliver On Your Promise This means first and foremost staying true to the mission statement of your company in each and every thing that you do. That’s how a customer is treated when they walk in the door of your brick-and-mortar location and it’s what you communicate to them with your email marketing … and many things in between. Delivering on your promise also applies to what you told subscribers to expect when they opted-in to receiving email communications from you. This includes the frequency with which you send your email campaigns and the content they asked to receive. Design The next aspect of being consistent with your branding is design. The user experience should remain the same whether it is in your email campaigns, website, social media posts, in your brick-and-mortar location and everywhere else a customer can interact with your business. In email marketing, this includes the color schemes of your email templates and even consistency with the colors of your buttons to match the ones on your website and landing pages. It can also include building a navigation at the top of your emails so that your template experience is similar to what customers view on your website. Even for special events such as holidays, there should still be consistent aspects of your brand that carry through, so that a subscriber will never doubt from who they are receiving an email campaign. Voice No, the latest email marketing feature isn’t celebrity voices reading your email campaigns (even though some may argue it should be … me included). This is how you’re communicating your message, who is delivering it and more. Voice means the personality that you infuse into your email campaigns. Some businesses are funny, some are informative. Regardless of what it is, it needs to be consistent … and authentically you. Who it is that is delivering your messages should also be the same as often as possible. This starts in the From Name subscribers will see in your inbox and ends in the email signature when applicable. Whether it says your business’ name or something such as Andy from Benchmark, your subscribers should know from who to expect your email communications.


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How Can I Avoid Harming My Brand With My Email Marketing?

How Can I Avoid Harming My Brand With My Email Marketing?

Practical Marketer • July 5, 2016

To avoid harming your brand, you need to avoid consistently sending unwanted emails. Not just once or twice, but consistently sending time after time will be the factor in harming your brand. It’s like a bully at school knocking your books down every time an email is sent. A little extreme, but you get the picture. What you should avoid doing, before you harm your brand: Using A Public Domain Irregular Sending Sending Grey Mail Using A Public Domain Using a public domain such as Gmail, Yahoo, or AOL can harm your brand when sending emails. The reason being is that anybody can sign up for these services and create an email. That doesn’t make your brand any different than the 6 billion individuals in the world. What makes you different? Having a private domain for your email address will not only improve your branding, but also your deliverability. Irregular Sending Sending irregularly is a problem as well. It’s hard to determine when to send a campaign to your subscribers. Should it be daily? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Yearly? The answer is any of the above! Pay attention to your reports to know the frequency with which your subscribers want you to send. You can also employ different strategies for a daily email campaign and then a monthly email campaign as well. This could be a type of segment! The point is to make sure you have enough content and enough time to stay on a regular schedule. If a person is expecting an email from you subscription at 1pm every week, keep that schedule! You’ll lose interest and subscribers if your schedule bounces around everywhere during the year. Grey Mail Grey Mail is a term not widely known or used in email marketing. Grey Mail is the email that subscribers receive, but do not open. They don’t open the email often because the subscriber knows what the email is about. It could be a transactional email, notification email or even a promotional email that they don’t care to open. It’s not a usually bad thing to send to these contacts, but nowadays there is so much Grey Mail that it’s starting to look like spam from the 90s and early millennium. What should you do with Grey Mail? It’s the same question as, “what can I do to improve my deliverability?” The answer is keeping up with your list hygiene. Cleaning your list of bounces and unopens regularly can improve your deliverability, brand and ultimately your ROI. Cleaning your list doesn’t mean deleting your contacts or subscribers, but maybe setting them aside for a different strategy. Allow them a chance to unsubscribe. You don’t want to be emailing anyone that doesn’t want it! That will only hurt your brand.


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3 Ways to Build Your Brand with Online Videos (and Pizza)

3 Ways to Build Your Brand with Online Videos (and Pizza)

Beyond • November 14, 2011

Internet marketers are probably all too familiar with Chicago’s Domino’s Pizza legend Ramon DeLeon, but for those of you out of the loop, here’s a bit of back story. DeLeon has been a true entrepreneur of Internet marketing through his honest and innovative use of social media and Internet video. The result of his strategy has been a huge boost in brand awareness and improved revenue for his Domino’s Pizza stores, which is certainly tough to do in what can arguably be considered the pizza capital of the world. The following article takes a look at some of the effective uses of Internet video pioneered by DeLeon, and how such approaches could benefit your brand, business or blog. 1) Connections Come First Internet video has long been used to promote products and services, but how often do you use Internet video to build a connection? In fact how often do you use Internet video to build a connection with one individual? I don’t mean a collective “one,” I mean a real, singular member of the average general public. I bet the answer is “Seldom to never.” DeLeon made this idea of connecting with that one individual a vital component to his online strategy, in this video to a customer created the morning after an order went awry: http://www.viddler.com/explore/dpzramon/videos/19/. That particular example has been shown around the world and viewed by over fifteen thousand online users. It’s not just small regional businesses either who have gotten wise to this effective video technique. Old Spice took to this idea with gusto: . Building a connection is far more powerful and far more effective than trying to create a quick sale. By taking the time and money to extend thanks, apologies or even just saying hey to online users, you can make a connection with that user for life. These instances not only create a lasting connection between brand and customer, but also spread a huge amount of conversation and word of mouth online promotion. 2) Video Apologies Work DeLeon’s clip shows a great business-to-customer communication between himself, his colleague and a dissatisfied consumer. For a business of any size to take the time out to apologize to one individual customer is exceptional. The level of customer service this provides and the representation of how important any one customer is to the brand is fantastic. This will undoubtedly spark online interaction and increase brand awareness for both DeLeon and Domino’s Pizza. Now this is not just a regional concept, nor is it always a one-to-one exchange. Sony for instance apologized publicly to thousands of event attendees and thousands of online viewers, for the downtime their Playstation Network suffered a while back, and here’s how they did it: . I’d like to draw your attention to some of the comments these uses of apologetic videos received. Domino’s Pizza (DeLeon): Playstation (Sony): Both videos received thousands of views and have been talked about across the world on and off the web. Admitting to a mistake, addressing it in a timely manner and focusing that apology on your audience is a powerful way to restart the conversation about your business. Its power, ultimately, is a reflection of its authenticity. Create real solutions and take genuine care in their presentation. 3) Create an Internet Video Presence Internet video is one of the most popular forms of media on the web, so it’s little surprise that a good one is quickly shared across websites and social platforms. Being a part of this media by making engaging and interactive video content can quickly put you into a position to have your content spread across the web too. Our celebrated Pizza guy DeLeon created engaging content by connecting with his customers whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied, but there are many other ways to make influential video content. Creating tutorials, instructional videos, interactive videos, webinars, streamed live events or just creating entertaining content could help you to build a strong online presence in both the video community and the social community. Generating this sort of presence for your brand, business or blog will certainly put you on the fast track to boosting revenue, increasing website traffic, creating higher levels of website traffic and building up your social networks. These three online video practices can help you build your brand, engage customers and authenticate your business. What are some of the ways that you or your company have used online videos to market your brand? Share in the comments below!


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How to Apply Specialty TV’s Branding Genius to Your Web Business

Beyond • October 11, 2011

The lessons learned from the remarkable branding accomplishments of HGTV, Food Network, Bravo and the other television star factories can be applied to any web business. Here\'s how you can brand like the specialty networks: Bravo Branding Lesson: Be Controversial One of the most notable branding successes has to be Bravo\'s The Real Housewives Of, which has led to seven American city series as well as four international spinoffs. The inspired combination of eye candy bling with supercharged ego-driven confrontational excess has made superstars of otherwise unremarkable nobodies like NeNe Leakes, whose collisions with Star Jones & LaToya Jackson on Celebrity Apprentice are the stuff of legends. Brands stand out and get noticed when they spark debate, and although it is wise to avoid too much negative discourse (think of the recent maelstroms surrounding BP and Netflix), the quote often attributed to 19th century circus owner Phineas T. Barnum applies in most cases: \"There\'s no such thing as bad publicity.\" HGTV Branding Lesson: Solve Your Customers\' Problems Mike Holmes was a local contractor with an idea to do an HGTV show where he fixes up the messes other contractors have left behind. Holmes On Homes and its sequels have made Holmes not only a multimillionaire, but a household name throughout North America, the UK, Australia and the many other international markets where his series have met with wide acclaim. The key to Holmes\' appeal is the frustration many home owners have with repairs and additions made by unskilled and disreputable contractors. Although he cannot come over to your house to fix your leaky toilet, his show demonstrates what creates the leak in the first place, and how to do it right so it stays water-tight. When you provide answers to your customers\' problems, your brand gains trust, reputation and prominence. Food Network Branding Lesson: Forge Your Brand from Quirkiness The application of meticulous and sustained branding by network executives is specifically evident in The Next Food Network Star, which follows about a dozen generally hapless semi-pro cooks primarily chosen for their eccentricity, and then almost arbitrarily bestows upon one of them the title of that year\'s Star. The winner gets their own show and opportunity to build a brand. Some have become middle-level personalities while others are pure breakouts like Guy Fieri: the spiky-haired juggernaut with eight(!) shows on Food Network as well as his own NBC prime time game show. Who had ever heard of movie producer Dino DeLaurentiis\' granddaughter, Giada, before she was \"discovered\" by Food Network in 2002? Readily identifiable but atypical cooks such as Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Mario Batali & others would never have become superstars without extraordinary branding. Food Network creates huge brands from literally nowhere by focusing on quirky presences that are instantly identifiable, and similarly embracing the offbeat and unusual can benefit your branding. Discovery Channel Branding Lesson: Do Something Amazing Former musician and garbage collector Les Stroud spent a year in the Canadian boreal forest living in a teepee and used the experience to launch Survivorman: a series where each episode has him stranded for a week with next to nothing in the middle of nowhere while self-videotaping his struggle to survive. In a world where virtually everything in our lives is push-button activated, watching poor Les struggle to cobble together a shelter out of pine boughs or keep the tarantulas from crawling on him in the rainforest has captivated millions around the world. Les\' adventures may be produced on pocket money but they regularly outdraw multi-million dollar budgeted TV series in the all-important ratings wars. Identifying your web business with something out of the ordinary (and attention-worthy) will considerably boost your branding. You may not be able to turn your web business into a multi-billion dollar one in a few years like the specialty television networks have done, but adopting these tips will enhance and intensify any branding effort.


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