All Articles Tagged "business branding"
I recently launched an online classified ad service in California. However, I have not received the market response that I so desperately need to generate cash flow. I have used Twitter as a means to drive traffic to my website, but for some reason, I am not getting any posts to my site nor many visitors. Do you have any suggestions on how I can spread the word about my website? Thank you.
I feel your pain. It’s a bummer to start a business with excitement and a belief that it is instantly going to take off only to find that you are not getting the response you expected. Don’t worry though; you are not alone — nor are you the first or last entrepreneur who has had this experience. In fact, successful entrepreneurship is basically successful experimentation. The key is to launch your idea as inexpensively as you can so you can get market feedback and figure out what you need to change to build a customer base, or whether to scrap the idea all together and start over. So you’re on the right path and you’re doing the right thing by not suffering in silence.
I believe there are a few reasons you are not getting the response you are looking for right now. Before we discuss them, grab a piece of paper and a pen. I want you to write down your responses to what I am about to ask you. Don’t analyze. Just write down the first thing that comes to your mind.
Ready? Here we go. What do you think of when I say:
Your answers may be slightly different than mine, but I bet if our answers don’t match perfectly that my responses would be your second choice. My first thoughts were Oprah, Nike, McDonald’s and Craigslist. You know why? That’s the power of a brand. These entities have branded themselves so well and differentiated themselves so well that they stand out in my mind and the minds of millions of people. Does that mean that other people and organizations in these same categories can’t be successful? No, but it means they have to find another way to stand out.
Jerry Springer stood out by inviting the most ridiculous guests ever to his show. Reebok, Adidas and Converse haven’t done bad. Wendy’s and Burger King have managed to make millions despite having the golden arches as their competition. Also, Craigslist is memorable as a brand because of first mover’s advantage and ease of use.
So, I have three bits of advice:
1. On your site and in your marketing, make it clear in one sentence how you benefit the customer and how you are different:
Do you offer classifieds for only a specific product or category? Are your classifieds only for a city or a specific neighborhood? Why would somebody choose to post with you versus your already well-known and proven competitor, Craigslist?
2. Get word out about your site to your target market in every possible way:
Communicate your new, clear, differentiated brand message to your target customers at every turn. You mentioned that you are using Twitter to get the word out. That’s good, but it’s not enough. Use Facebook, too. Take flyers to local businesses that people frequent such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and daycare centers (because I am presuming that your classifieds are for your local area). Also, the United States Postal Service just launched a new service called Every Door Direct Mail where you can send direct mail or postcards to specific zip codes. This makes direct mail a lot more affordable because you no longer have to buy a mailing list. Local post office locations are holding free seminars about the new service, so check their website to register for an informational session in your area to find out if this is a good fit for you to get word out about your classifieds site.
3. Show pictures and testimonials from people who have used your site:
In marketing there is a concept called “social proof.” Once there is “social proof” or evidence that other people are using or doing something new and it has been accepted, then most people are more open to using or doing it too. This happens through word-of-mouth, so you need to actively find a few people in your local area who have stuff to get rid of and get them to list it on your site. Once they list and sell their items, then show pictures and testimonials from these people as social proof that your site is a good place for other people to sell stuff too. Maybe you can host a local “de-clutter” day.
Use these tips to enhance your brand and drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how it’s going. Good luck!
Note: All advice offered in this column is for general information only. Felicia Joy and The Atlanta Post are indemnified against any and all related claims. Always seek the advice of licensed professionals before making business decisions.
Felicia Joy is a nationally recognized entrepreneur who created $50 million in value for the various organizations and companies she served in corporate America before launching her business enterprise. She is often called on to discuss the ins and outs of entrepreneurial success and has appeared on CNN, FOX and in other national press. Felicia operates Ms. CEO Inc., a business training and development company that helps women entrepreneurs achieve more success, faster — as well as Joy Group International, LLC, a business development and consulting firm. Send her your questions at email@example.com or www.twitter.com/feliciajoy.
By Brittany Hutson
There’s something about Brooklyn. And everyone wants the chance to proudly boast that they are in some way, shape or form associated with the borough. No one can pinpoint exactly ‘what’ Brooklyn’s got, but let’s just say it’s a hybrid of history, character, culture and integrity all rolled into one. The region’s authenticity has been an attractive marketing tool for small business owners, as slowly but surely an evolving number of entrepreneurs have picked up the name and tagged it onto their products and services over the years. But lately, the number of businesses utilizing the name Brooklyn is swiftly growing, so much to the point that large corporations have caught on and are following suit.
Within the year, the popularity of Brooklyn as a moniker and advertising vehicle for businesses has become more evident. It’s almost like the latest fashion crave that everybody wants to get their hand on. A vinter called Brooklyn Winery opened in Williamsburg this past October and Brooklyn Soda Works, a “purveyor of ‘artisanal, handmade’ sodas,” started last February in Clinton Hill. These businesses join an evolving family of already-established Brooklyn businesses, including Brooklyn Burger–founded in 1935–Brooklyn Brewery–founded in 1988–and Brooklyn Oenology, a winery based on the edge of Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods that opened in 2008.
Popular corporations that are known for their attempts to tap into urban markets are jumping on board as well. Absolut launched a Brooklyn line of vodka this past summer. Earlier this month, the Gap sponsored a holiday pop-up shop that featured foods found in Brooklyn, such as Brooklyn Salsa, Brooklyn Brew beer-making kits and Brooklyn Brine’s salty spears. Nike introduced Brooklyn-branded sports shoes, called Brooklyn Projects in 2009, and Starbucks has offered Brooklyn-branded coffee drinks.
The propaganda has even gone beyond the borders of the borough due to companies like clothing retailer Brooklyn Industries, which was established in 1998 in Williamsburg and now has branches in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Portland, Ore.
It’s gone international too—Tokyo has a New York-themed jazz bar called Brooklyn Parlor.
“Businesses flock to the name ‘Brooklyn’ because of its instant name recognition,” said Farrah Parker, a small business and image management consultant based in Los Angeles. “Whether you live on the west coast, the east coast, or in an international community, the name ‘Brooklyn’ yields instant recognition.”
Natives have always given homage to the borough, especially in the arts and entertainment arena, which is a large part of why Brooklyn is so appealing. When you think of Brooklyn, you surely don’t forget how Spike Lee introduced Bedford-Stuyvesant to cinema with his classic, “Do The Right Thing,” or leave out the hip-hop artists that proudly rep the region, such as Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Fabolous. Particularly, it’s been Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G. that have made “dozens of songs that mention the borough and brand it as a place where all things are possible through determination and vision,” said Parker.
The days of the borough being largely associated with drugs and crime are in the past, and many are even claiming that this “new” Brooklyn could very well be the creative capital of the world, a home for the creative and innovative entrepreneur, musician, artist, and 20-something hipster, that all started because these groups were forced to leave Manhattan for affordable rents and a place where they could make their desired lifestyle viable.
Brooklyn’s proximity to Manhattan is another advantage for the borough because Manhattan serves as a gateway for the region to be introduced to an international audience. Not only that, but entrepreneurs can literally take Brooklyn across the bridge and introduce their brand to a diverse consumer typically associated with having plenty of capital. For instance, there is the Brooklyneer, dedicated to all things Brooklyn (i.e. Brooklyn hot dogs, Brooklyn pickles, Brooklyn whiskey) in the West Village.
With so many businesses embracing Brooklyn, could it ultimately have an adverse affect and dilute the brand?
“We have yet to reach the point where ‘Brooklyn’ is used and abused. Though the use of the word certainly has incredible advantages, the repetitive usage can cause it to lose appeal,” said Parker. “Both small and large businesses should asses their respective markets to determine if saturation exists. For example, a marketing exec should ask, ‘are my competitors using a form of the name or a similar city-related concept that may dilute my branding?’”
(Media Post) — Can you imagine witnessing the evolution of the universe from its earliest beginning? Imagine small, unrelated bits resolving slowly to form recognizable patterns. Like the hot, dense state that characterized the Big Bang, the evolution of online branding has been fueled by its own explosion of transformational technology (and yes, “black hole” is a fitting term for the recession). This is both a scary and exciting time for our industry, and I believe that leading brands — big brands, to be specific — are showing us the way forward.