WHAT IS AN INTEGRATED BRAND PARTNERSHIP?

‘How can our company increases our revenue?’ is a question that often raises its head. Making money, also known as creating revenue, is after all what businesses are all about. The answer maybe simple, as in sell more, however that is often far more difficult than said. Particularly in today’s world that is saturated with businesses left, right and centre.

Solutions to overcome the difficulty in reaching that yearly target is order of the day. In other words, how can a Brand withstand pressure yet flourish and end up with a better ROI (return on investment) than 12 months ago? 

WHAT CAN BE DONE

Within the worlds of Brands and Brand Identities there lies an answer.  One word comes to mind: collaboration. One question though is, what does that mean? 

Fact of the matter is that trading on various platforms is becoming more and more popular and effective in today’s world. Therefore it is imperative to be visible and active on- and offline. This mean any platform where services and/or products are presented, explained and offered to customers.  It will be rather unintelligent not to make use of this opportunity to get more bang for your buck

To be more specific, the solution is Integrated Brand Partnerships. In short: When Brands Join Forces. 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Reading an article on the Econsultancy website made me put my thinking cap on and put thoughts to paper. The writer James Cristal explores 5 examples of where significant brands collaborated in order to not only increases customer retention, but also to increases revenue. 

Having a renown Brand is one thing, but having the insight to incorporate another renown Brand with your own is a great idea. Not only is a company going to maintain their popularity they are also going to enhance sales and create a magnificent user experience for their customers. And that, ultimately, is what differentiate a good company from a great company. 

WHEN DOES IT WORK BEST

Now that it has become more clear as to what such a Partnership is about, the challenge is to figure out a way of making it happen. It isn’t a matter of putting any 2 together either. There is no point in joining 2 Brands where one is like oil and the other like water - we all know that doesn’t mix! 

Coming from a Brand Partnership environment, I have on many occasions been presented with the task of blending 2 Brands that compliment each other and work well together. The difficulty isn’t in finding the two components, but it can be very tricky to find the right solution for the process to work. At the end of the day the relationship has to work very well so that both parties benefit. 

Therefore the major part in a Partnership campaign is finding the right creative solution. Working closely with both sides the main point is to find the reason for such an integration. Mostly it will be around exposure and presentation to customers hence finding a visual element that does the trick. After all, the task at hand is to grab the customer’s attention and supply an opportunity for them to participate and experience a great service. 

Let’s explore 3 different platforms and their different methods:

  • Broadcasting - Television Programme

    • placing the sponsorship element right up against the start and end of a programme part, but not within the commercial break 

  • Online - Website

    • placing the sponsorship application at a point within the site where it is most likely the customers would want to add to their booking/purchase

  • Print - Magazine

    • placing the sponsorship creative within the written article to draw attention to a reader with advice on how to proceed to obtain the additional product/service/information

In short, catch the attention of your customer at their most vulnerable moment. 

CONCLUSION 

At the end of the day, the purpose of any Partnership is to add further value to the customer’s journey. The best way to facilitate this feature is to offer a way for your customer to be exposed to another partner’s facilities, but without running the risk of customers leaving or forgetting about you as the host. Ultimately, offering them another service, but all within one place - Your Environment.

We have to remember that even though the aim is to provide equal traction for both sides, there will always be a primary and secondary entity taking part in any campaign. It is understandable that one platform will provide the main attraction where the second player will obviously be happy to participate because of the strong, possible winning end result. 

It is not a situation of one being better or more efficient than the other, but rather that of both realising that together they can reach a much higher level of success. For the best results it is imperative that these campaigns are executed seamless so that the customer are almost unaware of it happening. If this can be achieved, then you walk away with a win-win moment. It will also mean that there is a big chance the two players will partner again. Once it has become apparent that a collaboration works well, many occasions will be created to do it again.

Having quite a few successes under my belt within this field, I can say that it brings a great amount of satisfaction to all involved in a successful campaign. The exposure for clients’ products/services has been, is and will always be a plus factor. Many sales teams will be patted on the shoulders for instigating such a great win. Creative gurus will receive kudos for an excellent format and those who host the campaign will realise how important it is to work with others. Revenue of course plays a massive part, however the relationships built will persevere for time to come. 

Taking on the role of the one-stop-shop between all of the different parties that partake in such an exercise, causes me great pleasure. It is amazing to be able to coordinate various departments and bring a campaign together. Without my extensive knowledge I built up during many years, I reckon none of this will be possible. Needles to say, I thrive within the world of Brand Partnerships. Apart from anything else, it places me in a situation where I can upheld both Brands and their key messages. May it long, long lasts.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

PRESENT YOUR BRAND WITH PRIDE

‘What is the fatal flaw that prevents Brand Consistency when it comes to visual posts?’ This question from John Lim (@bemovingforward) whilst promoting my appearance as a guest on his podcast, sparked me to get you an answer. 

With workloads and to do lists as long as an arm, it is no wonder that many of us buckle under the weight and let our guard slip. Especially when it comes to being active within the various social media platforms. It’s understandable that between searching for projects, chasing payments and living a life, etc., something has to give

THE DOWNFALL

Unfortunately, the area in which we should not be lazy is how our Brand is being presented where everyone can see it. I would like to particularly focus on the many platforms where we post articles, blogposts, quotes and much more – yes, it’s none other than on Social Media. 

What is your main focus when it comes to being visible on Social Media? Everyone will yell content at me and they will be correct. Next, I will get bombarded with shouts of engagement and that will be followed by video, I’m sure. None of these are wrong, bad suggestions or irrelevant what so ever. In all honesty, nothing can be any closer to the truth. 

THE FEELING OF DROWNING 

Overwhelmed. Snowed under. Completely buried. Do these sounds like phrases/words that you would use to describe how you feel about Social Media many times? Not uncommon to even experience anxiety about it all. 

The question now is, what are you going to do about it? Or are you actually just going to let it be and you will struggle forth. Moving forward without tackling this issue, is definitely not a great idea. Actually, it is a very bad move on your part. So how can you elevate at least some of the stress?

THE BRICK WALL

For many this is the bit that is the cause of all the angst. Not only because you cannot be bothered about it too much, but for many, because you don’t actually know how to deal with it correctly. I am referring to the visually creative part of your posts.

Not all of us are graphic designers. Neither are we top notch photographers. To be honest, I bet many of you will say ‘I don’t even have a creative bone in my body’ when asked about this topic. 

Not having any inclination towards a creative eye is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Crikey, we are just human. 

I gather the obvious solution that immediately springs to your mind, is that of hiring a professional to look after your Brand Creatives. Easy - issue solved, right? Well, not for wanting to burst your bubble, that is easier said than done. There is one particular issue with that solution: costs. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have funds available so you can reach out to a professional designer and have all your creatives done in a flash. However, if like me, you most likely are counting the pennies carefully before you spend left, right and centre. 

THE HELPING HAND

A solution is at hand that can help to minimise this one section of your media activity. It is within your reach to cast aside your fear of being creative. You don’t have to show the world your inability of creating visuals that do not sit well within the parameters of Social Media platforms. 

Not all platforms have the same criteria when it comes to posting images. Luckily there are some platforms that share the same dimensions for images. If all were the same, then we won’t have any issues. The crux lies within fact that we should be able to post visuals with the correct size. 

It is here where many, in my opinion, show the lack of pride for their Brand. To post the same size image everywhere will show your lack of care and also prevent your visual to not be seen in its entirety. Hence so many times an important thought/section will go unseen purely because it is not visible completely. 

The secret, although not such a big secret at all, is using a very clever application (app). There is one for me that stands out head and shoulders above the rest. 

THE UNCOMPLICATED ASSISTANT

Having a mobile device is order of the day nowadays. It is designed to make our lives easier and to have at hand at all times. The App mentioned above is available on Mobile Devices (via a download from your mobile provider’s choice of store) and on your Desktop (again, to download via your Internet Providers’ choice of store). 

I am referring to the very useful Adobe Spark Post application. Having this handy App(lication) on your device and/or computer will definitely lend a hand when you want to spice up your post with a stunning visual. Very often we come across a thought or quote that we want to share with our audience. We also realise that it will perform so much better if it is accompanied by an image.  We are after all, constantly made aware that platforms favour posts with visuals. 

No need to neglect your wish anymore. Within a few short actions you can rest assure that your visual will be visible to many others the way the chosen platform intend it to be. 

THE TIME TO EXECUTE

Even as a non-creative human using the Adobe Spark Post application is easy. The simple menu layout of options can quickly be navigated to what you have in mind. Here are the options to create an original post if you don’t want to use some of the App’s templates. 

  •  BACKGROUND 

    For this you have 8 options - from using one of your original photos, or a plain colourful background (a Palette lets you keep your Branding in place by adjusting it to your Brand’s colour tones) through to a stock image.   

  •  TEXT

    10 options available which includes a selection of fonts (to keep your Brand consistent with your designated Brand font), colour (to align with your Brand’s look&feel), the size, spacing, opacity and many more. 

  •  LAYOUT

    An abundance of choices if there need to be more than one image within your post visual.

  •  EFFECTS

    To animate certain parts of your visual are at your fingertip (on your mobile device) or your desktop cursor. 

  •  RESIZE

    This option here is where the magic takes place. 35 options at a tap or click to choose from. Each has the Social Media Platform icon so there is not a single moment wasted figuring out which option will fit perfectly. It’s as easy as Bish Bash Bosh! 

These are the basics within the app. The desktop version has a slightly different layout to it all, but the principals are the same. It will honestly not take you long to find your way around and with regular use you will master it in no time. 

THE CONCLUSION

This very helpful app is easily the one mostly in use by yours truly. On numerous times I have used it whilst having a quick coffee on the go or during a commercial break while I am watching some show on TV. There are obviously many similar applications to choose from however, this one is by far my favourite.  

Originally, I had to consult my notes for the exact image dimensions to fit each platform I was creating a visual for. It took time and a lot of messing about to get it right. All of which added up and before you know it, I was wasting way too much time for my liking. We are all aware time is of essence therefor I was delighted to come across something that can not only enhance my visuals, but also cut down on my precious time. All in all, using this shortcut creates not only much satisfaction (for being creative!), it also leaves me with pride as I present my Brand to one and all out there in perfect shape.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS IN BEING AN OCEANHOLIC?

For many of us summer is making way for another season. Have you dipped your toes into the big, blue Water World this year?  In other words, did you have the pleasure of soaking up the sun’s rays at the seaside?

The ocean holds a fascination for me. From an early age growing up in South African I was fortunate to spend many days enjoying life on a beach. As a youngster my hometown wasn’t by the ocean. So, come summer holidays, my parents would pack everything, but the kitchen sink, and we would set off for our annual 6-week caravan camping holiday. 

The be blunt, it was honestly The Best Times Ever.

PASSION FOR THE OCEAN 

I am honestly not exaggerating when I claim that summer breaks were out of this world. The sight and smell of the sea has always been a great love of mine. That feeling of direct contact with sand beneath your feet and the waves against your body, always evokes a feeling of total happiness.

One thing that has always been incredible about the ocean was the vastness that goes most of the time on and on into (almost) infinity. Standing in front of such a huge, open space immediately calls for calmness. Yes, I am aware that she can be dangerous, angry and brutal many a times. However, there are so many times that she is calm, cool and collected. Whatever her mood for the time of day, the energy I absorb is beyond incredible. Is it really somehow abnormal to feel this way?

METHOD IN MADNESS

For many years visiting and spending time at the seaside meant only one reason and that was getting away from school or work and to be on holiday. Nothing in particular wrong with that, but did I ever think more of it? No, not really. 

It wasn’t until I delved deeper into the possibilities that the ocean can provide more than just a superb holiday destination that I realised what really happened to the mind, body and soul during every trip. 

These new-found facts were confirmed when I found a couple of articles that support my findings. Anne Gherini wrote an article in Inc. about the benefits of the beach for our brains. Complimenting Anne’s post I stumbled across another article upon further research in Exploring Your Mind which confirms similar facts. 

All in all, that big, vast open space of water can do wonders for us humans. All we need to do is take on board her free offer of help and reap the benefits. 

NOW IT MAKE SENSE  

After all the years of basking in the hot sun (with protection lotion though!) and inhaling some fresh air, the penny dropped for me. Let’s take a look at the science behind the euphoria of spending time on the beach. 

Waves crushing against rocks or gently washing forwards and back over sandy shores, have an immense effect on our being. This does not only have an impact on our physical bodies, it goes way beyond that. Our mental state is affected more than we can ever imagine. 

To have a balanced existence we have to work at creating it within ourselves first. It is here where the ocean can play a tremendous part to bring a 50/50 state of mind and body. As our physical outer being is enjoying the warmth and soaking up some much-needed vitamin D, our mind is soothed by calming noises without us even taking much notice of it. 

When we then add witnessing the visual of a huge blue space in front of us plus tasting the sea air we are actually taking in the full package on offer by mother nature. Expressing ‘this is exactly what the doctor ordered’ to those around you, we may think we’re being a bit fictitious, although we are nailing the thought 100%. 

DIG YOUR HEELS IN DEEP 

Our time spending on the beach is not only about the sound and smell of the ocean. There are much more to chilling out on a lounger than you can imagine. 

Particles within the sea air and the sand get absorbed into our human system. It may sound very profound, however don’t dismiss the facts in an instance. 

These non-visible bits (aka ions/atoms) are known to elevate our mood tremendously. It is been proved that inhaling sea air and walking barefoot/grounding on the sand can have a very positive effect on your emotions. The possibility exist that you can go from feeling down in the dumps to cheerful and happy purely by spending time on the beach.  

CONCLUSION

When I discovered all these amazing facts about the ocean and it’s remedies it not only caused much happiness within, it also made me understand why I enjoy visiting the sea so much. There I thought it was only to have a break from my usual regime, to experience different cultures, enjoy unusual foods, drink exotic wines, etc... It also makes total sense to me now why one is so much more creative and relaxed on a beach-break. Recalling why I actually get so much out of being by the seaside, it urges me even more to pack a bag and set off to the sandy shores of the Mediterranean asap. 

Waking up refreshed is vital to me. My mindset is a very important part of my life. I constantly work at giving it attention to stay positive and focussed. Therefore, falling asleep to the calming sounds of waves not only set me up for an awesome sleep, it also does wonders for the day ahead when I rouse. 

Not surprising then that my fall-asleep alarm at night is set to Ocean Waves. Even though the duration is set for 20 minutes, most of the time I’m off to slumberland way before it ends. In general, I have great sleeps and I am convinced the ocean sounds plays a part in that. It’s common knowledge that sleep is needed for the body and mind to recuperate after our hectic schedules every day. 

It will be great if you can take a leaf out of my book and be a bit more aware of the effects your visits to the seaside have on you. I urge you to head over to the beach whenever you can. Yes, I am aware your first instinct is that you are on a deserving break. That is totally acceptable and of course, correct. But take a second and add to that the good input from mother nature, and savour that moment. I bet you will then enjoy your break even more. And that, ladies and gentlemen, to be honest, will make my day (or beach break!).

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

BOOST YOUR BRANDING

The question is: does Your Branding have any magic? Or to put it differently… does Your Branding have the Unicorn touch?

However peculiar this comparison may sound to you there is a lot of sense within using the Unicorn metaphor within a branding connotation. It’s here where you most likely want me to start explaining, right? 

I was so fascinated by reading a post on the websiteRise Above the Noise by David Brier, that it inspired me to write this post. The man is seriously a genius when it comes to branding. If branding is part and parcel of your existence, then please do yourself a favour and check him out on his site

YOUR EXISTING BRANDING

Let’s set the scene. You personally and/or your company have been branded when you started out. Fact is you are at a point now where you’re not entirely happy with the current status of the branding. You have been tinkering with the idea to do something about it. Perhaps you’ve been made aware about a competitor’s recent re-brand or a Startup that is directly in competition with you that has a much better Brand Look&Feel than yours. 

To tie in with the Unicorn touch mentioned earlier, we can continue metaphorically speaking and suggest that your current branding is very much horse-like – meaning it’s strong, does the job, but lack a certain je ne sais quoi. So, if the thought entered your mind that it is not working that well, then it’s time to put some major sparkle into Your Branding. 

There are many ways to put some sparkle into everyday things in life. For instance, take a weather-bashed garden chair… give it a lick of paint and voilà! Therefore, if it is not that difficult to boost an object and give it some new life, then why not do the same with Your Branding.

A CHANGE IS A GOOD THING

There is that age-old saying a change is as good as a holiday which I’m sure you’ve heard before. Personally, and speaking from experience, I can guarantee you it is true. Applying that wisdom to your current branding is not that difficult. As a matter of fact, it is much easier than you think. You will though need the input from a professional to make the magic happens.

There is, however, a very good reason behind me saying this – and that is that once you’ve updated Your Brand it could easily propel itself to a much higher, influencer level. Your product and/or service will be able to attract much more customers' interest than currently. The outcome could mean the difference between being adequate and incredible. Your company ROI will most likely hit the roof and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, that can only be a great thing all around.

You proud yourself as a savvy business person. You believe you have the vision to move your company forward. Why stop when it comes to how your company is perceived by the big, wide world? 

ADD A SPECIAL TOUCH

This is where you should definitely take a look at David’s presentation and it will make complete sense to you. 

He showcases 14 Brands that he literally transformed into major successful entities. The transformations are amazing. Although I call him The Brand Master, I hope that he will agree it wasn’t rocket science as such what he applied – rather common sense and great thinking, or design, so to speak.

Turning your Horse into a White Creature (aka Unicorn) totally depends and comes down to the magic you inject into your current branding. But where to begin, I hear you ask. 

It starts with: 

  • your logo,

  • then your typography

  • next is your design

  • and finally, the execution (via the website and/or your packaging)

In other words, we’re talking the whole yarn. 

Not suggesting that you should copy your competitors, but I believe doing some in-depth research into what is out there in your niche of business is the order of the day. Take time to look closely at how your peers made changes. Study their thought process and do your best to figure out what they have done to excel ahead of you. Then get going and start the process to add some magic to Your Own Branding. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to stand out from the crowd, or as David says… Rise Above The Noise! 

CONCLUSION

Being a Brand Guardian is one of the aspects of my Entrepreneurial life. Reading and following remarkable people like David is truly inspirational. Whilst reading his astounding post, it made me realise one very important aspect: obviously, I am by no means even close to his level, but the fact that he is so good at what he’s doing doesn’t put me off and want to stop doing what I do. When you are confronted with such insane talent it is really easy to throw in the towel and walks away. Me? Most definitely not. 

I’ve been so intrigued by Mr Brier for some time now, that I have been following him on various social media platforms. He is so consistent with delivery content at a high level that instead of me getting deflated by it all, I find him to be a massive motivation for my journey. I do perceive him as a Virtual Mentor. One can only demand of oneself to aspire to such a high level in time to come. 

Keeping within the Unicorn-theme… only a few days ago, another Virtual Mentor of mine, Winnie Sun, put an incredible post on her Twitter feed. It totally made my head spin and within seconds I had a wonderful imagery in my mind… this is what she posted:

I believe we should all be so proud of our personal and/or business branding, that witnessing what others in our field are doing should spur us on to have even better branding tomorrow than what we’re having today. Do yourself and your team (if you have one) a favour and put some Sparkle Into Your Branding. Make it shimmer & shine and let the branding attracts customers like a moth to a flame. I personally believe we all can do with a bit of magic in our personal lives - the same belief goes for any Company. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading. 

IF YOU’VE GOT IT FLAUNT IT

Have you got what it takes to stand out from the crowd? Did you keep something up your sleeve all year long only so you can show off at this time of the year? No better examples of a ‘show-and-tell’ than some well known store displays.

Reading this piece by PSKF on the best ‘dressed’ retail windows in New York City over the festive period made me happy. There are truly some incredible, creative minds out there. The masterminds behind these displays rock the streets of NYC with a big bang.  

Needles to say competition is, has and will always be tough. However, that is most likely the drive behind the mind of a genius. To strive to be better and bigger is easily a constant thought in the head of a designer or creator of visual excellence. And there is no element of disappointment when you look at these displays that lit up the NYC streets of late. 

Managing their brand identity is at the forefront of today’s retail environment. It is obvious that each brand need to make their mark and be so eye-catching that the person in the street can’t help but stop and stare. The display is there to do just that to you. Once you have been forced to stop, stand and look the first battle is won. The next step (so to speak!) is hopefully towards the entrance and then go inside. 

The part that is the exciting bit is making people watch in awe, I believe. This is the moment one has created such an vision that the onlooker  find it difficult not to notice. The time and energy spend working out how this can be done forms part of the incredible creative journey. It is tough… it is time consuming… it is fulfilling. Even if the whole trip leaves you exhausted, every second of it is worth it.

From a personal POV these displays are amazing. Capturing the pure essence of each brand and making sure that it is a ‘killer-look’ display - to me the determination of each to make sure they are noticed. Even though it happens year after year it is always something new - something exciting.

It made me think… how about seeing this for real again? Maybe one could be walking the NYC streets oneself next year this time. Maybe one will stop, stand and stare. Maybe this trip to the magical NYC should be added to GOALS2016…