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November 16, 2016
MadeKnown awarded Best Brand Logo Identity

MadeKnown awarded Best Brand Logo Identity

Big smiles around the studio after hearing we have received the award for Best Brand/Logo Corporate Identity at the recent Queensland Multimedia Awards 2016 held in Cairns. “The award is for our rebranding work completed for the iconic Townsville business, Butcher on Bundock, which you can see a little bit more of here“ MadeKnown would […]

Big smiles around the studio after hearing we have received the award for Best Brand/Logo Corporate Identity at the recent Queensland Multimedia Awards 2016 held in Cairns.

Butcher_FB

“The award is for our rebranding work completed for the iconic Townsville business, Butcher on Bundock, which you can see a little bit more of here

MadeKnown would like to thank Lori Thomas of Lori Thomas Marketing and More for putting us forward for the project, for helping us get our heads in the game and also for the fantastic Townsville hospitality.

Thanks also to The Media Awards for their constant work spotlighting the high standard of work produced in regional Queensland.

We’re proud to add this award along side our previous win in the same category for Gracemere based business Big Z Hire and the two awards won for the retail website for HB&Co.

Lastly, a big shout out to Jamie Wright the owner of Butcher on Bundock for trusting us to create his new brand identity; a strong and unique look that mirrors the brand and business perfectly.

Now chop chop, enough said, back to work.

Trent Siddharta
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September 25, 2016
A quick brand analogy

A quick brand analogy

We get asked quite a bit at MadeKnown what a brand is, and invariably we describe it the same way; a brand is formed from a relationship. This more often than not is somewhat difficult for people to understand, eliciting comments such as “but my brand is my product or business?” or “my brand is […]

We get asked quite a bit at MadeKnown what a brand is, and invariably we describe it the same way; a brand is formed from a relationship.

This more often than not is somewhat difficult for people to understand, eliciting comments such as “but my brand is my product or business?” or “my brand is my logo”. To which we answer, no and hell no respectively.

If someone tells you they ‘do branding’ and then proceed to show you loads of logos, politely excuse yourself and then simply exit the building.

A brand is formed, moulded and ever changing through the interactions and relationships it has with its customers. An easy way towards understanding this completely is to describe it with an analogy.

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“A brand is like a person, or more rightly a friendship between people.”

You’ll likely agree that your idea or perception about who someone is, is formed from experience and affected and changed over time.

For example, you may form an opinion about someone when you first meet them. By how they look, their hair, their makeup, their style of clothes, their mannerisms, their physique, the car they drive and the music they listen to. This is their logo, a representation of who they believe they are and how they would like to be perceived. This image in itself has been formed, influenced and changed over time.

If you get a bad haircut or choose a new style of clothes, your friends soon let you know if it is right or wrong for you (or for who they believe you to be) and you may then make changes based on their opinions.

With this, we get closer to what a brand is.

You are obviously not only the sum of the clothes you wear, your haircut or your car… well, hopefully not anyway. Our perception of someone also comes from their personality, the things they do, they way they act, their culture, their values and beliefs, their morals and standards. From how they help old people to cross the street or to how they may steal candy from babies.

You can be the best of friends with someone and then one day they do something bad or wrong, and your perception of them changes. If they value your friendship they may take steps to redeem themselves, working to change your opinion of them.

Friendships are formed and made stronger or weaker through shared experiences, this works exactly the same for brands.  Which leads us to something very powerful.

A company can rarely dictate what their brand is, they can only influence it. Just as someone telling you they are your friend does not necessarily make it so, they need to earn the right, a brand needs to work to become positive in its consumer’s mind.

If someone is seen as being a good person it is usually because they have actually done good things, rather than simply by saying they have.

Like one of your friends, a brand is a perception you form about a business or product over time, purely from personal experience. This perception can ultimately only be changed through actions.

Although using how we develop friends is a great way to illustrate how brands develop, the role of people in actual brands is also incredibly strong.

To describe this simply, how many times have you been served in a store by a grumpy or non-helpful worker and thought, “I won’t shop here again”?

This is branding.

Trent Siddharta
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July 05, 2016
eCommerce – You can’t beat em’

eCommerce – You can’t beat em’

With over three quarters of Australia’s approximated 15.4 million internet users now making purchases online it’s of no surprise that a large proportion of local small to medium businesses are starting to feel the pinch. The rise of the online shopping juggernaut doesn’t look like abating in Australia either with sales on average increasing threefold […]

With over three quarters of Australia’s approximated 15.4 million internet users now making purchases online it’s of no surprise that a large proportion of local small to medium businesses are starting to feel the pinch.

The rise of the online shopping juggernaut doesn’t look like abating in Australia either with sales on average increasing threefold each year from 2011.

“In recent years there has been a definite mental shift with consumers turning away from the traditional form of shopping, dictated by the weather, parking, queues, product supply and throngs of other people. Far gone also are the days when consumers were uncomfortable using their credit cards online or giving up their personal details to cyber-shops.”

The money Australians spend online is projected to increase by about $10 billion (yes billion) within the next five years. Consumers may still be concerned about security online, but more and more are still prepared to buy from the web. Faster delivery, easier returns policies, and many sites offering free shipping all increase the desirability of online shopping.

Considering the current lack of economic confidence it’s understandable that consumers are shopping around or ‘Google Stalking’ as we like to say. With usually low overheads running an online business is also becoming a very desirable option for start-ups who are looking to make their mark by simply running an enterprise from their lounge room.

SMB’s (Small to Medium Businesses) themselves are using the internet more to research and find suppliers (84%) and to place orders for products and services (71%).

Online sales still continues to be, in the majority, small-ticket items with high-ticket items lagging far behind by comparison. That said, the research consumers now conduct online pre-purchase spans both high and low-ticket products. Knowledge is now a much more powerful sales tool for both seller and buyer and ignorance is no longer bliss, by a long shot.

So what does this mean to local and regional businesses that are seeing more and more of their client base turning to the internet to research and make purchases.

In short, if you can’t beat them, then join them.

The options available to businesses that traditionally sold locally in-store to now also sell online are great and ever growing.

A great place to start for even the most mildly tech savvy is often an eBay outlet or hosted eCommerce website such as on offer from companies like Shopify or BigCartel. Granted these options all take percentages of sales at different stages, have ongoing flat rate monthly costs or limitations in company branding and functionality but the pros of the larger shopper numbers they can deliver far outway the cons.

Of course, the more robust solution of a self-owned and branded eCommerce website is obviously the ideal, with sales going directly to your bank account and the order notification landing directly in your inbox ready to fulfil. While this option can often seem the most daunting it is definitely in reality far from the case.

Having a company website, whether simply a branded information resource or online shop, is now becoming a must for the majority of SMB’s anyway. While websites aren’t for every business, (Facebook and social media platforms are fantastic tools for businesses like hairdressers and coffee shops), they are now necessary tools that should be considered and built into business models of even the smallest start-up.

In the end though the only thing that is guaranteed, for not just the onliners but any business, is change. Embrace it or get left behind.

Trent Siddharta
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April 19, 2016
Understanding your audience

Understanding your audience

One of the first ports of call for any enterprise starting on the road to uncover their brand is to gain a thorough understanding of their target customers. Understanding your target customers is a critical step in determining your brand relationships and the conversations you have. Realistically, if you don’t know who you’re talking to […]

One of the first ports of call for any enterprise starting on the road to uncover their brand is to gain a thorough understanding of their target customers. Understanding your target customers is a critical step in determining your brand relationships and the conversations you have. Realistically, if you don’t know who you’re talking to it’s pretty hard sometimes knowing what to say.

‘Branding aside, understanding your target customers is also one of the most important points in any business plan as it helps to determine the right fit for your products or service.”

A great, and obvious, place to start in discovering your audience demographic is to gain an understanding of the generations and their lifestyles over the past 100 years or so. There are often many subsets to every target audience and the categories and boundaries of these and the generations continually blur and change, but it is still a great place to start and will help in gaining a basic understanding which can be further distilled down through more precise analytics.

Gen I

Also tagged as Gen Z, Alpha, the internet generation or iGen they’re the offspring of the youngest boomers. As this generation are still quite young theories and demographics for them are still under construction. What we do know is that this is the first generation born entirely into the internet era, and to parents who have already accepted and are immersed in technology. It is projected that Gen I will be the most formally educated with one in every two gaining a university degree.

Gen Y

Also known as Echo Boomer and Millennials they are the children of the Boomers, born around 1980-2000. Having grown up with computers this generation can be very responsive to internet campaigns, they process, mark and tag information quickly and can be especially loyal to brands and labels. They like things that are a bit quirky or left of centre and appreciate marketing that is innovative and humourous. Because of high costs of living they can often be found living at home or if not, still have parental support so usually have disposable income.

Gen X

Born between the early 60’s to the early 80’s, we also like to refer to them as ‘Friends’ (not our actual friends but the TV show Friends). An extremely large generation with many subcultures they are tech-smart, love to shop and can often be found sipping coffee and reading self-help books. They are now entering their peak earning and buying years but also like to save. Generally cynical, brands alone won’t sway this generation, they also need to know your product or service is good quality and value.

Boomers

Born after World War II and named basically because of the boom in births that occurred up until the 60’s. They are a massive generation in numbers and are now at many life stages: empty or full nesters, boomer grandparents, single, married, divorced etc. They are idealistic, driven and uncynical and the first generation who travelled on mass abroad for holidays and not to fight in a war. They evaluate advertising easily to determine its value and although are ageing still love life so youthfulness in marketing campaigns can be useful.

The Greatest Generation

A more American term (all of the early ones are really) this is the generation that grew up through the Great Depression, World War II and many great economic hardships. They were born between 1909-1945. They have obviously seen it all, over and over, when it comes to advertising so are a very smart consumer segment. They are the most careful and considering generation who want to know more about a business before they connect and buy. Just because they’re the oldest generation doesn’t mean they don’t use the internet though, usually with loads of grandchildren to buy presents for they are large contributors in the online shopping juggernaut. As they usually have pensions to rely on promoting the value in your products or services can be beneficial and as they are practical can be very loyal customers.

If your business audience is generation specific it will obviously be important to find out much more information than the above to help you in your brand, marketing or product development. Further research can then build on this through understanding areas such as target subcultures, location, income and purchasing power, family status and work and leisure activities.

Like to know more? General but detailed information is freely available from Census on population and housing from the Australian Bureau of Statistics http://www.abs.gov.au/census. Other than that, a little thing called the internet may be of use.

Trent Siddharta
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March 08, 2016
Spotlight on Queensland Creatives

Spotlight on Queensland Creatives

Story extracted from the interview by the very talented Lisa Herse about MadeKnown, as featured on the AGDA website. Creatives Fiona Booker and Trent Siddharta spent six years honing their skills in London for agencies such as Wolff Olins, The Team, Small Back Room and in-house at The Body Shop and Burberry. Upon returning to Australia, […]

Story extracted from the interview by the very talented Lisa Herse about MadeKnown, as featured on the AGDA website.

Creatives Fiona Booker and Trent Siddharta spent six years honing their skills in London for agencies such as Wolff Olins, The Team, Small Back Room and in-house at The Body Shop and Burberry. Upon returning to Australia, they saw potential in sunny Rockhampton with its nearby beaches and affordable lifestyle. In the scenic suburb of The Range, MadeKnown was born. Servicing over 40 clients within Australia and overseas, MadeKnown is a brand focused design agency proving that high calibre work can be done anywhere, regardless of location or time zone.

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 Fiona you’ve had a well rounded career as a designer, the last 10 years have been brand focused. Trent you’re highly experienced in all areas of design production, photography and retouching. You guys seem like the perfect team for running a design studio. Are there challenges to being both a couple and working together? What are the best and worst parts about it?

“We constantly find the hardest part is turning off our working life to have a ‘normal’ personal life. We’ve only ever worked in this industry and when we previously worked for other companies we gave ourselves an allotted hour after work where we ‘talked’ about our day and then got on with things. We now seem to be always on and the lines have definitely blurred.”
“It did take us a little while to get used to working together, mainly because Trent talks incessantly, but we’re really good friends at the most basic level so it’s quite a comfortable arrangement.”

Had you always intended to run your own studio or was it born out of requirement after moving to Central Queensland?

“A bit of both really. Having worked in loads of different agencies and seeing the different ways people operated their business and studios we each had our own ideals of running a studio. We always talked about running our own company but probably didn’t plan on doing it quite so soon upon returning to Australia. When we arrived in Rockhampton we soon found a large gap in the market for a quality brand focused agency – there just wasn’t really anyone offering it, mostly your regular website and local graphic design agencies.”

MadeKnown has been operating for 3 years now, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced as Creatives running your own business?

“Just the usual tape recorded reply of ‘wearing more hats’. We both already covered a lot of areas creatively but have had to also learn to be receptionist, telemarketer, accounts, sales, customer relations and PR. Trent is naturally good with people but crap with money so I got accounting, he got everything else. We really laugh about this all now and want to ring our old bosses to apologise for being painful as we understand realistically now the different pressures of running a business.”

You currently employ freelancers for specific roles as you need them, are there also opportunities to nurture young up and coming designers in Rockhampton and the surrounds? And how would you like to be able to do that?

“We both credit a large part of our current abilities to what we’ve learned in our previous roles, employed outside of MadeKnown, so appreciate the importance that sharing takes to grow knowledge and careers. Being thrown in the deep end is a cliché but one that fits, we’ve both learnt an amazing amount on the job and from mentors and would love to eventually be in a position to employ young talented designers to repay our pasts. We’re quite specific and particular about what we do though so it would be a character building hell trip for anyone we employ. Liking Metal music would probably be the first hurdle.”

Your clients are incredibly diverse – from distinctly regional customers to national brands like RID Insect Repellent and internationally recognised luxury fashion house Burberry. What is it about MadeKnown and the way you work that’s allowed you to design for such a diverse client list?

“Continually learning about different industries and new client businesses is what we enjoy the most, it’s one of our points of difference. We don’t hold much stock in peddling the same things to each client, they’re all different and so is our service to each of them. Burberry came about from Trent working in-house for them in their Westminster offices in London. They’re comfortable knowing we understand who they are and their standards so it wasn’t a leap of faith to send us work. The time difference is a great benefit as they can send a project at the end of their day and we have it ready when they arrive the following morning.”
“The majority of our work has come from word of mouth and recommendations, which is how we ended up working with RID. They’re based in Townsville and are zealous like us about the quality of regional work so it’s a good match.”

When working with regional clients, have you encountered any barriers around the value of design and brand?

“Definitely, but it’s more a lack of information around what constitutes a brand rather than not valuing it. We’re big on educating and empowering our clients about this, which is partly where our name stems from. We find there is a slow realisation happening in businesses everywhere now, whether metropolitan or regional, that the traditional standalone tactical forms of marketing aren’t as effective anymore. Educating people that branding is more about fostering relationships rather than slapping a logo on a letterhead is hugely important. The word ‘brand’ is greatly overused. We call it the ‘B’ word, our new swear word.”

Working for such high calibre agencies as you have done often exposes designers to new ways of working and thinking. What’s some of the best things you’ve learnt from your time overseas that you’ve been able to apply to your work at MadeKnown?

Fiona: “The confidence to do presentations, the best piece of advice given to me was know back-to-front the first couple minutes of your presentation and the rest will come.”

Trent: “Presentations as well, tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.”

“For both of us; constantly revisiting ideas and situations to ensure they’re on track and they still apply, generally having a more critical eye for finer details and considering things from many more viewpoints.”

For many creatives inner-city life provides inspiration and a sense of connection. How does this notion fit with you, especially after living and working in a place like London? Where does your inspiration now come from?

“Regional living is culturally different on a local level but we definitely don’t feel isolated. London was fantastic and we still bounce ideas back and forth with friends and mentors there, as well as throughout Australia. We spend time every day catching up on industry news, trends topics etc online through sites like Design Week, AGDA, BrandNew and we get the usual barrage of industry blog newsletters in our inboxes. The biggest source of our inspiration has always come from the same place regardless of where we live, which is our clients and their businesses. It sounds wet I know but they inspire us to do more and that anything is possible.”

Can you tell us about any Queensland artists, designers, illustrators that have caught your attention lately?

“Driven in Brisbane are great story tellers and their work is really textural which we like. Tara Hale is a great illustrator and I always like to see what she is up to. One of our clients in Rocky, HB&Co, design and make the most amazing furniture.”

Do you have any advice for creatives considering the move to a regional area? And also to anyone who may be thinking about starting their own design studio?
  • Understand the area you’re moving to and have a business and marketing plan.
  • Be patient, smaller communities are very loyal.
  • Everyone knows everyone so watch what you say.
  • Face to face is best, email doesn’t always cut it. This applies everywhere.
  • Get a really good Accountant, they may be bean counters but they’re awesome.
  • Don’t skimp on the sound system, you can put on more socks when it’s cold but you can’t turn up tinny speakers.

FAST FACTS:

Your creative hero:
Fiona: Johnson Banks.
Trent: Anthony Peters IMEUS Design in Brighton UK, Antony Micallef.

Your ideal project: Any new brand.

Your favourite podcast/blog:
Trent: Designspiration.
Fiona: BrandNew Under Consideration.

Your hidden talent:
Trent: Patience.
Fiona: Working with Trent.

 

See the original article on AGDA here
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November 04, 2015
Evolution, not revolution

Evolution, not revolution

Refreshing your logo doesn’t necessarily mean throwing it all out and starting again. Quite often small changes are all that’s required to update its look, usability and improve brand perception. So, when do you know it’s time for a redesign? • The logo looks dated • The logo doesn’t reflect your business any more • […]

Refreshing your logo doesn’t necessarily mean throwing it all out and starting again. Quite often small changes are all that’s required to update its look, usability and improve brand perception.

So, when do you know it’s time for a redesign?

• The logo looks dated
• The logo doesn’t reflect your business any more
• Your products and services have changed
• The logo is inconsistently used
• You’re not reaching your target audience

What are the benefits of refreshing your logo?

• Ensure your image keeps up to date in an ever-changing marketplace
• Expand your reach to new customers and audiences
• Create excitement and build brand equity in your existing customer’s mind
• Inject new life into the business

Take a look at some recent examples which illustrate just how subtle changes can refresh tired logos.

Before / After

logos_3

As you can see, the refinements focus on the careful adjustment of typography, its spacing and sizing. These subtle changes instantly make the logos crisper, cleaner, more refined and bring them into now. Sometimes, that’s all that’s really needed.

Fiona Booker
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October 16, 2015
Extreme trust – The new customer imperative

Extreme trust – The new customer imperative

Don Peppers, regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on customer experience, spoke at the World Business Forum in a session hosted by Australia Post, where he presented the compelling case for using technology to deliver frictionless and human customer experiences that engender what Peppers refers to as ‘extreme trust’. Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos […]

Don Peppers, regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on customer experience, spoke at the World Business Forum in a session hosted by Australia Post, where he presented the compelling case for using technology to deliver frictionless and human customer experiences that engender what Peppers refers to as ‘extreme trust’.

Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos says it’s already too late by the time you’re ‘doing customer service’, because the best service is when the customer doesn’t need to call or talk to you. It just works!

As a customer service trailblazer, Amazon champions empathy as well as ease. So it not only recommends a book based on like-minded purchases, it’ll also warn you if there’s a chance your next purchase is a double-up.

Raving fans probably say they love Amazon because it not only helps them make informed choices, but also avoid simple mistakes.

Then doesn’t that really just mean that Amazon’s customers ‘love’ a line of code? No, insists global marketing authority on customer relationship, Don Peppers. They love the fact that the intent behind each one of those automations revolves entirely around their needs, not Amazon’s.

Peppers believes that every marketer can powerfully leverage technology, as Amazon does, to deliver humanity and empathy at scale.

 

1. Customers are now assets, capital… and disrupters

Google, AirBNB and Uber have no warehouses, inventory or SKUs. The value of their businesses lie in their customer base.

Customers now create more value, more quickly than any other single business asset. Intangible assets registered all but zero on S&P’s 500 market cap 30 years ago. By 2010 they accounted for almost 60% and customers for >30%.

But customers now also have zero latency, rising expectations and access to an unparalleled source of information, making them our greatest potential disrupters and threat as well. Particularly as they’re so enabled in community clusters on both a micro and macro scale.

So it’s telling that the number one trait identified amongst successful disruptive start-ups like Buzzfeed, WhatsApp and Snapchat is their visionary customer advocacy.

 

2. F before E: A frictionless experience comes first

According to Peppers, a ‘frictionless’ customer experience must be the starting point because customers are like electricity and water. They’ll seek the path of least resistance. If they encounter friction, they’ll move on before you even know who they are.

Whether you build deep linking directly into your web or mobile app, provide a ‘call me’ button on your website, or launch proactive in-session support chat triggered by a customer’s circuitous clickstream around your FAQs, use technology to eliminate every single obstacle for customers.

 

 3. There’s no such thing as an algorithm for trust

Computers don’t trust people. Only people trust people, so humanity and empathy will always be important.

Peppers believes that earning a customer’s trust is based on two factors; competence (doing things right) and good intentions (doing the right thing).

Competence can be automated, but good intentions; authenticity and proactively championing your customers’ interests, is less likely to reveal itself in an algorithm. Empathy lies at the heart of trust and at least for the foreseeable future, it’s not a computer’s strong point.

 

4. The more we interact the more we need to trust

Zuckerberg’s Law of Information Sharing predicts that every 20 years we interact a thousand times more with others. Sound far-fetched? Two decades ago there were no smartphones, tablets, cloud storage and the start of real social networking was some years away.

With the same exponential increase expected in the next 20 years, trust will become even more important because it makes interactions not only transparent, but much more efficient.

Peppers believes it’s therefore essential that companies embrace what he refers to as proactive trustworthiness, because customers will not just expect but also assume you’ve put them first, pre-emptively and before all else.

 

5. Call centres will become cloud counsellors

Technology is enabling deflection of customer issues via automation. Which means there will be fewer and fewer of them that reach a call centre, but the ones that do will be ‘escalated’ issues that require more empathy than ever before.

With over 50% of customer calls in the US now a result of a failed or unresolved website session, the very nature of call centres is evolving.

With cloud technology, agents no longer even need to be centralised, but more importantly, the issues they attend to will be more acute and less predictable. Agents will need to provide bespoke solutions that are more emotionally nuanced and deftly negotiated.

 

6. E = Empathy squared (powering up your people)

Empathy can be an abstract concept and open to interpretation. It’s fluid, it’s intuitive, it’s imprecise. Even academics have found no fewer than 40 definitions for it.

In the world of customer experience and particularly resolution, it’s more than just a dialogue. It’s a delicate dance with some fairly complex footwork.

So as Peppers points out, delivering humanity to your customers will require that companies trust and empower employees in ways that are not only self-organising but equally empathetic.

Self-organising cultures inspire workers to want to provide a better customer experience, so Peppers urges companies to furnish them with the power to act and react with humanity and empathy. In doing so, they’ll not only become your greatest customer champions but also your most inspired company ‘storytellers’.

 

The business gold dust in extreme trust

For your customers, it all starts with systematically removing every pain point or obstacle to deliver a truly frictionless experience.

It is only then that you should proactively champion interactions, both automated or human, that demonstrate you genuinely have customers’ best interests at heart, are looking out for them, and are in turn worthy of their valuable trust.

Because the customer journey shouldn’t only be about the path of least resistance. It should promise and deliver much more; not just a frictionless experience but one that’s human and trustable. If it’s these three things, then the customer path will be one that’s paved with gold for all who embark upon it.

Article taken from the Australia Post white paper – Trust or Bust: Six reasons why ‘extreme trust’ is the new customer imperative. Authored 4.6.15 by Lucia Elliott – Creighton Ward
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October 12, 2015
Cut through for start-ups

Cut through for start-ups

For many start-up businesses constraints of time and finances create early limitations on how much focus can be placed on branding, marketing and promotion. In a world where everything is at your fingertips and so many similar businesses competing for the same work, it’s important to create a good first impression. Your logo, identity and […]

For many start-up businesses constraints of time and finances create early limitations on how much focus can be placed on branding, marketing and promotion. In a world where everything is at your fingertips and so many similar businesses competing for the same work, it’s important to create a good first impression. Your logo, identity and marketing material are how your potential customers first see and hear about you.

duck

“If you walk like a duck and talk like a duck, unless you’re selling ducks, you may be giving the wrong impression and lose business before you’ve had the chance to talk about it.”

When you’re not there to justify and support your product or service, then who’s doing it for you? If your budget allows, invest in a professional to create your logo and identity. They can offer loads of advice and work with you to translate your ideas and set you on the right path to begin marketing yourself.

One of the most powerful ways to market a business today is through an online presence. Today’s ease of access and connectivity, the fact that people are spending more of their time browsing to look for information to help form their decisions is testament to this.

The difficulty for most start-ups is deciding how to monopolise on this and which avenue to take. Websites, social media and blogs all have their obvious merits but which is the best one to choose?

If current trends and performances are anything to go by the answer to this question is all three, or at least as many as you can handle. If you can only choose one, research your audience and determine the avenue which best reaches them.

Websites are arguably still the most effective way to control and convey your own specific brand, products, services and messages. With few limitations and restrictions your website is a unique space where you can deliver compelling information to persuade prospects into customers. With no advertising and feed distractions to compete with it can be a purely branded and business focussed portal where you own and control the whole message.

Website analytics add to this with the ability to capture rich information about your prospective and existing customers. This sheds light onto what is working with your website, its content and messaging and deep insight into how you can improve it. Rich analytics offers you an understanding into your customers, their needs and requirements, which allows you to ultimately deliver more value to them which strengthens your relationship.

Social media and especially Facebook with its 1.23 billion monthly users worldwide (about one-sixth of the worlds population and 12 million of these in Australia), is definitely not one to be ignored. Used well it is an indispensable tool to connect and engage a much larger audience and encourage them towards your website where they can be informed in more detail of your products or services.

Most social media in its basic form is free to use and easy to navigate so gets an obvious tick as a valuable business tool. Most people using Facebook for personal use for example would already have a source of eager salespeople in their existing connected friends. Simply asking them to ‘like’ a new business page easily opens you up to a much larger audience.

If you’re willing to invest a little you are also able to easily promote your Facebook page by targeting specific groups and demographics that are specific to your marketplace increasing your audience once again.

Google+ another social network to soon rival Facebook currently has 400 million+ monthly users and can be utilised in the same way to broadcast to a broader audience once again directing them to a more focussed view of your business.

With a multitude of free blogging sites like WordPress, Blogger, Google+, Tumblr you need minimal web knowledge to create your own blog and get an online presence. Blogging has a wide range of benefits for businesses. Used clearly and consistently it has the capability to not only develop and strengthen brands and reach new customers but to build influential communities to exchange information, reviews, solutions and opinions.

So, should every event-based business have an online presence? Well, if you’re looking to grow your business in a competitive market, than yes. If done correctly a website is a silent selling tool operating 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Fiona Booker
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