25 Tips to be Consistent With Your Brand

Recently, I was researching a business and came across its Facebook page. The cover image was great + conveyed a strong message with the logo prominently placed. I know exactly who they are. But the little square profile image that shows up in my newsfeed is different (I noticed because I do branding). You know what though? New potential customers like you + me who like that page will never notice that brand’s updates in our newsfeeds because it’s the wrong, outdated logo.

On social platforms all we see is that little square profile image and if you have a different image, icon or logo then how do people know it's you

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The 5 Senses of Your Clients’ Brand Experience

By definition, brand experience is the perception that a customer develops from a brand’s various actions. It's all the touchpoints that a customer has with a brand. Touchpoint’s being websites, ads, commercials, packaging, customer service reps, etc. 

A customer’s brand experience stems from every piece + part of your business.

I’ve always had the philosophy that everything in your business...

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Get all Warm + Fuzzy: 3 Tips for a Stellar Brand Experience

You know that warm + fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve just popped into the Coach Outlet to grab a quick gift for your bestie {and happen to pick up a new wallet for yourself} and the girl that is ringing up your purchase is meticulously wrapping your gift {and your gift to yourself} in tissue paper with a little sticker and gingerly putting it in the bag?

That’s when you know you have had an experience.

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The ultimate guide to finding inspiration: 35 ideas for sparking creativity

It’s a crisp fall day and leaves are painting the horizon in rich orange, yellow + red hues. Steam rolls off the top of your warm pumpkin spice latte as you watch a light morning mist lift up over the hills. In this quiet moment your mind expands + potential ideas bubble to the surface sparking infinite possibilities.

This. This is inspiration. A muse. Your muse.

This is where art + science + technology comes from. Were innovations to make our world better are formed.

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Brand Positioning: It’s not you, it’s me. Actually, it’s you. You’re boring.

Branding is a hot topic around these parts (parts = my office chair). I’m obsessed with lots of things but brand strategies is in my top 3 along with close, authentic relationships and ‘Hot Now’ Krispy Kreme Donuts. The inventor of Spanx is a billionaire because donuts {and bacon} are delicious (honestly, I can’t take credit for that one because I saw it in a birthday card the other day).

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Bringing Cocktail Napkin Ideas to Reality

It’s Thursday afternoon. And a long week already. You think your brain is about to explode because there is so much going on. Your business buddy texts you, “hey, what are you doing for happy hour? Wanna get a drink and catch up?” That sounds about perfect right now. The daily grind of working on this and that and demanding clients has you a bit down. And not only do you love a good cold libation you love the conversation you can have with someone who understands what you're going through. It is always a good motivator to chat with someone else who just GETS IT...

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2014’s Hot Messes Lead to 2015 Hotness

Hey Darlin’
 
Every year I make a couple New Year’s Resolutions that I get all hot + heavy over like that sultry summer love affair and 2 weeks in I’m crawling back to my old familiar ways.
 
Not this year. I’m not falling for the bad boy of business hype. I’m going for the good guy that wants a long lasting relationship that keeps on giving + giving.
 
I’ve been watching (and not in a creepy peeping Tom kinda way), all year long, and the #1 challenge I see you having is… organizing your business ops to make good marketing talk.
 
That’s why I’m declaring 2015 the Year of the Champagne Thursday.
 
I’m on a mission to get you popping a bottle of bubbly and gabbing about business, branding and booze (for the love of Ryan Gosling, let’s talk booze).
 
Here’s just a tasting what we have cooking for 2015:
 
:: We’re revamping our emails. I’m like pee-my-pants excited about this one. Every month our little corner of the business world will get a Happy Day present from us. Its gonna be something fun + useful that you’ll love and be able to use that very day.
 
:: While we’re revamping lots in 2015, we’re still here to help you with a branding session or workshop, marketing campaigns including social media + implementing business strategies that work for you.
 
:: You’ll hear from us on Champagne Thursdays. We’re officially making the last Thursday of the month Champagne Thursday cuz you know… its Thursday and all. And in between those you will catch us over on the blog or chatting it up on social media for #motivationalmonday or #winewendsdays, maybe #funfactfriday or (my personal favorite) #caturday
 
:: In addition to all that fun stuff I just mentioned, you can expect to get little presents from us like… THIS. (Hint: It’s a super handy resource list of what we use to stay semi-sane.)
 
That’s my New Year hot trends list.
 
What about you? What are your big plans for 2015? Hit the reply button and give us the juice gossip about:
 
In 2015, I’m totally committed to _________________ and I’m SO excited about ___________________.
 
Can’t wait to tip it back and let the inspirations flow with you.
 
Here’s to the happiest of happy New Years!
 
xoxo,
Ronii

Information Overload: 3 Strategies to Make Your Marketing Good

Buy this! Get this FREE! Sign-up Here! Get our new product here!

Our world is loaded with these and many other demands. Everyone is trying to get you to buy their product or get you on their mailing list. Let’s face it… it’s what we call Marketing! And you know what… we DO it too! We want your business and for you to like us, just like everyone else. And I bet you want people to buy into what you are selling or offering and like you too. It’s all part of your marketing too!

So how do you get your target to bite without sounding pushy or being like everyone else? How can you stand out from all the rest? With the information overload that your potential target market is on, how can you make them see AND trust you? Luckily for you, I came up with some helpful tips that we live by at B&A, and so should you.

Our top 3 tips to help you get through the information overload:

  1. Be yourself: Yes I said it… BE. YOURSELF. No one wants to buy into a fake personality or product. We preach that the brand of your company is what you do and why you do it. It’s about you. You can’t sell something you’re not and be successful. You have to be yourself. Your target will know if you are not sincere or authentic. Humans communicating to humans, what a novel concept. (and yes, I am aware that we have beat this to death in everything we write, but IT’S THE TRUTH AND NEEDS TO HAPPEN!)
  2. Know your target: You can’t market to everyone all the time. You have to know who it is that needs your product or service and can’t live without it. Part of knowing your target is also knowing how to reach them. Not everyone loves Facebook or Twitter. Oh let’s just say that you are an engineer. Chances are your target prefers email over social media avenues. So to market to that target, put your information into an email strategy. Now if your targets are young professionals between the ages of 23-35, chances are very high that adding a social media strategy into your marketing mix will resonate with this target group. Know who it is that needs what you are offering and how to reach them… we CANNOT stress this enough.
  3. Make your information fun: As you know, we love Champagne. So we created our Champagne Thursdays. Even wrote an ebook with our top 5 marketing tips paired with our favorite Champagne recipes (if you don’t have yours, go here to get our free ebook. Shameless, I know!). Along the way we have added Wine Wednesdays and the B&A book club to our social mix. What is something fun that you do in your business or with your employees? USE IT!! Market it, tell your peers and talk about it, put it to your advantage to stand out and be a little different. Make your information fun! Don’t make everything so business-y, business-y.  Offer your uncorked (yeah, see what I did there… another reference to Champagne) idea as a free gift. Draw them in to buy what you really want them to. If they like you and trust you, they will love the information you are giving them.

Being in today’s market as a small business, you need to have a great personality and stand out above the rest. That will get you noticed. So hopefully you are following the 3 tips we laid out for ya. If not, maybe you should start. Have fun with your business and make it fun for your customers and clients.

xoxoxo,

 

To Post, Or Not to Post: The Social Media Conundrum

To Post or Not To Post - Social Media Marketing.png

Ever wonder if your friends actually read your social media posts? Do the people that you associate with on a daily basis know what you do for a living?

Over the past several months I have pondered on these questions a lot. It could be because some of my friends will ask me “What is Bartles & Associates?” “Are you in sales?” “What type of marketing do you do?” “Why couldn’t you come to lunch on Friday?” “Who is Ronii?” and the list goes on and on and on…. Sometimes I want to just look at them and say “REALY?!?!?! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT? ARE YOU LIVING UNDER A ROCK?”

I am pretty sure the answer to all those questions is somewhere on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn page. #Justsaying…

It makes me wonder, do people get on social media just to post what they are doing and don’t care to see what their network is up too? Are people really that self-centered that they want you to know what they are doing but don’t care about what is going with you?

And then I have those friends, that are like…”Didn’t you see her status this morning?” Or “How could you not know what B&A is, just look at the post from yesterday?” This makes me feel better. Because obviously someone did read what I took the time to write and let the world know. You guys ROCK!!!!

In today’s society, we post everything from what we had for dinner, to who we ran into at the store, to how our job is going, to…. (you fill in the blank here) as a status on our social media pages. So you would think that everyone around you knows what is going or what you do. Right? Or is this just my thinking? Because working for B&A, selling Premier Designs Jewelry, being a Mom and just being me… I post A LOT about my day, from pics of my boys to what is going on at B&A and my life, on FB, Instagram and Twitter, and I have many friends that do that same thing.

I mean come on… running a business and working for a business I need to get my information out there, right? Plus as a Mom, I need to vent and know that I am not the only one dealing with the crap my 4 and 6 year olds do. It’s a way of being heard and understood. So it only makes sense that my peeps should know what B&A is and what I do there. (Cause really I talk about it ALL THE DAMNED time). Or why I couldn’t make lunch on Friday… because I was reading to my son’s class and tutoring a child that needs some extra help. If you read my FB post you would know that. Thank you to my peeps that know and call everyone else out on it. ;)

Being a business owner, I am sure you have similar concerns whether or not people are reading your posts on your social media pages. We have that same concern at B&A too. My advice is to not give up and keep telling people about your business and about yourself. Eventually it will catch on. That’s what we do at B&A because someone somewhere is reading them and passing on our content. Today’s life revolves around social media. Your information is out there and is being read by someone (probably us, we read a lot). Everyone else will catch on. Be yourself and it will pay off!

What are some of your social media concerns? Or how have you combated the social media battles of do they see/read it? What are some of your best social media tips or tricks to spread the word about that great thing you do?

xoxo,

Jenn.png

Taa Daa - New Website! Why We Switched

So if you haven't noticed... we have a new website. If you didn't notice, you must be living under a rock or something. You may have also noticed that in this re-design we changed things up a bit (I really mean a lot). Not only do we have a new look but we have some new offerings and a new flow to our business. And I'm sure that many people are totally confused because I preach consistency, consistency, consistency. But I have a business case for why we are changing things.

Even though I love research and data, I'm a creative at heart. And as a creative I get bored easily. But that definitely was not the driving factor of this re-design. While our old website was beautiful, it didn't reflect who we are today. Our style has evolved and changed over the years as well as the direction and service offerings of the company. Creatively, the old website was a conglomerate of several team members that are no longer with the organization and the impression it was making was starting to pull away from who we are now and where we want the brand to go. That was actually reason #2.

Reason #1: The bigger reason for the switch is a platform version change. I'm a huge fan of Squarespace. I have been on SQSP5 for a long time and fell in love with it the moment I signed up but it just wasn't functioning the way I wanted it too. As you may recall in a previous post that we had a rough summer. Over the past 6 months we have been working away in our Champagne Thursdays on the strategic direction of the company. I have made no secret about how I'm tired of the consulting business model and exchanging minutes for dollars. It just isn't scalable, hence making it hard to monetize. I have been working on a product line up for years and have been dragging my feet partly because I couldn't figure out how to sell downloadable products on the SQSP5 platform and it seemed like a daunting task to figure it out (I'm not an html expert and I don't really want to be). In the past year, I have put a couple of my clients on the SQSP6 version of the platform and fell even more in love. And guess what, e-commerce are already built in.  Even for digital products and services! Wha, wha!

I actually started talking about a new website in the spring and drug my feet on that too because I spent so much money building the old website. I wanted to get as much out of that site as I could because I was so invested in it, monetarily. But it just wasn't functioning the way I wanted it too. I couldn't sell products. I couldn't make changes easily. The blog layout wasn't the most optimized. But I had invested so much time and money in it! And it was pretty and people loved it. I had people all the time tell me how much they loved our website. It has been a struggle for me for a long time letting it go and deciding it was time for a change. It was time for a functionality, design and business model change.  Functionality being the main driver.

I played with the idea of a brand refresh too. That was a different business decisions that I made and will talk about more in the future. But in the meantime, I hope that you love our new look as much as we do. We are so excited to have a refreshed look and flow to the site. Throughout the whole process the motto was 'simple and authentic' and I feel that we achieved that. We want people to understand what we do and how we can help your business and I hope this new site gets that message across. There will be lots more coming over the next 6 months as we develop all the tools and trainings and we will keep you posted when those are available. 

Until next time, be cool man, 

Ronii.png

The Elusive WOW Factor: 7 Tips to get the WOW

Generally, when I'm working with someone I ask what they are they looking for from their marketing and business and the answer I get 9 times out of 10 is, "I don't know, I just want the WOW Factor."

What does that mean?

My wow factor is different from your wow factor, which is different from the next person's wow factor. Use your words people. What does that mean?

Someone might look at the work I do and think, "that chick is nuts, how could anyone work with her." Obviously, they would be right but that's another post for another day. But others love it and want more of my WOW Factor. So what is that wow factor and how do you get it?

The elusive WOW Factor is that 'thing' that makes people go 'whoa.' For some it is in the look and the design, the visual. For others it is the words you use and how you make them feel. But regardless, the wow factor grabs you by the balls and makes you say, "how you doin'?"

Some tips that we use when creating the wow,

 

  1. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail: Do I really need to explain this again? You must plan and you must set goals for any project and that especially includes your marketing and branding.
  2. Be consistent: I feel like I say this over and over and over... and over. Please people, if you never ever work with us or you hate us and never read another post, please take this advise. Be consistent with your brand acorss all medias. That means no different logos that are just slightly changed to fit the piece you are working with.
  3. Be differnt: No one ever remembered the status quo. Did you? Remember, sometimes even bad press is good press. Case in point, Miley Cyrus' twerking VMA disaster. You think that was a coincidence that she had an album coming out like the next week?
  4. Stand for something: Dammit! What do you stand for? Shout that from the rooftops and hold your ground regardless of the naysayers. 
  5. Less is more: This is self explanatory. Size really doesn't matter.
  6. Know your customer's wow factor: You have to know who your target customer is and what makes them go "whoa, how you doin'?" Because that's when they buy from you.
  7. Use your words: While we are living a visual world, the word is still powerful. We still need to use bold, desciptive words like kumquat. Don't be a kumquat.

 

This WOW Factor thing isn't all that easy if you aren't clear on what you do, and more importantly, why you do it. I'll be honest. I struggle with this for B&A as well. I like to over-analyze and over-complicate things that I lose clarity sometimes. I'm currently going through that where I'm getting back to the roots of why I started this company and how I serve others with my work. I'll sit down with a glass of champagne (go figure) and work out a new plan and then go from there with all the other points to get my mojo (or WOW Factor if you will) back. It's all coming together soon.

What's your thoughts? Use your words and tell us how do you capture your WOW Factor or what brand just that somethin, somethin. Until the next big things comes along...

be cool man,

It Is What It Is… Or is It?

It is what it is… if there is one saying that I ABSOLUTELY hate in the world today is this one… It is what it is! NO IT BLOODY HELL IS NOT! Sorry! I get a little angry when I hear that saying. Even when I say it, I get all fired up and start cussing and shit! Ooops… I did it again. Isn’t that a Brittney Spears song from when she was cool? But I digress.

Is it really what it is? I don’t think so. I think that's a cop out for people that are afraid of change or don’t know how to fix whatever it is in their life that needs fixin’ (that’s my southern girl coming out).

Whether you are in a job that you can’t stand, a relationship that is no longer working or your four year old cries all the time when he doesn’t get his way (YES that is my child. My god that child seems to cry all the damn time. He has cried from the time he entered this world). Yes, I spoil the crap out of him because he is my baby but does he have to cry all the time when he doesn’t get his way. It is what it is… right? Ugh. Sorry got off on a tangent there. Where was I… oh yeah, whatever that little thing is that is bothering you…FIX IT! It is not what it is! People change, jobs change, environments change… it is ok if you change too. Don’t let it be… it is what it is. If you can fix it, fix it!

Now how does this apply to your marketing you ask? Do you ever say 'it is what it is' about your marketing campaign? (Don’t you hate it when someone answers a question with a question?) Don’t let your marketing be… well… it is what it is. If it isn’t working, change it. It’s your business, right? Now remember don’t change your brand message or story, people identify you by that. Keep your brand your anchor (don’t know what we mean, check out this article Ronii did for SheOwnsIt.com). But change up the rest of your marketing if it has gotten to the 'it is what it is' point. Add a freebie for your new customers, like we did with our new ebook. (You can sign up and get it right over there <-. I know. Don’t judge me).

Change your marketing around. Don’t use the same ones all the time, particularly if it doesn’t work. I give you permission to break up with that old, out-dated marketing that doesn’t work anyway. That feels good doesn’t it? Like a weight has been lifted. You know you could reach new customers by trying different marketing, right? So go out there and don’t let your marketing or your life be… IT IS WHAT IT IS! It doesn’t have to be.

Is your marketing 'it is what it is'? What are you going to do to change it? Let us know in the comments below.

xoxo,

The Next Big Thing in Marketing: Crowdfunding

Last week I attended the Charleston AMA Signature Luncheon on crowdfunding. Have you heard of it? Of course you have. If not, you have probably heard of crowdsourcing. Whole different ball game. Crowdsourcing is the polling of consumer perceptions and trends (my marketing speciality) where as crowdfunding is more along the lines of a marketing campaign that raises capital. John Osborne from fundingcharleston.com was our speaker and talked about how crowdfunding can create brand loyalists. If you weren't there, you totally missed it. It was awesome! You should join AMA so you don't miss out on cool stuff like this. But I digress.

So, why is this important to you? Because as the marketing industry grows and evolves, marketers and business owners will look for new ways to reach potential customers. In the past few years social media has come on the scene as a marketing channel big time and we have all been experimenting with it to 'figure out' how we can make it work for our particular businesses and brands. While that has been great sometimes marketing strategies can get stale. Not your brand, your marketing (If you are little confused you can check out my article Make Your Brand Your Anchor and you'll understand what I mean.) And, I think crowdfunding is the next big thing in marketing communication to keep us fresh. And I'm super excited for it!

In 2012, over $2.7 BILLION were funded to projects. With platforms like kickstarter.com and fundingcharleston.com there are all kinds of opportunities for businesses to reach new audiences. Crowdfunding is the perfect opportunity to create brand loyalists. These are your early adopters and favorite-est (that's a real word that I just made up) clients. By getting them in as a "founding partner" on new products or services you make any cusomer brand loyal to your company. Brand loyalists will always have your back and they will talk and talk and talk about your company and really you can't get any better marketing than that (not that I'm trying to work myself out of a job but I kinda am).

While there are several different points to make a crowdfunding campaign successful, the biggest thing to start with is an amazing story. I preach this all the time - storytelling. It has to be compelling and concise because people love a good story but their attention span is only, like, 5 seconds. That is where a marketing and branding firm or copywriter comes in and can really help you hone that message (Ahem, someone like, I don't know, us. Wink, wink).

I love this idea of crowdfunding as a marketing and branding strategy. I think it gets back to the root of communicating a brand story and why businesses came up with concepts that solve consumers problems. And it makes consumers investors in products, services and brands they love. Hell, you may see one for B&A soon. Tell us, have you ventured into crowdfunding yet? What strategies worked for you?

xoxo,

Its Hard. Running a Business

Its hard, this running a business thing. I get it. I have one too. Believe me. Its hard. And time consuming. And draining. And frustrating. And painful. And happy. And then sad. And successful. And then failure (in no particular order). And, well, hard. Its all these things all balled up into one big jumble of emotions. I tell people all the time.

I'm like a great Monet masterpeice, from afar its beautiful and put together but when you get up close its just a chaotic mess. (That's a tweetable for ya!)

I go through successful and painful moments just like you do in your business. And some weeks are just an absolute shit storm. But you only see the good parts. Because that's what I want you see, right? Admit it, you do it too. I'm sharing with you some of the 'reality' parts that your never get to see this week.

 

  1. I had 2 employees quit. Well, 1 quit and the other I think quit. I don't really know but her Facebook says she left our firm.
  2. Not 1 but 3 websites had 'emergencies' this week. I'm still dealing with one that I can't figure out what's wrong. (Hopefully by the time this gets posted it will be solved.)
  3. The venue for a luncheon didn't have us on the schedule and we were at the last minute scrambling to get that taken care of only to be told that we had to pay in full in advance. (That ended up going off without a hitch and no one was the wiser.)
  4. I think I hate my website. Not really hate. I really do like it but it just isn't meeting my company's need anymore and it may be time for a change. I don't know though because I spent a lot of money on this website less that 2 years ago.
  5. In addition to the website, I might be having an identity crisis too.
  6. There is no stability in my daily schedule and it is all over the place not leaving me any time to work on (or in for that matter) my business.
  7. I'm re-doing my home office so everything is out of it and scattered everywhere making my brain scattered and I have company coming in less than a day.

 

I work with several small business owners and my issues seem to be not uncommon (I realize that's a double negative) from any one of them. Even the most successful and established businesses I work with seem to be re-thinking, re-working and re-organizing their businesses and structure recently. It seems to be a constant battle. Its the nature of the entreprenuer. We are always solving problems and creating ideas. If you don't like change then entreprenuership is not for you, my friend. It is constantly changing and constantly chaotic.

At B&A you'll see some of those changes soon and you may just see a new website. I'm going to switch up a few of my blog entries so that you can see the inside workings of what running this business looks like. I know you want to know (wink, wink). You know how I know. Because I know that you know that I know about something. You know? Really though, because I want to see the inside of your business and know that I'm not the only one out here that has the same decisions to make. So if you ask me where I want to go for happy hour and I say, 'I don't care.' Know that I really don't care. That is one decision I don't really care to make because as long as they have champagne, wine or beer I don't really care where it is. I make decisions all day long and by happy hour I don't want to make anymore decisions. Just take me to drink.

A great quote that I use often sums it up perfectly, 'I'm not telling you its going to be easy. I'm telling you its going to be worth it.' Here's to the chaos of entreprenuership! And a look under our hood. And maybe a better week next week! :)

Blurred Lines... Branding

Have you heard that new Robin Thicke song called “Blurred Lines”? It is like my new favorite song these days. The beat is amazing and it is REALLY risk-a (SHHH don’t tell anyone I secretly enjoy listening to dirty songs). Really gets me jammin’ while driving in the car or dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner (yeah I might even break out stripper moves if I am by myself, can’t let me boys see me dance like that). Yeah, I have dance parties in my kitchen. My boys think it is hilarious, but never fails, they too join in by dancing around the kitchen with me.

So the other day while sitting at my computer working on marketing this and that, the song came on (yeah I listen to music ALL the time, helps my thought process… REALLY it does) and a thought occurred to me…branding can get blurry. You don’t want a blurry brand do you? Yeah didn’t think so. If you don’t want your brand to be blurry, don’t confuse your customers & clients by changing it around every month or have a different message on your different marketing avenues. Keep it the same throughout your marketing materials. You know… be consistent, and things won’t get blurry. Yes I am aware that we have talked about consistency before, and we are not afraid to keep reminding you either. Being fucking consistent, means no blurred lines in your brand. HMMM… imagine that.

We are always telling our clients here at B&A to think about what you do and why you do it. Use that to determine what your brand should be. It definitely shouldn’t be blurry. It should be straight forward. Now take your branding material and use it EVERYWHERE! AGAIN, BE CONSISTENT! Don’t switch it up and cause confusion. Don’t make it blurry. You don’t want to confuse people do you? Confusion doesn’t bring in the $$! Having a simple brand that isn’t blurred and being consistent with it brings in the $$.

At B&A, we strive to teach our clients this very SIMPLE technique. If you don’t learn anything else from our blog posts and marketing expertise, PLEASE remember this…

NO BLURRED LINES! AND BE CONSISTENT BITCHES!

And if you haven’t heard the song, go out and find it and dance around the kitchen or office until you become dizzy (you know you want to break out your own stripper moves now) and maybe your brand will become clear and not blurred… then be consistent with it, maybe even a little risk-a…

Sweet & Salty Marketing: Top 3 Ways to Mix It Up

You probably know this but B&A is a virtual company. My right hand girl, Jenn, is in West Virginia and my other starlets, Taylor and Corinne, are all over Charleston. And me? You can’t nail me down, I’m all over the universe most of the time. Because we are a virtual organization we love, love, love cool communication tools like Skype. A couple of weeks ago I was instant messaging with Jenn about this and that and the other and most of it was completely unproductive (like the conversation we had using all emoticons). Music was a big topic of conversation for us that day probably because we are so inspired by it and how it forms the soundtracks of our lives. Back in the day, I was a huge Bush fan (still am!) and somehow they came up in the conversation and Jenn says (types actually) that she follows Gavin Rossdale on Twitter (we’re marketers so we are OBSESSED with social media tools). She then says (types) he curses A LOT.  I LOL’ed back saying (typing), ‘I love when British guys curse because you expect them to be prim and proper with that accent then foul curse words come out and its shockingly good. You know, kinda like sweet and salty together.’

Light bulb, most people love sweet and salty, right? I know I do! It’s a scientific fact that your taste buds transmit the sweet and salty tastes to your brain triggering different parts of the brain. These reactions in the different parts of the brain are what give us the pleasure of sweet and salty together. Why not mix up your brand story and marketing messages into sweet and salty morsels for your customers to gobble up (I don’t know that I like the word gobble but I’m going to use it here anyway). Here’s 3 ways you can mix with sweet and salty. 

 

  1. Mix your industry buzz words with some hard-core slang: Well, maybe not gangster hard-core but you get what I mean. Industry buzz terms are so status quo, blah, blah, blah; so mix it up with some cool ass slang like, ‘We are marketing professionals with mad skillz.’
  2. Use opposing colors in your visual identity and representation: Color is very powerful in your branding and marketing because it is so emotional. Did you know that red (and several variations) makes people hungry? That’s why restaurants use red in their décor. Using colors that are opposites on the color wheel can work very well together like blue and orange. Sweet and salty.
  3. Partner with an unlikely vendor to provide your clients something completely different but amazing: This one may be a little tougher but opposites attract, right? Hence, sweet and salty. Recently, Ash Ambrige at the The Middle Finger Project released a FREE legal clinic for her audience. Technically, she’s in marketing and this is about legal business stuff. Sweet and salty at it’s finest.

 

Two flavors that are completely opposite but work so well together, that’s what you’re trying to achieve. Life isn’t match-y, match-y and your business doesn’t have to be either. When looking at these messages keep in mind your target market because your messages should always be centered on them. But I bet you if you asked them, they might think its odd to have chocolate covered bacon but would love to try it.

What are some of your sweet and salty ideas? We want to hear what you have done to mix it up in your business.

Tattoos & Branding

Do you have ink?

Are you branded?

If you have ink you are technically branded. Hmmmm… if you have branded yourself, is your business branded too? Actually let’s hold that thought for a minute… I am the oldest out of 3 siblings and the only girl. I thought my dad was going to have a heart attack when he saw my first tattoo (which I got in my early 20s with my best friend). He never expected it from me… my brothers, yes, but not me. I am his baby girl. And yes, it is located in the small of my lower back. And, NO, its not a “tramp stamp” as they are referred to, but just a simple sun about size of a half dollar. Hey, I love sunshine and the warmth it represents. My best friend got one about the same size in the same spot. Awwweee, how cute are we? LOL!

So years go by now we are in our mid-30s and what do we do, we brand ourselves again. This time I got my sons' names scribed in an infinity symbol around my wrist connected by a heart, and my BFF (who, BTW, thinks she is a Rock Star) got a star on her wrist. AGAIN, Awwweee, how cute are we? (although this time we didn’t go together).

There is a lot of stigma associated with tattoos. WHY? It’s your body. If you want to brand yourself with something your passionate about, BY ALL MEANS GO FOR IT! I think tattoos tell a story about a person. What they like, what their interests are, who they love, what they love…. Even farmers tattoo (brand) their livestock. So it can’t be all that bad… right? (OK! OK! that was quite a stretch) But really, tattoos or branding illustrate your story. As a person, you are sharing what you are passionate about. Shouldn’t you do the same for your business?

Branding your business is a lot like tattooing (branding) your body. It shows your uniqueness and what separates you from the pack. It helps tell your story. It defines your personality. I mean really the list could go on and on. So don’t you want to tell the story of your business and show its uniqueness and what separates it from the pack? I know we do that B&A AND help other entrepreneurs and small businesses do the same. Hell, even Ronii and I show the world our uniqueness and personality and our story through our ink! And before it is all said and done, I am sure we will add a few more branding marks to our bodies.

Uncork Your...

Uncork Your…Champagne? No wait… Marketing? No…Champagne!

So obviously ya’ll know by now that we love our Champagne. I mean come on, who doesn’t? Ok, so I know some people don’t, but you can do so much with Champagne… When you uncork that bottle, the bubbles start flowing and the smell is intoxicating. I personally like my bubbly with some Chambord Liqueur. It adds that little bit of sweetness to the dryness of the bubbly.

I recently had to research drink recipes that involve Champagne for a little 'som, something' that you will so want to get your hands on (stay tuned for more info about that, you DO NOT want to miss this). Who knew there were that many drink recipes involving Champagne? I was in heaven, and now have a MUST DRINK list ready to go for our Champagne Thursdays. What’s Champagne Thursdays? Really, you haven’t heard of our Champagne Thursdays? Where have you been, under a rock? You really need to read our social media posts more often. Maybe even go to our website and sign up to get tips and antics from our infamous Champagne Thursdays brainstorming sessions (I know, I am shameless for this plug).

Ok so where was I… oh yeah, talking about the oh so many Champagne recipes. Like I said, I was in heaven. So many options and different scenerios to try… kinda like marketing, don’t you think? Hence, why we at B&A LOVE our Champagne and our Champagne Thursdays brainstorming sessions. Some of our best ideas come from these sessions. You would be amazed at the craziness that comes out of these sessions. Marketing couldn’t get any better. LOL! No but seriously, you don’t want your marketing to be dry like some bubbly is, that is why there are so many flavors and mixtures you can make and add. Do the same with your marketing… Diversify, experiment, mix it up!

Now I am not saying go out there and get all crazy and go all willy nilly. No, you still have to have the brand, basic message, your tagline or most important message you are trying to relay, (your Champagne) and then you take that message and add it to your business cards, website, brochures, signage, social media sites (these are you mixing ingredients). You want a consistent message that shows up everywhere. So find your Champagne, and then decide what you want to add to it to get your message out there. Oh and maybe uncork a bottle of Champagne to drink while you figure out your marketing recipe.

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Picture this. You can’t sleep. It’s 3AM. You finally get up because you’re keeping the cat up (or your spouse, it’s your story). You wander into the living room in a sleep-deprived state. You turn on the TV in hopes that you make the noise in your head stop and get pre-occupied with whatever is on the TV. The only thing on is infomercials because really that’s all that’s on at 3AM. You finally get tired of flipping through all of them and just land on a channel with an infomercial about, let's say, how to clean your house better. You call the number and order one because it is totally going to change your life. Your head starts churning again about work and your watching the commercial thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that and make millions?” 

You’ve done it, I know. Admit it. We have all looked at Mark Zuckerburg and thought, “Why didn’t I think of that? A website that other people generate the content for you? WTF?”

I’m in the car a lot. And I’m a radio listener. Radio as an advertising medium is another topic for another day but FYI if used right it is very effective. I’m listening to the radio and my head is wandering. When that happens I tend to not flip the channel when a commercial comes on. I’m sitting in traffic and a commercial comes on and the very first thing they say is, “FREE PIE WEDNESDAYS!Now you have attention!

Are you fucking kidding me? FREE PIE!

I mean who doesn’t love free? And who doesn’t love pie?

Don’t tell me you don’t like pie because if you don't we can’t be friends.

Why didn’t I think of that? FREE PIE WEDNESDAYS!

The commercial is for O’Charley’s and you can view the YouTube commercial here. What a brilliant promotion.

You have to purchase an entrée to get the free pie and it is only on Wednesdays and its for a limited time. Why is this great? Well, let me tell you. It's. FREE. PIE. But seriously, this is a great promotion because it gets you to come in a buy something on one of their slowest nights for a new product they are introducing. And they have made it exclusive by saying it is for a limited time only. It hits all the high points of a promotion. And its free pie! The point (besides I love pie)… create promotions and incentives with very specific goals. And give away free pie.

I’m totally bummed that I didn’t think of this promotion. I should have thought of that. I’m smart enough to think of promotions like that. I wish I had thought of that. Although, we do have Champagne Thursdays.

Did I mention that I love pie? Keep that in your back pocket for any special events like the upcoming B&A anniversary on July 1st. But guess where this girl is going on Wednesday night? Who’s going with me?

Decisions

"Life is the sum of all your choices." – Albert Camus

I don’t think this could have been said better. And it’s eerily true. Every decision you have ever made in your life has landed you in the exact spot you are in now. Any situation, outfit, environment, or mindset that you are currently in is because of the choices you made, either today, yesterday, or any day pretty much between when you were 16 and the present. Everything you say and do is the result of a decision. Making decisions is about realizing goals and utilizing the most beneficial path to achieve them – whether it’s the fastest path, the cheapest path, or the path filled with champagne and expletives. 

Decisions can be a fun thing, even if they are risky or tasking or dangerous. Because making a decision means you are essentially at a fork in the road. You could…continue to do things the same, or you could choose to do it a different way. Or two different ways. Or three. Regardless – the fact that you are faced with a decision, whether you brought it on yourself or you were forced to do so – means you have the opportunity to change things or do them differently. So many people are scared of making decisions. But decisions are your chance to turn a challenge into an opportunity. And they are necessary in business and in life.

A lot goes into decisions. Listing the options, weighing the outcomes, entertaining your intuition, and of course, making a choice. Despite all of this heavy work, my best advice would be to implement your decision with joy and conviction. Whatever you’ve decided to do; do it 100%. Don’t be a sissy. 

We covered a ton of stuff during our last Champagne Thursday celebration. Lots of topics, both fun and serious, resulted in us having to make decisions about the business. Decisions about business development, about what to give away to our stellar clients and followers, what our next white paper would be on, and also that extra dry champagne was, in fact, our champagne of choice. And we are thrilled to see where the decisions take us. Even small decisions can have a huge impact on your business, and we are proof of that. B&A is the result of hundreds, maybe thousands of decisions made by all of us at one point or another (admittedly, some of these were made under the influence). We are pleased with our progress and plagued with new sets of decisions every day. We talk about them. We drink over them. We weigh the potential outcomes. And then we decide what the best course of action is, for us and our clients, and do it 100%. 

Don’t be a sissy. Face your decisions head on and take your business by the horns. You won’t be disappointed.