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like you + me who like that page will never notice that brand’s updates in our newsfeeds because it’s the wrong, outdated logo.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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8 Ways to Think Like a Creative Genius

The pressure’s on.

There’s a deadline.

And you're looking at a very blank page on your screen.

For what feels like hours when it’s really only been like… 5 minutes.

You think, 'Why does this keep happening to me?'

Procrastination is your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to writing, designing + creating.

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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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Masterminding: Empowering you to #BeAwesome

Flight delayed... AGAIN!

Sitting at a bar drinking the sour mood away. At this point, I'm just ready to get home after my whirlwind trip to Charleston, South Carolina.

Yes, it has been an AWESOME time with some great ladies, lots of masterminding and girl time, but now it's time to get back home...

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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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Dirty Little Secrets: I've had Enough with internet Searching

I HATE the Google!

There! I said it. And it feels sooooo good to get it off my chest.

I can't stand researching or looking up information. Your mouth just dropped open, didn't it? You are probably thinking... "You do know you are in the marketing biz, right?" "Research is your job."

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Bite me! I still hate the Google.

Every time I ask a question... "Well did you Google it?"  Noooo! That's why I asked the question. GEEZ!!!

Why does everyone love the Google? Our world depends on THE. GOOGLE. It is a verb in the dictionary for crying out loud!

goo·gle

verboften capitalized \ˈgü-gəl\

goo·gledgoo·gling 

transitive verb

:  to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web

Is this what life has succumbed to? THE! GOOGLE!

I mean.... COME ON! When you type in something you get a gazillion choices to pick from. Who the hell has time to go through all those links? I want an answer and I want it now. I don't want to click on 2, 3, 6, 10 links to find the answer. All I need is a phone number to my local liquor store DAMNIT! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! I HATE THE GOOGLE!

*inhale... deep breath...and let it out slowly*

Ok, ok I have to calmed down... as you can tell Google brings out a whole other side to me. The side that likes to use A LOT of 4 letter words. I am sure THE. GOOGLE. can tell me all about that mental disorder that I MUST have because I get so angry when I talk about THE. GOOGLE.

But let's be real for a minute... I am going to admit something that is very hard for me, but you have to promise to not let Ronii know. It would go to that Rock Star head of hers. I mean she is the one who is always telling me to "google it” (I totally just made that crinkly nose, high pitched voice “impression” of her), even when I know she knows the freakin answer... buuuuutttttt...

The Google is a powerful, useful tool. (I wish I was the genius who came up with that brilliant idea and then brilliantly branded the hell out of it.) You can find ANYTHING on Google. It might take some navigating (this is what drives me to 50 Levels of Crazy) to get to the right source of information, but the information is there. The key to Google is the words you put in the search. You really have to be specific on your search criteria to get faster and more accurate results that are on the coveted page 1. Otherwise you will get lost in Google universe and will be sitting in front of your laptop screaming at the search results on your computer screen, making your family (and neighbors) think you've lost your ever lovin mind and need to be wearing that fashionable white jacket that keeps your arms crossed against your chest and ties in the back. (I can neither confirm or deny that I may or may not have done this.)

You can find anything, and anyone for that matter. Businesses (especially small businesses) need the Google to help market itself. You know... that little thing called SEO. Yeah if you have enough meta tags and keywords and blah blah blah, you will pop up closer to the top of the Google List. Doesn't that just make you want to hate the Google too? Doesn't that make Google seem like it is all high and mighty and chooses what the searcher wants to see?  What gives THE GOOGLE the right to randomly (well not technically randomly) pick what IT thinks I want to see? It's THE. GOOGLE. It should know I need the address (because now I am at level 30 on my 50 Levels of Crazy meter) to MY local liquor store. NOT a liquor store in Idaho, but the one in Martinsburg damnit. I mean it is THE ALL KNOWING GOOGLE!

But I digress again. Obviously, we need to The Google. And that local liquor store that I so desperately need the address too also needs The Google. This is why SEO may be an important factor for your business. While, I’d love to tell you that its easy, an SEO strategy is not. Google changes their algorithm constantly to get you, the searcher, better results but makes it harder for a business to get in front of those people. There are lots of articles and blogs out there that can give you tips and pointers on ways to get better rankings but truthfully and honestly when our clients ask us about SEO we recommend contacting a professional to talk to you about putting together a good strategy. One rule of thumb that we go by is: good content. Writing good articles and blog posts with valuable information is your best tool for SEO. People will find you if you have good information.

Now you are in the know as to why I hate the Google. I need something stronger than wine or Champagne now… maybe Fireball. Good thing I can Google the closest liquor store to go buy it...

So there are those of you that embrace the Google and love the Google. And there are those of us that despise it and just want a simple answer to a simple question and not having to take 15, 20, 40 minutes to find it. You obviously know where I am on that matrix! But where are you on the… love/hate the Google meter? Leave your comments below and tell me I’m not alone in this Google conspiracy.

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

Overwhelmed Much? 3 Strategies That Help Simplify

I was going through some of our blog posts recently looking for a post to maybe repurpose for a client that needs more content and wanted something different from their normal topic. I came across a post I did about a year ago about how running a business is hard. It was a pretty good post if I do say so myself. It struck me at how we (B&A) are in a different place in the business but at the same time in the same place. Because running a business is hard. Still.

One of the key things that post talked about was being transparent with the business and letting people see behind the scenes, good and bad. So much good has happened over the year and we have amazing clients that we are doing amazing work for and that’s all fabulous. But with all that good comes being overwhelmed sometimes. It made me think about how overwhelmed I can get and my reaction to overwhelm is to be tired. All. The. Time. Tired enough that a few weeks ago I blew off work in the middle of the day (I apparently called in sick) and took a nap. And then felt guilty about it. And then I was overwhelmed by the guilt, hence more tired and then overwhelmed even more. And it all turned into a vicious cycle. Now, what kinda crap is that?

There are so many things in my business that contribute to this overwhelm. Too many emails, perceived client demands (that I probably make up in my head), to-do lists, social media, social engagements, setting goals, meeting said goals, success, failure, meetings, strategies, business models… Should I keep going? Did I mention too many emails? This is the vein of my existence yet the goal of my ego.

Enough Already!

I’m over it. The being overwhelmed. I’m guessing you are too. Let’s all make a pack together. We are going to implement these 3 simple steps in reducing our overwhelmed brains that will also help reduce all this crappy stress.

  1. Unsubscribe from Emails: All those emails that you get that you save for later, skip over or delete altogether. Get rid of them altogether so they don’t even hit your box. I sign up for these guys all the time with all the good intention of reading them and then I just don’t for whatever reason. I’m really bad about saving them because I’m going to read them later when I have time. Reality check: I never have time. I’m not saying get rid of all of them. There are a few that I religiously read every time they hit my box. Here are a few that I read and highly recommend: The Middle Finger Project (warning if you like sugar coating don’t bother), Melissa Cassera (I totally have a girl crush on her) and Tara Gentile (she just knows her shit and like Star Trek). I do watch Marie Forleo and Carrie Green’s videos because that’s easy for me to listen to in the car. We sometimes send out emails and you should keep on that list really ;). Sorry I had too, it’s in my contract.
  2. Hire an Assistant: Or a cleaning lady, or a copywriter. Whoever it is you need help from. You guys all know Jenn around here. She writes for this blog and helps me exponentially. She runs all of our social media (among a lot of other things) and that was the best decision I ever made. Because now it actually gets done. Period. Best. Decision. Yeah, your going to have to pay for it and sometimes money is tight. I totally get it. I’m in the spot a lot. But trust me when I say you need help. You need someone that is going to do that crap you don’t want too or don’t have the skills to do. I totally have the skills to run our social media, I just don’t want too. So, I either pay someone to do it for me or it just doesn’t get done. I’d rather it get done. If you need help with something, get it. You don’t have to go with the most expensive option just something.
  3. Take the Nap: And don’t feel guilty about it. That’s just down right ridiculous. I tell people all the time there is no such thing as a marketing emergency. No one is dying because your sales copy isn’t whipped out in 10 minutes. I have learned that I’m a late afternoon and early evening worker. I get more creative work done between the hours of 4pm and 7pm than I do all day. Those are my writing and graphics hours. So if I try to do it in the middle of the afternoon and I’m overwhelmed or tired I’m just going to have to re-do it again because it’ll be crap. I might as well take a nap and do it right when I’m more refreshed and in my zone. That’s just me. I find everyone is different and your best times might be early in the morning (I still do have a conspiracy theory about morning people but I digress). Find your zone and then just take a nap already if you want.

What do you think? Will these tips help with our overwhelm? What are some of your strategies to not feel so overwhelmed all the time? Obviously, email overload is the big one for me but what is your hot button? Leave me a comment and let’s work on reducing our overwhelm together.

Marketing Strategy: Tell a Story Pinterest Style

Pinterest Marketing Strategy

Hi. I’m Ronii. And I have a Pinterest obsession.

also have an elephant obsession, flamingo obsession and everyone knows about my crazy cat lady obsession, which you can find on my, you guessed it… Pinterest boards  There is no 12 step program for these addictions and I’m super excited about that. But I digress.

Recently I won this amazing Alesya Bag. How did I do that? My Pinterest obsession of course.

So Alesya Bags ran a contest on social media to tell them in 140 characters where you are going on your summer vacation and why you need an Alesya Bag for your trip. The top 5 most creative entries would win a bag and you can enter everyday until the finish of the contest. I’m sure that you are painfully aware as much as I am that 140 characters is short. Like Daisy Dukes kinda short. How am I going to tell my summer adventure in this short format and get the emotion I want across? Oh, and did I mention that you had a hashtag to use as well taking up even more precious characters? Yeah, that too. But...

Challenge Accepted.

Pinterest obsession rears its beautiful winning head with storytelling.

At B&A we have been using Pinterest for a variety of initiatives over the years. We use it as a collaboration and content distribution tool. Branding and vision boards are big for us and our clients and it’s an amazing collaboration tool for us to gather visuals that drive art direction. And like everyone else we use it to distribute our content like blog posts, products and ideas.

Since on Pinterest you can tweet your pins (or post to Facebook), I decided I wanted to use it. One because I wanted to tell a story and not just a tweet and two because I freakin’ love me some Pinterest. I figured why can’t I use Pinterest more like a storyboard rather than as a vision board and then tweet out each pin with a teaser to read that piece of the story?

I will admit this storyboard idea took some planning and definitely time, but I WON! And if I can utilize this strategy to win an amazing bag (which by the way I’ve been carrying for a couple of months now and want to marry it) then I’m sure I can use the same strategy to win audience engagement and hopefully customers. 

Tweetable: Utilizing Pinterest in multiple ways for business is a good strategy for winning audience engagement and potential customers

Tell a story with a Pinterest Storyboard  

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I planned out the days of the contest and knew that I needed about a post a day because I got an entry per day.
  2. I created a separate board that was named the hashtag and wrote a short description about what my story was about.
  3. I outlined the story by day so each piece of the story had one post. I started my story with an overview of everyone needs an adventure and why I needed an Alesya Bag for that adventure. Then everyday you got a little piece of the adventure until we got to the final days and I revealed where I was going on my summer vacation. I put these all in a doc so that it could make the daily task of posting a bit quicker.
  4. Everyday I pinned an image that correlated with that day’s piece of the story and used the pin description to write that day’s adventure. It was longer than 140 characters but it gave an expanded detail of the adventure and then I used the tweet this pin on my Pinterest app to submit via Twitter with a shortened version or teaser of that day’s adventure.
  5. The last day I gave the big reveal. But then after I found out I won. I did do a final post to conclude my story that I did actually win the bag because that was the goal of that board.

This strategy was so much fun to plan and do and it worked. We can translate this same strategy into a marketing campaign that tells a story rather than just pretty pictures and distributing content. It's a great way to engage your audience and then get them hooked on following the story and engaging with your brand. It could work for as a story countdown on a product launch (watch for this from us in the fall) or leading into a big announcement or sale. The one thing that I found to be a disadvantage is that if you go to the board because pins post by day the story on the board is backwards and you have to read the whole story from the bottom up. But the point is to get people to follow daily so that shouldn't have a huge impact. 

What do you think about this strategy? How will you use it? Do you have any other cool tips for using Pinterest as a business or marketing tool? Let us know in the comments and if you decide to run a story, post it here so we can follow it. I’d love to know your results. 

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,

 

2 Lessons for Running a Business! Do you learn something new every day?

Our Champagne Thursday Mastermind Sessions are always a learning experience… even for us! In January we discussed many plans for our company, which will essentially resonate with all you fabulous entrepreneurs and small business owners. So you better be on the lookout for some amazing things ahead.

But seriously there was more talk about owning your own business and what directions you need to take and so forth… I mean really B&A is a small business and we are still learning and growing. But there comes a time when you have to really think through some things about your business…

Lesson #1

Not everyone that starts a company can or should actually run their company. We work with a wide variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners. One thing that we have learned (because you know… ‘you learn something new everyday’… or at least you should Click to Tweet) is there are those that are fantastic at running a company and keep on task with what needs to be done in daily business operations. AND THEN… there are those that start a company and are really good at what they do and working with their customers, but have no idea on how to run their company to keep it afloat. True there are those that can do both, but more than not you are either one type or the other. So have you ever asked yourself that question? If not, you should.

So go ahead. Ask yourself…

Are you better at running a company or starting a company?

Lesson #2

So not only do you need to think about whether or not you can run your company, but you need to think about how far you yourself can take your company before you run it into the ground. Let’s just say you are brilliant at running your company, but you have reached a plateau and have done all you can. Do you reach out for help or keep truckin’ along in hopes that something will pick up or come your way? Decisions! Decisions! (I believe we wrote a blog post about that awhile back. It might benefit you to check out our other blog posts too.) Most of you will keep on truckin along. BUT is that the wisest choice to make? Do you let go of what you built so someone else can either destroy it or make it better? Tough call! But really it is something all business owners need to think about…

Know your sell point before you run your company into the ground!

You have to know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses before you can decide whether you want to run a business.  So did you learn something new today? If so, please share it with us!

xoxoxo,

 

Facebook Engagement Down? Our Tip for Getting Your Brand Loyalists to see You

Navigating the new Facebook Engagement for Marketing using Facebook Lists.png

Social media marketing (big sigh). This segment of the marketing industry stands alone in its enormity. There is so much information out there that it’s overwhelming for a marketer. And it changes so much that it’s hard to keep up with. And Facebook is the elephant in the room (haha, get it? Elephant? Don’t judge.). It is the one that businesses are either totally rocking it or getting an #epicfail. Recently, Ad Age published an article where Facebook has admitted that business pages are its redheaded stepchild.

Reaching Brand Loyalist on Facebook Pages

Social media is here to stay, whether you’re into it or over it. Honestly, I’m kinda over it. A little insight into the mind of Ronii is that I’m a social butterfly and I love interacting with people but I’m a terrible networker because I hate to just walk up to someone and say, “Hey, I’m Ronii. Let’s try and get to know each other in this awkward situation.” And I’m the same way with my online presence. I just find it weird that you pick random people to start conversations with. I realize that social media is all about engagement and conversations but it’s just odd to me. As extroverted as I am it’s really easy for me to be an introvert when it comes to meeting strangers on or off line. So there. Now, you know. I’m totally fucked up. I don’t deny this. But if I’m going to favor one platform over another I still prefer Facebook. It doesn’t overwhelm me like Twitter and some of the others. But lately the engagement on our B&A Facebook Page has consisted of me and Jenn just talking to each other with no one else paying any attention. And that doesn’t help my business.

Organic engagement on Facebook business pages has decreased and small businesses are finding it hard to justify buying ‘views’. Click to Tweet

1 Facebook Trick that will Increase Engagement

As soon as Facebook changed the newsfeed algorithm for business pages I noticed our views decrease by 90%. That’s right. Where we were getting 100 views on a post, now we are getting 10. While Facebook has never been a great marketing tool for us now it’s totally a waste of time (which is money). Even I wasn’t getting our updates in my newsfeed and I own the damn company. Jenn would be like, “How was yesterday’s Facebook post?” And my response usually was, “What post?” It’s as though now to get in people’s newsfeed you need to pay for it and for a small business unless you’re getting ROI or can directly relate that cost to a sale, the budget just isn’t there.

Anyway, I’m goofing around one day getting sucked into the time vortex that is Facebook and I’m adding some people to my friends’ list. I find I have to use lists to keep up with everyone I want to keep up with and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that does this. And I start typing someone’s name in the ‘add to list’ block and guess what pops up as a suggestion when I put the letter B. Ha! You guessed it. Bartles & Associates. I can add business pages to lists! Mind blown!

Do you know what this means? Other people can do this too. So I figured out a way to combat the ‘you have to pay to play’ on Facebook. Ask your fans to add your business page to one of their lists. Preferably their friends list. Your loyal fans will definitely do it and then you will be getting to the people that matter the most, that you want to see your posts. Behold, the power of the Facebook list.

How is your Facebook engagement? What tips and tricks are you using for the new Facebook newsfeed? Are you budgeting for Facebook advertising or trying to get organic engagement?

2014 Planning: Here's to a Uber Successful New Year

How to be Uber Successful in 2014.png

Can you believe that 2014 will be here in 2 weeks? Yeah, me either. And I'm sure by now you have seen/read approximately 2,521,470 blog posts on how everyone is setting goals and planning how to be uber successful in 2014.

Well, here's another one. Joking (kinda)... not really.

Uber success in 2014

This time last year B&A was humming on all cylinders. We had made plans for 2013 to be the best year ever. Then, summer came along and things changed because people change, economies change... we change. And Jenn would hate to hear this but it is what it is. Whether it was out of my control or I totally just fucked it all up, it left me feeling defeated because I didn't make the big yearly goal happen. I didn't get that trip to the Caribbean I wanted. So this year I'm doing my planning and goal setting a little different. I'm making it more like a to-do list.

I work well with to-dos and deadlines so this approach is perfect for those that like to get things done in small more digestible tasks. I get really overwhelmed when the sheet of paper says, 'Make more money.' What? How do I just make more money? I can't do that. And when I get overwhelmed, I don't do anything. Then I completely stress out. And when I get stressed my ear hurts and my whole body gets achy. And guess what? That just isn't working for me anymore.

How to get more stuff done in 2014

  • Use my products: For 2 and half years I have been saying I want to create a product suite because that is the easiest way to scale and monetize a consulting business. I have in my mind what I want to create so I'm going to use those tools for myself this year and Voila! new B&A products. Done and done.
    • Big 2014 Goal: Create products and make more money.
  • Simple, simple, simple: I tend to over think and over complicate everything. So this year I'm really going to KISS (Keep it simple stupid) and concentrate on making things simple. My attention span is that of flea anymore. So, when I create those products above I'm going to make them 1 page (2 max).
    • Big 2014 Goal: Create more freedom, more money and more love.
  • Plan more: Evernote is totally gonna save my ass this year. I tend to be a go with the flow kinda girl. But I love a good plan. A SIMPLE ONE. And we are going to use online collaboration tools this year to get those plans out of our heads and into action.
    • Big 2014 Goal: See above about creating stuff.
  • Join a support group: Or mastermind. Whatever you want to call it. I'm a weird mix of introvert and extrovert and I thrive on interaction with people but it is very easy for me to be a hermit. So I need a group of biz peeps with a structured format to get my ideas flowing and worked out.
    • Big 2014 Goal: Again with the creating.
  • Show some love: To my family, to my friends, to my personal brand site, to B&A products, to myself. I need to be better about appreciating what I have and letting the people that matter know how much I love and appreciate them.
    • Big 2014 Goal: Be a nicer person (That's totally stupid, I know, but trust me on this one)
  • Eat better: And lose 10 lbs (isn't this on everyone's list?)

What are your goals this year? How are you planning to be uber successful in 2014? What are some of your best tips and tricks for planning and setting goals?

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

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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,

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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, 

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Use Your Words

A couple of Thursdays ago we had our monthly Champagne Thursday Inspirations session and let me just tell you… IT WAS 4 HOURS LONG! That’s what happens when you work with such great friends. It takes you over 2 hours just to get caught up on life (and maybe a wee tiny bit of gossip). But really that is what makes us work; although sometimes we forget that just because we are great friends, we still CANNOT read each others’ minds…we still have to USE OUR WORDS! I mean, really, we can read each others’ minds to a point, but not all the time. We would totally be the coolest branding and marketing firm out there if we could read minds. But OH WAIT!... we are really cool because we have Champagne Thursdays and send ya’ll awesome tips and tricks and advice. (See we can read your minds. We know you want FREE stuff.)

Ok so where are we going with this? At B&A we are in the process of some refreshing and redefining things. Ooooh don’t worry lovelies, we are not changing what we do, why we do it, or who we are. That would really go against EVERYTHING we preach y’all. We are just making a few minor changes (really some pretty big changes to us but I digress). So watch out for some awesome updates!!!!

Anyway, back to my point… the only way that this refresh is going to work is if we USE OUR WORDS to communicate with one another and our fans. …IMPORTANT TIP AHEAD!!! PAY ATTENTION!!!... Remember in our last blog post when Ronii wrote about the elusive WOW! Factor, to get that you have to… use your words. It’s really hard to give you what you want if you can’t tell us what that is. Ronii does this to me all the time. She has this big vision for projects but then doesn’t use her words so that I make that vision happen because I can’t read her mind all the time (oh, the travesty). You know this. You experience it with you clients too. They don’t tell you what they want. We can’t (insert verb here like: help, buy from, be interested in, etc…) you if you don’t use you words. Just as we can’t help you if we don’t use our words. OMG! Who would have thought that? LOL! So are you getting the picture? GOOD!

So to recap what are you supposed to do with your customers, sales copy, projects, or that contractor you are hiring? And are we (B&A that is) supposed to do so you know what we do and can work together? OMG DID YOU SAY USE YOUR WORDS?!?! Sweet, you got the picture and we were effective at using our words. Makes us feel good that we aren’t just babbling for our own enjoyment on here. So go out and be the absolute best communicators you can be! USE YOUR WORDS!

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,