Month: April 2018

Legal Branding

Auto Insurance As A Part of Everyday Life

If you live in the United States of America, chances are that auto insurance is part of everyday life, at least for car owners. Driving a car is a privilege which comes with some sorts of responsibilities in the form of auto insurance policies.

Proof of insurance is basically an indicator that you are willing to take responsibility for your driving and you care about other drivers’ safety and welfare. Most states in the country make auto insurance compulsory; similar to a driver license; you must be an auto insurance policyholder to be considered the legal driver.

There are, however, several states where auto insurance is not state-mandated requirements including New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and California. 

New Hampshire

Since 2010, residents of New Hampshire are no longer required to purchase auto insurance. This regulation applies to any driver who has not been involved in a road accident, convicted of DWI (driving while intoxicated), or convicted of any serious traffic violation.

However, if you are involved in any road accident, you have to be responsible for covering damages both for bodily or property injuries. If you cannot fulfill this responsibility, the state will probably revoke your driver license. In other words, your responsibility is required only in the event of an accident; you do not have to pay a premium fee, but you need to cover all the damages for the injured party when required.

Viking insurance company of Wisconsin 

There is no compulsory law requiring drivers to purchase auto insurance in Wisconsin, but the state does require you to prove responsibility is some other ways.

You can do this by placing a cash deposit of $60,000 with the WisDOT (Wisconsin Department of Transportation) as liability insurance for vehicles or filing a bond with the department. If in any case, a police officer stops you while you are driving, the officer will check to determine if you have any of those. 

California

California has similar regulations to those of Wisconsin. Drivers can prove their responsibility not by purchasing insurance but simply covering for damages in which case they are at fault in road accidents. The compensation can reach up to $30,000 for injury or death in a single accident.

For property damage, the compensation can reach up to $5,000. Since you do not have to purchase insurance, you should place a deposit of $35,000 or file a bond of that amount with California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Although insurance is indeed not compulsory in some states, drivers are still required to be responsible and prove it by covering damages of the injured party in the event of accidents. Proof of financial responsibility can be done by placing deposit or filing bond with the state.

Protect your brand
Digital Branding

How To Use Digital Asset Management To Protect Your Brand

Protect your brand

Before getting started with the details of what digital asset management is and how it works, let’s first talk about the protection of a brand name and how important brands and trademarks are. Consumers just love brands, as a brand means something in a busy world when customers have limited time to make their purchase decisions. Finding – and sticking – with brands takes away the frustration of searching and the risk of buying an inferior product or service.

This behaviour is something we all need to pay attention to. As business owners, we have to make sure that we are doing all we can to protect our brand names because sooner or later we all realize that the backbone of our company is our trademark and our brand name.

Digital brand assess

What Can I Do To Protect My Brand?

As a business owner, we are pretty sure that you know how you have to take care of your company, the importance of delivering quality products and services to your customers, and how you have to protect your brand from any legal and copyright issues. Today’s technology makes it possible for you to share your brand assets and protect your brand by storing all your digital assets (images, videos, documents and metadata) in one central digital library. This technology is called Digital Asset Management (DAM) and this is how it helps in the protection of your brand.

What Is DAM?

DAM or Digital Asset Management is more of a business process that helps companies manage their workflows, digital rights, and permissions. This process also helps in storing, organizing, and controlling the rich media that includes multimedia content, videos, animations, pictures, and music, etc. It basically is an infrastructure that allows you to manage and control all of your digital assets. Moreover, DAM makes it easy for you to identify, analyze, locate, and then retrieve your assets.

Protect your assets

How DAM Helps In Supporting Brand Identity

How exactly does the digital asset management system help in the protection of the brand?

DAM helps marketers and business owners manage multiple assets all at the same time. Even a small business has thousands of assets to be managed for different social media platforms, partner and agency use, e-commerce and that can be a huge hassle if it’s done without any software or any process like the DAM. For example, DAM helps when your communications team needs approved images to put on social media, with files optimized so they are in the right format. Your PR agency needs to find archive video of a 10-year-old product for an upcoming article, they can search the metadata and quickly find the video they need.

With DAM, all of the distribution, archiving, and rights management is done with complete ease because you get better and improved visibility and control of your assets. DAM increases speed to market and makes sure that the right people will get the right image at the right time.

The information about your assets and their transfers are always safe, and they cannot be misused since you can schedule assets to expire on a specific date. If you need to update a file in the DAM platform, every link to that file will automatically be updated. This ensures brand control that all the values and visual integrity of a brand are retained.

Easy asset access

Why Use DAM

These are a few fundamental advantages of using DAM for your brand. The best part about digital asset management is that it is easy to use and you will understand it quickly. DAM systems can integrate with the other systems that you use today, like your CMS and CRM so they all work seamlessly.

If you genuinely want to take your business to the heights of success, then you have to invest in a DAM system and protect and grow your brand.

Digital Branding

Business Process Automation and It’s Importance

Today, when there is an ever growing and vast competition, businesses (especially the small ones) come and go. That’s why every business owner is reluctant to invest time and money in something that is not absolutely necessary or undoubtedly sure it will pay off. One of the biggest talks in a past few years was about business process automation and whether it’s worth trying.

Like in every automation process, the goal of BPA is to bring simplicity to the workflow. Even the most sophisticated process has a number of complex steps that seem pretty useless at the same time. Unfortunately, even the most unessential steps need to be done, and that is where BPA comes in. It is an innovative and hands-free approach that makes a systematization of the business processes that are critical, increasing your employee’s efficiency and thus reducing cost and saving money. That’s why professionals from Picnet IT Services with more than 15 years of experience have embraced it so quickly, aware that it will help them to continue providing real stability and strategic growth they’re known for. The benefits of BPA go far beyond the saving the time and the effort of your staff, but this is still the most valuable benefit that allows other to emerge. Let’s see how shall we?

Chinese whispers

There is nothing that can destroy a business so quickly as a lack of communication. And we’re not talking about employees holding grudges and not speaking to one another, but rather about very complex channels of communication that feel like a game of Chinese whispers. If the business is a kind of game, it certainly shouldn’t be a funny one where the laugh is on you. And this is precisely what happens. Let’s say you have a very simple task at hand – to make an add for some upcoming event. There are design and information – time, date, and location.  So, your marketing manager receives an email with information for his approval. But right after he begins to scroll down he begins to realize it’s actually an email chain where who knows how many people have made their suggestions, revisions, and edits. Naturally, he can’t make sense of it all and inevitably some of the information ends up completely wrong.  The worst thing is that no one knows where the error has occurred along the way, which makes it quite probable it will happen again. Although it seems absurd, it’s a reality in modern business – communication breakdown can prevent the execution of the simple tasks, without anyone who’ll take accountability.

An unforeseen typo

The example above clearly shows us that a large number of errors in document processing are actually user-generated. When you have to input your data manually you can make mistakes as easily as you can make a typo, but consequences can be much greater. But if you employ business process automation you can forget about manual data entry. The moment the document is in the system all the information is transferred to a digital database automatically, which provides 100 % accurate data management and indexing. So, besides saving countless hours, it is like having your personal business Grammarly which eliminates all typing mistakes that can otherwise bring some hefty fines.

On hold

Of course, avoiding user-generated error is not the only reason to employ BPA.  By letting machines do all the perpetual tasks you’re not only eliminating the chance of human error, but you’re also simplifying the lives of your employees in general. Let’s go back to our example to see what has been happening with the design aspect of the add.  After the designer has completed his work, he needs to send an image via email for approval (déjà vu, anyone?) and he needs to mark his task done on a spreadsheet that probably no one looks at. After our unfortunate marketing manager approves it he needs to pass it on to the web technician who will, in the end, upload it to the site. All these manual steps require a lot of pushing for each item, which makes it feel like you’ve put on hold only to wait for an information you’ve already known about.  The only process here that needs to be done by a human is the design itself, and the quality can suffer under the weight of numerous notifications and approvals. By routing digital files or sending out email updates, BPA will noticeably reduce the time it takes for an employee to complete his daily tasks, allowing him to concentrate on important decisions in his field and thus boost his productivity.

Your personal rulebook

As we’ve said it in the beginning, business is a kind of game, but a game with high stakes where the winner literally takes it all. That’s why you need to have operational stability, and that is precisely what BPA implements in your daily processes. It is like having the rigid rulebook of the game set by yourself, making sure not a single document is misplaced or a single step missed. You can look at it as a form of legal cheating which allows your employees to perform their tasks easily and making the game constant, dependable, and accurate.

Endgame – the conclusion

At the very end, there is always a customer. He’s the last link in your Chinese whispers and he’s not in for a laugh. BPA creates a consistency that ensures customers will receive the same level of care with every interaction. With all their specific account information ready to be pulled from the digital database any second the business of your company becomes far more user-friendly. Paper-based file management is removed, employee efficiency is increased, and top-notch service is guaranteed.

Author Bio:

Ian

Aside from primary area of interest and expertise in e-marketing, Ian could be tagged also as a passionate sports fan, nature, and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development.

Digital Branding

Why Your Brand Needs SEO in 2018

SEO has got something of a bad rap in some corners in recent years. This is a wholly undeserved state of affairs. Search engine optimization is an essential aspect of contemporary web design. In a world where everyone is online all the time, and when we think of everything we need as being just a web search away, it is clearly important for any website that wants to generate significant traffic to be listed prominently in results.

But how can website owners control where they appear in Google search results? Well, it turns out that website owners actually have a lot of control over this. As you would expect, some of the metrics that Googles uses to determine results rankings are based upon organic measures. Organic measures are things like the number of other websites that link to yours; these links will happen naturally as your website grows.

How Can It Help my Brand?

SEO is an integral part of your business so keep a close eye on the online SEO tools you choose. It is also a vital resource for businesses who are looking to promote their brand. SEO is one of the most effective marketing methods out there, offering a fantastic ROI, and a guarantee of a dramatic increase in brand awareness. The more traffic that you are able to bring to your websites, the more people will become exposed to your brand and business.

If you want your brand to take over the marketplace, exposure is the key. The more consumers are exposed to your brand, the more they will think of you. It doesn’t matter what context they encounter your business in – all except the most catastrophically bad press will ultimately bounce off most businesses.

Traffic is the Lifeblood of Website

There are many different metrics that you can use to measure how healthy a website is, but the amount of traffic that it is generating is usually the best indicator. From the perspective of a business looking to maximize exposure to their brand, being able to maximize the flow of traffic to particular websites and web pages is important. This allows you to expose as many people as possible to the media and content of your choosing.

Traditionally, the way that businesses have exposed as many consumers as possible to their brand has been to aim for saturation with their advertising. Saturation involves simply putting adverts out as far and wide as possible so that as many people see it as possible. Even if the advert is only successful in enticing a small percentage of people into buying a product or using a particular service, the sheer number of people will translate into tangible profits.

Is It Difficult?

SEO is often thought of as “difficult”. This is because most SEO used to involve manipulating Google. Google now offers guidance on what it considers to be white-hat – or approved – SEO techniques. As a result, there are now professional businesses who will help you with your SEO marketing, such as this Search Engine Optimisation West Midlands business.

Search engine optimization is a very valuable tool for increasing awareness of your brand and spending time and money on SEO is all but guaranteed to provide excellent ROI.

Digital Branding

Please Stop Confusing Customers With Your Pricing

It is a criminal offence for traders to deliberately make misleading price claims about their goods or services and against the letter of the law to make prices confusing to the consumer.

For example, ‘was £120, now £99.99’ is deceiving if the goods or services have never been presented at the higher price. It is also misleading/confusing if a trader fails to show ‘hidden extras’, or to make it clear when a price is conditional on, say, another purchase.

The Competition Markets Authority have stated that some unit prices and particularly promotions have the worrying potential to mislead customers  – and could even be a breach of consumer law.  This came after a complaint from consumer group Which? who raised concerns ‘about confusing and misleading promotions and a lack of easily comparable prices’.

Some retailers are guilty of increasing the price of products prior to the start of a volume promotion and promotions such as ‘was/now’ offers, where a product is on sale at a discounted price for longer than the higher price was applied, is considered to be deliberately misleading consumers.

Supermarkets (the main culprits) could now face legal proceedings for confusing customers with non-transparent multi-buys, “deceptive” shrinking products and baffling discounts, the CMA has announced.  Supermarkets are now under surveillance to revise their current pricing practices or face being taken to court, with all the ensuing adverse publicity that will involve.

The CMA has called for new guidelines to be issued to supermarkets and has published its own ‘at a glance’ guide to help consumers.  However, the complaints still keep coming into the Retail Ombudsman  – and the current rules are only guidelines, not hard and fast legal obligations.

So, consumers are still likely to get angry about any attempt to pull the wool over their eyes.

Currently, around 40% of grocery spending is on items on promotion – and (good news) the vast majority of these are above board, says the CMA.  However, there is definitely a lack of regulation in this area and the CMA states that consumers should never be misled or confused about how much (or how little) they are getting for their money.

It stated that ‘unit pricing’ allowing comparisons between products needed to be made more clear-cut.  As an example, some similar products in supermarkets were priced per 100ml and others per 100g, making it impossible to make a price comparison.  Is this artful deception on behalf of the supermarkets?  Surely they should make it less complicated for the shopper to compare like for like?

Generally, retailers do take compliance seriously but the CMA has called for supermarkets to end the practice of running “was/now” promotions, where the discounted price is advertised as a promotion for longer than the higher price, was employed.

The CMA also wants the Government to introduce new standards about “unit prices”, which indicate to shoppers what the price of a single item is in a multi-pack so they can compare prices more easily and decide whether it really is cheaper to buy the multi-pack.

According to new research from Which? almost 3/4 of consumers believe supermarkets are trying to confuse them by using misleading pricing practices – and shoppers are very unhappy about the following:

  • Poorly labeled products
  • Prices small and hard to read
  • Inconsistent pricing.

The greatest confusion occurs with fruit and vegetables sold loose or in packs but it extends to other products sold in cans, jars and bottles.

Which? has called for a change in the law requiring retailers to clearly display the price of items per unit, so that shoppers can easily compare the value of similar products. The unit price is the price by weight or volume that allows shoppers to compare the true cost of products, even if they come in different sized packaging.

As an example, if a 500ml jar of mayonnaise costs £1.05 and a 750ml jar is £1.47, a clear unit price would show you straight away which jar gives you the most mayonnaise for your money. In this case, the 500ml jar is 21p per 100ml and the 750ml jar is 19.6p per 100 ml. The current confusion caused by inconsistent pricing means shoppers don’t always get the best deal

Most shoppers usually assume that items sold loose would be cheaper but this is not necessarily the case – for example a Sainsbury’s pack of four baking potatoes is currently being sold at 70p, while the supermarket also sells them loose at £1.00 per kg.

It is also confusing for shoppers when the prices for different brands of comparable products are measured differently – one price may be displayed in ml and the other in grams.  The regulators have called for consistency in weights and measures for comparable products.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd has said:

“With household budgets squeezed and rising food costs among the top worries for consumers, it’s all the more important that stores make it as easy as possible for people to spot the best value products. All food and drink should be clearly and consistently priced by weight or volume across all stores, including products which are on special offer.”

 

Morrisons has subsequently announced a promise to make unit prices consistent among similar products and to make the print on shelf labels larger and more visible.

Sainsbury’s has also announced that it will be trialling a new label format, which will include clearer unit pricing, to assist customers to identify the best deals.

Non-Food Pricing

When selling to the general public, all pricing information must be clearly legible, unambiguous, easily identifiable, in sterling, and inclusive of VAT and any additional taxes.

Pricing information must be shown close to the product, or in the case of, for example, online or mail order sales and advertisements, close to a picture or written description of the product.

Prices can be shown:

  • On goods themselves
  • On a ticket or notice adjacent to the goods
  • Grouped together with other prices on a list or in a catalogue in close proximity to the goods. If counter catalogues are used there should be enough copies for customers to refer to

Pricing information should be clearly available to consumers without them having to ask for assistance in order to see it.

Legibility refers to a consumer with normal sight. Traders must also comply with the Equality Act 2010 and take account of the special needs of the elderly and disabled groups.

Promotions

Promotional offers should be unit-priced to reflect the single standard product.

Retailers may give additional information if they wish (for example, the ‘reduced unit price if purchasing a multi-buy’ offer may be shown) as long as it is clear to which products it relates.

Limited period promotions (such as 10% extra free) that relate to individual products may retain the unit price of the standard product for the period of the offer. Retailers may give additional information if they wish – for example, they may show the unit prices of both the standard and promotional products but they must be crystal clear to which products they relate.

Make sure your prices are also ethical

The Institute of Business Ethics has suggested that companies issue statements of ethical practice in regard to their dealings with customers – and this will cover pricing too.

The statement should incorporate a declaration about what circumstances will make your company increase their prices and by how much, how prices should be conveyed to the consumer and the company’s allegiance to all applicable pricing laws. The ethical pricing statement will need to be kept up to date to ensure all fresh guidelines are adhered to.

It really doesn’t make any sense to confuse your customers with your pricing. Eventually, they will get wise to what you are (deliberately or otherwise) trying to do and will vote with their feet by taking their business elsewhere.

Indeed, Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said the complaint from Which? about confusing pricing had come too late as many shoppers have already abandoned the big 4 supermarkets in favour of discounters Aldi and Lidl.

It will always be sensible to price transparently because consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to comparing prices – and it might just be that what you are doing, at best, is at variance with the letter of the law – or could even be downright illegal.  Do not take that risk.

 

This article has originally appeared on Black Curve’s Blog.

Establish your personal brand
Digital Branding

5 Steps To Building Your Personal Brand

Establish your personal brand

Developing your personal brand means establishing a good reputation, and influencing those around you. It takes years to build a reputation and it’s a lot of work to manage one, but it’s important if you want to build trust in your audience. This is why personal branding is crucial – your personal brand is your identity. A strong personal brand can provide you with greater credibility, higher perceived value and a way to differentiate yourself from your competition. Here are five steps to help you start building your personal brand:

Core values distinguish you

Establish Your Values

Your values are the cornerstone of your character. You might value loyalty, status or compassion – think about who you are and what’s important to you. Your values should always dictate your actions; this is how you build trust and grow your brand.

Connect with a mentor

Connect With A Mentor

Mentors can help you understand which direction it’s best to go in, especially if you haven’t had much experience. They can guide you and provide advice, but they can also show you what not to do. If you’re serious about building your personal brand, you need to get a mentor and establish a plan.

Provide value

Provide Value

Your personal brand is about your audience as much as it is about you. Think about what you can bring to the table, consider your values and how they can be used to shape people’s perceptions about you. Are you reliable? Friendly? Approachable? Make sure you communicate this through your writing and the way you speak. Think about the words you use and the image you portray.

Have a website

Have A Platform

Create a website and stay active on social media – but don’t use these to “sell” yourself or your services. Instead, use then to help people, to provide them with information they are looking for. Your website could be a blog, or you could create a YouTube channel where you speak on camera. Whatever you’re comfortable with is what’s going to work for you. If you enjoy public speaking, this is one of the best ways to promote yourself and build your brand. Start looking for opportunities to speak or be a guest speaker and get your name out there.

Differentiate your personal brand

Differentiate Yourself

The thing about brands is that they are unique – and it’s the same with your personal brand. You are an individual with your own strengths and weaknesses, and that’s what your brand should be. You can have idols and people to look up to, but it’s important to stay true to who you are, and align with the best version of yourself. With the skills you offer, you might want to figure out some ways that you are different from the competition, maybe you have more experience, or are the most efficient? Make sure you show people how you are different from the rest.

Building a personal brand takes time, so it’s always good to keep an eye out for opportunities where you can help people and put yourself out there. After a while, people will begin to associate you with the qualities you are striving for, and your personal brand will start to take form.