All posts by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.

Digital Branding

How Do You Choose a Leaflet Printing Service for Your Traditional Marketing Strategies?

With more and more printing services setting up shop on every street corner, it’s becoming much harder for businesses to choose a reliable service to cater to their needs. It’s easy to go and choose a printing service and get what you need. But, the reality is, it’s not that easy. There are many services out there that provide an excellent service. However, there are also many others who’re looking to take your business for granted. With that being said, by taking advantage of the following tips, you’ll be best able to choose a printing service that perfectly suits your marketing strategies.

Ensure They Offer Varied Products

Firstly, look at some of the products on offer. If the business in question only offers postcard and leaflet printing services, then you’ll end up having to find another printing service in the future that can offer more business branded accessories to suit your needs. Try to find a business that can offer your business a varied product catalogue from the get-go so you don’t have to waste time finding a supplier in the future. For example, try to find a printing service that not only offers leaflet and flyer printing services, but a business that can also offer pencil, pen, apparel, and the many other businesses branded accessories that could help your business thrive.

How High-Quality Are the Products?

The next thing you’ll want to consider is the quality of products on offer. Some businesses are much greener than they were 5-10 years ago, so you’ll likely want to settle for a business that uses recycled paper and the like for your cheap leaflet printing requirements. However, you’ll also want to consider how professional you want your flyers to look and feel. Many services, one example can be seen through the leaflet printing at print24, offer you the chance to select different paper weights and types to better suit your requirements. Customers could well be pulled in by the use of cheap paper flyers, but investing in something of much more quality could be the difference in your marketing campaign being a success.

What’re Their Previous Clients Saying?

Next, look at the printing services current and/or past clients to see what they think/thought of the services they received. This is easily done now thanks to Google. Simply type in the company’s name and it’ll come up with a host of links with regards to testimonials and reviews they’ve already received. This will give you a good idea of customer service, quality of products and overall how good the service was. If you’re seeing more problematic reviews than you are positive, it could be a good idea to look elsewhere, otherwise, you could end up with losing out on a good service. Also, check out reviews for all their services (leaflet printing, flyer printing, print flyers, cheap leaflet printing, print leaflets) to ensure you get the best service.

Toot your corporate horn with workplace branding

What’s It Going to Cost You?

While the cheaper printing services are still reliable, the best ones are usually the ones that don’t have pricing structures that seem too good to be true. Always judge a business on their pricing structure to not only ensure it meets with your marketing budgets but also to see if it sounds too good to be true. This will give you a better idea of where they are and, more importantly, how they can realistically offer you the reliable printing services you crave. Again, you’ll want to look at all their services and pricing lists at this point, just to see if they’re realistic in all services they offer.

Delivery Terms

Delivery is also vital when it comes to hiring printing services. The last thing you want is your leaflets to turn up two weeks after Christmas when all your leaflets are merry and Christmas-based designed. Always consider the delivery terms of any printing service, otherwise, your marketing strategies could take a monster hit.

What About a Bulk Order?

If you’re a big business, you’ll likely have a bigger marketing strategy in place. Therefore, you’ll need to invest in accessories and leaflets in bulk. Remember, all printing services are out there to compete for your custom, so always choose a service that can offer your business a bulk discount to better suit your budgets. Of course, you’ll still want to take their pricing structures into account as stated above, but searching for a business that offers good bulk discounts should also be considered, especially when it comes to a fruitful long-term relationship.

There’s plenty to do when it comes to hiring a printing service. You could be one of the lucky ones that gets a reliable business from picking their first printing services. But the reality is simple, if you don’t spend the time in researching a business or by implementing the above tips in your search, you could end up wasting time and money on planning business marketing strategies that you don’t get your accessories for to help promote them.

Digital Branding

The Impact of Financial Dependence on Your Brand

What brands do you respect and like? Companies like Coca-Cola and Apple have brand images and assets that are recognizable worldwide. These strong, and often positive, associations have a value which cannot be measured. The value of a brand may help or hurt a company, depending on the identity of the brand. Stay realistic about your brand image, understand your financial dependence on the brand, and learn ways to save, in case of brand-related financial setbacks.

Understanding Brand Identity

By definition, brand identity is how a company wants to be perceived by customers and includes components a brand presents to the world including a logo, font used, a mission statement or tagline, and a company name.

A strong brand identity builds your business’s reputation in the market. Think about airlines and what they each stand for in your mind. Often your perception of them is because you’ve formed an opinion based on brand identity. Southwest is known for not adding fees and has a heart as its logo. Delta is known for a range of options and itineraries to suit all travel needs. What brand identity do you want for your company?

Financial Benefits of a Great Brand

A great name may have economic advantages in the billions. For example, Four Seasons Hotels, which is a five-star hotel management company, was recently purchased not for its locations, property, or even its staff but its brand. There are many other examples, including the purchase of Cadbury, Budweiser, and even Volvo.

The financial benefits of a great brand impact your company in some crucial ways. These include:

  • Increase the perceived value of your business to customers with a strong identity. Customers think they are getting a better product or service, and your company grows.
  • A strong brand identity means you can ask a higher price for services rendered. Think about the Four Seasons again. They command a higher price because of their association with sophistication and elegance.
  • A higher perceived value boosts your company’s return on investment in the marketplace. A better ROI means you get more out of your marketing, sales, and advertising dollars as well.

Implications of Brand Dependence

At times, dependence on one brand is a tough area to navigate. If you are dependent on one brand’s identity, it leaves your business in a difficult financial position. Just ask United Airlines. They had a reputation for quality service, but when a video of an employee dragging a passenger off of a plane surfaced, their stock prices plummeted by $1 billion. There are negative implications if you financially depend on a brand too much:

  • Losing actual value of your company if your brand goes out of favor with the customers
  • A public relations issue impacting the company’s financials negatively
  • Delay in product or service offerings leaving the company without a financial cushion
  • Problems in your supply chain harming the entire organization
  • Loss of morale among employees
  • Making a change in your brand that isn’t taken well could leave your company crippled financially

How Can I Measure Brand Value?

As brands become more valuable in the marketplace, ways to measure brand value, also known as brand equity, were created. This valuable nontangible asset needs to be evaluated on a regular basis to get a better understanding of your targeted customer base, to further meet the needs of your clients, and to improve your company’s marketing strategies.

There are three metrics used to evaluate brand equity: the financials, the knowledge pieces, and customer preference. Financial metrics analyze your company’s financial situation, knowledge metrics track the popularity of your brand, and preference metrics show how customers perceive your brand. Pay attention to the following:

  • Analyze what is your brand’s truest strength
  • Determine your brand management performance
  • Add a dollar amount to the value of your brand
  • Look for trends in your industry then evaluate yourself against those trends
  • Pull numbers on market share, price premium, growth rate, revenue generation, and transaction value
  • Find anomalies in your services and potentially conduct customer surveys for your brand

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that a strong brand is a key to financial success. Your business needs to stand for a set of values, principles, and concepts. It takes time and potentially years of service to do this. As a general rule, follow these pieces of advice:

  • Build a strong brand that you will be proud of for years
  • Educate your team about the value of branding in every interaction
  • Measure brand success frequently
  • Realign branding as necessary to meet business objectives

Conclusion

There is a unique balance your company must maintain with your brand identity. Its strength adds value to your business but also can leave you in a precipitous situation if your brand goes out of favor. While building a brand, be sure to set aside money for a rainy day in case you need it to keep your business going. Brand identity is an asset as well as a risk factor but a strong brand is key to financial success.

Digital Branding

Why You Should Pursue a Career in Digital Marketing?

Technology is evolving at a faster pace than ever before and we simply cannot imagine life without it anymore. Wherever we go and whatever we do we are surrounded by it and many new jobs emerged as a result of advancing technology. Digital marketing is a field that is relatively new and jobs connected to it are becoming more and more popular and demanded from employers. We have examined some of the reasons why you should consider pursuing a career in digital marketing.

  1. Almost every business has already recognized the importance of being present online, which means that new digital marketing jobs are created every day. Some researches even suppose that the demand for digital marketing specialists will soon exceed the supply. If you decide to focus your career in this field you will definitely not have any problems with finding a job. It might even happen that you will be in a better position as the employers as you will be able to be “picky” about which job to choose.
  2. Digital marketing is a very broad field and includes many aspects and topics. This allows you to focus on the area which you find particularly interesting and for which you have the best skills. For example, if you like to work with numbers and data you can focus on analytical part of digital marketing. Social media marketing on the other hand might be perfect for you if you are really creative and always come up with new ideas of promoting a product or a service.
  3. Although it has always been important for businesses to gather data and evaluate their performance, digital marketing and the advancement of technology are making this task gain its importance. Companies have more need for data collection which means there is also an increase in job positions in this area.
  4. For many other professions and careers you need various trainings or even special courses, but with digital marketing there is a lot you can do on your own and be more responsible for your own career. There are tutorials you can watch or guides you can read- the web is full of many practical advice on digital marketing and on what one must know in order to launch a career in this field.
  5. The wages for digital marketing jobs of course differ and depend on your education, experience and the location of the job, but it is generally believed that the jobs in this field are paid very well. Companies are aware of the fact that it is extremely important to have a specialist in digital marketing and are therefore willing to pay more for this kind of knowledge.
  6. Since technology is evolving extremely fast, it is also to be expected that digital marketing will continue to grow along with it. You have probably already heard of the saying that if you are not present online you do not exist and this is only going to deepen in the future. This means that we can expect new areas and tasks to be added to digital marketing which will make your career exciting and you do not have to worry about it ever becoming a boring routine.

The best thing about a career in digital marketing is that you can have it anywhere in the world. It is a field that is growing internationally and you do not have to settle at one place to pursue it. Having some experience from abroad is an excellent way to add value to your CV and to stand out from the crowd when searching for a job. An internship abroad might be the best way for you to launch a career in this growing field. When searching for it you have to consider many factors and one of them is definitely finding a place to stay. There is an online booking platform called HousingAnywhere.com that can help you with that. The whole process from finding to booking your room is fast, easy and completely secure.

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Digital Branding

What Would Those Bloggers Tell Their Younger Selves Before Traveling Aboard

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes. You can always see what you should have done. It’s frustrating to miss the ball on something important; especially when avoiding the trouble would have been so simple! If you have something so regrettable happen to you often enough, eventually you’re going to try and avoid future instances of the same discrepancy. You’ll start doing your homework in advance. But if you really want to get ahead of the game, start by doing something now.

Look into those who have gone before you in whatever you intend to do. If you’re looking to start a new job, look online for blogs from individuals who have done the same job before. If you’re traveling abroad, find forums, resources, and testimonies pertaining to the regions you intend to visit. Look for checklists, and spend a few months planning your journey.

To help facilitate and expedite the process, following are several bloggers who looked at their foreign travels and took a moment to reflect on what they would have changed. You’ll hear what they would have done, what they wouldn’t have done, and a few funny stories that happened along the way. It may not be exactly so clear an experience as hindsight, but hopefully, if you learn from these travelers, you won’t find yourself looking back with any regrets to consider.

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Jayden & Brittnay from the Travelling House Sitters

There’s no point waiting for a flight to get cheaper, it never will always book it when you see it. If we didn’t spend $300 AUD on a one-way flight to London one Sunday afternoon, we would have never travelled to over 23 countries in two years.

We would also let yourself know you don’t have to pay rent! We looked after a friends place in London,  we realised it was nice not to pay bills or rent, so we decided to learn how to become house sitters. Since then we have saved over €4000 and even had Bono as a neighbour in Dublin.

Adam, from travelinspired.co.nz

Put your worries aside and do everything you can to make your trip happen. Save your cash, make necessary plans and book those flights – after all, how many people do you know that have regrets about going traveling? Very few I’m sure. While on your trip, be as open-minded as possible. Put yourself out there. You’re there for new, exciting experiences, right? Remember to be positive, try new things, see new places, talk to fellow travelers, and make friends. Within no time at all you’ll have a bunch of fantastic experiences and memories from your first, but probably not last, trip.

Authors from Tales Of Two:

If there was one thing I would tell my younger self before taking the first trip overseas, it would be the importance of the right mindset. Travelling is less about the places you see and more about how you feel when there. We were lucky to travel at a time where we were in the right frame of mind to truly enjoy it. I recognize the value of it more in hindsight than I did back then and it’s something I would reiterate to my younger self.
Stefan, from iexploremania.com

There are so many things I would tell myself if I were younger, facing my first trip abroad! I would say “shush!” to my scary thoughts about flights, bad weather or unknown experiences! I wouldn’t wonder how places were, but how people were–because all places “spoke” of people! I would expect less, and enjoy more!

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Robyn, from intote.co

I would tell myself: “Take so many more pictures! Try more things! Pack WAY less, meet more people, and get out of your comfort zone. Travel will be such a big part of your life and business down the road, so take it all in. And especially pay attention to how much more Europeans enjoy the simplicity of life so you can bring that to your own routine.”

Betsy, from eurotravelcoach.com

Read about the history and culture of the countries you are visiting. Use their language. Smile and be respectful. Appreciate that others do things differently. The more we travel, the more we discover that people are really more alike than they are different. Experience and appreciate the new culture, and take this as an opportunity to change your perspective in ways that will alter your impact on your home country in a positive way. Relax. Know that you can make travel a priority and return again. You don’t have to do everything on the first trip. You can come back.

Tryphena, from theheartworks.co

My first trip overseas was a semester abroad in Ghana, West Africa. I was so excited because I had been dreaming of visiting all parts of Africa since I was a child and it was finally happening! I had absolutely no fear and no trepidation about being away from the U.S. and what I knew as familiar for a couple months. That said, I certainly wish someone had told me that my experience abroad, specifically to Ghana, would change my life completely, provide the most defining moments of my life, and make me insatiable for travel. It’s true! Since that first trip overseas, I have not been able to get enough of the world. I get such a thrill from dropping into a new location, experiencing a new culture, finding my way, falling in love with a new locale, trying new foods, struggling with a foreign tongue–all of it. World travel and exploration has set up shop in my heart and it’s never going away. So enjoy your first moments abroad. There’s nothing to be afraid of! And get ready to never be the same!

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Charlotte from Just Muddling Through Life

Travelling abroad for the first time can be pretty terrifying – but do it anyway! Be safe, be aware of your impact, and be informed about where you are going, but absolutely go. Travel will open your eyes to a wider world, and give you experiences you never imagined, so no matter how nervous and worried you feel, do it anyway. You won’t regret it.

Aisleen, from lifesgreatadventures.com

Whilst your parents may have been right to warn you of “stranger danger” when you were a kid, try not to let this cloud your judgment on your first trip abroad. Too much suspicion of “strangers in a foreign land” can easily result in you missing out on many new, exciting and memorable experiences. It’s easy (especially coming from the UK where people are typically more reserved) to remain guarded, but a little more open-mindedness can go a long way! I’m a firm believer that people are generally “good” so, while you don’t want to be accepting dinner invitations from every Tom, Dick, and Harry you meet, don’t be afraid to loosen up and embrace the “new”!

Jenna, from jennawimshurst.com

Without a doubt, I would tell my younger self to research the places that I was going to be visiting before I went there. So many times I’ve been to places only to get home and find that I missed out on somewhere really cool or interesting. If only I’d Googled the bloody place! My other tip would be to film as much as possible. Yes, pictures are great and all that; but videos capture memories far better than any photo. Plus you get to see how much weight you’ve lost/gained since you first started traveling.

Turner, from onceatraveler.com

There are going to be days when you’re tired of being stared at, hungry because you just want familiar foods, lonely because you can’t speak the language, and angry because the weather wasn’t as planned or the kind man you met just wanted to scam you. When days like these happen, screw your plans; have funds set aside to treat yourself so you can carry on the next day and write those experiences up so that others can learn from your mistakes. As repetitive as the conversations may get, and as cynical as you might start to feel, don’t forget to keep talking to people. Engage. Explore. Eat more chocolate.

Meghan, from expeditionlimitless.com

My first big trip abroad was to Italy. When homesickness inevitable crept up on me, I would feel guilty. I never thought I’d miss anything American—I’m not particularly patriotic—but there were days when I would have committed murder for a plain old PB&J. It horrified me. I loved Italy! I loved the people, the landscape, the architecture, the history, the food… So why did I sometimes wish I was home instead?

My feelings of guilt, feelings that I wasn’t a “real” traveler—whatever that means—were completely unfounded. It’s only natural to miss home, especially your first time abroad. If only I could have told my younger self, “It’s okay to be homesick.”

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Nikita, from ourvagabondstories.com

We all remember our first trip abroad to be full of anxiety, mostly because we are going to a foreign land! Looking back at my first trip, I would tell myself to plan more carefully, and definitely, try to learn the basics of the language where I’m going. Unless, you enjoy getting lost, I’d advise you to do the same! Also, it’s advisable to go with trusted friends to guide you, as roaming around alone in a strange land can be daunting and can scare the best of us!

 

Joana, from travelingslippers.com

I have lived and stayed in the Philippines almost all of my life. I grew up with the comfort of my family. I never thought about traveling outside the country. All I knew was, it is expensive to plan a journey abroad. It was only when I decided to work outside the country that I had my first major foreign trip. From then on, I never stop exploring the world. Looking back, it was the best decision I have made in my life. If I could turn back time, I would have told myself: “Just pack your suitcase and never be afraid to travel on your own. Go with the flow of the new country and learn the new culture on its own terms. Though traveling entails money, you don’t need to be rich. You just need to learn the art of saving and proper budgeting.”

Alex, from alexcerball.com

We all have it… that desire to explore, see the world and experience new cultures.

As a teenager, I went on my first solo trip to visit family in Bolivia. In college, I traveled throughout the U.S. with friends, but it wasn’t until I was well into my career that I decided to take a six-month break to visit South America again. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Go where you want to go. When you start talking about travel, many people will tell you how dangerous it is, or how scary a place can be. But it wasn’t until I actually went to such places that I realized the people who were saying these things had never even stepped foot in that country. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere. Use your own judgment.

Will you have enough money? Money comes and goes and if you want to travel, you can make it happen. Start budgeting now, and figure out where you can make cuts. The travel experience will be so worth it.

Don’t overpack. Just about everything you need you can find in another country. Pack lightly so you have room to bring something back if you want to. If your bag is too heavy, consider donating stuff you no longer need.

Take the trip, enjoy the ride, and don’t stress! Everything always works out in the end.

Mo & Jo, from bestcaptured.net

Your suitcase is over-packed, your thoughts occupied with dreams of places you’ve read about in books and travel magazines. At first you feel homesick, but it will pass. You’ll incorrectly babble the unfamiliar language and learn that a smile is universal. Don’t forget to buy too many of those delicious pastries, and write home. Be vigilant in understanding your surroundings, and with the same awareness remember that you can’t reverse time. As you witness God’s picturesque scenery, strive to internalize even a piece of the culture; and before you leave, grab a postcard that will remind you of a particular moment when your love for the place and people thrived.

Taylor, from travelswithtaylor.com

The first time I traveled abroad was when I was a 20-year-old college student. I was excited to finally cross studying abroad off my bucket list, but I remember how nervous I was the day of my departure. It was my first time flying alone and going overseas. All I could think of was what could happen after landing. What I would tell my younger self is: “ Anything can happen, but know that you are never alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because there are many people out there who empathize, and will offer a hand regardless of cultural barriers.”

Shivani, from planforatrip.com

My first trip to abroad was full of unexpected experiences. I hadn’t explored much as I was not
so experienced, and I made a lot of travel mistakes. If I could talk to my younger self before my first trip abroad, here’s what I would advise my younger self:

  1. Don’t be scared to explore and try new things.
  2. Pack light – pack only the essentials, and not the “just-in-case” scenario stuff.
  3. Meet new people and make friends.
  4. Don’t stress when things don’t go the way you expect, just go with the flow.
  5. Trust your instincts. Following your intuition will keep you safe.
  6. Learn the local language. It will help you in communicating with and understanding the locals.
  7. It is okay to leave your comfort zone and experience the changes.
Samantha, from thewanderingwanderluster.com

Don’t travel by the guidebook! When I first started traveling in my late teens, I would literally study everything about the destination I was going to visit. One of my first solo trips was to Paris, so I went down to the local bookstore months before my trip and read “the book”, cover to cover. I knew all the top sights to visit, I had a list of everything I wanted to do and see and even the restaurants I wanted to eat in. The trip was a great success and while I achieved a lot of what was on my list, I didn’t allow time for spontaneity or exploring.

As an older, more “wiser” traveler, I would say the best source of information now would be people. Connect with locals, join Facebook groups of expats and find out from people living there what to REALLY do and see. Hit up some of the main sights but allow yourself time to sit in a local cafe, meet a local, and explore sans guidebook or map!

Swee, from roving-light.com

Don’t try to be see everything. The world is too big. Heck, the place you are going is probably too big for you to see everything. Yes, you may not have the chance to return again, but it is precisely that, that you should go deep and go intimate. The memories last longer.

Diwakar, from holidayporch.com

It is much better to invest time and money on exploring a new destination rather than staying indoors at an over-expensive hotel. Choose a holiday home over a hotel as it would offer you more space, privacy, & freedom. Preferably in or close to the city center to have better access to different parts of the city and major tourist attractions. Top of all, book all your travel arrangements well in advance and prior to reaching your destination, not just to get better prices, but also to avoid any unnecessary inconveniences that could potentially ruin or spoil your holiday.

Katia Perdicaro, Founder of EMILIASTORYTELLERS Artisanal Food Tours

My first “big” trip abroad -backpacking in Australia- was like the first time I fell in love. I was excited about the unknown. Inside my backpack, my guidebook, few clothes and my sense of freedom. “Always keep this genuine sense of freedom” – I tell myself. As a Tour Guide and Tour Operator specialized in food and wine culture, I love to listen to people’s stories. Learning about their culture opens my mind and makes me a better person… So “never lose your curiosity, Katia”!

Charisma, from penchat.net

I will tell myself that I don’t have to take loads of photos during my travels. The most beautiful and natural things happen in the absence of the camera. I will stop reading ‘popular places to visit’. Instead, I will reach out to locals and see a more in-depth perspective about the places and culture.

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Vicky, from dastravelblog.com

Even when you’re on a budget, sometimes it’s worth hiring a local guide. They’re often not as expensive as you’d think, and allow you to experience your destination more fully. The dinosaur carving at Angkor Wat? We walked right past it the first time, reciting dry guide book facts. We only saw it when we went back a second time with a guide.

Monika, the author of packyourluggage.blogspot.rs

  1. Learn some basic phrases in the local language. It will help you to connect with locals and you will be surprised how such a small gesture can make people open up to you much more.
  2. Go on Instagram and read blogs while preparing for your trip. This will help you to get some really good insider tips about cafes, restaurants, clubs and nice little design shops for instance.
  3. Be flexible and spontaneous. Whenever I travel I have an approximate travel budget but I also allow myself to indulge a bit. Some of my most beloved home decor pieces are the ones I discovered accidentally in shop windows and then bought later during my trips.
  4. Be open-minded. First impressions are good but not always accurate. Learn to listen to people around you. You will be surprised how many interesting stories people have to tell who you meet while being on the road.
  5. Tell about your travel experiences to others. Knowledge brings understanding and understanding leads to more love and acceptance in the world.

 

Paul, Founder of travelislife.org

What would I tell my younger self before traveling abroad for the first time? I’d tell him to pack less. Definitely pack less. Lay out everything you want to pack, cut it in half, and then cut it in half again. The other side of the world has whatever you need. I’ll also being telling my future self that too.
Pavla from kievtravelblog.com
The best way to explore is not just to go somewhere, but to indeed be there. You have to adopt customs, to eat locally, to contribute to the community, to make friends. Before I’ve started travelling I thought seeing monuments would make my trip “valid”, but hey guess what – it’s hundred times more than that. Don’t be shy – let your spirit explore.
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Mike and Oshin, from hobowithalaptop.com

What would I tell myself before my first trip abroad? That’s easy; I’d tell myself to pack lighter. There’s no point in packing for eventualities –human needs are the same everywhere, they’ll have what you need wherever you’re going. Avoid excess baggage at all costs. – Oshin

Leave plenty of room for serendipity, don’t spend the whole time looking at your phone. I’d also tell myself to get a passport sooner, and not to stress so much over the details or the money. Travel is much more affordable than you think. And wear more sunscreen, focus on your health wherever you go, and never plan your entire trip in advance. – Mike

Vanessa, from wanderlustplusone.com
Don’t be scared and have confidence in yourself, your feelings and judgment – people in all countries are normally helpful and friendly – but do take basic precautions like splitting and securing your valuables and key items across pockets and bags.  You cannot plan for everything so travel light, take all the key items for a few days in your hand luggage, and do not worry if you forget something – just buy it there. Finally, travel is an adventure so flex your tastebuds, open your mind to new experiences, be daring and try new things.
Staffo, from wanderu.com
I would tell my younger self who’s about to embark on his first trip abroad to be a little more courageous and optimistic about where the journey he’s about to embark on will lead him. Even if they lose all your baggage and you have to spend the night sleeping on a bare mattress with a towel for a pillow, it’s still going to be worth it because you will meet some of the most exceptional people, you will see how diverse the world is, and that will change you forever… for the better!
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Saphira, author of indohoy.com
The world if full of awesome surprises. In different countries, you’ll experience different things, feel different ways about things that you see, eat, and do. Definition of ‘cool’ varies, like the sort of jeans trending in Myanmar, the music that the youth listen to in Korea, and the hangout places in Greece. But no matter what, how you perceive these things that matter the most. Have an open mind, and perhaps stay longer than you planned.
Jasica
When you’re young, it’s easy to be seduced by the lowest cost getaway.
But hold off, save up, and go for an experience you’ll long treasure.
Skip the three-day splash-and-dash bargain to the Bahamas and cruise on a smaller ship to a sublime destination like Guadeloupe, Martinique or St. Lucia. But don’t skimp on the shore excursions!
Food For Thought

Everyone will have their own perspectives when it comes to traveling, but as you can see from these testimonials, for the most part, what you want to do is be ready for that which you don’t expect, and roll with it. That’s good advice. Anyone who has traveled understands that you just can’t control everything on your trip. Get too caught up in that, and you won’t enjoy it. So do your homework, but be flexible. The adventure could be just a step away.

Sonja, from myhammocktime.com

Everything will be fine, don’t be scared. Trust yourself and your feelings. Be attentive along the way but don’t make yourself crazy. Just go and enjoy it. The world is beautiful. There are many open-minded, interesting and friendly people out there. Be brave and connect with them. Listen to their stories, answer their questions and tell them about your country. Get inspired, embrace their different culture, watch, observe and learn. Don’t be a tourist only, get local and be a real traveller.

Marta, from learningescapes.net

The advice I would give to my younger self about travel is ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’ Traveling abroad can be scary and it is normal to feel some anxiety, especially the first time. However, planning can turn that anxiety into excitement. Sort out practicalities before you go, book accommodation and transport so you don’t have to do in while away, and make sure you phone works so you can talk to friends and family. You will be too busy having fun to call them but it will make you feel better to have them close!

Digital Branding

American Mine Services: Revitalizing an Old Brand

The 1970’s and early 80’s was an incredibly culturally significant period of time in the United States. This era marked the popularization of sci-fi films such as Star Wars and Tron, video games such Mario and Pacman, as well as musical genres such as hip-hop and disco.

While some of these brands, franchises, and genres managed to hold on to their popularity and remain relevant, others failed to re-invent themselves as the years went on and ended up becoming “deader than disco.”

While all of these examples spawned from the same era and are pretty similar to one another, we’d like to explore two ways that the revitalization of certain brands such as AMS can be more successful than others.

Brands Which Struggle To Update

Some brands are flexible enough that they manage to easily allow themselves to be informed by the current popular trends and visual designs of their current era.

Other brands with more rigid or inherently dated designs and subject matter have a harder time keeping up. This often means that in attempt to remain relevant, these brands end up forcing a look or a style which doesn’t suit them and does nothing to advance the brand, such as 2006’s “edgy” Bomberman video game re-imagining or 2017’s CHiPs feature film adaptation.

If you aren’t aware of these examples then that only goes to further demonstrate how forgettable and uninspiring such attempts at brand revitalization are.

Brands may actually benefit more from embracing their roots and intentionally dating themselves a bit.

Case and point, Parker Brothers board games. While almost everyone is aware of such classics as Monopoly and Clue when was the last time you can remember playing one of these games? Board games have struggled to compete with the influx of cheap, easy, and instantaneous entertainment provided by digital media sources such as online streaming or video games.

An attempt to combat how “old fashioned” board games had become was by highlighting that fact and using it as a selling point in a series of repackaged classic Parker Brothers board games. The packaging on these new editions of the games was made to resemble the original packaging of the games, with even the boards and game pieces being made to look older. Because these games all of a sudden looked like they were from a different era, they stood out on store shelves and found a market with people who think old and analog is hip.

Brands Which Have Returned After Some Time Away

Sometimes a brand falls out of relevance not due to a sudden lack of quality or shift in style, but rather due to an extended period of time out of the public eye for one reason or another.

American Mine Services is a great example of this. While once a prominent and well-known player in the mining industry with plenty of success to their name, operations were halted for a little over a decade as the AMS personnel worked as a part of a larger civil contractor. Having returned to their original form as AMS back in 2016, the company was faced with the challenge of having to re-obtain their old momentum.

To this end, American Mine Services decided to focus on promoting their brand through the internet instead of simply going back to their old methods of brand-building before their operations stopped in 2005. They sought out an updated website and a stronger online presence in order to let the world know that they were back, had re-invented themselves with a fresh look, and were ready to take on new contracts.

It can be exceptionally difficult to rebrand and update a company which is still in business as there are many moving parts which must be taken into consideration and worked around.

In this case, their absence gave AMS a strong advantage over many of their competitors currently in operation. New businesses, or those that have experienced an extended hiatus such as AMS, have a fresh and clean groundwork to be built off of. Being thrust into the internet age head first instead of having to gradually “catch up” is partially what has allowed AMS to modernize and revitalize the brand as much as it has.

audio-branding
SaaS Branding

Should You Be Using Audio Branding

Finding an effective way to create and build a desirable brand image is critical if you want to enjoy a high level of success in your field. Your brand is how your customers recognize your products or services in the marketplace, and it also affects how they feel about your company emotionally. You may think that branding is largely accomplished through text and visual messages, and you may also think that you are taking every step possible to develop a desirable brand image. However, audio branding is a critical component to consider as well, and you must effectively use this element to enjoy maximum results.

What Is Audio Branding?

Just as your customers can formulate a brand image for your company based on the graphics that you use in marketing pieces, the same holds true for sound. Perhaps the most common type of audio branding is a jingle or even a catchphrase, but there are other types of audio branding that can also be used effectively. Audio branding is a broad term that encompasses the use of all sounds to develop your brand image.

Everything from brand music to podcasts and other audio platforms can be used to further develop and refine your brand. Because music and sounds often appeal to people on an emotional level, this can be a highly cost-effective way to build your brand image or to redefine it on your own terms.

How to Define Your Brand

Before you can effectively determine how to use audio branding to achieve desired results, you must first determine what your brand stands for. Some companies, unfortunately, let their brand image develop without intentional planning or thought, but you have complete control over steering the development of your brand image.

Using audio branding is one of the more effective ways to accomplish this. Remember that your target audience usually is not paying full attention to your marketing messages, and they often are distracted by various things. Audio branding helps you to get your message heard even when your target audience is only partially engaged.

Consider what your brand currently stands for and what you want it to stand for. Think about strategic ways to use sound to build on emotions or to stand out from the crowd. It may be helpful for you to learn more about how your competition is using audio branding before you decide how to act.

Consider what your competition is doing successfully and what areas they are lacking in. Remember that everything from a pop song or a unique rhythm to an animal sound, nature sounds and more can be used effectively to brand your company’s image.

Are You Already Using Audio Branding?

Some companies view the audio in their marketing messages as a background or filler noise.

However, turn down the volume on the background sounds in your commercials or other pieces, and determine if the effect on the audience is the same. Chances are that the audio in your marketing or advertising pieces helps to define the message, creates an emotional pull or achieves other results. If this is the case, you are already using audio branding without knowing it.

However, the most effective audio branding does not happen by chance. Instead, it is well-planned and thoughtfully implemented. Your sounds should be recognizable and should create the ideal emotional impact. They should differentiate your company and help your marketing to get the recognition it deserves. Ideally, your customers will be able to hear your audio elements in the distance and will immediately relate your company to the sounds they are hearing.

The Many Benefits of Audio Branding

Before you spend time, money and energy promoting audio branding in your marketing efforts, you need to be aware of what the many benefits of audio branding are. Just as visual elements define and differentiate your brand, the same holds true for audio elements. Audio elements may be instantly recognizable, and they may even be catchy or difficult to forget.

Sounds can be elaborate and complex, but you can also use very simple and basic sounds that convey instant meaning in some way. Furthermore, sounds can be trademarked, which enables your company to obtain usage rights to the sound and prevents others from copying your efforts.

While many people view the sound in an ad as relatively unimportant or as filler that simply creates a more polished finished project, the reality is that audio sounds in your marketing material are critical for branding purposes. Spend time analyzing how you have used audio branding thus far and what the effects have been.

Now that you are aware of how important audio branding is for building your brand image, you can determine if and how you need to make changes to your use of sound to more strategically benefit from it.


About the author:
Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon

SaaS Branding

Quality Customer Service Will Make You Stand Out

The most effective way to get ahead of your competition is to set up high-quality customer service. The success of your business relies on the relationship with the customers. By building great customer relations policy, you’ll manage to edge your prices above the competitors. Your customers will feel good when they visit your website or store, and they’ll keep coming back. Take a look at guidelines below, and start working on your new improved customer service.

Be available all the time

In order to build great relations with your customer base, it is crucial to be accessible. If you don’t have enough time for that, make sure to hire a customer support representative and they’ll be available for all questions your clients may have. Feel free to extend your accessibility. Your contact form should be available across different channels.

Start from social media, website, and email. Most of the communication will be done online, but don’t forget to provide people with your phone as well since some of them will prefer that way of communication.  As you increase channels of communication, make sure you increase the number of employees, so they can take care of everything in a timely manner.

Be quick in responding

People like to get the answer in a timely manner. Try to remember how contacting some companies can get frustrating. You really don’t need unsatisfied customers, so go ahead and make specific business policy. For instance, determine the timeframe of 24 hours, and instruct your workers to stick to it. That means that every call or email must be returned within a day. Don’t forget to make that information public, so your customers can see it. With that type of transparency, your clients will feel respected and will wait for their service.

customer-support

Concentrate on your customers

Your client base is that one thing that keeps wheels turning. Your business will grow just in case you have great customer service.

Because of that, open your ears widely and listen what they have to say. Sometimes, you will hear something you don’t want to hear but listen through all of it since there might be a thing or two you can learn. Avoid defending yourself and your company, but learn from the customer’s feedback. Their opinion counts and you should try to adapt to their needs in order to grow.

Improve weak points

Every company has its own weaknesses and so does yours. Put some effort into resolving the most common issues your clients pointed out. If there are more than 5 people who reported the same issue, you should slow down and try to take care of it. Set high standards for your firm and your staff. That way, everybody will know their job and get it done accordingly. In addition, try to be as much transparent as you can toward your customer base. Meet the needs of your clients even when they are wrong. You want them happy at the end of the day, and you want your revenue to increase. It’s a win-win situation.

Think about the big picture

Your business isn’t just your product or service, it’s much more. People like to spend money at the places they feel comfortable and happy. Because of that, you should improve the whole experience around your business. Your office will be busy during the day, and people in line should be entertained in some way. You may set up a little library, install a TV or even hire a photo booth as an additional way for your clients/customers to kill some time while waiting. Your customers will be happy with that kind of treatment and will be eager to continue doing business with you.

Educate your employees

The chain is strong as its weakest link. In order to make the strong and sustainable system, it is crucial to make some rules. Once you start hiring new employees, you should invest some time into their education. Present them with company policy and insist on sticking to it.

Of course, be flexible and modify it when needed. If you want to build great customer service, all of you must think as one. It is bad for the business if you answer the same question differently than one of your employees. This issue can be resolved with prepared templates which can be modified in certain situations.

Final thoughts

Making a big and successful company isn’t easy and it takes a lot of effort and time. As an entrepreneur, you should be aware of all challenges you may stumble upon and give your best to resolve them quickly. As much as it is important to have high sales and healthy revenue, you shouldn’t forget that most important people are your customers, so take care of their needs all the time.


This post was written by Ian Pearson. Aside from primary area of interest and expertise in business consulting, 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 marketing trends
Digital Branding

4 Easy Steps To Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategy

We all know this. To be competitive nowadays, brands have to engage with clients frequently. Technology and social programs have made it effortless to accomplish this, and there appears to be no lack of opportunities for participation.

The issue is that a lot of brands have not gotten the message. To handle the objective of participation, many entrepreneurs pursue digital approaches that emphasize leading discussions, establishing the tone, and setting client expectations. Rather, digital engagement strategies nowadays ought to do the contrary, providing the chance for clients to direct the way.

Digital Marketing Strategy

Some big International branding companies now realize that involvement goes beyond simply reacting to and talking with customers. Today, brands will need to be hyper-focused on providing experiences as opposed to sending messages.

As you may know, Airbnb and HomeAway are the two famous firms that give a platform for matching travelers with personal rental lodging. HomeAway was three years old when Airbnb started in 2008.

To fend off the new comer, HomeAway developed and spent millions of bucks on a digital branding plan that clarified why it was distinct from Airbnb. On other hand Airbnb focused on creating unique content and evoking interest experience for its customers, comparing itself to one.

Now, HomeAway has a market valuation of approximately $3 billion, while Airbnb is valued at about $31 billion. The takeaway lesson is that telling folks a great is not as effective as delivering exceptional experiences that prove you are.

Creating experiences requires deep pockets and excruciating attention to detail. Here are some good approaches for increasing your digital strategy.

Four Steps To Better Digital  Marketing

Mobile marketing rules these days1. Concentrate on mobile first.

It should not be a secret nowadays the customers often interact with companies on their mobile phones. Yet, many entrepreneurs continue to be focused on producing robust sites which fail to provide a fantastic experience through mobile.

According to Google algorithm released on April 22, mobile-friendly website rank higher in Google searches. With the vast majority of digital eyeballs coming via mobile devices, you may damage your brand if you aren’t delivering a mobile-friendly encounter.

2. Stop annoying your clients.

We are overwhelmed with content, and our attention spans have precisely become shorter and much more fickle. If you would like to attract and maintain clients, keep your engagement simple and make sure that it provides value. Even better, track what your clients are doing and discussing and be there to participate with them when they’re prepared.

Engage website visitors

3. Make engagement painfully simple and clear.

Whether you are giving information, doing promotion of a product, or requesting a sign up, your visitor must instantly see and understand what’s expected of them. Hopefully, based on the research you’ve done about your target market, your webpage will understand what visitors want and then supply the expertise they have been hoping to get.

Additionally, any call to action must be incredibly simple to understand and complete. Again, whether you want people to sign up for something or buy a product, the encounter ought to be effortless. For starters, look at using social networking plug-ins that enable visitors to login through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or alternative social networking account as opposed to generating an entirely new account.

4. Adhere to a site experience.

Many entrepreneurs believe adding a mobile program for their digital approach is crucial, but the simple truth is that responsive design sites have blurred the line between what may be accomplished through a mobile browser and a program. We’ve become overwhelmed with apps and do not need another one polluting our home screen. Having a responsive website serves both you and the customer.

Furthermore, brands must look to leverage existing technology and platforms where your clients are already engaging frequently such as Instagram and Twitter. If that’s where customers are, make yourself amazingly easy to locate you on social websites by adding links and badges which are simple to find on your website.

Creating an effective digital strategy requires time and effort, and entrepreneurs must clearly define their goals before launching one. If you have a small marketing budget build a website with do-it-yourself resources like SquareSpace, Weebly or Wix.

As your company becomes more prosperous, you will want to be more serious about digital marketing and much more concentrated on brand building, direct creation, and client involvement. This requires a more sophisticated custom website built by “designers and developers with the experience to go beyond simple sites and produce long-term and overarching plans focused on producing extraordinary experiences.” A well thought out website will end up being well worth the investment.”

Isn’t this right time to grow your business? Good luck!

This article is written by Naval Gupta, Digital Marketing expert, who currently runs a digital marketing firm DigiArise.

Data Information Research Must Guide Your Branding Decision
Digital Branding

How Data Information Research Must Guide Your Branding Decision

If you’ve ever wondered why it seems so hard for small businesses to succeed, it often comes down to this: they are not appealing to their target audience well. In other words, their branding isn’t working. This could be due to a number of reasons. For instance, maybe they don’t know what kind of branding their target audience reacts best to. Maybe they are unaware of the branding of their more successful competition. Or maybe the audience they’re reaching for has no desire for their products and services, and they should change their product or their target market.

The point is, correct and thorough information must guide your brand building, as it always has. How it does this has changed over the years, especially in this digital age. So what we as marketers need to be asking ourselves is how we can combine traditional market research methodology with newer approaches to create the most relevant brand we can. Additionally, how can we adapt traditional market research to our modern world to get the best, well-rounded information on our target market? We better figure out how, because information is king.

Focus groups aid traditoonal research

Traditional Market Research

 Market research has traditionally revolved around the intersection of primary and secondary information. Primary information depends on interaction with your target market. This means setting up focus groups and user groups, conducting interviews and surveys, and even creating test markets (which are basically a sample size target markets).

Secondary research relies on, well, secondary information – what others have said about your brand or compiled about it. The most valuable of these are competitor benchmarks, which are measurements of growth and performance from competitors. Sales data, government analyses, and commercial data are also obtainable. All of this is free on the internet or available for purchase from third parties.

Traditional market research relied on primary and secondary information as defined above, and marketing and branding ideas were planned according to the information achieved through such means. However, with the rise of social media and the digital age, market research has had to adapt.

Googel Anlytics aids digital research

Digital Age Research

People have been using the term “digital age” for quite some time now, but with the rise of social media and new free-to-use tools like Google Analytics, it would be foolish not to adapt our own definitions to a new context. Let’s start with social media.

The digital age means that everyone is connected to each other, all the time. They are constantly working and communicating by way of digital devices over the internet on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and the like. An infographic published to the iMarketCafe in early 2016 revealed some shocking things about data and the digital age. From a purely informational standpoint, data worldwide is growing 40 percent per year. Moreover, mobile surveys, online communities, and social media analytics were all significantly growing in use by suppliers and buyers in 2015. Public internet forums offer a significant piece of information that is vital to our market analyses.

Free-to-use tools for monitoring web traffic are also a necessity, and it’s surprising how many people don’t use them to their fullest advantage. Specifically, Google Analytics is a free program offered by Google itself that gives you insight into things like how many site visitors you’ve had, demographics of site users, bounce rates, and conversions. This adds an element to your brand building internally with your customer base: What do they like? What don’t they like? How can you keep their attention? Since Google has recently made it very easy to learn Analytics, you have no excuse not to take advantage of this tool. It is one of the digital age’s best advantages we did not have in the past.

In conjunction with analytics, it would be beneficial to conduct some A/B tests on your website. A/B tests are the practices of comparing conversion and other “success” metrics before and after making changes to a website. Instapage has a wonderful, in depth guide on the practice of A/B Testing, which every site owner or webmaster should read. However, to shortly and practically demonstrate how an A/B test might work, imagine changing the color scheme on your page, or at least the call-to-action buttons (“Buy now!”, “Read More!”). An A/B Test would inform you which colors entice people to further explore on your website, or buy from you.
Combine the best research techniques

Combining the Two for an Ultimate Branding Information Hub

Traditional market research is not defunct and primary and secondary information is still valuable and used often. It is crucial to understand that even with the entrance of the digital age, everything we did previously is still important. They are just simply not the only or even the absolute sources of market information.

So at the end of the day, don’t waste time relying too much on one method or another. Make sure your pool of information is well-rounded and takes all relevant information into account. Learn the most about your target market as you can, and you will have the best chance of appealing your brand to all of them.

Have you found the combination of these market research methods to be helpful for your brand? Did you learn something from your social media analyses that your focus groups and interviews didn’t tell you, or vice versa? Do tell in the comments!

real-estate
Local Branding

Top Branded Real Estate Blogs To Follow

Real estate is one of the most important sectors in the economy – no doubt about that. The affordability of real estate and rental prices and changes in those prices have a direct impact on the wealth of property owners and tenants and their consumer spending. So many countries of the European Union are experiencing big earthquakes in their economy precisely because they were building too many buildings hoping for people to rent or purchase the apartments – which did not happen. Or, at least, it did not happen to the extent they wished to. 

We are sharing with you the least of the most prestigious real estate blogs that you simply have to follow:

Sally describes herself in these 5 words: Enthusiastic, Dedicated, Confident, Proactive, Upbeat and that’s exactly what her blog is! Head over there for some fresh information on the rental prices as her blog never fails to deliver.

Quality over quantity is the way Ohio Cashflow works. This includes their properties, the people they hire, and the investors they choose. They are serious about making their investors profitable.

Their mission is to provide extraordinary savings to heroes who provide extraordinary services to our nation and its communities every day.

A new breed of broker / blogger in Manhattan, this blog embraces transparency, technology and social media. In addition to publishing this blog, Mitchell, the founder, actively contributes to professional and social media networks in an effort to help inform today’s real estate consumers.

Afford Anything is all about making smarter choices and building a better life.

Afford Anything is a movement rooted in one idea: You can afford anything, but not everything — and that’s true not only for your money, but also your time, focus, energy and attention.

Welcome to the world of house flipping.

If you’re looking for a free resource where you can learn how to flip houses for a living or just want to learn how to rehab a house for fun and profit, you’ve come to the right place.

rent-a-house

Follow up Boss is for everyone who needs to get to know how to generate more real estate leads to convert them in a simple, easy to use way.

They have information on their blog about to generate and convert leads.

Paul and Jerri created Moving To Athens and have over 30 years combined experience in the Athens area real estate market, providing services beyond your expectations.  Whether selling your home, buying a new home, relocating to Athens or discovering the perfect property to build on, Paul & Jerri are dedicated professionals here to assist you.  Their goal is to make every real estate transaction a pleasure from start to finish.

This blog specializes in serving the Deep Creek market and provides in-depth videos, photos and market information for the area. Jay has over 20 years of experience in the Deep Creek area and offers everything you need buy, sell, rent or maintain real estate, hassle free. Jay stays on top of modern trends incorporating, video, social media and other different medians to get the best results for his clients.
mortgage

Social network for the real estate investing community. Learn real estate investment, get free tips & education, make deals, and grow your business. Their mission at BiggerPockets.com is to help educate people about all aspects of real estate and real estate investing and to provide tools and resources to enhance real estate knowledge, networking, marketing and dealmaking.

GeekEstate Blog is a resource for real estate professionals who want to get the most from technology and digital marketing. Their mission to provide a transparent platform for real estate professionals to navigate the landscape of re technology and marketing tools.

Established in 2013, Triangle Real Estate Group has achieved phenomenal success in assembling one of the region’s most experienced sales teams. That team of neighborhood experts stands ready to meet the needs of clients throughout the Triangle area.

Utilizing the latest tech tools, Triangle Real Estate Group continually strives to offer agents and clients the most up-to-date resources, ensuring outstanding results. As a result, Triangle Real Estate Group was recently recognized by Inman News for being the first real estate firm in the area to use Periscope, a popular live-streaming app that gives agents and brokers an innovate way to engage clients digitally in real time.

PropertyForce has been in business since 2006, offering homeowners the ability to sell their house in any condition and any situation. Our management team has a combined 30 years in the industry, and all of our employees are experts in the field of buying and selling homes. Unlike many other companies, PropertyForce offers the convenience and satisfaction of an exact offer and written contract to our sellers within hours of the initial inquiry.