Category: Digital Branding

Busy bloggers
Digital Branding

Hacks And Tips To Keeping Your Focus

 

 

Many people have the dream of being an online entrepreneur. Way too often the demands of work, family, and social responsibilities seem to overwhelm us, convincing us to give up that dream before we really learn to manage it.

For thousands of people, that dream is their reality. They have learned to balance their lives and to carve out the necessary hours to invest in themselves and their businesses. They have learned to focus on creating the life they want. This gives them the super-ability to get more done in less time.

Take these tips from very busy bloggers who are succeeding and thriving with their entrepreneurship. Choose the ones that will work in your life and adjust them as needed to make them fit. It will take work and commitment. The payoff is freedom to live the life you want to live and give your family the best of you.

Planning, Prioritizing, Writing it down

These pros share with us the need to use a calendar, diary, and list to keep things moving in the right direction.

Karen Houghton, atlantatechvillage.com shares with us, the following:

Running the 4th largest tech hub in the United States means there is always work to be done. Atlanta Tech Village is open 24/7, houses over 300 startups, and we host over 400 events a year. It can be easy to live each day from a reactive place. Instead, I live by my calendar and intentionally plan time and space each day to create a rhythm of work that allows me to be my most productive. Times I will take meetings, when and how many events I attend, office time to answer emails, and even time for reading and writing are planned for and time blocked accordingly. I even schedule buffer time in case there are fires to put out, which there always are. By scheduling my time and using tools like Calendly, I am able to protect my time and make sure I have space to prioritize important things and make sure I get done what needs to get done.

James Kelly, from thelifeofluxury.com, uses a to-do list to prioritize his day.

Each day, we are bombarded with an avalanche of work.  It can be quite stressful. It’s important to start your day with a to-do list. Prioritize them by importance and fully understand what is required.  Knocking off a few “low hanging fruit” provides a sense of accomplishment. The key for me is to avoid distractions, such as limiting cell phone use. I also like to block out a meeting time, so I can focus on the project. Be sure to recognize what you finish and not dwell on tasks that roll to the next day.

Using a diary allows Laura Martin, www.missljbeauty.com to always be prepared.

My tips for productivity are quite simple. I love to have a diary. I set aside time to blog and time for ideas. Carrying a notebook while, on the go is a great way to write down ideas and thoughts. The best advice I received is to be yourself and find your love.  Yes, that Sounds strange in regards to productivity but if you need a break have one. Your brain works better when you are not stressed. If you don’t love what you do. You will not find time to do it. Remember passion is key to success.

Stewart Smith, mkremodeling.com, finds mental preparation keeps him focused.

I’m a stay-at-home dad, so my time window for working is as long as my daughter is napping. Once that window closes, it’s gone until the next day, so I have to hit the ground running. To counter the time limitations, I try to not open my laptop until I have something already written in my head. Usually, it’s a sentence or two, or maybe it’s a cluster of keywords, but as long as I’m not staring at a blank screen, I will find the spark to get going. That, and coffee. Always coffee.

Divide and conquer – taking small bites

Breaking the day into manageable time frames helps Maureen Anders, www.arworkshop.com

I schedule myself in 30-minute time increments throughout the day.  In those 30-minute increments, I list out several “to dos” to be sure that I stay on track.

 

Amber Shawver, www.FourtoAdore.com, finds it easier to break projects into phases.

After I take photos for the blog, I use apps for photo editing, watermarking, and archiving pictures, which I upload directly to the WordPress app as a draft.  Then, I designate time to write pieces corresponding with my photos.

Kerry Bergeman, www.shopfrulu.com & www.new2two.com, grabs minutes daily.

For me, it’s about being organized and surrounding myself by a supportive network. I set aside time every day. I try for the same time, but that never works with two sets of twins running around. I do try to write for at least ten minutes a day and spend ten minutes networking. That is at a minimum. Additionally, I like to engage with people who will support and help me grow. No nay-sayers in this life!

Pam Kocke, pyjammy.com combines, mental preparation with list building.

Challenge yourself to post on a regular schedule. And make sure your readers know about it, so you’ll be accountable. Serial posts work well – document the growth of your garden (or children) or do a countdown to a special event.

Write posts when you’re inspired, and then schedule them for the future. That way, if you can’t think of anything to write about, you’ll always have something on hand to post.

Keep a list of post ideas in an app that you can access from anywhere. (I use Simplenote.) Whenever I am feeling uninspired, I just read through that list and pick something.

Josh Anderson from https DIYactive recommended to trick our minds when it comes to daunting tasks:

“Many people put off bigger projects because they are daunting. One way to overcome this is with your own version of the 10-minute-rule. Find a quiet place, set the timer on your phone for ten minutes and then get to work. Mentally you think that you will only have to work on the project for 10 quick, painless minutes, but the beauty is that you actually start your project and once you dive in you’ll realize it isn’t as daunting as you thought. Ten minutes every day, which usually goes longer once you get in the zone, will help you beat procrastination, distractions and get your projects completed!”

Focus and Focus-Breaks

Focus is a must for the blogger. You have to do the best you can with the limited times you have. But sometimes you have to use tools to break your focus so you can dedicate time to every project.

Deane Alban, founder of BeBrainFit.com believes in the Pomodoro technique:

My favorite way to get into a state of deep concentration is with productivity hack known as the “Pomodoro Technique.” First, proactively remove all distractions that are under your control. Turn off your phone, close your door, and tell those around you not to disturb you – unless your hair is on fire! Be very clear on what you want to accomplish and challenge yourself to get as much done as possible. Then set a timer for 25 minutes and give it your all. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring it back to the task at hand. When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Repeat as needed. Each 30-minute set not only puts you in a state of deep concentration, it actually trains your brain to learn how to block out distractions and focus for extended periods of time.

Ally Gonzales, RunningSoleGirl.com refuses to give less than 100%

A big part of staying productive for me is focusing on one task at a time. In my experience, when people try to multi-task they end up becoming distracted and their work suffers. In any business, especially blogging; you’re always being pulled in multiple directions to try and get everything done. It’s a constantly evolving world, and by focusing on the task at hand you know you’re putting out your best work.

 

Breaking focus to be more effective is important to Mary Ann Zimmerman, www.mindability.com  

Use An Alarm! Personally, a phone alarm helps me regain control of those minor issues that crop up, keeps me from being distracted, and helps me stay ahead of the daily deadlines. Beyond using alarms for getting up in the morning, a basic phone alarm also helps me depart a meeting that runs longer than planned, which automatically increases my productivity and positively impacts the day’s schedule.

 

Doing it all, and doing it healthy

Yoga helps Kim France, girlofacertainage.com stay sharp and relaxed.

I am currently writing a memoir, which I work on during the week, so I do my blog posts on the weekends. I wake up around 6:30, have coffee, walk the dogs, go to an 8:30 yoga class, come home and get right to work. If I’m really cranking, I can get most of the week’s posts done by the end of Saturday.

 

Mila Chervenkova, www.milaonsupplements.com, knows health is the foundation to success.

Keeping my head above water and multitasking could be a difficult thing to complete when my main goal is productivity. Here are a few things I do at the beginning and the end of each day: 1) Plan your day, always have something to do, 2) Always write down your thoughts, 3) I have a daily calendar on my desk, and I fill it with all of the things I want or need to accomplish that day or the other one, 4) Take breaks. Go for a walk. Do some yoga, or my favorite kill the weights in the gym. 5) Take your dietary supplements such as fish oil, vitamin d and some nootropics known as “smart drugs.”

Darrell Grable, neurohacker.com insists on balance:

You must be mentally and physically organized. You do not have to do the same thing every day at the same time, but you must know what you have to do, and when it has to be done. Use your smartphone, calendar, computer, or a pen and paper. But whatever you use, unplug before you do the task.

Fazal Mayar, richerornot.com, however, puts his health and life-work balance first:

You will rarely have entire days to contribute to your work. So, use your minutes wisely and let the hours take care of themselves. Being healthy means having energy, eating well, getting in exercise, and maybe even taking supplements to improve your abilities. You cannot take care of everyone else unless you first take care of yourself.

Todd Middlebrooks, President discusses how technology significantly helped his team be more productive:

We live in an age where technology can significantly improve our daily lives if we know how to use it. At CSII, we’ve helped many physical offices go either partially or entirely virtual.  Seeing employees and managers improve their productivity and efficiency and increasing their overall level of happiness is why we get up in the morning.

Jose Rosario, Owner of SELAH BODYWORKS, states on his productivity:

At times we can confuse being busy with being productive.  As an owner of a small business, it happens all the time.  I always have to implement compensatory strategies to make sure I stay productive. Alerts on my phone, google doc alerts or even the good old yellow sticky reminders. All three come in handy to keep me on track!

Jake Fisher, the owner of Bridges Strategies, talks about cutting distraction with some apps:

Writing valuable content often requires long-term focus to “get into the zone.” A distraction-free writing app is crucial for staying focused. We use the HubSpot Composition Tool but there are plenty of options including stand-alone apps like WriteMonkey and FocusWriter.

Scott Harris, President, and Founder of Mustang Marketing says:

I’ve found that when you consistently deliver engaging and relevant content, your readership will grow organically. While factoring SEO into the equation is important in order for readers to find your writing and services, readers will become loyal subscribers when you provide quality material that is educational, drives the conversation and promotes engagement. Treat content as king and respect your audience by avoiding writing shallow and gimmicky posts or blogs that offer little benefit to you and them.

Jessica Maria from Intelisys shares:

 

As someone whose job description includes social media and media communications, it’s hard to tune out. I love the mac app SelfControl when I have to get into, and stay in, the zone. Making time on my calendar and setting time limits on distracting tasks (email, social media, phone calls, etc.) also helps minimize the distraction, when I don’t want to go fully into the dark. 

 

Bryan Hardy believes in activating your body, freshen up a little to get into the Zone:
Take a minimum of 5 minutes every hour to stand up, walk, stretch, bounce, and breathe deep into your diaphragm. I like to do some jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups, and hangs off a bar or tree branch when there’s one available. The purpose is to completely let go of work, activate your body, and let your mind wander/relax before refocusing on the task at hand.

 

Conclusion

These professionals have found their own paths to success. There are many avenues to explore. Some will work for you and some will not. You may rely on project management tools, your will, ability to cut distractions, or whatever works for you. You may even come up with some of your own to share. There are a few things we can all agree on.

Find or create the formula that works for you and work it. If you do, you will make it.

Appeal to your mobile customers
Digital Branding

How to Get Your Business Mobile App Right First Time

When it comes to engaging with your customers, creating a mobile app is one of the top methods used by many brands today. With an increasing number of web users now preferring to log on via their smartphones and tablets, adding a mobile application to the customer experience makes sense in today’s fast-paced business world, where keeping up is paramount.

So, you’ve decided that a mobile app is just what your customers need to improve their experience with your brand. But, what can you do to ensure that your app isn’t a flop? We’ve listed our top suggestions.

Tip #1. Hire the Right Professionals:

Chances are, you won’t be creating your business’ mobile app all by yourself. If you’re going to be hiring a mobile app developer to help you with putting your app together, then it’s important to invest some time in conducting thorough research beforehand. Getting recommendations from contacts that you trust, reading online reviews, and searching through portfolios of developers’ past work will certainly pay off in the end. Go for a company that has extensive experience when it comes to creating business and marketing apps, such as this mobile app development London company; https://www.lexel.co.uk/mobile-app-development-london.html.

Tip #2. Testing is Key:

Testing should be an integral part of the app development process, since the last thing that you want is to roll out an app to your customers only to find that its riddled with bugs and other issues that could have been fixed had you tested it beforehand. One good way to do this is to get unbiased reviews of your app before releasing it, by allowing a select few customers to download a beta version. Once they have done this, they can send you information about what’s working well and what needs improvement. You can reward their efforts with discounted products, vouchers, or a free gift.

Tip #3. Understand Your Users:

Before you even start planning your app development, you’ll need to know exactly what it is that your users will want from it. Bear in mind that your users’ motivations to use the app will always matter much more than your own, so it’s vital to get their opinions on your ideas before going ahead. Conducting intensive market research to determine what your target audience require and want from the apps that they use will get you on the right track to developing an app that goes down incredibly well and produces excellent results.

Tip #4. Keep Ease of Use in Mind:

Although millions of people today use smartphones, bear in mind that not everybody is extremely technologically savvy. Along with that, your average app user today will place a lot of value on convenience. Because of this, your top priority when designing an app should be the ease of use; ensure that it has a user-friendly interface, simple navigation system, and a seamless design flow. Make sure that it’s easy for any potential user to find exactly what they need when using your app.

Did you enjoy these tips? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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 Abroad

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.com

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

Boosting your company's digital image
Digital Branding

How to Boost Your Company’s Digital Image

In today’s world, so much of life operates on the internet. Although this has an impact on everyday society and social interactions, it also has significant repercussions on how businesses operate. Of course, the quality of a company’s products and customer service are still incredibly important in retaining customers and earning referrals. But, increasingly, a company is not viable in the long-term unless it has an excellent digital image.

That is, every business must have an effective and appealing internet presence if it is going to be successful. Therefore, factors such as social media activity and website layout should be important to you as you grow or build your business. Here are a few ways you can begin to create a reliable and viable internet presence for your company.

Make your website design clear

21185368 – website template

Clean Up Your Website and Other Professional Profiles

If your company has been around for a while, chances are your website has, too. Even if it’s only been a few years since you updated and upgraded your website, it’s probably time to do it again. Effective websites should be aesthetically appealing, simple, and easy to navigate. Especially if your website was created a while ago, it may be overly busy or bright, since that used to be the preferred style online. Today, however, that style doesn’t fly anymore. Your website should have clean, simple colors and easy-to-read fonts.

Every page on your site should be accessible via a “map” that runs either on the side or on the top of the website. This will make sure that your visitors can get anywhere on the website that they’d like to, with one simple click. While you’re redoing the style of your website, also update any old content, and double check for typos or grammatical errors. Small typos on the front page of your website will turn away customers before they even have a chance to figure out what your company is all about.

Maximize website SEO

Make Use of SEO for your Website

Even the most beautiful and functional website is useless unless people are actually visiting. After you’ve upgraded and modernized your website, it’s time to boost the number of visitors. To increase traffic to your website, make use of SEO — search engine optimization. SEO runs on a number of factors, one of the most important of which is keyword use. Do some research and find out the most relevant keywords used when people search for companies such as yours. Then, incorporate those keywords throughout your website content, so that your website will begin to appear higher in search engines’ results.

Be warned not to overuse keywords, however. This can get your website marked as “spam,” and can also turn visitors away if the content does not read naturally and fluidly. For instance, a digital marketing firm may make good use of the keyword “Above The Fold Media – SEO firm” by utilizing it in website headers or photo captions. However, attempting to weave a phrase such as that into the text of blog posts may prove tricky and ultimately be detrimental to the company’s SEO rankings.

Stay to date with social media

Stay Up-to-Date with Social Media

While you’re paying attention to your website, don’t forget to make use of social media as well. Make sure that your company has an official and accurate Facebook page, and check it regularly so that you can respond quickly to any comments or messages. If relevant to your company, also consider starting a Twitter or Instagram account, so that you can interact with your customer base and earn followers through your posts.

Keep in mind that internet trends can change quickly, so it’s important to be in tune with your customer base. Pay attention to any feedback you get from customers, and you’ll be well on your way to creating an appealing internet presence for your company.

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.

Consumers access ads on their smartphone
Digital Branding

The Place Of Physical Branding & Advertising Today

When People Look Up From Their Smartphones, Does Physical Branding & Advertising Still Have A Role Today?

As young as I am at 25, I still find it fascinating how much the world has changed with technology in my lifetime. While my parents still have the paper delivered to their door, I don’t know the last time I saw them sit down with a cup of coffee and read it like they used to. Additionally, advertisements in gaming and music magazines used to be how I found new artists and video games. Now I get most of that on the internet.

It’s odd to think that magazine ads, billboards, newspaper clippings — physical advertising formats — do not carry the same importance as they did only a short time ago. This begs the question, is there any need for physical advertising in 2017?

Personally, I think there is. In fact, I would still say it is crucial. After all, many of the greatest marketing campaigns of all time had a strong physical advertising component to them. But since transitioning into this digital age, we now have to view physical advertising through a different lens.

Older demographic reading newspaper

Who Reads The Paper Today?

It probably doesn’t surprise you that since the year 2000, people of all ages read the newspaper less and less. The amount of men and women who are 65 or older that read a paper daily has dropped from 72 percent to 50 percent. Unsurprisingly, the amount of young adults ages 25 to 34 who read a paper daily has dropped from 41 percent to a whopping 17 percent. Ouch!

This obviously has greatly changed the way brands target their marketing messages to consumers. To reach that latter demographic of today, it probably wouldn’t make sense to spend your advertising budget on a newspaper ad. However, there would still be a point to invest in that if you were trying to reach the 65 plus demographic.

On the other side of the print coin, magazines are still very relevant. Not that the internet hasn’t delivered a deep blow to the industry, but magazine closures are actually down from 10 to 15 years ago, which means people are still buying them. To be fair, that industry could use your advertisements as much as you could use their exposure, so if you have a niche that a popular magazine is involved in, it may be worth the investment of a few issues.

How you present yourself and where you place yourself should depend on the demographic you’re trying to reach. If you’re selling to an older generation, brand yourself for them — and then place yourselves where they will see you. But don’t waste time where your demographic isn’t, even if it’s historically or traditionally been a good place to advertise. It’s not anymore and the time to move on is now.

Subway advertising goes underground

Where Are You Going With That Sign? Underground, Of Course!

Something I’ve found very interesting about myself is how close attention I pay to signs when I ride the subway. I learned more about shows on TNT and USA because I rode an underground train, rather than from another senseless popup ad.

It looks like I’m not the only one. Clint White from WiT Media testified that nearly all of WiT’s clients, both for-profits and not-for-profits, utilize subway ads, as they map out their potential customer’s journey through the the purchase funnel.

A big part of advertising is getting your brand and product in front of people’s faces enough for them to get curious. So if there are 5.7 million people who ride New York subways per week. Imagine if they see one of your signs then later saw one of your online ads, and thought “oh yeah, I’ve seen this on the Subway.”

It’s up to you whether or not the sign is worth its cost, and then the details are another issue. For instance, many of the signs in the New York Underground are digital, which requires a new kind of ROI analysis from you. In recognizing that, weigh the risk properly.

Retro billboard

Billboards Are for Drivers

Primarily, billboards can be found by roadways. Therefore, the typical purpose of a billboard is to influence drivers to stop at a business near their actual path. These are for gas stations, places to eat, and shopping malls off the next exit. Those businesses deserve billboard exposure.

So if you’re thinking about buying a billboard, think of using it as a physical precursor for what is soon in the path of drivers looking at it. Don’t waste it on something out of someone’s way.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, physical advertisement in 2017 is still incredibly relevant. However, where you advertise your products is of the utmost importance, because generic physical advertisement does nothing to help your brand. No longer can you put your brand in front of just anyone and hope they are interested in it. Rather, you need to be very careful where you spend your advertising budget because the stakes are higher than ever.

If you have any experience with physical branding in a digital age that you’d like to share, I want to hear it. Hit me up on twitter.com/robolitious.

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Focus on your customer
Digital Branding

Who’s the Main Character in Your Branded Storytelling?

Branded Storytelling Is The Best Marketing

The rise of content marketing has led to a renewed focus on branded storytelling. Rather than pitch products, recite talking points, or double down on hard selling, brands can now create compelling narratives that provoke, engage, and ultimately entice customers down the sales funnel. It’s an approach that’s sometimes referred to as selling without selling, and it’s uniquely suited for today’s content-based landscape.

Most companies now know that branded storytelling is a powerful tool, yet a lot of companies have the wrong idea about what branded storytelling really is. It’s sometimes explained as “telling the story of your brand,” or “creating a narrative about your company”—but that’s not really how effective branded storytelling works.

Storytelling is the best marketing

Who’s the Star of Your Story?

Simply put, if your branded storytelling is going to be effective, you can’t put your company at the center. You can’t be the main character in your own drama.

Your main character needs to be the audience.

That’s the subtle yet crucial point that a lot of marketers miss out on. They work hard to tell the story of their brand without creating a place for audience members to find their way in, or to understand how it’s relevant for them. And frankly, that’s not appealing. Customers really don’t care about your brand, except insofar as you explain what’s in it for them.

So how can you ensure that your audience is at the center of the story you’re telling—swept along in the action, invested in the stakes, and thrilled by the conclusion? Here are a few quick suggestions.

Make your audience the start of your story

Putting the Audience in the Center of The Action

Know who your audience is. If your audience is going to be the protagonist in your story, well, that means you’ve got to know all about them—and not just the basic demographics. You’ve got to know what motivates them. You’ve got to know what they value. You’ve got to know what their pain points are, and which conflicts they’re seeking to address. Finally, you’ve got to know what kind of resolution they’re seeking; ultimately, that’s the part of the story where you’ll want to position your brand.

Get the structure right. Good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end—and your branded storytelling shouldn’t be any different. This is a pattern that human brains recognize, after all, so make sure the story you’re telling for your brand fits the bill—presenting a basic premise, rising action, and a conclusion.

Be emotional. Good storytelling makes people feel things. Your branded storytelling shouldn’t just be about the nuts-and-bolts of your product or your company history. It should focus on what your audience members feel as they address problems or issues, and ultimately as they turn to your brand for a solution. Be evocative. Be focused on the feels.

Remember to be relatable. We all tend to like the movies and books with characters we can relate to; these characters are proxies for ourselves. Your branded storytelling should work in much the same way. You may not be writing directly to one specific person, but your content should feel like it’s made for someone specific by focusing on universal experiences.

Inject conflict. You can’t really have a good story without conflict. Your branded storytelling should always have some kind of a problem, a pain point your audience can relate to. Again, that’s where your brand enters—to provide a solution, a sense of relief.

Storytelling done right

Storytelling Done Right

Have you ever read a company blog post that was essentially a laundry list of facts about that company, or about its flagship product? That kind of sales-pitchy approach is the exact opposite of good storytelling, and it really fails at everything laid out in the above list—which means it’s not likely to be very effective.

That’s because it misses the central fact of good, branded storytelling: It’s not about your business. It’s about the audience. The better you help them see their place in your unfolding tale, the more effective your content will be.

Amanda Clark Grammar Chic

Bio: Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic, Inc., a full-service professional writing and editing company. Amanda is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California, and Dublin, Ireland. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Amanda, along with her team of skilled professional writers and editors, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business, and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials, and ghostwritten creative pieces.  Amanda invites you to visit Grammar Chic online at www.grammarchic.net  and www.professionalresumewriters.net.