What to do with your business before the end of the year?

Christmas is here!!!

OMG! Can you believe we are already in DECEMBER 😱😱😱? Yes, we certainly can and know you are looking forward to the Christmas break as much as we are.

So first things first. Is your outfit ready for all the festivities??? Are you going for some bling bling or you got some new bathers and thongs?

Now, let’s be serious for a moment and tackle what to do with your business before the end of the year.

Have you prepared your pre-holidays communications? Christmas cards, holiday promotions, info on closing hours, last EDM of the year?? …. If not, you are cutting it very short. We love risk takers, but believe us, it could be much less stressful if we don’t wait till the last minute.

So, take a few hours, and prepare the essentials. Here are some ideas:

  • Out of the office automated email
  • Christmas cards for clients and staff
  • Last newsletter of the year
  • Merry Christmas and Happy new year social posts
  • Holiday promotions
  • Email for customers to remind them about closing times
  • Info pop-up on your website about the holiday hours
  • Special holiday hours on your Google my business
  • Organising secret santa or it’s naughty version “stealing santa” with the crew

Pick as many as you want, but do them straight away, or they will never come to life. Brownie points: schedule them and start getting into the holiday mood.

On Track?

Now, it’s time to make sure that we are on track!

We know, we know, holidays are around the corner and the last thing we want to do is think hard about our business, but why not make it fun? 

Go to your ocean, take off your shoes, pour yourself a nice glass of wine (or whatever rocks your boat) and a tasty platter of cheese and crackers (everybody likes that, right?). Let your mind flow!

We recommend some pen and paper, or your preferred digital way to dream and plan. You will want to review these notes. What a waste of time having all those huge thoughts and letting the wind take them away. 

Start with an audit 

How was this year for you and your business? Take a walk down memory lane towards the beginning of the year, when you were having a nice glass of bubbles and celebrating baby 2023 with your loved ones. Sure there were big plans in your head for the year ahead. So let’s see how it went, shall we?. Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t?
  • Did I have a purpose?
  • Did I act according to that purpose?
  • Is my business fulfilling its mission?
  • Are my vision, mission and values still relevant and at the forefront of everything I do?
  • Is my brand still relevant? Does it represent my business?
  • Did I communicate with my audience?
  • Did I know who I was talking to?
  • Did I have a clear destination in mind?
  • Is my vision of grandeur scary enough? And am I going for it?
  • Did I exceed my goals?
  • Did I fall short?
  • Did I follow a plan?
  • Am I getting closer to my big hairy audacious goal?

If you have some (or many) no’s, then ask yourself “Is my heart still in this?”. It’s time to “stop the water” (instead of letting yourself go) and reconnect with YOUR VISION.

It’s time to think big!

Look, life is too short to simply wander

Feeling fulfilled, happy and pumped for the things to come is the heartbeat of life. We dedicate such a big chunk of our existence to work, that we better make something that makes a true impact, don’t you agree?

Think limitless, dive deep into your wildest dreams and desires and commit to your biggest hairy audacious goal yet. 

Now, let’s roll our sleeves and start strategizing how to reach it. Have a think about these:

Think FUTURE:

  • Why am I on the earth for?
  • Why is my business operating?
  • How can I make the biggest impact?
  • Who do I dream to work with?
  • If I (and my business) could only do one more project, what would that be?

We really like the concept of building today the body of work you want in five years, like the ultimate portfolio to get the most inspiring, thrilling and fulfilling job of your life.

Think that the person you admire the most in the world would love to work with and has created a super duper personalised project that fits every single bit of your being.

Think of the awesome work you have done that you would love to show, but also think of that work that you have never done but would love to do. That work that that person would be blown away with (and therefore bring you onboard to reach new heights together). Exciting? 

We know this concept is easy to understand for visual disciplines (i.e photography, painting, design, architecture…), but it can apply to anything. Maybe it means getting a particular education or certificate, maybe growing to a certain level before being able to reach that person, or winning an award or creating a whole new profession that combines more than one discipline that traditionally don’t go together. It could be anything. 

What could you build to get the opportunity of doing what you really really want to do next.

Now, think step by step:

  • What does my best year look like?
  • What can I do next year to get closer to my dream project?
  • What do I want to achieve this year?
  • What do I need to let go off?
  • Who do I need to become to achieve this? (Think about the people that are where you want to be and what are their attributes and behaviours)
  • Who is already there and how can I meet them?
  • Who do I need to bring into my life and business to achieve my vision?
  • What are my goals?
  • What are the milestones in between?
  • What do I want to do differently?
  • Where can I improve next year?
  • What are my vision, mission and values?
  • Who are my true competitors at this moment?
  • Who is my audience?
  • What is my key message?
  • What are the strategies that I want to focus on?

End of the year cheer

After all that hard (but fulfilling) work, it’s time to embrace the holiday vibe and start the celebrations with the people that make your business run. Clients, team, and all of the awesome cheerleaders that brighten our days along the year (this is an incredible community and we all have raving fans that support us along the way).

Party with your crew! They are key to your success, what would we do without them?

It’s not only about the work they do, it’s about the care (and the support that cannot be paid), the endless fun, the enrichment that each of them bring to everybody else's ideas, the commitment to make an impact and help you reach your vision… They are the family members that want to see you succeed. Party a lot! 

Celebrate with your loved ones. Your partner, your family, your best friends, they are the ones rooting for you. Sometimes listening, others making things easier for you, others simply talking about you behind your back (and telling everyone how awesome you are). Do something special for them. Don’t make it about Christmas, but rather about their awesome contribution to your life and your business.

Thank your customers. Whether you have 1or 1000, tell them how much you appreciate them. It can be the Christmas card that we were talking about, a gift, taking them for lunch… let them know how much you value them and the impact that they have had in your business.

Think of that person that you absolutely love to work with. The one that pushes you to the extreme, but values you as if they had won the lottery when they met you. Or the one that makes your life so easy by being organised, giving you the time and notice you need, providing the best feedback… Of course, for anyone else, be as personal as you possibly can, but for these guys… you need to hit bullseye. Think about all you know about them as people (not business relationship) or stalk them to find out something that will make them truly smile. It can be as simple as a jar of pistachio butter 🤪 or as fancy as a luxury seafood cruise, that is up to you of course, but please please please: Make it personal.

Get ahead of the curve

Last, but definitely not least you can make one last bit of effort to guarantee next year's success.

Start creating momentum now! 

Here are some ideas:

  • Forget about “tomorrow I’ll start going to the gym”, “on Monday I will call this person” and “next year I am going to be much more organised”. It is always so hard to start something from scratch, so why not do teeny tiny things to start generating energy?
  • Is there a goal that you have been neglecting and is starting to look stale? Maybe a little mouldy? Get rid of it, cross it off your list.
  • On that note, read through your to-do list and find something that you have been putting off for ages and just do it! Or delete it forever.
  • Make a vision board
  • Clean up your desktop or back up your phone.
  • Look at the tasks that cause you to waste most of your time and try to get rid of 20% of them, or do that one thing that would make them go 10 times faster.
  • Check if you have any double ups (i.e. two linkedin profiles, several working devices, multiple notebooks) and focus on getting rid of what you don’t need or creating very clearly defined zones for each.
  • Create or update your weekly planning routine. Do something to make it a habit, like getting an alarm clock (not your phone) that sits on top of your journal or ipad or whatever planning tool you use and set the alarm for your best thinking time everyday.

Feeling extra motivated and pumped to have your best year yet? Take real action!

Start planning the year

  • What are the steps you need to take to reach your goals? Write them down.
  • What are you going to be talking about? Create a communication strategy and plan your marketing initiatives. Start with the obvious (Valentines, Easter, EOFY, winter, Mother and Father’s day, black friday, Christmas… they are going to happen, so put them in the calendar) and then decide on “what is going to happen when nothing is happening?” (are you launching a book in November, rebranding in August, delivering training in march, delivering a leader's retreat in september?) Put it in the calendar and make it happen.
  • Create new assets for your business. A new Facebook banner, refreshed headshots of the team, a video talking about how amazing this year is going to be and how pumped you are about it. People love new things and excitement so do some excitement-prepping (like meal prepping but for your business).
  • Plan and schedule as much as you can.

And now…. Grab your favourite cocktail and go sit by the ocean. You have definitely earned it.

We hope you have enjoyed this light reading 🤣🤣🤣 and you pick up some ideas and motivation. We definitely are super excited to get ready for 2024. 

What is a BTP approach?

People always talk about the differences between B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Customer) in terms of strategy and communication since the target audiences of each one are very different.

Usually, B2B marketing decisions are driven by rationality, while marketing strategists for B2C companies make more emotional appeals. 

However, according to a study by PwC, at least 80% of B2B customers expect a B2B experience that is as good or better than B2C, demonstrating the high expectations that customers have for their business interactions. Additionally, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

What does this mean? Behind every worker, there is a person. And here is when the idea of B2P (Business to People) comes to the table, applying for both business models and changing the focus on the approach from Customers or Business to People.  

Here we explore the concept of being human-centric, examining its significance, practical implementation, and offering notable examples of renowned brands that have adopted this approach.

What is Human-Centric?

The creation of the human-centric concept dates back to the 1960s when design theorist Don Norman made a massive contribution to the transformation of design theory by reforming participatory design into what became known as User-Centered Design. This concept was initially applied to design and has evolved over the years.

Today, as IDEO explains, "human-centered design is a creative approach to problem-solving. It's a process that starts with the people you're designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs."

This concept and now been embraced across marketing and communication strategies.

Human-centric marketing is about placing humans rather than customers at the center of your marketing campaign. It involves understanding their perspective, language, values, beliefs, goals, needs, and challenges, and tailoring your marketing accordingly.

How to apply the human-centric concept to marketing?

  1. Observation

Conduct deep research and analysis of the target audience. Gain in-depth knowledge of the audience, understand their needs, and identify their pain points.

  1. Ideation 

Conduct deep research and analysis of the target audience. Gain in-depth knowledge of the audience, understand their needs, and identify their pain points.

  1. Testing

Before launching a campaign or message, it is crucial to test the idea to ensure its appeal to the target audience. Collect feedback, conduct focus groups, or run small-scale pilot tests to gauge the response. Additionally, after implementation, analyze the results objectively and learn from them. It is important to avoid manipulating or adjusting results to showcase success. Instead, focus on being honest and genuine, using the results as valuable insights to improve and refine your marketing strategy.

By following these steps, businesses can create marketing campaigns that genuinely connect with their audience, address their needs, and provide tailored solutions. The human-centric approach ensures that marketing efforts are authentic, effective, and continuously optimized based on customer feedback and insights.

Brands that have applied the human-centric approach:

Airbnb recognized that people crave authentic experiences and a sense of belonging, which is more valuable to them than standardized amenities. By prioritizing human connections and fostering unique and immersive travel experiences, Airbnb has revolutionized the industry. Their focus on belonging has allowed them to create a global community of travelers seeking genuine connections and memorable adventures. Ultimately, Airbnb's success lies in understanding the power of human-centric hospitality and redefining the way people travel by offering a platform that goes beyond traditional accommodations.

HubSpot is a leading provider of inbound marketing and sales software. They have embraced a human-centric communication strategy by putting the needs of their customers first. HubSpot's content and messaging focus on providing valuable insights, educational resources, and personalized support to help businesses succeed. They prioritize building relationships and trust with their customers by delivering relevant and helpful content that addresses their specific challenges.

The importance of humanizing the business

In conclusion, humanizing the business is of utmost importance in today's competitive market. By placing humans at the center of your marketing efforts, understanding their needs, and creating authentic connections, you can build strong and long-lasting relationships with customers. Human-centric strategies not only enhance the customer experience but also contribute to brand loyalty, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, business success.

And whenever you feel a bit lost on what to do, remember you can always reach Your Brand Crew to design your strategy and put people first.

Headshots vs business portraits

Today is the day that we are going to cross that blurry line. Is it a portrait, or is it a headshot? Which one do I need, and why do I even need one?

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? Is a portrait the same thing as a headshot? Well… yes and no. I mean, a headshot is a very specific type of portrait, but a portrait is usually not a headshot. 

Clear? Probably not; the nuances are subtle, so let’s see if we can paint you a better picture. 

Portrait v.s. Headshot

When someone talks about headshots, in their mind they are usually picturing a professional photo that will be used to represent them in their working environment. Therefore, a headshot is usually a very clear and simple image of a professional, on a white or black background (mostly) without any context of environment. It is a bit like a passport photo, where you can clearly identify the person, but usually you wouldn’t get much information about their personality, character, values, etc…

Most of the time, a headshot is, as its name suggests, a close up of the head of the person (usually including the shoulders) looking straight to the camera in a fairly neutral environment. It can show a bit of personality, and that is what we work towards in our headshot sessions, but the main purpose is for people to be able to identify you. It is like your presentation card.

Contrastingly, a portrait is an artistic representation of the person and gives the viewer an insight into the individual being photographed. A portrait, or series of portraits, are meant to tell us your story. They give us a peek into your personality, your values, what you care about, and they transmit a feeling of who the person behind the lens really is.

A specific environment will help tell that story, but a great portrait can also have a plain background, because that “feeling of who the person is” comes to life and captures your personality. The expressions, the moment, the lighting, the angles, the poses, they all shape the image to evoke that feeling.

If you are wondering how that “feeling” is evoked, take into account the vast research about how much of our communication is nonverbal. Albert Mehrabian, a researcher of body language, was the first to break down the components of a face-to-face conversation. He found that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words only. With this in mind, and knowing that a photograph doesn’t speak (yet!), we can see that the person and the photographer can communicate a great deal of information in a simple still image.

A portrait doesn’t necessarily have to be a close up of the face. Think about the damaged hands of a factory worker, the worn boots of a hiker, the crisp silhouette of the business man looking at the cityscape through the window… They all tell us a story about the person.

Therefore, the subject doesn’t have to look straight into the camera (and thus the viewer). This means that the spectator could have an even better understanding of who that person is by getting a glimpse into their real life (a bit like spying into their lives). Showing the person in their element allows the viewer to get to know them better.

All of this comes to say that the rules are much more bendable when talking about portraits in comparison to headshots. 

So having said that, why would you want a portrait or a headshot?

You may have heard that “people don’t buy what you sell, but they buy YOU”. You may have also heard that “people don’t buy what you do, but WHY you do it”.

Many times your portrait or headshot is the first visual representation that a potential client has of you. Needless to say that whichever one you choose, it should be of a high quality and represent who you are. However, a portrait will certainly allow you to connect faster and more naturally with your audience. Assuming that you know who your audience is, and how your unique personality relates to their wants, needs, desires, etc… that “feeling” evoked by your portrait will subconsciously attract the right audience.

Let’s say that a professional headshot is your bare minimum to have a good image in your marketplace. It is necessary for every employee that has contact with the business community and desirable for every company that wants their customers to inherently trust them.

If your brand is you, i.e., you are the business (sole trader) or people “buy from your business” because of you, a great portrait or series of portraits will become your best ally. We live in a world divided into real and virtual lives. Whether we want it or not, people spend a great deal of time online, especially when they are looking to buy or hire a service. Even if most of your business comes from recommendations, your potential clients will look you up online. Which means, your portraits will be doing the talking for you and facilitating a warm introduction with your potential clients.

So, should you get your portraits done?

I bet you can “hear” a bit of my excitement in my words and notice how biased I am. That is because as business owners, we know the importance of personality (after all, we spend a great deal of time with clients, we don’t want to be a transactional business, and we want our audience to have FUN with us), hence why we take the time (that we never seem to have) to create those portraits of our team

Selfishly, we love being able to discover and capture the personality of the people that we photograph. We know that we can help your target audience have a “feeling of who you are” and that is truly exciting.

So. YES, you should have your portrait taken, or as a bare minimum a great up-to-date headshot that will accurately represent you within your profession. Ask yourself, is my profile picture a representation of me? And more importantly, is it helping me connect with my ideal customer?

Leave us a comment to keep the conversation going, we’d love to hear your opinion.

How to define your brand purpose

In today's world, consumers are more conscious than ever about the impact of their purchasing decisions. They want to engage with brands that are committed to making a positive impact on the world, and this paradigm shift has transformed the way companies are approaching marketing. 

As Simon Sinek famously said at his Ted Talk, "People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”. Almost all companies know clearly “what” they do, most know how they do it, but very few know “why”. The most beloved and successful brands are those that invest effort into developing a clear purpose and genuine commitment to meaningful causes. 

This article will explore how to define the purpose of your company, the very importance of having one, and step by step process to develop a clear and compelling purpose that resonates with your customers. 

What is the purpose of a company

A company's purpose is the underlying reason for its existence, transcending mere profitability. It embodies a deeper belief that inspires others to take action. Uncovering this purpose can be a challenging process, both for individuals and organizations. However, when a company aligns its beliefs with those of its audience, the resulting connection becomes immensely powerful. 

Humans possess an innate desire to be part of something greater than themselves, and finding a brand that shares their beliefs provides an opportunity to support a cause that may otherwise be difficult to champion alone.

The importance of building brands with purpose

A global study done by Zeno shows that 94% of consumers think it is important that the companies they engage with have a strong purpose, and 83% said companies should only earn a profit if they also deliver a positive impact.  

In combination with consumer's desire to engage with companies with a strong purpose they are also becoming skeptical about brand authenticity. Because of this it’s extremely important to be coherent and consistent and have a real commitment to your company's cause. Also the leadership of the company sets a compelling example and demonstrates substance, aligning their actions with this belief.

4 Steps to define your brands purpose 

  1. Start by asking some questions such as:  Who are we helping? What are we helping them with? Is there something in the community, industry, town that requires support? Does our audience feel this too? What could be the common denominator?
  1. Once you define the cause that you have in common with your audience, think what kind of actions you could do to impact in a positive way around this cause. 
  1. Elaborate a sentence that describes this purpose, share it internally in the company to make everyone part of this purpose. 
  1. Plan, implement and measure these actions in order to support this cause. 

Examples of purpose-driven brands

Patagonia, a renowned outdoor clothing company, is committed to environmental conservation. Their purpose is to "use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." They have taken various actions to support this cause, such as donating their profits toward environmental organizations, launching sustainability initiatives, and advocating for public lands protection. 

Toms, a renowned shoe brand, stands as a shining example of a purpose-driven company. Guided by their strong belief in creating a more equitable world, Toms has made it their purpose to "improve lives through business." For every pair of shoes purchased, Toms donates a pair to a child in need. In addition to their impactful shoe donations, Toms has expanded their mission to include further causes such as providing sight-saving treatments, and clean water initiatives. These tangible actions, rooted in their clear purpose, have deeply resonated with consumers who seek to make a meaningful difference through their purchases. Toms has become a beacon for socially responsible business empowering individuals to positively impact the lives of others simply by choosing their products.

Conclusions

Creating a brand with purpose has become a necessity in today's conscious consumer landscape. Consumers seek brands that align with their values and make a positive impact on society. By uncovering and embodying a clear purpose, companies can inspire action and forge meaningful connections with customers. Building a brand with purpose requires defining the underlying belief, aligning actions with the cause, and implementing strategies to measure impact. By committing to a purpose-driven approach, companies can cultivate loyalty and create a lasting positive legacy in the world.

Do you want brand loyalty? Share your brand values 

There’s no denial, the craziness of global events over the last few years have pushed for shifts in behaviours and attitudes, with consumers putting more focus on seeking meaningful experiences and connecting with brands that support shared social values.

According to an Amazon survey (and boy, do they know their stuff), 87% of UK consumers felt that brands should do their part in helping make changes for social good. 

The survey looked at the social values that are shaping consumers’ world views, and their consequent effect on brand preference. Surprise, surprise, the survey concluded that when brands put their values and convictions at the heart of what they do, it can help generate greater impact.

That pesky Amazon research also discovered that 8 in 10 folks agree that they desire real-life experiences, slowness, and authentic human connections rather than the digitally-based lifestyles that new technologies are creating. If you’re nothing like me, then you enjoy the post-pandemic wave of human connection after periods of social distancing from friends, family, and colleagues, as a member of that 8 person band.

78% of people further stated that they have recently modified their way of life to focus on what’s important.

With this need for human-centric experiences and connection, brands need to engage audiences on their terms through experiences that speak to them both offline (in-person), and in the digital spaces they inhabit.

Social Responsibility

Now, your brand has an opportunity to build greater trust with your customers when you are crystal clear about what you stand for and the values you and your brand represent. Not to harp on too much about that Amazon survey, but two-thirds of consumers stated they are more prepared to buy from a brand that is willing to take a stand on social issues. Are you that brand?

In the doomsday world that we live in, consumers expect brands to share a responsibility for climate change, social and societal contributions, and responsible business practices. It is clear, customers have high expectations of how brands should do their part in helping the world.

Look, Here’s an Example

While we, as the public, have a general distrust of large corporations for ‘greenwashing’ and overall shady behaviour at times, large businesses are slowly turning the tide (though some are still pathetically sluggish).

To prove my point a little bit, I’m literally looking in my backyard for an example - Coles. I often shop at this giant supermarket chain out of convenience, while simultaneously complaining about their practices at the same time.

It’s almost like they are listening. In early 2022, Coles has launched a new sustainability strategy built around the theme of ‘Together to Zero’, including targets to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a commitment to 100 per cent renewable electricity and the ambition to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. 

'Together to Zero' also involves a long-term aspiration towards zero waste and zero hunger, with Coles looking for ways to help Australians in need.

It includes initiatives, such as no longer selling single-use plastic tableware products including cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery from mid-2021, and undertaking a joint feasibility study on the benefits of a local advanced recycling industry in Victoria, the first steps into a circular economy for soft plastic packaging. Pretty ambitious, huh? 

While this does not iron out all of my issues with them, I do feel a bit easier when dashing through the automatic doors for some last minute dinner items.

What your brand can do

Firstly, meet your customers on their terms. We live in an increasingly dynamic world, where consumers are empowered with more information than ever before. They expect more from brands and want to engage with them in meaningful and authentic ways. You need to connect with your tribe with relevant experiences, at the right time and with the right message.

Secondly, understand the importance of corporate social responsibility, and what it means to your brand. Values have the power to build your brand loyalty and connection, as your consumers will more readily engage. For you and your brand, this means visibly demonstrating a commitment to social issues.

Choose your cause carefully, with a vision, and build a measurable strategy with long-term goals. Have your customers’ best interest at heart, and they will sing praises of you.

Have you ever fallen in love with a brand for their shared values? Let us know in the comments.

How to develop a unique brand identity 

Oh well… Where do I even start? Perhaps I should go back as far as 1975. It was a tremendous year for many reasons, but my main point is that 1975 gave us The Muppets. 

If you’ve been paying attention to my blogs, yes, we’re about to go on a wild goose chase yet again. However, I promise that along the way I’ll fill you in on how to develop a unique brand identity. First thing first…

What is a unique brand identity?

In one word, it is your personality. However, I’m quite verbose, so in many words, it is made up of what your values are, what your brand says, how you actually communicate your product or services, and overall, how you want people to feel and act when they interact with your brand.

“It’s not easy being green”

Kermit

… Or unique. Kermit kinda nailed it with that statement. The Muppets have been somewhat divisive when it comes to entertainment. Is it a kids’ show? Certainly appeals to all ages. 

Is it a comedy? For sure, but with many skits that now also bring nostalgia and melancholy. Though mostly, it is just good ole’ fashioned slapstick jokes and wacky comedy.

The Muppets were branded as wholesome entertainment of a much simpler era. They consistently provided quirky escapism, outlandish characters, and transpired into full feature movies, cartoons, books, albums and countless merchandise. The Jim Henson Studio strategically built up the brand with its distinct identity.

What’s the secret to a unique brand identity?

ORIGINALITY. The Muppets were original in 1975, and the felt puppets are still rocking it in 2022. There is still nothing quite like it (ok, I’ll give you Sesame Street). And now, we’re on point. How could they stay on point for decades? We often assume that creativity shines through the lens of advertising, marketing or PR at best.

Nope. Before singing all the praise of your brand through advertising and marketing, originality should be woven into your whole business model and that starts with branding. Why? When you incorporate uniqueness into your overall look and feel (your character), your company culture (how you want to be seen), and your assets (your offerings), your intended audience will take notice.

When you start implementing unique communication strategies that tell exactly who you are and what you’re doing, your customer acquisition and retention will also improve.

Finally, when you start exuding confidence because you truly embrace your brand, you will build long-lasting relationships that will ultimately cement your brand identity. 

Building a brand identity

Now that we established that having a strong brand identity also comes with great benefits of trust, brand recall and increased brand loyalty, it begs the question. How to get there? 

  1. Understand and build trust with your audience

Why do the Muppets resonate with us (well, at least me, this is my blog after all)? Likeability is the key, along with a strong play on emotions centred around our humanity. Uh, yes, I went deep. 

Think about it. The Muppets are the best representation in pop culture of the ideal family who are unique and diverse (think of your crazy uncle), but unified for one purpose: to support the underdog Kermit to help make real people’s dreams come true. They mirror in us the passion of belonging to a family, supporting each other’s dreams, and celebrating each other despite our differences.

By understanding our need for human connection, even if it’s disguised under some wacky jokes, the producers managed to hook generations of audiences onto the show, building lifelong fans of Fozzie, Piggy and Kermit, of course.

Now it’s your turn to work out how you can take your audience on a long-lasting ride. Make sure you touch on their emotions, understand their problems and desires, and then deliver on those with authenticity.

  1. Keep up with the competition

The landscape of traditional entertainment has forever transformed with the introduction of the digital era. Online content, streaming services and snippet-type content are penetrating every waking moment, altering consumer consumption and attention span along the way. 

You would think that a bunch of felt-and-foam animals armed with some terrible puns would just fade into the past, right? Wrong. The Muppets are available through streaming, gaming, and interactive merchandise. They kept with the time.

Even the jokes are relevant to the 21st century. Why? The creators have been closely keeping up with the competitors and the industry at large. Audiences, based on their demographics and psychographics, consume entertainment in a variety of formats on a wide range of channels.

Obviously, this is down to careful research and a lot of strategic thinking. They go where their fans are, with a proactive approach.

Now, if you have a unique brand identity, you’re likely going to leave a memorable impression on your target audience’s mind. By doing so, you end up staying in the frontline. 

However, you still need to work on your strategies, and need to keep a close eye on both your audiences and your mortal enemies (ok, your competitors).

  1. Plant seeds of customer loyalty

Just as I’m loyal to Miss Piggy’s funny infatuation with Kermit, you can become your customers’ favourite by maintaining a consistent brand, with strong values and a clear, overarching brand storyline.

Such values, consistent visual identity, clear communication, devotion to social causes, and so on (celebrity guests also help), can give your customers a unique brand experience.

And, in case you didn’t know, people will kill for a good experience. Well, not exactly kill, but they’d pay 16% more for better customer experience.

These happy customers are quick to spread the word too, therefore, helping you get new customers. See what’s happening here? You’re building a successful brand with the help of a strong brand identity. 

Once you reeled your people in, all you need to do is to stay consistent and deliver over and above experiences each and every time. Boom. Customer loyalty is born. 

I’m not saying that isn’t painstakingly hard work, but remember, that 20% hardcore loyal fanbase will provide 80% of your business, so you better keep them happy, right?

Understand your Purpose

Why? Because knowing your purpose helps you understand your core values, mission statement, and value proposition. If your brand is built on a bunch of crazy felt puppets, it’s almost like you need to deliver wacky jokes with some half-hidden innuendo (to keep the grown ups happy) to prove your entertainment value. Brainiac work, right there.

You can’t tell what makes you unique or why folks should buy from you if you aren’t clear about all these things.

Hence, a good starting point is grabbing your planner and answering the following:

  • Why is your business, well, in business?
  • What makes you different?
  • Why should your target audience care about you?

Use these answers to plan your tagline, brand voice, brand message, and more.

For instance, for The Muppets, it’s their delightful mix of old and new in the digital era that brings in the moolah.

Their unique value standing comes from their generational transition of the variety show through poking societal fun at a large number of issues on racism, inclusivity, and social standing. Not all of those jokes have transitioned well or stood the test of time, but we tend to forgive because it’s all wrapped into nostalgia through some colourful fabric, and music and dancing.

Your takeaway from this: don’t just mentally tell yourself what’s different about your business. Write it down. You’ll need to share this information with your team and include it in your style guide to create a consistent brand voice, then make it come alive, and stay on track.

Research your audience 

To create a brand identity that’s memorable, you’ll want to know as much about your target audience as possible. This way, you can create a brand that resonates with them.

For instance, if you’re Fozzie Bear and are desperate to show off your fart shoes for comedic purposes, think carefully, does your audience care for fart jokes? (Yes, yes, I do. Fart jokes are never not funny).

Based on who your audience is, you can create a brand voice that speaks directly to them.

When researching your audience, ask the following questions:

  • Who is your ideal buyer and what do they do?
  • What are their goals, pain points, interests and motivations?
  • Where is your target audience likely to hang out?
  • Why and when are they buying?
  • What’s their budget?

Audit your brand identity

Once you’ve studied your core values and brand purpose, potential customers and competitors, evaluate your present brand identity.

(Feel free to skip this step if you’re new and only just creating your brand identity. However, for those planning a rebrand, this step is an absolute must.)

Ask yourself:

  • Is your brand consistent both online as well as offline?
  • Does your brand resonate with your audience?
  • Is your brand visually consistent (the same across all marketing channels)?
  • Is your brand messaging, behaviour, and voice consistent?

Develop your brand voice and messaging

Now that you’ve done market research and have all the know-how, it’s time to start creating.

Begin working on your brand voice. Is it humorous and professional? Is it friendly and expert? Does it sound like a shy green frog, trying to hold together a troupe of mismatched ragtags with a penchant for musical theatre? (I’m not even joking, your brand persona should be as detailed and lifelike as possible.)

This is the voice you’ll use as you talk to your target audience and customers. Whether you’re emailing new customers, writing a social media caption or putting together your website copy, you need to stick to a consistent brand voice.

This consistency in voice leaves a memorable impression on your audience.

You also need to give thoughts to your brand message. It shows what you stand for.

Say, you’re all about pet products. All your messages, therefore, should keep this to the fore. You don’t want to send mixed signals to your audience by, let’s say, recommending a French restaurant around the corner that is big on frog legs (sorry Kermit).

Oh and before we move on: no matter what your brand voice, remember to be conversational. You want to talk to your customer, so they feel valued.

So, repeat after me: “My brand is not a robotic, corporate business. It’s by humans, for humans.” Take that, AI. And, there you have it, a brand identity that resonates and talks to your audience.

Create your visual identity

Now’s the part where you’ll get to work on all the visual elements that define your brand. These include your logo, colour palette, typography and so on.

Let’s address each of the design elements that will make the face of your brand:

1. Design your logo

Your logo defines your brand personality. What’s more, logos tell stories. Did you know that the arrow pointing from the A in Amazon to the Z indicates that you can get everything, from A to Z, on Amazon? Clever, right?

2. Select your colour palette

Selecting brand colours is essential for maintaining a uniform visual identity. Your packaging, website colours, social media graphics and everything else will follow these brand colours. So choose wisely.

Ideally, it’s best to start working on your colour scheme by diving into colour psychology. Make sure you pick one primary colour and other secondary colours that complement it. And, keep the hex codes and Pantone numbers handy for consistency in using those colours for digital and print purposes, respectively.

3. Finalise your brand visual elements

Will you be using circles or squares in your design? Or do you prefer illustrations as part of your visual branding? As with colours, there’s also a certain effect that design elements leave on your audience. Rounded design elements, for instance, are linked with life and health. Sharp shapes, however, denote danger. And angular shapes are known for triggering fear.

4. Work on your typography

The fonts you use have a personality too. They reflect a mood and leave a lasting impact.

In short, fonts speak a visual language. It’s why horror movies usually make use of bleeding typography. Similarly, a cursive font is feminine.

Choose between 1-3 fonts and settle on the typeface (the formatting: bold, italic, regular and so on) as well. Here’s a handy article on typography alongside the details you’ll need before you get work.

When selecting, however, make sure your brand fonts are easy to read. After all, you don’t want potential customers to squint to try and understand your tagline.

Be consistent with your brand identity

You’re done with most of the heavy lifting by now. Moving forward, your job is to market your brand identity. How? Share your logo. Design all marketing materials using your brand fonts, colours and design elements. In fact, the infographics you design should also be on-brand.

At the same time, make sure you stick with your core value and brand message and talk to your customers using your unique brand voice.

One good way to maintain consistency in branding is by creating a brand style guide to share with your team. You can also create templates informing your team about your ideal audience, your voice, what you stand for and your value proposition.

Monitor your brand identity

Remember what I said several Kermits above about a brand identity being carefully cultivated? Now this step talks about that. You don’t only need to create a brand identity and consider the work done.

Instead, building an appealing brand identity that wins customers is a constant process — one that requires listening to your audience’s thoughts about your identity, and one that can span across almost 50 years, am I right, puppets.

This way, you can learn how well your brand personality resonates with your target audience and what you can do to improve your brand identity.

Some performance metrics to track include customer reviews, social media discussions, brand mentions and comments about what people are saying behind your back. If you find that there’s something that several people are constantly talking about, consider working on it.

To sum up this brand identity thing

To finish, I’m going to share something personal with you… Even though I’m a grown-ass adult, I do hide a silly little kid inside the darkest parts of my soul. And when that kid gets worn out of the dreariness of adulthood that includes working for money, she retreats to one song that NEVER EVER fails to put a smile on her face.

It immediately transports me back to my childhood, to simpler times, when I was watching The Muppet Show with my parents every Friday night. And that’s, Ladies and Gentlemen, what a strong brand identity does.

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share that little gem with you here. It goes something like this…. Mahna Mahna Do doo be-do-do. Enjoy. 🙂 

Why is photography so important for your business's success?

Great business photography is like a Swiss knife, a tool with multiple, super cool possibilities, ready to slay the chaos and uncover the power of your business.

Photography connects YOU with your audience

There are many opinions about why photography is important, but for us, it is all about people, but there are always those additional tools on the Swiss knife, that you may not use that much, but when you need them “Oh boy! They are handy.”

First of all, we are social creatures, so we crave connection. We like to know who is behind the business that we are buying from. What is their story? How did they start? What makes them passionate about their craft? What are they all about? We want to get to know the people we are going to form a relationship with.

Carlos and I are very much like that. Every time we looked for a service we wanted to engage with (accountant, lawyer, electricity provider, where we get our clothes, etc..) we took the time to get to know the people behind the business. So every time we encounter a faceless business, it becomes a huge roadblock, many times to the point that we don’t even consider that brand. They may be fantastic at what they do, but there is no way to quickly relate. That is why photography for business is paramount.

Dare to be the face of your business, because that is the connection your client is looking for.

On that note, why not show them a little bit of who you really are? Of course, we want to engage with professionals, but giving a hint of your personality will help your audience relate to you and your team. Have you looked at our about page? Fun and quirky define us, but still, each one of us is different. Of course, our little blurbs will tell you all about it, but our photos connect directly with your subconscious. 

Photography speaks volumes about your brand

Similar to the previous amazing tool/use of photography, there is so much subliminal meaning that your photos can uncover about your brand.

The style of the photo, the quality, and what and how the subjects are portrayed can strengthen or weaken your brand.

Think of a brand of fresh and light cosmetics with a mature female audience that uses natural organic ingredients for their products. Now picture a very contrasted photo of a young girl with a dark background, very heavy makeup, and casual clothes.

What happens if you put them together?

Well, it certainly doesn’t work, because the photo doesn’t transmit what the brand and the business are all about.

When thinking about photography for your business, consider what your brand stands for, follow “the guidelines” and don’t look for contrast or something different. Think about how your photography compliments your brand and what it would say about it. A helpful way to envision the photos that you need is to create a mood board (Pinterest is your best friend here) with photos that evoke your values. It doesn’t mean that you have to copy those photos, but you will have a strong starting point when you discuss with your professional photographer what you are looking for.

Photography is impactful

No one can deny that good photography grabs one’s attention, but why?

Photography has the power to generate emotions. A beautifully captured moment in time, preserved for eternity, is worth stopping for a second. Our brain feels a stimulus because it connects with that moment. It may be a laugh, reminding you of how amazing life is, a sensation of trust and belonging, or some action that relates to your dreams.

In any case, great photography will make y

our audience feel something. They will want to jump on your scooter for a joy ride or give you a call because they can feel that they can trust you or contact you to help them with that exact problem that you are showing you can solve. Don’t underestimate the power of photography.

Photography is a language

Almost two-thirds of the population are visual. That means that they understand, learn and retain information much more easily when it comes in a visual format.

Photography has the ability to make a concept easier. It doesn’t need a lot of complicated words to transmit a message. It can give so much information in just a second. This makes photography the most effective language, conveying accurate detailed information at the speed of light. 

At the same time, photography is relatable. Your audience can imagine how your product or service can impact their life. They can fall in love with your product and retain that picture in their minds until they finally engage with you. They know what to expect and they aspire to have that in their lives.

What are you waiting for? “Don’t tell, SHOW!”

When you care, your customers care

Paying attention to the quality of your photos is like dressing properly for a meeting with a prospect or for an interview for your dream job.

High-quality photos mean that your brand appreciates quality and that you provide a quality product or service.

Would you have your hair cut by someone who has terrible hair? Probably not, right? (I know I wouldn’t). High-quality photography inspires credibility and shows that your business is professional and reliable.

Professional photography is easy and cost-effective

Investing in professional photography may seem expensive at first, but have you thought about the time, headaches, and trouble it saves you?

A few weeks ago we did a photoshoot for Oggy E-Scooters. They needed new content to support their brand, send to the media and help people visualise their product. 

They loved the photos. The next time we saw Kate at a networking event she mentioned it again and said, “It’s so easy. I have all the photos in the right size. Every time I need one, I take it, send it, or post it and it's done! "

Having a professional bring your product or service to life means that you will get a high-quality product. It also means that you will get a point of view closer to your clients’ because it is not our product and we can see its possibilities as your client would see them.

Moreover, after one session, you will have a great variety of images (from the right angle, directed to your client, with interesting perspectives, extremely shareable, with your brand style in mind…) to use in many different situations. Your images can be repurposed and their lifespan extended even more. 

Our best tip: dedicate time to planning the session and help your photographer see what you envision.

Photography increases engagement

As mentioned previously, almost 2 thirds of the population are visual people. 

According to this article, on average, people only remember 10% of the information they came across three days ago. This increases to 65% retention when paired with an image.

The same article mentions that: Images on Facebook receive 20% more engagement than videos and 352% more engagement than links and other interesting statistics.

This data is not surprising taking into account the fact that most of us are visual people. Have you stopped for a moment to think about your own habits? 

I know that I’m in fact in the 67% of consumers that are more likely to buy a product with an image than without it. Actually, I don’t think I would. If you have read Krissy’s blog post about how she fell in love with her yellow boots, you will know that the copy spoke directly to her, but she wouldn't have stopped to think about the boots in the first place if she hadn’t been able to see them.

Photos carry meaning… and data!

I told you before that photos are such a great vessel to carry information to help with your SEO. 

Literally, photos can help people find you on the internet. Descriptions, tags, geolocation, titles, KEYWORDS, alt-text and all that jazz, will turn your images into a weapon of mass destruction. Well not really, they are more a weapon of mass information, to tell google about your business and help it guide your future clients into your arms baby. You are welcome!

Plus, one photo has multiple uses. If you have read some of my blog posts, you may know by now that I like things that have multiple uses and can be repurposed. So, using your photos in multiple channels is a very efficient way to keep on top of everything. Just have a read of THIS blog post if you need some ideas. Repurposing your photos is also a fantastic way to keep consistency and help people recognize your brand. Just make sure that you don’t say the exact same words over and over again.

In conclusion

As the overused (although still true) adage states “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The conscious, the unconscious and all the hidden meanings of an image collide for the common purpose of communication and connection.

So, if you are still wondering why photography is important for your business, we invite you to share a view into your business that others wouldn’t usually see and CONNECT with your audience. “SHOW. Then tell”.

The Worst Typography Mistakes


Even though typography can seem simple, it's still possible to get it wrong very easily. 

Choosing a typeface, adjusting the size, and perhaps altering the colour seems pretty straightforward, right? Wrong! 

The truth is, effective typesetting involves so much more.

Here are some of the best (worst?) examples to save you time, effort, and embarrassment:

01- Using a Bad Font

Why is a font bad? There are many reasons. Some fonts can be difficult to read, while others can be distracting, or simply too much. 

Fonts to choose instead:

You have a tonne of gorgeous, readable, and innovative font selections to choose from for your design. Some of our favourites are as follow:

02- Using Too Many Typefaces or Font Styles

What number of typefaces is excessive? In general, using more than two fonts or font styles is superfluous and not a good idea, especially if you're new to typographic design.

In case you forgot, a typeface is a family of fonts.

How to use typefaces instead:

This one is a no-brainer. Keep it simple, please! You should be alright as long as you stick to one or two options.

03- Poor Font Pairings

It's nice to have it down to two typefaces, but that is just half the battle.

Fonts that are too similar to one another may confuse the reader. It undermines the hierarchy you're attempting to create or softens the point you're attempting to make.

What to do instead:

Similar to wine and food pairing, font pairing also takes practice. Any two possibilities could be combined, but a perfect pair is required for a tasty design. There are countless variations possible. Here are some excellent Google Font combinations:

04- Tragic Tracking

The concept of tracking refers to the standard spacing between each character in a piece of text.

Letters that are too close together may overlap and become challenging to read. When they are too far apart, it is challenging to distinguish the individual words.

What to do instead:

As you make your adjustments, bear the following in mind to prevent committing the crime of "tragic tracking."

Readability: Is the text easy to read?

Can you identify which letters go with which words?

Your content should be in good shape as long as both of those statements are accurate.

05- Don't stretch your font

When stretching a font your text may become distorted, difficult to read, pixelated, or simply unattractive.

Therefore, kindly refrain from stretching, scrunching/squishing, slanting, or doing anything else that could obliterate the lovely shapes of the letters you are working with.

What to do instead:

Change the weight or form of the letters by using a different style of the same font. If the font you're using and the desired effect are right, highlighting the word may be as easy as pressing a button. Yes, it's that easy!

Changing character spacing is all you need to do, so keep tracking in mind. Tracking is a great option if you want to change the spacing between each of your characters at once.

06- Inappropriate Use of Hatch Marks (or Prime Marks)

When we're talking about measurements, hatch marks (or prime marks), also known as 'dumb quotes', are used to notate measurements, but many of us mistake them for apostrophes. It's sometimes confusing, but it's mostly just... wrong.

What to do instead:

The difference between "dumb quotes" and "smart quotes" is important to recognize. In dumb quotes, the markings are usually just straight lines. The smart quotes that you should use to contract and quote are those lovely little curved characters that we use prefer to use.

07- Rage of Rorschach

(The rag is the side of the paragraph that isn't justified -- i.e. not perfectly aligned. In the western world, it is usually the right side.)

You shouldn't let the rag make your paragraphs into discernible and distracting shapes unless you're working on a concrete poem or a snazzy experimental typography.

What to do instead:

Take control of the shapes if you notice the rag lining up perfectly square, all over the place, or looking like Maine. of the lines and the breaks so that the rag is nice and organic

08-Leaving Behind ‘Orphans’ and ‘Widows’

The term ‘widow’ refers to a line that opens a paragraph, which is separated by a page break or column, from the rest of the paragraph. Therefore, it is left all by itself. It's so sad. So lonely.

To run with the same sad concept, an ‘orphan’ is a paragraph-closing line that's either too short, or is isolated at the end of the section.

What to do instead:

Keep those sentences together into a single, happy paragraph. A simple way to fix the problem. By including breaks and moving words to the next line, you can manually change the line lengths.

In essence, you merely need to "return" everyone who is an orphan or widow to their family.

09- SO Many Signals!!!

Did reading that completely awful heading hurt your eyes? Because it certainly hurt mine just to write it.

Why? Like most readers, us, designers too, prefer it to be obvious to know what deserves our undivided attention. The message becomes muddled and the emphasis is lost when you overuse stressing signals like caps, bold, italic, underline, etc.

What to do instead:

The solution to this typography offence is to keep things straightforward. Create a single, consistent technique to highlight your text, and please stop there. It really is that simple.

10- Doubling Down on Serifs

We've already discussed the offence of poor font pairing. Absolutely, we did. This exact typographical faux pas requires its own legislation because it is so awful.

"Birds of a feather flock together," right? Wrong.

Seriously, two Serifs don't belong together. The phrase ‘fonts of a feather’ is still under development, however the sentiment is still valid! 

When used together, two serif typefaces create an unkempt mistake.

What to do instead:

Attempting to match a sans-serif (a typeface lacking serifs) and a serif typeface is another simple solution to avoid this calamity.

11- All Jammed Up

Incorporating as much as you can into a design won't improve it; it will only make it busier, more distracting, and unprofessional-looking.

Remember to move the typeface away from the corners and edges unless you're purposefully cutting something off, because sometimes spacing matters more than information density.

What to do instead:

Change your perspective (and try to convince your client to do the same)! You'll find it getting easier and easier to let your design breathe as you start seeing negative space as a valuable component of the design rather than as unused space.

Play around with the available space; adding more negative space can help you create a cleaner appearance. You can reduce the font size, scale down all or just some pieces, or sometimes a clever rearrangement of the individual components will work.

12- Illegible Text

If you consider this to be a complete "given," fantastic! We all adore hearing that! Though we do believe that occasionally, some people need to be reminded of this crime. You're not hitting the mark if the intended audience cannot read the material.

What to do instead:

Put "function" before "fashion." Of course, go for both if you can. As much as the next designer, we enjoy a gorgeous (type)face. However, if you can't have both, choose useful instead of fashionable.

Of course, if your goal is to play with wacky or strange fonts and your content doesn't need to be readable, just go ahead, my friend!

13- Random Rules

It might be time to let go of that loosey-goosey mentality for a hot second and follow some real guidelines. If you find yourself explaining why things are aligned a specific way or you’re repeatedly readjusting and readjusting until it "feels" right, you may need to rethink your design. "Ruler" is a concept for a reason.

What to do instead:

You need that massive grid energy to get back on track and make your type look practical and new. In other words, you better become genuinely enthusiastic about using grids. We should possess them, put them to use, and adore them as well.

14- Snooze Cruise

Nobody wins if you're not having fun and your design is a snooze-fest.

Not you, not your customer, and most definitely not the other major design nerds (that's us!) who can't wait to see what you come up with.

What to do instead:

Have fun with design, please! As much as it is motivated by the rules and norms we've discussed today, design is also driven by passion and curiosity. Hey, part of the reason we learn the rules is to break them in amusing, novel, and entertaining ways.

Now you're making great progress towards a crime-free design!

After reading about the worst typographic offences, we're sure you're ready to exchange your life of type-crime for one of excellent design. Though if you’re still struggling with making sensible design choices, we can help you!!

Just give us a BUZZ!

Search engine what? Demystifying the big SEO monster

Every time I think about the SEO monster, I can’t help but think about my dad saying “Don’t make a salad of shit!” (Pardon my French). 

SEO, as we know, stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This means: “How can we make Google love us?” or “What can we do, so Google and other search engines can find our website, and rank it at the top of people’s searches?”.

It is a simple concept, but not-so-easy in practice. This brings me to the salad. We see a big problem because we tend to bundle all the s**t together. However, when we break it down, it becomes less of a problem. 

So, let’s have a look at the SEO basics to start understanding and benefitting from them.

Why even learn about SEO?

Well, not taking care of our SEO is a bit like having a shop and not sharing the address in directories or maps. That’s it, I have this beautiful shop that offers so many amazing products, but no one knows where it is.

Imagine that Alice is thinking of buying a gift for a friend and wants a beautiful, unique candle that burns for a long time, plus some other cute little things. She needs these products and would love your shop (since you sell the best candles, and lots and lots of gorgeous items that women love). 

She would spend hours browsing in your online shop, finding mementos for all her friends, and super cute little treasures for herself. It could even become her happy place. 

Alice always asks “George” for help, because he is the best at giving recommendations. “George” gets out and about so much and knows every hidden gem. He never fails. 

Unfortunately, “George” doesn’t know your beautiful shop exists. So, he will recommend other “close matches” to Alice, and just like that, she will miss the opportunity to fall in love with your shop. Sad, right?

SEO is vital to increase the quality and quantity of traffic that visits your website. Therefore, it also helps increase brand awareness, attract local customers and build credibility and trust. Win, Win, Win, for sure.

On top of that, amongst other benefits, we’d like to point out that SEO is a very solid marketing tool. When you invest in it, whether time, money or both, the results tend to last for a long period of time. Once George knows your shop is there, he will be able to tell more and more people about it (although it is good to remind him that you are there from time to time).

Let’s break it down to the SEO basics.

There are 2 parts of SEO: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

Let’s start with On-page SEO, because it’s the one you have more control over. On-page SEO involves optimising your website for search engines to find you.

You can find “how search engines find you” with a simple Google search, so we won’t get into that, but think WORDS, more specifically KEYWORDS. Hold the thought for a moment.

In order to optimise your website you will need to tackle both your content and the technical aspects that run in the background (big words like html source code, meta tags, schema, etc.). Don’t panic, we will only look at the SEO basics, and will give you some tips to get started.

So, coming back to the keywords. Alice will search for words related to the gorgeous candles you sell, such as: beautiful candles, candles Sunshine Coast, most unique candles, etc.

When she searches for those terms, Google sends its battalion of spiders to crawl the web and find those keywords, and other key terms that are relevant to the words she would use to find your shop. 

As you may imagine, if you don’t display those words on your website, “George” (ahem, Google) won’t be able to find you.

So, you need to identify those popular words that your “Alice” (A.K.A. ideal client)  would use to find your products, a set of words closely related to them and another set of words that are close but don’t mention candles. 

(Think of the game, Taboo. The player can’t mention the word, or the forbidden words, e.g. wax, to their team and the others have to guess what it is). Therefore, as an overall rule, use not only keywords but also their synonyms and related words. This helps Google see your content as relevant and comprehensive.

The key with keywords, no pun intended, is to find the sweet spot. If it is too popular the big players will definitely beat you. If it is too niche your audience won’t probably think of them. Take your time doing this research, because it is what will set you up for success. 

Then, you need to make sure that these words populate your website, as much as possible, without sounding like a machine of course.

Tip: Before making any changes, you may want to have a look at your Google Analytics to have a baseline and see how the changes you make affect the traffic that goes to your website.

Every time you write a blogpost, the copy on your pages, product descriptions, etc., remember that that’s the content your audience actually sees, so these are the perfect sports to add the keywords to.

On-page SEO basics - On the outside:
  • Create engaging titles and introductions to hook your audience straight away.
  • Introduce those shiny new keywords often, but without being annoying or sounding like a robot.
  • Show your personality. Keep it witty, interesting, soothing, fun… remember we are people talking to people and, let’s be honest, it's much more interesting to read texts with a ray of personality, than a bunch of big words that only people in your industry will understand. Copywriting is the backbone of your brand personality.
  • Show your audience additional resources by pointing to other relevant pages on your website. Internal links are huge for search engine optimisation.
  • Hook them before they leave. Whether it is by giving them a hint of what’s coming or asking for their opinion, look for engagement.

Then turn to the back-end of your site and check how its guts look like. Those keywords can live in many places, so let’s give them many homes.

Photos, graphics, videos and other visual content are very important. They can have a name, Alt-text, title, caption, description, etc. Fill in the relevant fields (including keywords) to lure Google and other search engines to show it to more people.

In terms of the blog post and other pages with text, a plugin like YOAST SEO will guide you through the process of where these keywords could be added. 

On-page SEO basics - On the inside:
  • Craft your SEO title or title tag (the title that appears in the search engine results). Keep it short preferably and to the point. Include your keyword at the beginning of your title tag.
  • Write a good META description (the description that the search engine result shows under that title). By default this is usually the beginning of your text. 

Change it to a brief and clear description of what the page is about, including your main keyword if possible.

Modify the Slug (the part of the url specific to that page that follows the main domain page, i.e. https://yourbrandcrew.com.au/blogging-for-your-business/). Keep it relevant to the text and include the keywords if possible.

Alt-text and description in images and other graphics should include your keywords or synonym keywords in them.

Add relevant tags and categories to your pages. This will help Google (and other search engines) to find you.

  • Don’t forget to optimise your media to load as fast as possible. Charge speed plays a big part in your SEO. Neither your audience nor Google like slow pages.

By paying attention to these fundamental items, you will see a great improvement on the performance of your website. Keep polishing your SEO by regularly adding and optimising content relevant to your products or services.

Off-page SEO

To improve your Off-page SEO you will have to get out of your site and build the roads that lead to it.

It’s funny how “George” knows everyone, but very few people have been able to actually talk to him directly (he is so busy). So, to build your reputation and be known by him, you have to make your site popular with his friends.

Search engines, like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc… look all around the world for sites their users will love. With the immeasurable amount of content created every minute, there has to be a hierarchy. 

What we mean by that is they will search first amongst the sites that have higher authority, trustworthiness and relevance on the whole wide web and see who they know. 

When one of these websites mentions yours is like a golden star ticket that says “go to see my friend’s shop, they have the most unique, beautiful and aromatic candles on the Sunshine Coast”.

These “mentions” are called backlinks and they are actually a link to your website on a different page. Other types of “mentions” come from local search citations (directories and listings), social media marketing, guest bloggings, brand mentions, influence marketing and other “shout outs”.

Think of off-page SEO as networking. You will need to build relationships with other businesses to have a genuine recommendation from them. 

Maybe you meet a florist that knows that every time a group of girl friends buy flowers for another friend they like to add a few cute items to the gift. If the florist loves what you do, she will take her customers to you in a blink, because it means she will be giving value to them and helping you at the same time.

Off-page SEO basics:
  • Make alliances with sites that are relevant to your industry and can naturally drive their clients to you.
  • Make it personal. When you reach out to another site to ask them whether they could link to your content, don’t copy and paste the email you sent to someone else. Learn something about them, why they are a great alliance and how your content can benefit them. Then write your email accordingly.
  • Invest in visual content. As we showed you in our blog about repurposing content, visual content is such an amazing asset because not only it can be optimised and tagged, but also it will be an attractive piece that can lead traffic to your website and be repurposed in many ways to make your communication stronger.
  • Therefore, promote your content on social media. Websites are somehow static, in the sense of not changing so often. Social media is so much more dynamic, and it will give you many opportunities to link back to your page, therefore attracting new audiences. Plus, search engines already know and highly trust YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., so these backlinks are “golden star ticket” votes for your website.
  • Share your valuable content, both written and visual, on niche platforms, i.e. relevant groups, associations, specific blogs and publications.
  • Develop or improve your Local Search Citations. These are mentions of your business’ name, phone and address in a website that is not your own. Create listings in sites like Google My Business, Bing Maps, Apple Places, Yellow Pages, Yelp and other directories. It is paramount that you keep your name, address and phone (NAP) consistent. Geotagging your images is a bonus to help with local searches.
  • Crafting a short and a long bio of your business will help you with consistency, too. Use them for those citations to solidify what your business is about and build that trust.
The never ending story

As you can see, these are a few SEO basics to get you started, there is so much more to learn. However, these already provide a very solid foundation, and a big chunk of work that you can implement straight away to increase traffic to your website.

Think of it as a never ending story, but in a good way. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so learn to love the journey and cruise through it. Keep in your mind “I’m giving extra value to my Alices and showing George how many people I can help too”

If you want to learn more, we found a very comprehensive beginner course. Remember, if you feel overwhelmed don’t get trapped in the “salad of sh*t”, break it down to make it easier.

We hope we helped make this big SEO monster a bit less scary with our SEO basics. We would be happy to give you a hand with any of that, if you need it, just leave us a comment below.

Measuring your marketing efforts, what you need to know

Growing up, Christmas at our house was always chaotic. My mum started early in the kitchen, while my Dad’s one and only job was to cut the tree into its stand. 

Both of my parents were loud and stressed while I was plonked in front of the TV to watch Transformers in my best festive mood.

Falalalala lalalala

For context, in Hungary, Christmas Eve is the big one when we decorate the tree, then celebrate the birth of baby Jesus with a massive feast at dinner time, then give out the presents. Did I mention that I’m from a Jewish family? So, yes, chaos.

Anyway, back to the main event, my Dad. We bought a cut, live tree each year a week before Christmas. Every year on the morning of Christmas Eve, my Dad huffed and puffed out onto the balcony, armed with an axe, a saw, and a hammer.

Jingle bells

Approximately 10 minutes after the real show began. Every year, my Dad inevitably hit a finger, or kicked a toe while being entangled in the sharp and pokey tree branches. Coincidentally, my vocabulary had also expanded with a few colourful words.

Every year, my Dad spent hours on the balcony in the cold, trying to jam the tree into its stand but it was either too thick or (a considerable amount of time later), too thin. You may wonder, why?

According to my Dad, “measuring is just fluffing about'' (not with these words). “It’s for amateurs.” Not long after that he’d usually hit his finger, I’d learn my new words for the holidays and then he was off to the pub for a wee-minute first aid.

Count your blessings

I don’t think I really have to point out what went wrong with my Dad’s Christmas operation, now do I?

It wasn’t his festive blessings he needed to count but the trunk’s circumference in centimetres, along with the stand’s. Could’ve saved him a world of Christmas anguish. (Though one could argue he did have a clear end-game in mind).

The moral of the story

You should never start anything without a clear plan and you should always base all of your marketing efforts on clearly measured data. I sucked you in again with my story, didn’t I?

To get to the boring but necessary part, measuring marketing efforts is important to gauge the success of your marketing campaigns. You need to track your key performance indicators (KPIs). 

They are one of the most important elements of any campaign, and without them, marketing teams wouldn't have a clear picture of whether their marketing strategy is a success.

Ok, but what to measure

This is kinda tricky. It always depends on the overall goal of your campaign. E.g., if you’re running an awareness campaign, you should measure the number of enquiries, growth in your social followers, engagement with your content, website visits, etc.

If you’re running a sales campaign, you should measure your leads, conversion, ROI, your general costs, and really just how you actually acquired that sale. This means that you also need to break down your channels, and measure their individual activities.

Key metrics to measure your marketing strategy

SHOW ME THE MONEY! Let’s be honest, it’s all about those crispies. So, measuring marketing effectiveness will always come down to costs. Here are some of the common KPIs you should measure for each of your campaigns, regardless of the type, channel or medium:

Return on Investment (ROI)

This bad boy measures the sales revenue a campaign brings on every dollarydoo spent. Let’s say you spend $1,000 on a campaign that ends up generating $5,000 in sales. So, your ROI is $4,000, which is 400%. Time to give yourself a pat on the back. 

Honestly, ROI is the best KPI to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns because it also measures the quality of the leads your campaigns generate.

Cost per Lead

Cost per Lead measures the cost-effectiveness of your marketing efforts. This time we’re focussing entirely on the leads generated by your marketing campaign (though not measuring the quality of the leads). 

Using my smashing example from above, let's say the $5,000 generated from five sales, so $1,000 profit per sales. With your $1,000 budget, the Cost per Win is $200 per sale. 

Now, the five sales resulted from 10 leads. With the same $1,000 budget, that is a cost of $100 per lead. Now, we’re really getting somewhere.

Conversion Rate

While I’m throwing around some numbers, we best look at the conversion rate as well. It is crucial to measure not just your overall website conversion but your individual marketing campaigns’, too.

For example, if this fabulous campaign brought in 1,000 visitors, from which you got those 10 leads, that means you have a 1% conversion rate. The conversion rate combined with bounce rate and other behaviour information reveals a great deal about the quality of traffic to the website.

Beware of vanity metrics

Are you still with me? Great. So, cool, we're looking at the traffic to your website. You’re getting visitors and leads, the numbers are going up and you’re super happy. “Look, we’re doing so well!”

Are we though? Measuring the number of visitors to your website, or the number of leads your campaign has generated is nothing more than looking at some vanity metrics. They are pretty, but a bit of an airhead. (For my lady readers, he’s a hunk but wipes his nose on his sleeve).

What do these metrics really tell us? Website traffic growth is good but we need to dig deeper. Are you getting the right type of visitors? 

Leads are certainly great, but are you getting the right type of qualified leads? The problem is that these metrics don’t accurately represent the effectiveness of your marketing efforts when it comes to reaching your specific business objectives.

So, say it after me: “Cost-related KPIs are my best friend!”. Or something like that.

Adjust your marketing strategy in real time

I also want to touch-base on something important before I let you go. This is a good one. Digital marketing allows us to measure campaign activities in real time. Meaning, whatever works in your campaign can be duplicated, amplified, sent to space, whatever. 

Similarly, whatever doesn’t work can be adjusted or eliminated for the best results. All you need to do is to set up processes and systems to encourage your marketing team to measure, evaluate and implement smack bang in the middle of your campaign for the greatest marketing outcome.

I still have the best Christmas memories

Relax, I’m not going to let you wander off without knowing what happened to our family Christmases.

Every year, our tree got wedged into its stand in a makeshift way, with my Dad standing next to it like the true hero that he was. 

My mum managed to roast the turkey to perfection, and hide the brussel sprouts among the rest of the veggies. I repeatedly impressed my cousins with my newly acquired festive vernacular. 

Most importantly, I’ve graduated into adulthood with the greatest lesson learnt, fake trees come with their own stands. No measuring required, falalalala lalalala.

Struggling with your data analysis and measurement? Don’t know how you should get going with it? Why not comment below with your enquiry or give us a buzz?