What is a Brand?

“Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” Walter Landor

Your brand is not your logo. This is only the physical aspect – the identifier. In communication theory, it is the “signifier”. It works to signal a set of meanings, promised experiences, expertise, knowledge, creativity or whatever your business stands for.

Each of these things are what is “signified” by the logo. The power of a brand is only released in the mind of the consumer.

The Power of a Strong Brand

Imagine I give you a bar of soap.

It is an ordinary-looking cake of white soap, like hundred of others you have seen.

You smell it. It smells like… soap.

Now think about the soap for a second. What words come to mind?

Maybe the words you thought of were ‘clean’. Fresh. Pure. Hygiene.

What if you were to tell you that the soap is Imperial Leather.

Now what comes to mind?

Is it Luxury? Wealth? A Cruise-liner?

What if I told you that it is not Imperial Leather. It is Body Shop soap.

Now what comes to mind?

Ethical. Compassionate. Not tested on animals. Environmental.

That is a brand.

The Brand is the set of perceptions that are unlocked by your name, your symbol, or your signifiers.

The brand exists in the mind of the prospect or customer.

What the brand unlocks are associations including:

  • Personality
  • Higher Order Goals
  • Archetypal stories and mythology
  • Story of struggle, and success
  • Culture
  • How customers see themselves

A strong brand  works to tap into the collective unconscious and release a set of universal, archetypal stories. A brand is a fairy tale. It has a hero and a villain, a struggle against adversity, human spirit, emotion, vigour, and lasting value.

The strong brand can be globally relevant, because it represents aspects of human experience, which we all share, irrespective of the culture in which we were raised.

 

Photo by Jess Watters from Pexels

Publication Design

It is an exciting time in the world of publication design.

While there will always be a place for print, consider this.

You can make an elegant report, such as an Annual Report, with beautiful tables, typography and graphics, sustainably sourced FSC certified, and deliver it by post to stakeholders.

You can also turn the artwork into an interactive PDF that you send to interested customers, suppliers, and prospects on your list, by email.

You can also put a copy on your website.

The tables are phone and tablet-friendly, so they will resize for the user’s device.

The Directors’ Report has a photo of the Chair of the Board that, when clicked, plays a video of them speaking enthusiastically about the last 12 months.

All the links to URLs and email accounts are active. There is an order form linked to a payment gateway, and the new promotional video mentioned in the report can be watched and shared.

Just separate out the financial tables and that elegant Annual Report can now serve as a year-round marketing magazine.

Advantages of electronic publications

Cost: The interactive PDF removes some (or all) printing costs.

Equity: Accessible design is a human rights issue. It enables those who require assistive technology (such as a screen reader like JAWS or other text-to-voice software) to be included in your audience regardless of whether they have a visual, physiological, or neurological impairment.

Speed: An approved PDF document can be distributed immediately to an audience without the time lag for printing (often ten days). If–or should I say ‘when’–an error is detected, the document can be corrected and replaced immediately.

A powerful way to communicate

Interactive PDF is a powerful way to communicate, without hefty print costs, and perfect for:

  • Conference brochures/booklets
  • Clinical guidesAnnual Reports
  • Annual Reports
  • Company magazines
  • Brochures

At My Virtual Marketing Manager, we ensure material is elegant, cost-effective and accessible within your budget and agreed timeframe.

Send me your brief

Print Publications

We can also design publications for print, including:

  • Reports
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Booklets
  • Postcards
  • Gift Cards
  • Stationery

We can manage the print production management including sourcing quotations, desired paper stocks, weights and finishes.

Send me your brief

Media & Publicity

If you want wide exposure for your organisation, a media release (or multimedia release) is a great way to get your story picked up.

You might have a new service or product, an event, a milestone or announcement. If your story is worth telling, I can help you tell it. And find the media and the people who will share it.

There are two parts:

  • Writing the Media Release
  • Targeted Distribution

Preparing the Media Release

Writing good media releases is completely different to writing advertising material or product fact sheets.

Editors are not interested in hearing all about your new business, new product, or new location. That is advertising.

The trick is to tap into news that is broader. That means finding a newsworthy angle.

Virtually every organisation and business will have an angle that can turn their ‘promotional’ blurb into a strong article that will be of interest to a wide readership/listenership, and support their activities as well.

Good editorial publicity is gold.

I can prepare your media releases so that it is professional, engaging and compelling. Small businesses, organisations and individuals might be looking for publicity for activities. This can often be achieved with a small budget and a newsworthy angle.

You can also use the content for your own website.

Multimedia Releases

The world’s most widely understood language pictures.

You have options to include videos, images as well as audio and fact sheets with your media releases to really engage editors, reports and readers.

Photography

We can help you with sourcing images, and conducting photography, and/or making video.

Targeted Distribution

It’s unlikely your media releases will be for absolutely everyone. Together, we can target the type of industry publications and audiences that will give you the most value.

Those media include:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Bloggers

I use the industry leader, AAPMedia Net, to facilitate targeting and distribution. I also use other online distribution services and directly target your wish list for ideal placement. We can also append your own email list to the list of journalists, broadcasters and editors we will target to cover your story.

I also use other online distribution services that are free of charge.

Price

There are different options to suit your budget and objectives

You will always read and approve the final version of the Media Release article, and approve the targeted distribution list, and the cost of the service.

Send me your brief

Creative Design

Great design releases endorphins. Ours when we are making it. Yours when you see it.

We can produce your very own unique, custom-made marketing material. No cookie-cutter templates used. You give us your brief and your deadline. We agree on an affordable flat price, no hidden extras, and get started.

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Smart Business

Client: Ace Internet Services Pty Ltd

Project: Concept, Writing, Design (2011)

Put your business in your own hands – literally

Last year we did what we had always done.

We bought a computer for each of the staff and some software –  email, word processing, the complex analysis package we use.

And licences for the software.

And a server.

And a separate room for the server because Brenda thought it was bad feng shui and made a buzzing drone sound.

Servers need to be kept cool anyway or they fry.

So we got a second server in case one fried.

The power bills went through the roof.

A big bank load paid for our all gear, but like a new car out of the showroom,

it all turned out to be obsolete in, hmm, a week?

Security.

I wanted to hire an IT person to look after security, but we’re little.

So I made Jimmy wear the IT hat instead. I just hoped he wouldn’t stuff it up too bad.

This year, I’ve made a decision.

I’m doing things a bit differently.

I’m putting my head in the cloud and bringing our costs to the ground.

We’re getting the latest software,

the best servers and

top-end corporate security.

And we’re buying nothing other than one monthly subscription fee.

And apparently my smart phone can be used as a mini-work station.

Which means I can spend half the day in the office and the other half at Coffee Culture.

These, of course, are my most productive hours.

Something about good coffee on tap means things get done.

There is one downside though.

Without all the boxes and servers, it’s created a fair bit of empty office space.

Which means we need plants.

Lots of plants.

Find out if Cloud Computing might be good for your business.

Call 99X2 0909

 

School Internet

Client: Ace Internet Services

Project: Brand Ad (tying Ace to facilities in local schools). Writing

Why school is more fun than school holidays

After Easter, sixteen hundred Highlands students might go to NASA’s Digital Universe for Science class.

They might experience a 3D tour of Egypt as part of Ancient History.

Biology could be an interactive lesson at the world’s largest underwater aquarium.

And Australian Studies might mean a trudge through the trenches at Gallipoli.

How is this possible?

Through the engineering of Ace Internet Services in conjunction with HHERN and the Australian Acedemic and Research Network.

For your home and business internet and computing needs, talk to Ace first.

Internet. Voice. Hosting. Cloud Computing. Technical Services.

Phone  |  Web

PumpUP Plan

Client: Ace Internet Services Pty Ltd

Project: Concept, Writing, Design (2007)

Extra broadband when you need it, no big bills when you don’t.

Introducing PumpUP Plans.

Think of it like a car. You put in the amount of fuel that should get you by. When you need more, you just pump it up.

A broadband PumpUp plan works the same way.

Simply get a basic plan and start saving.

When you need more data, buy a packet from half a cent per megabyte. That’s one thirtieth the rate of other Internet Service Providers.

When you go on holidays, or if it’s a quiet time of year, you only pay for your basic plan.

Makes sense, right?

Finally, FLEXIBLE broadband.

Call 1300 360 979

Visit website

‘Droves’

Client Ace Internet Services Pty Ltd

Project Writing & Design, 2006

If you told them, they’d move here in droves.

“Yes it would be nice to live in the Southern Highlands, but you just don’t have the services we do in the city.”

Heard that before?

Whatever you do, just nod and look sad.

Because if they knew that we indeed have a fabulous country lifestyle,

but we also have broadband Internet just as fast and reliable,

and it’s wireless,

and that you can even get it

way out on your remote and beautiful property where you can run your business,

without the the dropouts that they get…

Urgh!

Just change the subject.

Talk about the train service instead.

AirStream Broadband. Wireless. Phone services. VoIP. Web Hosting.

AirStream plans from $29.95 a month.

 

 

 

Technologically Challenged?

Client Ace Internet Services

Project Concept, Writing & Design (2007)

T3chnolo9ically Challenged?

At Ace, we use all the most cutting edge internet and telephone technology.

Wow. You don’t care, do you.

You just want it to be Easy.

That’s why we set things up for you,

explain it all in plain English

and make it so simple you’ll want to give us a kiss.

And it gets better.

We’ll let you.

Because even though we sometimes say we’re based in Mumbai,

we’re just crazy kidders.

We’re right here in Bowral!

And we’re rather good looking.*

Broadband Internet. Wireless Internet. Phone services. VoIP. Web Hosting.

Call 1300 360 979

*Subject to change without notice.

 

 

‘Gordon Brown’

Client: Ace Internet Services Pty Ltd

Project: Concept, Writing & Design (2007)

How’s That Gordon Brown Fellow Doing?

Grab a five minute opinion from a pal in the UK for less than fifty cents.

With calls as cheap as chips, you’ll soon be able to fly over and see for yourself.

A VoIP (voice over internet protocol) handset is a stylish cordless phone that you simply plug in to start saving.

From $22 a month.

To see how it works, visit the website or request a fact sheet.

 

Marketing Strategy

Fail to plan, plan to fail.

The art of war and a good marketing strategy have a lot in common. It is about understanding your strengths and weaknesses, studying your competitors, and positioning everyone on the battlefield of the human mind.
[Y]our Marketing Strategy is the blueprint for your actions.

It should clarify everything about who you are and what you do and for whom.

Here are the components:

Situation Analysis

  • Industry
  • Competitors
  • Customers – Behaviour and Psychology
  • Your Business
  • Your Resources
  • Your Strengths
  • Your Customer Value Proposition

SWOT / TOWS

Most people know about SWOT:

  • Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Few people know about TOWS and this is really the most critical part. This can generate a handful of strategic directions you could pursue. You can then eliminate the ones you don’t want to follow, or nurture some of the latent opportunities that have been under your nose. Sounds complicated, but it isn’t. It’s energising to see it laid out so clearly with this simple tool – the crux of strategic business decision-making.

  • TOWS: How you can use your Strengths to exploit Opportunities, Minimise Weaknesses and Block the Threats

The Vision

The inspiring and energising lifeblood of the organisation:

  • Your Mission, Vision, Value, Story.

Creative Platform

  • The Message
  • The Campaignable Idea
  • Personality

Promotional Strategy

  • Reaching our target customer- in the most cost-effective way possible

Measurement

  • Is it working?

Budgeting

  • How much will it cost?
  • What will the investment deliver?

Please contact us to discuss.

 

 

Marketing Strategy

Fail to plan, plan to fail.

The art of war and a good marketing strategy have a lot in common. It is about understanding your strengths and weaknesses, studying your competitors, and positioning everyone on the battlefield of the human mind.

  • Your Marketing Strategy is the blueprint for your actions.

It should clarify everything about who you are and what you do and for whom. It’s a must have.

Here are the components:

Situation Analysis

  • Industry
  • Competitors
  • Customers – Behaviour and Psychology
  • Your Business
  • Your Resources
  • Your Strengths
  • Your Customer Value Proposition
SWOT / TOWS
  • Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
  • How you can use your Strengths to exploit Opportunities, Minimise Weaknesses and Block the Threats

The Vision

The inspiring and energising lifeblood of the organisation

  • Your mission and vision. Your Story.

Creative Platform

  • The Message
  • Flavour (funny, smart, minimal, teasing, blunt, emotive, fearful, solving)

Promotional Strategy & Calendar

  • Reaching our target customer- in the most cost-effective way possible

Measurement

  • Is it working?

Budgeting

  • How much will it cost?
  • What will the investment deliver?
  • How much money will our investment return?

We can create Marketing Strategies within any budget.

Please contact us to discuss.

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