4 Factors to Building Brand Clarity

Brand clarity

Did you know Napoleon Bonaparte demanded three things from each of his couriers? Be clear. Be clear. Be clear.

There’s a reason why arguably one of the most influential leaders in history placed such a value on clarity: the success of your future is directly tied to the clarity of today. (Tweet this!)

When it comes to your brand’s identity, clarity is an invaluable asset. There are four major factors to building brand clarity.

Identify your core

Too many brands chase a variety of opportunities without considering how it meshes with their core identity. Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept is a classic tool for helping brand’s clarify their core identity. Know what you can be the best in the world at, know what drives your passion, and know what feeds your economic engine. In the middle of those three is where you need to be as a brand.

Know your audience

Know who you’re speaking to, and what they want and need to hear. If you’re speaking to angel investors, know your facts and research back and forth. If you’re speaking to potential clients, know the needs they’re facing and your best way of meeting those needs.

Communicate value clearly

Why should your audience buy what you’re selling? Your answer can’t be because you spent countless hours developing your product. A hamster spends countless hours running… and going nowhere. Brand clarity is being able to clearly communicate the value of your product. Use simple words. Use short sentences. Be clear. Communicate value.

Hone your message

I could talk all day about how great my company is, all the features and details of what I have to offer, and on and on… but you don’t have all day to listen, nor would you necessarily want to listen.

Building brand clarity is about honing your mission, mantra, business concept, whatever you need to communicate down to an easily-expandable message. This is more than having your elevator pitch; it’s your elevator pitch on steroids. Know your message so clearly you can go thirty seconds, five minutes, or half an hour at the drop of a hat.

Your audience’s level of clarity is in direct relation to your level of clarity. If it’s even a little fuzzy to you, then it’s measurably more unclear to your audience. Focus on these four factors and bring clarity to your brand’s future success.

Want to be irresistible to your audience?

Irresistible product

It’s no secret there are countless people doing what you do as an entrepreneur. Services, sales, products, features, you are literally one of thousands fighting for much of the same attention, business, and client loyalty.

If you want to leave your audience begging for more, there’s one tip, one small piece of advice to be truly irresistible…

Be fantastic.

It doesn’t matter what you do, if you don’t do it exceptionally well, you will lose business. If you’re a consultant, invest far more hours in becoming fantastic at what you do than in sharing what you do. There is no lack of opportunity and resources to becoming one of the greatest in the world at what you do, but it’s up to you to achieve fantastic results.

It might mean you invest in a success coach or an image consultant. It might mean you revamp your content strategy through a marketing firm (or a much-cheaper, high quality customized content creator *ahemahem* like me!). For me personally, I spend 4-5 times more effort investing in my development than I do in my promotions.

Nothing can make up for a lousy product. State-of-the-art marketing means a lousy product gets exposed even faster. Having a fantastic product or content is the best step towards being irresistible to your market audience.

One of the most proven ways to build a fantastic reputation is through first-rate blog content. I help entrepreneurs and businesses provide fresh blog content relevant to their audience and custom-fit to their brand strategy.

I can give you fantastic content, just ask me how…

Click here to ask Jon about blog content.

6 Qualities in an Entrepreneur’s DNA

I love being an entrepreneur. I love spending time with other entrepreneurs. There’s something intoxicating about this strange herd of ours, this unique way we look at life and say, “Just try to stop me.” It’s in our blood to be this envelope-pushing, odds-objecting, self-motivated force.

Entrepreneur

But, what’s the DNA of an entrepreneur? What makes us the way we are and defines much of what we do? Each entrepreneur is unique, but I’ve found at least six major qualities that create the DNA of an entrepreneur.

1. Boot-strap puller

Entrepreneurs know how to pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. It’s not just a way of life; it’s the only way of life we know. If it’s a problem to face, we will figure out a solution, work extra, think harder, smarter, longer, whatever it takes because we will make things work. We can do this, or die trying.

2. Moxie

Every single entrepreneur I’ve met has confidence. It may not always be visible, especially in a high-stakes situation, but I’ve seen more moxie, more swagger from entrepreneurs than any other people. It’s the drive to take on the world with no apologies for why you do what you do.

3. Last-one standing

There’s a “survive or die trying” mentality I’ve noticed among entrepreneurs. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bartering situation, a brainstorming session, or a product launch, the last one standing in any fight for a better future will be an entrepreneur. I’d take that bet any day.

4. Passion

You can’t coach passion. You either have it, or you don’t. The undisciplined side of passion is what gets hot-headed 20-somethings “released” from glass-ceiling corporations because they intimidate people and haven’t learned how to properly communicate their passion. When those same individuals learn to harness their passion in diplomatic ways is when companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Disney find their founders. Passion is infectious and fickleness, all rolled into one relentless drive.

5. Vision

Vision is the ability to see beyond your current scope and change directions to set your best future course. Bad vision kills companies. Leaders with poor vision don’t last long. Neither do leaders without the ability to cast vision clearly. Entrepreneurs can see further down the path than anybody else attached to their dreams, and it takes clarity and wisdom to translate vision into perfect direction.

6. Ability to change

We all hate change, in some form or another. Change is uncomfortable. Most entrepreneurs are used to being the redheaded step-child of society; we can’t help thinking differently from the rest of the world. This is why the ability to change is so ingrained into entrepreneurs. Without change, there would be no trial-and-error, no refinement of vision, and no ability to launch something new and fresh on the heels of exploration.

We are a rare breed and there are many reasons why we do what we do. These qualities, and more, help build some of the most inspiring and challenging people I have the privilege of knowing. It’s in our DNA.

Social Media Tools 101: Social Oomph

As the name suggests, Social Media Tools 101 is a series of posts to help beginners understand some of the wonderful social media management apps and tools available today.

Social Oomph new logo

WHAT IS Social Oomph?

Social Oomph is the one social media management tool I’ve heard people personally recommend the most. Social media managers, entrepreneurs, speakers, marketing execs, dozens and dozens of people have told me, “You need to use Social Oomph.” Social Oomph runs in the same crowd as Buffer, Hootsuite, and TweetDeck, but their differences are worth noting.

WHAT makes it unique?

For starters, the analytics provided by Social Oomph are much better than anything Hootsuite is currently offering. Everything from click rates to custom date rangers makes Social Oomph a powerful research tool for campaigns.

The repeat schedule feature is also an upgrade over the other three management tools. This comes in handy when you want to consistently share your content in strategic ways without the hassle of repeating the schedule process each day.

What’s the Catch?

There’s no catch, but there are some inhibitors. Social Oomph doesn’t have a mobile app, which limits its effect on the go. This might be a deal-breaker for many users, but I expect Social Oomph to reconsider a mobile version in the near future.

Social Oomph’s basic version is free, but there’s also a paid version, Social Oomph Professional, which removes the barriers for many possibilities. Users are able to publish blog posts, email updates as social media posts, and explore advanced search options. Cost for the professional version is approximately $35 USD per month.

WHAT’S THE CONSENSUS?

Personally, I prefer Social Oomph over Hootsuite and TweetDeck. The added features and bulk scheduling options are a great addition to my social media strategy. The free version is more than enough for me right now, but I also hear the paid version is worth every penny.

WHERE DO I START WITH Social Oomph?

Go to Social Oomph’s website, create your account, and link to your social platforms to get started.

However, if Social Oomph still sounds too complicated…

Does your brand need a social media manager? Click here to talk with Jon

Social Media Tools 101: TweetDeck

As the name suggests, Social Media Tools 101 is a series of posts to help beginners understand some of the wonderful social media management apps and tools available today.

TweetDeck by Twitter logo

What is TweetDeck?

TweetDeck has a history as one of the most popular Twitter management tools. It was first launched by independent developer Iain Dodsworth in 2008, and later purchased by Twitter in 2011. The acquisition price? Roughly $40 million, a nice ROI for only one app.

HOW IS TweetDeck DIFFERENT from other Social Management tools?

Unlike other social management tools, TweetDeck is exclusively geared towards Twitter (in case the name didn’t give it away). TweetDeck used to feature management options for Facebook, LinkedIn, and others, but now it only features Twitter. There also used to be mobile app versions available for TweetDeck, but they were discontinued shortly after its acquisition by Twitter.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TweetDeck?

TweetDeck desktop app provides customizable views of one or more Twitter accounts. It’s user-friendly and has a streamlined approach for perusing your Twitterdom.

ARE THERE ANY DRAWBACKS?

It’s hard to imagine a positive experience for a social management tool without a mobile version available. Still, Twitter did an amazing job of overhauling TweetDeck with its new interface last summer. The limitation to one social platform, albeit Twitter, is not as attractive as a multi-platform social media management tools, such as Buffer or HootSuite.

WHAT’S THE CONSENSUS?

TweetDeck isn’t dead yet (as much as the pundits might say). It will be interesting to see how it continues developing with Twitter’s massive R&D resources. There are far worse apps and tools to use when it comes to managing one or more Twitter accounts.

WHERE DO I START WITH TWEETDECK?

If you already have a Twitter account, go ahead and sign in to TweetDeck using the desktop app or browser extension. From there, happy tweeting!

However, if TweetDeck still sounds too complicated…

Does your brand need a social media manager? Click here to talk with Jon

Social Media Tools 101: Hootsuite

As the name suggests, Social Media Tools 101 is a series of posts to help beginners understand some of the wonderful social media management apps and tools available today.

Hootsuite Logo - 01

What’s Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a social media management tool to keep all your social media platforms and campaigns in one place. It first launched in 2008 and quickly grew into one of the most popular social sharing interfaces to date.

How is it different than Buffer?

There are some similarities between the two, even some overlap of function, but both Buffer and Hootsuite offer very different benefits that can compliment each other well. The scheduling feature of Hootsuite isn’t as user-friendly as Buffer’s, but the analysis reports from Hootsuite actively inform users on their social sharing effect. Many social media sharers actually favor using both services for different features.

How do I get started with Hootsuite?

The first place is to create your Hootsuite account through your browser or mobile device. Hootsuite also has add-ons and extensions for browsers, similar to Buffer.

What are the benefits of Hootsuite?

One of the benefits is the ability to monitor your brand’s reputation on social media feeds. Users can create a search feed based on their brand’s name and view mentions and tags in real-time.

Unlike Buffer, Hootsuite allows multiple users to access the same social media accounts for collaboration and management. This is helpful for mid-level or larger businesses with a content management team running multiple social campaigns.

Are there any drawbacks?

There are a few, many of which are more preferences than actual drawbacks. The biggest area of debate is the analytics provided by Hootsuite. There limited analytics reports included in Hootsuite, but additional reports can cost $40-50 per report.

Another drawback preference is that Hootsuite requires a URL shortener (ow.ly) for all Hootsuite posts. This is the way Hootsuite tracks clicks and shares in its analytics. Any content shared without the ow.ly URL is left off the analytics report.

What’s the CONSENSUS?

Hootsuite is a terrific app for social media management. I’d recommend any beginner give it a try to see its capabilities and benefits. Nothing’s going to be perfect, but Hootsuite is a great place to start.

However, if Buffer and Hootsuite still sound too complicated…

Does your brand need a social media manager? Click here to talk with Jon

Social Media Tools 101: Buffer

As the name suggests, Social Media Tools 101 is a series of posts to help beginners understand some of the wonderful social media management apps and tools available today. 

Buffer App logo

What is Buffer?

Buffer is a social media scheduling tool.  The key to social media is adding unique value in a noisy world. For all the time you craft that perfect tweet or post, and then release it to the world, wait five seconds… and it’s now buried under hundreds of other people’s posts. With Buffer, you have the freedom to save and schedule posts, including retweets and shares for different times throughout the day (and night).

Why should I even consider Buffer?

Buffer gives you a rhythm, a consistency in posting for a wider range of people to see what you share. By using it’s timed posting interface to create a buffer between posts (hence the name Buffer), this beautiful app allows you to share consistently without bunching, or “stacking” your posts too close together.

Where do I even start with Buffer?

The first step is signing into Buffer and linking to a variety of your social networks. There are also add-ons, apps, and extensions for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, which come in handy when reading anything worth sharing. A quick click on the Buffer logo in the browser menu will open the Buffer dashboard and you can choose when and where to share your newfound article of interest.

How do I use Buffer effectively?

Buffer app schedule timesSchedule your posts to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Buffer automatically creates four editable time slots throughout the work day. Rather than constantly scouring your newsfeeds throughout the day, spend 10-15 minutes sorting at the beginning, middle, and end of your day (or whenever), and cueing your Buffer feed for the rest of the day, or the next two days, whichever you’d like.

What’s the extent of Buffer’s capabilities?

The free account settings on Buffer only allow a maximum of 10 cued posts or shares at a time per social media account (i.e., 10 tweets cued, 10 Facebook posts, etc.). This isn’t the end of the world because even Guy Kawasaki only tweets around 50 times a day.

Also, Buffer’s free account allows only one unique user per social account, which means another user for the same social media, like a brand’s Facebook page, wouldn’t be allowed access on Buffer for the same account. A small upgrade fee of $10 increases access to more than one user and up to 12 different social media accounts.

Buffer is a fantastic app to help spread your message consistently with your target audience. If Buffer sounds a little too complicated though…

Does your brand need a social media manager? Click here to talk with Jon