4 Critical Steps for Building a Memorable Brand

Developing an impactful brand is make-or-break. It’s what will help your company gain new customers, and most importantly, it’s what will keep them coming back.

September 27, 2018 5 min read

This story originally appeared on Ellevate

I founded a co-working space and business accelerator for female entrepreneurs. There are thousands of co-working spaces around the world and there are dozens that cater to this same demographic, so in order to remain competitive, each of us must set ourselves apart.

Related: 5 Tips for Working Well Under Pressure

My company, Hera Hub, boasts a unique business model. Our spaces are equipped with a spa-inspired design and tailor-made benefits that give us a competitive advantage. On its face, this is not entirely novel. Many of our competitors offer a somewhat similar hook — aesthetically-appealing office spaces that give members the tools they need to succeed. But what really sets us apart is our brand.

My company’s name, colors, spa-inspired approach and team cannot be replicated. We have worked hard to customize the co-working experience, and our brand is what makes us memorable — it’s meaningful, specific and screams individuality.

My experience in business and marketing led me to my passion for branding, and in the current climate, this passion has become a necessity. Developing an impactful brand is make-or-break. It’s what will help your company gain new customers, and most importantly, it’s what will keep them coming back. For those of you in the beginning stages of your business or on the verge of a rebrand, here are four tips to help you develop a memorable and sustainable brand.

1. No meaning = no story

Your brand should mean something to you. It’s the face of your company and the metric the public will measure you by. Your business’s name should represent a metaphor, symbol, word or emotion that evokes a story, memory or meaning.

Related: Why Authenticity Is the Key Ingredient for Career Success

A name with substance is more valuable than one that’s catchy. Your name should have a story behind it. Great marketers don’t simply share brands, they sell stories. As this Entrepreneur article explains, “Story is how we connect with one another.”

Wonder why emerging social networking sites are so popular? The answer is that people crave the powerful emotional connection that comes through telling a story. There’s a story behind everything, so use your brand to tell it.

2. What’s in a name? Everything.

Your business’s name should reveal what you do and how you do it. Short and succinct is always best, as argued by Forbes contributor Marianne Bickle:

“Think about the speed in which you drive past a business, click through a webpage, or walk down a street. Customers need to be able to read your company sign in a matter of seconds (not minutes).”

While Hera Hub isn’t exactly a revealing name, our tagline, elevator pitch and content enable users and customers to understand exactly what we do. If your business’s name doesn’t reveal what you do in the title, be sure to back it up with powerful and clear language that communicates what you do and what makes you unique.

2. Your business isn’t all about you.

This might be difficult for those in the consulting business, but a well-rounded brand (and business) shouldn’t center solely around its founder. What is the ultimate goal of your business? If it’s to one day sell it, pass it down or hire additional support, try to build your brand around what you offer, how you serve your customers and what sets you apart instead of making it all about you. While your personality and skill set are integral parts of your business, you can’t be all of it.

4. Why are you doing this?

When building your brand, it’s crucial that you remember your purpose and tie everything to that. I am a proponent of Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. In it, he says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” The answer to this question of “Why?” communicates to customers, partners and the market the reason your business is a contender. The “Why?” is what inspires me to keep building, working and growing. Your business supports a bigger purpose; don’t lose sight of what that calling is.

Related: 10 Fears Keeping You From Achieving the Career of Your Dreams

I also recommend Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, to help make your brand memorable and remarkable. Your brand sets you apart, and your advantage is in the details. Make sure these details communicate depth. It takes consistency and years to build strong brand recognition, but remember: Every tweet, word and interaction is an opportunity to spread the message of your work and business.

(By Felena Hanson. Hanson is the founder of Hera Hub, a spa-inspired shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs. She is the author of Flight Club — Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business.)

Why a ‘Personal’ Customer Experience Is Critical to Your Business’ Success

Personalization? Customers don’t fear it; they expect it. Just be sure to be transparent about how you use their data.

June 20, 2018 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What do some of the world’s most popular and successful websites have in common? While Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and YouTube all have different business models, each one does one thing very well: personalization. If you’re a member of any one of these sites, the content that you personally see when you visit its homepage will be different from that other users see.

Related: The 3 Big Problems with Personalization in Online Sales and Marketing

So, whether you’re perusing your newsfeed, product recommendations or suggestions as to what movie or video you should watch, you’ll have a personalized experience based on data the site has previously collected about you (or any user),to create a homepage unique to you that truly feels like your own.

For your business to remain competitive in today’s online business environment, it’s vital that your company do the same thing: embrace the power of personalization to deliver a unique customer experience.

Here are some reasons,why you should do that, along with practical advice on creating a personal customer experience.

Customers expect personalization.

Increasingly, consumers are expecting a personalized experience from the websites they do business with. A recent survey by Epsilon found that 90 percent of consumers surveyed found personalization to be either very or somewhat appealing. Yet, according to Adobe, “Sixty percent of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, even though 77 percent believe real-time personalization is crucial.”

And, according to Salesforce, “70 percent of consumers say a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty.”

Given those important findings, your failure to personalize the customer experience may very well negatively impact perceptions about your business as well as your conversion rate itself. According to Experian, even some of the most rudimentary forms of personalization — like marketing emails that address the recipient by name in the subject line — are being practiced by only 30 percent of businesses,

The message: If you’re looking for a way to differentiate your business from your competition — and what entrepreneur isn’t? –personalization can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.

Alex Allwood, author of Customer Experience Is the Brand, argues that customer experience is an even more crucial competitive differentiator than pricing or technology. As Allwood told The Guardian, “Today’s marketplace has become very competitive and commoditized. There is little differentiation between one brand and the next.

“And so if you are already competing on price, technology or innovation, what is going to differentiate you from your competitors? What is going to be your point of difference?”

Related: This Is How You Discern the Person in All That Customer Personalization Data

The answer is how your customer experiences your brand,” Allwood said. It’s how your brand makes a customer feel.

Personalization technology is within reach.

Creating personalized content and delivering it to your customers across numerous channels has traditionally been a highly challenging process, requiring the use of multiple tools operating independently of one other and sophisticated coordination by marketers.

As Anita Brearton, CEO of the marketing technology firm CabinetM, has said, “A medium-size B2C company uses an average of 19 tools in its marketing organization; a larger company uses even more.” Creating a 360-degree view of a customer that takes into account every interaction the or she has with your brand — across multiple channels such as purchases, email and social media — is extremely difficult when that information is siloed in multiple independent applications.

This is a problem that many of the world’s biggest technology companies, such as Adobe, with Marketing Cloud and IBM, with Watson Campaign Automation, have tried to solve, but it’s the newer players in the field, like Exponea, that promise to put the power of personalization into the hands of entrepreneurs and small businesses through automated technology and AI.

Harnessing the power of machine-learning, Exponea seeks to be a consolidated platform for the acquisition, conversion and retention of customers. Business owners can use it to unify omni-channel customer communications, email marketing automation, product recommendations, content personalization, analytics and ad management — all in one platform.

Tools like this can help marketers develop omnichannel 1:1 personalized campaigns to target customers with pinpoint accuracy based on all of their previous interactions with your business.

Given the increased presence of machine-learning, AI and automated processes in the marketing strategy of businesses today, it’s important for business owners to make sure they remain relevant and competitive by putting smart tools to work for them. Exponea is one of the best solutions on the market, putting into the hands of much smaller companies the tools that giants like Amazon use, to drive sales and customer engagement

In fact, according to the SaaS 1000, Exponea is currently the sixth fastest-growing SaaS company in Europe, with a six-month growth rate of 58.7 percent.

You’ll build trust through transparency.

According to a Columbia Business School survey, 75 percent of consumers polled expressed a willingness to share their personal data with companies they trust. One of the best ways to build this trust with your own customers is to be fully transparent about the data you’re collecting from them, the uses that data will be put to and the benefits customers may derive from this use.

The European Union’s recently enforced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides a road map to how business owners can provide greater transparency in how sensitive consumer data is collected and processed; GDPR also establishes a higher standard of consumer consent to its use than was previously used.

Microsoft recently garnered positive press coverage by committing to apply these protections to all of its customers worldwide.

Following Microsoft’s lead will is a good idea. First, it will ensure that your business is GDPR-compliant — offering your business protection from potentially crippling fines for improper handling of the data of EU citizens. And, second, being transparent with customers will give you the opportunity to demonstrate how seriously you take the safeguarding of their sensitive data.

What’s more, explaining the benefits customers may experience by providing your business with personal information may also give you the opportunity to collect additional information from them, perhaps through surveys and questionnaires. That opportunity will help you personalize the communications customers receive from your business far in to the future.

Final thoughts

For some time now, the world’s most successful and well-known websites have made extensive use of personalization through their own proprietary tools. But marketing platforms like Exponea are helping to level the playing field so that small businesses can also deliver personalized content to their customers. And that has the potential to significantly improve the customer experience and potentially growing those businesses’ bottom line.

Related: When Marketing Personalization Fails

Further, building trust with your customers by being transparent about the ways in which you will use their data can help them feel some clarity in their relationship with your business, making them more likely to become, and remain, loyal consumers.

4 critical areas to consider when performing AdWords audits

AdWords audits are a great way to win business and check on the health of an account, but columnist Matt Umbro notes that there are some aspects of an audit that are easily overlooked or underexplored. Don’t make these mistakes!

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Auditing a prospective client’s Google AdWords account is a tried-and-true sales tactic when hoping to win business. By reviewing accounts, missed opportunities may be found, while issues with campaign structure, settings and optimizations can be addressed. Many agencies have checklists and/or specific areas they review when auditing accounts. However, as AdWords becomes more complex and new features are released, the traditional audit doesn’t cut it anymore.

In this post, I’ll address areas that are often neglected or not given enough thought when auditing AdWords accounts. Some are more technical than others, but the theme is that one size doesn’t fit all. Too often, our preconceived notions don’t allow us to view accounts in a different light. Understand and be open to how accounts are set up as you conduct your audits.

Here are four common issues marketers run into when auditing AdWords accounts:

1. Misunderstanding conversion tracking

One of the first items to be reviewed is how conversion tracking is set up. After all, conversion metrics tend to give the most insight into client goals. Along with making sure the conversion pixel is firing correctly, an audit will assess the various conversion types and how they are performing. A good place to begin is the “Conversions” section within the “Tools” tab. You can see how conversions are categorized.

Conversion categorization

It’s then imperative to look at the actual web pages on which the conversions are occurring. Often, the URL will include some variation of “thank you” or “confirmation.” For example, www.example.com/thanks or www.example.com/order-confirmation. When the URL contains this form of confirmation, it’s easy to determine that the conversions are legitimate. But as more sites become responsive and utilize IFrames, they may not include a separate confirmation URL.

Historically, if you saw a URL in the web pages section that didn’t appear to be a confirmation page, your first thought may have been that it was a pageview conversion. For example, the URL www.example.com/email-newsletter contains the signup form and isn’t the confirmation page. Thus, conversions may be inflated because the pixel is firing on the form, giving an inaccurate representation of performance. Though this scenario still happens, there tends to be another explanation.

Some sites don’t have confirmation pages. Whether through an IFrame or the syntax of the site, when a form submission or purchase occurs, the URL resolves back to itself. Even though www.example.com/email-newsletter appears to contain the signup form, it’s actually the conversion as well. Here is where platforms such as Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics come into play. These platforms have the ability to track button clicks as conversions and showcase this data in AdWords.

If you see what looks like a pageview conversion, it’s imperative that you investigate how it is tracked. It could very well be that the button click is the conversion. Instead of telling the potential client that conversions are inflated, you’ve done your research to know how the conversion is set up.

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


Why machine learning is critical to multi-touch attribution

Columnist Alison Lohse notes that in today’s complex marketing atmosphere, marketers need tools that can quickly and accurately make sense of myriad and disparate data — and machine learning does just that.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Until six or seven years ago, econometric models offered the best way to measure multi-touch attribution. These methodologies, like MMM (marketing mix modeling), turned statistical analyses into predictions and answers to high-level questions: How much revenue is generated from each channel? How much do I need to spend in each channel to optimize my mix? Econometric models rely on complex information and assumptions by human experts, and these models did (and still do) provide valuable insight into big-picture forecasts.

Two recent shifts, however, have necessitated a new way to address multi-touch attribution: big data and user-level analysis. Both require processing power far beyond traditional modeling — beyond, in fact, what humans are capable of on our own. This is where machine learning comes in.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Alison Lohse is COO and Co-founder of Conversion Logic. Alison spent the last 18 years focused on digital strategy for a number of Fortune 100 companies across many industries including telecom, retail, travel, B2B, CPG and tech. Her expertise and focus on client service, advanced analytics, media planning and optimization lends Alison a unique ability to drive digital strategies that scale brands helping them reach a wider audience. Cutting her teeth on digital starting in 2000, she worked across the interactive media practices at Starcom IP, then Avenue A, Razorfish and SMG with a focus on sophisticated media buying through analytics and optimization. Most recently, Alison was the Regional VP of Visual IQ, Chicago where she worked with Conversion Logic’s CEO, Trevor Testwuide. Alison earned an MA from the University of Manchester (UK) and holds a degree in art history from Lawrence University.

A better Siri is critical to the iPhone’s long-term competitiveness

Apple is no longer the leader in a much more crowded virtual-assistant field.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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When Apple bought Siri in 2010 it ushered in the era of the virtual assistant. It was a truly differentiated feature vs. Android phones.

Over time, however, the lead that Apple had has been lost. Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others introduced virtual assistants that now equal or exceed Siri’s capabilities. And Amazon Echo has a significant head start in the home.

Voice search and virtual assistants have become mainstream in the past two years. No longer are they novelty features of the user experience; they have become core to it. Rising usage has been followed by rising expectations. Thus a less competitive assistant, over time, becomes a potential liability for Apple’s main revenue source: the iPhone

Apple will announce earnings later this afternoon. The company is widely expected to report $77.4 billion in revenue and 76 million iPhones sold during the holiday quarter. Both numbers would be improvements vs. a year ago. The company has seen three consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue declines.

While it’s still prized, the iPhone has become less differentiated from a hardware and design perspective and needs to compete more today on software, services and overall user experience. Siri becomes a key feature of that mix. And while Apple has continued to improve and invest in Siri, it needs to do more.

In June, at Apple’s developer conference, the company opened up Siri as a platform for third party developers:

For the first time, developers can build on the intelligence Siri offers and let users interact directly with apps using just their voice. SiriKit helps developers easily design their apps to work with Siri for messaging, phone calls, photo search, ride booking, personal payments and workouts, or use Siri to control CarPlay apps, access climate controls or adjust radio settings within automakers’ apps.

Integrating third party content and transactions into Siri is a potentially successful way to compete with Google, which has advantages by virtue of its massive index and search knowledge. However it’s not clear there’s been much developer uptake.

Echo-Alexa has more than 7,000 skills today (vs. well over a million apps), which is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison accordingly. But it shows there’s a growing developer ecosystem around that device. Alexa is also being integrated into cars, which may become a threat to Apple’s Car Play.

Apple just joined the Partnership on AI, which is dedicated to the ethical development of artificial intelligence. Its representative there is Tom Gruber, one of the original co-founders of Siri. Gruber undoubtedly recognizes the importance of Siri to the iPhone’s long-term competitive viability.

Gruber’s co-founders left Apple and went on to found Viv, which was recently acquired by Samsung.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.