Sunday, November 30, 2014

Brand Building Basics for Beginners

According to Marty Neumeier, "the main purpose of branding is to get more people to buy more stuff for more years at a higher price." For beginning entrepreneurs, brand building is an important part of firmly establishing your business within the market. If your business has poor brand recognition, or if you promote an inconsistent brand, you may lose or even alienate some of your best customers. Here are a few basics to help you get your brand off the ground if you are starting from scratch.

What is a Brand?
To put it simply, a brand is an abstract idea that represents what your company stands for. This idea manifests itself in the business actions that you take and are expressed in the way in which you take those actions. Consider for instance, two World-Famous brands in a similar market, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. When you think of The Beatles, you picture four guys with goofy haircuts, that are generally warm, lovable, and safe. On the other hand, when you think of The Rolling Stones, you picture a group of rude, dangerous, unwashed ruffians. Two bands with completely different brands.
Where to Begin
The most successful brands begin by focusing on the company's strengths. Start by thinking about what you are good at, relative to your competition, as well as your core values or what you believe in. For instance, do your products feature a better design? Are your operations more environmentally-friendly than your competitors? Branding is all about finding those differentiating factors in your products or services that really make a difference to your customers.
Building the Brand
Once you have a good idea of what differentiates your business from others in your marketplace, it is time to start consistently promoting it. To do this, you need to focus on serving what your customers desire most, and guaranteeing your ability to deliver that benefit to them. However, promoting an inconsistent brand at times can be as bad as not having a brand at all. Every point of contact you have with your customers, from phone calls, to in-store visits, to letters, to emails, need to consistently promote your brand.
This may mean crafting graphics and ad copy for a variety of media, such as television, radio, online, and mobile. However it should also include creating elevator pitches for your salespeople and training the entire organization in basic public relations and consistent brand promotion.
Managing the Brand
Once your brand has firmly been established, your job is nowhere near over. Consistently monitoring your brand strategy, or hiring a qualified branding agency to do it, has several benefits. For one, you are guaranteed to not have any lapses in your brand, secondly, hiring a branding agency can help you stay ahead of trends, developments, and current events that relate to your business, allowing you to capitalize on each as an opportunity to further promote and strengthen your brand.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Increase Your Bathroom Charm With the Right Lighting

It's no secret that your bathroom is the most used room in any home or apartment. Additionally, your bathroom is the one room under the most scrutiny in your home-both of those who live there as well as guests who visit. One of the easiest and most overlooked home remodeling projects that can instantly transform your home is by adding the right lighting to your bathroom. Follow these simple guidelines for installing new bathroom lighting and you'll surely impress your guests and family members alike.

Where to Begin?
Evaluate each of your bathrooms. Try to find one adjective that adequately describes the 'feeling' of the bathroom. Chances are, your bathroom screams "sterile" or "children were here", but it doesn't have to remain that way! You're one step closer to finding the perfect lighting for your room that will soften even the starkest features or messiest organization. Now consider what you want your bathroom to say. For guest and master bathrooms, you might want to aim for a soft, luxurious tone, whereas busier households might want a clean, organized look and feel.

Size Does Matter
Well, the size of the bulb in your lighting fixture does not matter, however the wattage of your bulb does matter. Why? Think about all the tasks you do in your bathroom-from brushing teeth, grooming, applying makeup and more, you cannot afford to miss a spot or walk into work with toothpaste remnants. So, you'll need the proper amount of lighting. However, you also do not want too much light-or else the bags under your eyes will haunt you for days. Experts recommend two watts per square foot of space and avoid clear bulbs, instead opting for soft white bulbs with 40 or 60 watts.

Finding the Perfect Place
Common bathroom lighting is an overhead fixture. While the overhead area certainly sheds plenty of light throughout the room, it may not be your best option. If you're tired of the traditional stark white bathroom fixtures and the functional feel of your bathroom, consider installing track lighting around your shower or bath stall. These fixtures can provide a splash of color in addition to creating a unique, refined look.

If you still want to maintain a "kid-friendly" atmosphere, make your bathroom visitors feel like Hollywood stars by installing vanity wall sconces that either lines the sides or top of your sink mirror. It is especially important to choose a soft bulb for these features so that they do not cast unwanted shadows on your face.

Shower Safely
In most cases, your bath lighting fixtures for your shower stall and tub are located overhead. If they are located directly overhead, you need to be sure that the fixture meets the requirements for wet conditions. Most recessed lighting fixtures follow these requirements, and are ideal for the shower and tub.

To add a touch of luxury, why not install a dimmer switch to the light fixture in the shower and bath area? This way, you can turn down the lights and enjoy the soft glow while soaking in the suds. To really create a posh environment, consider disguising the overhead light by installing a chandelier; this fixture will definitely leave an impression on any guest!

Neat Alternatives
If you've read these guidelines and still aren't inspired, these alternative ideas are for you! For bath aficionados, consider installing a skylight. Not only will this open up the feel of the room, but also will give you a pretty view of the sun or the stars. Ideal for busy households, censored lighting fixtures are a must. This way, any late-night visitors won't worry about leaving the light on throughout the night. If these options aren't quite 'cool' enough, let your children decorate with LED rope lighting; these lights are safe, provide ample light and get your family involved!