Does your social media content spark joy in your target audience?

‘Spark joy’ What on earth does that mean?” If you have absolutely no idea why we ask this question, then sit back and let us introduce you to Marie Kondo and her famous tidying up technique.

Marie Kondo, a Japanese organising consultant and bestselling author, has written several books on organisation. Her books have sold millions of copies and have been translated from Japanese into several languages including Korean, Chinese, Spanish, French, German and English. Her popularity in the UK has undergone exponential growth through her Netflix programme ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’. Despite it only being the third month of 2019, this programme has already been named Netflix’s most unpredicted success of the year.

“A programme all about tidying up? Really? How boring!” we hear you say; however, you will be surprised how addictive and almost life-changing this programme can be. Marie Kondo’s tidying up technique has inspired the world to take part in a de-clutter trend (oh, and a Netflix binge)!

Marie Kondo advises messy homeowners to simply say “goodbye” to items that don’t ‘spark joy’ in their life – ultimately de-cluttering their home and lives. This programme emphasises that tidying up can be easier if you follow a structure; it can even be a therapeutic process, as you are urged to express appreciation for your once purposeful belongings before you retire them to the cutting room.

Now that you know who Marie Kondo is, let’s explore how this is relevant to social media (we are getting there, we promise!)

Marie Kondo’s holistic approach to the ‘strategy’ of tidying up can be applied to your social media marketing strategy. If you start by mapping out everything that you want to include and achieve, then you can start to build a successful, organised game plan that works for you and your company. This should help you generate a holistic view of your strategy and how each tactic and decision you make is contributing to the next phase: thus, it can also help you to spot tactics that might be hindering your performance.

So, let’s take Marie Kondo’s approach, shall we?

  • Does your company’s social media ‘spark joy’ to your target audience?
  • When you see your social media posts, are you proud of them?
  • From an outsider’s point of view, would they stand out on a crowded newsfeed?

If the answer to any of the above is “no”, then we think it’s time to thank your social media for its time – delete the unnecessary (don’t go on a frenzy, as Marie Kondo advises against this), make steps to refresh your content, and move on with a well-conceived cleansing process.

So, we want to share with you an easy-to-follow guide that can help you cleanse your social media marketing. Try to follow each stage (See, Think, Do, Delight) as best you can, whilst always aiming to do one of the following:

  • Inspire your audience

  • Educate your audience

  • Entertain your audience

  • Convince your audience

1.‘See’

This is the first interaction the potential customer has with your brand or company, therefore it is your decision to inspire, educate or entertain them from the get-go. This decision can be based upon the objective, content and what you aim to achieve from posting this content.

As we all know, first impressions stick – so make it count

2. `Think`

The customer has reached the Think Stage, which means they are actively thinking about your company without being promoted. This is a huge positive for your company and, of course, the marketing team.

So, to develop customer interaction we must decide how next to ‘spark joy’ by taking responsive action that is pertinent to your business’ values and reputation. You must make this decision, bearing in mind who your audience are and what your customer persona is. For example, a corporate law firm at this stage would not try to entertain a potential client with an animal meme, even though we might all have a soft spot for animal memes, this is quite clearly an unsuitable marketing strategy in this field of business.

If you are not sure about your target audience and what they engage with the most, this may involve a little bit of customer research:

One way to convince your customer at this stage could be by outlining the advantages of choosing your services and how these can benefit the potential customer; these advantages may just prove to be the icing on the cake.

Tip – You can always make posts more engaging by using strong visuals, infographics and professional photography. It is proven that when faced with text or images, 65% find the visuals more memorable.

3. `Do`

If we were to consider this stage as a room, Marie Kondo would believe this to be in very near perfect condition – the polishing stage, as it were. Here, we are only left with the refined ideas that ‘spark joy’. In marketing terms, the customer is very close to purchasing what we are offering as a result of this journey: we have inspired and educated them with our perfectly driven content.

Tip – This stage might be a great opportunity to post a questionnaire, educational graphic, or anything of interest to spur them towards the purchase button.

4. `Delight`

This is all about adding that little bit of unexpected value. In a Marie Kondo scenario, the room (or stage) is now spotless; we have scented candles smouldering, fairy lights glowing, and a cake baking in the oven. The joy is well and truly sparked. In our social media ‘room’, the customer has interacted with the content we posted, has been charmed by our driven content, and has made a satisfied purchase with your company.

So, what do you do now? Move on to the next customer?

Or leave them with a small unexpected gesture that adds further value to the whole process for them.

We personally think the second option is the ideal route to take for any business trying to make a lasting, valuable impression on new potential customers.

Not sure what to offer? Take a look at some of our ideas:

  • Exclusive discount codes
  • Money off their next purchase
  • Loyalty cards
  • Free samples

Hopefully a strategy Marie Kondo could be proud of: a holistic approach that can generate great social media content – just small touches that can make a huge difference.

Branding Insights

10 branding elements and what they mean.

If you’ve never thought about branding before, you may not be aware that there are ten different brand elements to think about. So, let’s start with the basics and define what a brand actually is and why they are so important to any business.

Let’s throw in a bit of history for you here: it was more than half a century ago when the term “brand” started to become apparent; believe it or not, it was used as a way for cattle ranchers to identify their animals! However, today, a search on the internet can give you a range of diverse definitions as to what a brand actually is. For example, some agree that it is “the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers”, whilst other might define it as a “type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name”, or even the “name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers”.

Although all of these answers are correct in their own way, it’s this blog’s purpose to eliminate the jargon, keep things simple, and to sum up for you what we define a brand as…

 We say: “A brand is the personality of a business”.

Why is this so important to a business?

A strong brand can make a memorable impression and it enables your customers to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from your competitors, helping you stand out from the crowd and build loyalty surrounding your brand.

A brand can help a business:

  • Grow its reputation
  • Win new customers
  • Boost employee pride and satisfaction
  • Build trust
  • Support your advertising efforts.

Therefore, it is important that branding is not just overlooked, as it can position your company and tell your story in a successful way. So, let’s take a look at the ten different elements of a brand and what they stand for….

 

  1. Brand identity

So firstly, let’s take a look at brand identity and its importance.

So what is brand identity?

Brand identity is the way people recognise the brand. It may be through the logo or other associated visuals.

For example, the ‘Swoosh’ logo of Nike is very simple, but is immediately recognisable worldwide, along with its strap line, “Just Do It”.

When creating your brand identity it is important to follow and create some brand guidelines, to make sure that your branding and the message you are portraying is consistent throughout.  Your brand identity is built up of many different attributes such as: logo design, colour scheme, key message, typography, and other elements that add to the way consumers visualise your brand as a whole.

Branding guideline| Blog
  1. Brand image

Secondly, how do people picture your brand in their mind?

What is the image associated with it?

The brand image associated with your brand can dictate how people perceive your brand and this can either be in a good way or bad way. For example, many brands have suffered from a damaged brand image, which as a result can be hard to change the consumer’s perception. A successful brand image is developed over time through your logo design, tone of voice and the way your company portrays itself. However, this brand image can be tainted within minutes through a misleading advertisement, a bad branding or design choice, or a controversial post with a misleading view.

The brand image also dictates what consumers expect from your brand. Consumers of Rolls-Royce, for example, are looking for high luxury products and expect high quality service; even if there is a gap for budget cars in its market, it would not stick to the overall brand image by offering this type of product. As a result of this, it may lose its branding demographic and some of its targeted audience may change their perception of Rolls-Royce.

  1. Brand positioning

Brand positioning is the process of positioning your product/service in the market, which segments what you are trying to achieve in a distinctive, targeted format. By positioning your brand it can justify your pricing strategies and determine the position of your brand. If you are thinking “I have no idea where to position my brand”, then ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you differentiate your brand in some way? How?
  • Does it enable growth?
  • What are your brand’s unique values?
  • Does it produce a clear picture in your mind?
  • Is your brand believable and trustworthy?

There are various tactics you can use to position your brand, such as competitive pricing, attractive packaging, and exciting promotions to help attract customers and transform them into repeat customers. Another effective way of figuring out your brand position is to research your competitors and think about how you stand out and figure out a way to build your brand around your unique traits. Creating a specific brand positioning statement can be used internally and provide structure and consistency for your marketing strategy

4. Brand personality

Your brand personality is just like the personality of human being – we all have different unique qualities that make up our own personality. However, your brand personality can be whatever you want it to be, whether that may be empathetic or even intelligent. Every element of your brand identity that we talked about before, including the colour, brand name, typography and brand positioning, adds and builds up your personality for others to see.

Branding professionals state that there are five traits within a brand personality these are:

  1. Sincerity (down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, cheerful)
  2. Excitement (daring, spirited, imaginative, up-to-date)
  3. Competence (reliable, intelligent, successful)
  4. Sophistication (upper class, charming)
  5. Ruggedness (outdoorsy, tough)

Have you ever noticed that although two brands might offer the same service or sell the same product, for some reason you relate to one brand better than the other. This may honestly be down to taste or your own personal preference but this can also be down to the personality of the brand and how you feel when you come across that brand.

It is more than common for new business owners to be unsure of the brand personality they want to portray to the world, as this can be seen as a daunting decision to make. However, our team of graphic designers have experience and expertise in branding and developing a new brand concept for various businesses comes as second nature to them. Our free design consultations consist of brainstorming ideas together, understanding your goals and creating a successful brand that stands for everything you stand for.

branding guideline | brand

5. Brand equity

Brand equity is the value of a brand. It may include tangible financial value such as market share and revenue as well as intangible aspects such as strategic benefits of the brand. For example, Apple is a major technology brand and people perceive it is a premium, cutting-edge manufacturer of quality products. So, it is not only the sales but the sheer image that takes the equity to a different level altogether.

Positive brand equity can help a brand in many ways; it can be a strong catalyst for leading to brand extension and helping to develop a strong, trusting brand image. By strategically investing your marketing budgets in initiatives that help add value to your brand, for example additional services, contributions to charities or other additional perks, this can help drive short-term results.

6. Brand experience

Brand experience is all about how the customer feels when they interact with your brand -this may be a visual experience, a taste experience or just the feeling they get when they come across your branding. Also, if this is a service brand it may depend on the staff behaviour, the environment in which your service is offered, and the standard they expect when associated with your brand.

When consumers come across the Media Village brand we want their experience to be flawless and memorable. So we highlight high customer service as one of our main priorities within the Media Village. We like our experience to be flawless, efficient and sticking to any deadlines given to offer the best customer experience.

Brand touchpoints are an effective way of perfecting the brand experience journey for every customer, making the most of every user interaction with your brand.

Customer touchpoints shape a customer’s perception of a brand. These perceptions shape brand identity as much as the work of any designer or brand manager. After all, brand identity is all about what the customer thinks – not what you think. Customer perceptions are created by a series of touchpoints: the interactions customers have with a brand.

Make a list of all of those touchpoints that you know exist. They might include the supermarket, radio ads, your salespeople, and social media.

Name your brand’s most valuable touchpoints. This will require data analysis to follow the progression of every sale, from contact to conversion. Which touchpoints are most overwhelmingly present? Which ones serve to advance clients through your sales funnel with the greatest efficiency? Once you have identified these touchpoints, capitalise on them.

Establish a goal for each touchpoint and document the data that supports its effectiveness in relation to that goal. Make all involved accountable for the success of each touchpoint, and in time, your brand will reap the benefits

We can help you to design and develop a consistent brand that can be transferred across every touchpoint in your customer journey. These may include radio adverts, social media posts, billboard designs, leaflets and signage.

Perfect your brand experience and this can lead to great successful reviews for your company.

7. Brand Differnetiation

Differentiation, as the word suggests is how a brand stands out in the crowd. For instance our brand at the Media Village stands out in the creative and print industry as we can offer the full creative marketing solution all under one roof – which not many people can offer. So this is an additional service that differentiates us from our competitors.

  • Product differentiation
  • Service differentiation
  • Image differentiation
  • Price differentiation
  • Creates value, justifies your decisions.

But you can also differentiate your brand from the elements we have mentioned earlier, such as visuals, customer experience, logo design, communication, key message etc.

8. Brand communication

Brand communication is the message it delivers through various sources like adverts, brochures, punchlines and hoardings. If the brand has to grow, it must be able to clearly communicate its core benefits to the customers.

We can help you with communicating your brand message through various mediums and platforms from online to offline. Delivering a consistent, clear message that speaks exactly to the right targeted demographic and suits your brand personality.

We work with a variety of different businesses that all have a slightly different way of communicating their brand to the public. For example, we have worked with Westholme School for a long time now and the relationship we have built together helps us to communicate their brand successfully.

Click here to read all about how we communicate Westholme’s brand values and image through creative print and design.

9. Brand gap

Brand gap is the difference between what a brand promises to deliver in its communications and what it actually does. For its own sake, the gap should not be very high. A successful brand must be able to deliver what it promises. No amount of advertising or content marketing efforts can save a bad product

That’s why our design studio arranges personal meetings with every client before we produce any form of branding content for your brand. This way we are making sure that there is no miscommunication or gap between what the brand is claiming to promise and actually delivering.

 

10. Brand extension

The final element is brand extension, which basically means going beyond the brand origins and offering additional value or services to the customer. For example, the one main product that you first start offering may have room for additional services that you can offer once your brand is further established. Taking the Media Village brand as an example again, we started predominantly as a printing company, but over the years we have adapted our services to be able to offer additional value to our customers. This has eventually led to us being able to offer the full marketing and creative solution for our customers all under one roof. Our brand now offers print, graphic design, photography, web development – and much more.

Once all the other brand elements have come in to place and you have established your brand more, this may be the time to consider a form of brand extension. We can help you extend your services but keeps the same consistent brand offering the same values to your targeted audience.

Although there are many advantages with brand extension, there are also, like always, some negatives along the way. Not all brands are fit for brand extension and it has been known to lead to a misrepresentation of the brand persona that customers struggle to understand. For example, if the new product that has come from the brand extension fails then this can spoil the image and reputation of the parent brand.

Take the ice tea brand Arizona as an example; they decided to launch a nacho cheese dip product. Thinking about this strategically, would their demographic of ice tea drinkers really be craving a cheese dip product? Evidently, this is why Arizona’s brand extension failed, therefore we advise when considering a brand extension to always include competitor research, think about the added value this product is going to bring, and consider the influence it might have over your established brand image.

Now you know all about the ten elements of branding, it’s time to start talking about your branding today…

Book your free design consultation here, and let’s talk about these ten elements and much more, to make sure we tell your brand story in the best way possible.

 

 

Now you know all about the ten elements of branding, it’s time to start talking about your branding today…

Book your free design consultation here and let’s talk about all these ten elements and much more, to make sure we tell your brand story in the best way possible.

Your story starts here

 

Storytelling through branding is more important today than ever before; with the average person viewing 100,000 digital words every single day, a refreshing narrative behind a brand can really stand out. Famous brands like Coca Cola and Marks & Spencer have been using the art and science of storytelling to their advantage for years now.

Before we explain how we have helped numerous brands tell their story through creative design and marketing, let’s begin by figuring out why this technique is so effective in the first place.

Firstly, studies reveal that ‘telling a tale’ to somebody is more effective than being bombarded with a collection of cold, hard facts – that information involving sensory association, and personalisation, has a far greater impact in the quality of its reach on an audience.

For example, when viewing a painting you can without a doubt appreciate it, but once you are told a memorable story about how it was created, or the backstory of its creator, the perceived value of the painting is said to increase. From a young age many of us have ingrained experiences with meaningful stories from our childhood, and although we may not remember every detail of a bedtime story, the meanings have lasting impressions. In short, our brain holds narrative more easily than facts – fact.

Storytelling is all about letting people in. In allowing people to get to know the personality behind your brand, the positive outcomes will flourish for you! We spend half of our lives searching for stories, storing memories and updating ourselves on the latest news around us. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to target your audience with a good old story.

If you are not sure what your brand story is, it’s your identity, your background: the voice behind your brand. We guarantee that there is something individual about your brand or service that makes you stand out from the rest; you may not have a clear USP, but we can tell your unique story through strategic branding and design. When, together, we figure out what makes your brand special, you’ll stumble on a story that’s worth telling through branding.

Take a look at your logo, for example. Your choices in typography and colour highlight just a chapter of your brand story – but to tell the whole tale, you need consistent, strategically thought out branding. In today’s digital-obsessed world, we have content coming out of our ears: every second is filled with new content popping up on our social media.

We agree that visuals have a strong and undeniable impact…but in the marketing world, it is storytelling that can be the key to the trust and engagement of a digitally absorbed audience.

But what makes you stop and grabs your attention?

Storytelling through branding makes you memorable

There are various ways that you can stand out in the world of marketing (such as viral videos and professional photography) but one thing that can make you memorable is a great brand story. By telling the world your story, you are able to make an emotional connection with the reader, which gives them a sense of belonging with your product/service and makes you more remarkable.

As naturally social animals, we have developed language as the ultimate way of communicating ourselves, our emotions and perceptions of the world around us. Storytelling is our oldest form of passing knowledge, and in turn, much of this knowledge we consider to be facts is influenced by our exposure to stories we are told over the years.

Storytelling in marketing makes your content more exciting

Even if you are part of what you consider a ‘boring’ industry, the best thing about storytelling is that you can use it regardless of how ‘boring’ you may consider it to be. Together, we can find the right angle for your content and with a great narrative you can transform even the blandest topics into tales that leave your customers wanting more.

It’s the start of your brand voice… you’ve been warming it up over the years, and now it is ready to speak to the world!

Storytelling through branding can help build strong relationships

By adding a story to your brand, you are increasing the amount of value the customer takes away from it. This way, consumers can relate to your story and feel a part of your brand. This aspect of humanity encourages loyalty, ensuring your customers revisit you down the line (and that they may also recommend your business to others in their network). See? Telling your story creatively can be one of the easiest ways for you to captivate your audience.

A shocking figure shows that 54% of people don’t trust brands, which is why your brand must be your promise: what you say you will do, how you say you will do it, and how it is done. Your company should therefore deliver on this promise. Additionally, 45% of your brand image links back to this, which is why it makes sense that storytelling should be an integral part of any marketing strategy. Your story can inspire customers, put life into your brand and attract new leads for your business year in, year out.

How we helped Westholme tell their story

We have worked closely with Westholme School for many years now and the relationship we have built together helps us to deliver and tell their story in exactly the right way, to exactly the right audience. Our cohesive relationship with Westholme guarantees that we are working together and remain united in the pursuit of a common goal.

 

One of the main aims at Westholme School is to support each child in fulfilling their full, individual potential; the journey of a Westholme pupil, from 3 months old to age 18, is a unique story in itself… and one in which the School has invested its all. Therefore, we have created marketing material in various forms that inspire and motivate pupils to succeed, with choice wording such as ‘flourish, cherish’.

Secondly, the Westholme ethos has a firm foundation on personal relationships, on respectful informality, and on the belief that every individual is at the heart of all we do. So it is our promise as a team to reflect this in the branding, creative design and print that we provide for Westholme School. The School places great importance upon personal and character development, so we develop imagery, graphics and campaigns that centre the importance on their pupils and encourage them to develop and succeed. Our relationship with Westholme stems from clear communication and an effective customer journey. Once briefed on the latest campaign, we work with Westholme’s criteria and adapt/alter anything they may require in order to deliver high quality marketing material that always meets their deadline.

 

The promotional material we create also helps to raise awareness in local areas, by advertising upcoming events such as Open Days, Taster Days, and so on. These have so much impact and memorability because we keep Westholme’s branding consistent by adhering to developed brand guidelines and consistent pantone colours. Lastly, our material allows Westholme to guide pupils around the School on their unique Westholme journey, and also allows creative ways to have the great pleasure of congratulating students on their achievements.

Secondly, the Westholme ethos has a firm foundation on personal relationships, on respectful informality, and on the belief that every individual is at the heart of all we do. So it is our promise as a team to reflect this in the branding, creative design and print that we provide for Westholme School. The School places great importance upon personal and character development, so we develop imagery, graphics and campaigns that centre the importance on their pupils and encourage them to develop and succeed. Our relationship with Westholme stems from clear communication and an effective customer journey. Once briefed on the latest campaign, we work with Westholme’s criteria and adapt/alter anything they may require in order to deliver high quality marketing material that always meets their deadline.

The promotional material we create also helps to raise awareness in local areas, by advertising upcoming events such as Open Days, Taster Days, and so on. These have so much impact and memorability because we keep Westholme’s branding consistent by adhering to developed brand guidelines and consistent pantone colours. Lastly, our material allows Westholme to guide pupils around the School on their unique Westholme journey, and also allows creative ways to have the great pleasure of congratulating students on their achievements.