A 5-Step Guide to Branding Your Business on Budget

Digital marketing and branding are probably among the best ways to have your brand noticed to the desired traffic and improve client engagement. It does not matter if your website is new or has been around for a long time; proper branding techniques lets your clients stay in touch with your clients. This is crucial for any brand or organization to remain relevant in the market. 

Today, it is not merely about stunning designs and layouts. It would help if you encouraged your clients to shop for your goods and services through various strategies and services. One popular method is to invest in a reliable loyalty program management software. Whether you run your site on your own or through an agency, the following branding tips and techniques will help you stay relevant and competitive if you are on a restricted budget. 

Influencing a diverse range of clientele 

Digital platforms keep on changing and evolving. Any strategy that worked earlier may not be as effective today or in the coming years. As an emerging brand, you should know which strategies will best help you achieve the desired results in less time and investment. The good idea is to opt for a diversified range of clientele. This means your content management team should not concentrate on a particular medium or platform. Your digital content strategy should include posts, articles, polls, visuals, and infographics, etc.

Using genuine storytelling to create an appealing brand image 

The main idea is to make your brand stand out and be unique and authentic. Today, one can easily detect if a social media page has organic or paid followers. Clients prefer genuine connections. Storytelling is also a popular skill nowadays that allows brands to appear as a responsible and proactive organization. 

Increasing client engagement by experiencing the live streaming 

Today, potential buyers and customers are also interested to know the impact your brand is making through different charitable and philanthropic work. It is possible to show it through an effective marketing strategy. A popular option nowadays is augmented reality alongside interactive sessions of live streaming. These options are incredibly immersive as it allows viewers to witness the philanthropic work that a particular brand is doing within their respective communities. These marketing techniques allow your customers to be a part of the activities that you are initiating with your team members. 

Optimize your site

Another effective way to increase client engagement is by making your website more responsive and user friendly. This becomes even more important if you run an e-commerce site. It is estimated that more than 50% of online users use their smartphones to browse the internet. Therefore, it has become crucial for businesses to make their responsive and mobile-friendly. 

If your website is slow and takes extra time to load, then the chances are that your potential clients may leave your site and look for other sites offering similar goods and services. It is equally important that you work on the layout and visual content of your website. Try to keep the interface of your site simple and easy to navigate. Don’t overcrowd your site and other social media pages with random pictures and graphics.

Similarly, your About Page should educate potential buyers about the goods and services you offer. It should mention your contact information and your the future goals and objectives of your brand. It should have a brief work portfolio about your brand’s core team members as well. You can also post relevant updates about upcoming events and services on your site’s blog.

Promoting and sharing client-generated content for organic branding 

Irrespective of the field your brand operates in, your company can benefit a lot by sharing digital content with your clients. User-generated posts are quite useful on various digital platforms, where many business organizations ask their customers to share their posts on their official media pages. Try to share the goals, mission, and ethical policies of your organization. The best way to use various social media platforms for any brand is to let the audience know about its objectives, goals, and ideology. It should let the audience know about the beliefs and ethical policies followed by its worker’s employees. With time, this helps a brand improve its client’s trust and loyalty in the goods and services it makes. 

In Conclusion 

Online branding and marketing strategies keep on changing and evolving with time. Brands should be flexible enough to adapt to these changing trends. To succeed in digital branding, a company must invest its time and resources in developing the right marketing strategies. Giving priority to client expectations will surely help an organization create a successful marketing strategy that engages potential buyers in the most convincing way.

Digital Restaurant Menu – The Safe & Clean Option

Using a QR Code on your tables, exterior signage, promotions and on your website – you can present your menu in an appetizing and safe format.

Your clients may not feel comfortable handling typical menus that are often difficult to clean and have been in many different hands.

QR Codes can be read by any mobile device and allow your clients to view your menu on their own device. And it is always available allowing them to plan their meal in your establishment long before they arrive.

Learn more

How To Grow Your Brand Globally

Now that you have excelled in your domestic market, and because you want to stay ahead of regional competition, you feel that the timing is perfect for an international expansion. That is a good call! But do you understand what it means to grow a brand globally?

Global expansion means targeting clients from multiple countries and regional economic blocs. It means localizing your products and/or services for multiple new markets. And because the world is not a homogenous market, technically, going global means opening one shop in one foreign market, followed by another shop in a different foreign market, over and over again. That means you will have to constantly struggle with unfamiliar local customs and languages, reimage your mission and vision, rethink your branding and marketing strategies, navigate new labor markets, and comply with new laws and regulations.

Global expansion is risky and understandably scary, but it is a risk you have to take if you are to earn and maintain a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced business environment. That is why you should read the 5 tips below on how to grow your brand globally.

1.  Determine if your product or service is a good candidate for overseas markets

Having a strong brand reputation in your domestic market doesn’t necessarily mean that you will succeed abroad. That is why you need to analyze your brand’s export potential before considering doing business overseas. Your analysis should determine these, among other factors:

 ·        Which markets have a pressing need that your products or services can satisfy?

·        How distinctive is your product with respect to already-existing brands? Competition is stiff everywhere, so you must be ready to fight for your place in every market you expand globally to.

·        Identify consumer segments that share common characteristics within the larger target market. If you sell high-end ladies’ beauty products, for example, how many women in your target audience can afford to buy your products?

·        How is the market affected by technological and scientific developments, and how will such developments impact the future marketability of your product?  

2.  Understand local laws and regulations

Opening a shop in multiple jurisdictions means that you have to comply with multiple sets of domestic legal requirements. It is advisable to consult reputable local legal counsels in every market you expand to. Here are a few legal questions to ask your legal counsel: 

·        How bureaucratic are the local company registration processes? How can you expedite the processes without breaking any registration laws?

·        Which unique employment laws should you know about and, in case of violation, which ones attract the biggest penalties?

·        Which payments or presents can you give to government officials as ordinary customary practice, and which ones can be translated as bribe/corruption?

·        Which are your tax obligations as a foreign brand?

·        Which intellectual property rights do you enjoy?

·        Of the local Civil law and the Common law systems, which ones can impact your branding and marketing?

·        How binding are exclusive distribution agreements between your company and local distributors?

3.  Seek to understand local cultures

Each international market is governed by its unique set of cultural preferences. Seemingly inconsequential factors in your local market, e.g. brand colors or product shapes, can be offending in another market. So, if you don’t want to offend the very people you want to do business with, and jeopardize your growth prospects, understand the following beforehand:

·        What is the local business etiquette? How should you dress when attending business meetings? How should you behave when dealing with workers, clients, or investors of the opposite gender? Is it okay to address elderly people by their first name?

·        Is it okay to discuss sensitive matters such as politics, racism, human rights, or religion in public? Where do you draw the line?

·        How deep do local community policing systems run, and what does your brand need to do to stay out of trouble with community leaders? In some communities in Africa and Southeast Asia, for example, you need the blessing of local elders before you are allowed to conduct any form of business.

4.  Avoid exportation pitfalls

 There are several pitfalls that plague exportation, among them foreign currency fluctuations, border requirements, logistical hurdles, and shipment delays. You will avoid them by formulating a stellar export strategy that includes all the logistics and legal requirements that are unique to each target market. Have a fall back plan in case your initial strategy doesn’t work out.

5.  Have a solid localization strategy

Localization helps you connect with local customers and achieve brand success. Here are a few tips for developing a solid localization strategy:

·        Hire a reputable translation company to translate important documents, web content, product user interface, and marketing campaigns into local dialects.

·        Localize your pricing as per the local demand, supply, and competition. Your home market prices will most likely not cut it for foreign markets.

·        Inspire trust and engagement with local communities by participating in local community development initiatives.

·        Ensure that your logo, brand name, and overall identity are clearly understood and accepted overseas.

·        Ensure that the images and videos you post on social media and on your official website are relatable to the local market.

·        Create a global SEO strategy. You will need to work with a multilingual SEO expert on this.

·        Hire local workers, particularly for the sales, marketing, and customer relations departments.

Conclusion

Up to this point, you are as good as set for global growth. Now go ahead and find financing partners if necessary, hire your team, find distributors and suppliers, set up the head office and local stores, and do everything else that you did when you were setting up your existing business. Expanding overseas will definitely be a tall order for you, but if done correctly, it can be very rewarding.

Best Tips For Building A Successful Career Network

Networking is an essential part of a business in this day and age. While the hardest workers out there would all like to believe that they live in a world where their work speaks for itself, but without networking, most businesses who do not network will get drowned out by the competition.

But what is Networking?

For those who may not know, networking is the art of effectively establishing relationships with people that are mutually beneficial. When people think of networking, one of the first images that come to mind is the typical large business type meeting with higher-ups in the company discussing big collaborations or business moves. This Hollywood image is almost non-existent in the small business world, as the workspace has taken a much more casual route, using meeting places such as coworking spaces.

Coworking Spaces

You may recall me praising coworking spaces in previous articles for their ability to increase focus and productivity, but they also can serve as an excellent networking platform. The Upsuite working spaces in Los Angeles serves as a good example of how a coworking space can create a socially dynamic atmosphere to not only maintain business relationships but establish new ones. The TV presentation rooms offer board-like privacy for those times that you require to do the things you would normally use an office for, while the casual area offers the contrast of an at ease setting to conduct business with new clients in a more relaxed manner. As far as establishing new business relationships and connections, the common area has a large social area which makes socializing with new people effortless. The long bar-like table near the cafe’ does this in a similar manner as well.

Social Networking

One of the quickly evolving factors of any business is how progressively integrated the internet has become into our lives. We can use this to our advantage and reach as many people as quickly as possible using social media outlets. Using our personal social media to get ideas out there can seem hit and miss at times, and some people may not want to go this route(depending on how much they want everyone they know to be hearing about their work). This is where creating work specific websites or pages can come in quite handy. Let’s use the most well-known one, Facebook, as an example: when you make a business page on Facebook you can create business-sponsored ads, and tailor your Facebook page to reach larger audiences, or perhaps more accurately, the right audiences, using the create a custom audience. Many other websites have customized settings like this as well, and many have unique ways of reaching a large audience. I’m not going to go into detail on every one of them, but the possibilities for reaching more people are more numerous than ever when you look at the number of ways you can reach an audience through one app, and multiply that by the amount of social media apps you are willing to use i.e Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Note

Educate yourself on the most effective ways to advertise. While many people only go so far as seeing the boost button, certain things like that may not be optimal for reaching different audiences and have been proven to only reach an audience of your “fans” specifically(people that already follow or work with you closely). Remember, just because it is convenient, does not mean that it is easy. Knowing how to properly use social networks to reach the maximum amount of people can be time-consuming and frustrating at times, so make sure you are willing to put some work and thought into your strategy.

Conclusion

There are many ways to build a stable career network, nearly infinite in fact. With this is in mind, the main idea that could encapsulate this article is this; if we want to build a successful network, we should be constantly looking for and seizing opportunities that come our way. Whether its a shared Coworking space, Social Networking, or simply building rapport with the people that are a part of your everyday life, improving and increasing your network can be as simple as seizing the moment to reach out and interact.

How Will International Trade Look Like After COVID 19

The novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected almost every sector of the global economy. It has particularly precipitated a significant slowdown in manufacturing, supply chains, and international trade in general. In the beginning, the slowdown was attributed to the overdependence on China’s manufacturing power for almost all global business operations, which meant that a small disruption of China’s economy would obviously impact other economies of the world.

 But now that COVID-19 has spread out to almost every corner of the globe, it is hard to tell how far-reaching its repercussions will be in regards to international trade. Experts predict that if the virus isn’t contained soon, production could fall by up to 40 percent, which would translate to soaring unemployment and anemic economic activity for years to come.

How fast cross-border supply chains, and the global economy as a whole, will recover from this pandemic remains to be seen. We can, however, try to predict how international trade will look like after COVID-19.

Decreased International Trade

According to a recent analysis by the Chief Economist team at DG TRADE, the global trade for 2020 with respect to the previous year will fall by about 9.7%. Exports of goods and services out of and around Europe, on the other hand, could fall by 9.2% while EU imports fall by an estimated 8.8%.  In monetary value, the fall will account for about 285 billion and 240 billion Euros in exports and imports respectively. The most affected are the manufacturing sectors across European countries, particularly manufacturers of transport equipment and electrical machinery. Although this is happening in Europe, it could be a good representation of how things stand across the world.

More Companies Will Take their Businesses to International Markets

Shrinking economies will force companies to look for new growth opportunities beyond domestic borders. Even before COVID-19 came to town, companies were banking on international expansion, especially into Asia’s emerging markets, for their long-term growth prospects. Coronavirus will only be forcing them to expedite their pre-existing expansion plans.

Expansion into overseas markets aside, there are other reasons why businesses will have to consider taking their businesses international. One of those reasons is to get closer to sources of raw materials. Many companies have been forced to stop operations due to disrupted supply chains; merely because they are unable to access raw materials. Opening plants right where the raw materials are is a sure remedy for that problem in case of a future pandemic.

Another reason for international expansion is to tap into growing labor markets across the world. Coronavirus has left many companies with sub-standard workforce grappling to keep up with changing consumer needs and working environments. After this is over, every employer will be looking to diversify their pool of talents, some of which cannot be found locally. When businesses go international, exports and imports will significantly be affected.

International expansion brings many challenges, the biggest of them all being payroll. Multinational companies struggle to manage international payrolls after hiring overseas employees. They have to consider different time zones, differences in working hours for different regions, additional employee compensation laws, varying exchange rates, and unique tax laws per country. The surest way of ensuring that payroll to global employees is delivered on time is through international payroll providers. Such providers are well versed in international business requirements, which enable them to handle international payrolls with relative ease.

 Removal of Export Restrictions on Essential Goods

Export restrictions have inflicted harm for everyone. As much as such restrictions increase goods availability in domestic markets and lower prices, COVID-19 has proven that this approach isn’t sustainable. Domestic companies tend to slow down their production when forced to serve local markets, their demand for supplies from world markets shrinks, and international prices for both raw materials and finished products falls through the cracks. That harms economies that rely on international markets for essential goods, especially food and medical supplies. For the sake of global stability, export restrictions will have to stop.

Governments Will Put More Emphasis on Medical Supply Chains

3rd world countries cannot produce enough PPEs and other medical supplies as has been witnessed during this crisis. Most developed countries aren’t any better because they can’t seem to find a way of producing medical supplies cost effectively. Labor shortages, mobility restrictions, and overdependence on imported inputs have also plagued production capacity in developed countries. Going forward, governments all over the world will be spending a significant portion of their international trade budgets on medical supplies. No country in the world can rely solely on their local production capacity to guarantee supplies of medical equipment, so countries will have to join hands to support global medical preparedness.

Conclusion

The unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic makes it hard to predict how international trade will look like in coming years, but experts believe that all economies of the world will struggle to recover from the current crisis. Some argue that the current slump will exceed the trade slump experienced during the global financial crisis of 2008‑09. Well, that remains to be seen.