Polish Your Brand Story and Shine

Certain aspects of your brand story, if updated or enhanced, can bring additional value to you and to your customers. Branding gives you the opportunity, over time, to associate your organization with the benefits and values that are important and relevant to your customer. In a fast-paced, ever-changing global marketplace, your brand represents the promise of service and the expectancy of future benefits. The expectancy of these future benefits motivates buyers to place a higher value on your brand and to be willing to invest in building a relationship with you and your brand. Therefore, maximize any opportunity you have to distinguish your brand. One way to do that is to identify, clarify and “polish” your marketing communications so that your brand shines out brightly from among all the others.

Are your clients’ perceptions of your brand a key factor in their decisions to purchase your product or service and to remain loyal customers?


_____ Refine the details of the core organizational values your brand promotes. Does your brand convince buyers to choose your products and services over that of your competitors? How is your core brand identity conveyed in your marketing? Do your core values connect with customer needs?


______ Select a writing style and tone that speaks to your niche audience. What writing style is appropriate? Formal? Conversational? Informative? Persuasive? What terminology does your customer group recognize? Are your customers experts? Or, are they new to their field?


_____ Choose content relevant to the challenges your audience seeks to solve. What do you want your audience/ideal reader to think or feel? What action do you want them to take? Does your core brand identity speak to customer attitudes, preferences and likes? Do your messages promote conviction and action?


___ Develop messages in media that are culturally relevant to your customers and prospects. What is the culture of your organization? How does it compare with the culture of your customers? In developing messages and choosing media, consider the strategic importance of customer orientation, competitor positioning, length of marketplace initiatives and any other factor pertinent to your core customers.


Are You the Apple of Your Customers’ Eyes?

Is your brand respected in the marketplace? Do your customers value their relationship with you and consider it important to their success? What actions do you take daily to increase your brand equity? To find out, identify areas that need improvement and evaluate your organizational marketing messages and media channels. Let us help you to identify Brand Story areas that need improvement. To get started on your review and evaluation, leave a comment here.

Maria Pinochet, marketing consultant and copywriter, thrives on living the entrepreneurial life and assisting others to realize their dreams of independence.

Her company, Kore Access, Incorporated produces marketing communications for online content and for printed materials. BrandStory, one of her copywriting services, delivers a script of your business story to use in digital and print media.



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Getting In Style: The Technology of Branding

by Maggie Ruch, Virtual Assistant

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, a great resource to have on hand is a brand style guide. This guide will give specifics about things like the appearance of the logo, and copyrights in place on the name or logo for the business, the exact colors to use (PMS or CMYK, RGB and HEX colors) and the font/s used in both the logo and on printed material. It’s a good idea to refer to this style guide for any project. These details may be subtle, but creating consistency builds trust and having a relationship of trust with a client is a relationship that you can’t put a price on.

So where do you get these details and how do you ensure that they are being implemented?

Let’s start with the logo. The graphic designer who created your logo should be able to give you the specific color codes. Many graphics people only work with CMYK colors. There are a few websites that provide conversion charts for these codes. One that I use is the RGB color calculator at . This calculator also matches CMYK and HEX (web) color codes. Another way for you to get the color codes from your logo is to sample the color with a photo retouching software like Photoshop. While logos that have shading and 3d effects might have spots where the color varies, you can view the color you are sampling and test a few spots on the logo before deciding on a code.  Record the color codes and make sure that they become a part of the brand style guide.

Fonts. Most logos are designed with fonts that are not commonly used online or in print. They are usually custom or special font sets that designers use. You really don’t need to worry about matching these fonts, but the fonts used in print and on your website should have a particular style. The main fonts to point out here are your headings and articles. Headings are typically a serif font and body fonts are typically sans serif. This has changed in the past few years, where before serif fonts were used for the text and sans serif for headings. Whatever your preference, make sure that the font set is identified clearly in your style guide. Including samples is helpful.

For information on copyrights trademarks, or patents, consult your copyright attorney. They will have the necessary documentation for your claim and most certificates include a written description of the mark if the appearance is part of the mark. Include this description when possible.

Consult the person who does your website as well as the person who does your print materials and ask them to review the style guide and make changes where appropriate. Use your judgment. If there are great reasons (other than for your logo) for using another font set or color combination, then give it some thought. Sometimes it helps to see two proofs side-by-side to see the difference that simple changes can make, like color choices and font consistency.

Even small businesses can benefit from having a style guide. So what if you are the only person with a copy? Your goal is to grow, and as you grow you will have one of the tools in place to ensure that your brand is carried out from start to finish. An electronic copy can be sent to anyone to whom you outsource a project and can be a valuable timesaver  for your business.

Maggie Ruch is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in assisting entrepreneurs who have an online presence with website and blog design, social media, and brand management. For over 4 years she has partnered with successful coaches and consultants as an integral part of building their businesses. Her website, showcases examples of her website and fan page design. Visit her site to view testimonials from happy customers. Sign up here for her free course and ebook on branding.

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Reclaiming Your Personal Power

by Laura Cardone, SOUL PATH branding expert.
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn for myself is in the area of Self responsibility. Some people like to call it Self-leadership, others’ call it integrity. I like to call it – Being True to your Self and what’s really important to you!

So here’s the bottom line. If there is an area that’s not working in our lives … then that’s an area, where we are not being true to what we really want. We’ve given our power away to excuses, and we are not taking action that is aligned with what we say we want!

So if you really want to grow your business, connect with fulfilling work, or create a juicy partnership with the love of your life, and it’s not happening, there’s only one reason why it hasn’t materialized.

You’re letting something else get it the way of what you said you wanted. It’s that simple! And you’ve made that something, more important than your dream!

So what gets in your way?  Just look at where you allow yourself to be stopped.

  •  Now break the cycle of creating from the past, and take a different action. No matter how small or big, take one step that is aligned with your goal or dream. And then keep taking those steps… in a spirit of play! And if you stumble, get up, brush yourself off and get back on your bike! Keep playing forward!

Enjoy your journey!

Laura Cardone

Your Life Is a Work of Art, Here Are Your Tools!    

Copyright© Laura Cardone 2003-2011 All Rights Reserved. is for inspired dreamers in action, and adventurous souls who are just too marvelous for words!

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Branding for People: Establishing Your Signature Image

by PERSONAL BRANDING expert, Sandy Dumont

In order to brand yourself, it is necessary to craft your unique “signature image” in much the same way a professional speaker crafts a signature speech. You may be surprised to hear that the most dynamic and natural-sounding speeches are the ones that have taken months, even years, to perfect – often with the help of a coach. Branding yourself –crafting your image – is the same.

Once you have established your signature image you must maintain consistency. In both corporate branding and branding for individuals, trust and consistency go hand in hand. Product inconsistency has killed many a brand.

For individuals, consistency doesn’t just mean just wearing a suit. It means that your image or persona has a head-to-toe consistency that evokes instant trust and gives you high credibility. In plain language, it means that all of the components of your appearance are in sync. If even one element of your image is out of sync, it casts doubt on your overall credibility. Dated hairstyles or garments suggest that your products or services are also dated. Poor posture, scruffy shoes, negative body language, unflattering colors that detract – all these things undermine credibility.

Casual Friday isn’t a good idea if you’re a serious professional, because of the obvious inconsistency with your Signature Image. If you run into clients on the street, your casual attire could cast doubts about your seriousness. A true professional always looks professional.

Even in casual attire, at the company golf match for instance, you must look like you just left the polo match, not like you’re ready to clean out the garage. A client remarked that she ran into her surgeon at the grocery store one Saturday morning. He was sloppily attired and had dirty nails and messy hair to boot. “I wish I hadn’t seen him,” she said. “He looked so dirty, I couldn’t trust him to perform surgery on me ever again.”

Brands have power, but it is power that has been earned. If your image is inconsistent or not on a par with your products or services, you may be playing Wardrobe Roulette® with your future. At the very least, your credibility will be diminished.

Next month:  Tips for Creating a Powerful Professional Image

Sandy Dumont is a corporate image consultant and speaker. She has served Fortune 500 companies for 30 years and has presented on three continents. Contact her at 757.627.6669 or She has just created a video series for women, “Twelve Days to a Brand New You,” which is available on her website.



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Branding Ethics

I love AMC’s Mad Men. I love watching these advertising execs find cool and interesting ways to “sell” their clients on a particular slogan or marketing idea. I love how their ideas develop from nothing into memorable sales campaigns. I love watching as brands develop from the strange sounding names they had in the 50’s and 60’s to the big names we know now. Pampers, Tampex, Vicks Chemicals, Lucky Strike Tobacco. It’s so interesting to see the ones who survived and the ones who fell.

During the four seasons that I watched streaming on Netflix, the company portrayed in the show has one major client who brings them 3/4s of their revenue. When they lose that client, who happens to be Lucky Strike Tobacco, the main character Don Draper takes out a full page ad in the New York Times. I thought it was one of the boldest and cleverest things he had done in the series up to that point. He told the world flat out that his advertising agency had been dumped by big tobacco but that he could finally sleep at night with a clean conscience. He declared that from now on his agency would only ethical clients—clients that had positive agendas. What he did was revolutionary and was probably never done up to that point in history- or at least not as effectively.

He branded ethics.

He took a bad situation, one that was costing his company millions, one that was causing other big clients to lose faith in his agency, and turned it on its ear.

He told the world (or at least to New York City) that he was going to prequalify his clients, not the other way around. He made his company suddenly look like the hero—like Captain America or Superman, righting wrongs and bringing justice to corporate America.

He branded ethics.

Corporations do it now with mission and values statements, with green programs, and sustainability programs.

What about you?

How has your business branded your values? And I don’t mean mission statements or programs intended to generate positive PR, I mean how have you really branded yourself and your business in a way that displays how you feel about people? How you respect people? How you treat people whether they are clients, prospects, competitors, or employees?

I would love to have some answers or how-to’s on this, but I think this is something deeply personal. You really have to dig deep and examine what your core values are and what you want to bring to the table. Whatever they are and however you feel inspired to share them, do it boldly!

Brand your ethics for all to see.

As for Don, I’m waiting to see what he does in Season 5 in 2012!

The full-transcript of Don Draper‘s ad in the New York Times:

“Recently my advertising agency ended a long relationship with Lucky Strike cigarettes, and I’m relieved.

For over 25 years we devoted ourselves to peddling a product for which good work is irrelevant, because people can’t stop themselves from buying it. A product that never improves, that causes illness, and makes people unhappy. But there was money in it. A lot of money. In fact, our entire business depended on it. We knew it wasn’t good for us, but we couldn’t stop.

And then, when Lucky Strike moved their business elsewhere, I realized, here was my chance to be someone who could sleep at night, because I know what I’m selling doesn’t kill my customers.

So as of today, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce will no longer take tobacco accounts. We know it’s going to be hard. If you’re interested in cigarette work, here’s a list of agencies that do it well: BBDO, Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson, Cutler Gleason & Chaough, and Benton & Bowles.

As for us, we welcome all other business because we’re certain that our best work is still ahead of us.

Donald F. Draper
Creative Director
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.”

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Begin Your Brand Story with a Vision

by Maria Pinochet, BrandStory Expert

A vision statement can be the foundation for the story of your brand. If you reach deep into your core, reflect on the reasons for getting into business, you will find the values and passions that got your started. How do you turn that self-knowledge into a brand story that is meaningful to your clients?

How do you manage your clients’ experiences so that your clients are placed “on track” to the best possible result? How do you align your processes to ensure satisfaction during their “journey” (as they investigate or use your service or product) and as they arrive at their “destination” (become a consumer of your brand)?

Why not let your company vision serve as the “train track” that leads the client through the stages of consumption and purchase of your brand? To successfully write a vision statement that helps accomplish a “smooth ride” and ensures “arrival” to the perfect experience for your clients, make sure to include what you and your brand:

  • Produce – so that they can assess its potential value in their business outcome.
  • Promise – so that they have a way to set expectations for their experience.
  • Deliver – so that they have a means to make a purchasing choice.

In order to create as close to 100% satisfaction at every point of contact your client has with your brand, a vision statement should answer the following questions: “In a perfect business environment, how do I want my service and/or product to perform?  What kind of experience do I want to create for my client?

What makes a compelling vision statement?

A successful vision is structured in such a way that the vision causes you and your clients to think, to feel and to act. Remember, in selling situations, people usually think through their values first, are then influenced by feelings or beliefs, and finally make a decision to purchase. If your vision statement, then, helps to justify your clients’ values, makes them feel good about the connection between those values and your service or product, they will be compelled to make that purchase.

Maria Pinochet, marketing consultant and copywriter, thrives on living the entrepreneurial life and assisting others to realize their dreams of independence.

Her company, Kore Access, Incorporated produces marketing communications for online content and for printed materials. BrandStory, one of her copywriting services, delivers a script of your business story to use in digital and print media.

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A Simple eBranding Checklist

by Maggie Ruch, Virtual Assistant

With the technology boom, brand management has become more important than ever. Social media, blogs, websites, print media—it can get confusing for entrepreneurs who are trying to establish a consistent brand. I’ve put together a checklist of prime real estate in your brand management efforts.

1-     Facebook: Your two greatest assets on Facebook are having a custom landing page on your fan page, and having custom artwork for your fan page profile picture. Your profile picture is on the top left of the fan page and shows up on every comment made by you when you are logged in and acting as a page. This should have your logo, contact info, and 1-3 statements about what you do best. If you have a company motto or tagline that expresses in just a few seconds exactly what you do, that is perfect. The idea is for your customers to be able to easily identify you when searching for your company on Facebook and for prospects to know EXACTLY what you do in just a few seconds. The custom landing page or welcome page on your fan page should be something that is fun, interesting, and entices people to “Like” you and to come back again and again.

2-     Your twitter background. When people are checking out what you are tweeting, take the opportunity to establish that brand identity. I usually use the custom artwork from Facebook as a sidebar on the left of the twitter feed. Be careful of sizing issues, not all computers browse at the same resolution. Ask people to visit your profile and ask them if they can clearly read the custom image. It should be visible at any resolution. If you have a business that is fun, like pet toys, a fun background featuring your products is a great idea. If you have a very professional business, choose a business background or go with a solid color. The emphasis will be on your custom photo that you used from Facebook instead of the noise of a fancy background image.

3-     Your website. Any website that does not have your logo and contact info on any page, along with social media buttons and a contact form is a lost opportunity. You want to clearly express who you are and what you do within just a few seconds of a person landing on ANY page of your website. Having a header with a short tag line and your logo and a footer with your contact info and social sharing buttons is an excellent way to do this. If you have expressed to the visitor clearly your value and expertise, they will be happy to share your site with their friends online.

4-     Blog. Blogging is a great way of creating dynamic content, educating your customers and prospects about your business and services, and establishing trust. You don’t have to blog daily or even weekly. Blog when you have something valuable to say or when you see something worth passing along to your clients. Give credit when citing other articles you find, and feel free to use other people’s blogs and articles as reference material. It is seen as a form of flattery. Make sure your blog is equipped with the same key ingredients as your website: your logo, tagline or slogan, contact information, and social sharing buttons. Have fun and look for more than just written articles. Look for video and audio that you can embed in your blog as well.

These are just a few key pieces to creating a more consistent image when branding your business online. As always, do your research and listen to your customer’s feedback. Just because you are “small” doesn’t mean you have to look small. And remember, to keep it simple. showcases examples of her website and fan page design. Visit her site to view testimonials from happy customers. Sign up here for her free course and ebook on branding.

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Do you know what you want?

 by Laura Cardone, SOUL PATH Branding Expert.

Have you ever had the experience of going for a dream or goal, and then falling short?

You were so inspired and lit up at the beginning, and you couldn’t wait to get started. It was actually fun imagining what it would be like when “you finally got there”.

And then, something happened that disrupted that beautiful possibility.  So you read another book, attended another seminar, or two or three or one hundred …

Or maybe you actually “got there”! You landed THE job, or bought that thing you really, really wanted, or … you launched a business, or found THE partner, and then you wondered … is this all there is?

Maybe you even wondered if there was something wrong with you … maybe you don’t have enough willpower or expertise, or it’s just not meant to be! And besides, “my life isn’t so bad”.

And this is when resignation set in, because the “it’s too hard” inner critic took over the party.

So, are you ready to hear something really interesting and refreshing? 

This is a very common experience, so you are not alone here. AND, here’s the really interesting and refreshing part, it’s also very easy to remedy.

You just have to be willing to allow yourself to PLAY again! That’s it! You have to be willing to let go of the “it’s too hard story”.  Because as long as you think it’s hard, it will be, and you will never take the actions that allow you to create what you really want in your reality!

What dream or goal have you given up? Is there an idea or something you want to expand in your life, but you haven’t allowed yourself to want it?

Here’s an easy way to get back on the playground!

  •  Create a list today of everything you’d like to allow yourself to want again!

There’ s Only One Rule; EVERYTHING that pops into your awareness, goes on the list! No censoring allowed! The list is for you and you alone. And just because something goes on the list, doesn’t mean you have to create it. Choosing comes later.

This practice is about getting back in touch with what you really want, and allowing yourself to play in the sandbox of pure creativity again! So you just allow yourself to want… for no particular reason!

This can be one of the most liberating experiences you can create for yourself! Because as you write and keep writing EVERYTHING that comes to you, something miraculous will emerge. You’ll get past the “have tos’ and shoulds” and start to discover what really lights you up. You’ll reconnect with the enthusiasm and excitement of being alive! You’ll reconnect with the creative spirit that resides within you!

Give yourself permission to really PLAY FULL OUT, and then watch the magic unfold!

Your friend and partner in the sandbox of time and space,

Laura Cardone

Your Life Is a Work of Art, Here Are Your Tools!    

Copyright© Laura Cardone 2003-2011 All Rights Reserved. is for inspired dreamers in action, and adventurous souls who are just too marvelous for words!


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Branding for People: It’s All About How you Make Others Feel

by Sandy Dumont, THE Image Architect, and BRANDING FOR PEOPLE expert.

Branding has been a buzzword for years, but not much has been written about Branding for People™. The same principles of branding apply for both products and people. You must:

  1.  Be distinctive. You need to have a certain something that sets you apart from the competition
  1. Garner a position of trust. Building relationships and maintaining a high degree of credibility.
  1. Maintain a position of professionalism. Using only quality products and standing behind them at all times. Mediocre products rarely become brands. Ordinary-looking people rarely become brands.

There are many similarities between product branding and personal branding, but they part company when it comes to time and money expended. Product branding is often a lengthy and costly endeavor. Fortunately, personal branding is neither a lengthy nor a costly process. Unless you are a politician, you won’t have to budget for extensive television and newspaper publicity campaigns or celebrity endorsements.

The primary investment is related to image skills. Here’s what your image must convey:

  • Immediate credibility and trust
  • Distinctiveness – a charismatic image that turns heads and enables you to own the room
  • A state-of- the- art look, so your products or skills are judged to be the same

Cigarette companies realized long ago that their clients were not loyal to a particular brand because it tasted better. Taste tests in the 1940s and 1950s disclosed that no one could tell the cigarettes apart. Thus, they were among the first to learn that their clients bought the mystique, not the taste. They smoked “Lucky Strikes” or “Camels” because of the image associated with the brand.

Today, corporate giants such as Starbucks and Nike are aware that their customers are not buying products, they’re buying the experience. They know that brands exist in your heart, not in your head. Branding is about how products and people make us feel. When it comes to people, we want to be able to point proudly to our “expert” and brag, “That’s my banker.” Or, “That’s my car salesman.”

Whether we know it or not we choose our professionals the same way we choose our soul mates:  it is emotionally-based love at first sight. Something about the way they look is irresistible.

Sandy Dumont is a corporate image consultant and speaker. She has served Fortune 500 companies for 30 years and has presented on three continents. Contact her at 757.627.6669 or For a limited time only, get a gratis copy of her “7-Day Makeover” book at her website.


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Want To Build A Bold Personal and Organizational Identity? Learn How To Brand YOU! Part 1

By Becky Harmon, BOLD IDENTITY Expert

Definition: The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products

An effective brand is important for your personally and even more so as a business or non-profit leader. Why? It helps people separate you from other’s who make the same claims. Simply put, it’s your very core identity. It tells people exactly WHO you are and what you are going to do for them.

When I think of the orginal brand expert, I think of my faith. What did Christ say? I am the son of God. I am the way, I am the truth and I am the light. There is no way to get to the Father other than me (That pretty much separates him from any other religion). Come to me, all you who are heavy laden and worn out for I will give you rest. I have come to set the captives free.

Not overly complicated and he didn’t need a team of marketing experts to help him develop a logo. Although everytime we see a cross, it reminds us of one thing. The sacrifice that he paid for us individually. That’s all branding is foundationally. It’s a visual picture that helps people “get” quick your core identity.

So let’s break that down for your personal identity so we can help you develop a strong business brand. Who are you? What do people say about you? Are you an edgy leader in your industry? Or are you the experienced, reliable one? Here’s the thing about branding, you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are in essence should be your clients need you to be. Again, if it helps, think in spiritual terms. What did we need Christ to do for us? We needed to be delivered from sin. We needed someone to break the bondage of religious works off of us and reconcile us to our Father. Your brand needs to be developed out of what you provide for your clients.

First, and this has been my observation over the past decade in empowering people to move from sabotage into success that individuals HUGELY underestimate the value of DOING WHAT YOU SAY YOUR GOING TO DO QUICKLY. Might I add without prodding. I know it may sound like a no brainer, but one of the incentives people have for brand loyalty is a consistent experience.

If you say you’re going to have the service ready on a set day, be sure it is ready. Nothing leaves a bad taste in someone’s mouth like you not following through on what you say your going to do. I have seen the most gifted, intellectual leaders sabotage themselves by losing the trust of their teams and employees just because they can’t seem to follow through on their word come hell or high water.

At some point, if you are going to be an owner you must have a no excuse policy. Now, if your calling from the emergency room, then you have some slack but the truth is positive experiences lead to powerful partnerships and great momentum which leads to them telling all their friends about you. But don’t forget that bad experiences work the same way and they will tell everyone that you are all talk and no walk. That makes for bad business and no profits or provision.

Next time we will be talking about some great ways to your personal “look” and also the number one way people find you these days, your website!

Becky Harmon

Success Not Sabotage

Becky is a certified Atlanta Life Coach and National Speaker  and is passionate about equipping Christians to move  from sabotage to success.  She has coached hundreds of men and women out of personal sabotage and into success. Determined to  become an overcomer after self-sabotaging herself with food, alcohol, rejection, depression and resentment, Becky through the grace of God, has succeeded and is paving the way for countless others to experience the best God has for them. She is a founding member of KSU Toastmasters Club and a member of the Georgia Christian Counselors Association.

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