The Layers of Your Brand

Branding is a hot topic in marketing these days, but it’s defined in different ways and looked at from different angles. There are many components that make up a brand, and we call each component a Brand Layer.Here are our definitions of some of the most important Brand Layers:Brand FoundationThe base from which all brand elements will be created and measured against for accuracy. This layer consists of the following elements:- Brand Vision is your company’s plan for itself-how your company wants to appear to the world, and how your company wants to grow and change in coming years.- Brand Mission is what your company wants to create in the world, through its products or services.- Brand Values are those ideas that your company brand stands for and that you believe in-and also what you don’t want to and won’t do. These values help your potential clients to decide whether you can help them, and they also help you decide who you will help and what you can’t offer or deliver. Brand Values are largely an internal measure against which you can process incoming jobs, but they will also be communicated through all of your marketing materials.Brand BasicsThese components of your brand form your business’s “face” to the public. Brand Basics shape and direct your customers’ views of your business. Telling your customers how you want to be perceived is an essential piece of a Brand Strategy for any small business, and the easiest way for you to do this as a small business owner is through your:- Brand Identity, the suite of visual elements that are used consistently in your marketing, including:- Brand Names of your company and product or service lines- Logo- Visual Vocabulary- Collateral system/stationery set (business card, letterhead, envelope, and so on)- Marketing materials (brochure, postcard, flyer, and so on)- Website- Brand Content, the way you write and talk about your brand, including your:- Marketing Copy- Tagline- 30-second Pitch or Elevator Speech- Brand Marketing that integrates both visuals and text about your brand, and that gets your message out to your audience. This is made up of your:- Advertising- Trade shows- Public Relations- All other outreach/marketing programs- Brand Offerings, the products or services that you present, along with the quality, warranties, and value that you include with your products and services.- Brand Experience, the process of working with you as seen from the clients’ perspective. But in order to create a positive experience, you have to have a strong foundation of systems, procedures, and processes built in to your business-this is a basic level of professionalism that’s expected of every business. Things that factor in here include:- Returning calls- Availability- Turnaround time- Professional interaction and communication- ProcessThese Brand Basics can also help to shape your Brand Personality, which is the persona that your business projects to the world. This is defined through the way that your brand expresses itself-the characteristics that give your business a life of its own, outside of your own personality.Competitor ComparisonThese components of your brand speak about your business’s relation to the competition:- Brand Positioning is basically how your brand compares with that of the competition. There are probably many businesses that provide the services or products that you provide: Brand Positioning determines where your business falls in the continuum of businesses in your field.- Brand Differentiation is another, more specific piece of your Brand Positioning. Your Differentiators are those things that make your business stand out from your competition-the things that you do or offer that are unlike anything your competition offers.You can control these Competitor Comparison factors through careful market research, market monitoring, and your definition of both your Brand Positioning and Brand Differentiation.Internal MeasuresThese components of your brand are defined largely through your business’s actions:- Brand Environment is the atmosphere at and within your company.- Brand Promise is the underlying guarantee or benefits that you offer as part of all of your services. These promises can be of quality, service, greatness, affordability, or speed of delivery; regardless, every business presents a Brand Promise to the public, promising what the experience of doing business with them will be like or what benefits the consumer/client will get from doing business with that company. While your Brand Promise is often initially shaped by promises made in your external communications, it must be fully realized through the internal execution of your services.- Brand Values, which are an important part of your Brand Foundation, are also helpful in decidingExternal MeasuresThese components of your brand are defined by the public’s perception:- Brand Awareness is the level of public awareness of your brand-who knows who you are and what you do. This is influenced by the strength and effective distribution of your Brand Basics, as well as by word-of-mouth.- Brand Gap is the difference between your Brand Positioning and Differentiation and how your consumers and clients actually view these things.So, what is a Brand?Your brand is really the combination of all of the above Brand Layers. A brand is both your presentation and public’s perception of your business. It’s the way that people think about your business, and it is shaped through all of the layers described above.Once you’ve established your brand and started putting your Brand Basics before the public eye, there are some other branding issues you should consider:- Brand Alignment is the biggest challenge in building a brand comes from creating alignment across all of the Brand Layers described above, and in creating that same alignment between your audience and your message: making sure that the message that you’re presenting is the same message that your customers and contacts are walking away with.- Brand Management is the process of managing all of the Brand Layers and achieving or maintaining Brand Alignment. It is a constant process; you should check up on your Brand Layers and Brand Alignment from time to time.When all of your Brand Layers are working together, you’ll have a strong Brand that will help your business to grow and prosper.

Buying Renters Insurance – Things to Consider

Whether you’re renting a house, an apartment or condo unit, every tenant should consider buying renters insurance. There’s really no excuse for not doing so. Whether you decide to insure a large amount or if you live in an area that pushes up insurance premiums, it’s very unlikely for an individual to pay more than $50 a month for a decent policy that is very likely to protect you against personal property losses sustained through theft or fire.When a person is covered by renters insurance, the policy ensures they are compensated in the event of a robbery or burglary on the rented property, where stolen items can be replaced. This form of coverage also usually includes liability protection, which can be somewhat similar to that of auto insurance. This can cover medical expenses should a visitor or occupant get injured on the property itself. Liability insurance also helps protect the policy holder’s own assets and savings.On the other hand, when you’re thinking of buying renters insurance, you should be aware that the policy is not a get out of jail free card where property damage or loss are concerned. Although it will cover losses in the event of burglary or accidental damage, a policy of this sort does not make provisions for what are termed as “acts of God”. You should probably consider obtaining separate, more comprehensive coverage if you live in an area that is prone to floods and the like.In order to protect their own interests, insurance providers usually institute a cap on the total amount for which they will compensate a policy-holder. This is something that a person should keep in mind when looking for renters insurance policies. This is especially true when a substantial amount has been invested in a particular aspect of the home that the policy may not fully cover in the event of damage or destruction, such as a home office or recording studio and the cost of the equipment in it.Buying insurance when you’re a renter isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It’s always good to protect yourself and your belongings against any potential disasters.

President Obama’s Home Stimulus Package

Have you heard about US President Barack Obama Home stimulus plan? President Obama started a plan that will benefit the homeowners in keeping their houses and as well as the people who are working and doing their business in real estate industry to encourage more home buyers to buy and to put the real estate business back to industry? If you are a new homeowner, this plan could help you especially if you are having difficulties in paying for your home, near the foreclosure or bankruptcy.It offers refinancing for the homeowners in order for them to afford to keep their houses in losing it through Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Aside from that, it offers revising the mortgage loans with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).Here are the criteria to know if you are qualified for HARP if:1. The mortgage should be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mar or Freddie Mac.
2. You are paying for your mortgage on time for the last 12 months and never missed a payment.
3. The amount on your first mortgage is not reached to 125% of the present amount of your home.
4. You have the justification potential in paying for the new mortgage that you are applying.
5. The refinance develops a good stability of your loan that it will be affordable for you.Here are the criteria to know if you are qualified for HAMP if:1. Your primary residence is the property that you are applying for.
2. You have not paid the balance of $729,750 for one home.
3. Your first mortgage issued on or before 1st of January 2009.
4. Your have a mortgage payment for more than 31% per month.
5. You have a documentation of financial difficulties that not affordable for you to pay.