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A Checklist to Help You Establish Your Brand Identity

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A Checklist to Help You Establish Your Brand Identity

Creating a memorable brand takes a lot of time and effort. What do you need to start seeing results from your brand-building efforts? Well, there’s plenty of work to be done to set up the foundation. Here’s your checklist for establishing a memorable brand identity:

1. Find a Catchy Name

This is the first – and crucial – step in creating a solid brand. Re-branding can be a nightmare, so it is very important to make a good choice from the very beginning:

  • Your name should trigger niche associations for your customers to easier remember you and what it is you вo
  • Avoid any negative connotations that can result from professional niche jargon, slang or local dialect

Apart from that, your brand name should avoid breaking any trademarks or causing confusion with other brand names. Mind that if your domain name includes any trademarked terms (like Google or Twitter), you may also have trouble monetizing it with ads as many advertising networks prohibit that

You should also steer clear of names that are too generic as you may have trouble ranking your site for those. Of course, Apple can get away with that and rank #1 when people search for [apple], but few businesses can hope for that result.

It is very hard to make Google aware that your site is a brand if it’s a generic term, so you will be forced to pay for ads to appear on top of your own branded search.

Another good idea is to stay away from terms that trigger “spelling error” suggestions in Google. It may take quite some time to convince Google that your name is actually not a misspelling but your brand or business name. Check out these brands and the misspellings people use to search for their brand names:

  • Hyundai: Hundai, Hiundai
  • Gillette: Gillete, Gilette, Gilete
  • Lamborghini: Lamborgini, Lambogini
  • Hennessy: Hennesy, Henessy, Henesy
  • Verizon: Verison
  • Fedex: Fedx
  • Sriracha: Siracha
  • Nutella: Nutela

The only way to force Google to remove this proper spelling suggestion is to gain a considerable search volume of people typing your brand name in the search box. This may take years.

To get some brand name ideas, use Namify that uses artificial intelligence to suggest catchy names in any category. Take a look at their business names to get an idea of what the tool is able to do.

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Once you choose your name, make sure to Google it to see if there are any strong brands already ranking for it or if there are any associations you’d want to stay away from. It is also a good idea to check Urban Dictionary to make sure your brand name won’t cause any trouble.

Finally, use Text Optimizer to research your niche associations and come up with more terms and concepts that may be part of your future brand name:

2. Define Your Visual Identity

Human beings are extremely visual: We think and remember pictures and colors. As much as  half of our brain is devoted to vision: It takes us 150 milliseconds to recognize a symbol and 100 milliseconds to associate it with something we know.

Creating a visual identity is very important for any brand’s recognizability.

A brand’s visual identity consists of:

The combination of the above three elements make up that visual representation of your brand that is supposed to make it more memorable and recognizable. Obviously, you can tweak and change your visual identity over the years but making too drastic changes is not recommended because you’ll lose your brand’s recognizability.

Long time ago, I wrote on color psychology and while it is a much deeper and more controversial topic than can be fit within one article (or within one book for that matter), it may give you some hints on which color you want to go with:

1650054603 150 A Checklist to Help You Establish Your Brand Identity

More often than not, a logo includes both the font and some parts of the branded color palette, so it is often the fundamental part of your brand’s visual identity.

With that in mind, I suggest that you start with your logo.

Namify, mentioned above, generates a logo for any name you choose which will give you some foundation to build upon:

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If you are not sure what your brand is going to look like, a branding workshop is a good idea. A branding workshop is a collaborative effort which aims at defining what your brand represents and how that should be reflected in your brand’s style.

I always check Google Images when I am struggling with my logo concept. Google Images work great for finding visual associations with any word. When searching Google Images for any word, keep an on the top row where Google is trying to suggest you broaden or narrow your search to related visual concepts. This is a great help in the brainstorming process!

1650054603 48 A Checklist to Help You Establish Your Brand Identity

If you have funding, you can hire an in-house developer to help create your website, but if you’re a startup or bootstrapped, you may want to consider using one of the website builders mentioned here to create a cohesive look and layout. 

From there, use social media graphic creators that allow you to create and store your brand’s visual elements (logo, colors, fonts) within your “Branding Kit”.  This way your team will be able to use your logo and colors from visual to visual creating a consistent brand image across all your marketing channels (your own site, social media, email marketing):

1650054603 282 A Checklist to Help You Establish Your Brand Identity

Online video creation tools like Movavi allow users to maintain brand consistency by using watermarks and branded colors.

3. Create Your Brand’s Communication Policy

You are not going to be the only one talking about your brand and telling its story. You will have copywriters, customer support, sales and social media marketing managers talking to your current and potential customers on your behalf.

You need clearly defined guidelines on what they can and cannot say when representing your brand:

  • Describe what kind of behind-the-scenes pictures you want publicized online
  • Forbid using jargon or slang on your public or private communication channels
  • List all the terms and names your employees should be using to refer to your products. It is often that products are called differently internally from what they are named in public. This may create confusion and diffuse your brand.
  • Mention your content creation policies: What you don’t want your team to include in their content, which topics to avoid and what to keep in mind. These policies should apply to both your brand-owned content and your guest posting process.
  • If your team is into email marketing (or planning to start a newsletter), make sure you add a section on GDPR policy compliance. Specifically, you need to obtain an explicit consent from your customers that they want your business to contact them.
  • Include crisis management steps, i.e. how to deal with unhappy customers or bad press. Your employees are only humans. They can get emotional and bring this emotion to the public when they reply to comments they think are unfair. You need to make it clear that your brand should always be represented consistently and professionally.
  • Warn your content and social media managers to only use images that are explicitly allowed to be reused with commercial purposes. Platforms like Smart Photo Stock with images licensed for reuse with no limitations are best.
  • Create a section for your advertising policies to ensure consistent tone. Note that different platforms may have unique advertising policies and your team needs to be aware of those. For example, Youtube advertising doesn’t allow inappropriate language and controversial issues (like politics)
  • Finally, take this test to ensure your business is ready for unified communications and showing you areas of improvement. Collaboration and remote working are two areas where internal communication policies are often failing but in today’s environment you cannot really do without either of those. So make sure your company has all the required processes and tools at hand.

Narrato is a great tool that makes it easy for your marketing team to collaborate with one another as well as with freelancers or niche influencers while keeping your communication policies in mind. It keeps all the marketing content creation under one roof, allows you to create workflows, add editors and contributors and upload your style guides and communication policies.

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Creating a consistent writing style is a great way to make your brand known. Make sure your visual identity is a strong part of your content marketing efforts. Make sure to create and embed well-branded images and videos within your content to design a conversion funnel using your blogging and social media marketing efforts.

4. Set up a Solid Monitoring System

Even with a strong foundation, there’s always a risk that something will go wrong. Any business has unhappy customers from time to time who are willing to make their frustration public.

There are many brands out there who shy away from social media and social listening because they think that active brands are running into a higher risk of a reputation crisis. However, gone are the days when customers were excited to find a brand on social media. These days brands are expected to be there responding and reacting through their official social media.

Falcon.io suggests, no matter your business goals, you should be listening to what people are saying on social media. Some things to tune in to?

  • The name of your brand
  • Your competitors
  • Keywords
  • The names of your boss and your boss’s boss
  • Influencers
  • Hashtags

Whether you are there listening or not, your current and future customers are already discussing you and your products. Being on social media won’t cause a crisis. But not listening can cause that crisis to blow up without you even being prepared.

Social listening is more than replying to customers on social media though. It has a lot more potential:

  • Find happy customers and re-publish their comments as social proof (make sure to ask them for permission to, of course)
  • Identify social media influencers among your current or potential customers and start collaborating with them
  • Figure out why your competitors’ customers are unhappy and avoid their mistakes
  • Identify most popular products or features of your products that people discuss most often on social media
  • Spot where your products are lacking and fix errors without waiting for those errors to cause damage to your brand or reputation
  • Identify where your competitors’ products are weak and create better products
  • Turn unhappy customers into brand advocates by fixing their problems in real time.

I could go on but I think you may already see the point: Social media listening is an essential part of any brand building strategy that should not be neglected.

Conclusion

Building a strong brand is important if you want your business to survive any economic hardships or Google algorithm whims. With a solid foundation, creating a powerful brand will be more effective and even faster. Good luck!


A Checklist to Help You Establish Your Brand Identity


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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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