How To Increase Brand Value Through Design

The visual representation of a brand is just the tip of the branding iceberg, often seen almost as a separate entity from the rest of the brand strategy, and yet it is crucial for the brand image to derive from and contribute back to all the other brand elements. Visuals designed in alignment with the overall strategy and used consistently help communicate your brand message, promise, personality and more, as well as significantly increase brand value.

If we dive into this close connection between design and value, three main points arise.

Alignment
Think of the look of your brand as the extension of its essence; if your brand is your gift to the world, your brand’s image is the alluring paper the gift in wrapped in. Obviously, the presentation needs to match the content, or the recipient’s – or, in our case, the prospect’s – expectations might not be met, causing disappointment and loss of trust. For more impact and income make sure your logo, your choice of colors, contrasts, shapes, ornaments, images, fonts and other visual components, and your brand image as a whole reflect your brand identity.

Besides looking professional and trustworthy, they need to speak to your ideal client, emphasize your brand personality, support your brand promise, mirror your offerings, radiate your brand values, and facilitate building brand awareness. Proper alignment prevents the unwanted scenario of “a confused mind always says no”, and results in faster growth, more clients and more money in the bank. Consequently, brand value skyrockets as well, should you ever decide to sell your brand or bring investors on board.

Consistency
Consistency is key too, if you want your brand value to keep rising. Brand image plays an important role in creating a memorable, recognizable brand that conquers a corner in your ideal prospect’s mind. Using the same visual elements over and over again will help your audience remember them and associate them with your business, putting you on their radar every time they’re searching for the type of solution you provide. To ensure a consistent use of all your graphic designs keep them organized in a brand manual to be shared with your team. The more consistent you are, the more memorable and profitable your brand is.

Up-to-dateness
When it comes to brand image, you also want to pay attention to how fresh and up-to-date it is. Does it keep the pace with the fast changing business environment, especially online, or does it seem stuck in 2005? To get to and stay at the forefront of your industry, your designs need to evolve in time just as the rest of your brand, showing your target market that you’re a serious change agent, thought leader and trend setter, and spotlighting the advancement of your expertise. Cutting edge designs reenforce your go-to position in your field, bring in more high paying clients who tend to prefer working with business owners who are just as serious about growth and reinvention as they are, and help you stand out in the crowded marketplace for all the right reasons. Plus, relaunching your brand with an updated look adds excitement and generates buzz, both excellent for business.

Effective Delegation – Management Skills For Plateau Protection

Let’s face it, these are difficult economic times in the job market and for getting promoted within your organization. Budgets are tight. There are hiring freezes and lay-offs. Advancement within your organization seems a distant possibility. For those that are getting laid off, this is a terrible time.So what are you doing about it?The most important thing in any of these tough circumstances will be to pay attention to your management skills. Among the most important of these will be effective delegation and people management. A serious effort to improve your skills and effectiveness will reduce the chance of losing your ground and increase your chances for advancement. Companies and businesses seek results, now more than ever. Take a close look at what the organizations needs are for their management teams.
Ability to execute. Managers are charged with getting things accomplished through others. Leading and managing a team to execute assignments and projects. This has not changed. Most managers do not focus on their management skill improvement in this critical area.
Team building skills. A manager who excels at building a stronger more capable business unit will always be sought after and rise to the top. A candid assessment of the manager’s interpersonal skills such as communication and relationship building id needed in all situations.
Project management skills. The ability to plan and execute projects and assignments is a core competency. Yet managers spend so little time thinking about how to get better at planning the work they are managing. Putting effective project action plans together, even for basic team assignments, really boosts execution and results.
Managers and leaders can not stand still and continue to assume they have these important areas down pat. That kind of “head in the sand” approach can derail a career for sure. What makes a great manager? Taking action and getting things executed. So, why not take action on paying attention to your own development and focusing on continuous management skill development? This starts with making periodic assessments of your skills and setting new professional development objectives.  Here, are three things any manager can do to set themselves on a positive course.
Take some time to complete a “self-assessment” of your management skills. Being totally candid, what areas are you falling short in related to getting business unit results? Ask yourself, “if I were a senior manager, looking at my progress and the results of my business unit, what constructive suggestions would be made?
Seek feedback from key members of your team or peers in the organization. The strongest managers seek and accept constructive feedback. Everyone has one or more “management blind-spots.” Things you can not see clearly about your-self, your skills and your performance.  Don’t be blind-sided by your blind-spots.  Have the courage and maturity to ask how you can get better.
Learn to delegate effectively. It is a premier skill for top performers. Most managers are really rather average at delegating work effectively, but most think they are good at it. You can learn more about the management skills for effective delegation and improve upon them quickly.  They are at the heart of superior execution and building high-performance business units.
The benefits of paying attention to your professional skills are worth every effort. Upper management will start to see your focus and dedication. The effectiveness of your team’s ability to execute will increase and will be noticed. If you are seeking a new position, the time and effort you can demonstrate you have invested in your own development will separate you from the competition. Your business unit will feel the positive effects of your skill development and be will be motivated to perform at higher levels. If you were hiring someone or considering a manager for advancement, wouldn’t you take notice of the consistent self-development efforts and increase in skill? Of course, you would and that’s why you must take action to get better.

3 Marketing Strategies Every Artist Should Implement

Social MediaSocial media marketing is a strategy that is just that, social. It is typically done on an Internet platform that engages the public in your content via your computer, smartphone or tablet. Social media allows your target consumers to engage with you and your brand. Some of the most common social media platforms used in marketing today are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Managing your Social Media Marketing can be very time-consuming. So, I recommend focusing your time and content on a few sites. Here are some recommendations:Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are visual platforms that will connect your art with customers. With Facebook you can create a business page this is separate from your personal page. The business page will allow you to create a community of followers that can like, comment, and share your images and content. Instagram has the same basic framework as Facebook in that you can create multiple profiles and navigate between them within the app on your phone. This similarity is nice if you have a personal and a business profile. Instagram is a social media outlet that focuses on images which are perfect for visual artists. Again, you can create a community of followers. For Instagram, the usage of the hashtag is vital in generating traffic to your profile, unlike Facebook that is better built on sending requests and calling for people to share your page.YouTube allows the public to take a step into your studio to see you working on your most current pieces. It may not seem like YouTube is a form of social media but in fact, by definition it is. Social media is any networking platform that allows users to communicate and connect in a social way. Due to the ability to like, share, and comment on videos on YouTube it is truly a social network. YouTube is actually a social media platform before it is a video marketing technique. In the next section, I will share a bit of information about how you can turn this social media platform into a video marketing tool!Video MarketingVideo marketing is meant to call your consumer or viewer to action. For a video, you create to be considered video marketing it should either generate interest back to your website or to something they will need to pay for in order to gain additional access. Videos are a great way to share your talent with the public and generate interest in your art. Videos also allow your followers and subscribers to get to know you. Viewers enjoy the feeling of developing a relationship with you. When you can create a sense of loyalty, your viewers can become some of your best marketing partners because they may share your videos with their friends.Since YouTube is free this is a great way to share videos that focus on your art technique or provide short free tutorials for a specific art medium. Don’t forget for this to be a marketing technique it needs to generate something the viewer will need to act upon or purchase. By running a link at the end of your video to send them to your website or offering more in-depth instructional videos for a price at the end, will qualify as a video marketing tool. With YouTube, you can create a channel that may focus on the techniques of your particular style of art or you can post instructional videos with step-by-step information to complete a unique piece of artwork. Free and low-cost video editing software, like Apple’s iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, is available to allow you to truly customize your videos before uploading to YouTube.Let’s use a watercolor artist who focuses on floral still life, as an example. The artist posts a 5-minute painting tutorial on the subject matter of roses on YouTube. The video was created through the iMovie software that comes standard on most Apple computers currently. At the end of the free 5-minute video, the artist then advertises a paid 30-minute video from their website that will walk the viewer through painting a floral still life with roses from start to finish. The webcam and software come standard with Apple products. The cost for creating this example of video marketing was free.Social Media and video marketing are both virtual ways to reach your target audience. A low-cost type of marketing that is more tactile and leaves a lasting impression on your audience is through guerrilla marketing.Guerilla MarketingGuerilla marketing is a grassroots, low-cost, fun, and in-your-face marketing strategy. Often guerrilla marketing takes the form of visual art like spray paint tags or unique posters and decals allowing it to seem like a natural fit for visual artists. This marketing strategy is meant to create interest and cause the bystander to be curious enough to investigate the advertisement. It takes more imagination and creativity than money to make guerrilla marketing work for you.Implementing guerrilla marketing can be a fun and exciting. Some ideas for guerrilla marketing might be to use vinyl stickers or paper posters; this is called wild posting. Walking billboards or quick pop up galleries of work in public places are another trending approach. It should also be stated that legal issues can arise in regard to how or where wild posting and pop-up galleries appear. Posting decals or posters can cause an issue especially if they are placed on paid advertising or local, state or federal fixtures. In most municipalities, there are permits that are required for setting up in public places. Don’t let the risk of legal infringement deter you from using this strategy. With the proper research and planning, guerrilla marketing can be a quick and fun way to create buzz about your art.Social media, video marketing, and guerrilla marketing are ways to increase awareness and create artist loyalty from the community near and far. Successful marketing will help you increase brand awareness and loyalty among art consumers.