Five Tips to Creating a Killer Brand...

Over the years I’ve met many talented indie designers who take great pride in their creations. Helping these designers to thrive in a competitive market is one of my true passions. So with that in mind, today I’ve invited graphic designer and branding expert Kate Britton from A Midday in May to share her top five tips for creating a killer brand. Take it away Kate!

Five Tips for Creating a Killer Brand, A Midday in May

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I’ll let you in on a little secret! First impressions count! That’s why it’s so important that you have a kick butt brand that really captures peoples attention and leaves them wanting more! Here are my 5 tips to creating a killer brand!

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1. Get Focused!


The first step is to figure out the WHY? Why are you in business? Why do you want your brand to look good? Why should your clients buy from you? The first step to creating a killer brand is to hone in on the finer details of your business. It’s time to get out the pen and paper and start delving deep into the WHY? Here are some questions that you can use to prompt you and get the ideas and words flowing onto the page:

  • Why are you in business? What is your driving force?
  • Identify what sets you apart from your competitors?
  • What do your clients value the most?
  • What work inspires you to keep creating?
  • What would you be doing if money wasn’t a priority?

It’s time to really make some decision with focused intention. Really get down to the nitty gritty of what you want to achieve within your business.

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2. Get Inspired! 


Now that you have a strong WHY in mind, it’s time to get inspired! Start gathering inspiration from everywhere and anywhere. Quotes, Images, Textures, Song Lyrics, Magazine Clippings, Fonts, Food Packaging, anything that really gets you excited and gets your mind ticking! Pinterest is a great tool to keep all of this inspiration in one place. You can create a private board, to stash all of the goodies that you’ve found. Once you’ve done this it’s a good idea to start asking yourself Why do I like this? What is it about it that gets my heart pumping? Why did I connect with this particular thing? How could I make this into my own?

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Five Tips for Creating a Killer Brand, A Midday in May

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3. Brand=Vision


A Brand is not simply a logo! A logo is a great starting point, as it will set the tone for the rest of your brand. But a brand incorporates so much more. Your values, your personality, marketing approach, tone of voice, colours, layouts, type, imagery, typography and your logo. So it’s time to think about how you want your overall brand to be perceived. What story are you going to tell? How do you want people to perceive your brand? Start making a brainstorming map of all the words, feelings, emotions and values so that you want people to experience when they interact with your brand.

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4. Be Authentic


So by this stage you should have done quiet a lot of digging, really getting to the core of your business and what you want to achieve out of your new brand. It’s so important that you are authentic with your new brand. If you simply follow the latest trends and don’t stay true to yourself, people can sense that and they’ll see through it. So be sure to be you, be your brand!

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5. Write a Mission Statement


With all of this in mind, it’s time to start to bring all of these elements together to create your stand out brand. The best way to do this is to write a mission statement, stating exactly how you want your brand to look and feel, what story you want to tell, what goals you want to achieve, what you like and dislike. By collating all of this information it will give you an sense of direction and the overall tone for your new brand. It will give you direction on how to speak to your target market. If nothing else it will give you a sense of clarity on what you want from your brand.

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Five Tips for Creating a Killer Brand, A Midday in May

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Now that you’ve got all of this information together, what’s next?

It’s time to bring all of these elements together to create a stand out brand. This is where we can help! A graphic designer can help you take all of this information and translate it into a visual identity for your business. Turning your inspiration, aspirations, dreams and goals and turning them into a cohesive brand. A good graphic designer will be able to help you tell your story and help you make a lasting first impression on your clients for all the right reasons!

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Killer deals for KID independent readers!

We’ve put together a special KID Independent readers package, just for you! To help you to tell your story and get your brand spankin’ new killer brand off the ground! Designed for the independent maker, we have put together a killer deal, with a huge savings! Be sure to click here and see what we have on offer especially for KID Independent readers!

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HBW - How to Catch an Editor’s Attention!

Good morning friends. Today is the last day of our Handmade Business Weekend, and we’ve got a fabulous article to share from Vanessa Carnevale, Editor of Mindful Parenting Magazine. We’re also giving SIX lucky {KID} independent readers the chance to score themselves a free placement in a full page advert in the next issue of Mindful Parenting Magazine.

How to Catch an Editor’s Attention!

How to Catch an Editor’s Attention!

Whilst print advertising might form a part of your marketing strategy, and can be an effective form of exposure for your business, research shows that ads that look like editorial articles get a lot more readership than ads that, well… look like ads. The impact of an editorial is said to be three times that of paid advertising.

So what does that mean for you?

It means your Press Release or Media Pitch needs to be really good!

If you need help telling the difference, a pitch is basically a suggested story idea and is shorter than a press release. It is pretty much a teaser for a story, whereas a press release is newsworthy and longer. Some editors may publish a press release as it is written.

So when you write your release or pitch there are a few things to bear in mind.

Think about things from an editor’s point of view. On a personal level an editor might think you and your product or service is great. But that’s not the only thing an editor is looking at when they receive your press release or media pitch. Your editor has the “readers” at the forefront of his/her mind. And what that means, is that the editor is not concerned with “selling” your product for you no matter how fabulous it might be or how much he/she might like it. The editor is concerned with providing the “readers” with information that informs, inspires, educates, or entertains them. There has to be a wow factor and it has to be newsworthy.

Bearing this in mind should help you determine the angle of your pitch or release.

FIVE HANDY TIPS FOR WRITING A PRESS RELEASE OR MEDIA PITCH

  1. It must have a hook to ensure it stands out from an overfull inbox. You need to have a compelling intro to ensure the editor reads past the first few lines. Pay attention to a catchy headline too.

  2. Familiarise yourself with the publication you’re pitching to. Find out the editor’s name if you can. Personalising it shows you have done some research.

  3. Read up on how to correctly write a Media Pitch or Press Release. Follow the format and have someone proofread it for you prior to sending out.If you don’t feel confident enough, have a professional write one for you.

  4. Always include a link to your website along with contact details. Make it easy for the editor to find more information or contact you.

  5. Follow up with the editor after a “reasonable” amount of time.

Remember, you don’t have to only pitch to the media. Bloggers are also worth contacting.

Happy Writing & Good Luck!

Vanessa Carnevale – Editor of Mindful Parenting Magazine is a writer, small business coach, speaker and the Publisher/Editor of Mindful Parenting magazine. She’s also a happy mum of two beautiful children and a fluffy white dog. Connect with Vanessa via Facebook.

Competition - Giveaway - Win{KID} independent has teamed up with Mindful Parenting Magazine to offer six independent businesses the opportunity to win a placement in a shared full page advert in the next issue! To enter, simply tell us about your business via the Rafflecopter widget below. You can also score extra entries into the draw by liking us on Facebook or tweeting about the giveaway! Australian entries only, entries close on 28 June, 2012.

Win a free advert in Mindful Parenting Magazine

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HBW - Top Tips for Market Day

Good morning all, I hope you’re enjoying our Handmade Business Weekend. One of my favourite weekend activities is heading on down to my local boutique children’s market, so today I’ve invited Melanie from Billycart Markets to share her tops tips for holding a successful market stall.

Handmade Business Weekend - Marketing Tips, Ideas and Giveaways

As coordinator of the Billycart Markets, two of the questions I get asked the most are “How do I make my stall look better for sales?” and “So you have any advice?”. I’m always surprised to see that some stall holders can consistently have great days in sales at market while others seem to sell little or next to nothing at all… all the while not realising why!

The setup of your stall is the most important aspect of coming to market and having a successful day – alongside good customer service and manners. No matter how good your stall is, if you do not give good customer service, be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about your product and SMILE, you will not be successful. The same rules apply to us the “market organiser”.

Today I’d like to share my “Top 10 Tips” for having a successful market day.

Billycart Markets Handmade, Boutique Children's Market

1. Branding is everything… Be sure your stall is professionally represented. Products should be organised without clutter and kept neat throughout the day. Use all of the space of your stall, height and variety will create interest and draw in passers by.

2. Be sure to have plenty of business cards or small flyers… Place these in an easily accessible spot. If you have a website, make the address visible on all of your promotional materials. Mums (and their friends) love to shop online and you will get repeat and new business if they can find you easily.

3. Provide branded bags… This is a great way to not only make a lasting impression, but to advertise around the market place as well. Think of your bags like little walking billboards. Why not make your bags handmade! Simply pre-purchase paper bags and attach your business card using a trendy printed ribbon in your handmade business colours.

4. Increase your marketing exposure… Have your letterhead attached to a clip board and have a pen ready. Make sure it is visible on your table with two distinct columns – one for “name” and one for “email address”. Up the interest and encourage customers to sign up to your emailing list for a chance to win a displayed product which will be awarded via email the following week. Remember, the more names you are able to gather, the more advertising you can do later on.

5. Everyone loves a bargain… If you have end of season stock that you need to sell why not offer it at a discounted rate on market day. A sale is a great way to clear inventory.

Billycart Markets - Market Stall Setup Style Ideas

6. Size matters… If you are selling clothing, be sure to have an array of sizes, especially in sizes above 3 years if your designs allow. There never seems to be enough products for the older children 4-12 years.

7. Don’t forget the boys… Mums of boys desire handmade products just a much as those with daughters. However, products for boys are very hard to find. If you are a retailer of handmade items for boys, be sure to increase your inventory on market day. You will more than likely be very popular and sell out fast.

8. Stay at your stall… It’s always a good idea to remain at your stall to assist with potential customers, therefore make sure you bring plenty of food and drink to have during the day. If you do need a break simply ask a Billycart Market Supervisor to relieve you for a while.

9. Bring change… Be sure to bring adequate change as Billycart Markets (and most others) usually trade primarily on cash. Portable POS terminals are welcome, but often no power is supplied at the markets.

10. Smile and enjoy your day… Above all else, smile and enjoy the day. You will be surrounded by an incredible energy of creativity and by those who will embrace and admire your talents!

Melanie Grace created the Billycart Markets in 2009. As a mother of three, she grew tired of purchasing unoriginal, mass produced items that only ever provided her family with minutes of entertainment. Located in Brisbane Australia, the markets host beautiful and stylish products especially created for children by talented and original Designers. You can connect with Melanie online through Facebook.

 


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HBW - How to create a well-organised online store

So far on our Handmade Business Weekend, we’ve talked about how to turn your hobby into a business, and the importance of branding and marketing. Today I’d like to share some of my personal tips for setting up a well-organised website or online store.

Handmade Business Weekend - Marketing Tips, Ideas and Giveaways

Working in a community where the majority of sales are made online, it’s very important to put your best ‘virtual foot forward’. In this article you’ll find ten helpful tips for organising your website/Etsy or Madeit store. The golden rule? Keep it simple, keep it organised.

1. First impressions last

Most often your potential customers will make an assessment of your website within the first 10 seconds of landing on your page {or less!}, during which time you need to convince them to stick around. Your landing page should be clearly set out with a simple structure; briefly describe who you are and what you do. You may choose to add in a special offer as an attention grabber.

Make sure that you choose quality images, and have an easy navigation menu so people know where to go next. Don’t include too much text at the top of the page. It may be off-putting to shoppers if they have to scroll right down the page through a bunch of jargon before they reach the products. Save this text for your profile or shop policies page.

2. Have well defined categories

When planning your categories, take some time to think about what your customers might be looking for. Try to avoid having all your items in one big list. Instead, break them up into self explanatory categories. For example, rather than having “girls clothes” and “boys clothes”, make subcategories such as skirts, t-shirts, pants etc.

The exception to this rule is if you only sell one style of item. For example if you only sell fabric, you may choose to split your categories up by colour, style or theme. The aim is to make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for, without having to scroll through dozens of irrelevant items.

3. Naming your categories

While it is tempting to come up with amusing or cute names for your categories, it is most effective to stick with simple and clear names that describe the product. Avoid grouping into themes like “bunnies” or “pink stuff” and instead choose product names such as “baby booties” or “handmade dolls”.

Neat Shop Front Layout

4. Listing style

When it comes to listing your products, choose a uniform font and keep your text concise, informative and descriptive. Bright random colours and wild font sizes do not make your listing appear more interesting, instead, rely on quality photography to grab your user’s attention and keep your text purely for informational purposes. Consistency is key; fonts, styles, sizes and colours should be consistent throughout your site.

5. Tagging

Tagging your items, particularly on Etsy or madeit is a very important exercise.  It’s how customers will find your products in a search. Tags are also used to organize items in Categories and Subcategories. After all, it doesn’t matter how awesome your products are if people can’t find them.

My top tip here is to step back and look at the product and think of all the words you could use to describe it. Keep your tags relevant and choose words that describe what the item actually is. For example, rather than “Handmade Jumper by The Bunny Den” you might choose “Boys Blue Pure Merino Wool Jumper with Bunny Applique”. For more information on tagging, check out this article on Etsy.

6. Customer service details

This is a simple yet important exercise in building consumer trust, particularly on stand alone websites. Make it easy for your customers to locate your contact details. Have clear links to your shipping and ordering information and clearly list your terms and conditions. Answer customer enquiries in a friendly, helpful and prompt manner.

7. Anticipate questions

What do you think your customers might want to know about your products or services? What kind of fabric do you use? How much are your shipping costs? Do you ship internationally? Anticipate questions in advance and have easy to find answers.

8. Scannable text

It doesn’t matter how creative your listing text is, you will find that the majority of readers want quick info that is relevant to their personal needs. Keep your text easy scannable by using short paragraphs, subheadings, bullet points, highlighted keywords and simple language {i.e. not a hard sales pitch}.

Focus on selling points that are tangible “we use 100% organic cotton in all of our garments” rather than using marketing spin, i.e. “this is the cutest jumpsuit you’ll ever see!”

9. Proof read + spell check

This is a simple exercise that takes a few minutes but goes a long way in promoting a professional image.

10. Imagery

Last up today is a quick note on images. The indie / handmade industry is based on artistic creativity, which is one of the major reasons people choose to shop handmade. Therefore, photography should be thought of in these terms too.

Put quality images at the top of your priority list. In competitive markets like Etsy where shoppers scroll through lists and lists of products, it’s the image that grabs their attention and inspires them to click on the listing. Take an artistic approach to your images, and make your listing stand out from the crowd!


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