Arisa Lohmeier

3 Simple Exercises to Define Your Brand

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A coherent brand can be a powerful asset whether you’re launching a new product line or creating a new playbook for your sales team to leverage during pitch meetings. New companies tend to be hyper-focused on building a credible and distinct brand, but even well-established companies can benefit from revisiting their brand positioning.  Here are a few simple exercise you and your team can do to help define your brand.

1. Build Your Brand Pyramid

Ultimately your brand is about your customer. Everything you put out as a company should be designed to make your products or services compelling for your target audience. Creating a brand pyramid is a very helpful exercise because it requires you to first think about your audience and then figure out why they should buy into your brand.

Check out the template below. When you build a brand pyramid, you’re starting from the ground up.  First, think about who your specific target audience is and what motivates them. What are their pain points? Why might they need the product or service you offer?

List out your competitors and keep them in mind as you brainstorm your key points of differentiation and points of parity. Considering both the emotional and functional benefits of your product or service, how are you similar to your competitors and what sets you apart?

Next, think about why your target consumer should believe in the emotional and functional benefits you laid out in the previous section. Focus on why they should care about the features that differentiate you from your competitors and how they will benefit from using your product or service.  And don’t forget to keep your target audience’s demographics and motivators in mind.

Now it is time to start thinking about your brand. Using all of the sections you’ve filled out so far as inspiration, brainstorm a list of personality attributes, values, and even visual elements that define your brand. You may end up with a lengthy list at first. Edit this down and pick only the most salient keywords or phrases to include in your pyramid. (Hint: You may want to go through some of the other exercises outlined below in order to complete this step).

Creating your brand essence is the final and most difficult step. This should be a short phrase or sentence that encapsulates the distinct attributes that define your brand. Pull from the list of values and personality keywords from the previous section, but try to write something that is concise and to the point. Your brand essence is the most important goal you would like your brand to achieve.


2. Set Your Brand Guard Rails

Most branding exercises are focused on figuring out what your brand is. But knowing what your brand isn’t can be just as helpful. If you have generated a list of adjectives or values to describe your brand, spend some extra time putting together a list of adjectives or values that firmly do not align with your brand. Establishing your brand guard rails can help you figure out the nuances of your brand, like how much you want to express a certain attribute. For example, your brand might be cutting-edge, but not unorthodox.

3. Find Your Brand Personality

Often the strongest brands are the most difficult to describe in words. One fun and helpful exercise to help you determine you brand’s personality is to think about other ways to represent it. If your brand were a monument, what would it be? If your brand was a celebrity, who would it be? If your brand was a painting, what would it be? Once you’ve collected a few different visual references, try writing down why they represent your brand. This exercise might help you get even more specific about your brand values and attributes.


E-commerce Tips: Using Your Brand to Increase Average Order Size

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Today’s e-commerce environment is highly competitive. And with giants like Amazon and eBay playing in the same sandbox, it’s difficult for small businesses to get started and carve out a market of loyal customers. So how do you stand out from the crowd while also driving conversions? Create an authentic brand and find as many opportunities to build upon your story throughout the conversion funnel.

Consumers gravitate towards successful brands because they are often buying into more than just a product, they are buying into the brand’s vision and promise. In the digital environment, authenticity is an essential component of any effective brand. Here are some ways that you can use your brand to help increase average order size in an authentic way.

Product Visualization

In addition to the basic best practices for product visualization (high quality images, 360O views, zoom function), e-commerce companies can use videos that showcase the product’s features and how it’s used as a way to build trust and authenticity. Companies like Patagonia and Zappos use videos made by their staff, who also happen to be devoted enthusiasts about their products. If videos are a little bit beyond your budget, photos that showcase the product in use either taken by your staff or submitted by your existing customers will help create a more personal feel for your brand, while also helping to demonstrate the quality of the product.


Product Descriptions

In addition to providing key information about product attributes, sizing, and care instructions, product descriptions offer another opportunity to create a compelling story for each product that ties directly back to your overall brand vision. Product descriptions are also a great way to create some personality or humor for your brand, as you can see in this example from Woot!


Product Reviews

User-generated product reviews are one of the best ways to establish a trustworthy brand. Reviews provide unbiased information about the quality and experience of products, and they show that your company is open to feedback and dialog with its customers. Reviews also help answer common questions. Requests for product reviews should be included in all order confirmation emails. In addition to gathering reviews, your survey can collect information about how the customer found out about your website, their overall experience, and any other feedback they might have to help your business improve. Reviews should be presented on product detail pages in a simple and easy to understand 5 star rating system along with written responses.


Customer Loyalty Programs

Loyal, repeat customers are important to growing an e-commerce business because they don’t require additional marketing spend to acquire and they often spend more on each purchase than first time buyers. In addition to providing high-quality products and great customer service, you can help build a relationship with your best customers by creating referral and customer loyalty programs.

Dual-incentive referral programs where both your current customer and your newly acquired customer are offered some type of incentive (store credit, discount, free product, etc.) are a great way to engage and reward your current customers while also acquiring new, more qualified customers at a fixed cost per acquisition.

Customer loyalty programs that offer special perks like free shipping and exclusive discounts or products to your most valuable customers are a great way to not only establish brand loyalty, but also encourage higher spending among your best customers. With a customer loyalty program, you can also ask for feedback and insights from your top spenders in exchange for extra discounts as a way to generate customer insights and identify new opportunities to improve your service and marketing.


Google Analytics: Three Hacks for Actionable Insights

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Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Not to mention email, paid search, and SEO… you do it all. But do you know what’s working? And how do you find out? Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but even the most web-savvy digital marketing veterans can find it clunky and confusing. But when you need to stay ahead of the curve and make decisions quickly, you want Google Analytics to do the work for you. Here are three hacks to zero-in on the most important data that will help you determine actionable insights for your business.

UTM Tags in Google Analytics

Google Analytics does a decent job of determining where your web traffic is coming from, but it doesn’t know everything. A UTM tag is a series of extra text that you can add on to any web link you post on social media, send in an email, publish on your website, etc. The tag doesn’t affect where the link directs, but it uses specific parameters to tell Google Analytics information about where the traffic came from and how and why it got there.

You can use this handy tool from Google to build your first UTM tagged link.

In order to get the most use out of your UTM tags, it’s important to set up a specific structure for all of your UTM parameters ahead of time and diligently follow that structure every time you create a new link. Create an internal document that your whole team can reference. This is the best way to make sure that it is easy to segment and organize your Google Analytics data by the channels and campaigns you are running.

Here are some examples of how to set up your UTM parameters. But spend some time to think about what will make the most sense for your business.

Google Analytics - UTMs

Tracking Goals in Google Analytics

You can use the Goals feature in Google Analytics to identify specific behaviors or actions that you would like to pay special attention to because they contribute to the success of your business. For example, if you are running an event and would like to keep track of how many people complete the registration process, you can set up a Goal that tracks all of the users that have visited your registration confirmation page.

There are four main types of Goals:

  • Destination – a user visits a specific web page
  • Duration – a user spends a specific amount of time or longer a specific web page
  • Pages/Screens per session – a user views a specific number of pages/screens during one session
  • Event – an action occurs (for example a link click) that has already been set up as a Google Analytics Event

To learn more about how to set up a Goal, read this article from Google. Once you have created your Goals, you will be able to view new information about each one in the “Conversions” section of Google Analytics Reporting.

Assisted & Last Click Conversions

After implementing proper UTM tagging and setting up Goals, you will be able to see which specific channels and campaigns are helping your business grow.

On the Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions page you can click “Source/Medium” to see a breakdown of the most successful channels according to the UTM parameter that you set up. This view will show you both last-click and assisted conversions. A last click conversion occurs when a user arrives at your website from a specific channel and completes a goal in the same browsing session. An assisted conversion occurs when a user interacts with a channel within 1 to 90 days before actually completing the Goal.

This breakdown provides some of the most insightful data you can get with Google Analytics. It will show you which channels are contributing to your customers’ decision journey, and which are not. Say you are spending a large percentage of your marketing budget on social media. You look at the last click conversions and now you can see that they are primarily from direct and organic search traffic. This leads you to believe that time and money you are spending on your social media campaigns is going to waste. However, when you view the assisted conversions, you see that over 30% of people who completed your Goal interacted with your social media campaigns within 90 days of conversion. This indicates that your social media campaign is effectively educating your target audience about your product or offering. Additionally, you see that although your team spends 10 hours a week running emails campaigns, fewer than 10% of your assisted conversions and 5% of your last click conversions come from email. This indicates that you should further investigate your email campaign performance and perhaps adjust the frequency, timing, or messaging of your campaigns.

With these three hacks you can use Google Analytics to quickly view the most important data for your business and spend time where it counts – adjusting your strategy to grow your business!