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Tips to Creating a Consistent Brand

When it comes to branding, consistency is key. And by being consistent, your product or service becomes known to your customer and then, from there,  you can develop loyalty and trust. Here are some top strategies for the creation of a consistent brand for standing the test of time:

Understand Your Message

A brand can be regarded as the personality of any business. Personality starts with the message that you wish to convey to others with the help of actions or appearances. What type of message do you wish to convey to the consumers? Do you wish to opt for a casual or a professional note? How do you want the consumers to interact with your brand?

When you are unsure about your brand message, your consumers will also be confused about it. Therefore, it is imperative to come across the right message that your consumers fully understand.

Plan Ahead

One of the easiest ways of being consistent in your brand strategy is to come up with a proper plan before you start. It might appear challenging in the first instance. However, prior planning will help you significantly in the long run. 

First — understand your mission statement: What are the values driving your business? What are your brand-specific goals?

Second — determine your brand voice or persona.  Think of your brand as a person who will speak to your audience? Your brand voice then speaks through social posts, marketing materials, advertising and so on.

Third — create a dedicated content plan: Preparing a proper content strategy for your social media channels and blogs a year in advance will make implementing so much easier. Build a content calendar that includes information about what you will be posting, the type of posts, when it should be completed, and where you will be posting it. When you know what you will post in advance, it helps in reducing the risk of error. As such, planning your content is an effective way to keep the branding materials on message and cohesive.

Set Platform Guidelines

Most branding platforms feature the best practices and unique requirements that you should take into consideration. Social media channels can significantly differ in tone, audience, relevance and so much more. 

Facebook: It is the largest social network. And while people say they are not on it, more than 75% of North American adults have accounts and as an agency, we use it all the time to sell products and services. It is a perfect platform for posting a combination of long-form and visual textual content, attracting most age demographics, and getting leads through advertising.

LinkedIn: It is regarded as the more professional, or business only,  social site. Therefore, it is all about ensuring corporate connections. It is great for setting up thought leadership.

Instagram: The platform focuses on high-quality visual content, short videos and images while using hashtags. It is effective for impressing your audience while highlighting the design elements of your brand.

Twitter: It is a fast-paced platform. As tweets are quite concise (usually 280 characters or less), your message should be attractive and on-point. It is great for engagement while attracting people to your website.

YouTube: It is the largest video-sharing platform and is great for the creation of educational and engaging videos that get seen by large audiences if done right.

Messaging and Slogans

Whether it is a company policy or a social media post, a slogan or a motto, helps connect your brand to your audience or persona. Think about those catchy jingles you heard on radio and TV and how they stick in your mind forever. Effective slogans, tag lines, mottos and so on can have lasting effects sometimes even after your brand has moved on. 

With an effective brand strategy, you can build a long-lasting business that sells its products and services consistently and successfully. Understand your target audience and make sure your actions align with who they are and what they want from your business’s product or service.

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6 Steps to Running a Successful Giveaway

If you’ve been on Instagram for long enough, you’ve definitely seen many MANY giveaways pop up. In the back of your mind you’re thinking, “Wow, how do they manage all of these entries?” 

Most of the hard work comes from planning; once the groundwork is laid, the latter half of the process is easy peasy. And if you follow these six steps, you’ll be sure to run a smooth, successful giveaway. 

1. Set goals

WHY are you running this giveaway? What’s the purpose? Think about what you’re trying to achieve.

Some examples could be to:

  • Get more followers on social media
  • Increase engagement
  • Elevate brand awareness
  • Crack into a niche market
  • Create hype about a new product launch
  • Get more leads
  • Drive traffic to your website/other social media channels
  • Increase sales

Without a goal, you’re just giving away something for the sake of it. You need to focus your energy on one goal and one goal only. Because as much as you might want to, you can’t achieve all of the above in one giveaway. 

Another thing to determine is the platform on which you want to run the contest. The most successful giveaways are held on Instagram, however this might not be the right platform for your goals.

2. Choose your prize

Chances are, you have a prize in mind before you even have a goal. But that’s not the case every time. It can be really frustrating to find a prize that’s valuable enough to grab your audience’s attention, but isn’t going to cost you a fortune. 

One way to crack this is to partner up with another company that has the same values and audience. Don’t get too ahead of yourself though! A company that’s much larger than yours probably doesn’t need to reach your audience. So strive for companies of the same scale and similar market.

Once you’re in a giveaway partnership, you can now give away two prizes. It’ll cost you less and bring more value to your audience. AND it’s not like you have to split the amount of engagement, leads, followers, or whatever it is that you get. Sounds like a win-win situation to us.

3. Set the contest rules/criteria

This will all depend on the previous two steps. Say, for example, that your goal is to increase followers on social media; the contest entry criteria, therefore, should NOT be to provide an email address. 

On the other hand, your contest rules will depend on the platforms on which you run them.

Some of the most common contest rules to consider are: 

  • Time – set a time frame during which people can enter the giveaway. For example: “Contest ends on December 23rd. Winners will be announced on January 4th.” 
  • How to enter – Some examples: “Follow us on Instagram;” “Tag two friends in the comments;” “Fill out this form.”
  • Who can enter – Some examples: “Only those living in Canada are eligible;” “Only open to people over the age of 19.”

4. Launch giveaway

This part is the easiest out of all the steps. You want to make sure that the images and graphics that you use in the giveaway post are enticing, and that the copy you write is exciting. When you have this covered, you’re all ready to launch.

5. Track results

You’ll want to see how well your giveaway is doing in reaching your objective. Make sure to use the correct KPIs, otherwise your data will be meaningless.

What I’m trying to say is, if you’re trying to collect emails through a giveaway, don’t measure the number of new followers you have on Instagram, that is completely irrelevant information.

6. Choose and announce the winner

If you’re using a form to gather emails or other contact information, you will get all your entries in one organized list, so this method is the easiest way to choose a winner. 

For small-scale giveaways, choosing a winner will be relatively easy to manage manually. Using a simple spreadsheet and assigning numbers is the best way to go. Once you have people assigned to numbers you can use a random number generator to choose your winner.

Some of our favourite random number generators are:

You don’t need anything too complex for this – just a simple random number generator will do. 

The trickiest giveaways to sort through are large-scale giveaways where you receive thousands of Instagram comments. Luckily Wask will sort through all those comments for you and choose a winner.

We’ve given you all the steps to launch your giveaway, but if you don’t have a strong social media presence and need some help, we’re here for you. Contact us and we’ll lead you in the right direction.

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Behind-the-Scenes of Building Brand Resonance

Brand resonance is the intense psychological connection between consumers and a brand. It refers to how well consumers relate to the products or services of a brand, and the degree to which they keep that brand top of mind in different buying situations.

To successfully ensure that consumers take action thereafter, a brand must show how their product or service is superior. As well as ensuring to make a connection between the customer’s emotions and logic, and the product or service.

So let’s learn from TOMS, an organization that did a fantastic job at building their brand by positioning themselves differently and connecting with their audience through emotions and logic.

Road to Success

As TOMS established themselves, they had a unique business model: One-for-One. Buy a pair of TOMS and the company will, in turn, give a pair of the very same shoes to impoverished children. TOMS appealed to the emotions of their target audience by tugging at the heartstrings of social responsibility. As well as the rational logic behind their business model. When a customer buys a shoe, they instantly become a sponsor of a child in need.

Their target market was socially conscious millennials and elder Gen Zs. Gen Zs who were aware of, and kept up with, trends. They were high schoolers, college/university students, and celebrities.

The uniqueness of the TOMS business model made competition scarce. Their few competitors included Skechers, Dansko Shoes, Crocs and Converse. But TOMS positioned itself above the rest as they had the first-mover advantage. They did something that no other shoe company had done before. Their business model was so successful at first that it was emulated by one of their competitors: Skechers and their line of BOBS shoes. 

Pro-tip: Worry not if you are not first — it is great to be first, but being second is still pretty damn good. Sometimes patience pays off as second in the market benefits from the footprints left behind by the first.

Establishing Points of Parity (PoPs) and Points of Difference (PoDs)

Humans are creatures of habit, we are more comfortable in a familiar setting. When something “new” appears and tries to disrupt the status quo of our routines, We usually meet it with reluctance. So, brands like TOMS established strategies to help combat that challenge.

TOMS first had to show the world that they were as good as the competition by matching the varied categories being offered by their competitors. TOMS’ PoPs were their wide range of shoes, slip-ons, boots, dress shoes, sandals, heels, and many more.

Their main point of difference was their business model which, at first, had never been done before. When you bought a shoe, you were part of a “social movement;”. You were among the many in-trend young adults, students and celebrities helping children in need. Buying and wearing TOMS allowed you to become part of social change, a part of the trendsetters of the time.

These PoPs and PoDs were authentic and on-brand for TOMS. They gave TOMS enough leverage to be considered among the competition while giving them an edge that resonated with their target audience. These strategies piqued audience interest while easing their reluctance toward the new, thus contributing to the exponential growth of the company.

Satisfying Needs

TOMS satisfied many logical needs in terms of performance, since they were both practical and comfortable. Thanks to celebrities, the company appealed to consumer emotions; it was credible and had authority. Socially conscious consumers bought the shoes, which were in-line with their values and personality. Evoked an enhanced sense of pride and self-respect, as well as social approval.

Their marketing tactics were successful because they created a logical and emotional bond with their audience. In the end, TOMS shoes resonated with consumers, who became their most loyal brand ambassadors, thus building brand equity.

Today

As of today, TOMS is still committed to social responsibility. They no longer have the one-for-one model, opting instead to provide 1/3 of their net profits towards their giving fund. That is, for every $3 they make, they give $1 away. The TOMS “COVID-19 Global Giving Fund” alone produced more than $2 million to support partners on the frontlines. Although not as big or in the spotlight as they were at their inception, TOMS has continued to evolve, updating their PoDs and PoPs to remain competitive, and maintaining their appeal and commitment to their customers.

Building your brand can be easy, if done right, with the proper tactics and strategies. Contact us so we can build your brand to the next level.

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Navigating Through the New Algorithm on Instagram

Instagram has finally shed more light on how its algorithm works. This is huge for marketers because it will change how we develop content for Instagram while also removing some of the guesswork we’ve had to do in the past few years. In this post, I’ll go over how to work with the new Instagram algorithm and what you need to know about it.

Over the last few years, the Instagram algorithm has undergone many changes and alterations. The first notable change was when they altered the Instagram feed and stopped showing posts in chronological order, instead showing what would be most valuable for the user. Instagram had determined that this was a necessary change in 2016, claiming that most people were missing 70% of all the posts in their feed, including almost half of posts from their close connections. However when the algorithm changed, many people saw a massive drop in engagement, and as these changes to Instagram’s algorithms continued, they have been a source of frustration for many creators and companies. So… what’s changed now?

How Does Instagram's Algorithm Actually Work?

In June of 2021, through a series of blog posts, Instagram finally revealed exactly how their “algorithm” worked. This shed a lot of light on what people have been speculating for years but were never 100% sure of. Interesting findings and confirmations included the following: 

What is the Algorithm?

When using Instagram, whether it’s the Feed, Explore, or Reels page, each section uses its own algorithm based on how people use and interact with it. When going through their Stories, users more likely want to see close friends or people they know personally, versus wanting to discover something entirely new when in Explore. Instagram ranks things differently in different parts of the app, based on how people use them. The system predicts your level of interest in the material; if it believes you’ll enjoy the substance of a post, it will prioritize it in your feed. A few data points influence this, including:

  1. What kind of content have you previously engaged with?
  2. What accounts have you subscribed to?
  3. Which posts in the Explorer Feed have you clicked?

For example, if you shop online a lot, your feed will show you posts from users who align with what you’ve been searching for and purchasing online. The algorithm is attempting to provide people with material that they wish to consume.

How do posts get ranked?

Instagram has defined some key features that are used to determine how posts get ranked:

1. Information about the post

      • How successful/popular a post is 
      • When it was posted
      • Length of time (if video post)
      • Location
      • Whether people are quickly liking, commenting, sharing, and saving a post
      • For Reels, what is the content within the video, such as trending/popular audio tracks

2. Information about the person who posted

      • Whether the person is deemed interesting or relevant to your online behaviour
      • How many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks
      • Whether the person’s content is popular and frequently interacted with

3. Your activity

      • What do you normally like
      • What are your interests
      • Signals like what posts you’ve liked, saved or commented on and how you’ve interacted with posts in the Explore page in the past
      • Reels you have liked, commented on, and recently engaged with

4. Your history of interacting with someone

    • People you interact with frequently are more likely to show up higher in your feed
    • How interested you might be in what a person has shared
    • Whether you have interacted with the person before, and whether their content is consistent with what you like

5 Instagram Management Tips You Should Know

Now that you know a little bit about how the algorithm works, here are some Instagram tips you need to know. 

And don’t forget: you don’t need to be an expert when you’re starting out. Start with what is realistic for you to accomplish, and concentrate on what you’re good at and what people seem to be liking. Always be authentic!

1. Deliver High-Value Content and Post on a Regular Basis

Remember that Instagram wants you to stay on their platform, so if you post on a regular basis, Instagram may show your page to more people. Another tip is to keep track of your posts that receive the most saves and interactions, and upload more content like that. Saves are a great way to see which of your content is actually providing value to your audience.

2. Connect With Other Accounts Within Your Niche

Look for accounts within your niche that have more followers than you do, or that seem to be performing well. You can reference what they’re doing if you’re stuck for ideas, or start interacting with their content. By doing so, you may end up attracting their audience to your page.

3. Use Hashtags! (Yes, they still work)

Ensure the hashtags you use are related to your material, and stay away from overly popular hashtags. Add them to your posts, but also to your stories! Hashtags on Instagram now have their very own global stories, and it may be a great way to find new audiences and be seen even more.

4. Use Stories to Increase Engagement, and Provide Value to Your Audience

Attract followers to your content by creating valuable Instagram Stories. Take advantage of the stickers feature, and create polls, questions and answers, or other fun content. Let your followers be curious, and make them feel included!

5. Engage With Your Followers

Don’t leave your followers feeling alone. Interact with them! If they’re interacting with your posts and stories, reply to them and thank them, or answer the questions they may have. As we’ve learned, the algorithm increases your visibility to people who are interacting with your page. It’s an easy way to make a major impact on your audience.

Conclusion

Instagram engagement is sometimes hard to come by, even when you have a large follower count. But by understanding and working with the algorithm, you can find your way back to the top of the Explore page. Social media is about being social — and Instagram, more than ever, is rewarding people for doing just that.

Need some help getting started? No worries! Contact us and we’ll get you set up with a social strategy.

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Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads

If you’ve ever considered paid advertising as a way to grow your business, you’ve definitely heard of Facebook Ads and Google Ads. But how do you decide between these platforms? Should you run ads on Facebook? Should you choose Google? Maybe both? Which one is better?

The quick answer is: it’s not as black and white as you’d like, since each platform uses a different approach to reach your audience. In this blog we’ve highlighted some advantages of each, to give you a better insight into the options available to you.

Google Ads

With Google you can run ads on Google itself as well as on YouTube. The platform offers a variety of campaign options:

  • Search: ads that show up at the top of the page when a user actively searches for something. These are great for sales, getting leads and driving traffic.
  • Display: visual ads that show up in websites and apps. They help with brand awareness and reach. It’s a great way to remarket to people that previously engaged with your business.
  • Video: ads that are displayed on YouTube and other websites. Use them for brand awareness, generating sales, driving traffic, etc.
  • Shopping: these show up on search results and the Google Shopping tab. Ideal if you are a retail business and want to display your inventory and generate sales.
  • App: use these ads to get new users for your app.
  • Local: great to drive physical traffic to your brick and mortar store. The ads will be optimized for Search, Display, Google Maps and more.

Overall, Google focuses on paid search and the main goal is to increase conversion. Three advantages of the Google platform are:

  • When it comes to getting a higher SERP (search engine results page) position, Google makes it easier to compete with bigger companies. What counts is ad relevance instead of budget.
  • The many campaign options help you reach your audience in different ways, at different stages of the buying cycle, ensuring you maximize your efforts and budget.
  • With Search ads, you have a higher chance of getting hotter leads and the customer is actively searching for your product.

Facebook Ads

When using Facebook, you can place your brand’s ads on the social platform AND Instagram, Facebook Messenger and What’sApp. Think of it as paid social. Through Facebook, your customers may interact with other consumers, express their own experiences with your company, and remain up-to-date with your business.

Some of the many forms of ads you may use on Facebook are:

  • Image: the most basic (which doesn’t mean boring!) and easiest-to-create option.
  • Video: best option for when you want to tell a history or give a demo of a product or service.
  • Carousel: perfect for showcasing multiple products! You can have up to 10 images or videos and each image can have its own link.
  • Lead generation: with this type of ad, you can create a custom form and gather a customer’s information without them having to leave Facebook.

Facebook is all about interaction and brand outreach. The three big advantages of using Facebook ads are:

  • You can leverage your audience’s habits & patterns for targeting. You can use very specific details to micro-target your ideal customers. And if you have an extensive database, you can target those people and those who look like them.
  • On Facebook you can easily engage with the users and create strong relationships with them.
  • You can choose a campaign objective, which will help Facebook to optimize your ads. If you want to increase awareness, you can choose between brand awareness or reach; if you’re after consideration, your options are traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, lead generation, and messages; and if your main goal is conversion, you get conversions, catalog sales, or store traffic.

In the end, both advertising platforms are great allies to businesses that want to grow. The winning strategy is not Google OR Facebook – it’s Google AND Facebook. The secret is in having a clear goal and the correct strategy.

If you’re still confused and want help advertising your business, contact us so we can show you how Curve can help you.