How to Build an Iconic Brand

n-5-packshot-default-125530-8801294680094Chanel is one of the most iconic brands in the history of the world. The logo hasn’t changed or been updated since its inception. It was created in 1925 by the owner of Chanel empire, Gabrielle Coco Chanel herself and is basically her initials. Her brand is a champion for the feminist cause hence their association with strong women like Marilyn Munroe and Nicki Minaj.

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But it’s so much more than that. The inventor of the little black dress (LBD) and Chanel No. 5, her products will still be in high demand years from now.

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All the brand elements scream luxury. From the entrance to the stores, to the branding, to the ad campaigns –they all symbolize one thing, sophistication.

 

But great brands are more than just the logo and the branding. They’re built on story telling. Coco Chanel, grew up alone in an orphanage and fought her way out of poverty to success. The communication built on her journey to success, is why her quotes are posted by modern women everywhere, and the iconic Chanel suit is a staple in every successful woman’s wardrobe.

So ask yourself do your customers know your brand’s story? When customers fall in love with a brand its because it connects with them on an emotional level, it makes the brand stand out.

What do customers think of your brand? A lot of people think that creating a brand for your business just involves designing a logo. And although a logo is an important statement its not the only thing to consider.

Do you need help creating your brand identity? It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Before you begin the design stage of your logo, here are a few things to consider:

Define your brand

What do people like about your product or service? How does your product or service stand out in the marketplace? The first step is to define your brand. Think of it as having a personality. People are attracted to your personality by the colors that you use, your choice of words, the images that you select for your graphic design materials, the designs that you use for your signs and of course, your logo.

 

The brand identity depends on your target audience

Your brand identity also depends on who you are trying to reach. If your customers are the youth market, you may want to use fun colors and catchy phrases. If your customers are a niche market, you may want to use a more technical language that is applicable to the industry.

These tips are valuable in helping you create an brand identity that suits your messages and appeals to your target audience. Professional help can make all the difference.

 

 

Jamaican Brands you MUST follow on Instagram

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 1.38.27 AM.pngGood design is so important in getting the right audience to flock to your brand. Great design induces brand loyalty and affects the subconscious. It’s a lot more important than a lot of marketers realize.

I really would love to raise the standard of design in general for social media in Jamaica. I think it can be done. I see it in these pages. So let’s get into it:

  1. @Bijoux_ja is a mood. The luxury is finite on this page. But it still has the ability to be authentically Jamaican. I don’t know how they do what they do but I love it. You should follow them just for the aesthetic. It’s a must.
  2. @Swizzbeads The editing might throw you off but that’s what makes their page so unique. Not to mention the detail to the styling. The model seems to take her swizz beads everywhere. Makes us want to go too.
  3. @summerhouseja From the teasers to the attention to details, this page is an aesthetic. The images are inviting and it really makes you want to go. I’m not a fan of grids but I think this was a perfect way to launch the restaurant and spark interest. The content is also great. The way they gave you insight into the concept was very well thought out.
  4. @jaejolly This carefully curated feed is on point! They focus on creating an aesthetic and switch up between models poses and swimsuits images. The brightly colored swimsuits pop off the page and the whole island vibe got us wanting to live in the jungle. 10/10 would recommend!
  5. @maxiestores They make the effort to really curate their feed. It always has a theme! It might be red theme or a blue theme but its so seamless. I live for it!
  6. @chillitosjamexican I don’t know who their agency is but they look like they have one. Those images are taken with lighting and symmetry in mind. It targets the Millennials well with just a touch of humor to keep you wanting more.
  7. @cafeblueja Last but certainly not least Cafe Blue is one of my faves! It’s so authentically Jamaican and they are always doing fun to stuff to spark interest from their audience.
  8. @kayainc It’s all about the green! This carefully curated feed showcases the offerings of the dispensary Kaya Inc. It also give you developments in the cannabis industry.

Well those are the list of my favorite brands to follow on instagram. If there any other that have a great aesthetic: careful placement of photos, great photos and a thought behind it let me know. What makes a great instagram feed? Let me know.

Please don’t tell me about personal accounts. I want to know about brands only. I might do one for personal accounts soon. Let me know if you’re interested in reading that one! Don’t forget to follow me on instagram at @kesigardner

 

I Got My Current Job Because of Linkedin!

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There is a misconception that Linkedin is not effective in Jamaica. Although recruiters and hiring managers may not frequent Linkedin as much as they do in the US, it is still a relevant way to network with other professionals and make valuable connections.

I got my current job because of Linkedin! When searching for candidates, my name kept coming up in search and so they reached out. So Jamaican employers are headhunting, especially in niche industries like Advertising.

First of all Linkedin is focused on showcasing professional accomplishments, a lot of which we don’t go about displaying in our daily lives. So put that award you won or that MBA you worked hard for. This is the place to brag a little about your accomplishments. It is the perfect place to connect with people in your industry who could potentially hire you or recommend you for a job.

So here are a few tips you can use to make your profile more appealing to potential employers:

  1. Use a professional profile photo: Take the time to invest in a professional photographer. You can hire one of many spectacular freelance photographers there are out there or you can visit Photodayz in Soverign Centre. Depending on the industry you work in you can dress accordingly. For example, if you work in accounting, you should wear a suit. However, if you work in the creative industry, you can get away with a crisp, white shirt. Women, spend a little extra and get your makeup done. A nice professional photograph just makes you put your best foot forward.
  2. Create an impactful headline: The headline under your name is the first thing people read when they search for your name. Make it count. This you can use to say one, amazing thing about you as a professional. Use adjectives that describe who you are. For example, mine says, “I build brands!” which in a nutshell what I do in my professional life. It’s catchy and it gets the attention of the people that I’m targeting– potential employers and clients.
  3. Tell a story with your bio/summary: This is the opportunity to tell a story about your professional journey and list three accomplishments you’ve made in your career thus far. Keep it concise but quanitfiable. Like for example say, “I increased productivity by 25%.”
  4. Network, network, network: Reach out to people you’ve met offline and in some instances, reach out to people you may be interested in meeting but haven’t had the opportunity yet. Be tactful in your approach. Note that while not everyone would be open to connecting with people they don’t know, others see the value in connecting online.
  5. Share valuable content: Just like any other network, sharing valuable content like blog posts, articles in your industry and quotes is crucial to raising your profile and rank on Linkedin. Share once a day to really add value. People in your network will see you as knowledgeable and come to you for advice when they need it.

The Way to Measure Social Media

Measurement of Social Media 

When we look at all the stuff brands are doing online to get attention above all the noise, we need to look at innovative ways to stand out in a crowd. However at the end of the day, it comes down to the ROI (Return On Investment).

As we look at the ROI of social media to dictate how a campaign is successful or not, we must also look at the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) :

Is the campaign successful in terms of getting the traction it should?

Are we getting a “buzz”?

Are people sharing organically?

Are people talking about it online as well as offline?

Brand Loyalty & Sales Spike

Surely, the impact of a campaign is no longer in just how much likes it receives. We also need to look beyond, not just if it is resonating with the target but if there is an increase in brand loyalty and ultimately, sales.

Sangster’s Jamaica Rum Cream redefines Sisterhood during Women’s Month

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Source: Sangster’s Jamaica Rum Cream Facebook Page

International Women’s Day is a day to acknowledge the struggle for gender equality ,as well as, celebrate the achievements of women to society.

Although a global initiative, a local brand is doing what it can to commemorate the day. The very Jamaican and traditional alcoholic brand, Sangster’s Jamaica Rum Cream, is putting a “spin on things” and calling for women in Jamaica to acknowledge and celebrate the women they admire in their latest campaign, “Redefine Sisterhood.”

When you post a picture of a woman you respect or admire using the hashtag #SupportOurSisters on you social networks throughout the month of March (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram), Sangster’s Jamaica Rum Cream will donate $JA100 to Women’s Inc., a local organization which offers a safe haven for women who have been affected by rape, incest and/or sexual harassment.

You can also show your support when you purchase a 750ml bottle at PriceSmart or HiLo Supermarkets island-wide.

Be sure to share this message on your social networks, invite your friends to like  Sangster’s Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

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Why Traditional Media Still Matters

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Traditional media is still relevant and necessary, particularly in a market where the internet usage is still dodgy. According to The World Bank, only 37.8% of the Jamaican population have access to the internet which in comparison to the U.S. (84% of the population have access to the internet) shows that we are still pretty far behind.

Mobile is steadily following suit, according to the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s Economic and Social Survey released in 2013. Mobile broadband subscribers totaled 2.8 million by June 2013. (See article reference here)

Regardless of the increase in mobile penetration, most of the content produced is customized for the users’ experience. Which basically means most of the information is in sound bite form.

So in order for the viewer to get an in-depth story, they still need to tune in to their local news. Most people also still value media entities as reputable sources of information. Not to mention the amount of hours commuters spend listening to the radio daily.

Looking forward however, integration and creating valuable content that will resonate with the Jamaican consumer will become the key to success for the media industry. Awareness and presence will no longer be enough and brands will need to make interactions as personalized as possible.

You may have already noticed how many media houses and personalities heavily use social media. For example, ZJ Sparks has over 42,000 followers on Twitter (she won the 2014 Caribbean and Social Media Award for Best DJ on Social Media) and usually tweets during air time encouraging her Twitter followers to tune in.

The show NCB’s Capital Quest, is another great example of the integrative approach. NCB Capital Quest is a reality TV show about Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) business owners competing for a chance to win an equity investment of up to 50 million dollars.

Social media icons appear on-screen throughout the show, reminding users to engage using the hashtag #NCBCapitalQuest. NBC’s Twitter account interacts with viewers as they share their views on social media during air time. Past episodes and more information about the show are posted on their website so viewers can watch again– keeping the brand “top of mind”– even after airtime.

How you tweet @Tessanne tells so much about you

@Tessanne has captured Jamaican’s hearts over the past few weeks with her musical renditions on The Voice. Many Jamaicans at home and abroad have rallied together to support her through social media.

Several companies have also jumped on the Tessanne train, sharing Jamaica’s sentiments of love and support.

However, when a brand or company’s social media manager gets so caught up in the competition and forgets who they are representing – where do you draw the line? Are companies or brands entitled to express a clear distaste for a particular contestant or song?

I understand the need for engagement,  but posting negative comments about other contestants is very unprofessional. Companies shouldn’t show dissatisfaction so intently that they risk alienating their core audience. Remember, you are managing not only reputation, you are representing Brand Jamaica.

Promoting Events on Social Media

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of covering an event for the organization I work for. It was remarkably organized and all of Washington’s elite were in attendance.

Now you may ask if the event was so well attended, what would be the benefit of social media? The great thing about social media, particularly twitter is that allows a conversation between people who may or may not know each other or have the opportunity to talk to each other at an event.

Here’s the best way to promote your event on social media:

Pre event: Be sure to create an event page on Facebook and invite every member of the group. Ask the event planners and other stakeholders to invite guests as well. Facebook has a new feature in which you can actually add a link to the where the tickets are being sold.

Be sure to ask guests to check in on Four Square. Four Square is a tool in which when used correctly can create a great buzz around your event.

Use a hashtag: By creating a hashtag it helps people follow the story and contribute to conversation by commenting on the event. The event I worked on had a great conversation going on about issues affecting Africa and the world economy. Former Presidents, Prime ministers, ambassadors, even Grammy Award winners were in attendance.

Showtime:

Promote the use of social media. Ask the audience to engage and if possible publicize for people to see. People like to feel as if they their experience is interactive.

Post Event: Make sure to post pictures on social media with captions of attendees. The quicker you do this, the quicker the buzz around the event will continue. The people who did attend will be anxious to see the pictures of themselves and their friends, as well as the other attendees and the people who were not able to attend will want to see pictures of people who did.

Storify: Make sure you storify it and share it with your audience, this is just another way to keep people talking and perhaps read some of the comments they may have missed from the event.

How to Reinvent Yourself

After struggling as a graphic designer in a third world country, where design skills were not appreciated, I decided to move to the U.S. to re-invent myself.

Here’s how I did it:

HOW TO REINVENT YOURSELF

These tips can help anyone else who is also struggling with changing their career or wanting to expand their capacity within their current field.

1. Determine where you want to go. When I started out, I wanted to remain in Advertising, but to switch roles to  Account Management, working on Strategy and dealing with clients’ needs, determining the best approach to expressing their key messages – my role is constantly evolving and as social media becomes a driving force in PR, I will stay in it.

2. Develop a Narrative. Explain your past and find a way to bring the story to the present. In my situation, Communications and Graphic Design are in a way still very much related, so bridging the gap was a very easy transition – my interest came from wanting to offer more services to my clients.

3. Reintroduce Yourself. My colleagues know me as a Graphic Designer because I have spent most of my working life as one. Even when I apply for jobs people still want to put me in the Design role because that is where I have the most experience.

Emailing everyone you know individually of your new path will help to redirect your goal. People will then remember your new title and recommend and refer you to new jobs and potential business ventures.

4. Show what you are made of. If you don’t show people what the new direction of your career is they will never know, which is why I started this blog.

5. Go to events and show them your business card . Become more acquainted with people in the industry. Make sure you introduce yourself with your new title. If no name cards are provided at the event, make sure to make one of your own and wear it. This will help people to see you and remember the title you have decided to acquire.

If you need any advice, tweet me @KesiAGardner

Blogging for Dummies

 
So you don’t seem to be getting the traffic that you need to your website. It seems that all you have is static content that no one is interested in, right?
The best way to get people interested in your product is to highlight the benefits of having your product, by telling people about your product. Right?
But, the news sources don’t care about your product or service and Novia McDonald-Whyte, the Style Editor of The Jamaica Observer hung up on you because you couldn’t remember if she worked for the Gleaner or the Observer (true story by the way).
So what are you going to do?

 

START A BLOG

 

That’s right! Start a blog! It’s the easiest thing to do. Blogger and WordPress make it so easy to create your own pages, and post them on the Internet.
Now you’re probably thinking, if I have a website, why do I need a blog? Well here is the thing, a lot of time the website’s information is static, meaning it can’t be changed and shared as organically as you would like it to be.
The people who may be interested in your product or service are not interested in static information. People want knowledge, information that is engaging, kind of like this blog.  (Just checking if you are paying attention)
The good thing about writing a blog for your company is that it’s simple to do; you are not tied to the CEO or Managing Director’s messages to write the blog entry. The benefit of having a blog, is that anyone from your company can write something, as it is more informal than a website page.

BLOGGING HELPS TO TARGET DIFFERENT AUDIENCES

 

Another good thing about having a blog is that the content keeps changing, as you add more content, and more blog posts are for different target groups or different services your company has to offer, it will bring more traffic to your website and ultimately drive sales.
So what do people want to read? I think most of the time people are interested in reading about personal experiences, triumphs and the brand experience.